Amazingly, in the year 2017, there are still people who still assume vegans don’t get enough protein. They should just take a look at me then.
For the first time in the 4 and a half years I’ve been a vegan, and more than a year of being a vegetarian before that, I can no longer fit into my size 31 pants, which is the size I moved down to when I converted to the plant-based lifestyle. Even size 32 is becoming an issue now.
It would be one thing if I never exercised, but that’s clearly not the case. I have been very vocal about how for years now, I have been mountain biking, walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day, doing pull-ups, and even adding skateboarding to the mix this year.
Plus, all this summer, I have been running 2 miles, at least twice a week; even in 93 degree weather or rain.
Even this past Saturday while our family was on fall vacation, I ran down and then back up the mountain our cabin was on (the equivalent of 2 miles), without ever stopping. Later, I saw a very muscular guy who looked younger than I am, attempting to run the same course, but he had to stop to walk.
I’m healthy and I’m physically fit, especially for a 36 year-old… but I’m also gaining weight.
For a guy who consumes 0% of his daily cholesterol allowance, and who gets all his protein and nutrients from simply vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, it would be easy to believe that a guy like me would have no issues with my pants no longer fitting.
Clearly, I’m getting enough protein. And enough exercise.
The fundamental problem? I’m simply consuming more calories than my body actually needs; even with all the exercise and my 0% cholesterol vegan lifestyle.
If I am to get back to size 31, I suppose it’s a matter of deliberately changing my lifestyle again, in addition to remaining vegan and continuing my regular exercise routine:
- Eating smaller meals and not going back for seconds.
- Not having vegan desserts anymore, like cashew ice cream and vegan chocolate bars.
- Eating whole fruit after dinner, to take the place of going back for seconds or dessert.
- Using balsamic vinegar for salad dressing again, so I can further cut out oils from my diet.
- Nearly nixing alcohol intake all together.
I am currently 167 pounds, which nearly puts me in the “overweight” category. I am 3 pounds away from being overweight. I am not okay with this. For me, it’s an attack on my identity. I have control over my weight… my weight doesn’t control me. I don’t have to settle for an expanding waistline just because, “This is just what happens when you start getting older.”
It’s funny because, in theory, I don’t eat a lot anyway:
My homemade smoothie and black coffee in the morning, my oatmeal or vegan ramen noodles at lunch, and a solid meal at dinner consisting of whatever Italian or Mexican dish my wife prepares along with a dark green salad. And the equivalent of a glass of wine or two.
No meat, no fish, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no yogurt.
But it’s time to reduce my intake, so that I can also reduce my waist size and comfortably fit into my size 31 pants again.
I am not a victim. I am victorious. I shall overcome!
So yeah… I think it’s safe to say that as a vegan, I’m getting enough protein.