Sunday, October 7, 2007

Progress report on my low fat vegan diet

Here is an progress report on the low fat vegan diet I started on July 16, 2007.

For the 20+ years prior I had been on a lacto/ova vegetarian diet with occasional fish.

For a variety of reasons, which I will explain in future posts, I have committed to a low fat vegan eating plan consisting of whole starches (grains/legumes), vegetables and fruits. With some exceptions, I eliminated canned and packaged foods, refined sugars and all added fats/oils, including the so-called good oils like olive oil. I do add ground flax seeds to morning foods to get Omega 3/6 fat. I get about 10% of calories from fat.

The only supplements I take are a B12 vitamin, Saw Palmetto (for an enlarged prostate) and an enteric baby aspirin daily. I take no prescription drugs regularly.

My exercise plan consists of 150-200 miles per week on my recumbent bicycles and tricycles and I lift weights 2 times/week. I have eliminated most engineered bike foods including Gatorade, granola bars and Clif Bars, etc. I drink fruit juice flavored water on the bike and get my on bike calories (and electrolytes) from pretzels, fruits and veggies that I carry along or buy at grocery stores on route. I have done 2 hot weather Centuries like this without a problem with cramping, etc.

I started this lifestyle change on July 16, 2007. Previously, as mentioned I ate a standard lacto/ova vegetarian diet. Objective results over the two month period:

  • Total cholesterol dropped from 220 to 167
  • Weight dropped from 192 to 173
  • Blood pressure has actually increased for reasons I can't explain. I am going to continue to track. Think this is just a blip due to some life stresses I'm dealing with.

Subjective results

  • I sleep much more soundly and wake more refreshed in the am. I didn't anticipate this. This is a terrific plus.
  • I climb better on my bikes and my recovery period after long rides is better. Alas, I am not faster, but seem to have more endurance.
  • I eat in restaurants less frequently, but when I do, getting meals that conform to my plan is a hassle, but not too bad.
  • Eating at friends homes is a bit awkward, but I notify in advance and it works okay. My new eating plan generates dinner conversation.
  • I am increasingly convinced that much of the literature on protein needs is hogwash. My cycling has, if anything, improved. I get about 40 grams of plant protein/day. We will see if performance is sustained over the long haul.o I don't miss added oils, processed, canned and packaged foods, or dairy foods. I do crave desserts that I've foregone.

In sum, I am very pleased thus far. I am a bit surprised how easy this transition is, but that could be because I started from a vegetarian base. I will make this a lifelong commitment along with bicycle riding and weight training.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I'm on my way to a vegan diet. One phenomenal resource Howard (my Dad) turned me on to is "Thrive" by Brendan Brazier. Some really excellent advice in there. In particular he recommends a few supplements that I'm very eager to try: Chlorella and Maca. Also, Hemp as a complete protein source. I'll keep you all updated on results.