“Vegan is a dirty word.” – Robert Shackleford.
The word vegan, or veganism, is similar to vegetarianism in the sense that meat is not part of your diet.
In a vegan diet though, no animal products are consumed. That means that first you don’t get to eat chicken, pork and anything that was once alive, and secondly you also don’t get to eat eggs, milk, cheese or any other type of food that was once derived from an animal.I have been considering giving the vegan diet a try for some time. I am not a picky eater, and for those of you who know me know that I probably will eat anything placed in front of me. The idea of attaining all nutrients from non meat sources intrigued me as well as the ability to show non support for meat processing and packaging facilities. Plus I like to experiment with foods.
A year ago I tried a pesco-vegetarian diet. This meant that I was able to consume everything that a vegetarian could in their diet with the addition of fish. I don’t care for fish too much, but I felt that it would give the advantage of additional protein where other wise I might struggle to find it. I did this diet for about 6 months, and really didn’t crave meat at all. Since I enjoy all types of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, I knew I would be able to do it. Eventually I started to eat meat again, in smaller amounts, simply for the fact that I always had to prepare two meals for my family. I live with a meat-eater who was not totally on board with my decision because of the way it could affect the food he eats. So it lasted for a while, but meals became more work. Not that I don’t love cooking, but I honestly don’t have all day to do it. Not to mention that I actually eat food, not processed food crap.
I recently started reading Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run. For those of you don’t know, Scott Jurek is an ultra runner with numerous wins and course records under his belt. He also is a
vegan plant-based eater. While reading his book, I imagined that I would be able to consume the foods that he ate, and that I would still be able to perform at my current running abilities, if not better. In other words, I might be able to do my best and feel as amazing as he does. Scott is not vegan so to say but instead a 100% plant-based eater. This is where that quote by my friend Robert Shackleford a.k.a Shacky, comes into play.
A plant-based eater is someone who actually fills their plate with foods that are or once were plants. They are able to eat vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and legumes. This means that eating a bunch of processed food crap is out of the question. Someone who consumes a vegan diet can easily get away with eating foods such as potato chips, and McDonald’s french fries (yes, I know french fries come from potatoes). Neither of these are foods I care to eat. These items may not contain animal products, but that doesn’t mean they are good for you. Processed foods like these most likely contain high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial food coloring, and not to mention lots of additives that are unwanted in the body. If you chose to eat vegan why would you fill yourself with preservatives, additives and crap? This is why Shacky says, “Vegan is a dirty word.” If your diet consist’s of plants then let’s call it what it is, plant-based.
So here is my challenge. I don’t eat a lot of meat as it is, nor do I consume dairy products, and definitely try to stay away from processed foods. I am challenging myself to eat a clean, plant-based diet, rather than a vegan diet for thirty days. I don’t think I will have a problem with the exception of eating eggs and imagining new foods to eat. Getting enough protein now is going to be a challenge in itself, because that’s where the eggs played a role before. The health advantages to eating this way are huge. The risk of developing diabetes and heart disease among other diseases can be greatly reduced, granted you keep up the protein intake with beans and legumes as well as consume the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. It will keep me on my toes as far as what I choose to put into my body, and maybe, just maybe, I will become a better runner because of it.
Could you challenge yourself like this? Comment and let me know why.
Stay tuned for updates on my new challenge as well as fun recipes that I may dream up 🙂