I've given some thought to scheduling my diet experiments this year around my training schedules. I love making myself a guinea pig for you so you can get an honest appraisal of what it's like to follow these diet schemes. The first one I'll be doing starts tomorrow actually so stay tuned for videos and posts. I'll be doing intermittent fasting, which essentially is eating within an 8 hour window each day. The plan is to do this for two weeks. I'll get into details in my next post.
I'm starting a new training block in which I've registered for a lot of shorter road races with my ultimate goal being a 5K and 10K race in April. Once those are done and I'm not being as careful of my diet I'm going to experiment with something that I've panned in the past and avoided because it's just plain bad for you. A junk food vegan diet. After my 10K race I'm going to embark on a two week highly processed, sugary, packaged typical vegan junk food diet. I'll track whatever health markers I can and write about how I feel. It's my hope that it goes terribly wrong and I can convince you to adopt a whole foods plant based diet rather than simply replacing your Standard American Diet with a processed vegan one. I AM DREADING THIS EXPERIMENT.
Then, another diet that I'm not crazy about, the Ketogenic diet is going to dominate my early marathon training block in June. While I'm not a fan of high fat diets for various reasons, there is some interesting science around the benefits early in a training block in having the body adapt to fat burning. The twist is that I'll be doing this without animal foods, so a ketogenic vegan diet. Again, I'm dreading this one. I love a balanced diet, including high quality carbs, proteins and fats and have never seen the sense in hyper-focusing on one macro nutrient.
As mentioned above, look for 2018 to be a banner year for plant based diets with more options appearing in the grocery aisles as well as on restaurant menus. In particular younger people are adopting this way of eating for environmental, health or ethical reasons. It gives me hope for the future and makes me enthusiastic to keep content coming for this website. It will be nice for society to finally learn the term "plant-based" rather than vegan and for the veg-curious to have more options as they experiment with more vegetables on their plate.
The Alberta Environment Minister recently found herself in hot water after tweeting that people should "eat less meat." This one appears to be a case of a good tweet that landed some serious opposition from the cattle industry. For those of you that don't know, Alberta is like the Texas of Canada where ranching is a way of life. It's essentially political suicide for that government minister to suggest people eat less meat. I believe she meant what she tweeted, saw the backlash and blamed a staffer. Let's hope one day we see bravery from government to do the right thing even in the face of corporate backlash.
Back to Ketogenic news the diet recently ranked last place in a survey of dietary experts scoring low for long-term weight loss success, ease of use (basically compliance, I mean who wants to eat fat 24/7 and less than 100g of carbs a day??) and overall impact on long-term health. I know the diet is exploding in popularity this year, but it's one that I'll be thankful to see in the rearview mirror similar to Atkins or South Beach diets in the past. Humans love to believe that eating obsessive amounts of one macro-nutrient and limiting others will solve all their problems. My hope is that if you are reading this blog you've realized the fallacy in that logic.
PETA did what PETA does best recently and caused a shit-storm of controversy by suggesting that we need a Meat Tax similar to what we do with cigarettes. Essentially they argue that as animal agriculture is horrible for the environment and meat consumption is bad for health (and therefore a burden on tax funded health care) we should tax it's sale. PETA is excellent at publicity stunts and this one seems designed simply to get people talking. In that regard it's a huge success as the backlash on social media is rampant. While I don't always approve of PETA's tactics this one falls under the notion that there is no such thing as bad publicity. We saw the huge backlash of the What the Health documentary last year and yet the show prompted a lot of people to try a plant-based diet. While the overwhelming response to a meat tax seems to be "keep your vegan hands off my steak" at least it moved the dial in bringing the conversation forward. If something like this were to be considered it would probably suffice to remove taxpayer subsidies from the meat and dairy industry and let the market determine the price. If that were to happen Big Mac's would be $10 and a jug of milk would double in price. Let's subsidize broccoli.
Watch this page for my intermittent fasting experiment. Also I'll be posting some recipes I've wanted to share. Thanks for reading.