Eat Meat.

One of the things we have had to do over the last month or so is go as close to zero carbs as possible. This is not driven by my issues, but my beloved’s. She reacts, like Paul Saladino, to almost everything, and cutting out phytoproteins has made a difference to her.

The problem here is me. I like vegetables. I like nuts. I’m more comfortable with low carb/paleo. But going to this extreme has made a significant difference to her. What I’m noticing is I’m now seeing adverse reactions when I eat things that I used to think were bad for us.

This reminds me of when we experimented for a couple of weeks by going meat free. My metabolic issues got way, way worse and my joints began to ache. The beloved was miserable. So, in short, plants — at least in NZ — are bad for us. We are giving our garden produce to those who can eat it.

Meat is not just high in protein. It is also a source of many nutrients that are simply not available in plants. Meat provides B12, highly absorbable heme iron, preformed vitamins, all the essential amino acids, zinc, EPA, DHA, vitamin D, and vitamin K2, none of which are found in plant foods. Plants provide important antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. We need this variety of nutrients to survive. Compared to rice and beans or other plant proteins, red meat contains more vitamins and minerals per gram of protein. In order to get 30g of protein, you could eat about 200 calories of beef or about 700 calories of beans and rice.

Vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods and is essential for neural development. Other vitamins and minerals that are found in both meat and plants are usually in their most absorbable form when eating from animals. This includes iron, zinc, vitamin A, calcium and essential fatty acids. Even though chicken and beef are both quality sources of protein, beef simply blows chicken away in the nutrient department. It has significantly more B12, zinc, choline, iron, and potassium. Meat contains heme iron, the most absorbable type of iron. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common mineral deficiency in the United States. In terms of micronutrients, chicken only has more B3 than beef. Recommendations that ask people to reduce beef intake and replace it with chicken or vegetables are essentially asking them to reduce the nutrient quality of their diets.

There are those who argue that athletes, particularly ancient athletes, were vegetarians. They were. But they were not expected to live long, and being fat helped you survive fights.

I’m not interested in that. I want, God willing, to be around long enough to see my children have children. Being fat does not help with that.

Contemporary accounts of gladiator life sometimes refer to the warriors as hordearii–literally, “barley men.” Grossschmidt and collaborator Fabian Kanz subjected bits of the bone to isotopic analysis, a technique that measures trace chemical elements such as calcium, strontium, and zinc, to see if they could find out why. They turned up some surprising results. Compared to the average inhabitant of Ephesus, gladiators ate more plants and very little animal protein. The vegetarian diet had nothing to do with poverty or animal rights. Gladiators, it seems, were fat. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates, such as barley, and legumes, like beans, was designed for survival in the arena. Packing in the carbs also packed on the pounds. “Gladiators needed subcutaneous fat,” Grossschmidt explains. “A fat cushion protects you from cut wounds and shields nerves and blood vessels in a fight.” Not only would a lean gladiator have been dead meat, he would have made for a bad show. Surface wounds “look more spectacular,” says Grossschmidt. “If I get wounded but just in the fatty layer, I can fight on,” he adds. “It doesn’t hurt much, and it looks great for the spectators.”

Some people note that there are modern elite athletes who are vegan. There are. But they eat weird and expenseive things. This is what Patrick Barboumain eats.

Morning: Meal 1

Shake – 80 grams of protein, 5 grams Creatine, 3 grams Beta-Alanine

Macros: 80 grams of protein, 0 carbs, 0 grams of fat

Post-Workout: Meal 2

Smoothie – Black currants, frozen mixed fruit, 80 grams of protein, Glutamine, Beta-Alaninea, 5 grams of Creatine, dried greens, turmeric, cinnamon, 5-10 grams BCAA’s, orange and mango juice, and water.

Macros: 80 grams of protein, 100 grams of carbs, 0 grams of fat

Lunch: Meal 3

Vegan sausages
Low-fat oven fries
Other grilled veggies

Macros: 60 grams of protein, 250 grams of carbs, 90 grams of fat

View this post on Instagram

Eating awesome vegan fast food at Yoyo #schnitzel #currywurst #vegan #aufbauphase

A post shared by Patrik Baboumian (@patrikbaboumian) on Dec 15, 2018 at 7:39am PST

Afternoon snack: Meal 4

Protein shake – 50 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat

Dinner: Meal 5

Cooked potatoes

Macros: 40 grams of protein, 100 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat (from curry paste mainly on the zucchini)

Nighttime Snack: Meal 6

Peanuts – 60 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, and 90 grams of fat
Protein smoothie – 50 grams of protein

Macros: 170 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 90 grams of fat

After a full day of eating, Baboumian’s macros look like this:

K Cals: 5,320

Protein: 410 grams

Carbs: 470 grams

Fat: 200 grams

It would be cheaper to eat a steak or two, with some eggs. And more sustainable. What am I finding for myself?

  1. On hard thinking days, I need something as well in addition to black coffee. Either fat or high weight chocolate: concentrating at peak level is hard. Fat is better: the carbohydrates do cause brain fog. If I’m able to stay away from carbs for a fortnight then my productivity goes up. Way up. But most weeks are not like that, because…
  2. I still live in real life, and outside of home we have to meet people and food is one of the things that are part of the culture. NZ runs more on coffee and sugar than you realize until you cut them out. We follow the 80% rule: if we fail we just continue on with what we are doing.
  3. A lot of the foods I used to crave now taste horrible. Biscuits. The local treats (Ginger kisses). A fair amount of food that used to be comfort food. I’ve adjusted my taste buds and these things now taste artficial.
  4. I have a new appreciation for McDonalds. They will sell meat without buns or anything else
  5. As I am eating less immunogenic foods, I’m reacting — or noticing body reactions — more
  6. I cannot exercise hard when the diet is tight. I’m watching this space, because the more fat adapted the better I am… which brings me to fat. Most meat here does not have enough, and you can’t buy fat leavings easily. Our cure is eggs.

Finally, in this COVID time, meat is becoming very expensive. Mince is $20 a Kilo on special — but so are most vegetables. Let’s see where this takes us.

So far, it has been better than the other options.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Odd… our meat is very fatty, including the lamb we get from you. I know why CAFO meat (which you are happy to be spared) is fatty, but even our regular meat is fatty enough to save bits for the motivated.

Mom got me a crock for sauerkraut… with things looking “interesting” I might make it up, even though I was planning to skip out on the fermentation for the moment. We eat veg, and I eat a LOT of veg. My keto experiment was shortlived, I can’t be counting the amount of plants I eat (it makes no difference to my waistline, other than the water flush).

But one of the nice things about the US is that we have (even with meat prices headed up) very cheap food compared to everyone else. That’s one of the reasons we’re all so round.