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The VEGAN challenge!!

I am a MEAT EATER!  Just look at my sample diets.  I’ve eaten meats probably just about every day my whole life.  I love meat.  I’ve spent most of my life drinking milk, eating eggs and cheese, devouring steaks, hamburgers, chicken, turkey, fish, and basically doing everything vegans say is bad for you!  Since starting P90X in Feb. 2010, I gave up some of those items (milk, cheese, most beef products, whole eggs), but the lean meats have continued to be a prominent part of my daily nutrition.

So why on earth am I qualified to talk about the vegan diet?  Well, I’m not!  But…. that’s all about to change!!

I’ve experimented with lots of nutrition plans since starting P90X over a year and a half ago.  I have done a high protein calorie deficit diet during round 1 to melt fat.  I have done a balanced healthy diet to maintain in round 2 and 3.  I have done a high carb calorie surplus diet during round 4 to build muscle mass.  But I’ve always turned a deaf ear to the whole vegetarian / vegan conversation.  UNTIL NOW …….

Yes, that’s right.  Coach Wayne is going to start a little experiment.  I’m calling this the 60 day teamRIPPED vegan challenge.

This whole concept of going to a whole food plant based diet may seem too overwhelming, too impractical, and too much to wrap your head around.  That’s totally fine.  Ignore me, at least for now!  Just eating right and getting into a fat shredder plan may seem intimidating enough, and if that’s you, just let this whole vegan conversation go on in the background but don’t feel obligated to try it.  But maybe later you will decide to implement some or all of these practices into your own diet to see what it does for you.  I’m anxious to see what it does for me!

How it will work = I will spend the next 30 days learning and getting my feet wet.  I’ve already ordered some beginner books like “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant Based Nutrition” and “Eat Vegan on $4 per day”.  Both are available on Amazon.  I’m also SO FORTUNATE to have access to the best mentor a newbie vegan could hope for (but I’ll tell you more about her in a future article …).  She will definitely teach me a TON about how to incorporate a plant based whole food diet into elite athletics, because I have no desire to be a scrawny vegan.  I want to have a built, muscular physique AND keep my body looking good on the inside too.

I encourage all of you who might be interested in joining me to spend the next few weeks studying some intro books and watching some documentaries.  Specifically, I’d say “Forks over Knives” is a MUST SEE!  It’s what finally forced me to stop ignoring vegan as a nutritional possibility and embrace the idea of giving this a shot.  You can watch it over the internet if you have a Netflix account.  I watched it and the evidence about worldwide cancer trends really hit a nerve with me.

On November 1st, I am going to create a private FB group for all that are interested in participating in this challenge.  That can be our place to interact, share ideas, and learn from the experts.  No, I’m not an expert.  I’m a complete dummy when it comes to the vegan diet.  But I have friends in high places, so we will have some brilliant people who practice the vegan diet who have volunteered to be a resource for our group.  I plan to launch the 60 day vegan challenge NOVEMBER 1st — for the final 60 days of 2011 (November and December).

What are the rules?  None really.  Well, one … You have to come at this with an open mind.  I was always closed-minded to the idea of vegan diets.  I’m not a “tree hugging hippie” after all!  You don’t have to buy into everything vegan to be part of this challenge.  You just have to be willing to study it, learn about it, and then decide if it suits you or not.  Think of this as more of a resource for interested people rather than a “my way or the highway” group.  You can be at any point of any workout program; it makes no difference.

If you want to go vegetarian and try giving up just meat, that’s fine.  If you want to go farther and try giving up dairy, that’s great.  And if you want to go all out vegan and give up meat, dairy, eggs, whey protein, yogurt, and the whole 9 yards, that’s fine.  We can each come into this challenge with our own goals and intentions.  We can each come into it with our own reasons why — ethical, physical, disease prevention, weight loss, always wanted to see what it’s like to be a rabbit, whatever (LOL kidding about that last one).

As for my reasons to try this = I am not too proud or stubborn to try new things that could be a better way of doing them.  If a plant based whole food diet can help prevent diseases like cancer, then it’s worth my time to look into it.  Does it complicate my life at first?  Probably!   But then again, so did switching from junk food and fast food to my fat shredder diet, and I’m so glad I did!  Before starting P90X, I would have followed up that opening sentence of “I’m a meat eater” with “I’m also a fast food junkie and a candy-holic”.  If I can kick those habits, why not this?

My reasons aren’t ethical.  As a Bible believing Christian, I think the Bible is clear on a few points.  #1 God created us originally to be vegetarian before the fall (Gen 1:29), and in our final paradise we will be vegetarian again (since there will be no more death).  #2 after the flood, God gave Noah permission to eat animals as food (Gen 9:3).  #3 Jesus may or may not have been vegetarian Himself — the Bible never clearly states that Jesus ate meat or fish — but He clearly participated in preparing fish for others to eat in the feeding of the 5,000 and when he cooked fish for His disciples.  So I don’t have a faith-based reason to either advocate or oppose a vegan diet.  I believe either way is perfectly acceptable within my Christian faith.

My reasons aren’t for weight loss.  Can a vegan diet help obese people lose weight?  I’m sure it can.  But I’m already ripped! LOL!  I don’t need a diet change in order to change my body composition.  I’m perfectly happy with how I look on the OUTSIDE.  But what about the inside?  And what about the inside over the next 50 or 60 years??  Will my current meat based diet be the best for that?  I no longer think so!

My reasons for wanting to try a vegan diet are two fold = #1 to understand the plant based whole food diet better and see if it is practical as a balanced diet for athletes like us who are pushing our bodies hard (can we get enough protein?  Is “enough protein” a myth?).  And #2 to learn more about the research that shows that plant based whole food diets lead to MUCH LOWER risk of cancers.  I have a family history of cancers, and if it’s true that animal proteins stimulate cancer proliferation, then why on earth would I want to put animal proteins in my body when I could use plant proteins instead?  Sure, not everyone who eats meat gets cancer.  But then again, not everyone who smokes gets cancer either.  It doesn’t mean I should smoke.

And what will my 60 day vegan experiment look like?  I am going to go totally off all meats, all dairy, and all eggs.  I will greatly reduce my whey protein consumption as well, but not go completely off it.  I will continue to use Shakeology and Results / Recovery formula (both of which have a small amount of whey), but I will use a plant based protein powder in place of my usual whey protein powder.  So my 60 days will be a “99% vegan” :-).  And if I am hooked by the end of the 60 days and continue with my plant based diet, I will switch to the vegan Shakeology when it comes out in 2012.

Will I shrivel up and look like a weakling without slabs of meat to gnaw on every day?  I hope not!  :-).  But we’ll just have to try it and see!!!  People sit around and debate it all day, but instead of debating it, I want to TRY IT!  After all, I’ve experimented with a lot of things over my year and a half journey (cutting, bulking, supplements, no supplements).  So why not try this and see what I learn.  Tony Horton himself practices a lot of vegan principles in his own diet, and he’s got a few muscles for a 53 year old!!  So maybe there’s a way to do it right!  Plus, P90X2 will have a full vegan nutrition plan developed for us by Tony’s personal cook, so this will give all of us a head start on understanding it and seeing it in practice.

I know that many of you already are vegan, and if you want to join this challenge with the newbies like me and encourage us along, that would be great (and I’d really appreciate you guys coming along side us!!).  And many others have dabbled with the idea of implementing some vegan principles into their diet.  If that’s you and you want to hook up together to learn more, then join us as well!

Many of you are just starting and the idea of going vegan for even a day sounds completely INSANE!  If that’s you, don’t sweat it!  Stick to the diets I’ve used over the past year and half (the 1900 fat shredder, the 40/40/20 balanced diet, and the bulking diet).  Those have clearly worked wonders for me.  Heck, the idea of going plant based even makes my head spin, and I can do my P90X diets in my sleep.  This will be a whole new adventure for me.

I never would have even entertained this concept a year ago.  Or even 6 months ago.  It was a big enough change just going from a crappy American diet to clean eating.  But now that I’m a clean eater by habit, the vegan approach is only another step for me — a complicated step, but one that with some effort and time I should be able to get a handle on — and with the help of our experts who you’ll meet soon :-).

Am I committing to being a vegan for life?  No!  But I am committing to give this 60 days with an open mind and spend that time learning more about both sides of the vegan vs. meat and dairy debate.

I encourage any of you who want to do this to start thinking more about it, and plan on joining us at our private facebook group when I post it on November 1st.

So now what?  Don’t start asking me all sorts of questions about the vegan diet.  I have no clue!   That would be like asking someone who just ordered P90X about how to get max results.  Hopefully  after 90 days, I’ll have a much better understanding of the vegan diet and be able to share with others how to have a big, muscular physique on a vegan diet.  But for now, I’m baby stepping so come baby step with me!

Okay, enough rambling!  Let me know if you want to be part of this 60 day challenge!  It launches November 1st, exactly 60 days before the P90X2 challenge which will launch Jan 1st, 2012!!!  Oh yeah!!

And in the meantime, watch “Forks over Knives” and start reading!  I’ll be posting on this topic a few more times between now and November 1st, introducing you to our plant based whole foods diet expert / female bodybuilder (who is also in P90X2 but I don’t want to spoil the surprise yet).  I’ll also be posting updates on what I’m learning as I try to get out ahead of y’all and start implementing this in my own diet ahead of November 1st so that I can help get y’all started.

Keep bringing it!

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106 comments
rafael
rafael

im really interested about trying 90 or 180 days being vegan. Im just waiting for tropical shakeology to come out. I think it will simplify things and fill in whatever gaps or hole their may be in a vegan diet.

Kalvin
Kalvin

That's great! I'm thinking about doing a vegan diet for a little while just to test it out too. Well, keep up the great work and sorry for the "oops" post up above Lol.

Kalvin
Kalvin

Haha! OOOOPS! I don't remember reading that part when I read this post originally; I just skipped ahead of the article this time because I was so excited about it lol. Wow, I feel dumb! >_< But yeah! I agree with you then! How's the diet coming along so far?

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

So far so good Kalvin! I'm still a newbie to it, but I've been going mostly vegan (not super strict but pretty close) for a month now and I'm feeling great.

Kalvin
Kalvin

Hey Coach, I was bored so I decided to watch a random documentary and after watching Food Inc., I decided to watch Forks over Knives. I think both of these documentaries are very important if your looking into the vegan plan, especially Forks over Knives. It discusses high protein plant-based diets in comparison to high protein animal-based diets and the results are pretty interesting. I recommend watching the documentaries if you have time, especially Forks over Knives. Just thought I would throw that recommendation out there for all of you that are thinking about the vegan diet as well. This may just make you want to eat more plant-based foods. =)

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

I totally agree Kalvin (which is why I recommended Forks over Knives in the article above LOL!)

josh dow
josh dow

that pic is funny as crap

josh dow
josh dow

count me in i am always willing to try somthing new... i like meat so much that i prob wont be doing this forever lol but i may possible implament it in a few times a year ...ive went all meat before also

PhillipT
PhillipT

Coach Wayne I have been considering going vegan/raw food for several months. I rarely eat meat anymore and you're right the healthier one becomes the less one seem to crave it. I do consume cheese and milk and especially love milk. However doing more research into how animals are treated on factory farms/dairies even organic ones was a sad and disgusting eye opener and what I needed to go "cold turkey". Anyway, I now know being a vegan is more than a diet it is animal welfare/protection. Animals are sentient beings.

Jorge
Jorge

I checked into the Warrior Blend and I am going with that and I will try it out. Do you drink it right after your work out or as a meal replacement or what do you recomend? Thanks coach

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Right now Jorge I'm just using it a couple times per day to bump up my protein intake for the day, but I'm using a homemade recovery concoction right after my workout (I described it in my Day 500 update article). Hope that helps!

Jorge
Jorge

Coach Wayne, I have been using this for my protein shakes for a few months and it is fantastic!! All plant based protein that has enzymes, probiotics and more...check it out and let me know what you think please http://www.livingfuel.com/Living-Protein.aspx

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

That looks pretty good Jorge. I've been using the Sun Warrior "Warrior Blend" and I'm liking it.

Paul M
Paul M

Hey coach, Where do I find your vegan coach on your website?? Cheers Paul

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Paul. I took it down since it was a bio that I took straight from the veganbodybuilding website and I only wanted to pass it along so y'all could learn about Monica. I didn't want to leave it up since it wasn't my original material.

Coach Mo (Mike)
Coach Mo (Mike)

Just finished forks over knives and I think I've actually convinced the wife to try the challenge with me which is a huge step in the right direction. Now for some more reading before 11/1.

Chris M.
Chris M.

Thanks Coach that sounds good. I really do enjoy eating the whole foods plant way I just was concerned about fat shredding land and the huge carbs that accompanied my main proteins in this new nutrition vegan style. I am hoping to gain 15 pounds of muscle so the MisFit/Vegan challenge is going to be very exciting!!! Chris

Chris M.
Chris M.

Hey Coach, I watched Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead over the last couple of weeks and have been attempting to integrated the McDougall's whole foods diet. However, I am not quite sure how to attain the 50%P, 30%C, 20%F when most of the proteins in plants have a lot of carbs attached to them. I am sure you are facing that same dilemma now but I was hoping that you might have come up with a solution. I would like to join the Misfits challenge but want to make sure that my nutrition is under control (dialed in on Monday when I start it)-hopefully with a whole foods approach. Thanks, Chris

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Chris, what I'm learning is that with a vegan diet, the % go out the window. I will be at roughly 80% carbs. But I will focus on getting a lot of complex carbs like whole grains, oats, etc. And for "fat shredding" on a vegan diet you'll want to limit the sugary carbs like fruits. You can definitely do the Misfit challenge and still experiment with vegan along with me!

Jmac
Jmac

Wanted to give more clarification and my source of information. :o) Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011 The Mediterranean diet emphasizes: - Getting plenty of exercise. (With P90X, Insanity, or Turbo-Fire, this is NOT an issue! :0) ) - Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes(beans) and nuts. - Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil. (I've read Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is best) - Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. - Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month. - Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week. - Drinking red wine in moderation (optional). (I've also read that dark chocolate in small portions has the same effect. I eat 1-2 squares of Hershey's or Dove Dark Chocolate to get my daily chocolate fix :o) )

Jmac
Jmac

Interesting post Coach Wayne! All I can say is Good Luck and Godspeed! I've been turned onto the principles of the Mediterranean Diet. It breaks down like this: Red meats and sweets – Occasionally. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt – Moderate portions, daily to weekly. Fish and Seafood – Often, at least two times a week. Whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains, extra-virgin olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices – Base every meal on these foods. Not looking to cause strife, just giving my opinion, but for me, this seems like the easiest approach to healthy and sensible eating. It follows a plant-based approach too, just not to the degree the vegan diet does, in my humble opinion. Good luck to everyone participating in the 60-day challenge! Change is not easy for anyone! - Jmac

Rob R
Rob R

Hahahaha, wow! this sounds awsome. Coach Wayne, I was vegan, sometimes raw vegan for about 6 or 7 years. I just went the opposite a few months ago. Now I'm on a low carb/primal diet. Now that I switched to a meat eating diet, I feel like a million bux. I feel strong and alive. I'm 50 years old, and along with P90x, I also practice Brazilian Jiujitsu and boxing, my energy is also thru the roof. When I was vegan, my strength, stamina, and energy were very low, also I lost alot of muscle on a vegan diet. Hopefully it will work for those here who try it. Good luck everybody.

Dustin Hovendick
Dustin Hovendick

Thanks for the article and motivation. I have been trying to start a plant based diet but never seemed to get the motivation to actually stick with. Read the article and just bought 3 books on vegan diets. I will defiantly be doing this. Also, I just started P90X a couple weeks ago and I've lost 5 pounds... I'm now at 150lbs. I have basically eaten everything in sight and still seem to be kind of shrinking. Any tips, especially since in month I will be switching to a vegan based diet:)

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Dustin, get a book called "the complete idiot's guide to plant based nutrition". That's what I'm reading in order to get my mind around it, since I never learned about this before. It's a great overview and goes into good detail on everything.

Ivan
Ivan

I have a diet related question. The Asylum nutrition plan states that Shaun T avoids dairy. What is the advantage of avoiding even healthy dairy?

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Ivan, Shaun T, Tony Horton, me, and lots of others avoid dairy. Plain old dairy is high in saturated fats and carbs. Even the "fat free" and "low fat" dairy is high in carbs. There is really no reason to eat dairy unless you are a baby that needs to fatten up with dense calories. So it is wise to limit it or avoid it altogether if your goal is to be fit and healthy.

tadeyishu
tadeyishu

Checkout mike mahler agresive strength couch, vegan and massive hulk of a guy makes his own shakes from seads nuts berrys, might be of help.

Craig T.
Craig T.

So no FISH? Yikes!!!! Love vegetables,:-]

bharms
bharms

Looking forward to learning more about the vegan way so please add me to the group coach!

Jake
Jake

Hey coach. I actually did a 30 day vegan diet last march and it is not as hard as you think. The biggest thing for me going into it is that I always felt empty without something hot and meaty tasting on my plate, but that quickly vanished with how full I always felt. After the 30 days I lost 15lbs and dropped my cholesterol by 100 points from 247 to 147. Today I still eat a primarily vegan diet with the only addition of salmon. Good luck and you can do it.

Cameron Walker
Cameron Walker

Hey, Coach Wayne. Popping in from Sean C's team and TNL. I was an ovo-vegetarian during my first round of P90X, and got great results. Since then, I've added more animal products back into the diet, but I've given veganism some though for quite a while now, and I'd love to join you on this challenge! Let me know how I can join the private group!

Kane Augustus
Kane Augustus

Coach Wayne, Before you take "Forks Over Knives" too seriously, Denise Minger at Raw Food SOS has done a remarkably excellent job of exposing the poor science advancing an extremely biased and illogical involved in said documentary. Humans are meant to eat meat. It's as simple as that. Just look at our teeth as proof. Cheers! Kane

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Thanks Kane for the link. But teeth aren't proof of the fact that we should eat meat. Look at apes that eat predominantly (if not exclusively) a vegetarian diet. They have incisors and canines as well. I'm not trying to argue one way or the other at this point, but I'm saying that the "evidence" goes both ways.

Yogesh
Yogesh

Coach Probably you already answered this, but does this mean even Shakeology will be out of your diet for 60 days!!

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Yogesh, I said in the article above that I plan to go vegan with the exception on Shakeology and R/R, both of which have some whey in them. But this week I've already started playing with all natural plant based recovery shakes and I think Shakeology will be my only exception.

Carlos
Carlos

Coach this is very interesting. I was vegan for a few years (9) years and now eat fish sometimes and some dairy.. Yay whey protein and Shakeology! I finished my first 90 days of P90X and am now on my 5th day of round 2. I am also aiming to improve my protein choices since vegetarian soy products(burgers, crumbles, meatless hotdogs, etc)were my main source. They were not the best choices but convenience prevailed. Inceased consumption of these did not agree with me and honestly could not compare to protein from meat for quality or quantity in the different phases (it was difficult to find filling choices without increasing carbs). I look forward to the challenge as I start to plug in more and improve my vegetarian diet too.

MGurka
MGurka

There was some good vegetarian info in Men's Health this month. The author's first few paragraphs sounded just like yours. He went vegetarian for a month, and there is some good recipe ideas in there.

Tyler
Tyler

I watched that documentary (Forks and Knives) a few weeks ago, very interesting! I appreciated the christian considerations about whether or not Jesus Christ ate meat. I did some research and in the King James Version I found that Christ did, in fact, partake of meat (broiled fish): Luke 24: 41-43. He partook of the meat after His resurrection. I agree that a plant based diet is essential, I also think when we eat meats "sparingly" along with our plant based diet we can strike a good balance for our bodies. But I'm not talking down to vegans or the challenge, I think it's great to do and I am excited to hear about your results!

Greg
Greg

This will be interesting. I told my wife about a month ago, when we were at dinner, that I was going to order a vegan meal. She was like what? I don't know if I can do it. Since getting healthy, I have lost the taste for red meat. But, I how can I get enough protein from plants only? My grandparent were farmers and ate organic (old school organic-before it was vogue)self grown fruits and veggies. My family never bought produce from the store, ever. Apple, pears, grapes, corn, lettuce, grapes, watermelon, squash, beans...everything home grown. They lived to be 96 and 98 yeaer old. I have only been to two family funerals.. theirs. They also raised cattle. I am game. However, can it be done by a grocery store shopper on a budget, still struggling with snicker's bars?

Joey
Joey

May God be with you Coach Wayne. I'm having enough trouble giving up beef. LOL.

Mona
Mona

Hi Coach, I am on Round 2 of Insanity. I started incorporating Upper Body Weight Training this round. I am sore (pecs only) and waited 3 days to do it again. I have been super sore from cardio and pushed through it, but I didn't know if I should take it easier w/ the weights. I did the flys today w/ less weight but kept everything else the same or upped the weight a little. Is it the same idea as cardio- push through it? Thanks for your awesome site!! Mona

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Definitely Mona -- push through it! :-). As your body gets used to it, it won't leave you so sore. But soreness is good. It lets you know you are forcing your body to change!

Ian
Ian

Just finished watching Forks over Knives. (At home, sick of all things, lol). Good documentary. Have you gotten a complete physical/blood work to track your baselines, etc? Would be interesting to see if you have any significant changes. I can see someone who is not in top shape seeing a difference quickly, but am interested in your outcome, be it #'s on paper or your own sense of well being. By the way, I was going to start a hybrid P90X/Insanity today so I would be ready for my pre-ordered P90X2 come 1/1/2012... guess my body had other plans. Do you have any posts on getting sick and how you handled it with your schedule and any recommendations? Thanks a ton. Ian

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Hey Ian, I'll be posting an article called "getting sick" tomorrow (good timing for your question!!). Sorry you are under the weather!

Bill
Bill

look at the book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performnace in Sports and Life, by Brendan Brazier. it's life changing!

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Thanks Bill, I've looked at some of his blogs already, and I need to check out his book.

frank
frank

I was vegan for a few years. It seems like another lifetime. I'm not an expert on it by any stretch, so if you managed to get Tony's personal chef or some other far more educated person to help with it that's awesome. My body was not liking certain proteins I was getting. Soy being the biggest one, melt paint off the walls gas. Just awful. It wasn't always this way, it just became that way over time (a few years). Beans do the same. My wife began having the same shifts happen in her body as well. Protein sources we once relied on became hard to process. Since then we're added some raw dairy (through a cow share we participate in), fresh eggs from an organic farm down the street, as well as organic grass-fed meats. We grow many of our own vegetables. I'd be interested in the challenge if only to determine a range of suitable protein sources that could keep up with this workout and not overload me on soy.

mike
mike

hey coach, good luck... i will be sticking with fat shredder , starting to see some good results. hope youll still be here for me ... lol mike

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

You know I will be Mike! I've been here for you all this time, right? And I haven't been on a fat shredder diet in over a year!

Jim2542
Jim2542

Hey Coach, great article! Have you ever heard of "The Warrior Diet"? I just started doing that and I think it's great and also addresses how diet can improve proper immune function and help battle cancer. I think it might be worth the read if you have the time. Good luck with the diet change!

Coach Wayne
Coach Wayne

Never heard of it Jim but I'll check it out!