Monday, January 09, 2012

Operation No (Red) Meat

Week 1

I thought it might be interesting, if not down right appropriate, to document my transition from a meat eating red blooded American triathlete to a vegetarian American triathlete.  If this stuff doesn’t interest you, come back later :-)  I may actually do something soon (in the next 5 weeks of so) other than maintain my running base.

Transitioning to no (red) meat has been pretty easy.  As a matter of fact, over the last 7 days, I have only had chicken once, going practically meatless that entire time.  Giving up beer at the same time has been “interesting”.  In general, once I cut myself off from beer, it takes 2-3 days to restore my sleep pattern and feel well rested.  The first night is particularly bad.  I’m usually dehydrated and suffer from insomnia.  Once that passed, I started to feel pretty good, at least my body did.  My brain has been in some kind of fog.  Again, I think the beer/alcohol is mostly to blame.  If you don’t believe that alcohol has a negative effect on you, let me be a witness.  It does.  My brain, over the past 25 years, has gotten quite used to the flood of carbs/sugars and alcohol.

Around day 6, I felt better.  Just in time for me to eat some chicken :-)  Truth is, I wanted the chicken to help me in my transition, but I probably didn’t need it.

Finding no (red) meat recipes to eat has been relatively simple, and I have been enjoying the taste of new dishes.  Some of the things I have prepared include:

  • A lentil based marinara sauce
  • sautéed cabbage
  • black bean burger
  • black bean fajitas
  • sautéed collard greens and tofu over rice

and I even ate vegetarian at the Mexican restaurant last night.

Everything they say about eating vegetarian has been correct, so far.  The food has been tasty.  I haven’t felt stuffed, like I’ve over eaten, and while at times I have found myself hungry, I have always managed to make it to the next meal or snack.

In order to ensure that I’m meeting my nutritional requirements, I’m taking a multivitamin, fish oil, and tracking my calories on a popular web site.  I am attempting to keep a proper 20/20/60 ratio, but so far, it has panned out, more often than not, that my fat content has been in the 30% range.  After perusing my food log, I realized that I am not taking in enough fruit!  Brilliant.  Fruit is all carbs, no fat and no protein.  My dedication to my digits is already paying dividends!  For the most part, I’m not having any problem taking in between 80-110 grams of protein per day.  My target is 114.

Through all this, I have definitely been running.  There has been no change to my schedule.  I’ve even run twice in one week in my Vibrams.  I really need to get one of my Vibrams runs up to 5 miles, and that is the next step in that process.  In the mean time, I’m going to keep my base long run where it is now (10 miles), and let that carry me through the half marathon in March and my first tri at the end of April.

So, in a nut shell, that’s where we’re at :-)



Meggan Johnson said...

Thanks for sharing. I have many times considered going back to being veg as a I mentioned. My issue is that I need a slightly lower carb diet (even training) because of my blood sugar issues so watching another athlete experiment with it is very helpful for me. I also know you enjoy food as much as I do so if it didn't taste good you wouldn't eat it :)

Molly said...

How cool! I'm glad you are documenting the process for us all :-) Changing your eating habits can make SUCH a difference in how you feel, it's good to see you are getting the benefit!

Michelle said...

Sounds like you're doing great. Keep it up!

Peter Mc Convill said...

Congratulations on the progress so far.

As a matter of interest why the move to no meat for you? Health, financial, moral a mix of all and others?

Stuart said...

Good stuff, I suspect it will be easier than you think!

it's all about pace said...

well done Wes... I'm getting ther on the no meat... but no acohol? that will require a bit more contemplation.

you are doing great tho. I look forward to your next report

Firefly's Running said...

Awesome! Welcome to the club!

Jess said...

See, if I didn't eat red meat or pork, I'd just go veg anyway. Those are the meats that make meat worthwhile! ;)

iJuls said...

Glad your vibram running is progressing. Good luck with your no red meat goal. I'm eating less but haven't given it up completely.

Scott McMurtrey said...

Beer? :(

Jess Milcetich said...

Very excited to follow along on your vegetarian journey. I don't eat a ton of meat, mainly because it's pricey and I'm not a big read meat fan, but I know I probably lack in protein as a result. Really interested to see what you learn as you go and pick up some pointers.

Lily on the Road said...

there are SO MANY great meals that are veggie you can't imagine. Once you get all the meat gorp out of your system, you'll feel a lot better. Fruit in a blender or a juicer are great for breakfast, add some protein powder and you will be full until snack time.

No alcohol, no problem. The weight will fall off of you and again, fruit juice or tons of water will keep you really hydrated. Warm water and squeezed lemon are excellent cleansers...

oh, and about the hug thang, THANKS...shove over Dee Dee!! LOL

Colleen said...

I could do no red meat, not fish, not veal, no pork, but there's something about chicken that I like. Hum... love that you are documenting this for us!

xterrabuzz said...

Dude--how much did you drink? As an exercise physiologist I often tought the benefits of 1 beer 3 times a week. It will lower you LDL's increase your HDH's within 30 min after consuming. One beer can also help with inflamation and improve immune function. Not sure why you needed 2-3 days to recover.

Karen said...

I have been a week day veggie since early last summer and love it! Tend to eat a meaty pie on a Friday night and something meaty Saturday or Sunday.... I do think the occasional steak is ok (and welcome) but I'll try and go organic and chew lots when I do!!

Good luck!