To start off, I borrowed that title from a USMES teammate, Jim Weinstein. USMES is having an internal “90 day vegan challenge” to prove the benefits of a plant-based diet. Now, I am a pretty open person but giving up meat and honey was going to be a challenge. So why switch to a plant based diet? One of the driving factors was the increase in vegan talk on the podcasts I listen to. I want everybody to know that I do listen to a wide variety of podcasts (Paleo Solution, Rich Roll Podcast, Tim Ferriss Show, Ben Greenfield, Endurance Planet, etc…) so I am not overwhelmed by just vegan podcasts. Obviously, Rich Roll podcast is purely vegan but when guests on Tim Ferriss’ and Lewis Howes’ podcasts started talking about plant based diets I figured it was time to try it out.
A plant based diet is nothing new to humans or the world. Officially, the term Vegan was established in 1944 by Donald Watson while creating a newsletter Vegan News. It wasn’t until the past 20 years though that the vegan diet really began to gain popularity. Even the USDA is hinting towards a vegetarian diet with their MyPlate system (using the term protein instead of meat).
What makes a vegan?
The most important part of a vegan diet is abstaining from all products that are derived from animals (to include insects). A true vegan would also avoid non-edible products that came from animals, like leather boots. I am not going into this diet because of animal cruelty but rather to see if my body prefers a plant-based diet. Obviously, I am not for pro animal cruelty… it is just not the basis for my diet change.
How will I know if my body prefers a plant-based diet? The best way to test this theory is through pre and post blood analysis as well as journaling. Blood testing is a good way to get fun numbers and make the experiment objective. Being an engineer, objective data is crucial in determining the success or failure of an experiment. Subjective data is also important, especially when dealing with the human body and being an athlete. Motivation and mental state plays a huge role in how the body performs. There aren’t any easy ways to measure this so this is where the subjective part comes in to play.
To get a baseline of my health I have partnered with a company called InsideTracker. InsideTracker is an athlete focused blood analysis company. The company offers 6 different levels ranging from DIY kits to full out 30 biomarker Ultimate analysis. I ended up going with the mid-range Performance package which tests for 20 different biomarkers. Also, one great feature that is offered is a “White Glove” service. This “White Glove” service makes the blood draw 100 times easier by having a phlebotomist come to wherever you want to draw blood. Knoxville doesn’t have a Quest Diagnostic location so I opted for the “White Glove” service and had a phlebotomist come to my work. It honestly couldn’t have been easier. A nice lady arrived, took some blood, and 10 minutes later she was gone. I should receive some results next week! You can get 10% off of your next blood test by using the code “IREPATHLETICS” at checkout.
Finally, I also chose to take on this diet at this point because of an internal USMES led Vegan Challenge. This provides the necessary support system to transition to this type of diet. It is led by some amazing nutritionists Jim Weinstein and Lori Nedescu (The Cadence Kitchen).
I am also very excited that one of my favorite food groups, Roots Hummus, is vegan! Roots and I will be working together to establish some amazing vegan recipes and maybe 1001 ways to use hummus??? Also, very very exciting news is that Infinit Nutrition has developed a vegan friendly recovery blend. This blend uses faba bean and sprouted brown rice protein. They will be releasing this to the public in a couple of weeks!!! Check out their website and investigate all of their vegan friendly options!
The big thing is overcoming the society’s view on vegan’s as animal loving hippies that are trying to force society to conform to their ideas (a run on, I know). All vegan’s are not like this. Actually most Vegan’s are quite the opposite. Don’t judge someone on their diet and don’t assume you know what proper diet is unless you are actually a licensed dietitian.
I challenge everybody to join in on this challenge. Can you make it 2 weeks? How about 1 month? Maybe even until the New Year????