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Old 03-03-10, 10:44 AM   #1
5kdad
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Question for vegetarian or vegan cyclists

Some quick background......After struggling with various diets over the years, I tried a 28 day vegan diet beginning November 8th last year (I'm 53). Got GREAT results! I stayed with it until last month, when I began to add some occasional fish, yogurt, eggs, and a once or twice a month meal of chicken livers.
Four months later I've:
Lost 25 pounds
Am off blood pressure meds for first time in many years.
Feeling great, more calm and peaceful than I've felt in years.
Found relief from some rectal problems that have plagued me for the last 4-5 years (last dr visit, mentioned I might need to be thinking about surgery).
I've not cycled much the past 3 months, due to cold weather, but have been using an indoor Schwinn Airdyne.

Now my question. The last 2 weeks, I've done a couple of 15 mile rides. I've felt more exhausted than usual after the ride. Maybe I'm just out of shape and premature in asking this, but does this have to do with my new diet? Do vegetarian/vegan riders need some sort of different post ride nutrition for recovery?
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Old 03-03-10, 10:46 AM   #2
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Eat more fruits before and while riding.
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Old 03-03-10, 11:18 AM   #3
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so you are off the blood pressure pills. congrats.

i think you are out of shape. i went almost veggie end of november like you. i eat plants and occasional fish and occasional yogurt. I don't think it holds me back at all and although the first rides i took were short and gentle rides, i've been increasing it each weekend and it's not been difficult. i think you maybe just did a bit more than you were ready for. If so, increase it a bit at a time. last year i pulled my hamstring hen i did too much too soon and it ruined the riding when the weather got better.
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Old 03-03-10, 11:40 AM   #4
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we all need the same, more or less, nutrition.

being vegan is just about choosing non-animal sources for that nutrition. the advantage of this is that it is easy to avoid some things that are bad, ie saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and the like. the disadvantage is that you have to put in some more effort to find source for other nutrients, ie b12, omega-3 and similar.

so, having said that, you shouldn't be experiencing any diet-related performance issues provided you've been eating a relatively-balanced diet and haven't gone all raw-apples-only or whatever.

for recovery i drink vitasoy chocolate or sometimes just plain tomato juice. if it's been a particularly grueling ride i make sure my recovery meal contains a lot of hemp seeds or quinoa or both. for on-bike eating i favour bananas or dates. i eat red star nutritional yeast every day -- it's awesome and delicious!
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Old 03-03-10, 11:41 AM   #5
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Since you introduced yogurt and meat you are not vegetarian. Just heads up, some get touchy about the that sort of thing. Seems like you are just out of shape. Once you start riding regularly outdoors see how you feel.
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Old 03-03-10, 12:06 PM   #6
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Since you introduced yogurt and meat you are not vegetarian. Just heads up, some get touchy about the that sort of thing. Seems like you are just out of shape. Once you start riding regularly outdoors see how you feel.
True, I'm not on a true vegan or vegetarian. But I did do about 3 months of strictly vegan, before beginning to incorporate a few more things into my diet.
I still think of myself as being on a "vegan based" diet. I no longer am eating beef, pork, turkey, or chicken (except the occasional livers). No fried foods, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, only greek yogurt. No cookies or candy.
Previously, I was a fast food eater...burgers, fries....chocolate, sodas....biscuits and gravy.....all sorts of fried things....munching on chips.
I'm not doing this diet to save the planet or because of cruelty to animals. I'm doing it because I feel great!
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Old 03-03-10, 06:44 PM   #7
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True, I'm not on a true vegan or vegetarian. But I did do about 3 months of strictly vegan, before beginning to incorporate a few more things into my diet.
I still think of myself as being on a "vegan based" diet. I no longer am eating beef, pork, turkey, or chicken (except the occasional livers). No fried foods, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, only greek yogurt. No cookies or candy.
Previously, I was a fast food eater...burgers, fries....chocolate, sodas....biscuits and gravy.....all sorts of fried things....munching on chips.
I'm not doing this diet to save the planet or because of cruelty to animals. I'm doing it because I feel great!
Based on your before and after, I would grant you vegan status just in your lifestyle change.

Back to your original question though : I'll bet much of the fatigue is just being out of shape. I'm guessing your 15 miles ride is taking 60-90 minutes, which your body should have enough energy in storage to fuel. If you were riding 3-4 hours and feeling shot, this could be attributed to nutrition. As long as you're eating a fair amount of healthy calories though, your body should be able to fuel a 15 mile ride. What you are likely feeling is just your body complaining about being on the bike. As you ease back into riding outdoors, you should start feeling better. In the meantime, enjoy nice recovery benefits like massage, lounging, etc. Make sure to take in some calories right after the ride (low fat chocolate soymilk works good).
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Old 03-06-10, 08:48 PM   #8
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Have you considered taking an electrolyte supplement? The before diet was probably much much higher in sodium, potassium, etc.
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Old 03-06-10, 09:44 PM   #9
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Have you considered taking an electrolyte supplement? The before diet was probably much much higher in sodium, potassium, etc.
I may check into that, wasn't familiar with those supplements, so I googled it.
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Old 03-06-10, 10:48 PM   #10
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Have you considered taking an electrolyte supplement? The before diet was probably much much higher in sodium, potassium, etc.
Unlikely to be an issue with rides that are only 15 miles.


OP, you're probably tired more than usual because you haven't been riding for a while. It takes some time to get back into shape, and it takes more time as we get older.

Congrats on the new health! Don't worry about being a strict vegetarian or vegan if you don't want to. Meat or animal products can be part of a healthy diet. I'm saying that as a 20 year strict vegetarian.
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Old 03-06-10, 11:35 PM   #11
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Congrats on the new health! Don't worry about being a strict vegetarian or vegan if you don't want to. Meat or animal products can be part of a healthy diet. I'm saying that as a 20 year strict vegetarian.
For a time, around a year, I was a pretty strict vegan & it did more often than not, affect my energy levels, a feeling associated with being "spaced out".

Introducing fresh fish (mainly cod, smoked cod, Alaskan salmon, sardines) & introducing more calcium via limited milk sent my energy levels higher, making me feeling new again. Never looked back. Fish is the way to go, animal meat that lies in your gut rotting for 3 days is the wrong way.

Don't kill yourself going to strict, not worth it. Ride, lose weight, you'll come good.

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Old 03-07-10, 12:01 AM   #12
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As far as meat vs. no meat: Welcome to earth. Eat it. Any of it you like. Its what were good at.
As far as cycling indoor vs. out: Indoor cycling is only worthwhile for me if I'm watching national geographic channel. Notice how little that has to do with cycling. It can be useful for building or keeping some level of fitness during the winter, but despite whatever endorphin high cardio can give you, its STILL not as useful as legitimate riding, with all of its variables. Thats my take on it, I'm not a doctor or a pro.
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Old 03-07-10, 12:16 AM   #13
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I've been a vegan for a little over 6 years now. I have no problem with energy or getting all the essentials in my diet.

If you are interested in sticking with it (it's entirely possible to live perfectly healthy while avoiding anything that comes from an animal) go pick up this book: http://www.amazon.com/Thrive-Nutriti...7942552&sr=8-1
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Old 03-07-10, 05:56 AM   #14
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For a time, around a year, I was a pretty strict vegan & it did more often than not, affect my energy levels, a feeling associated with being "spaced out".

Introducing fresh fish (mainly cod, smoked cod, Alaskan salmon, sardines) & introducing more calcium via limited milk sent my energy levels higher, making me feeling new again. Never looked back. Fish is the way to go, animal meat that lies in your gut rotting for 3 days is the wrong way.

Don't kill yourself going to strict, not worth it. Ride, lose weight, you'll come good.
This seems in line with my thinking right now, except I've not gotten back into any dairy products.
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Old 03-07-10, 02:37 PM   #15
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There are many good reasons to limit or eliminate consumption of red meat. Specially if the source is the local supermarket. That being said, the "it's going to rot in a gut for three days" is not one of them.
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Old 03-07-10, 05:25 PM   #16
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This seems in line with my thinking right now, except I've not gotten back into any dairy products.
Dairy products very high in calcium did make me feel much better I must admit. Obviously, your body is not going to be swimming in milk, but in moderation, I don't think it will kill you. Calcium is supposed to be a great fat burner too I remember once reading.
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Old 03-07-10, 05:32 PM   #17
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That being said, the "it's going to rot in a gut for three days" is not one of them.
Agreed. I once read that red meat can be in your system for up to two weeks, the fat is harder for the digestive system to digest and eliminate from the body. The cells simply attaches themselves to the linings of arteries and attract other fat cells to accumulate causing the fat to stay in your system.

I was watching Oprah and the head of Presbyterian Cardiac Division from New York, said that in fact meat can take anywhere from 3-7 days. They also said a McDonalds hamburger can hang around in your intestines for up to 3 months.
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Old 03-07-10, 05:45 PM   #18
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Dairy products very high in calcium did make me feel much better I must admit. Obviously, your body is not going to be swimming in milk, but in moderation, I don't think it will kill you. Calcium is supposed to be a great fat burner too I remember once reading.
It's because the brain loves galactose.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:02 PM   #19
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Agreed. I once read that red meat can be in your system for up to two weeks, the fat is harder for the digestive system to digest and eliminate from the body. The cells simply attaches themselves to the linings of arteries and attract other fat cells to accumulate causing the fat to stay in your system.

I was watching Oprah and the head of Presbyterian Cardiac Division from New York, said that in fact meat can take anywhere from 3-7 days. They also said a McDonalds hamburger can hang around in your intestines for up to 3 months.
That is not what I said and meant. Just because you start your post with "Agree" doesn't change that.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:04 PM   #20
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I guess reading comprehension is not your strong side.
No! I will listen to you, not the head of Presbyterian Cardiac Division from New York.

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Old 03-07-10, 06:34 PM   #21
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No! I will listen to you, not the head of Presbyterian Cardiac Division from New York.

Listen to whom ever you want to, I don't really care. You failed to understand what I was saying, then twisted my words in to something they were not. Seems like it's your normal mode of operation.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:52 PM   #22
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Umney, Its cool. I'll take your word for it.

I love you Bay Area boys...

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Old 03-07-10, 08:38 PM   #23
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Listen to whom ever you want to, I don't really care. You failed to understand what I was saying, then twisted my words in to something they were not. Seems like it's your normal mode of operation.
Exactly
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Old 03-07-10, 08:43 PM   #24
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I said, I will take his opinion, over one of the worlds leading figures in the field. Unmey's 100% correct.

No worries.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:04 PM   #25
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I'm a really hardcore vegan and Animal rights advocate. I will keep this strictly to nutrition though most of your woes have been answered.

You are more then likely out of shape. However as a vegan I don't feel I have any problem with energy, I haven't always been a vegan, but I can tell you honestly that I have a lot more energy being one. I suppose a lot of the problems people have when first transitioning onto a vegan diet are because they are not eating the right foods, or not enough food. A small amount of lettuce or beans is not going to give you the calories you need. Though processed vegan "meats" veggie burgers etc.. may be high in protein they are often not complete proteins and not high in calories. They are also terribly processed.

My regiment consists of consuming as much unprocessed food as possible, complimentary proteins and as much raw plant matter as possible as your body processes it much faster. Your portion sizes maybe slightly larger as a vegan, however the food is generally low in fat, cholesterol free and rich in nutrients. Never forget about omega fatty acids from things such as olive oils and flax seeds. Sprinkle some flax on your oatmeal if you must.

As someone mentioned feeling more energy with calcium from milk. Perhaps calcium does give you energy but there has been some research support that high levels animal proteins can increase risks of osteoporosis when compared to vegetable sources. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/3/862S one source if you fancy some technical reading. Its not in favor of vegan or non-vegan diets just the facts mam. Not really making a statement for one or the other as I don't have a barrage of facts or figures to support one case or another. Just something to think about if you're a nutrition nerd and care to look up research studies.

Calcium fortified foods such as tofu, tempeh and soy milk are a good way to get calcium for vegans. However if your not keen on processed foods. Dark green vegetables are often high in calcium. 67grams of raw kale for instance is 9% of daily calcium intake. If you do the rough math however that would mean 744grams of kale would be necessary for proper calcium which equates to 1.5 pounds of Kale!. Thus is why I stick to mainly fortified foods etc.

Post-rides I'm rarely in a state where I want to cook and if a restaurant is not near-by I stick to cliff bars, fruit and chocolate soy milk!

As a vegan cyclist however I really don't mind consuming mass quantities of food all the time. Its fun to be able to eat a lot and remain an energetic skinny muscular f@ck.

Last edited by Scotland Yard; 03-16-10 at 09:08 PM.
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