What I ate on Day 1 of my vegan cut


^ Not a picture of me. I do not such fancy shoes.

I’m proud of my first day on the program, even though I did not do things perfectly.

For one, I totally forgot to do agility training. That’s a total of 5 extra minutes or so, so I’ll just tack it onto my Wednesday workout.

Even without agility, the workout took much longer than I expected.

I did my 100 calories of cardio on the spin bike, and it took close to 20 minutes. I understand those machines’ calorie trackers are basically bullshit (I could probably get a fitness tracker, which is slightly less bullshit when it comes to calorie burn), but still, 20 minutes on a spin bike versus 11 minutes on the stair climber and 12 minutes walking at an incline on the treadmill? That doesn’t seem right. Whatever. Point is the workout took a long-ass time, and I was later to work than usual. And I didn’t even do the whole workout (accidentally)! I’ll need to get up earlier, or work a bit more after hours, which is fine!

Food-wise, I did better than I expected. I didn’t hit my macros, which is not unsurprising considering this is my first time counting macros as a vegan. My consumption goals, you may recall, are 1,600 calories divvied up into 120g protein, 53g fat, and 160g carbs. I ended up with 108g protein, 62g fat, and 142g carbs. Not bad!

So over-fat, under-protein, under-carbs, and sliiightly under calories. Percentage goals were 40/30/30 (carbs/fat/protein). Yesterday’s percentages were 36/36/28.

So definitely room to improve, but I didn’t go to bed hungry and my macros were not a total disaster.

So a bit about me being over on my fat macros: the science of how dietary fat affects fat loss and muscle gain is, frankly, wildly unclear. One of the reasons is that nutritional studies very rarely look at “healthy” people. This is how proponents of every major diet fad can point to scientific studies and show the benefits of their diets. They don’t clarify that the study that shows major weight loss was conducted on people over the age of 85 in Patagonia.

(The keto/ultra-high-dietary-fat people are the worst about this. Many of the studies they point to are studies done on epileptic children. People are huge proponents because they have personally experienced fast weight loss from the diet, but much of that weight is water being held in the muscles, so those effects are largely reversed upon going back to a diet that is not 80 percent fat. BUT I DIGRESS.)

Having done a fair amount of research (I work at a science magazine after all), my overall impression is that the best macro distribution is the one that makes you feel satisfied while still meeting your calorie goals. If you’re trying to build muscle, there’s enough research out there to say that your protein levels should be relatively higher.

For bodybuilding performance, though, there’s a lot of research indicating that fat levels should be around 15-30 percent of total calories. This could be because its relatively easy for the body-machine to turn dietary fat into body fat, though the impact of that mechanism still seems speculative to me.

I chose to go 30 percent fat because, for me, higher fat means greater satisfaction and a lower likelihood of me feeling deprived. Plus, vegan protein sources often require the consumption of fat. I don’t have the option of housing 8 egg whites in a single setting.

Yes, there’s protein powder, but I’m a bit leery of pounding several shakes a day because many plant-based protein powders contain relatively high levels of heavy metals like arsenic and lead, and aren’t super transparent about that. It makes sense, considering you’re eating nutritionally dense powder made from stuff that grows directly in soil, but still. I’m leery. I’ll probably do another whole blog on this subject later on.

(I do plan on drinking one protein shake a day, though, to get my numbers. I just don’t want to drink 3 or 4.)

So anyway. I’m planning to do 30 percent fat. I went over that number. I’d like to do better, but also I’m not sweating it too much if my calories are on point.

Enough ramble!


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What I ate on July 23, 2018:

  • 6:30 a.m. — 17 oz water
  • 7:15 a.m. — 8 oz cold brew
  • 8 a.m. — 17 oz water (with lifting)
  • 9 a.m. — 17 oz water (with cardio and starting work)
  • 11 a.m. — 17 oz water with BCAAs
  • 11:30 a.m. — low-sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal packet, 15g powdered peanut butter, 5g vanilla protein powder
  • 2 p.m. — waited waaay too long to eat one serving (11 pieces) peanut-butter pretzels
  • 2:30 p.m. — Trader Joe’s frozen bean-and-corn enchilada, 85g broccoli slaw, 1 tbsp. carrot ginger miso dressing
  • 3 p.m. — 17 oz water
  • 5 p.m. — 8 oz coffee with 8 oz soy milk and 1/2 scoop of mocha protein powder. (Kind of gross but I’ll drink it until it’s gone. Won’t reorder.)
  • 6 p.m. — one serving (11 pieces) peanut-butter pretzels
  • 10 p.m. — after getting home from officiating practice 1 zucchini, ~6 olives, ~1/4c olive brine, and one entire package of Gardein Chick’n Strips (southwest “flavor”), 1 tbsp of Daiya ranch dressing.
  • 10:30 p.m. — 17 oz water

Total calories: 1495. Total ounces of water: 102.

OK that’s it!


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