I’ve been doing crossfit for just over two years now. It’s a fantastic workout, but the crossfit industry consistently pushes a Paleo (also known as caveman) diet. As a vegan of over 15 years who performs very well in both strength and endurance, I’ve been suspicious of the hype around the idea that I need to eat muscle to become muscular. After all, I’ve gained about 20 lbs in muscle since starting crossfit without eating any animal protein.
A new 2014 study from the International Journal of Exercise Science should cause some alarm for the heart health of those following a Paleo diet:
“Our results demonstrate that an ad libitum unrestricted Paleo diet intervention is associated with deleterious changes to blood lipids in healthy subjects, despite concurrent improvements in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness.”
Similar to Atkins (but with better marketing) the Paleo diet definitely appeals to a machismo that we associate with the caricature of a caveman, but even the American Dietetic Association considers it a fad diet, and as more studies documenting the long-term health consequences of diets like these are published in scientific journals, we have the option of rationalizing the aesthetic appeal of a diet like this, or the option of making changes in response to concrete findings.
This is what the Plantbuilt team of 100% vegan athletes looks like, photographed in Austin, Texas this year. Derek Tresize (right of center, back row) just went pro after taking 1st place in Men’s Physique at the Naturally Fit Super Show this past July 2014. Ed Bauer (front right) is a crossfit athlete and coach as well.
According to Forbes, former Vice President and environmentalist filmmaker Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) has done, for at least a few months now, what a lot of leaders who are concerned with any combination of the environment, animals and their health have done – he’s embraced a vegan diet. The article that revealed his new diet was about Hampton Creek Foods, creators of Just Mayo, Eat The Dough, and other products that utilize an exciting futuristic egg successor that is being invested in by the like of Bill Gates. In the article, Forbes says: “Newly turned vegan Al Gore is also circling,”.
This was the first mention of Gore’s switch to veganism, and since then it’s caused a flurry of press and speculation from the LA Times and NPR, to HuffPo and The Washington Post. While none of the articles themselves are scathing, one quick look at the comments section reveals a lot of people who think Gore is bananas, if not evil. “Don’t read the comments,” they say. But whenever a powerful male goes vegan and it makes the news, the haters seem to crawl out and launch into a flurry of what can be sorted out as: defense of mainstream masculinity, climate-change denial, pseudo-expert study citations, anger at the Clinton administration (Bill aspires toward a plant-based diet), proclamations for their love of meat, and general resistance to change. So in this case, if you want to LOL, do read the comments. Here are some of my favorite Gore-Hater comments from the last few days:
For only 24 hours, dudes and anyone into menswear will get a huge 50% off their orders for VAUTE coats! If you’d rather check the new samples out in person first, this very limited run of sustainable, vegan, made-in-NYC coats can be seen this week and weekend at the VAUTE shop in Brooklyn. (Psst, the model is Christopher, one-half of the famed Dun-Well Doughnuts… so yes, you can eat tons of award-winning vegan doughnuts and still be a model.)
• Designers John Bartlett and Ruthie Davis have collborated, as WWD reported, on a small range of very cool vegan shoes. Two unisex sneakers and one women’s pump featuring Bartlett’s signature Tiny Tim print will hit the designers respective online stores this January. Ten percent of sales will go to Bartlett’s Tiny Tim Rescue Fund, which provides resources to organizations that help treat and find homes for shelter animals.
• Speaking of very cool vegan shoes, designer Stephanie Fryslie of the line Nicora Johns is hand-making some rad vegan kicks (Modeled above by AFI front man Davey Havok) in Los Angeles with a focus on bringing jobs back here to the US of A. Fryslie is currently raising funds to launch her production via Kickstarter, so check it out!
• Former President Bill Clinton is in the news again advocating a vegan diet. In a recent interview with AARP, Clinton stated that, after being a vegan for over three years:
“I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn’t want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather,” says Clinton. “So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”
…”the way we consume food and what we consume” are driving the unsustainable level of health care spending in America. To truly change the conditions that lead to bad habits and poor health, he warns, “we have to demand it by changing the way we live. You have to make a conscious decision to change for your own well-being, and that of your family and your country.”