There aren’t many positive male vegan role models on YouTube. However, Jon Venus is the exception.
I went to the supermarket and purchased Marmite today.
Marmite is fortified with vitamin B12 as well as iron.
It’s important that vegans get vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified food because there is no vitamin B12 in plant food.
If taking supplements, aim to take between 100 to 300 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day.
Although plant food can provide vitamin B12 if it has been contaminated with bacteria from soil, plant food nowadays is washed clean thereby removing vitamin B12.
Meat from grass-fed animals contain vitamin B12 as the bacteria that produces vitamin B12 from the dirt on grass is consumed by the animal. However, nowadays livestock is fed with processed grains, and meat from factory farms typically do not have vitamin B12. As such, 90% of vitamin B12 supplements are fed to livestock, not humans.
I was browsing through the local Woolworths one day and noticed vegan sausages on sale. These are made by Linda McCartney and these sausages are suitable for vegans, meaning they have no meat, no dairy, no eggs.
Six sausages cost about $6, so that is about $1 per sausage. This strikes me as expensive, but I’m not too sure what the market price of sausages are given I don’t normally buy or eat sausages.
I checked the ingredients and noticed it was mostly made from wheat protein. It is also soy free. The protein percentage at 22% is quite high. As a comparison, chicken is 27% protein.
I had the sausages cooked up with a salad. When I first saw the sausages, I was concerned about how rough the surface of the sausages were. Normally sausages are smooth.
Even since I became vegan, I’ve never had sausages, so this was a big moment for me! In fact, when I was a meat eater, sausages were my favourite food. If there is anything I hated about meat, it’s bone. Fish was the worst because often fish is laced with small bones. I’d have nightmares about getting small bits of bone lodged in my throat and I’d need to get my neck cut open in a hospital to remove the bone. Lamb or beef was usually too hard for my teeth to tear. Chicken was usually dry. Sausages, on the other hand, were uniform and because they were packed with herbs and maybe some other questionable chemicals (such as ammonia and nitrates) they tasted good.
When I tasted the vegan sausages, I was surprised at how good they were. If I were to serve this to most people, I’d be sure most of then would not know that it is meatless.
The texture was very nice. It has a very nice sausage-like taste.
Eating a salad with vegan meat was very nice. I think there is something very satisfying about having something warm (sausages) mixed with something cold (salads).
Most people, in my opinion, do not want animals to suffer. This is why slaughterhouses are hidden. People do not want to look at the atrocities that occur in these factories. However, people often want warm food that is high in calories and meat is the cheapest, tastiest, and most convenient product for that.
However, vegan meat, in my opinion, is now tasty enough that most people would switch if the product were more widely available, if it were marketed better, and if it were cheap enough.
One reason why vegan meat is not cheap is because few of it is sold. For companies to make back their expenses on low quantity sold, they need to raise prices. Vegans should support vegan meat producers because more demand for their product should increase competition, lower prices, and bring vegan meats into the mainstream.
Another problem vegan meat faces is the fact that the meat and dairy industries in many countries are heavily subsidised by governments. A significantly amount of taxpayer money goes towards propping up the meat and dairy industry ($38 billion in America alone). This is a problem that needs to be fixed at the political level. When you vote, think of the animals.
Most young men make the mistake of chowing down on protein shakes, thinking they will gain weight. This is a mistake.
A vegan diet can be great for losing weight because most vegan food (e.g. fruits and vegetables) are high in fiber (which fills you up). Vegan food also tends to be low in calories. However, this does not mean that switching to a vegan diet is guaranteed to result in weight loss as there are vegan foods that are high in calories and low in fiber (e.g. rice and bread). Furthermore, weight loss is dependent not only on calories eaten but also calories burnt (your basal metabolic rate, how much you exercise, etc).
However, there are many people who do not want to lose weight. Many skinny people (especially young men) want to gain weight. Reasons for gaining weight may be cosmetic (skinny men are not attractive) or for health reasons (e.g. anorexia or starvation).
Gaining weight may be the result of more fat in the body or more muscle. More muscle is preferable not only for attractiveness but also for good health. As a man increases his muscle mass, the body automatically burns more calories in order to feed these muscles, which means he does not need to exercise as much. You burn calories simply by existing.
Step 1: Don’t have too much protein
Many skinny young men make the mistake of opting for a high protein diet in order to gain weight. This is a mistake. Numerous studies show that a high protein diet (as opposed to a high-carb diet or even a high-fat diet) blunts your testosterone, which will impair muscle growth.
In the study below, subjects were divided into two groups, one given a high-carb diet and the other given a high-protein diet. Fat intake was equal in both groups. The subjects on a high-carb diet had a significantly higher increase in testosterone levels.
The study below shows that a high-protein diet increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol (high cortisol levels reduce muscle mass).
Step 2: Avoid food high in estrogen
Being on a vegan diet can be great for reducing estrogen levels (and increasing testosterone) because there is a significant amount of estrogen in meat, dairy, and eggs. Most animals that are exploited for food are female, which means natural animal estrogen is present in meat and dairy. Dairy milk especially contains high concentrations of estrone and estradiol, which are cow estrogens. In the study below, men who drank dairy milk regularly suffered from a significant drop in serum testosterone.
That being said, plant food are not entirely free of estrogen. Phytoestrogen (or plant estrogen) are highly concentrated in soy and flax. It is unclear what impact phytoestrogens have on humans. Dr Mark Rosenberg states the following (Could You Be Eating Too Much Estrogen):
[S]ome foods … contain a fair amount of phytoestrogens, or natural, plant estrogen; and synthetic estrogen – man made compounds put into animal feed to stimulate appetite and weight gain. Phytoestrogens do not act the same as synthetic estrogen in the human body. Their hormone stimulating effects are much weaker and can have a self-regulatory effect if natural estrogen blockers … are eaten with them.
Even though it is unclear if phytoestrogens have a significant impact on your body compared to animal estrogen or synthetic estrogen, to be on the safe side, I recommend skinny men avoid or minimize the amount of soy and flax they consume.
Of all meat, grain-fed meat is the most dangerous as animals that eat grain are typically fed soy (although soy is technically a legume), which results phytoestrogen in the animal. The animal is also typically injected with synthetic estrogen to fatten them up quickly. As a result, grain-fed meat has an estrogen triple whammy: plant estrogen, animal estrogen, and synthetic estrogen. Grass-fed animals raised in a traditional and ethical manner would produce meat that contains only animal estrogen.
Step 3: Consume estrogen blockers
Estrogen is hard to avoid in food. They are highest in concentration in soy, flax, grain-fed meat, and dairy milk. That being said, even if a small amount of estrogen gets into your body, food that contains estrogen blockers can be consumed. These lower the amount of estrogen in your body.
Cruciferous vegetables (mainly green vegetables e.g. kale, spinach, brocolli) are excellent estrogen blockers because they contain DIM (3,3′-diindonylmethane), which helps the liver flush out estrogen from your body. A number of low-fructose fruits also lower estrogen levels. These estrogen-lowering fruits include citrus fruits like lemon and oranges, as well as pomegranate.
Step 4: Create your own mass gainer
As I said earlier, most young men make the mistake of chowing down on protein shakes, thinking they will gain weight. This is a mistake. Not only does a high-protein diet blunt testosterone levels but protein fills you up quickly, which means you will consume fewer calories.
If you look at “mass gainers” in bodybuilding stores, the basic formula for these gainers is about 50% to 70% carbs and the remainder is protein. Rather than buy expensive mass gainers, it is better to simply mix oats (a carb) into vegan protein powder. Oats can be purchased from most supermarkets for almost nothing. For better mixability, it is also possible to buy powdered oats or steel cut oats (although these are more expensive).
A benefit of using oats rather than other carbs (such as maltodextrin) is that oats contain saponins, which are a natural steroid that boosts muscle mass. (Quinoa is another good source of saponins.)
I was feeling hungry for lunch and so decided to try eating at Supercharger in the Emporium food court in Melbourne.
This was the first time I’d been to this place. The menu looked complicated. They presented two pieces of paper. One allowed you to make your own meal. Another piece of paper had four different set meals. However, the set menu was set up in a way that was very unclear. When it was all explained to me, I understood it. I actually thought that the menu was referring to many different meals when really they were just referring to different aspects of each meal (did that make sense?). Have a look at Supercharger’s menu at Zomato to see for yourself.
Anyway, for newbies, I recommend you get a set meal. They have names like “immunity” or “strength” depending on what you want the food to do to you. I assume the “immunity” meal makes you immune to sickness.
You pay around $14 and you get a number. After waiting around a bit, you receive a tray usually with three bowls. There is usually a soup, some creamy mixture, and a big main bowl with salads, edamame, noodles, and all sorts of other things that I don’t know the name of (luckily I took a photo).
All in all, it was very tasty and definitely very filling! I highly recommend it.