Friday, October 31, 2008

To Veg or Not to Veg

Today, on the holiest of candy days, I thought I could bring up an interesting and sometimes contentious topic in the nutrition/athletic world. Vegetarianism

I am one of those "quasi-vegetarians" in that I don't eat red meat at all but I do eat chicken and occassional pork. It first started in University where I studied health promotion and was also living in student induced poverty so a meat free diet was a financial necessity. In all honesty, my interest in a vegetarian diet is not about the ecological factors or my love of our four legged friends (God love those selfless cows who gave me my fabulous brown leather boots). I simply don't enjoy the taste of meat and I feel much better when eating a "clean" diet with lots of veggies and fruits. On the other hand, my husband is a hard core carnivore and would rather gouge out his eyes with hot flaming sticks than give up meat. I refuse to make seperate meals so this is what keeps me from making the full "veg" committment. My husband travels quite a bit and when he is away, me and our children tend to eat a totally veg diet because it is my preference and I almost always feel better.

However, I wonder how it would impact me as a runner? Prior to being a regular runner, I didn't find a veg diet problematic but with these kinds of distances, I wonder if I might not be getting enough protien. Then I came across a Canadian superstar Brendan Brazier who is triathlete and ultra-marathon champ. He is a strong proponent for a plant based diet for all athletes and he really gave me a good prospective!

I also read a book that really gave me a HUGE push toward considering making the final plunge. It is called the China Study by Dr. T.Colin Campbell.

I strongly recommend anyone with even a mild interest in giving up Sam the Cow to read it. Even my husband had to give some considerations to how a meat eating diet impacts the Earth, the economy, and overall wellbeing of people.
I would love to hear how many of you are vegetarians, vegans or "other" - like me. I welcome your thoughts!
Happy Halloween!


*aron* said...

i am with you... i didnt eat meat at all for 8 years but now i eat chicken and turkey but thats about it. i have considered just giving it all up but sometimes its just easier to eat chicken.

Marci said...

I only eat poultry and fish. I would find it hard to give up on those for convenience by I do feel best when I eat mostly veg. How is your PF?

Nicole said...

I'm a full veghead. I did it after my passed away from breast cancer. I did a lot of research and found that eating a high fiber veg diet is the best way to decrease your risk for cancer. I have run 2 marathons since going veg and ran faster than when I ate chicken! You just have to learn about new sources of protein - beans, nuts, etc. the book looks interesting I might have to read it.

Neese said...

Hey there :) I've been called "reese" before by mistake lol.

Have you read the "Skinny Bitch" book?(NY times bestseller) it's similar in that you do not want to touch meat after you read it... I'll keep this one in mind... I'm a little behind on some other reads but will keep it in my radar

RunnerMom said...

Full on carnivore here. My hubby and I gave up red meat for about a year. Then we discovered filet mignon, medium rare, and we are red-meat carnivores again! I had borderline high cholesterol, and for me, the thing that lowered my cholesterol the most wasn't that year off of red meat, it was becoming a runner---my cholesterol dropped 40 points.

I do applaud vegetarians. I have no will power when it comes to food of any kind.

What about the iron factor? This month's Runner's World talked about how the iron in spinach and other greens isn't absorbed as well as iron in meat. I've read that many female runners are low in iron. How do veggie runners get enough iron?

Kim Hayworth said...

I love my Veggies, although red meat is a great source of protein... Which is essential.. Im not a big red meat eater I would love to eat chicken all the time but, I know my kiddos need the red meat... Its just a toss-up.... You get certain nutrients from different meats and veggies.... Id say as long as you have some meat and some veggies you are good.:)

Run Mommy said...

Great to hear all the comments! Thanks all!