The Results of My Foray into Vegetarianism

You know, I love strawberries, but one of the things that I hate about them is that you have 53 hours or fewer to eat all of them out of the fridge before they start molding. I know, I know. You’re like me, and you have to ignore your doubts about snorting fridge mold. Or not. Work with me. I didn’t sleep much last night. Anyway, keeping fruit this time of year is a struggle, and now I have a crop of those stupid fruit flies that are hovering around the bananas.

I’m glad as hell that I did the juice fast before it got really hot outside. I don’t know how fruit flies appear, but it’s like once late June rolls around, they materialize if you have more than two pieces of fruit in the house. I steadily had 20+ pounds of fruits and vegetables on the counter during the juice fast. Given that info, I wouldn’t recommend starting in July or August.

The juice fast encouraged me to give vegetarianism a try. I have been doing it for about two months, so I feel like I can comment now on the results. Drumroll…

It wasn’t all that.

Let’s start with what I liked. I liked that I cooked more and had to learn more recipes. I tried to lean vegan, and cutting out dairy was interesting. I learned some interesting stuff about substitutions, and I’m pumped about that, especially the processed sugar substitutes. I also like that I seem to have generally less body odor when I’m not eating meat. That seems to be a real thing, at least for me, and I am scent-sensitive. The third thing, which is not unimportant, is that it is way easier to be something resembling kosher when you don’t have to worry about meat prep. Being kosher or even kosher lite, which is the best-case scenario for me, is tough, particularly with the stove and sink. So that’s the good.

The bad really came out where the rubber meets the road: I didn’t lose much weight.

Yes, I lost some, but it came strictly from calorie-counting, which is really tough to do accurately unless you drag scales and cups around with you, which I am unwilling to do, frankly. Carbs are less filling than fat and protein, and when you’re eating vegetarian, you’re making do with more carbs than protein and fat. Yes, you can get enough protein to be healthy as a vegetarian, but no, it will not satiate hunger in the same way that steak will. Unfortunately, I am super-enthusiastic about carb-heavy foods, and I can overeat them pretty easily, unless I’m only eating raw fruits and vegetables, which I am honestly unwilling to do for extended periods. I eat fruits and vegetables every day, to be sure, but I want more than that.

I follow Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes on Twitter, and if you’re a fitness buff and into bootstrap motivation, he’s your man. He’s a dancer and lifter, and he’s blunt as hell. I adore him. He routinely recommends two books, Deep Nutrition and The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie. I bought both last week and am about halfway through both, and about 10 pages in, I remembered why I used to be such a huge advocate of low carb diets. They work.

I went back to Low-Carbistan last week, and I lost about 10 pounds in seven days. I took off the modest poundage I put on and water I retained from my friend’s house last weekend, and I dropped below my lowest weight doing the vegetarian thing on Friday night, despite having a couple of beers and a couple of cookies at a party. My weekend schlub pants, which were tight at one point, are becoming loose. I mean, the pounds are melting back off.

I have done the Schwarzbein Diet in the past, more commonly known as Somersizing, and I loved it and had great success with it. I don’t have any particular recommendations on which low carb diet to follow, though. I know some people are Paleo all the way, some like keto, some folks are on the Atkins bandwagon, and I honestly don’t make much distinction between them, at this point. I find that the weight keeps coming off if I stick to eating protein and fat and nothing but during the week with allowance for a modest cheat over the weekend – very modest. A little cheat does not seem to hurt, but it would seem that a full-on Faturday does not work well for me.

Everyone is different. Our bodies all tolerate carbs differently, and some of us are more prone to weight gain than others. I do not tolerate carbs well. I never have. I can maintain and lose weight eating low carb, but it is nearly impossible for me to do that long-term on a carb-heavy diet. My body just packs on the pounds when I eat carbs, especially wheat-based products. It should come as no surprise that, like everyone really, I operate best on a whole food diet with emphasis on meat. 

There are downsides to being more carnivorous. The first is the cost. Meat is expensive. The second is that I do have some (self-imposed) restrictions, in that I do not eat any pork products, which unfortunately eliminates some easy-to-make options like sausage and bacon. This is hardly a huge deal, but beef can get pretty expensive pretty fast. The second, as I mentioned above, is the preparation issue, which is not an issue for most folks. Keeping stuff separate and not being able to eat any cheese with meat is a pain, really. You get used to it, but I will always love cheese with certain dishes, and I can’t have that anymore.

So. My recommendation on diets is to aim for low carb. That’s my recommendation, and nobody has to listen to a thing I say. Vegetarianism was not right for me. I know that many people do it for years and years and have great success with it and can be excellent athletes with it and keep their weight down. It is not that diet for me. I suspect far more endurance athletes go hard on the protein, and since that’s my eventual aim and since my body responds better to foods that cause little to no insulin response, I am going to aim in that direction for the long-term.

As a bonus report, I also did a crazy parasite cleanse with cloves, black walnut tincture, and wormwood. I read several articles about how most Americans have some form of parasites in their gut. I believe that, honestly, and I lived in Asia long enough that I figured I had surely picked up some gross stuff over there. I did the parasite cleanse shortly after I started the juice cleanse.

My personal result was that it was probably unnecessary. I know some folks have reported great results and some gnarly B.M.’s during parasite cleanses, but I think I got most of the bad shit out during the juice cleanse, which was rough enough on its own. I would honestly recommend just skipping the parasite cleanse and doing the juice cleanse. Unless you have had parasite issues, that will probably get you balanced back out. Make sure you eat a whole food-based diet, and you’ll be less likely to play host to oogly-booglies, anyway.

So what is my unsolicited advice? If you need to lose some poundage fast, detox, and reboot your metabolism, start with a juice cleanse. You can probably skip the parasite cleanse. Eating a protein-heavy, whole food diet is best. If you like not eating meat, go for it, you do you. Me? I’m going to stick with my slab of dead cow, thank-you-very-much! Happy eating, guys!