Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What? Deer Hunting and Vegan Eating?

I am amused at the folks who follow my facebook or my blog and are now confused about my stance on food and health. It really isn't that confusing...so, let me clear it up. First of all, it is important to understand that I view food as a science. I am always interested in how to get maximum results from nutrition. From the moment I read one of Jane Brody's nutrition books as a teenager, I was hooked on eating for performance.

I do not subscribe to a "diet" of any kind. I never have. My interest lies in nutritional habits and how they affect my life as an athlete and a woman. My typical day would normally include a large variety of nearly raw foods ( avocado, nuts, etc) and some lean protein. This fall I decided to see what would happen if I followed a Vegan lifestyle for a short period of time. I was just curious if it could be done, it if was appealing, and if I maintained athletic performance. What did I discover?

#1) I loved it and could live like that for the rest of my life.

#2) I experienced a large body fat loss. ( Not so great for me because I didn't have alot to lose)

#3) I never really felt tired. If anything, I felt invigorated.

#4) The ONLY negative that I experienced was a loss of muscle mass. In my world, I rely on my muscle for strength in every area, however, I am especially dependent on muscle mass to keep me from getting injured. Despite hemp protein, rice protein shakes and an impeccable menu, I could not seem to maintain the same level of muscular development that I was used to.

Overall, I thought the experience was great. I saw a huge benefit from giving up dairy. All said and done, I went over 60 days without animal protein. I will continue to leave dairy out of my menu. In addition, I will continue to focus on many raw foods for the base of my products. A few times per week, I will, however, add some lean animal protein sources back in.

So, the question of the deer? Well, considering that my Vegan Interest had absolutely nothing to do with animal rights activism, I have no problem consuming animal protein. I do, however, care very much about the source and the type of animal I eat. Organically ( preferably local) grown beef and chicken, ocean fish and/or lean wild game are at the top of my list. Obviously, deer is a great source of wild game lean protein. Many people are taken back by the concept of hunting and therefore decide they could never eat venison. My rebuttal to that would be that if they ever saw how the store bought meat was raised and butchered, they would be horrified. I encourage my friends to consider that meat doesn't start it's life in those neatly wrapped packages!

At the end of the day, my desire to eat vegan for a few months and my desire to hunt this year are all centered around the same concept: Finding the healthiest choices of food for both myself and my family.

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