If you’ve read my other posts you probably know a frequent theme on my blog is my internal struggle between wanting so desperately to be a super ripped, lean bikini competitor….and wanting be a true vegan. I was always taught I could not be both and I’ve had that engrained in my brain for years. I’ve done loads of research to try and find anything that backs up the idea that it’s possible to do both. If I eat meat I feel bad. If I stop eating meat I convince myself I’ll never be lean again.
The major problem, if you aren’t familiar with competing, is that most competitors follow a very high protein diet (a minimum 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight) and because of that, they eat meat… A LOT of meat. Yes, of course, there are vegan sources of protein, but most are high in carbs, which is not ideal for getting lean (or is it?!). And yes, there are vegan competitors out there (mostly males) but they are few and far between and the ones you find will usually be the first to tell you it’s not easy. I would argue that I think it is easier for men than women, but that’s a whole other blog post.
But it’s a new year and I am determined. I refuse to eat meat even if I can’t get a six pack, but deep down I still want to look like a competitor so who better to prove it can be done than little old me? I officially cut out the meat (that was the easy part since for the most part I already had). I should say that in general I don’t and will never call myself vegan because to me that implies that you know the entire history of every single food you consume and product you use in your daily life and honestly, that’s not possible in this day and age (unless you grow your own food, make your own clothing, etc.). But I do use the word “vegan” on this blog a lot because it just makes life easier. For the most part people know what vegan means…it means you steer clear of eating animal stuff…and I do that. I just can’t write out “I try very hard to not harm animals inadvertently each day, but sometimes I eat at restaurants and don’t know if my food is truly vegan…and every now and then I will probably screw up and eat honey or cheese…and I don’t make sure every soap I use isn’t tested on animals…etc…” so I just say mostly vegan. I’m like 89.6% vegan on an average given day. “Imperfect mostly vegan” is probably more accurate. I might go with IMV from now on.
Anyway, long story short, I am steering clear of meat (obviously), eggs, fish and other blatant animal products like dairy. So I started up MyFitnessPal yet again and I tried desperately to hit my macros. For those who don’t know, macros is just short for macronutrients. Protein, carbs and fats are the 3 macros that are most important to any competitor and most of them will have a very good idea of how many they should consume daily. I pretty much know what my macros should be from years of research, working with several different trainers/coaches, and just experimenting with my own body. But everyone is different, so do your research if you have similar goals and aren’t sure of yours.
The good news is that I have zero problem getting all my carbs in (believe it or not this used to be hard for me!) and fats are always a breeze because I LOVE me some healthy fats. But every day, I have consistently come up short on protein. When I say protein, I mean “clean” protein sources and I am talking about eating 120+ grams per day. This is actually not a surprise given all of the anti-vegan competitor info I’ve read. Damn those meatheads! They were right. It is really hard to get enough protein as a vegan.
But wait! It’s actually not that hard. It just takes way more effort and creativity than it did as a meat eater, at least for me. I am NOT a fan of protein shakes, vegan or otherwise, and there is just no way around them at this point which is unfortunate. I really hate choking down fluids of any kind (except wine and margaritas and by choke I mean voluntarily inhale at a rapid speed). I am picky about protein. I want my protein powder to not only mix well, taste good and be made of a handful of super clean ingredients, but also provide me a solid 25 grams of protein in one shake. THAT, my friend, is tough. I can’t be the only one with this problem.
So on that note, I’ve decided to do a comparison of every vegan/vegetarian protein powder I can find and do a blog post on it. It is hard to find sample sizes and I really don’t want to buy entire containers, so I’ll do the best I can with what I can find. I am super excited to review them because I really hope I find a good protein that I like and can use on my quest!