Lifestyle & Travel

To go vegan or not go vegan that is the question

To go vegan or not go vegan that is the question
February 15th, 2010
Author: Richard Henley Davis

In the 21st century going vegetarian has never been easier but why bother going that extra step further to become vegan?

The prospect of chewing on a carrot for the rest of my life is about as attractive as Churchill in drag so why on earth would I want to become a vegan?

The vegetarian diet has a very varied menu to back it up that means you can stuff yourself with cheese, yogurt and all manner of creamy sauces to satisfy the gastronaut but the vegan diet just seems like one step too far from the rare bloody steak that I am used to so why would I choose to become vegan?

I could wheel out the pro meat scientists here and get their take on the health benefits of a balanced diet or the pro vegan scientists who would bore at length on the evils of eating animal produce so I think I will take a different angle for this article.

How do I feel when my diet is vegan and how do I feel when my diet is a balanced meat eating diet?

Well the answer all depends on my lifestyle at the time.

I love meat, I have my steak dripping with blood and I might use that blood as a sauce I love it so much but if I gorge on meat for too long I feel lethargic and no good to man nor beast so I tend to have a break away from meat once in a while and go vegetarian for a period,which seems to do the trick.

But.

On a few occasions I have gone that extra step and gone vegan and there is a huge difference in how good I feel as a vegan as opposed to vegetarian. I feel cleaner and have more energy but the diet must end as soon as I embark on any training that involves weights.

Many vegan weightlifters (of which there are many) will disagree with this comment, but I am talking purely from personal experience and I am no authority on the the vegan diet and its ability to provide the levels of protein and amino acids required to sustain and build muscle when long periods of heavy weight training is part of the everyday regime.

When I am doing low impact exercise my body prefers the vegan diet and at 36 years of age I am thinking that my days of lifting heavy weights are over and I need to be taking more regular and gentle exercise as opposed to throwing huge lumps of Iron around a room.

I will conclude this rather boring article by appeasing both camps.

I believe the vegan diet is a healthier option but I also believe that we should gorge on meat and true organic dairy products once a month just give those amino acids and protein levels a boost.


At the end of the day there are many junk food vegan alternatives to meat that will make the transition to meat free less painful, but it is better to start as you mean to go on so I suggest that if you are to make the jump to vegan that you should familiarise yourself with as many vegan recipes as you can beforehand.

Mrs Davis and myself will both be turning the majority of our diet to vegan and will also enjoy that one day a week where we descend like vampires upon the local butchers and start eating meat at 9am Sunday morning with a fried breakfast followed by a cooked dinner with all the trimmings and a steak for the evening meal.

You may think this is an unhealthy diet for whatever reason but I really could not give a stuff because it works for me and mine.



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14 Responses to “To go vegan or not go vegan that is the question”

  1. robert m says:

    Why are you going vegan?

    My wife an i went vegan about 5 years ago because factory farming was so distasteful that we no longer wanted our money to pay for the carnage. At first we thought we'd just be vegetarian, but quickly realized there's virtually no difference between the carnage created by the dairy industry and that created by factory meat production.

    We had the advantage of being fantastic cooks to begin with, but it was still a months long process to be able to re-create our favorite meals – some of which were no longer worth it since they no longer sat under a mountain of delicious cheesy grease. You'll be surprised what you can do though if you put your mind to it – a fine example is eggs benedict – how does one go about recreating eggs, on bacon smothered in buttery yolk sauce ? I did it though, and it's nearly as delicious (any vegan who says they can match the awesome flavor of bacon is lying).

    I was 185lbs when I started and was 205lbs a few months ago (recently got back down to 185) – i lift weights – carbs are what you need for any physical activity. A raw Vegan bodybuilder once said "if you eat the calories you need, and get them from whole foods, you'll get plenty enough protein" and he was right. This guy was a raw vegan bodybuilder, and he never worried about protein because he was eating whole foods.

    Anyway – good luck, and kudos for making the leap!

  2. Thank you for the support Robert……..

    One of the problems I have is that I have always built muscle very fast when I train but the cravings for protein when training are unbearable so I guess I just give in to those cravings which I think is mother nature telling me I need to eat some dead animal's flesh in order to get the recovery time I need.

    But.

    I feel that is a cop out and may be partly down to conditioning over years in the gym with steroid heads. I have not lifted weights properly for over 5 years and I need to get back into training before I get any fatter.

    But ona positive note I am in the process of conversion to the Orthodox faith and I sat in a Greek church yesterday and I just felt clean inside out and aside from the influence of the divine I believe that when you are a vegan you feel so much cleaner and less bloated and clogged up. But being a healthy vegan is not automatic…..I have found myself falling into the trap of eating processed vegan foods from health food shops so the wife and I need to take the time to learn how to cook vegan style……

    If anyone can recommend any books it would be much appreciated.

  3. Cody says:

    I hope this article is a joke that simply isn't funny rather than an attempt at anything legitimate.

  4. David Marotz says:

    With a well planned Vegan diet, eating doesn't have to be boring. Though it's not easy with all the marketing that's geared for anti-veganism. I agree, it feels great, and as a big plus you don't have worry about clogging your arteries.

  5. Hi David….

    Yes I think there is too much negative press about veganism buts that's down to the vested interests of certain parts of the food industries that would have us believe that a balanced diet with meat and two veg every day is healthy. The only reason I choose to move my dietary intake towards veganism is because I like bouncing out of bed in the morning.

  6. Carol Ridley says:

    Hi! Just wanted to say that i agree with you on the importance of really re-educating yourself almost in the kitchen. When becoming a vegan it is really easy to just eat junk, any junk, because it's labelled 'vegan'. At least early on. It takes time to build up a repertoire of recipes that you enjoy and are happy to prepare (I'm still evolving here). Before rushing out and buying lots of cookbooks, i would recommend trawling the web first for recipes as this will save you a lot of money. In my experience a lot of vegan recipe books are not for the novice vegan and they can in fact put you off the whole idea. At least on the web you can see what you're getting. Think about the foods that you eat now, what you really enjoy eating, for instance if you love curries experiment with vegetable/lentil based curries. Even if you only manage to find one recipe a week which you enjoy and can see yourself happily eating again and again, then you are well on your way.
    I have only briefly glanced through your article so am not sure what your main reason for going vegan was but regardless i want to say thank you on behalf of the planet and animals! Good luck.

  7. robert m says:

    Thanks for the response Richard.

    One cookbook, that packs a lot of deliciousness and ease into 1 book is 'vegan with a vengeance' by Isa of the Post Punk Kitchen http://www.theppk.com/ Another book we like is 'la dolce vegan', but tend to use that more for deserts. One of my favorite cookbooks ever is called "Silk Road Cooking" – beautiful, interesting book that every foodie should own taking authentic vegetarian recipes from along the 'silk road' stretching from china to the Mediterranean – beautiful photography, and extra words about where the recipes come from.

    On a side note – I've an uncle and aunt in Boston, Mass who converted to Greek Orthodox years ago – they're both Harvard people. Too dusty for me! My wife and I attend a local Vedanta temple, and like loose, liberal "putting on the mind of Christ" sort of stuff like Thomas Merton.

  8. Toran says:

    Funny thing about your steak is, that red juice that you like to think is blood, Well sadly it is not it is a chemical called Sodium Nitrate. Which is use as a color fixer and the juice is a substance called water. enjoy mate

  9. vegan recipes says:

    Keep up the great work!.

  10. melissa says:

    I like these vegan cookbooks:
    vegan soul kitchen by Bryant Terry (spicy soul food with whole grains)
    vegan brunch by Isa Chandra Moscowitz (I replace refined grain w/whole grains)
    and Local Bounty by Devra Gartenstein (simple recipes using seasonal produce)

  11. pure acai berry supplements says:

    I've been really meaning to start eating a more vegitariandiet. It's hard to break old habits, you know?

  12. The thing is, in life, tons of people know what to accomplish, but very few people in fact do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must do something

  13. Blank Fax Cover Sheet says:

    well, if you really want to be healthy, i believe that veggan foods are the best ,*-

  14. Darren Mehan says:

    Thanks. I'm supposed to cook for my new vegetarian girlfriend next weekend and have no idea what to make! I found tons of recipes at the http://www.vegetarianrecipe.net site but with sooo many to choose from I just got confused. Do you have any recommendations, like .. the tastiest vegetarian recipe, ever, or something?! Thanks in advance! I'm so clueless about this vegetarian stuff