My experiences after going on a two-week vegan escapade couldn’t be more reaffirming of the general conclusions that I’ve come to over my several years of study. It’s certainly worth sharing and pondering now that I’ve had some time to let the whole experience digest.
Although I certainly enjoyed stirring things up in the low-carb community, pointing out many of the ways in which low-carb dogma is an oversimplification of human biology, I am left with little doubt that damage is done while pursuing vegan diets. Of course, I haven’t doubted this for years – and have relegated such diets to short-term fasts at the most.
But consider my typical dieter’s consequences after doing the nutritarian-vegan thing:
1) It took me 14 days to lose 5.5 pounds, and 6 days to gain it back. I actually went on to gain 22 pounds in less than 60 days, my weight peaking about 13 pounds above its all-time high at 194.5 pounds. Continuing to eat to appetite on a mixed diet this weight has slowly been peeling off at about 2 pounds per month since January 1. Current weight 187 pounds – 7.5 pounds lost in the first 4 months of the year. My weight changes have patterned weight changes during and after calorie-restriction to perfection.
2) My skin is worse on my regular diet now than it was before going on a vegan diet.
3) I am more interested in alcohol after the vegan diet than I was before it – where I didn’t think about alcohol, much less drink it for months prior (increase in addictive eating behavior).
4) I am far more constipated after the vegan diet than I was before it. Only now are my bowels re-achieving perfection.
5) My appetite has been simply off the charts. This was particularly true for the first couple of days, but I fixed this by obeying my hunger.
The only true improvement that is better after the vegan diet is my digestion of beans and fiber in general. I did have some bloating attributable to my slower-moving post-vegan bowels for the first 5-7 days, but all is well now.
I do deeply regret not having better pre-vegan blood glucose data though. After overfeeding for about ten days now, my glucose response is almost superhumanly low. I’ve been focusing mostly on postprandial glucose response. My insulin sensitivity is so high it’s almost hard to believe.
My lowest test yet was in response to my breakfast this morning. I consumed roughly 2 cups of brown rice (cooked volume), ½ stick of butter, 3 whole eggs, a handful each of spinach, snow peas, and mushrooms – and my 1-hour postprandial was 86 mg/dl. Not too shabby.
The other day, on a similar meal – 6 ounce hamburger patty (73% lean, which is extremely fatty) with heavily-buttered mashed potatoes and spinach cooked in bacon grease I had only reached 91 mg/dl at the 1-hour post-meal mark.
The highest test I’ve had was a 114 mg/dl test after gobbling up 3 big slices of pepperoni pizza (refined carbohydrate, hint hint).
These meals aren’t terribly different in calories or macronutrients from my infamous Famous Dave’s eating spree following two vegan weeks. However, eating vegan for two weeks prior gave me a glucose response of 170-something, a number I suspect I’m incapable of reaching after being back on my normal diet for a while.
So you be the judge. Is a vegan diet good because I had low fasting glucose levels? Or is it sinister for causing me to have a poorer glucose response to normal food?
I think it’s probably just like calorie restriction. You lose weight, you feel good at first, your digestion is better, your skin is clearer, you have verifiable improvements in disease markers – but returning to normal food seems to be almost catastrophic. And you will, of course, return to normal food because you crave it more and more by the day just like I did while eating vegan.
Vegan diet = appearance of success in the short-term and detriment in the long-term (but I’m sure it beats the typical SAD of Coke, candy bars, ice cream, cookies, and doughnuts combined with an otherwise wholesome diet.
The vegan diet has one and only purpose, and that is to provide relief for very serious, imminent, and urgent health conditions. And just because it may in many cases achieve results, doesn’t mean that it is the most prudent strategy, or the only strategy, to enhance health. Any form of fasting will have similar results, including food-combining, bariatric surgery, and more.
Sorry little fella…