Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Go Vegan Week


October 24-31 is World Go Vegan Week.  This is how my diet has evolved and why.

I have been a meat and dairy eater my whole life. When I was a young I lived on the fast food diet consiting of burgers and fries washed down by a copiuoius amounts of sugar filled soda nearly everynight. I was a fat kid from about the age of 9 to 14. At the age of 12 I topped out at around 165 lbs the most I have ever weighed. (I currently weigh anywhere between 138-150lbs depending on what I am training for, and I am also about 10 inches taller than when I was 12). I was always an active kid but my average american diet was killing me. I use to get excruciating stomach cramps at least once a month (PMS? no, but those are my initials, lol) Throughout my teen years my diet was still pretty bad, the only reason it was better was that I was broke most of the time and would rather spend what little money I had on alternative vices (like cigarettes). I was still pudgy but I had a growth spurt which kept me from looking obese. I played soccer throughout high school but also smoked up to 2 packs a day.

I quit smoking the day I turned 18. I started playing disc golf 5 to 7 times a week, throughout college. I was not overweight but I was far from healthy. I got into running for a few years in my early 20's which allowed me to  keep eating like crap and not gain weight. I began reading labels at the supermarket and my diet became better than average but far from perfect. I was overly concerned about getting protein, mostly from dairy. It wasn't any type of Atkin's like diet with protein intake consisting of about 40% total calories.  When I started getting serious about running at the age of 28 my goal was 200 grams of protein a day. I felt like I was in good shape I was eating about 4,000 calories a day but was still dealing with stomach issues on occasion.

I've never been much of a restaurant person.  I would always rather cook my own food than go out.  I don't feel the need to be served food and I like to know what is in it, where it came from and who has been touching it. For the past few years I try to eat out no more once or twice a week and I feel this has contributed to better overall health as well as being more cost efficient.

About 4 months ago I started reading some book's on nutrition by Michael Pollen (He's one of the main voices in the movie Food Inc.) .  His Philosophies are pretty simple and made sense to me. "Eat food, mostly plant's, not too much"  to me this meant cook my own food to avoid preservatives, and limit my meat intake to about once week. When I say meat that includes  poultry and fish in case you were wondering.  I was never a huge beef eater but cutting down my fish intake was a little difficult.  I continued to eat dairy especially cheese and yogurt.

Happy with the way my diet had been going I started to read literature about the problems with dairy on both our bodies and the environment.  What I read I found quite appalling.  I had always known that cow milk was for calfs not people.  "The China Study" really opened my eyes to the dangers of Dairy/slash beef  in respect to tumor growth and heart disease.  A lot of people debate the validity of the China Study.  Whether Casien the main protein found in milk promotes cancer I don't know, what I do know is my body has nothing to gain from animal products other than the potential for early death and disease.  I have no desire to torture animals, and by purchasing meat or dairy I am perpetuating the acceptance of it and to me that really sucks.  Just because we don't see it happen doesn't make it okay.


The most recent book I read "Mad Cowboy" really got me concerned about the destructive environmental factors that beef production has plagued are world with. a couple quotes I remember about from book.  "For every hamburger exported from Brazil 56 square feet of rain forest is cleared for cattle grazing."  Another one theat stuck in my head "The amount of water needed to raise just 10lbs of beef is equal to the amount of water used by the average family of 4. for a year!"(those cows really got to turn off the water while they brush their teeth).  Cattle  require 15 lbs of grain to to gain 1 lb of beef.  This doesn't really make sense when there is close to billion people starving in the world today.(very sad)

In an effort to increase the rate of growth of livestock including cows, chickens and pigs.  Farm animals are fed cheap protein supplements from Rendering Plants. What is Rendering plant you ask? Ever wonder what the pound does with all it's euthanized cats and dogs ? A Rendering plant is a place that takes all the left over animal parts from the slaughter house (stuff you can't make a hot dog with) along with millions former pets and stray animals put to sleep by the pound.  It is all mixed together and recycled into both pet food (yep fido is eating fido) and food for livestock as well.  Pretty freaking disgusting if you ask me.  I dare you to do a google search for rendering plant pictures


My diet is evolving and will continue get better.  I make no claims to be a perfect vegan and am still not entirely sure whats acceptable.  Currently I am still contributing to enslavement of Bee's  (honey) but will probably give it up when my bottle runs out.  If you offer to take me out to sushi I'll probably say yes and if you dangled bacon in front of me I might punch you :), eat the bacon and then apologize.  I don't expect to convince you to be a vegan, I have even had a hard time convincing myself.  I hope that I have least opened your eyes a little towards the problems with meat production and consumption.  The more the concerns are voiced out, the more acceptant our country will come towards veganism.  We are the fattest country in the world.  Changing our diets away from meat and dairy is a very simple thing to do to make the world a better place and let us live healthier lives.

Sure why not

My Diet

Quicker than excel for me
I've eaten everything on this pyramid in the last week other than Bacon and sushi

In order to properly function my body requires between 3500 and 5000 calories a day. I consider myself a pretty active person and would guess I burn anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 calories from cardio vascular exercise on an average day, usually in the form of a 2 to 4 hour soft sand run.  I eat a lot of food and burn a lot of caolories my protein intake is between 10% and 20% of food consumed and probally ranges between 50 and 100 grams a day.

Breakfast

I like to get at least 1,000 calories in in the morning. On a normal day make a pot of coffee about 24oz while the coffee is brewing I eat a piece of citrus fruit (tangellos are my favorite) and a Banana. I then either make a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich on whole grain bread. I'll also am a big fan of toast especially Cinnomin toast but I'm trying to consume less refined sugar. If I am planning a long run afterwards It is common for me to have 10 and up to 20 pieces of toast. When I feel I need a little more energy I ill mix up a couple ounces of ground chia and water for a few more calories.

Lunch

Fresh and easy is the cheapest place I have found for Quinoa
Brussell Sprouts ( I never new this was how they grew)

The rice cooker is the cooking utnesil I use most. Funny thing is I almost never cook rice. At least every other day I cook up a batch of either Quinoa both red and yellow or Lentils both green or red.  My particular rice cooker has a steamer that goes on top.  I really like this feature because it allows my to cook my vegetables (usually Brussell sprouts or Bok Choy) at the same time while the nutrients taken away by the steam are absorbed by the food cooking below. I usually cook up enough food to last me about 2 and a half meal's of   of between 500-1000 calories each.  Depending on the day I usually add  Ponzu and hot sauce or salsa for extra flavor.

Dinner

Avocado taco's ingredients (tomatoes and pepper from my garden)

To me almost nothing tastes better than an Avocado.  When they are in season and are affordable it's common for me to eat 10  or as many as 20 in a week.  Intead of making quacamole and eating it with  deep fried tortilla chips I have been making Avocado taco's on a soft corn or cactus tortilla.  Avocado's were on sale this week for $.68 and I have been eating at least 2 a day, while at the same time eating at least one home grown habanero,  jalepeno, serano, and almost all of my tomatoes left growing in my garden.

My main staple for dinner for the last 2 years has been pizza.  At least 2 nights a week sometimes 4 I like to cook one up. (Not sure if it's really considered Pizza anymore because I don't use sauce or cheese).  I start out by rolling a really thin whole wheat crust.  I then add a little olive oil followed by a layer of tomatoes preferably  from my garden.  Any type of tomato will do but I prefer smaller sweeter varieties.  I then add any mixture of the following vegetables onion, garlic, spinach, carrots, arugula, habanero, jalpeno, serano, thai chili, green pepper, avocado, basil, artichoke, olive, mushroom, or just about anything else I have sitting around.  I cook it on a pizza stone at somewhere above 450f .  I have been wanting to try out this quinoa crust recipe for awhile but have not got around to it.

The other thing I have been cooking for dinner on a pretty regular basis.  Is stir fry.  I always have tofu in my fridge and bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer (I know fresh would be better).  I'll throw both in the wok along with a bit of water ( I add my sauce afterwards to cut back on the amount needed) and I have a cheap healthy dinner in a few minutes. I usually top it with a bit of Ponzu and Sriracha.



Hot sauce
As you can probably tell by now I eat a lot of hot sauce about 1/3 a bottle a day.  At any given time I have between 15 and 40 different types to choose from.  This what I currently have in my pantry.  At the end of each year I  take all my left over bottles and mix them together for a batch of Hot wings.  I'll have to try something different this year 
Current Favorite
I bought 8 bottles last night from cost plus $2.99 a piece but I had a $10 off $30 coupon. Made in Belize it has no preservatives ingredients: Habanero peppers, carrots, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt & nothing else. It's spicier than your normal red pepper or jalepeno sauce but pretty tame for a Habanero one. It's perfect for avocado taco's or pizza.  I finished 2 bottles of the stuff last week and am showing no sign of slowing down and will most likely need more before the year ends. 


Other foods Iv'e been trying out this week

I never had soy Ice cream Until last week .I figured it would probably suck. Nutritionally it's no health food, but at least it doesn't have that stuff that drips out a cow tit. Anyhow It was pretty damn good. It's not somthing I plan to buy on regular basis but it's nice to know the option is there.

I had never had almond milk until very recently.  I've tried about 15 different soy milks, some were horrible some okay and only one I actually enjoy is Pearl Vanilla.  I thought I would give almond  milk a try, almonds are among my favorite nuts. I was hoping It would not require as much added flavoring or sugar.  This is the only Almond milk I have tried so far and I must say it taste way better than any soy milk I have ever had.  It's flavor is pretty mellow almost comparable to a non fat milk when poured on cereal.  It will be a regular staple in my diet for a long time to come.

99% cacao
I'm becoming a chocolate snob.  I've been trying various percentages of cacao.  At 99% it's no Hershey bar.  High in calories and high in fat it has a flavor that stays on your toungue.  Another one of those foods that's pretty grose when your expecting a different flavor.  Once you accept  it as a unique taste from the chocolate you grew up with it's really quite enjoyable and a great compliment to red wine, coffee or bourbon.  This particular bar had 210 calories a serving with 200 coming from fat.  Often times while training I find myself in need calorie dense fuel that pack small and I will keep this in mind as an option.

My garden

Summer is over and my garden only has another month or so of producing.  Almost all my tomato's and strawberries are gone.  No more beets, radishes, corn, pumpkin, green pepper or lettuce.  I've still got quite a few hot peppers going and enough basil to eat a few times a week.  Growing my own food is very rewarding to me and something I very much enjoy.

Pics from last week

I did not plant any watermelon in my Topsy Turvy yet somehow I have one growing out of it.  I don't think the topsy turvy is big enough for the root system needed to collect enough water for a large watermelon. At only about 2 inches in length I believe it is fully grown.  I think I might be able to scoop the whole inside with one swipe of the melon baller.
As I was picking the last of my tomatoes this little guy nearly crawled onto my hand.  The plant was pretty bare so I decided let him stay and even left a nice tomato to eat.  He's stuck around the last few days.  We like to discuss our philosophies on love life and women as I water the rest garden each morning.


I know this blog post is missing the usual running barefoot and getting drunk along the way banter.  I've taken a brief hiatus from running for the past few weeks and probably the next few as well.  I've been on the bike for about 20 miles a day.  I'm on my 6th book in the last 3 weeks and the cogs in my brain have been spinning in strange directions. Eventually my lunacy will be back to abnormal as usual.  In the mean time

Have a happy Halloween


7 comments:

  1. Great blog post Patrick and I am in the same boat as you where I have just given up all meat and dairy. The almond milk rocks and I cook tons of quioa and lentils each weeek with steamed veggies. I feel so much better and glad to no longer be contributing to the suffering of animals.

    BTW: Nice hot sauce collection. My current obesssoin is Cholula but think I'm going to expand my horizons next time I'm at the grocery store as there are so many different kinds out there as I can see from your pantry. ;-)

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  2. It's a good, honest approach Patrick. My wife and I have been on a similar journey for the past several years and even more so now that we have a child. Your post style is perfect for how to talk about these things, it's not a forceful "GO VEGAN OR DIE" message...it's simply that Americans eat like shit and eat WAY too much meat.

    Keep it up - get back to running!

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  3. Hi Pat, I probably shouldn't encourage the vegan junk food but Coconut Bliss is my favorite vegan ice cream. It's coconut milk based and so good. The ingredients tend to be better than Tofutti and most other options as well.
    Also, another product to try if you haven't is called vegenaise. That is if you liked regular mayonnaise. It's good, I know people who aren't vegan who like it better than real mayo.
    Anyway, don't listen to me. Stick with the quinoa, avocados, and fresh veggies. I can't wait until I'm in a place to be growing my own food. Take care!

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  4. I'm was never a mayo eater, not even on tuna. I will try the "Coconut Bliss" Thanks for the suggestion.

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  5. I just recently became a vegetarian...lots of great stuff on here. Thanks

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  6. Thanks for this- I went vegetarian a bit less than 6 months ago and am a young teen. I went veggie for a number of reasons, but now I am realising the kinda dangerous stuff that can be in cattle and also I am more aware of Life in any living thing. I went cold turkey right away and am on still on a search for some more easy recipes/info. This article was very informative- thank you!

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