Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Got Plants: Is Animal Protein Necessary?

Published on February 22, 2010 by   ·   85 Comments Pin It
SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Every veggie gal or guy’s least favorite question is “But how do you get your protein?”   Guest Blogger and Nutritional Consultant Katherine Pennington of   Be In Balance weighs in on this hot button issue;

Most of us have been taught that the only way that we will get ample protein in our diets is by eating animal protein such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs and cheese. This could not be farther from the truth! Contrary to what most people might believe, you can easily obtain all your protein from good old fruits and vegetables.

Although we Americans are on non-stop low-fat, low-carb, low-whatever diets and, as a nation, spend 100 billion dollars on health care, we are reaching near epidemics with respect to cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease! In our country, 47% males and 38% females at risk for getting cancer, 1 out of 3 adults is considered obese, 1 out of 13 have diabetes, and 1 out of every 3 adults are at risk dying from heart disease. We are killing ourselves with “disease of affluence.”

In The China Study, the distinguished Cornell professor Dr. T. Colin Campbell shows through his research studies that we can literally turn off or on our cancer genes by eating a diet consisting of fewer than 20% and as close to 5% of animal protein. So, why don’t doctors tell us this? We may lose weight eating high-protein diets, but at what cost?

Since I don’t eat meat, I am constantly being bombarded with questions about how I get my protein or my iron and many clients (especially those who have been advised to go on high-protein diets to lose weight) come to me thinking that they need to have animal protein at every meal in order to lose weight and get lean. My athlete clients and friends are especially aggressive with their beliefs that they must eat animal protein in order to build muscle and energy. If you are at risk for diabetes, cancer or heart disease or are eating over 20% protein, I beg of you to reduce your animal protein intake for your long-term health!

So, what exactly is protein?
Proteins are complex molecules comprised of small units called amino acids, which link together in chains to form peptides. Each protein has a specific number and combination of amino acids to determine its structure and function. Amino acids are simple compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and, in some instances, sulfur. There are a total of 20 amino acids, 8 of which must be present in our diet for good health and are called essential amino acids. Amino acids can be produced by our bodies but the 8 essential amino acids must be obtained through dietary sources. These are leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and lysine. Although animal-based proteins do contain all 8 amino acids and plant-based ones do not,    it is essential to vary the diet to ensure you get all 8 if you are eating primarily plant-based foods.

What does protein do? Why is it so important to have in our diets?
Protein plays a crucial role in virtually all functions in our body and we all need protein in order to be healthy and thrive. Not only are proteins essential for growth and repair, but they also play an important role in the body’s metabolism, hormonal balance, immune protection, muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, and help us maintain muscle and skin support for our structural system. Many people are under the impression that protein provides us with energy but the body actually uses carbohydrates and fats for energy and only uses protein when there is an excess of carbohydrate and fat stores are depleted.

So, how much protein do we need?
Women 11-14 yrs.             41.2g
Women 15-18 yrs.           45.4g
Women 19-49 yrs.           45g
Women 50+                               46.5g
Breastfeeding                           53-56g

Men 11-14 yrs.                     42.1g
Men 15-18 yrs.                     55.2g
Men 19-49 yrs.                     55.5g
Men 50+                                          53.3g

Although protein as we have discussed is crucial to our well being, here is the important point- this protein does not (and should not!) come from animal sources! We can get all of the protein we need  from fruits, vegetables, soya products (like tofu) beans and legumes, grains and nuts and seeds!


Here are some plant-based foods with their protein contents:

Tofu (5 oz)                                    10.3g
Soy milk (1 cup)                   7g
Tempeh (1 cup)                        9.3g
Seitan (3 oz)                              22.1g
Edaname (1 cup)                 9.6g
Baked beans (1 cup)      11.5g
Lentils (1 cup)                       18g
Chickpeas (7 oz)                 16g
Quinoa (1 cup)                        9g
Brown rice (7 oz)                      4.4g
Peas (1 cup)                                 9g
Veggie dog (1)                            8g
Spaghetti (1 cup)                    8g
Whole wheat bread (2)   8g
Almonds (1/2 cup)             8g
Hemp seeds (3 tbsp)     11g
Chia seeds (1 oz)                 4g
Spinach (1 cup)                     5g
Broccoli (1 cup)                     5g
Baked potato                           4g
Carrot                                               0.4g
Kale (1 cup)                               2.2g
Beets (1 cup)                           2g
Avocado (1)                               4.5g
Blackberries (1 cup)         2g
Dates (1 cup)                             3.6g
Banana                                              1.29g

For those that feel that they just have to have eggs or milk and feel that they need to give these to their children so that they “get enough protein” please read ahead. One egg has only 6.37g of protein and one cup of milk has only 8g!!! You could get the same amount of protein from 2 slices of whole wheat bread and a glass of soy milk!

On the other side of the equation are the meats! 4 oz of a roasted chicken breast has 36g and 4 oz of lean grass-fed strip steak has 24g. The way we eat in America today can leave us to get our whole protein requirement in just one meal. And, this is not a good thing! We don’t need that much protein when we look at our needs over the course of the day. And, any animal protein intake over 20% helps contribute to the incidence of disease.

So, is it really practical to get ALL my protein from fruits and vegetables?
Yes, it is! For one day, I set down to writing everything that I had eaten  and computed how much protein each food had in it and I basically met my requirement before I even had dinner! Eating a plant-based diet for lunch and dinner, I consumed 43g of protein for a total of 48g/day without even trying!

Not to bore you but here is my day:

Breakfast: 19g
Green Smoothie
(2 cups spinach, 2 cups kale, banana and 2 cups almond milk, 2 tbsp chia seeds)

Lunch: 24g
Spinach salad with sliced avocado topped with 2 tbsp hemp seeds, sprouted lentils & 6 pecans
Carrot/Green juice: Romaine, cucumber, parsley, celery and carrots

Dinner: 5g
Steamed sweet potato
Grilled kale

You would not have to eat this “green” and your day could look more like this:
This diet is actually 53g of plant-based proteins- and this is a fairly moderated diet without any snacks!

Breakfast:                                                                                                                                 17g
2 slices whole wheat bread with 1 tbsp almond butter
Soy latte

Lunch:                                                                                                                                           16g
Veggie burger on whole grain bread
Side salad

Dinner:                                                                                                                                           20g
1 cup steamed brown rice
Tofu or tempeh
1 cup steamed broccoli

Go veg, and stay healthy, strong and disease-free!

Founded by nutritional consultant Katherine Pennington, Be in Balance offers holistic health and lifestyle counseling in New York for women and men who want to lose weight, gain energy, sleep better, reduce stress, get in shape and achieve a greater sense of well-being, balance and happiness in their lives and those of their families.   For more information, please visit her website at www.be-n-balance.com or   send an email to katherine@be-n-balance.com.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Readers Comments (85)

  1. elaine says:

    I find the menu ideas particularly helpful and the info on amounts of protein in various foods helpful too. THANKS!

  2. brook says:

    love it! thank you so much for these helpful tips and info.

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by GirlieGirlArmy: Got Plants: Is Animal Protein Necessary? https://girliegirlarmy.com/blog/20100222/got-plants-is-animal-protein-necessary/

  4. Chrissie V says:

    AMEN!!!!

  5. Jeff says:

    I hope you don’t take offense at this, but I feel like you could use to do a little more research and understand the role of insulin and glucagon(1) before making recommendations against animal proteins. Plant and nuts/seeds are not concentrated enough sources of protein to cause glucagon secretion, leading to wildly fluxuating blood-sugar levels and the associated energy highs and crashes. In addition, attempting to consume the required levels of protein via non-animal sources requires the consumption of A) highly processed soy protein with the associate problems(2) or B) lots of carbohydrates. Along with these carbs, and the disregulated blood-sugar levels from lack of glucagon, comes metabolic syndrome (3) and it’s accompanying diabetes, heart disease, etc. I recommend reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes for a good understanding of this.

    Also in regards to the China Study, this study by Dr. Cambell was an epidemiological study, and therefore cannot show causality, only correlation. In addition, the Inuit Paradox (the typical Inuit diet is nearly 100% protein and fat, yet they have very little or no evidence of heart disease or diabetes.) shows clearly that humans can be healthy even while consuming lots of saturated fats and proteins, thus disproving any of the hypotheses arising from the China Study.

    In addition, other epidemiological studies failed to show any correlation between animal protein consumption and various cancers(4)(5)(6).

    I could go on about the China Study, but I’ll instead recommend reading the Protein Debate between Dr. Cambell and Dr. Cordain(7).

    Where did you get your numbers for grams of protein per day? These numbers are far too low for anyone engaging in physical exercise. At these levels, your body will be in negative nitrogen balance (i.e. protein consumed is less than protein needed) and forced to cannibalize other muscles to keep up with the strains from exercise.

    As for your claims that ‘We are killing ourselves with disease of affluence.”‘ These diseases are also referred to as diseases of civilization and have been show in a number of cases (tribes in Africa and Inuits) to accompany farming and the switch from hunter/gatherer (high-fat, high-protein) to agricultural lifestyles (high-carb)(8).

    All of that said, this is just general information, if something is working for you and your lifestyle, I’m not one to knock it, my only worry is that people read this and assume that it will work for them. I’ve seen a lot of vegetarian athletes who are unable to make physical/health improvements as a result of their diets. Changing to consuming meat has reversed this plateau. While some people may function fine on a vegan/vegetarian diet, others will encounter insulin resistance and other dietary issues associated with this high-carb, low-fat, low-protein diet.

    Hope this is useful to someone. For more information, check my sources below.

    1) http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/glucagon.html
    2) http://www.westonaprice.org/Soy-Alert/
    3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_syndrome
    4)Truswell AS. Meat consumption and cancer of the large bowel. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;56 Suppl 1:S19-24.
    5)Navarro A, Diaz MP, Munoz SE, Lantieri MJ, Eynard AR. Characterization of meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in
    Cordoba, Argentina.Nutrition. 2003 Jan;19(1):7-10.
    6)Muscat JE, Wynder EL. The consumption of well-done red meat and the risk of colorectal cancer. Am J Public Health. 1994
    May;84(5):856-8.
    7)http://www.cathletics.com/articles/index.php?show=shorty&shortyID=50
    8)http://www.westonaprice.org/Out-of-Africa-What-Dr.-Price-Dr.-Burkitt-Discovered-in-Their-Studies-of-Sub-Saharan-Tribes.html

  6. FANTASTIC! I love the menus as well – it will make my job (as a vegan health coach) a whole lot easier! :)

  7. tony says:

    Helpful hints overall. I find the egg thing a bit deceptive. Nobody eats just one egg, and most people eat 3-4 with just the egg whites. That would be plenty of protein.

  8. john joseph says:

    I love the arm chair guys in lab coats who talk about physical activity and training as if they actually do any, or have actually tried living a plant-based diet and training. Well NEWSFLASH! I DO! I am vegan, 175 pounds, I bench 250, run marathons, and am currently training for an Ironman. All the lab BS means nothing. It’s about practical application not just hypothetical statements. I haven’t eaten animal products in almost thirty years and am stronger than ever, at 47, soon to be 48. Mac Danzig (UFC), Jake Shields (MMA FIGHTER), Mike Mahler, Rip Esselstyn, Brendan Brazier and Dr Fred Bisci pHD (nutritional science) are all vegan. As a matter of fact Fred is a raw foodist and at 80 still runs ten miles every morning. Who backs these PRO-MEAT studies? Lots of times its the meat and dairy industry. Maybe this dude popping off with all this nonsense should talk to Dr. Bisci I’m sure it would be a quick debate. Furthermore check out ancient civilizations from India (kstriyas) ‘warriors’ some 5,000 years ago NEVER ate meat and were ferocious as were the Shaolin monks of China…. VEGAN! Anyway I did my own field study for almost 30 years. Science means you have a formula you apply it and you get a result, so where is this dude applying his book smarts? Plateau effect comes from the muscular and cardio-vascular systems becoming comfortable and not changing your routine. I invite you to come train with me for one day, my guess is you’ll chose to make more comments in your lab coat. Anyway I have researched many many studies as well that PROVE vegetarian/vegan athletes have far superior levels of endurance, all of this is listed in my new book, “MEAT IS FOR PUSSIES” dropping 4/15/10 – peace john joseph (cro-mags)

  9. This is a great article. One medical doctor who totally changed my life is Dr. Joel Fuhrman and the Eat to Live diet. http://www.drfuhrman.com/. I also love that Dr. Oz is getting the vegan message out — from the health POV — on his uber-mainstream daily TV show. http://www.doctoroz.com/. And I love what the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine has to say about the health benefits of veganism. http://www.pcrm.org/health/. Great advice, Katherine (& Chloe), thank you!

  10. Hey Jeff,

    I have been vegan for almost 15 years and I am still building muscle, running several miles a day, and I rarely get fatigued. I need less sleep than most people I know, I rarely get ill, and I get amazing blood-work results every year at my physical which always seems cause a stir in the Dr’s Office. I don’t even take supplements aside from flaxseed and nutritional yeast. Your claims about the Inuit people are so out of context that it’s laughable. Not all of us evolved in an arctic climate with no vegetation. How do you think a silverback gorilla, a horse, a Hippo, and tons of other large muscular animals build muscle? Not from thin air – there is plety of protein in plant sources.

  11. Maria says:

    great info thanks!
    i had no idea you could get protein from blackberries or dates which is good cause they are so yummy!

  12. Jeff says:

    Hey Joshua,

    Thanks for keeping your response civil, I was more interested in sparking discussion than a flame war.

    I have a few things to point out about your comment. First off, while you and John may be fine athletes on a vegan diet, this does not prove that it’s the best diet for you in terms of improving athleticism, or that it’s the best diet for the general public. You may very well be the exceptions (in my experience vegans who are also good athletes are). Just as my being a good athlete and eating meat does not prove anything either.

    Second, my claims about the inuits are in fact not at all out of line. For the past 200,000 years, all of our ancestors evolved in an ice age, hunting and gathering our food. We ate a lot of animals and what few roots and berries we could find. Agriculture was invented about 10,000 years ago. This is not enough time for humans to have fully adapted to this eating style. We have begun to adapt (as folks like yourself are a testament to) to higher grain diets as well as things like dairy. Yet insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes), obesity, heart disease, gluten allergies, and lactose intolerance are evidence of our lagging evolution. In addition, I could have made the same claims about nomadic tribes in Africa, I chose Inuits because it’s a fairly well known paradox.

    As far as animals being able to get large and grow muscles, then have different digestive systems than us, some have more than one stomach, and typically have longer digestive tracts to absorb these sorts of nutrients better. I didn’t say that you couldn’t get enough protein on this diet, I just said that people should be wary of what comes along with these non-animal proteins (lots of carbs). We are far closer related to the Inuits than we are to any of these animals, which I guess makes your statement more laughable.

    I’d recommend reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes if you’re interested in nutrition as an athlete. Even if you stay Vegan, it will give you a lot of good insights into you body’s functioning. Also check out

    John: I’m not an arm chair science guy. I’m a trainer who happens to like reading about nutrition in my free time. I bench 225lbs, deadlift 360lbs, max at around 36 pullups, clean and jerk 200lbs, and run a mile in around 5:30, just to give a few stats. Also I’m not sure what to say about your statement that ‘all the lab BS means nothing’ except that we obviously can’t have a discussion about this if you’re not willing to accept scientific reason as grounds for argument.

    Also thanks to the moderator for approving my comment.

  13. Liam says:

    john joseph, Joshua:

    No one cares how long you’ve been training on a vegan diet, how far you can run, or how much you can bench.

    All you’re providing is anecdotal evidence. Your point will not be proven until you use SCIENCE to back it up. Which is not possible, considering almost all the scientific studies out there show that training is much easier while eating meat proteins.

  14. Chloe says:

    Jeff – my take… you are talking about the fundamental struggle between base narcissism (how do I LOOK, how many MUSCLES can I put on) and living a compassionate lifestyle. Going veggie is the #1 thing you can do to help the environment and the animals.. AND your body. A study conducted by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than 7 times as much greenhouse gas emissions as a vegan’s diet. On average a person switching from the standard American diet to a vegan diet will prevent the abuse and killing of over 100 animals per year. And you save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year. Now a new United Nations report calls cattle the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. Cattle are ‘responsible for 18%++ of greenhouse gases, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.’ This includes the fuel burned making fertilizer, to produce the meat and transport it, as well as the obvious cow fart and manure production of methane, 20 times more effective as a global warmer as CO2. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, but only 60 gallons to water to produce a pound of wheat! And nearly 10 billion animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. every year. That enough facts for ya kids? The piece de resistance is watching Peaceable Kingdom or having knowledge about what really goes on in factory farms. That is nothing me or my family wants to get behind. As Peter Singer says, All the arguments to prove human superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, animals are our equals. But really I personally look and feel a thousand times better since going vegan. And my karma (and colon) are clean.

  15. Jeff,

    OH! You’re a PALEO/Cave Man (Atkins for the Manly Man) diet person. Now I get it. I already wrote a whole article about your peeps over here: http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2010/02/05/future-cave-man/comment-page-1/#comment-2078

    All I can say is that while the PALEO diet is officially recognized as a fad diet by the ADA, a vegan diet is considered “appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation”. How’s that for science – unless you somehow think that vegans have something to gain from paying researchers to conclude this (nothing the meat or dairy industry would ever do!).

    All sarcasm aside, if it weren’t for seeds and nuts and roots and fruits and leafy vegetation and tubers, etc etc (the whole reason mammals developed 3 cone-vision, to recognize fruit against a green backdrop) we would not have evolved either. Putting an emphasis on meat when there are other sources of the same nutrients, and most anthropologists agree that it only constituted a small percentage of food in most pre-agricultural societies, seems strange. We should rename “hunter-gatherers”:
    “gatherer-hunters”. The 1970’s anthropology that led to the development of the Paleo diet still seems to be stuck in that decade. Especially with new discoveries about our evolution like this:
    http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2009/10/09/discovery-of-the-century/

    Lastly, trying to connect vegan protein to carbs is a scare tactic. There are plenty of low-carb sources of protein like beans, that have nonabsorbent carbs, dark leafy green, nuts, seeds… everything has protein in it. Overdoing carbs is not a “vegan” problem, it’s a general problem. Making the decision to be a healthy vegan is also about taking responsibility for our impact on others. If we can live long healthy lives as vegans and it helps the environment, animals, and and people too. Sure you CAN a healthy meat-eater, but aside from the joys of what Maslow calls “infantile self-gratification” how sustainable is that?

  16. john joseph says:

    First the statement that everyone ate meat and fish because this planet was under an ice age 200,000 years ago isn’t the case. The Vedic civilization existed over a million years ago and were vegetarian. As proof a NASA satellite able to see miles under water recently found Ramacandra’s bridge which was 1.2 million years ago. So that argument is null and void. Secondly, it’s about LONGEVITY, so good luck maintaining a regiment into your fifties, sixties and beyond. This is the worst time in the history of this planet to eat meat. GMO’s, growth hormones etc are ravaging people. Notice cancer rates rising in the last thirty years despite all the advanced medicine. Third know any meat eating animals with a colon? No. Because they have to get the putrid decaying flesh out of their bodies quickly, that’s also why meat eating animals have intestines 4x the length of their bodies as well. Ours is 12-16x the length and they posses hydrochloric acid 20x stronger than ours. You want the facts again contact Dr. Fred Bisci @ http://www.fredbisci4health.com. – HE’S 80! I’m talking about lab BS that has an AGENDA by multi-national corporations. To make claims that a vegan diet is insufficient for training etc is not the case, that’s why I posted stats, no to brag. I’m almost 48 as I said and i know TONS, TONS of vegan super-freakish athletes in their forties, fifties and sixties. So that dismisses the exception rather than the rule theory. And to JEFF I don’t know you, I will have to take your word on what you say, but I live in NYC, and I travel with my band, not as any beef, I respect you, but just as we say…”TO CONDUCT A STUDY” I would love to train with you one day if you have time and out of curiosity how old are you anyway? Because as we age its harder and harder to break the meat down. And last but not least to address the statement by Liam, there ‘are’ studies my man that debunk what you wrote. Dr. Irving Fisher did research and posted his findings in The Yale Medical Journal, his study, “The Influence of Flesh Eating on Endurance” which compared the strength and stamina levels of meat-eaters to vegetarians found that vegetarians have almost most twice the levels as meat-eaters. We are not designed by nature to eat meat and so your body uses more energy to digest it. Next did I mention its just bad ass karma to kill animals? Well, it is and the karma for it is a list of diseases that could fill this entire page. And even if meat did improve performance which it doesn’t… here’s an analogy… I could take steroids, or HGH to improve my performance in the short run, but would I? HELL NO! Because the damage far out weighs any benefits obtained and we are talking longevity and I’m assuming you want to stay fit and strong for your entire life not just be some shooting star only to fizzle out like so many guys I’ve seen do in the last decades. Peace to ALL Earthlings, especially those without a voice. John Joseph

  17. Jeff says:

    Hi Chloe – I can’t argue with you about lifestyle choices. I’d never claim that eating meat was better environmentally or for ethical reasons. Those are personal definitions. From a nutritional standpoint, I’d be willing to argue that eating meat is better for your physiology.

    Something to ponder though: Have you ever stopped to consider how many field mice, rabbits, insects, birds are killed every year during harvesting for the soybeans and grains for your vegan lifestyle? From a purely numbers standpoint you’d be better off eating a pasture fed cow for calories.

    (Also the whole colon cancer and meat consumption thing is a myth. http://www.westonaprice.org/Myths-of-Vegetarianism.html)

    All that said, though if you choose to e vegan for ethical reasons, no complaints from me. It’s only when people become misinformed about the nutritional implications of this decision that I feel it necessary to take a stand.

    Thanks for the link on the paleo-diet. I actually eat a mainly paleo diet, so I can say that it works well for me. I’ve leaned out, I’m in a better mood all the time, my energy levels are way higher, my lifts have all increased, my running is better, so somethings working. But like Liam says, I’m just anecdotal evidence, so do your own research. All the article does is attack the guy who wrote it and the the title of the diet, it doesn’t actually address any of the science inside the book, so while entertaining, I can’t say that I learned much from it. Except that it’s listed as a fad diet which is kind of funny.

  18. john joseph says:

    How about this link Jeff… Americans eat the most meat on earth, now pay attention… ready? And we have the highest levels of colon cancer ON THE PLANET hands down. Now I’m just a cro-magnon vegan but I’d say what we’re eating has something to do with it. Also you kill every time you walk, or breath, and since almost 90% of all crops grown in the U.S are fed to animals for slaughter I’d say your killing those creatures too. Sure i feel bad for field mice etc, that inadvertently get killed but will I eat a slaughtered animal? Hell no homey. And again who funded that study you posted? What are their ties to the meat industry because I can almost guarantee there are some and they would never give out misleading info right? No one’s misinformed dude, I believe, you bought the hype perpetrated by one of the most corrupt, well financed, misleading killing machines on earth… the meat industry, see me in twenty years and let me know how many meds you’re on from one of the other killers… pharmaceutical companies.

  19. Hey Jeff,
    As a vegan trainer, nutrition coach and athlete myself, I can say without a doubt that a vegan diet can be a great choice for an athlete. In the 2.5 years I’ve been veg, I have also become leaner, faster in my running, have no issues with strength or energy, and my muscle mass has not suffered at all. Done CORRECTLY (and you mentioned what could occur if not done correctly), being vegan can be a very healthy choice and Katherine’s blog just answers the always-asked question of ‘where do you get your protein.’

    I get that you’re not trying to knock the vegan lifestyle and hoping to give a full picture for anyone reading. I also understand that some people feel better eating meat (I am not one of them) and if ethical or environmental concerns are not present then it may not be what they choose. But to make a blanket assumption that a vegan diet just won’t work for an athlete is discounting a lot of very potent information, and potentially leading your clients (some of whom may be considering going veg or are veg already) from considering something that may be very good for them or if they are ethically or environmentally vegan, keeping them from their full potential. Just curious – what would you tell one of your clients who is an ethical vegan about protein if animal products are not a choice for them?

    To address the issue of the protein levels listed in the blog being too low, Katherine gave some great basic protein levels, however to be more precise, protein levels are more accurate when based on weight and activity level. Protein should comprise 10 – 15% of a healthy diet. The RDA for protein is 0.8 gm/kg body weight for most adults (multiply body weight by this number), vegetarians may need to increase this by 10 percent, endurance athletes require 1.2-1.4 gm/kg while strength athletes need 1.6-1.7 gm/kg. That said, the Standard American Diet (SAD) provides a significantly higher amount of protein per day than needed by most people – strength athletes included. Basically, Katherine’s list gives plenty of options for the veg (and non-veg) athlete, and it is completely possible to get complete proteins from a vegan diet.

    If an athlete is not making the progress they need, it’s probably because they are not eating the correct balance of nutrients that works for their individual body – and that goes for any diet – vegan, vegetarian, or meat-eater. For vegans, it can be tricky but CAN be done.

    Like you said, it’s important to have complete information to make informed choices, so I encourage you to check out the ‘other side’ and stay informed on vegan research as well. It’s funny how a lot of the research we read conveniently supports our own arguments (and I have been guilty of this as well). Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to inform themselves about nutrition and to make their choices based on how THEY feel and their guiding morals.

    One thing to end with, this is kind of interesting:
    “Although we think we are, and we act as if we are, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us, because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.” – Dr. William C. Roberts, editor of the American Journal of Cardiology

    I just find it interesting coming from a Cardiologist of all people (in Texas no less!). I would have to argue that humans were not ‘designed’ to eat meat, but perhaps have become opportunistic meat eaters instead…but in doing so, I question whether we are truly serving the anatomical design of our bodies? Doesn’t it make you a bit curious? There’s an interesting book called ‘Comparative Anatomy of Eating’ by Dr. Milton Mills – here’s a brief chart: http://www.vegsource.com/veg_faq/anatomy.pdf

    Kendra

    I should also mention that my copy of The Paleo Diet for Athletes is on my shelf next to Brendan Brazier’s Thrive; The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. :)

  20. Jeff says:

    Correlation does not demonstrate causation, that’s a common logic fallacy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation) There are far too many other factors involved to simply pull out our consumption of meat and point to it as the cause of colon cancer.

    Do you think that the grain and corn lobby doesn’t pay for studies? They do. Again, I’ll point to Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” Read that. Also the article I pointed to which rebutted the China Study was funded by a site called The Performance Menu (http://www.cathletics.com/), run by fitness trainers, not the meat industry. I can’t state 100% for certain where the other article’s funding has come from, I can however say that the Weston Price Foundation I’m fairly certain is not (http://www.westonaprice.org/Vegetarian-Tour.html). Check out their website if you don’t believe me. The Paleo Diet guy funds himself by selling his book I think, same with Gary Taubes.

    I know I’m not going to be able to convince you of anything, so maybe we should just leave it at that. So far all you’ve given me is anecdotal evidence and some vague generalities, so I have a hard time actually discussing with that. It’s like nailing jello to a wall.

    Also, as far as how old I am and any information I could personally offer, it’s all anecdotal evidence so I’m going to skip all of that, and merely point you to this article regarding the “ad hominem” logical fallacy which states that it is a fallacy to attack the arguer themselves instead of their argument: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/fallacies.html#12

    Then I better wrap up because I’ve used the word logical fallacy twice now and I’ve over my quota for the day. :)

    All that said though, I’m always up for a workout challenge (again that won’t prove anything, but could be fun). You ever come to LA?

    • Suz says:

      “Do you think that the grain and corn lobby doesn’t pay for studies? They do.”

      Those would benefit the cattle association much more than any top secret vegan group working behind the scenes. Most of the grain and corn in the US goes to animals and animal foods.

  21. Daniel says:

    Chloe: Your statistics regarding meat assume that the source of the meat is the horrible CAFO’s. All your information argues that they should not exist, not that eating meat itself produces more greenhouse gas emissions.

    The large farms that produce the corn and soybeans are responsible for the existence of the CAFO’s – they wouldn’t be able to exist without them.

    If you’re eating a vegan diet consisting of food you’re purchasing from a supermarket you’re causing almost as much damage to the environment as people who eat meat that comes from the CAFO’s.

    Eating local sustainable pastured small farm beef is better for the environment than eating a supermarket vegan diet. Eating a local sustainable vegan diet is even better for the environment than that.

    It’s quite ridiculous to think that simply buying your processed soy protein at the store (which took 18 barrels of oil to bring a pound to your house) is better for the environment than the person who buys a steak from Publix that came from a CAFO.

    It’s not. Eat local.

  22. Abby says:

    I agree with Jeff!!! I tried to be vegan/vegetarian and it just did not work for me…I really wanted to live a kinder life…after a lot of research, I decided to switch back to eating more organic, raw, grass fed chicken/fish/beef/veg…I am more of a mixed type (carb/protein). I believe that it is only 1/3 of people who are carb types that can be successful on a veg/vegan diet. I think that when looking for a rise in cancer/disease, maybe we should look more carefully at the horrible artificial sweeteners, unfermented soy products (The whole soy story by Dr. Kaayla Daniel) and most importantly the GMO products – yuck!!! I am trying to bring home as little processed foods as possible. I think that is very important.
    Again, while my heart wanted to be vegan, my body was telling me it is absolutely not what is healthy for me. I subscribe to Mercola.com and find the information there very beneficial!

  23. Simone says:

    Um, Hannah Teter+ Vegetarian diet= GOLD MEDAL (Snowboarder).
    Nuff said.

  24. Abby, my body tells me to eat chocolate non-stop. That does not mean that I need it. A crack head’s body tells them that they need crack.

    And PS, I love the double standard of how anecdotal evidence is only ok if you got “so sick” trying to be a vegan. But if you’re healthy and thriving, you must hire a research team to make your case.

    THERE IS NOTHING CRUCIAL IN MEAT THAT YOU CAN”T GET FROM OTHER SOURCES. There is nothing magical about meat’s contents, and as we can see, people will make any and every rationalization to continue indulging in it even though it’s destroying the planet, destroying the lives of animals, and causing disease.

    And JEFF, there is not enough land to satisfy the demands for meat and make it all greenwashed. Over 90% of cattle are fed crops that kill the ever grater amounts of the Field Mice you invoke to make your case.

    If you like the taste of meat just admit it, but don’t try to pretend it’s necessary. I can at least understand selfish indulgence. I can not understand delusional science. It is possible to thrive as a vegan. It is impossible to sustain the demand for animal products that currently exist. Grass-fed or not, livestock are responsible for the worst ecological problems.

  25. Chloe says:

    The Paleo diet will, like the Atkins diet, end up with a bunch of men with heart disease and heart attack. I don’t doubt it for a second. Meat and dairy are not good for you. There is no rationalizing that. Even trying to is inane. ALL Doctors and Nutritionists will agree that a plant based diet is optimum. And.. oh Abby… “grass fed” is a myth. Check out humanemyth.org and realize that eating animals is in no way, shape, or form kind or healthy. Stop justifying failing as a vegan by saying “you needed it.” Do obese people “need” donuts?

  26. I’m so glad for the passion in this forum. I’m a vegan chef and nutrition coach and I can tell you that my clients have improved their health exponentially eating vegan. I never try to convert anyone, I just give people real solutions and they experience real results; such as – from a high PSA (prostate cancer screening) score (er – see meat consumption) to way below normal, reducing cholesterol, improving bowel function & digestion, losing weight, gaining energy, improving immunity, and that’s not even any of the vanity stuff, which people cite all the time, better quality of skin, hair, nails, wrinkles disappearing, deposits on body disappearing… I could go on. These are real results! I would love to feed a trainer/athelete like yourself a balanced, nutritionally sound vegan diet and let’s do our own damn research!

    Given all of those positive changes, how could performance NOT improve? That said, I also do not support the processed soy meat industry. (Sorry soymeat lovers). There is overwhelming evidence that the GMO’s present in Soy are incredibly harmful. As harmful as what meat consumption can do? Hard to quantify, wouldn’t you say? A lot of what we believe is based on skewed research and hearsay. I say treat your own body like a university, and see how you feel. Personally, I feel like crap when I eat a lot of soy foods, so I stick to bean and nut based proteins. I feel better now that I ever did eating animal products, and my endurance levels are off the charts from eating lots of live plants and energy-promoting vegan foods.

    Everyone has to make choices, local vs. organic vs. local organic vs. seasonal vs. ethical vs. muscle building vs. holistic etc.

    The truth is, a lot of vegans become Junk Food vegans, eschewing the VEG part of the word and going for yummy replacements of foods they used to love. Perhaps we need some new research.

    Anyway, Jeff – why don’t you take the Regal Vegan challenge. Let’s see how your deadlifting goes after a month of balanced, delicious Vegan dinners.

  27. Jeff says:

    So we’ve heard a lot of claims that say that meat is the cause of a number of diseases, but I’ve yet to see anyone cite an actual study that shows that this is true. You’re all just pulling the standard vegan knee-jerk response. I know that there are studies that show this out there (most of them not very good studies), so come on people, you can do it.

    Chloe: where’s your evidence to show that the Paleo diet will cause heart problems? I showed evidence of excess carbs causing heart issues a la insulin resistance. Also, grassfed cows aren’t mythical creatures, I’ve seen some in real life.

    Joshua: you know why you crave chocolate? Your body is craving the associated sugar because your insulin levels are out of whack.

    Simone: There are a lot more meat eating athletes who are winning medals. I never said that no one could succeed on a vegan diet, just that the odds are not in their favor. Clearly it works for some people.

    Kendra: Thanks for you coherent comment. I ran the numbers and according to your protein requirements and the 10-15% of my diet, I should be eating 5500 calories/day. I currently am eating about 2500 and it’s working fine. As far as what I’d say to a vegan who wanted to train with me, I’d have to be honest and tell them that my best advice would be to stop eating vegan and if they really insist for ethical reasons, that they need to be aware that they may not be able to achieve the body fat or performance levels they’d like.

    Moderator: Please approve my last comment too.

  28. Eric M says:

    The ultimate web page on why vegans don’t need to go anywhere for their protein. Based on the governments own undoctored numbers.

    http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html

    Love, e

  29. Eric M says:

    “Can a world-class athlete get enough protein from a vegetarian diet to compete? [M]y best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.
    — Carl Lewis, 9 time olympic gold medalist and Time Magazine’s “Olympian of the Century”:

    John Salley, vegan and the only man to win three NBA championships on three different teams.
    Max Danzig, UFC fighting champ, vegan.
    Brendan Brazier – 2 time National UltraMarathon winner and 15 year vegan
    everybody here http://www.vegacommunity.com
    everybody here http://www.veganbodybuilding.com
    My own vegan bad ass!

  30. DylanXVX says:

    Jeff, Liam, and everyone else on a vegan blog trying to disprove veganism:

    From an ecological perspective, look at the carrying capacities of the Earth. It would be nearly impossible, if not completely impossible, to feed the entire human population on the diet the majority of humans subscribe to if the population continues to grow. The only way this would be possible is if everyone decided to switch to a vegan diet. This isn’t speculation or testimonial, this is scientific, ecological fact. The reason humans cannot be sustained by eating large, carnivorous animals like lions is the fact that they are too high on the food chain to sustain us.

    Here is a model that explains the carrying capacities and food chain based on the fact that animals (and humans) can only retain 10% of what they eat, the other 90% is excreted.

    Because of the issue of energy vs. excrement, say it takes 10 plants to feed 1 cow and it takes 10 cows to feed 1 human. That means, on an omnivorous diet containing beef it would take 100 plants to feed 10 cows to feed 1 human being. If this person subscribed to a vegan diet, it would only take 10 plants to sustain them, using less land and resources. The reason most of the animals eaten by humans are vegetarians is because of this ecological fact dealing with carrying capacities. In the case of fish, it is much more severe, which is why we are seeing the threat of collapse in the ocean’s ecosystems.

  31. DylanXVX says:

    Also Jeff,

    Your comment to Josh about chocolate is actually only a half truth. While you CAN crave chocolate due to a lack of sugar, chocolate contains caffeine, which is an addictive substance and also contains chemicals that create endorphins that naturally make you feel happy. This is why it is considered a comfort food. I have never heard of a single study proving that meat can cause a similar effect for the same reasons as chocolate. If you are craving chocolate because you have a caffeine addiction, that is very different from enjoying the taste of meat.

    In your statement in response to Kendra, you say that you would attempt to dissuade someone from training on a vegan diet because they may not be able to achieve the proper fat or performance levels. While there are many successful vegan athletes competing against omnivorous athletes, your statement seems to show your training methods and lack of knowledge about nutrition are more problematic than the vegan diet you’re criticizing.

  32. Jeff,

    I believe you are going about the protein calculations incorrectly – based on your daily calorie intake of 2500 calories, 10-15% would be 62.5g to 93.75g per day. You wouldn’t set your protein levels first and then create your calories from that – it doesn’t make sense.

    I’m sorry to hear that you would tell your clients to go off a vegan diet or that they wouldn’t achieve the results they desire without eating meat. Would you tell that to Falcon’s tight end Tony Gonzalez, MMA fighter Mac Danzig or Olympic track star Carl Lewis, ALL of whom are vegan and have terrific performance records? I think not.

    Research has stated that a vegan diet may not improve an athletes performance OVER that of a meat eater’s diet, but there is significant scientific evidence that a vegan diet can create EQUAL performance to an animal protein diet and there is no reason to believe that it causes any harm at all.

    Check out this article written by an RD and published in 2009 in Today’s Dietitian with plenty of references to scientific studies to fill you to your heart’s content:

    http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/011209p38.shtml

    “According to his review of literature pertaining to athletic performance and vegetarian diets, Nieman concluded that a vegetarian diet is neither beneficial nor detrimental to cardiorespiratory endurance, especially when carbohydrate intake, age, training status, body weight, and other confounders are controlled for.12 Other studies reviewing the impact of vegetarian and vegan diets on performance concur with Nieman’s findings.”

    I really have to point out that the entire point of this blog (and Katherine correct me if I’m wrong) was to show that there are a lot of plant-based protein options to include in one’s diet – veg or not. What’s the big deal??

    Kendra

  33. Abby says:

    Joshua and Chloe,
    Thank you for your comments to my post. I respect what you have to say…I really tried to go the vegan route. When I decided not to go forward after 3 months trying, it really broke my heart and still does. After being faithful on the vegan diet (even through the holidays) for 3 months, I was sluggish,not really loosing weight, low energy, my hair would come out in clumps in the shower each time and my skin started to break out. I really felt like after that amount of time my body was trying to send me a warning sign that this was not working. I don’t know how else to explain that after I reintroduced some fish and organic eggs and chicken, everything improved. My energy returned, hair stopped coming out in small clumps in the shower, skin cleared up etc. I was also under the impression after much research that you absolutely can not receive the right amounts of B12 that your body needs from a plant based diet. This was a huge concern!
    Like I said my heart really wants to be vegan but I do think you need to listen to the warning signs your body gives you. I am not talking cravings like chocolate and crack. I am 5’2″ and weigh 120 so its not like I am obese…

  34. Chloe says:

    Abby: I’m thinking you were just eating the WRONG foods! Try again – if at first you don’t succeed… I have never felt any of the way you felt (above) – and I’ve been vegan 8 years. Oh, and I’m 8 months pregnant! I feel alive, fantastic, full of energy. My hair is thick, my skin is flawless, and I’ve gained the perfect amount of weight during my pregnancy. I highly advise reviewing Dr Fuhrman’s site: http://www.drfuhrman.com/ site. If you don’t trust us – trust a world renowned Doctor. The requirement for vitamin B12 is very low. Non-animal sources include Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula or T-6635+ nutritional yeast (a little less than 1 Tablespoon supplies the adult RDA), and vitamin B12 fortified soymilk. It is especially important for pregnant and lactating women, infants, and children to have reliable sources of vitamin B12 in their diets. And I’m sure – if you added some nutritional yeast (SO yummy!) into your diet, you’d be fine. It’s nothing to do with obesity, and everything to do with being truly healthy on the inside. Consuming rotting, cancer-ridden, hormone-covered, dead animals just doesn’t bode well on your insides. They take forever to break down and cling to your insides. As opposed to plant based foods which come right out! If you aren’t pooping 2-3x a day, you probably aren’t eating the right foods.

  35. Abby says:

    Thanks Chloe! I really want vegan to work…I was absolutely starving all the time and I felt like I was gaining weight. I stayed away from most processed foods and ate very little if any sugars. When my hair started clumping out in the shower and my skin started breaking out it really freaked me out :(.
    I am really glad to hear that you are doing so great on the vegan diet and it is working out so well for you and your baby. Please be careful with the soymilk though…I believe unfermented soy is really unhealthy.
    I will take another look at Dr. Fuhrman’s site. I read Dr. Mercola’s newsletters each week and what he says really makes sense…He said that some of the sickest patients he has seen in his practice are vegetarians that are protein types…yikes…it makes me really wonder if being a vegan/vegetarian is not for everyone. Like I said….I really want to be vegan but it scares me to think it may not be healthy for my composition.
    I don’t know…I’m frustrated….blah

  36. Chloe says:

    Abby: There is no such thing as a protein deficiency – if you find the name for it – let me know. We all get WAY too much protein and there is protein in nearly EVERYTHING. If you were “starving” all the time, you just weren’t eating the right foods, period. Did you have plant-based/ vegan cookbooks and guidance books to research, or did you just jump into it and eat salads? I’d be starving all the time too if I didn’t eat a well-balanced diet. I eat tons of fabulous foods, and never ever feel like I’m suffering in any way, shape, or form. ANYONE can be vegan. I have thousands of vegan friends – all of different races and body types and genders. It’s about getting used to it. My body (for the first 6 months after dumping animal products) felt weird and I realized I was purging all the toxins from the crappy food I’d be eating prior. After 6 months, I felt better than I’d ever felt. There is definitely a cleansing and adjustment period. Jeff (above) may feel great now, consuming large quantities of rotted animals, but I’d like to see a scan of his heart and colon in about 10 years. It’s not going to be pretty. Oh, and PCRM.org is another great source of info – ALL DOCTORS – ALL VEGAN.

    • Suz says:

      “Abby: There is no such thing as a protein deficiency – if you find the name for it – let me know.”

      That is incorrect. It is called kwashiorkor and you’ve never heard of it because we consume far too much protein in this country. It is in underdeveloped nations where children are starving because the world is wasting its grain feeding cows for rich people to eat.

      Doctor Mercola isn’t a medical doctor. He is an osteopath. http://www.quackwatch.com/04ConsumerEducation/QA/osteo.html

  37. Abby says:

    Chloe,
    Yep, I just jumped right in…I ate salads like crazy mostly. I just always feel like carbs make me gain weight. I ate rice pasta, quinoa, bulgar, brown rice…I just could not seem to find the right things to make me feel satisfied and the low energy thing really sucked.
    idk…
    Yea, I have been reading PCRM and following the website of Alicia Silvertone’s The Kind Diet…I just don’t know what I should do…Oh and it was really hard since my husband was REALLY against it and my extended family was really unsupportive…maybe if I just try to go semi veg – eating organic eggs, a little raw dairy and fish?

  38. Chloe says:

    Abby – go order a copy of “Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet” by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina and “Vegonomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz for recipes. You just need to be better armed with information to answer the naysayers, and for your own well-being. The Family will come along eventually. Your Husband is just being resistant to something he is scared of.. my Husband was too.. ’til he watched “Peaceable Kingdom” and went vegan at once, 4 years ago. Now he would never consider eating another animal and is super healthy and happy.

  39. Kathy says:

    @ john joseph OMG. “all of this is listed in my new book, MEAT IS FOR PUSSIES”

    Are you serious? Ick.

  40. Jose says:

    This has been a great read! I am curious, what does the average vegan athlete’s meal look like? I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but simply based on my own experience with grains, they make me feel bloated while I’m eating them and hungry shortly thereafter, I can’t really fathom an athlete consuming many grains.

  41. I don’t know even where to begin to chime in! Not only is eating a vegan diet the humane path to take but it is irrefutable that meat eaters and those eating a SAD have higher rates of obesity,diabetes, heart disease and more! Not all vegan diets are created equal, though!!! Abby, when I first went vegetarian 15+years ago I thought I was doing everything right but in retrospect I was eating far too many carbs and not enough greens. Even now I find that I have to be more careful about making sure that I juice and add certain foods and natural supplements to my diet in order to maintain optimal health. I am now 40 yrs old and my numbers have been the same since I was in my late 20s and I am constantly asked by others when I am out with my children if I am the babysitter! The Vegan lifestyle is the way to go for long-term health, energy, beauty and is the only way in my opinion to live with a heart! Abby, if you truly want to go Vegan, I can definately help figure out what you need to do and I promise you will feel 110%!

  42. Troy says:

    Wow. On one hand, I’m excited to see a mostly civil discussion like this taking place. On another, it kind of depresses me to see so much writing coming from a place of no compromise and a lack of real respect for the people writing here. As a vegan, I’m trying my best to keep an open mind to what Jeff and others are saying here, but so much of it just smacks of an agenda. Not that some of the writing form vegans doesn’t, but and maybe this is a bit subjective of me at least that’s coming from a place of compassion for animals and the environment.

    I get that there are people out there that disagree on how healthy it is to omit animal products from your life. I think it’s one of the healthiest things ANY person can do, provided it’s done right, but I respect the fact that some people don’t agree. I just question where the sentiment is coming from. Is it a simply selfish desire to eat meat, etc. or is it from the honest belief that it is the healthiest thing for the body? Either way, as bad as it may sound, it’s with self only in mind.

    The truth is, even if I saw conclusive evidence that it was hands-down bad for me, I would still be vegan. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all, I believe it’s totally the opposite. But the point is that I make this choice because I care, first and foremost, about the lives my lifestyle impacts be it a cow confined to an overcrowded factory farm or an underpaid worker who has to snap the necks of hundreds of chickens every day or the adults form the next generation who are going to inherit an earth that’s plagued by the problems of overproduction and excessive waste. Yes, those examples stem from factory farming, but that is the source of almost all of our animal products.

    As to the petty comments about killing field mice int he production of vegetables or what have you, that again always smacks of an agenda and closed-minedness to me. Yes, I realize that I am not perfect and my lifestyle still makes negative impacts on many levels. But I know I’m making a difference for the better in the world, as are the many other vegans in the world, as are the many vegetarians in the world, as are the many people who even make a small change in their diet or lives for the better. And I applaud everyone that decides to make that kind of effort in life.

  43. Daniel says:

    I know my first post was basically ignored but I encourage everyone to read the following book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Myth-Food-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804 it basically “looks at the whole picture and helps you realize that pretty much everything in the supermarket, not just the meat, is produced by methods that make the world a crueler, more polluted and, worst of all, less sustainable place, … See Moreand that to avoid contributing to the problem calls for much more radical solutions than merely leaving the animal products out of your diet.”

    It’s more complicated than “eat no meat – be healthier” like is being written here. You need to eat local foods, if those local sustainable foods are vegetarian focused, good, if they’re omnivore focused, just as good.

  44. Right on Troy!

    Abby, I agree with Chloe and Katherine, that finding the right balance of foods and nutrients is the KEY to feeling great – I know from my own experience when I made the switch 2.5 years ago. The first 3-6 months were tough because I was also getting rid of all the ‘sludge’ and figuring out the right nutrient balance for my body, but since then I’ve felt tremendous! I have now figured out the signs my body gives me when I’m not eating enough of a certain food – forgetfulness, a little sleepy, but a quick scan of my diet usually comes up with one or two things that I’ve been leaving out. And I should mention here that it’s not because I’m vegan that I’m ‘leaving things out’ – that can happen with ANY person eating ANY diet.

    About the carbs, I know exactly what you mean. If you’re able to explore a wide range of veggies, beans and legumes, I guarantee you the need for a lot of grains will become secondary. Grains are important but they don’t have to replace yummy veggies or become the main portion of every meal. I might suggest working with Katherine as she offered if you get stuck – a little guidance can go a long long way.

    I’ve seen some clients get stuck in the carb vicious cycle (which is really a vicious cycle because the more carbs you eat, the more you feel like you want more carbs!) but never feel full. The trick is actually adding FAT! It goes back to finding the right distribution of nutrients for you, but oftentimes adding a little fat to your diet (and mainly to the carbs themselves) can keep you from getting into the cycle. Think: oatmeal with a little almond butter (my personal favorite), quinoa with a touch of flaxseed oil or avocado…the fat helps slow down the digestion process and also gives you the ‘lubrication’ your body needs.

    I can also attest to Chloe’s health as a vegan – being her trainer and watching her work out for years, she’s one of the strongest, healthiest people I train, with gorgeous skin and radiant energy to boot. Not to mention having a healthy baby on the way!

    Jose, great question about the athlete’s diet. I’ve noticed that a lot of people equate “vegan” with “eats tons of carbs.” It’s really not the case at all. I eat grains probably twice a day, and small portions at that. Outside of grains the rest of my food is a LOT fresh vegetables, juices, beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, healthy fats like avocados, flax seed oil…the list is really endless.

    So from an athlete’s perspective, here’s a sample of what I might eat:
    – breakfast: oatmeal (cooked in water) with almond butter, agave nectar, Udo’s DHA oil (has a nutty taste), with cinnamon and ginger sprinkled on top
    – lunch: BIG mixed green salad with chickpeas, beets, walnuts, avocado, oregano, basil, balsamic vinegar, flaxseed oil and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (and sometimes a little squeeze of lemon)
    – dinner: baked BBQ tofu with a side of quinoa and spinach sauteed with garlic and onions (I really go crazy with the spinach and load up on veggies!)
    – after a workout: my favorite post-workout smoothie is blending soy (or rice) milk, 1 banana, a handful of mixed nuts and agave nectar. SO tasty!
    – snacks: popcorn with agave nectar and cinnamon, hummus and carrots or tortilla chips (yes I eat chips). And yes, I do eat vegan chocolate cake. :)

    That’s just one example, but being a vegan athlete is no different than any other athlete – we all watch what we eat, and it’s fun to come up with new combinations!

    Kendra

  45. Hey Daniel,

    I agree that eating local as much as possible is definitely the way to go when it’s available – less transportation needed, you’re sure to eat fresh and in-season foods and supporting local agriculture.

    CSAs are great options and we’re lucky in NYC to have the great green markets!

    Kendra

  46. Abby says:

    Thanks Chloe for the book recommendations! I am going to get them and maybe reconsider becoming vegetarian again. Thanks also Kendra for the helpful info about adding the healthy fats to salads and different meals. I had been adding the healthy grains and it was making me feel sluggish and just wasn’t filling me up.
    I am just nervous about it all…what to eat, what supplements etc. add that to lack of support at home at it can start to feel a little overwhelming…

  47. admin says:

    Abby: Read, read, read. This list should help: https://girliegirlarmy.com/blog/20080812/eco-veg-living-101/ – it’s our 101 on what to eat, see, do, and read when considering going veg. :)

  48. Abby says:

    Thanks admin…I will check it out :)

  49. Abby says:

    Katherine, I would love to have your guidance…I am really nervous about starting this again…

  50. Chloe says:

    Abby: You should hire a vegan nutritionist if you don’t want to just read the books and feel you need more support. I recommend hiring Katherine (above) or Kendra or Alex. barefoottiger.com or be-n-balance.com or http://nutritionforempoweredwomen.client.tagonline.com/. Also join this and the veganatheart.com mailing list for support.

  51. Alexandra says:

    Arguments presented here that there are no studies showing the efficacy of using a vegan diet to produce health improvements are false. I highly recommend that Jeff and other Paleo-dieters read:

    The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
    Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
    Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Dean Ornish
    Foods that Fight Pain by Dr. Neal Barnard

    All of the evidence is there. As a health counselor I have consistently seen clients improve their mental and physical performance by moving away from an animal-protein rich diet to a plant-based diet.

    Alexandra Jamieson
    Author “The Great American Detox Diet”
    Author “Living Vegan for Dummies

  52. john joseph says:

    @ Kathy, the title has nothing to do with a woman’s body. It was conceived after I heard a meat-eating gym rat say that ALL VEGANS look like skinny little pussies. Well, after I schooled him, we decided to break the wimpy vegan stereotype and throw it back in their faces. It’s a play on words, its a NYC street-slang term and me being someone who was raised on the streets of NYC i know full well shock brings attention, and as my target audience are those kinds of people the title makes perfect sense. Much like the title SKINNY BITCH our title is to get attention and make people focus on the issues of health and animal cruelty. I don’t hate or degrade women in any way in the book, or in my personal life, as a matter of fact I praise them for being more bad ass and conscious then the guys in this country. Hope that clears things up. peace – jj

  53. Abby says:

    Thanks Chloe for all your support today…good advice…I should hire a vegan nutritionist :)

  54. john joseph says:

    @ Jeff, I’m in LA on March 11-12th. Playing Anaheim w/ cro-mags both nights. I’M DOWN 100%! Lets do it. As a thirty year veg surely it proves something… that we don’t need meat. We can run Runyon Canyon in the a.m. and hit a gym, 2 hours with weight, then I’ll play that night. And I expect you to be in the mosh-pit with all my vegan cro-magnons, cuz i will be. What do you say?

  55. Eric M says:

    Hey Abby,
    1 year ago today I went full out vegan after 34 yrs of omni. For the first 3 months or so, I did feel sluggish, and gassy at times and low energy. Whatever I had felt that made me want to go vegan in the first place didn’t care though. It felt so right, even though my body didn’t feel right. I had read that others experienced a “detox” so I wanted to take it all the way. After those first few months, the “detox” faded away. I now have no energy problems and work out 4x week. Fats are key. I love avocados. I love earth balance and veganaise. I love nuts. I love field roast sausage. All these things are filled with healthy fats and will satisfy those cravings and keep you happy. And if you can get into green smoothies, you will be home free. They sound gross at first, but if you make them right, they are delicious. They taste basicaly the same as a fruit smoothie when done right, and nothing is so healthy as leafy greens like kale and chard. I recommend Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothie Revolution. Good luck!

  56. Luke says:

    I cringe when I see people broadcasting a 250 bench as being something respectable. Spend 6 months working on your bench and it will be at least 250 lbs (as long as you are of a normal body size to begin with).

    All of the vegan “bodybuilders” on http://www.veganbodybuilding.com are relatively small compared to IFBB bodybuilders.

    I am not convinced a vegan lifestyle would suit my power lifting needs. The guy from Israel posts numbers that 165 pound guys move with relative ease (422 squat? don’t even bother advertising your numbers if this is the case). A 200lb man boasting about his strength when it is only a 1300 lb total is sad.

    Vegan may be okay for endurance sports but clearly not for any strength sports.

  57. woot says:

    the whole protein deal is a myth. Let me show a ton of VEGAN body builders that don’t care about protein intake. I get some protein naturally but i really don’t care how much i get per day. veggies/fruits give you all you need.

  58. john joseph says:

    Strength sports? C’mon dude. Even the U.S. military which breeds the strongest, most well-trained special forces soldiers in the world don’t care about just strength, they check ‘OVER ALL FITNESS’ in three categories…. strength, ENDURANCE and flexibility. It’s not about just having strength when you can’t evade capture with all that freakish muscle? All of that doesn’t determine fitness levels. And how many of the IFBB people are ‘all natural’ no HGH or anything else. And what damage are they doing to their kidneys, livers, pancreas’ and other internal organs with all that protein and God knows what else. Nah, I’ll take a 250 pound bench, being able to punch and kick like a mule and still do an Ironman any day over just lifting. Cringe on.

  59. Liam says:

    “Let me show a ton of VEGAN body builders that don’t care about protein intake.”

    Let me show you a bunch of small people.

    Also, john joseph, you are an incredibly sad person.

  60. Liam says:

    “We all get WAY too much protein and there is protein in nearly EVERYTHING.”

    You are so wrong, it’s ridiculous.

  61. Luke says:

    College football players do strength exercises and are in better condition than many guys in the military. 300lb lineman run 8 minute miles (okay, not a fast mile but impressive for their size), squat, and dead lift 500 lbs. If you look at a smaller guy on a football team, like a 200lb man, and he will still be dead lifting and squating a lot of weight while running faster miles than any guys in the military.

    My point is that a vegan lifestyle would not be for someone interested in strength training.

  62. john joseph says:

    Actually Liam, I’m quite happy, but thanx for the concern. ( :

  63. Great post! I also am constantly getting questions about where I am getting my protein. People are always so surprised to learn that you can get plenty of protein from non-animal sources. Thanks for sharing!

  64. Chloe says:

    Now, now (meat eating) boys.. let’s put away our steroid shrunken pee-pees..this is not a pissing contest. We are talking about HEALTHY AND ETHICAL LIVING HERE. You can go ahead and rot out your colons and live delusional lives that crappy animal products are actually good for you. BUT until you’ve lived a cruelty-free lifestyle and ATTEMPTED a vegan diet whilst continuing your regular routines, then you don’t know what you are talking about and you have no place commenting on a lifestyle you have never led.
    People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.
    — Isaac Bashevis Singer

    To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.
    — Mahatma Gandhi

    “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” — Pythagoras

    The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men. — Alice Walker

    A man of my spiritual intensity does not eat corpses. — George Bernard Shaw

    “All the arguments to prove human superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, animals are our equals.”– Peter Singer

    “Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai. — Leo Tolstoy

    Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. — Leonardo da Vinci

    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. — Albert Einstein

  65. JDavis says:

    As a 35 year old vegan man who was a massive carnivore for most my life, I can definitely say, for my body, that a vegan diet has improved my health, stamina, muscle gain, blood work, etc. When I was consuming animal proteins, well, lets call it what it is, dead, hormone injected animals, my health was at an all time low, especially into my adult years. I had terrible digestive problems (not to embarrass myself to much, I had terrible diarrhea at least once a week) because my body didn’t crap on a regular schedule. My cholesterol was an insanely high number for a “healthy” man in his 20’s. I was exhausted 24 hours a day, and I could barely run down an NYC block.

    Now, after being vegan for 3 years, my health has done a complete turn around. I crap twice a day, I haven’t had as much as a cold for 3 years, I had surgery and healed much faster than I had ever before, I can run miles now with ease, and I’ve put on at least 10 lbs of muscle mass. My “training” has been no different, nor has my lifestyle, other than my eating habits. When I was eating meat all the time I looked like a sick crackhead, and I felt like one also.

    You can hold tight to your “protein” myths, studies that are fed to you from those with an agenda, or you can field test it for yourself. Of course, like any major life change, it takes some getting used to, physically and mentally, but in the end, there is no debate to the fact that my health, and the health of thousands of others has been and continues to be dramatically improved by a vegan diet.

  66. Jeff says:

    John, I’m busy on the evening of 12th (judging crossfit games sectionals), and I work all day both days, but if you want to come into CrossFit Culver City on the morning of the 11th or 12th at 7:30am, we could do a workout.

    I propose that we do a workout called Fran which is:
    21 95lb Thrusters
    21 Pullups
    15 95lb Thrusters
    15 Pullups
    9 95lb Thrusters
    9 Pullups

    Email me at: M8R-iv99kl@mailinator.com

  67. Jenifer says:

    For those of you with an iPhone or iTouch, the myfitnesspal app is really great to track your daily calories and nutrients. You plug in what you eat (it has an incredible database – you just type in the name and pulls the nutritional info) and it keeps track of your calories and major nutrients, including protein. It is also a really great tool to rebut the “you can’t possibly get enough protein without meat” mindset.

  68. The ADA provides and over 43 studies showcasing the health impacts of veg nutrition. A few are critical, but most are touting benefits:
    http://www.vegetariannutrition.net/research.php

    Anecdotal, but Joe Rollino was considered one for the strongest men alive and he was a vegetarian that lived to 104 (struck by a car and prematurely killed):
    http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2010/01/18/joe-rollino-vegetarian-strong-man-dead-at-only-104/

    Rob Bogwood is a vegan champion armwrestler:
    http://blog.rbigwood.com/

    NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB veg athletes include Ricky Williams, Tony Gonzalez, Pat Neshek, Salim Stoudamire, and Georges Laraque.
    Here’s a list of more veg athletes from Olympians to Mr. Universe (Bill Pearl):
    http://www.veganathlete.com/vegan_vegetarian_athletes.php

    Info on protein in the veg diet:
    http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm

    The fact is – it really doesn’t matter how many studies or athletes we list that support being veg. It doesn’t matter that it’s a fact that you CAN be a healthy, strong and professional-level athletic vegan, because being veg is practical – unlike attempting to become the friggin’ Hulk. Some of us are secure enough in our masculinity to be satisfied with being fit and strong, leading long, healthy lives and not having to occupy so much physical space and require so many resources to sustain an unnatural mass. In other words, being a gigantic bodybuilder is not proof of athletic superiority.

    Another thing is that part of being vegan has to do with considering others, being compassionate, exercising empathy, as opposed to simply serving one’s self and being nothing but “big”. But it’s a nice side-effect that the ecological, ethical, and social benefits make it a service to boot.

  69. greentara13 says:

    It’s interesting to note, that the studies done on animal protein are 30 years old and were tested on rats. hmm. and horses and gorillas, gorgeous creatures that they are, are vegan. protein is made up of amino acids, the studies conducted, determined which and how many amino acids humans needed, based on studies conducted on rats… last time I checked, I didn’t have fur or a long skinny tail. Weirdly enough, when they find old ancient skeletons, and conduct research on what they ate; it is people who live longer who ate more grains and vegetables. Maybe why people always think I’m in my late 20’s and I’m rocking the early 40’s.

  70. Over 40 studies conducted via the American Dietetic Association, the majority of which showcase positive effects of vegetable-based diets, or negative affects of animal protein (meat, eggs, dairy, etc):

    http://www.vegetariannutrition.net/research.php

  71. […] ***T&#1211&#1077 GirlieGirl Army*** » Blog Archive » G&#959t Plants: I&#1109 Animal Prot… […]

  72. […] the rest of the blog entry HERE. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Why Did I Become Vegan???Vegetarians & […]

  73. Great post very informative, I would just like to add if any one is body building protein is essential, you should eat your body weight but in grams for example if you weight 200lbs you should eat 200g of protein. As it helps build and repair the muscle.

  74. Sorry I forgot to mention you should have your protein with half an hour after training.

  75. Its also important to eat a lot of good carbohydrates 2 hours before training, this will give you explosive power let you lift more.

  76. great detailed post, i think this makes it easier for people to calculate the right propotions to eat so they get a balance of nurtients.

  77. one tip for any one on a diet, if you dont want to consume so much food you should get high packed foods that contain more nutrients than junk foods

  78. Great post your diet should have at least 40% protein as it works the metabolism faster and is the foundation your muscles growth and hair growth. A most common question is what foods should I eat to lose weight, well protein is one of them check this link out for other tips.




Shop GGA

  • Contributors
  • Press
  • Cheapskates
  • Sign Up
  • About
  • Advertisers
  • Contact Us
  • Style & Beauty
  • Lifestyle
  • Mamazon
  • Nosh
  • Wellness
  • Exclusive
  • Default
  • Get This
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008