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Vegetarianism, cycling and general health

Old 11-03-14, 05:17 PM
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bikeguyinvenice
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Vegetarianism, cycling and general health

The future Mrs. Bikeguyinvenice is a vegetarian and challenged me to go a week without meat, that was 7 days ago. I'm not dead yet so I am thinking about continuing with the challenge. Last nights dinner was veggie stir fry with tofu. Tasted just fine to me and it had protein which is the one thing I was a little concerned about. I don't want to start losing muscle mass from lack of protein. But on the other hand I guess I could do the protein shake thing and hit the gym more often if I feel I am losing muscle. I know that vegetarians are over all healthier than their omnivore counterparts. So who is a vegetarian, how long have you been a vegetarian, why did you make the switch and hows is your health?
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Old 11-03-14, 06:04 PM
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What's "a vegetarian?" There are many variations: are dairy, eggs, fish in? Vegan is no animal products:
Frank Medrano Superman Vegan - YouTube

I've been a piscetarian, which includes dairy and eggs, for 40 year but don't eat much fish.
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Old 11-03-14, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
What's "a vegetarian?" There are many variations: are dairy, eggs, fish in? Vegan is no animal products:
Frank Medrano Superman Vegan - YouTube

I've been a piscetarian, which includes dairy and eggs, for 40 year but don't eat much fish.
The Mrs does eggs and dairy but no fish.
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Old 11-03-14, 07:02 PM
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Vegetarianism was invented by monks in the monasteries as a way to keep their sexual passions and other carnal passions under control. Vegeterianism has it's origins in religious ideology and spiritualism, in the old days it was also a starvation diet just to keep people alive during hard times when no animal products were available.. I believe that a real balanced healthy diet should include a bit of everything, there is absolutly no reason to deny yourself animal products.
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Old 11-03-14, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
....... I know that vegetarians are over all healthier than their omnivore counterparts.....
Yeah.... and "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"... or was that just a Post cereal slogan?!?!? There are tons of myths associated food and diet. The idea that vegetarians are particularly healthy is one of those myths.

I've claimed to be vegetarian for decades. I used to swear that a cup of coffee and three cigarettes for breakfast was the first step to a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. But even though my commitment to a healthy lifestyle was important to me.... I was never a fanatic about being vegetarian. I'd sometime eat meat meals merely out of convenience. But rarely did I eat meat more than three time a day.

Most vegetarians I've known seemed to have other emotional or personality issues... beside the vegetarian/eating disorder. But the nice thing about sleeping with a vegetarian Dominatrix... is you will know it's over.... when you'd rather have bacon.
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Old 11-03-14, 07:53 PM
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I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 16 years. Vegetarians do indeed live longer, healthier lives on average, but I understand that it's difficult to tease out what it is that leads to longer life and better health. Part of it is probably that vegetarians, on average, make healthier choices about other facets of their lives (e.g., less likely to smoke). From what I have read, vegetarians have lower rates of certain kinds of cancer, which may be from avoiding carcinogens in meat, the protective effects of eating more whole plant-based foods, or a combination of the two. Whole plant-based foods are also probably protective against cardiovascular disease.

Edit: obviously not every plant-based food (e.g. donuts) is healthy.

Health was my main motivator to becoming a vegetarian. The lower environmental impact of vegetarianism is also very important to me. I'm not especially worried about the moral dimension to exploiting animals for food, but I see the point of those who are concerned about that.

There is nothing nutritionally in meat that can't be provided by an appropriately-planned vegetarian diet, if you eat dairy/eggs. If you don't eat any dairy or eggs, then you have to be a little more careful, and perhaps take a couple supplements. Feel free to ignore the alarmists.

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Old 11-03-14, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
I know that vegetarians are over all healthier than their omnivore counterparts.
There is no real proof and evidence that vegans are healthier, stronger and have better athletic performance then people who consume animal products. Many people experience "good feelings" when they become vegans but all those good feelings are only temporary.
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Old 11-03-14, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
There is nothing nutritionally in meat that can't be provided by an appropriately-planned vegetarian diet, if you eat dairy/eggs.
I eat meat twice per week because I just feel that meat has something special to offer that other foods don't have. I don't know what it is exactly about meat... what I do know is if I don't eat meat regularly then I feel like I am missing something. I eat a lot of eggs and dairy but they are not the same as having a nice meat dish twice per week. Without meat I feel like my diet is incomplete.
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Old 11-03-14, 08:19 PM
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This thread won't go anywhere good.....
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Old 11-03-14, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I eat meat twice per week because I just feel that meat has something special to offer that other foods don't have. I don't know what it is exactly about meat... what I do know is if I don't eat meat regularly then I feel like I am missing something. I eat a lot of eggs and dairy but they are not the same as having a nice meat dish twice per week. Without meat I feel like my diet is incomplete.
I don't have a problem with your choice to eat meat. Enjoy. No Really.

It's just that there's no scientific evidence that the nutrients in meat can't be supplied by other foods. Depending on one's other dietary choices, it can either take zero effort to get all necessary nutrients, or careful planning. Lacto-ovo vegetarians that eat a balanced diet are on one end of the spectrum, vegans who really only like skittles and diet coke are on the other end.
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Old 11-03-14, 11:42 PM
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I don't get much lacto, ovo, or pisces. I've found that I need to supplement with whey/casein protein for optimal recovery during hard training. If you train a great deal and thus eat a lot, you can do fine on a vegan diet as long as you observe rules of protein complementarity to some extent - and probably get B12 shots.
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Old 11-04-14, 04:42 AM
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I'm ovo lacto vegetarian and have been for about 20 years. I've had the occasional slip (maybe 5 times over 20 years)to eat fish where not to do so would have offended hosts who had gone to a lot of trouble. My reasons for going veggie were animal welfare related, and I would prefer to be vegan if I could be, but, as I travel for work, getting a vegan diet is very difficult when elsewhere.

Re the OPs question, I did lose muscle mass, but not because of going veggie - more because of having a motorcycle accident and spending 4 months off my feet. I actually put on weight after going veggie (but that was down to having sauces with everything

I was worried about stamina when I stopped eating meat and fish, but I'm now nearly 54, am on for over 5000 miles again this year and can still do 10 miles in under 26 minutes, 20 miles in 56 and average over 18 mph for several hours on hilly terrain, and on on steel bikes. So I don't think my diet has caused me any issues.

I don't feel bagged when I eat, either, and my diet is much more varied than when we ate meat.
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Old 11-04-14, 04:51 AM
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There are very few 100% vegan athletes, vegan athletes are in a small minority. Most athletes consume some form of animal products.
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Old 11-04-14, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
From what I have read, vegetarians have lower rates of certain kinds of cancer, which may be from avoiding carcinogens in meat, the protective effects of eating more whole plant-based foods, or a combination of the two. Whole plant-based foods are also probably protective against cardiovascular disease.
One can eat whole, plant-based foods AND meat as well (I would argue that beef is a plant based food too ) Comparing vegetarians who are apt to carefully watch their diet to the general population which are apt to simply watch TV while they eat has a lot more variables than meat/no meat.

When my sister and her husband (who is a vegetarian) came to visit, I was surprised that he turned down salad. I'd say that I (NOT a vegetarian) ate more veggies, fruit and whole grains while he was visiting than he did. His diet seemed to revolve around pasta and rice and apparently he takes supplements to avoid being sick too often. My point is, simply cutting out meat isn't a health benefit: watching your entire diet and making healthy diet choices is.
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Old 11-04-14, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
One can eat whole, plant-based foods AND meat as well (I would argue that beef is a plant based food too ) Comparing vegetarians who are apt to carefully watch their diet to the general population which are apt to simply watch TV while they eat has a lot more variables than meat/no meat.

When my sister and her husband (who is a vegetarian) came to visit, I was surprised that he turned down salad. I'd say that I (NOT a vegetarian) ate more veggies, fruit and whole grains while he was visiting than he did. His diet seemed to revolve around pasta and rice and apparently he takes supplements to avoid being sick too often. My point is, simply cutting out meat isn't a health benefit: watching your entire diet and making healthy diet choices is.
Obviously, anyone can screw up any diet. Abstaining from eating meat isn't a magic bullet that makes up for other not-so-good choices. However, that doesn't mean that simply cutting out meat doesn't have health benefits, even if other dietary issues aren't addressed.
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Old 11-04-14, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
There is no real proof and evidence that vegans are healthier, stronger and have better athletic performance then people who consume animal products. Many people experience "good feelings" when they become vegans but all those good feelings are only temporary.
There is no proof only to those who refuse to believe what is set in front of them...

Statistically, lifespan is longer and even more significant days w/o illness is higher.

Analysis has not teased out the co-variables yet.
Vegetarians tend to make better life choices (seat belts etc), but also have a higher average income and education level... Both of which extend lifespan and days w/o illness.

There are those who have horrible vegetarian diets under some rather odd ideas (such as heavy on the simple carb, light on actual vegetables, near devoid of concentrated and /or quality proteins.


Interestingly, us humans really suck at thinking. We tend to defend what we think or feel instead of seeking what is known at the time.
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Old 11-04-14, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
So who is a vegetarian, how long have you been a vegetarian, why did you make the switch and hows is your health?
I'm a vegan. I'm actually on a whole food-plant based diet and have been since June last year. I was diagnosed with CAD (at 51) with 2 arteries completely blocked and the other 3 with major, multiple blockages. I was told I was looking at a quintuple bypass. The change in diet was to reverse this so I wouldn't go under the knife. BTW, In a year I've gone from major blockages in my carotid arteries to none. I have between 2-4 more years for my coronary arteries to reversal.

I can tell you that I dropped more than 30 lbs, need less sleep, stopped snoring, in a better mood, have more energy, am stronger, climb better and am faster than when I raced more than 25 years ago.

YMMV.
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Old 11-04-14, 11:49 AM
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That's awesome and inspirational, mgwilder. Keep it up!
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Old 11-04-14, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mgwilder View Post
I'm a vegan. I'm actually on a whole food-plant based diet and have been since June last year. I was diagnosed with CAD (at 51) with 2 arteries completely blocked and the other 3 with major, multiple blockages. I was told I was looking at a quintuple bypass. The change in diet was to reverse this so I wouldn't go under the knife. BTW, In a year I've gone from major blockages in my carotid arteries to none. I have between 2-4 more years for my coronary arteries to reversal.

I can tell you that I dropped more than 30 lbs, need less sleep, stopped snoring, in a better mood, have more energy, am stronger, climb better and am faster than when I raced more than 25 years ago.

YMMV.
Excellent! Specifics? Typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, or are you a 6 meal eater?
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Old 11-04-14, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
That's awesome and inspirational, mgwilder. Keep it up!
Thanks.

Specifics...I follow Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat for Health" program. He's written a lot of books on this and there's plenty of others who follow the same path. "The China Study" is the cornerstone for this type of eating. If you're interested there's a documentary called "Forks Over Knives" which looks at this WF-PB type of eating and it's impact.

Breakfast: Green Smoothie with Collards, Blueberries, banana, oranges, dates, flaxseeds and if I'm feeling a little protein shy, I add a little Vega protein smoothie powder. Steel Cut Oats with Chia and Hemp seeds, and currants and/or dates. Home made breakfast bar.

Lunch: Big a$$ salad with balsamic vinegar. No oil. Green Smoothie with spinich, kale, green apple and spirulina.

Dinner: Steamed or water sauted veggies on quinoa or brown rice with seeds or nuts. Oh, and beans. Fruit for dessert.

No snacking.

Last edited by mgwilder; 11-04-14 at 03:06 PM. Reason: additional writing to save posts./And Beans
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Old 11-04-14, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
I don't have a problem with your choice to eat meat. Enjoy. No Really.

It's just that there's no scientific evidence that the nutrients in meat can't be supplied by other foods. Depending on one's other dietary choices, it can either take zero effort to get all necessary nutrients, or careful planning. Lacto-ovo vegetarians that eat a balanced diet are on one end of the spectrum, vegans who really only like skittles and diet coke are on the other end.
Can a body survive on diet coke and skittles? That could be the next fad diet.I don't like soda much so I will pass on that diet. The Mrs does eggs and dairy and is very healthy. Much more healthy than many women her age. My goal is better weight management. I've lost about 4 lbs during the week long vegetarian challenge.

Last edited by bikeguyinvenice; 11-04-14 at 04:54 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-04-14, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mgwilder View Post
I'm a vegan. I'm actually on a whole food-plant based diet and have been since June last year. I was diagnosed with CAD (at 51) with 2 arteries completely blocked and the other 3 with major, multiple blockages. I was told I was looking at a quintuple bypass. The change in diet was to reverse this so I wouldn't go under the knife. BTW, In a year I've gone from major blockages in my carotid arteries to none. I have between 2-4 more years for my coronary arteries to reversal.

I can tell you that I dropped more than 30 lbs, need less sleep, stopped snoring, in a better mood, have more energy, am stronger, climb better and am faster than when I raced more than 25 years ago.

YMMV.
I'm very impressed. That's a significant health improvement. Did you make other lifestyle changes at the same time along with the change in diet?
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Old 11-05-14, 06:16 AM
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The the diet change came first after a failed stress test. By the time I had my angiogram in August, I had lost a good chunk of weight, and I was off the bike temporarily . In January, I started a new cardiac rehab program developed by Dr. Dean Ornish. This included change in diet, exercise, yoga/meditation and group support. So, the diet and exercise are a given, but the yoga/meditation and group support were interesting. The idea being that with stress the body release cortisol, which create changes in your body which are not great for your heart. The group support was much more about getting those things off your chest that you couldn't in any other venue. As a participant, it was as much about listening and NOT giving an opinion as it is about clearing your pent up issues.

I continue with the meditation and yoga, but have not totally commited to group. I have learned to use my words differently, so I am in far less situations that cause me anxiety.


I wouldn't recommend the lifestyle change I've made to everyone. For instance, it doesn't work as well for my wife, who feels better having a piece of meat once a week. And even with one meat servinga week she has experienced major changes as well. For something like this to work it really has to be a lifestyle change and making it for good reasons.


On a side note, there was a good article on the washington post website about the elimination of processed food from your diet. They called it a 30 day cleanse, but I see it as a great lifestyle change for someone who does not have serious health issues.
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Old 11-05-14, 09:29 AM
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If you know what you are doing, and therefore make sure to get enough protein, healthy fat, and B vitamins, going veg is probably good for you.

One caveat: if you (ie the future mrs) are trying to get pregnant you should be eating animals, or at least their milk and eggs. It's fine for full grown adults to go vegan, they are already built. But to build a new person from scratch you are going to want to eat nutrient dense foods rich in amino acids and fat, and fat soluble vitamins. People are not built from grains and greens, but from protein and fat.
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Old 11-06-14, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
People are not built from grains and greens, but from protein and fat.
Science!

These discussions are hilarious, I will try to hold back on psychologically analyzing a person who I have never met over the internet based upon their diet.

FWIW, I have been vegetarian since mid-1996, vegan since ... about 18 months after that. I care far more about food security and the environment than animal welfare (second law of thermodynamics is pretty inflexible, although those eager to feel superior for eating meat will try to equivocate on this point), but these things need to be considered in context. All of North America eating less beef would probably have a much bigger impact than a million vegans, for example.

Also FWIW, my wife is not veg or vegan, but I know a number of kids whose mothers were vegan, and all of them are thriving.

Finally, on a practical note, I highly recommend checking out "The Thrive Diet" by Brendan Brazier - the book covers nutritional principles and is chock full of recipes.
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