To quote my vegan friend Robert Cheeke and the shirt I just bought from his website, "No Meat, No Problem"!
I've been following the Shred It! Challenge for about 10 or 11 weeks now. The 13 week challenge has been helping with my muscle strength but requires no meat.
I have actually been feeling great as a vegan. I've been eating whole food, plant based, which basically means no meat, dairy, eggs or processed foods. Sounds pretty restricting, right? Well, surprisingly not!
There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables out there, it never gets boring. Plus the food tastes so good. I get lots of calories each day, well over 3,000 calories, as I need this amount with my activity level. Some people thought I would lose weight doing this challenge... specifically my step mom when she visited CT a few months ago. What actually happened was I gained weight... about 7 pounds of muscle.
So how do I know I actually gained muscle? I had my lean body mass checked and it confirmed that I did indeed increase my muscle mass. Also, my trainer has been measuring my arms and chest. He said I gained about a half inch of muscle in like 8 weeks. I'm happy for these results.
It's funny... I was training hard for two or three years trying to increase my muscle. As a flexitarian (someone who occasionally ate poultry or eggs a few times a week), I wasn't gaining much muscle. As a vegan, I have been having far better results. Of course part of the problem, whether being plant based or meat eater, was I that I was not eating enough for my activity level.
So why not just increase my calories and skip being vegan, you might ask? Because I want to prove that muscle building is possible without a lot of protein. Robert Cheeke's book has proven that. There are a lot of examples of vegan bodybuilders in his book.
Also, studies show that overloading the body with too much protein can cause damage to your liver and kidneys and could also lead to cancer. I'm all about health now and want to keep my body in the best shape possible. This seemed like the next logical step in my journey.
I hope to post more pictures soon of my muscle growth as I get closer to the end of the challenge. I want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy Thanksgiving holiday! Here's a picture of the vegan pumpkin pie I bought today. Definitely not depriving myself of good food!