My Vegan Experiment

Calling all vegan or vegan curious! If you are vegan, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me why a plant based diet works for you. If you are vegan curious, or over 50 like me, I think you’ll be interested in my vegan experiment. Before I share what I’m up to nutritionally I’ll give you some background on my starting place, experience as an omnivore, and why I’m currently checking out a vegan way of eating.

As a lifetime athlete and coach seeking to feel some big energy as much as possible in my waking hours (and support others in this as well), I’ve done a lot of research on nutrition, nutrition for life and nutrition for training and racing. The three things I’ve learned, amidst the mega-info available, are that 1) nutrition makes a difference, 2) what works best is individual, and 3) our body’s needs change when our hormones start freaking out at about 50. Our job is to figure out what works best for us on an ongoing basis.

With some exception, I would categorize myself as a very healthy eater, and have been accused of being a food snob (which I interpret as I just know what I like). Perhaps oddly in our live-at-all-cost society, I don’t eat healthy so I can live a really really long time, or to steer clear of disease. I don’t spend much time thinking about these things. I eat healthy because it tastes good and because it helps me feel good—now. So I gravitate toward the farmers’ market and mostly organic, and when venturing into a grocery store I spend most of my time on the periphery of the store—unless I need “staples” or an occasional splurge of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. I eat lots of veggies and fruits, whole or sprouted grain almost-everything, and usually avoid packaged items that have ingredients I can’t pronounce. That said, I will try anything once. If you invite me to dinner I’ll happily eat whatever you put in front of me and be stoked if it’s something I’ve never had. And when traveling to very foreign countries, I’m the one friends look to first to try the unfamiliar looking food items. New food is a happy and integral part of my life here and abroad.

I do enjoy coffee (or a latte) in the morning and stellar wine on the weekends, but besides an infrequent overindulgence I can’t really say I have any vices nor practice any extreme eating habits that are counterproductive to my goal of feeling great.

I have dabbled in various nutritional focuses over the years to experiment with how they affect my bottom line—how I feel. What I’ve stuck with mostly, and always gravitate back to, is a well balanced diet of fresh whole foods. And I’ve always eaten animal protein of some sort. Even as a possible vegan convert, I believe that as a species we are omnivores, and that as athletes one of our missions is to sort out how much and what types of protein works best in our bodies, because what that looks like for each of us is unique. Being someone who carries a lot of muscle, animal protein tends to sit well with me and I crave it. I frequent eggs, plain yogurt, chicken and fish, and I don’t eat red meat frequently, but there’s nothing like an occasional BBQ steak to hit the spot.

This all sounds pretty reasonable, right? So why the heck go vegan?! Being insatiably curious about all things unfamiliar, I have been interested in a vegan diet for quite some time. So I did a lot of research. Most has been on the internet, talking to people and watching documentaries, the latter being the most impactful. Then I started to eat vegan a few weeks ago (and yes, I have happily cheated a few times at dinner parties or with my coveted Fage Greek Yogurt).

During my perusing, several things jumped to the forefront for me to bring me to try the vegan diet: animal ‘issues,’ an extension of my living-simply philosophy, the feel of meat in my body, and nutrition as a further means to optimize how I feel in my unfamiliar post 50-year-old body.

Though I tend to like animals more than many people, mourn deeply when I hear of people’s pets passing, and cheer loudly for the underdog when the lion hunts down the antelope for dinner, I’ve never had an issue with eating animals—even after touring a chicken slaughter house after doing a speaking gig for Tyson Foods. Lots of animals eat animals to survive. We are one of them.

What I have grown to have issue with is how we humans grow, keep and treat most of the animals we eventually eat, and how this affects our planet. What I witnessed at the Tyson plant was as clean and humane as it gets when killing anything, and definitely easier-going on the chickens than stalking, chasing down, and pouncing on them in the wild. But I’ve researched our practice of food-animal-earth abuse pre-slaughter for many years, and it piqued my interest when I watched the documentary Vegucated (I won’t go into the gory details here, if you’re veg curious, check it out). So I’ve opted out—for now—and it feels—easeful.

The last couple of years, and with a significant influence from my several months in Bhutan, I have significantly downsized my stuff. I am on a mission to be as ‘stuff-less’ as possible and it feels perfect. A low-impact plant based diet just seems to take my downsizing into a broader arena and that feels correct to me for now.

Since the new year, I’d gone for a week at a time without meat, but kept eating dairy. I started to notice the difference in how I feel in my body on the meatless vs. meat days. I felt lighter. This was not an epiphany. I’ve noted this prior, but what I started entertaining is what I could feel like if I just eliminated animal products all together for a while. What would it feel like to go all in? It feels—less encumbered.

At almost 52, I am either peri-menopausal or my hormones are intermittently having a really ugly freak show of a party (same thing?). Though regular and consistent exercise plays a significant role in positively smoothing out this process, and that I do, I still had noticed regular night sweats, metabolism changes and mood changes—all unusual experiences for me. Since going vegan I’ve (thus far) eliminated the night sweats and overall feel less inflamed, mentally and physically, and my pre-cycle mental freak show has calmed down.

I’d say things are looking good thus far, though the big questions still loom. Will I stick to it, and do I miss animal protein? In short, I’ll say that for now it’s very likely I’ll cheat occasionally. Mainly because I never like to feel I can’t have something I want. I enjoy an unencumbered life as much as possible, with no restrictions. So if I have deep cravings that are true (not just a desire), I most likely will listen. For now, I don’t have any cravings and overall I feel better and more satisfied after meals, so I’m hanging with it.

Tell me your experiences with a vegan diet and/or your hesitations. I’d love to hear your first account vegan stories—let’s bond over our kale salads! In the meantime I’ll share a couple of vegan recipes that you’ll love.

Send me your recipes!

Terri

CookieI found this cookie recipe on the Hell Yeah It’s Vegan website, which has become one of my favorite sites for recipes. The yummy Cowboy Cookies come with the perfect moniker: For those times that you need a cookie as big as your face. I’m a chocolate chip cookie fan and these blow away any non-vegan I’ve made.

I like making big quantities of something so I can have a delicious ready-made meal for lunch during the week. I took a Black Bean and Ham recipe and veganized it. I’ve made these beans prior with the ham and I actually like them better with out. I eat these over wild or brown rice with slices of avocado and cilantro on top or, as here, with a dollop of salsa and slices of red onion to add some zing.

Black Bean Soup Recipe

Terri Schneider - Black Bean SoupNotes: I usually double the recipe and make a huge pot so I can freeze some. I don’t often measure ingredients and I often put more of what they ask for, so the spices in particular are estimated.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups), rinsed, soaked in 4 quarts of water overnight or at least 6 hours, drained
  • A bunch of dried bay leaves
  • 8 cups water (add more for or less per your preference in thickness)
  • 6 tablespoons Chicken flavored bullion powder (that isn’t made from chickens).  You can add more later for a stronger taste. Get this at your local health food store or Whole Foods so it doesn’t have preservatives in it.
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, chopped (I will often put more garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon lime juice (can substitute lemon juice)

Condiments for serving:

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Avocado, peeled and chopped
  • Salsa
  • Red onion, sliced

Method:

  1.  Place beans, water, and ‘chicken’ powder in a large pot. Add bay leaves, salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and let cook 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until beans are tender. Remove bay leaves.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large 8-quart thick-bottomed pot on medium high until the oil is hot. Add the onions, celery, garlic, sweet potato, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the cumin and chili powder, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add this mixture to the beans, their cooking liquid, chicken stock, molasses, and bell pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Add 3 Tbsp of lime juice. Adjust seasonings. If on the sweet side, add a bit more lime juice. Salt to taste.
  5. Serve with garnishes, wild rice, corn or flower tortillas or tortilla chips.

Note that the soup may continue to thicken. If you would like it thinner, just add some water to desired consistency.

33 Comments
Mary

April 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

I went non-dairy 15 years ago and meat-free one year ago and love it. I feel lighter and more energized and a slew of symptoms disappeared (sinus, hay fever, stomachaches, GI issues, skin issues, lethargy, malaise). I still cheat once a while when needed – traveling off the beaten path or when an insistent friend wants me to try her latest dairy infused creation – but I don’t stress over it and continue to thrive on a plant based diet. Eliminating dairy was harder for me, as I never really enjoyed meat too much. But now, it’s my normal and I’m healthier for it. There are so many good resources out there to help you on your vegan journey, whether it’s for a day, a week or your new normal. Enjoy it!

Angela

April 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic and now pescetarian for the past 22+ years (immediately following the birth of my first child). I had two successful vegetarian pregnancies thereafter.

Even as a child, my body did not tolerate red meat and thus I either avoided it or…”gave it back” as my mother politely recalls. My father thought my mother was just allowing me to become a fussy eater, so (at 14 months old) he offered a nicely sliced up piece of steak…which I threw back up in his lap. Okay, he was convinced it was me, not my mom. Despite that, I am far from fussy about food. I LOVE to try new dishes and am thrilled by flavorful foods.

I too have been athletic for most of my life and now find myself as a fitness expert for a local school district and a women’s triathlon coach. My goal event every year is Barb’s Race, the world’s only all women’s 70.3 and a fundraising event for breast cancer.

I am excited to try these recipes you have shared. Thank you!!! Best to you on your new journey and I find your attitude about veganism and eating in general to be a very healthy one. Depravity is not good for the soul. Choose to eat in harmony with your body and if you learn to control hunger, energy and cravings…you may not find yourself cramming a handful of something completely unhealthy in your mouth. 🙂 But if you do…on to a clean day!

Jessica Cherniak

April 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Terri,
I am 50. Very active, runner, biker, skier…and mom of 4 great adults….who turned Vegan on me in a blink of an eye. One daughter 23, is a raw vegan and is studying “Plant-Based Nutrition” at Cornell U. So you could call me a reluctant vegan, sort of dragged into it initially because of the huge change in the grocery list…but now I am settled in, so to speak, and love my new organic, vegan life. I enjoy learning about nutrition dense foods and plant-based proteins. I really get the importance of a more alkaline diet…and the cons of too much acidity. (I too enjoy my glass of wine on the weekend though 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
Jessica

Tom Griffen

April 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I am vegan. I’ve been vegan for three years. I am an artist/writer, an avid runner (ultramarathoner), I maintain a daily yoga/meditation practice and my vegan eating has become a part of my life’s artistic process. I choose to be mindful about what I put in my body – and after learning more about foods I was reared on I made the choice to refrain. One day I was eating meat and cheese, the next day I was vegan. I never looked back.

I am not a militant advocate of veganism, but I do shake my finger at folks who consciously choose to ignore facts (and not just about food). Of course we all have our own paths to follow – we need to do what makes most sense to us as individuals – but the least we can do is stay on top of things. Education is key. If you know the facts and have made a conscious decision that you can discuss resolutely without becoming emotionally involved, well good on you. Many of us get caught up in habitual behaviors and are led by our emotions. We end up standing behind opinions with little or no solid foundation. Not cool.

I absolutely believe in the circle of life, so to speak, but only to the extent of need. Animals need to eat animals, sure. But what we define as “need” is far different than an animal’s “need”. We don’t need a juicy steak or a burger. We don’t need ice cream after dinner. Sure, we all have created traditions of consumption that make us think that we can’t happily function without these things but fact is they are luxuries – and come at the expense of not only animals but people and the environment. Studies have shown that workers in the factory farming industry are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors, many even show signs of PTSD after years of killing and being in an industry that revolves around it. It is also fact that the industry as a whole is using more and more of our limited natural resources while polluting the environment in ways that we’ll never be able to fix – the current #1 worst polluter in the world is this industry. Recycling ain’t good enough people! Love meat or not, it’s a troublesome industry that defies logic in a multitude of ways that we, as consumers, have been tricked into thinking is OK. You want to know why you think you NEED meat protein and cow’s milk to be healthy? It’s because big politics, big business and big money drives this message…and yet, it’s simply not true.

Like Terri, I was not a giant advocate for animals even though I enjoyed them as much as the average joe. That is, until I spent a month volunteering at Farm Sanctuary (www.farmsanctuary.org), an educational facility that rescues and places hundreds of farm animals each year – allowing them to live out their lives as naturally as possible. I did this because I wanted to learn more about a path that resonated with my new lifestyle. I left there understanding that chickens, pigs, turkeys, cows, goats, ducks and sheep (the animals with whom I lived) ALL show the same sorts of affection and emotion as dogs and cats if given a chance. Culturally we tend to assign such connections to our “typical” domestic animal friends – but all animals show as much love as your pet at home. This blew me away.

Very few of us would be cool eating dogs or cats – but that’s what we are doing when consuming animals (in my opinion). There’s no difference. Dig a bit deeper into the personal, political/economic, and environmental implications and I simply don’t understand how we, as a people, can keep this up in good faith. If nothing else, the earth simply can’t take it. But like anything we can’t see happening RIGHT NOW, we are less likely to do anything about it. It’s a shame that we don’t (collectively) take the future seriously.

Get educated and make a decision that suits you, your ethics and the world that will be here after you are gone.

Oh and by the way, I am an avid cook and constantly baffle my non-vegan pals with my spectacular meals. Folks are shocked that my dishes are 100% animal/cruelty free. Just sayin’.

Peace.

Terri Schneider

April 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Mary – Congrats on refining your diet until you found a source that apparently has worked wonders in your life. That is admirable and inspiring. And yes, thanks for the tip, I am finding there are so many excellent resources and many folks like yourself who are interested in sharing their stories. Thank you!
Terri

Terri Schneider

April 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Angela – I admire you for listening so well to your bodies needs. Isn’t this so key! And what a great way to share your lifestyle in all of your athletic teaching pursuits. Thanks for sharing and for all the support!
Terri

Terri Schneider

April 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Jessica – how beautiful that you can share this way of eating with your whole family. Lovely. I think I have a bit to learn before I am privy to all your stellar info – I’m on it and you’ve motivated me to learn even more. Thanks for sharing and enjoy that glass of wine this weekend!
Terri

Terri Schneider

April 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Tom – as always, my friend you’ve stated your case so passionately and eloquently. As one of my favorite humans (and almost up there with my Gryphon :), I’m listening well (And surprised we have not chatted on this prior). Lets do so soon. Thanks for sharing some very important info as articulately as always. Hugs – Terri

Joan Nelson

April 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I came on being vegan after watching Forks over Knives- in fact I watched it 3 times. The third time did the trick- I ordered The engine 2 diet book, read it cover to cover and it all just made sense. I thought- could it really be JUST THIS SIMPLE?? I always ate pretty healthy and My husband and I are both runners and ultra runners. I do yoga – I am 57 and am still in the perimenopause game–I had night sweats and my husband says I have 5 personalities now-he is never bored-BUT I find the night sweats are virtually gone and the hot flashes too(which also usually only happened at night) and when I am training hard I got fewer hot flashes-so exercise is definitely related to all this.I have been vegan for 11/2 years now and feel so much better. I have the occasional ice cream(Bluebell-when I am in Austin) but I don’t consider it cheating- it was a choice for that day. I have all the Happy Herbivore cookbooks- they are excellent!! There is SO much food you CAN eat- it almost overwhelms you to think about it! We grow a huge garden every year and that helps a ton. Good luck in your vegan adventure- adding more fruits and veggies is never a bad thing!

Terri Schneider

April 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Joan – Thanks so much for sharing – it’s as if we’ve walked through this in the same manner! I completely connect with every thing you’ve shared – that is affirming. I’m curious s to whether you’ve noticed any changes in your running or racing. Do tell…
Thanks!
Terri

Jenn Connolly

May 01, 2013 at 7:55 am

I never thought I’d be vegetarian or vegan but I have been the former for 3 years now and the latter for a few months. The less I ate of animal products, the more unappealing they became to me. I too am on a quest to feel as good as I can naturally and the more I clean up my diet the more of a direct improvement I see on my wellbeing. I see my workouts improving as well (running faster and more easily is the one measurable improvement I can document). The one thing I still need to work on though is getting ample sleep each night.

Prior to cleaning up my diet I had given up caffeine with my first pregnancy, enjoyed the lack of highs and lows, and never went back. At the time I went vegan, I mostly gave up alcohol too (another thing I thought I’d never do) and love not having that dragging feeling the next morning even after having just one drink the night before.

I’m now exploring incorporating more superfoods into my diet. I can say that I have never felt better in my life with all these improvements.

Peggy OKelly

May 01, 2013 at 8:01 am

If you had told me four years ago that I would be a satisfied vegan at this point in my life, I would have laughed….I LOVED a good organic grass fed steak……and how could I live without cheese?!…and yogurt?! The entire list of things that I knew I could NOT live without went through my mind when a new trainer suggested that I move to a vegan diet. Out of curiosity I decided to do it for two weeks to see how I felt….I’ve never looked back. I don’t miss meat at all….cheese at times but laugh when I think I couldn’t live without it…your body adjusts. I went through several detoxes the first year and after every one I lost the addiction to the foods I was no longer eating. The plant based diet not only changed my sense of well being…seldom sick or sluggish anymore…but also changed my level of awareness and view of my existence. I have two daughters and at first cooked separate meals for them….they eventually wanted to eat like me so gradually their diets changed too….and now they are 18 and 21..and although they are not vegan…they eat beautifully. That is the most rewarding part of it all for me.
I could go on and on because it’s such an amazing journey and there are so many layers to it then just your health. It’s not easy and you get a lot of push back from the world as you do it but I can say that it’s the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. Go for it!

Heidi

May 01, 2013 at 9:41 am

Am almost 1 year into a plant-based diet and am the healthiest I have ever been, 53 years, 5’7″ 124 lbs and with my activities of running, hiking, gym boot camps, have resting heart rate lf 55bpm. There are so many great foods that you can eat as a vegan and I encourage you to drop oil from your diet as well. Baking with applesauce is a snap. Avoid the soy substitures for butter and cheese; you are giving these things up on your plan-based diet, so why add a subsitute. Steamed veggies will taste great as your main couse with rice or quina on the side. I recommend Forks over Knives and the companon cookbook.

Terri Schneider

May 01, 2013 at 11:30 am

Jenn
Congrats on some diet changes up that sounds like have significantly helped all aspects of your life! Very inspirational. I’d love to hear more about what superfoods you are taking and how those are working for you. Keep working on the sleep! Its an important piece to feeling great.
Thanks,
Terri

Terri Schneider

May 01, 2013 at 11:33 am

Peggy
How lovely that you share this way of eating with your children. Its hugely inspirational to hear of you speaking of your journey and how that seems to continue to be heightened through each change up. Thanks for the words of encouragement!
Terri

Terri Schneider

May 01, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thanks for the tips Heidi! You sound as fit as ever and going strong. Keep up the amazing work!
Terri

Marina James

May 03, 2013 at 9:07 am

Terri-let’s talk !! We are friends on Facebook and you know my brother / Mark James – Navy Seal Instructor! I am a nutritionist & personal trainer and hard core vegan for over 2 years and have been running ultra marathons and my endurance has increased significantly ! I am 42 and feeling incredible !
Would love to share more with you beautiful lady !! Kale Hugs , Marina

Terri Schneider

May 03, 2013 at 9:30 am

Marina – thank you so much for reaching out. I appreciate your effort in this. I’ll ping you on Facebook and we’ll chat for sure. I’d love to pick your brain. Big hugs to Mark for me!
Terri

Jenn Connolly

May 03, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Terri – the superfoods I am mostly getting from trying recipes in Julie Morris’ superfood kitchen cookbook: spirulina, cacao, chia seed, wheatgrass, goji berries, hemp seed, maca, mulberries, sea veggies, flax and quinoa. All I know is that I’m feeling great and my energy levels are pretty consistent so I plan to keep it up.

Terri Schneider

May 04, 2013 at 11:53 am

Thanks Jenn for getting back to me. I’ll definitely check out this cook book!
Terri

Britt Taylor

May 05, 2013 at 9:36 am

Hi Terri! Great read, so glad to see people take an interest in the food going into their bodies! I stumbled across your blog on the gap/athleta website, I am an employee at Athleta, and I am a screaming Vegan! I have been studying nutrition and working in the public in some way regarding health my whole life. I have done the whole trial and error thing and finally found all the answers I was seeking once adopting a Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle. “The China Study” was a huge part of my education and enlightenment to the actual studies and science involved in how our bodies respond to different diets, and the correlations between them and Western diseases. Other good reads are “The Engine 2 Diet” by Rip Essylstein, “Thrive” by Brendan Brazier, and cookbooks, “Vegan Eats World” by Terry hope Romero, and “Happy Herbivore” by Lindsay Nixon.
I’ve since gone on to get my Plant Based Nutrition Certificate from Cornell through the T.Colin Campbell Foundation, and this year at 40, ran my first marathon. I have signed up for 2 more this coming year. I’m also working toward my Masters in Nutrition. I will be happy to say way out loud that the best thing anyone can do for their health is to eat as many whole foods that grew from the ground as they can, and avoid animal foods (even, especially, dairy!) altogether, as they are acid forming and deplete important nutrients (like calcium!) from our bodies.
I have blogged about my journey of my fortieth year while I lost weight by sticking to a WFPB diet and training for my marathon, with before and after pics (in my Athleta gear!) and all. her at http://www.RuntoRunFor.wordpress.com if you want to take a look. Good luck to you and your future adventures in food around the world!
(PS, coconut milk based yogurt will have you forgetting all about greek yogurt, I swear! They make coconut based ice cream, too!)

Connie Miller

May 06, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Great subject and post Terri! I am a competitive distance runner and gave a whole hearted effort at being a vegan. However, unlike many of you I didn’t feel great. I felt very low on energy, and about 2 hours into long runs my tank would completely run out. Now I have found a happy middle ground, eating animal protein 3-4 times a week. However, one thing I found remarkable is my mother. Two years ago, I became her caregiver and moved in with her after my husband passed away. She has been suffering with a long battle with advanced dementia. After I started her on a vegan diet, amazingly she became so much better. Clearer mind, new found confidence, and much better memory.

Terri Schneider

May 06, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Britt
Thanks for sharing! Your journey is amazing and I totally connect with your passion for plant based diet. Keep up the amazing work in your studies and spreading the word about your inspiring journey – and thanks for all the tips!
Terri

Terri Schneider

May 06, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Connie
I’m wondering if you were eating ‘enough’ when on a plant based diet. This is one of the things other runners have warned me of – making sure I’m eating enough in general. I’m glad you got this sorted out for yourself and passed the important info onto your mother. Good luck to you both and thanks for sharing your helpful story!
Terri

Carol Hanshew

May 08, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hi Terri!

First, I am so impressed by all of your accomplishments! You are an inspiration to women everywhere!!!

Second, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your article. It really connected with me. I love your mission to go “stuff”less. I struggle with this daily. As the mother of two children, it seems like we just accumulate more and more “stuff”!

I’ve been doing CrossFit for 3 months and have reintroduced meat (poultry only) into my diet. I also eat fish. I was mostly vegetarian before CrossFit but not strictly so. I have noticed better performance doing my WODs. As far as whether or not I felt better (i.e. not sluggish and tired) when I wasn’t eating meat, that is hard to say. I suppose there were some days that I felt like I did. I would definitely go back to it if I knew I could do so without affecting my athletic performance. So, I would love to hear how you integrate your vegan diet with your current physical needs to maintain your athletic lifestyle. Are there alternative sources of protein that you find helpful?

Thanks ever so much!
Carol Hanshew

Terri Schneider

May 08, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Carol – thanks for sharing. This info is helpful. I’ve only been vegan for about 6 weeks so its tough to tell how it have affected my performance athletically. Just like normal, I have better days than others training so its tough to tell if I have had a positive or negative effect from the vegan diet. Overall I do feel better. Athletically I need to test it out more with longer and harder efforts (and that I will do). I’d love to hear more on how this has affected your CrossFit workouts – that is good info.
Thanks!
Terri

Connie Miller

May 09, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Getting back to you Terri, yes I was definitely eating enough. Amounts I couldn’t believe. Out of curiosity, what events are you training for and how many miles/time have you been logging? My average run weeks are about 50-75, and an all vegan diet just didn’t get it for me.

Terri Schneider

May 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

Connie
Thanks for the info. I am not currently logging big miles, so as I increase the diet will be tested for sure. One book you might find interesting is Scott Jurek’s, Eat and Run. An interesting story and lots of great recipes!
Terri

Michelle

May 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

I have been vegan for almost 2 years. Best decision I have ever made both for my body and soul. To think that I would be contributing to the needless suffering of animals so I could have some dairy which our bodies were never designed to eat is beyond me right now. The chronic pain they endure so humans can gorge themselves is unbelievable to me. Okay enough about the animals as I know some people don’t care about them but most care about their looks. Since I’m vegan I do not. Repeat do not gain weight. Ever. No matter if I’m working out or not and yes I eat vegan desserts. The book the beauty detox by kimberly synder is superb!! Follow her plan and you can throw away your scale and probably a lot of the wrinkle creams too (although I haven’t gone that far yet).

Terri Schneider

May 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

Michelle
Thanks for sharing your passion about eating vegan! I will check out this book. Keep up the healthy lifestyle inside and out.
Terri

Dawn

May 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hi everyone
It is really nice to read an open, nonjudgemental discussion about food choices. I have been eating a vegetarian diet for 34 years (I am 45 years old.) So, I think it counts as a lifestyle at this point 🙂 Throughout my life I have been questioned about my eating choices quite a lot… why don’t you eat meat? where do you get your protein? aren’t you anemic? is it because you have a weird religion? do you have something against people who eat meat? My parents even took me to a pediatrician in hopes the doctor would convince me to start eating meat as a teenager! Well, that doctor was quite ahead of his time and advised my parents that instead he would suggest they pay attention to their own diet. Now I am the only one in my family without high cholesterol or high blood pressure. I do not have a problem with weight (over or under) and to brag a bit, my younger brother is frequently guessed to be 10 years older than me! At 11 years old, these things were not a big worry to me. I just didn’t want to eat animals. Now my health is more important to me. I’m not anemic, don’t have a weird religion, and most people have too much protein in their diets (unless your entire goal is just how skinny you can be, belch.) I’ve taught 10 spin classes a week plus a whole bunch of other over training type things and didn’t have a diet related problem. So… to those of you thinking about a plant based diet… my best advice is to not let anyone give you a hard time about it. You eat what is right for you! If you find it isn’t right for you, change it! (My current haters seem to be the Paleo people.) Best of luck 🙂

WomensMovement.com

May 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Fantastic article and great recipes, Terri, thanks! My husband and I do “Vegan Sundays” every week where we cook a big vegan meal for our family that also provides leftovers for a few days.
I’ve also posted this fantastic vegan recipe for Karma Chow’s energy-packed Euphoria Nuggets on my website…they are perfect workout fuel!
http://www.womensmovement.com/euphoria-nuggets/

Terri Schneider

May 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

Dawn – Congrats on standing your ground in what works for you. Thanks for the inspiration!
WomensMovement.com – thanks for the yummy recipes!

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