Until you do something, it’s easy to knock it. For a lot of people (athletes included) plant-based diets are not held in high regard. Now, I only went vegan for a month, but the experience changed my life forever. Here’s what I learned:
1. You won’t lose your muscle.
Yes, you may need a vegan protein supplement if you don’t get enough from whole foods, but don’t worry about your gains as long as you continue to count your calories/macros. Meat, dairy, and eggs aren’t absolutely essential.
2. Your performance may increase.
You are forced to eat more carbohydrates in order to get more protein with decreased fat. This fueled my workouts well.
3. Digestive health goes to an all-time high.
The huge amount of high-fiber whole grains, legumes,fruits, and vegetables helped my digestion more than anything.
4. A very high carbohydrate diet won’t make you fat.
As long you’re balancing the rest of your macronutrients and eating within your caloric needs, a high percentage carbohydrate diet won’t make you fat.
5. A plant-based diet may be just as or more powerful than prescription cholesterol medicine.
My LDL cholesterol and LDL particles were just about cut in half!
6. Your culinary repertoire will open up!
You have to become more creative when trying to find foods that complement each other in terms of amino acids. Even if you don’t stay vegan/plant-based, you can continue to incorporate these new meals into your rotation.
7. You realize you don’t ALWAYS need meat EVERY day.
I will admit that by the end of the month I was craving animal products, but most days I felt just fine without them (which was surprising!).
8. Your sex drive will not plummet.
As long as you are eating enough calories and fat, you should not lose your mojo. You may notice very small fluctuations if you check, but the change won’t be clinically significant.
Spencer Nadolsky is a licensed practicing board certified family medicine physician who pushes lifestyle before pharmaceuticals (when possible). His goal is to use what he learned as a Division 1 athlete and apply it to his patients and readers to help them get as healthy as possible using diet and exercise as medicine.