To Meat or not to Meat

So it comes down to this: I have learned a lot about IIFYM/Flexible eating and counting macros and splitting them so that you can gain muscle, lose fat, etc. over the past few months. Before I’d started I was on my way to transition to becoming 100% vegan, but the way my macros, which were specifically designed for me, were set up there was no way I could get all my protein without going over fat or carbs on a vegan diet. So I added meat and other animal products back into the equation. I hate chicken. I know it’s a good protein source, but I just hate eating it. Maybe I just cook it wrong or too bland or whatever, but I don’t like the taste or the texture. I do like turkey, but it’s not as good of a protein source as chicken, and I don’t really want to eat any red meat, though a burger sounds really good.

BUT, and it’s a big one, I have to take into consideration what happened to my uncle a year and a half ago and my mom just seven months ago (wow, it’s been that long) and think about how I want to live the rest of my life. If you don’t know the story, basically my uncle had a freak cardiac arrest and coded (aka died) for almost an hour then spent the next year in the hospital. My mom had the same thing happen to her back in August but didn’t spend quite as long in the hospital. The doctors have run every single test imaginable on both of them, called in specialists, etc., and basically their hearts are completely healthy and that shouldn’t have happened. But it’s happened to two family members (they’re brother and sister) so, yeah, I’m worried. Since they do not know what caused it (and there is no way to find out btw because our modern medicine hasn’t gotten that far into understanding the brain and heart and stuff. Yeah, it’s really confusing) there is possible no way to prevent it, and here’s a scary statistic: only 5% of cardiac arrest victims survive. Thank goodness my mom and uncle were in that 5% but what if it happens to me and I’m in that other 95%? The general consensus from all the heart doctors and whatnot is that living a healthy lifestyle should prevent this from happening. Both my mom and uncle are obese (my uncle might just be overweight now, idk) and do not eat the best diet (although my mom is 4 pounds away from being overweight instead of obese and is doing her best, I’m talking about prior to the CA) and did not exercise, so that might have aided in this random CA. I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I lift five days a week and do HIIT cardio twice a week as my plan stands right now and am doing my best to hit my macros.

However, I think that eating animal products probably isn’t in my best interest given their track record. Yes, they’re delicious, but I’ve been studying the benefits of a vegan diet for at least two years now, so I’ve been struggling with eating meat again because I know it’s probably not that good for me. I just started because I wanted to gain more muscle and lose fat and this was the plan I’d paid for that was specifically tailored to me, minus the whole diet consideration thing. It’s actually working fairly well. I don’t hit my macros 100% of the time, but it’s been beneficial for what I have been doing. I just do not plan on entering a bikini competition right now, or ever at this point. That’s not what I want to do. I want to be healthy and train other people to be healthy as well. That’s what I want. So does it matter if I have <20% body fat? Not really. Maybe for my clientele, but how many average women honestly want and think they can sustain that low of a percentage? I’m about 22-25% right now depending on how I measure it and I’m okay with that. I don’t need a six pack.

But I’d like one.

Argh!

I guess I’m just asking, what would you do in my situation? I figure eating a vegan diet and continuing to exercise will be the best way to maybe lessen my chances of getting a CA in the future, but do I want to keep going on this omnivore plan to see just how far I can push my body? Would it matter if I did the latter first, then once I knew how far I could go, go on a vegan diet? I’m so conflicted right now I don’t know what to do. I would love to hear your thoughts.

(I know I could probably reach my protein on a vegan diet using protein powders, but I would rather get them from actual food sources so that I get more nutrients, but I realize there is an alternative where I can do both.)

Also, does anyone know of any body-building vegan coaches I could talk with on the matter?

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4 thoughts on “To Meat or not to Meat

  1. This is such a hard issue, because there’s so many conflicting ideas. I do agree with you that eating meat isn’t the healthiest choice, despite what all the paleo people preach, but at the same time, it’s easier to fit your macros while eating some animal protein. Of course, as a vegan myself, I’ll advocate for a vegan lifestyle but I completely understand that it’s not doable for everyone. That being said, if I were in a similar situation, I would personally try to stay as plant-based as possible but include things like eggs and high quality dairy so I’d at least be vegetarian or possibly even add in seafood. I mostly became vegan because I became so disgusted by meat and animal products for ethical and taste reasons but I’ve considered that if I had to, I’d add back in fish and seafood since they’re the most healthy animal protein sources and they’re something I would actually like and do crave on occasion.

    I don’t personally know of any vegan bodybuilding coaches but I know that there are a decent number of vegan bodybuilders out there who have blogs that you could check out for advice or to reach out to their coaches.

    • Yeah, I started not eating meat because of how terribly they treat animals. And going back to it now it’s really not that special in taste at all. I’m reducing my protein macros so I don’t go crazy. I’m gonna ease back into vegetarianism because we still have meat in the house that if I don’t help eat it’ll go bad and I don’t like wasting money, but after that I’ll be vegetarian, sometimes eating vegan meals like I was before. I just struggled way too much with knowing how terrible those animals are treated and how terrible they are for you while I was eating them again. Thanks for your input. It really helped me make my decision.

  2. I was all set to respond to this. Then I realized I have no idea what I’m talking about, so I probably should not be giving advice. I will say this, though: It’s good that you aware of you potentially precarious health situation, and that you are trying to be proactive.

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