The TRUTH About MY Veganism (& How I REALLY Feel)

Given the spotlight cast on ex-vegans at the moment, as well as the anti-vegan sentiments coming out of the carnivore camp, I’ve decided to do a no-bullshit summary of my own life and experiences as a vegan.

Just bear in mind that my personal experiences are purely anecdote. You can no more consider my personal anecdote conclusive of something than you can, for example, Bobby Risto’s or Tristan Haggard’s.

Or ANYONE’S anecdote for that matter.

I feel that I need to say that because it appears that people genuinely don’t understand what anecdote is, and how it differs from conclusions drawn from quality, well-controlled, scientific research. People seem to give anecdote way TOO much weight.

Let’s put it this way, for every sick and/or weak ex-vegan someone like Sv3rige interviews, I could find you an equally sick and/or weak meat-eater.

Should we use those people’s anecdote as examples for how meat is nutritionally-inadequate? Or would you argue that, perhaps, they’re just doing something wrong, or they have some underlying condition? And why is that sort of argument considered acceptable for one side, but not the other?

My point is: anecdote is NOT conclusive, and animal products are NOT a fool-proof guarantee that you’ll meet all of your nutritional needs.

Did you know, that despite eating animal products, 39% of men and women STILL possess low-normal B12 levels?! And approx. 9% fall BELOW deficiency, and over 16% are just deficient.

Those figures were extracted from the ongoing Framingham Offspring Study, with a sample size of 6,507 Americans as of 2015. Thus, the broader US population may have higher rates of B12 deficiency than this study has accounted for.

And if you consider that only 0.5% of the total US population are vegan, and if you assume, incorrectly, that ALL vegans are B12-deficient, that would still leave 38.5% of the US’s omnivores with “low-normal” B12 status, and 15.5% and 8.5% that are deficient or below-deficient, respectively. Going solely by the Framingham Offspring Study, not considering the total US population.

Ergo, B12-deficiency is clearly not vegan-exclusive. And animal products are clearly not a guarantee against such nutritional deficiencies. And that’s just looking at B12.

For instance, more than 25% of people, worldwide, are deficient in iron! That would equate to approx. 1.93 billion people deficient in iron, calculated based on United Nations’ world population estimate released this month.

And that’s despite a globally-popular meat like beef containing 12% of your RDA of iron per 3 oz. serving!

Anyway, let’s just move onto me at this point. Specifically about how I feel and have felt as a vegan. I want to leave ethics out of this video, and focus strictly on my health and performance without meat and as a vegan.

I first gave up meat way back in 2002. And I haven’t relapsed once in the past 16, going on 17 years at this point. So, not even a BITE of meat in that period of time.

When I used to eat meat, I used to experience the wildest stomach problems and indigestion that was absolutely debilitating! My gastroenterologist, at the time, had prescribed me the drug Levsin to combat what he diagnosed as IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. I would notice these issues after any meat-laden meal. And the fattier the meal, the worse the pain was afterward.

I also just felt generally sluggish and low-energy after a meat-based meal.

But, when I went off meat in 2002, the gastric issues pretty much vanished. Though, sometimes full-fat dairy would bring them about, such as milk or ice cream, but never as severe as when I ate meat. And never for as prolonged a period of time.

I was able to ditch the prescription. And the sluggishness vanished as well.

Now, rewind about 4 years from that point. In 1998 I had undergone emergency surgery for gallstones. At the time my diet was very meat-heavy and very high-fat. I was big on hamburgers and steak back then. According to my doctor, this played a direct role in developing gallstones to the point where my gallbladder was like a “sack of marbles” ready to burst. And that, in turn, caused the onset of acute pancreatitis.

Without a gallbladder, I definitely found it harder to digest higher-fat foods, such as meat and full-fat dairy. And I am sure that may have contributed to the problems I had experienced before quitting meat. But, alas, I can only venture a guess because of that thing called anecdote.

You will notice in last week’s vegan ketogenic day-of-eating video, I take a vegan digestive enzyme supplement to help me handle a higher-fat dietary approach. Even still, the upset I’d feel from higher-fat plant-based foods, if I forgot or didn’t have my enzymes on-hand, is nowhere near the same league as what I felt when I ate meat or even dairy.

Now, let’s jump to Spring of 2013. I had gone in for a routine physical check-up, which included complete blood work.

My diet was egg-heavy back then, including sometimes over 20 organic, free-range, chicken eggs per day.

You see, I once bought into the whole “eggs don’t raise cholesterol” myth perpetrated by the egg board / industry / lobby, or however you want to refer to them.

I also consumed whey protein post-workout, and on occasion, grass-fed butter, and various cheeses.

In fact, I was running a vegetarian cyclic ketogenic diet at that time. So, as you can imagine, I was getting a metric fuckton of dietary cholesterol each day!

You see, one large egg contains 187 mg of cholesterol, and doctors don’t recommend that you exceed 300 mg per day.

Despite being in my early 30s at the time, I had developed sky-high LDL cholesterol levels. My doctor expressed incredible concern, especially since I was so physically-active with both competitive fighting and weight training. He warned me that if my high-LDL levels maintained into my 40s, he would put me on statins.

He asked about my diet, and told me to reduce or remove the eggs, and come back in a few months for a follow-up.

That same Spring I went vegan. I kept my macros the same, and I remained ketogenic, but I just swapped out all animal products with plant-based alternatives. For example, I swapped-out whey protein for a blend of 70% pea and 30% rice protein, which mimics the amino acid profile of whey. And I replaced eggs with organic extra-firm tofu.

Every other aspect of my life remained unchanged outside of my diet. I continued fighting, lifting, and even supplementing just as I had before going vegan. I just dropped all of the animal products.

My follow-up blood work found that my LDL levels dropped into the healthy range, and my doctor wanted to know what I had done to improve so quickly. He was very pleased!

Now, before people jump in with the ubiquitous “but… but… you need cholesterol for healthy testosterone levels”, the truth is, your body will produce cholesterol in your liver, and it can do so using dietary fat and carbohydrates.

In fact, research on both men and women shows that diets containing lower than 20% of calories from dietary fat result in sex hormone decline. With women experiencing a nearly 14% drop in estrogen levels and nearly 19% drop in free testosterone. And men experiencing a 12% drop in total testosterone and 10% drop in free testosterone.

So, really, the key here is dietary fat. Not dietary cholesterol. And vegans can get plenty of dietary fat.

It’s also worth noting that dietary TRANS fats are associated with lowered total testosterone and free testosterone in healthy, young men. That’s according to a Spanish study with a sample size of 209, which controlled for factors such as BMI, smoking status, timing of blood samples, alcohol intake, caffeine intake, micronutrient intake, macronutrient intake, and caloric intake.

And guess what foods NATURALLY contain trans fats?

That’s right… meat and dairy products. Examples include beef, lamb, and butter.

Whereas trans fats do NOT naturally-occur in plant foods.

So, it’s little wonder that vegans have slightly higher total and free testosterone levels than meat eaters. Even after controlling for factors such as age, BMI, smoking status, amount of exercise, time of day, time since last meal, and time between blood tests. And that’s with a decent sample size of 696 men, rather evenly divided into meat-eater, vegetarian, and vegan categories.

But, back to my own anecdote: no, I didn’t experience any loss in strength, muscle, or performance after making the switch to veganism. Nor did my sex drive or sexual performance decline.

Rather, I felt even MORE energetic than I had after my switch from omnivore to vegetarian back in 2002, and my sex drive and sexual performance actually improved noticeably, and has remained improved to this day, nearly 6 years later.

That is not to say I don’t go through periods of sluggishness, but that can be explained by factors such as sleep and stress. And these periods are often brief and sporadic in occurrence. I’ve never met someone who is honestly “on point” all the time. Day-in and day-out, year-after-year. Like some kind of robot.

You see, my life is the very definition of busy. And I have been called a “work horse” before.

Between professional work, numerous side projects and interests, weight training, family matters, etc. I don’t always get as much sleep as should, despite putting my body through the wringer. Hell, I don’t really get a true “day off”, unless I am forced off due to a cold, the flu, or something.

And I experience life stress, like anyone else. And as many of you know, for the last 7 months I’ve been dealing with a serious family health matter.

But, no, I am not consistently lethargic, weak, injured, disinterested in life or sex, depressed, or any of that. I have, genuinely, not experienced any of the nasty side effects you constantly hear reported by these ex-vegan testimonials.

But, then again, I always apply the latest science to my exercise, diet, and lifestyle to an almost autistic level. I track my workouts, diet, supplementation, how I feel, etc. in logbooks and Excel spreadsheets, which I constantly refer back to.

I don’t fall for shit like high-carb-low-fat, fruitarianism, or fully-raw. And I don’t make appeals to nature. In other words, just because something is arguably “natural”, doesn’t mean it is inherently good. A concept both vegans AND carnivores alike would do well to learn.

Yes, I utilize a ketogenic approach from time-to-time, which could be considered “extreme”, but I never go straight-keto. Instead I undertake a cyclic approach which incorporates weekly scheduled carb re-feeds.

We know from metabolic ward research, which is considered the “gold standard” of nutritional studies, that the ketogenic diet is INFERIOR to a carbohydrate-rich diet when it comes to long-term fat loss and lean muscle retention.

Anyway, let’s just wrap this up.

To reiterate, I’ve not declined in strength, muscle, or performance as a vegan. Not in any way.

And I began lifting 7 years AFTER I had stopped eating meat. And I’ve been lifting for about 2 years MORE, at this point, as a vegan than I had as a vegetarian.

And just for some comparison… here’s a recent photo of me with my friend Stan, in the center, who I met through this channel. Stan is not a vegan, and he’s a competitive, natural powerlifter, who managed a near 1,300 pound total at his meet this past December, earning a medal in his weight class.

And, no, I don’t take steroids either. If you look through the videos on this channel you will notice that I am strongly opposed to recreational steroid use, and that includes their use to win a competition.

But, thanks to all of the folks out there who continue to think I am.

Your accusations are both amusing and flattering, and really only serve as a testament to my training and dietary approach.

Anyway, leave your thoughts and comments below.


B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought

7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common

How Egg-Industry-Funded Studies Harm Public Health

Low-Fat High-Fiber Diet Decreased Serum and Urine Androgens in Men

Effect of low-fat diet on female sex hormone levels.

Fatty acid intake in relation to reproductive hormones and testicular volume among
young healthy men

Trans Fats

Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable
androgens in vegan men

Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet
in overweight and obese men

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