Trying to get shredded being a fake vegan? 6 tips to help

[Ben]

March 1, 2020

Behold, I write this so that you can profit from the misery I endured for an entire month. Middle class problems.


Apparently one third of Britons have stopped or are actively reducing the meat consumption according to this article from The Guardian. With one in eight either being full Vegan or fake Vegan (Vegetarian).

It really is all the rage at the moment isn’t it?

Everywhere you look there is a new shop opening up which is either Vegetarian or Vegan in some capacity.

Who ever thought Vegan shoes would be a thing?

It could be due to some alleged health benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease, lower LDL, blood pressure, type II diabetes and cancer (1)

Credit: https://makeameme.org/meme/first-rule-of-yemh3t

It’s not exactly a bad thing I hasten to add, so don’t get the pitchforks out just yet.

There are numerous great reasons why moving to a plant based diet is good for both ourselves and the planet. Oh and the animals, poor animals.

Or not according to these loose cannons who give 0 shits.

Before I go any further

....It really is worth addressing the varying descriptions / labels that have been assigned to groups of people who eat different foods. After all where on earth would we be without stereotyping? (2)

Vegan - This diet eliminates meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products, as well as other animal-derived products, such as honey

Plant Based – This diet focused on eating whole fruits and vegetables, consuming lots of whole grains, and avoiding the intake of animal products and processed foods for health reasons. (2)

Vegetarian - Vegetarians abstain from the consumption of all animal flesh products, like red meat, fish and poultry

Pescatarian - This diet abstains from eating all meat and animal flesh (like red meat and poultry) with the exception of fish

Flexitarian - This includes people who eat mostly vegetarian but occasionally eat meat which includes red meat, poultry, seafood and fish

Macrobiotic - The diet is about achieving balance in your life through food choices. Macrobiotic dieters are encouraged to eat regularly, chew their food thoughtfully, listen to their bodies, be active and maintain a positive mental outlook (don’t worry this was also news to me)

Blood Thirsty Heathen / Wankers – Someone who eats meat. Sinner.

If you want to read the full descriptions then you can follow this link (but come right back).

Don't get angry just yet...

Before you locate my IP Address and actual house address, batter my social media with vitriol and post faecal matter to my family, let me just explain.

So like every other middle class Londoner in January I attempted and successfully completed a Vegetarian diet.

I wanted to try to reduce my carbon footprint and prove to the naysayers that I didn’t have an over reliance on chicken.

God I love chicken so much.

Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmemegenerator.net%2Finstance%2F25233121%2Ffat-asian-kid-get-me-some-fucking-chicken-i-love-chicken&psig=AOvVaw2wgjvgxB840hdaUHjPe5Ra&ust=1583137306711000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA0QjhxqFwoTCOi-wZzs-OcCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

If I could avoid meat, fish, chicken and processed meats whilst remaining in relatively good shape and help reduce my emissions then I am basically Clark Kent.

From the start I hit some problems:

• I couldn’t eat enough protein without relying on protein shakes (vegan of course)

I could not stop farting (literally sounded like a brass band)
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
• Food choices, whilst being better, are still pretty limited

• Meal ideas were basically non existent

• Getting in enough calories to sustain an active lifestyle was hard

Why does it take so long for Tofu to drain??

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I was pretty close to ditching it at the early stages, there really is only so much ‘Mexican Flavoured Mixed Beans’ from Tesco on top of a 6 egg omelette one can consume before depression really sinks in. Never the less I persevered.

So what where the staples in my diet:

• Eggs (lots of them)
• Protein Powder (Vegan)
• Low Fat Mozzerella
• Bakes Beans
• Mixed Beans (most types of beans)
• Chickpeas
• Spinach
• The entire Linda McCartney range
• Quorn products
• Tofu

As you can see there is not much versatility and variety in that which ironically didn’t make it the most sustainable method of eating for me to be on.

Rule 1 of any new habit / goal – make it enjoyable!

(James Clear, Atomic Habits)

Now before we get caught up in the debate of how much protein we need vs what we are told by everyone who has an opinion, let’s remember here that my specific goal was to simply just maintain the status quo.

Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/vegan/comments/f8kx7k/just_a_reminder_that_us_vegans_need_protein_too/

I did not set out to get super lean and shredded via a meat free diet


However I did note what happened and the end result of the above diet:

• Physique didn’t change except a slight increase in fluffiness

• Energy didn’t change drastically although digestion felt easier after bigger meals

• I went to the toilet more frequently (to fart mainly)

• I was deficient in Zinc, Omega 3’s and Vitamin D (I didn’t supplement and didn’t take a baseline measurement)

Life was pretty dull when it came to dinner time due to my inability to cultivate new ideas

The benefit of this experience was that I really had to think about sustainable ways of eating that would actually have some longevity.

Credit: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/180144053817553198/

So, if you are not too fussed about being strictly Vegan but want to reduce your meat consumption whilst aiming to get lean (lots of individual goals here) then we have a few tips and tricks you can apply to maximise your chances;

1. You apply moderation


You can interchange your meals between meat and plant based alternatives (5:2 ratio)

  • A few studies support the idea that allowing yourself a proportion of time to do what you want Vs being restricted eliminates the likelihood of a complete ‘yoyo’ effect.
  • It’s also less likely to trigger the rebound effect leading to you just gorging on meat (4).
  • Start with this approach and over time you can gradually increase the ratio of meat free days
  • 2. Switch to a Vegan protein powder


  • There are some pretty decent products in the market at the moment. I’d recommend:
    1. https://store.awesomesupplements.co.uk/products/vegan-protein

      https://www.theproteinworks.com/vegan-protein

    It is a bit more expensive but you can’t have everything in life.

    3. Ditch the red meat.

    After all, unless you are buying quality, organic and ethically reared produce from your local butcher, does it even taste that great?

    4. Increase your intake of the Branched Chain Amino Acid - Leucine


  • Studies have repeatedly shown that leucine is able to reliably increase muscle protein synthesis when combined with intensive resistance training and an adequate nutrition plan
  • It also appears to be more effective at promoting gains in muscle in people with lower dietary protein intake (Vegans)
  • It has also been shown to aid visceral fat loss and allow maintenance of a high level of performance (perfect for shredding Vegans) (5)
  • What veggie foods are high in Leucine?

  • Tofu
  • Navy Beans
  • Seeds
  • Low Fat Cheese
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Soy Beans
  • 5. If you haven’t already, drop the processed meats as a snack

  • They are packed with salt and loaded with preservatives

  • The general nutrient profile is low and the protein quality terrible (6)

  • Also, let’s face it the animal it came from didn’t enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.
  • Alternatives include:

  • High protein yoghurts
  • Protein bars
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Low Fat Cheese

    6. Supplement with Creatine


    If you participate in weight training, physical exercise or competitive sports then supplementing with Creatine is probably gonna be a good time.

  • Creatine is one of the very few supplements that has actually been proven with statistically significant data to increase muscle mass and strength (when combined with an effective training plan & nutrition)

  • Creatine is produced by the body naturally but can also be obtained through eating meat

  • Studies have shown that those who do not eat meat tend to have a lower amount of Creatine within their muscles (7)

  • So if you’re going to go meat free (in fact even if you don’t intend to go meat free) make sure your supplement with Creatine otherwise you will become weak and pathetic.

  • So there you go!

    If you’re thinking about pretending to be a Vegan or Vegetarian and worried you are going to shrivel up, apply some of those tips and lifestyle changes just to get started.

    If you read that and thought “Great, can’t wait to get shredded” but don’t know where to start. Go to our Macro Calculator and see what your starting point is:

    Your own personal macronutrient calculator!

    Ben

    References:

    1. Marsh K, Zeuschner C, Saunders A. Health implications of a vegetarian diet: a review. Am J Life Med. 2012;6:250–267. doi: 10.1177/1559827611425762
    2. https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/vegan-flexitarian-vegetarian-pescatarian-and-macrobiotic-diets--whats-the-difference/
    3. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/plant-based-diet-vs-vegan-diet_n_5923374fe4b034684b0ebff0?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9jb25zZW50LnlhaG9vLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAACe4WWnPHQC5PxSB2bNe7o8auC-DJYKHENGaadPNHeaTAzF2sjOFwRLvouYonVTVpdetsYLcx2cerrn26_XrvJ1UEG_Ay267EJYLnzGtRNa07HrBwhgGhkxNic4Ueph0L26tT7uxm9VquNyf6ZWwKeqFcMF4QYQTLj99tYejk9IS
    4. The Fast Diet. (2020). Welcome to 5:2 intermittent fasting » The Fast Diet. [online] Available at: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/ [Accessed 26 Feb. 2020].
    5. A, M. (2020). Leucine supplementation and intensive training. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10418071
    6. Soladoye, O., Juárez, M., Aalhus, J., Shand, P. and Estévez, M. (2020). Protein Oxidation in Processed Meat: Mechanisms and Potential Implications on Human Health.
    7. Burke DG, e. (2020). Effect of creatine and weight training on muscle creatine and performance in vegetarians. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14600563 [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

    2 Thoughts to “Trying to get shredded being a fake vegan? 6 tips to help”

    1. Stephen Crockett

      Great article mate. Really useful. Would you recommend any supplements aside from creatinine and making sure you get enough leucine when you have a relatively meat free diet?
      Also- cooking tofu, can get some bangin pre marinated ones, like one from a company called ‘cauldron’. Otherwise super hot oil Is the only way I can get it to taste nice!

      1. GramFitness

        Hey Stephen,

        We would always suggest; a basic multivitamin to cover all bases, a fish oil to cover off your EPA’s, Omega 3’s and DHA’s, Protein Powder in which ever format to suit your requirements.

        Great idea on marinated tofu – plain tofu can take a lot of effort for minimum reward!

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