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The “teamRIPPED Vegan Challenge” is fast approaching, so I hope those of you interested in trying this out with me are gearing up!

I’ve been vegan for the most part on my diet for about a month now, and I have to say I feel great.  I haven’t lost weight or strength.  I am holding steady — which was my goal.  If you saw my pics from the Beachbody event that I posted last week, I’m looking pretty big and buff LOL!

My goal with this challenge is to see how a whole food plant based diet (WFPB diet) will work for someone like me who wants to be muscular and strong.  I don’t want to lean down.   I want to maintain my bulk.  Will it work on 75% carbs and 15% protein?  So far as I experiment with a plant based diet, I’ve been getting about 75% of my calories from carbs – crazy compared to the traditional nutrition percentages!

One thing I’ve learned about a WFPB diet is that percentages go out the window.  You no longer try to get 50% protein as a fat shredder plan.  Instead, if losing body fat is your goal, you’ll concentrate on the complex carbs like veggies, oats, grains, and beans.  You’ll use moderation on the sugary foods like fruit and the fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado.  And by feeding your body no animal proteins, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners, your body will reset to it’s natural patterns of hunger so that you will eat what you need rather than eating because of cravings generated by food and chemical addictions.

And another thing about a WFPB diet is that you no longer need to rely on calorie counting.  If you eat only when hungry, and focus on variety in your diet, it is quite difficult to overeat with a plant based diet.  With processed foods and animal proteins, you can get a lot of calories in a small amount of food (calorie dense).  But with plant based nutrition, you get lots of food and nutrients with much fewer calories (nutrient dense).  So for the 2 months of the challenge, I will put the Tap and Track away and really try to listen to my body and feed it what it asks for – we’ll see if this theory really works!  I’m so used to knowing every calorie that goes into my body and my percentages that going “free form” is a little scary.

As I go into the challenge, I will go with no meat and no dairy at all.  I will also avoid processed foods (including protein bars and such, even if they are “vegan”).  I’ll go with no artificial sweeteners (which means no gum, no flavored drinks, etc.).   I’ve already been doing this for the most part and while it seems boring, I’ve actually started to really enjoy the natural flavors of foods and crave water (I never thought I’d say that as a former pop-addict!).  Some of you may also choose to go gluten free while doing vegan diets for a variety of reasons – gluten allergies and sensitivities, gluten that is processed and used in some foods, etc.  I will still use gluten because it is in whole wheat, and my wife makes her own whole wheat bread by grinding her own wheat and I don’t see any way that whole wheat is a violation of the “whole food plant based” approach, so I’ll still be eating my homemade wheat bread during this challenge.  I will also be making 1 exception to true veganism with Shakeology (since the current formulation contains whey protein).  So my only animal based protein for the rest of 2011 will come from the whey protein in 1 serving of Shakeology each day.  And I am anxious for the vegan version of Tropical Shakeology coming out in January (which will use sprouted rice protein instead of whey).  A vegan version of Shakeology will make a WFPB diet simple.  The beauty of Shakeology is that you can be sure you get a wide variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants every day.  So even if my vegan diet is simplified and lacking in certain minerals or vitamins, my Shakeology covers all of that for me.  It has 100% B12, Vit. D, and the other items that can be tricky to get enough of with a pure vegan diet.

I’m excited about being a plant based athlete for the rest of 2011 to see how I do.  I did a full fit test as part of my Day 1 in the Misfit challenge, so I have a great baseline to compare my performance when I retake the fit test in early January when our Misfits hit day 90.  Then I can report back to you guys with performance #’s, pics, body fat %.  We’ll see if Coach Wayne can go WFPB and be as fit on the inside as I am on the outside.

I’ll be posting specifics on how to join the teamRIPPED Vegan Challenge on November 1st, which will include a private facebook page where we can share recipes, advice, tips, and get answers to our questions.  I’m looking forward to this!  There are several coaches who’ve already been collaborating with each other as we seek to learn the ropes before inviting our team members to join us.  But if you want in, be sure you are here Nov. 1st as I post instructions on how to join us!

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