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HOW DIFFERENT DIETS STACK UP. part 2- vegan

Wow, where to start. I think veganism is one of the most controversial and misunderstood diets out there along with ketogenic diets. On the omnivore side I hear people arguing that you can’t get enough protein, you will lose all your gains, that it doesn’t taste good, and it is unhealthy. On the vegan side you hear the arguments of; it’s good for the planet, it is better for your body, you get stronger, you feel better, you have more energy, and it’s more humane.

Well I am here to bring you a 100% unbiased review. Strictly science, and you can come up with your own conclusion. So let’s talk about anti vegan side first.

Omnivores or anti vegans argue that you can’t get enough protein. Is this true? Well partially, if you are doing an IIFYM or low carb diet, pairing that with a vegan diet can make it really hard to get enough protein in the RATIOS you are looking for. Still not impossible! Vegans have to pair plant proteins together to get their complete nutrients. Unlike omnivores who can be a little more lazy and just eat variety. Vegans have to be more purposeful in their food choices. (We really should all be more purposeful in our food choices) If you go back and read through my blog on vitamins, you will see some vitamins that you likely need to supplement on if you are Vegan because they don’t show up much or at all in plant based diets. However, you can eat a vegan diet and get the protein you need to grow.

Will you lose all your gains and is it unhealthy? I will have you refer below to my interview with two elite vegan athletes to answer that question.

Now is veganism better for the planet? If you watch many popular documentaries out there, they make a convincing argument that it is. While mass agricultural farming is unsustainable for the whole population, that doesn’t necessarily make animal food choices themselves bad for you. If you want to reduce the global impact of mass animal farming for human consumption, you can opt for a lifestyle where you raise you own animals, hunt, fish, or buy from local smaller farms. This is not a possible option for everyone, so for city dwellers, the vegan option remains their best choice for reducing their carbon food footprint. There are humain options to get your meat, poultry, dairy, and fish that don’t involve the horrors you see in the documentaries.

Is it better for you? Do you get stronger? The answer to this is, IT DEPENDS. If you are eating an omnivorous diet of meaty queso dip and junk food, then switch to a plant based diet of whole foods rich in nutrients…. well you will most definitely feel improvements in your mind and body. The inverse is also true, you can go from a balanced omnivore diet, to a vegan diet of processed junk foods, and you will feel a decrease in energy and performance. While many vegans claim that the switch improved their energy, we need to remember that these claims are anecdotal and that they might be consciously eating more fruits and veggies on a vegan diet than they were before.

So like anything else, my answers are usually, “it depends.” My goal is to always get you thinking and present you with more thought provoking statements, rather than force you to do one thing or another. Eating a vegan diet is a deeply personal and almost religious decision. Most who chose this lifestyle diet do it for their love of the animals and the environment. Opting for a vegetarian meal, vegan meal, and omnivore meal to mix up your day is a great halfway marker too. If you don’t want to fully commit, but you want to reduce your meat consumption, you can always try reducing or mixing it up. However, the vegan lifestyle can be a great option to fully commit to also. The community is strong and tight knit. Choosing to change up your eating habits just might make you some new friends and get you into the fun vegan cultural side of things. Learning to be creative with your food, alternative lifestyle options, and vegan friendly events are all part of the switch. Don’t take my word for it, give it a try for yourself or talk to a vegan friend. I bet they would love to share with you their lifestyle!

Vegan Interviews

Crystal Moulton: Strength athlete

Crystal Moulton

Name and what do you do?

My name is Crystal Moulton and I Powerlift, do Strongman, and Highland Games

How long have you been (doing/ following) diet?

I’ll have been living the vegan lifestyle for 19 years this August (2016).

Why did you choose this diet style or way of eating?

I chose this way of eating because I couldn’t justify killing animals anymore when I didn’t need to. Yeah, sure if the zombie apocalypse happens who knows who or what I’d eat to survive, but in modern society with ample options there is no good reason to not make the compassionate choice!

How has it helped your short term and long term success?

Veganism has helped me be successful in many different ways but I’d say the biggest factor the vegan diet has had on my health is managing the degenerative autoimmune disease I was born with. This disease has left me near bed-ridden and hospitalized many times. I manage the symptoms largely with medications, but being able to stay lean and fit is a HUGE factor in my mobility. With a degenerative disease, every pound adds another factor of magnitude to the damage caused by my own body. On top of that, having lean muscle to support my crumbling joints and connective tissues helps protect them and keep them safe. Being vegan is the easiest way to achieve this goal.

What are some common misconceptions about the way you eat?

A common misconception about veganism is that it is hard! It is far from it. I don’t have to worry about meat or dairy spoiling or bringing salmonella into my kitchen, and food prep is a snap once you get the hang of it. Another misconception is that it is expensive. I eat a lot of beans and rice, legumes, and fresh produce. When you don’t buy a lot of boxed stuff or prepared foods, the grocery bill drops substantially.

What is your favorite meal?

Do I have to name one favorite meal? I’d say pizza. I nice crispy crust with a good sauce, plenty of mushrooms, spinach, olives, onions and garlic but not too many. All with a drizzle of olive oil. Heaven! Or how about a thick black bean burger on whole wheat bread. Pickles, avocado, tomato! I’m also a sucker for baked tofu with mashed potatoes and gravy, maybe some steamed broccoli on the side.  Just for lunch today I had some fabulous sizzling fajitas with red/orange/green bell peppers, onions, seitan on some fresh tortilla shells. Too many favorite meals to name just one.

Advice for anyone who wants to get into this diet or lifestyle?

My advice for someone starting out with the vegan lifestyle would be to ask for help. There are tons of us out here, and even if there is not a vegan in your area, there are many of us online. One of the best parts of going vegan is the awesome and diverse vegan community, find a group where you fit in (not all may be your cup of tea, some of the more hippy-esk ones drive me crazy!). Side not though, ask for help from just one or two vegan friends – you get a group of us together and we can’t agree on anything!

Where can you be contacted?

I can be found on social media IG: @crystalfrostfire, Facebook: /veganfarmgirl .

Closing thoughts

Fad diets come and go, but the vegan lifestyle will change your life for the better.


Kelly Colobella: Football player and strength athlete

Kelly Colobella

Name and what do you do?

Kelly Colobella- I am a vegan (I do not eat anything that comes from an animal. Plant based foods only.) I am also a professional tackle football player, powerlifter, and strongman athlete.

How long have you been (doing/ following) diet?

I have been vegan for 24 years, never looked back.

Why did you choose this diet style or way of eating?

Initially I went vegan after learning of conditions and treatment of animals on factory farms. I later learned of the benefits it brings to my health, performance, as well as a vast reduction of my carbon footprint.

How has it helped your short term and long term success?

As a strength athlete I have noticed my recovery time is a lot quicker than many athletes I’ve trained with. I attribute this to my body utilizing all of the nutrition that I put into it without having to greatly draw its energy to break down heavy meats and dairy.

What are some common misconceptions about the way you eat?

A lot of people think that vegans are scrawny, weak, malnourished, and can’t be competitive athletes. Over the years I have gone from being a 100 pound gymnast, to a competitive triathlete and cyclist, and now a heavyweight powerlifter. I have put on a lot of muscle while being vegan, and I can personally attest that it is possible. Recently many elite athletes (pro bodybuilders, NFL and NHL athletes, Strongman athletes, and endurance athletes) are taking on a plant-based lifestyle and it’s becoming so much easier every day. People think it’s difficult to get protein, calcium, iron without animal products but what they don’t realize is that there is plenty of all of those things in plants. All of the the largest and strongest mammals are herbivores, and calcium comes from the  greens that those animals ingest. Humans are the only animals that drink the milk of another animal, and we are the only animal that drink milk past infancy.  Milk (cheese) from baby cows is designed to add hundreds of pounds of weight to an infant calf within a short amount of time. Many of today’s health problems are being traced to dairy, which our bodies do not respond well to. Every single thing our body needs to survive can be found in a vegan diet (yes, even B-12).

What is your favorite meal?

I would be lying if I didn’t say it was pizza (I am a powerlifter after all)… there are many restaurants around SLC that offer vegan cheese and meat as a topping! Most of the time I do try to eat whole, unprocessed foods. A lot of greens (greens every day), sweet potatoes, homemade seitan (a protein dense “chicken” substitute), wild rice, lentils.

Advice for anyone who wants to get into this diet or lifestyle?

3 Documentaries that are a great watch. For the health aspect of the lifestyle check out Forks Over Knives, it follows some life changing transformations and will forever change the way you look at nutrition. For the environmental aspect check out Cowspiracy, and if you would like to know more about animal agriculture please watch Earthlings.

Being vegan has NEVER been as easy as it is today. There are alternatives to everything you could possibly want or miss. There is a wealth of information online (blogs, websites, facebook groups, cookbooks, etc.) Understand that if you do ditch meat your body will likely go through a detox process for between a week to a month depending on how you were eating but, stick with it because once it is over you will have A LOT of energy and your body will love you for it!

Where can you be contacted?

Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @kgxvx

Facebook: facebook.com/KellyColobella54veganAthlete

Blog: http://plantstrongathlete.blogspot.com

Closing thoughts

I know a lot of people have very strong feelings against a plant-based lifestyle and close off to the idea of veganism because of some negative vegans they may have encountered. Please note that I am never judgemental of someone else’s lifestyle choices, just very proud of my own and always excited to share my passions, knowledge and experience! Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or bacon jokes (not really that last one because I likely have heard them all)…

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