The One Month Vegan Challenge.

So, I lost a bet (when Manny Pacquiao lost to Floyd Mayweather on May 2 in the most anticipated fight of the decade) and now I'm a vegan. For a month, anyway. The bet was made with my boss -- who is vegan. He's very lucky he won the bet 'cause if he didn't, he was going to have to eat balut, a Philippine delicacy. Look it up! I'm taking on the vegan challenge with an open mind, and even I'm rather excited, but I still have my reservations. Yes, I am a regular meat-eater, I wear leather, fur and sometimes feathers and I don't have many moral reservations about this. What reservations I do have about eating meat has more to do with the industrial process of it all: the hormones, unnatural diets the animals are forced to eat, sad living conditions, unneccessary cruelty and matters of sanitation and freshness. Now, I don't wish to engage in any sort of debate over ethics and morality -- how and what people choose to eat is as sensitive a topic as race, religion, sexuality and politics and this is not that kind of blog. I have thought long and hard about my food. In fact, in my late teens and early 20s I was a vegetarian for a couple of years. My decision then to turn to a plant-based diet was not so much to do with a unstomachable thought of animal death (I believe it's part of the cycle of life). Rather, it was based on my belief that humans were naturally supposed to be herbivore. I followed the thought that we lack the teeth and claws of natural predators, our digestive systems closer resemble plant-eating animals and we can survive and thrive without meat in our diets, unlike true carnivores. I gave up vegetarianism for a few reasons. One was the desire to enjoy the world and all it offer. I was travelling a lot then and wanted to enjoy all the foods of all the cultures I encountered. Another was for ease -- being vegetarian isn't exactly easy.  Accommodating and eating with my now husband was another. But the real final death knell was that I got seriously into training. Someone I looked up to who was seriously fit and a former vegetarian said they felt a whole lot stronger when they ate meat. Like many fitness freaks I follow a high-protein diet. It's been tried and proven to build and maintain muscles and keep you trim. My diet has been working great for me. A typical day has me eating eggs, chicken, fish and whey protein -- all animal derived proteins. I have system in place, recipes I follow, and everything works well. [caption id="attachment_785" align="aligncenter" width="534"]Typical eating day for me. Typical eating day for me.[/caption] Now to give it all up, even if only for a limited time, has me all excited, challenged and a bit worried. Excited because I want to know how it's like to be vegan so I can better relate and advise my vegan clients. I'm also excited to try new recipes and a way of eating. Also, I believe that very possibly, very likely even, it is a much healthier way of eating. And it's clearly a much more sustainable way of life for the world at large. Eating animal products several times a day is a very privileged 1st world opportunity. But I'm worried because -- I hate to say it -- but protein. Yes there is protein in non-animal products but they are often incomplete. But more troubling is that most, if not all, vegetarian food sources -- tofu, beans, quinoa etc -- also contain carbs. It will be hard for me to get as much protein as I'm used to without getting a whole lot more carbs too. Not ideal for a fitness model. [caption id="attachment_782" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Meal prepping. Edamame, lentils and quinoa. Great vegan protein sources -- but which also contain carbs. Meal prepping. Edamame, lentils and quinoa. Great vegan protein sources -- but which also contain carbs.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="511"]With this increase in bean consumption I have a feeling I'll be needing this. With this increase in bean consumption I have a feeling I'll be needing this.[/caption] I really do want to embrace this challenge and see it through the whole month. But I also have some important shoots for the end of the month (with BodyRock.Tv) and I don't want to mess with something that ain't broke! I've worked hard to build these muscles and stay trim. Now is not the ideal time to switch up my diet so dramatically. I know there are serious athletes out there, fitness models too, who are vegetarian or vegan and I know it's possible. It's just going to be a steep learning curve and I figure out what works for me. [caption id="attachment_784" align="aligncenter" width="296"]Marzia Prince: Vegan fitness model and competitor. If she can do it..... Marzia Prince: Vegan fitness model and competitor. If she can do it.....[/caption] Some people find they lose weight when going vegan. Though a good friend of mine gained quite a bit when she made the change. It was the increased carbs that did her in. I may end up loving being vegan and remain that way. But somehow I doubt it. What are your thoughts on this? Are you vegan or vegetarian? Any advice and comments much appreciated. Join me on Facebook. Traineredith.comBR1

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