The NYT had an article about vegan bodybuilders this week: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/sports/vegans-muscle-their-way-into-bodybuilding.html
These guys aren't huge, but are still in great shape.
How does the paleo viewpoint explain the existence of these strong vegans?
My reaction is pretty much the same as my reaction to religion. If it works for them, fine. Just don't try to foist it on me (through a fat tax or meatless Mondays, etc).
These guys aren't eating like the yoga-going-whole-foods vegan. They eat lots of concentrated vegan protein powders and stuff like that. I alway think if you're going through that much trouble, then just have a steak because cows are really just concentrated vegan protein. Let them do the work of turning the plants into food.
I've read more than one bodybuilder call BS on vegan bodybuilders. Some of them try to pass off something like 90/10 veganism as veganism (i.e. gorging with some regularity on animal protein).
Props to them for at least thinking about their health as opposed to solely their physiques, but it's wrong-headed.
I'd really like to see their lab work regarding markers of inflammation, CRP especially. I somehow doubt they are nurturing their body on a cellular level, despite aesthetics.
And this is just a theoretical stab in the dark, but I'd bet they have to work a bit harder for those results, leaving them with higher cortisol levels.
Well, I can enjoy viewing a neighborhood but it doesn't mean I want to buy a house there.
Before forming an opinion, I'd want to talk to physicians who are treating significant numbers of people who have followed such a regime long term. By long term, I mean 15 years or more, meaning most vegans and vegetarians don't qualify. I apply a strict standard because, unlike ancestral eating, there's no built-in environmental/reproductive testing for the plant-only lifestyles. What will their middle age look like? How healthy/robust are their children?
You'll note I'm not rejecting their assertions, although I do refute their assumption that their lifestyle is kinder to the environment/wildlife. Based on my own standard, they could still prove me wrong. After all, I must remember Jack LaLane. :-))
Ask them if they know whether their physique is attributed to their diet, or was achieved IN SPITE OF their diet. They probably had to work twice as hard as the average meat-eating BB in order to achieve their results.
Classic difference between causation and correlation. Neither Paleo nor Vegan cause someone to look like a body builder. Im guessing here - but it's my belief that maybe 1% (but probably MUCH less) of bodybuilders are Vegan, and probably 10-20% are 'Paleo', the rest fall some where in the middle with most of them 50%+ consuming Oatmeal for breakfast, etc. Oatmeal, despite the fact that most likely more than 50% of them consume it, does not cause one to look like a bodybuilder either.
My guess with how they manage is that they are squandering the genetic health their forebears handed down to them.
Dr. Catherine Shanahan talks about this in her book, Deep Nutrition. Now, I ain't a scientist so I'm not sure how watertight her theory is, but essentially, by eating non-optimally, we're all wasting that inheritance. The first generation to do so isn't necessarily as affected, but each subsequent generation will degrade further and further. This makes sense to me anecdotally, since we're seeing obesity ever younger these days. When I was in second grade, there were exactly two fat kids and now? * Shudder *
Thank goodness for epigenetics! I hope I'm switching on some good stuff now.
I'd love to see how long they can keep it up.
You can be pretty strong as a vegan, or at least some people can. But it's just not optimal, anybody who goes vegan in order to become strong and build muscle is misinformed, because our muscles don't produce optimal amounts of various nutrients found in red meat that have an effect on muscle function. Creatine, carnosine and its precursor beta-alanine, carnitine, and various other nutrients are a boon to performance, no question about it. Now if you were to take a fist-full of supplements maybe it would be as good, but then again maybe it wouldn't, it's hard to rationalize taking supplements in order to remedy a disadvantage created by eliminating a food that one thinks is detrimental.
As for the -other- vegans, good luck to them, but they would still probably do better with eating some meat, what's more important, an ideology that gets you nothing other than more opportunities to feel smug or your body? Ultimately individual value judgements, but just how subjective are these values to begin with?
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