Day 30: Vegans

Breakfast: BP coffee
Lunch: 4 egg omelette and veg shake
Dinner: 5 egg omelette and coconut milk

Exercise: Weights

I had an assignment to hand in for my course and I ended up in the office til 10pm. I was pretty tired when I got home, and I didn’t fancy a full meal in my stomach, so I had another omelette. Omelettes are pretty handy like that. You can put one together in 5 mins and they’re quite filling. As well as being packed with nutrition. I washed it down with some coconut milk. Nine eggs in one day, the vegans would be appalled #segway

 

Whenever I find myself associating strongly with a particular philosophy or perspective, I become concerned about groupthink and confirmation bias. All of my dietary advice of late has come from the Paleo community. The Paleo crew seem like a sensible bunch, and while a lot of the leaders in this area are former vegetarians, vegans, raw vegans etc, it’s possible that I’m not getting balanced info, for whatever reason. I thought it would be useful if I spent some time listening to what the vegans had to say. So I downloaded some vegan podcasts.

One podcast was by one of the “meat is murder, dairy is rape” lunatic fringe. He won’t eat an animal, but he’s got no problem with animals slaughtering and devouring each other. If animals lives are so precious, why isn’t he out there teaching leopards to eat tofu?? OK, I’m being flippant, but it’s all he deserves. These nutjobs are a significant element of the vegan community, but it’s unfair to characterise all vegans as such, so I moved on. The next one had three and a half minutes of sponsor messages at the start. That wrecked my head so I deleted it.

Eventually, I found the Rich Roll podcast.  Rich Roll is a vegan and an ultra athlete. I liked that he was an athlete as well. It gives him more credibility. I’m massively sceptical of people who talk about health who aren’t high performance in some physical domain.

A lot of the material overlapped with Paleo; no processed foods, lots of green veg, coconut is awesome. The first podcast I listened to was an interview with Dr. Michael Klaper. Klaper is a 67 year old hippy who can’t abide any kind of violence, even against animals. That’s all good with me, but I’m not going to build my diet on that position. His main criticism of Paleo diets is that eating animals will lead to heart disease. That could be true in certain situations, but not always. Another point he made was that ketogenic diets were unhealthy: “unless the read a different physiology book than I did when I was in med school, the state of ketosis is not a natural state of being for your physiology”. Well that’s just it doc; science has moved on since you were in college 40 years ago. Low carb ketogenic diets have numerous benefits. Jeff Volek’s research is a good place to start.

Anyway, the most interesting idea he put forward in favour of veganism, was that we should look to eat as low down the food chain as possible. The more bodies our food goes through before we eat it, the more bad stuff is attached to it. Fish oil supplements, and fish in general, are a good example. We are advised to eat fish for the omega 3 content. That’s fine, but fish don’t create omega 3; they get it from eating algae. The small fish eat the algae and the bigger fish eat the smaller fish. Often the smaller fish are contaminated with toxic metals. The bigger fish carry that contamination too. Klaper’s position is that people eating fish, and fish oil supplements for the omega 3 content should get it from algae instead, and avoid the risk of ingesting toxic chemicals. I think it’s a good point. I was aware of algae-based omega 3 supplements and I’ll look to use them in future.

Another thing I liked about Rich Roll is that he’s willing to interview people from outside of the vegan community. This is another indicator of credibility for me. He’s smart enough to realise that nutritional science is imperfect and that it’s essential to keep an open mind, without being fanatical or ideological.

After that I didn’t listen to any more vegan podcasts. I’m not saying that I’m completely convinced that Paleo diets are superior to all others. But if I can listen to a few hours of vegans talking up veganism, and they don’t have any criticisms of Paleo that I was unaware of, I’m probably not missing any major flaws, and the Paleo crew are reliable enough for now.