This female weightlifter went on a 100% plant based diet - Here's what happened...
With my faith in the food industry shrinking, I decided to take an impromptu nose dive into a 100% plant based diet.
I wanted to see what difference it would make to me physically and mentally.
There are a number of reasons why my faith in the food industry is at an all-time low, but the number one driving factor for me, in this experiment, was disease.
I can’t ignore the fact that worldwide disease is at an all-time high.
It is not my intention to ‘preach’ my personal opinion on the matter in this post. We’re all grown-ups here, we make our own choices.
The ‘explanation’ that disease is hereditary, and that it boils down to ‘luck of the draw’ is utter nonsense. In my opinion.
There will always be exceptions. But I cannot justify in my own mind, that what is happening to the health of our nations, is purely a coincidence.
It is a man-made epidemic.
What we have is the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequence, of the food industry prioritising their finances over our lives.
Anyway, as I have said, I am not here to influence your belief on the matter, I simply want to share with you what happened when this female weightlifter went on a 100% plant based diet.
Note; I have called this a ‘plant based diet’, and not a ‘vegan diet’.
This is because I did not buy into ‘vegan’ labelled products during this two week experiment.
Vegan Oreos we’re off limits, yes, it turns out they exist. I don’t like Oreos anyway, but do you see how the food industry slipped in an unhealthy alternative?
So what did I eat for two weeks?
If it came out of the ground, or off of a tree, I ate it.
Everything I ate was either a fruit, vegetable, bean, pulse or nut. (Are nuts a fruit? I think they are, but just in case I’ll list them separately).
I also included a small amount of other products. These were; soy or rice milk, tofu, soy yogurt, rice, rice noodles, oats, and of course, hot pepper sauce.
You can take my meat, but you cannot take my hot pepper sauce!
For those of you worried about pesticides, I went one step further. I purchased all of my fruits and veggies from local greengrocers who grow and sell their own produce.
This may not have completely negated my exposure, but I am confident that this reduced it considerably.
With the support of my trusty spice tin, I was able to fully embrace this plant based diet.
As always, I prepped most of my meals in advance, and if I am honest, this was probably one of the easiest ‘diets’ I’ve ever been on.
My food prep was not much different to what it usually is, the only difference was that I replaced the animal products with more fruit and veg.
Had I gone from a diet of processed foods, straight into this type of plant based diet, I may have a different story to tell. But the fact that my diet naturally consists of predominately whole foods anyway, I struggled to struggle.
Eating out was difficult, but not impossible, I just ordered a selection of suitable sides and made a meal.
Interestingly, my consumption of sugar dropped too.
While I of course had a lot of fructose, I was consuming considerably less refined sugar. Mainly because things like ice cream, chocolate and of course, my favourite, Haribo, were off limits!
I even abstained from alcohol, because I didn’t trust myself not to end up face down in a plate of meat.
There was no ‘transition phase’ with this type of diet. If you’ve ever been on a keto diet you’ll know what I mean when I say the first few days are hell on earth.
The feeling to dip my right arm in sugar and chew it off, did not occur on this plant based diet.
I didn’t notice any change in my energy levels, everything was pretty much the same. The first difference I noted, was in my skin. It was softer.
I didn’t feel different in any other way.
The big thing for me, and the part of this experiment I was most interested in, was how this diet would impact of my lifts.
For the first week, I noticed no change.
In the second week, I started to feel myself getting weaker and losing my ‘firmness’. I was starting to feel ‘squishier’, and I had noticeably less energy and power to perform the big lifts.
Let me just note, I had enough energy to do a ‘regular’ workout, but I did not feel that I had the power to perform the big lifts.
From a physical strength perspective, I felt weaker.
This was an issue for me, and was probably the worst part of the process.
One side effect not to be sniffed at, was that I lost weight. I didn’t weigh myself (because I don’t do that), but I definitely felt that I had lost some. Though, this could have just been the psychological impact of my muscles shrinking, because really that was my fear all along.
Aside from the devastating (I was devastated) decline in my physical strength, the weight loss, and the softness in my skin, nothing else felt different for me.
Strictly speaking, from a health perspective, there was no reason not to carry on.
With lifting being such an important part of my life, I was not best pleased by the decline in my strength and power.
Still, I managed a full 14 days.
On day 15 I did what any self-respecting carnivore would do.
I ate a very large steak.
To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
So why, after two weeks of a 100% plant based diet did I go immediately back to eating meat?
The steak was more of a psychological craving than an actual one.
I did feel as though my body ‘needed’ it, although I didn’t ‘crave’ it, if that makes sense? It’s a difficult feeling to describe, but something in me was definitely missing.
Based on this two week snapshot of experience that I now have, I would say that going on a plant based diet long term, particularly if you are into lifting, requires supplements.
I read online that a lot of vegans are at risk of deficiencies such as B12, Iron and Zinc, perhaps that’s what my body needed. More protein sources wouldn’t have gone amiss either.
There are plenty of solutions out there, I’m sure. But for me, long term, this isn’t going to work.
It has certainly given me the opportunity to be more creative with my vegetables, so that’s going to come in handy moving forward.
What about all the disease?
Well, I stand by what I say about the link between the food industry and disease, however, as an individual who enjoys a predominately whole foods diet anyway, I would consider myself a low risk.
To be honest, on me, this whole plant based thing was quite a waste of time anyway.
We all know, it’s the wine that’s going to kill me….