I have thought long and hard about competing again but finally decided to sign up for a fitness (specifically bikini) comp this June. I hired a training/nutrition coach and told her my concerns about eating meat: Basically, I want to compete without eating any meat.
So I will be following the typical strict diet of high protein, lots of veggies, etc…. except I’ll only be using fish, eggs and protein powder for my protein sources. No chicken, beef, pork or turkey. That means LOTS and LOTS of fish and eggs. Wild fish/seafood at least 2x per day and up to 15 egg whites per day (certified humane). I am also using Greek yogurt (from organic milk/pasture raised cows). I want to include environmentally sustainable and humane food sources as much as possible. This is pretty hard to do and extremely expensive! But it’s important.
Almost a year ago, I stopped eating meat altogether. I used to eat all of those all the time. I was really into the “bodybuilder” diet and I did the “high protein” thing for a very long time. My body was burned out and I started reading up on meat and where it came from and how eating it in excess was affecting me physically. I stopped eating it immediately.
Now that I know what I know about factory farming, environmental health, and health in general, I can’t get it out of my head. I loved bacon just as much as anyone but now I am just so leery of eating any meat. I have been eating fish on and off for the last year. I only recently started eating (certified humanely raised/treated) eggs again. I like the taste of fish (more so shellfish than regular fish) so it was the hardest protein source for me to give up. I know it sounds dumb but of all the meats to eat, it seems like the lesser of all the evils. I know fish are animals and I still feel guilty eating them, but I feel slightly less guilty eating them than I do a cow or pig.
So that’s what I’m doing. It’s going to be hard and probably make me a bit crazy but I’m determined to do this without adding more meat. Because eventually, I want to be able to prove that a comp diet doesn’t have to include meat AT ALL. So far, every fitness coach/trainer/competitor/model I’ve talked to says it can’t be done with at least eggs and fish. You have to have lean meats to get your protein without any carbs or fat. There isn’t a vegan food source that can accomplish that, except I suppose a vegan protein shake – but you’d literally have to live on those to cut. A vegan dietitian told me I’d definitely at least need eggs, so perhaps a vegetarian diet is doable. I definitely know you can build muscle and get lean as a vegan/vegetarian, but I haven’t seen proof that one can lean out enough to actually compete. Bodybuilding is not an endurance sport, so you’re not burning off calories and carbs the way you do with running or swimming or other aerobic activities. I have seen some male athletes/competitors who are very lean, but no females that look the way I would want to look. Females already face an uphill battle when it comes to muscle building so this just seems to add more difficulty. I plan to do more research to see if the protein intake really does have to be insanely high, whether changing up the workouts could possibly offset the excess calories/carbs a veg would get and if anyone has done this that I haven’t yet discovered. B
I’ll post more about it as I learn more. I definitely plan to experiment with this idea after my comp.