If you were asked the question, “what do you need to build a triangle?” your answer would likely be “3 lines.” It’s so simple, right? That’s just how its done. Well, yes, but what if I told you that the use of each line would deduct 5 years from your lifespan and harm your neighbours in some inexplicable way? What would you do then? You’d have to rethink.
Bodybuilding, for the entire 20th century (and still now) has mostly been done by permanently borrowing the flesh of animals to absorb into one’s own muscles. The ass of a pig makes you a quadzilla. The belly of a cow will give you a barrel of a chest. Only recently, has any kind of counter culture sprouted up pulling off the same tremendously difficult feats of physique without the use of meat at all. This blog article tells the story of how I transitioned from a meatful to a meatless diet and the positive benefits I’ve experienced as a result.
I remember the exact moment I decided to ‘become a bodybuilder’. I was in a grocery store in 3rd year university in the meat section and I decided to commit to really putting on mass, so I loaded my basket with red meat and eggs, knowing that the bodybuilders primary tool was food, not barbells. By the end of the year I had gained 15-20lbs of muscle.
Almost a decade later and still pursuing the sport as a hobby, I have come to see bodybuilding in a very different light. For one, going heavily in the direction of the typical high-meat diet eventually sent me in the exact opposite direction - meat-free (vegetarian or meat-low) bodybuilding.
The 1st warning that pushed me in a meatless direction was reading about world class bodybuilders, like Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is vegan now, btw), and what happened to them 20-30 years after their success in the sport. There was a lot of evidence that these guys’ health was in serious jeopardy (particularly their hearts) after so many years of high meat consumption (and yes, steroids, for some, which I’ve never tried and have never been interested in). The 2nd warning was my grocery bill. The 3rd warning was the inescapable encroachment of guilt from the mounting evidence that meat production was one of the leading causes of climate change. The 4th warning was a near-biblical bout of food poisoning from under-cooked skewers, which left me delusional for 5 days. My 5th warning was less of a warning and more of a social influence - my girlfriend and all of my roommates were vegetarian.
These are my observations after pulling meat out of the equation for 2 years:
No more instances of food poisoning (zero!)
Better, more consistent, faster bowel movements (Too much information, I know)
Drastically faster meal prep and consumption
Lower $/lb of protein spent
Haven’t been sick once since I began
My mind is at ease knowing I’m not racking up potentially bad karma (does an animal really have to die for my biceps?)
I can not say for certain whether reducing meat down to only a few times a year has been the exact cause of all of the above, since correlation does not equal causation, but some of the points I am 100% certain are a direct result.
It's true that there is no one-size fits all diet and that different bodies and lifestyles require different approaches, which is why I am not advocating for you to try this yourself by any means. Rather, I would prefer you look at whatever pursuit or field you are currently in and ask yourself the following questions:
Is there a way I can pursue this that has a lower environmental/pain impact for other living things?
Is it possible that I could achieve the same (or better) results by going completely against the status quo of my field?
What am I harming (either in myself or in another being) by the way I am going about this?
Have I researched any other successful people in my field who has succeeded by not doing what everyone else is doing?
The more specific you can be, the better.
So, how do you build a triangle without 3 lines? You get much smaller pieces of material - fine enough, like sand, that you can pour out on the table and shape into anything you want - including: A triangle.
Point being - lines are rigid, pre-built, and perfect for the job. The problem is they’re too good to be true and you lose 15 years off your life if you use them, so better off reinventing the wheel, and make your triangle from scratch.
A Typical Meatless/Meat-low Day of Bodybuilding For Me: *As organic as my budget will allow *Plenty of Berkey filtered water throughout the day, sometimes with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or 100% fruit juice added to dilute it
1 or 2 coffees throughout the day 4 eggs + 4 egg whites + toast 50 grams of New Zealand whey protein + walnuts + piece of fruit 50 grams of New Zealand whey protein + can of chick peas + cucumbers (or other vegetable) Protein bar + dried fruit + nuts + dark chocolate Pasta with ground pepper, sea salt, crushed red peppers, and parmesan Half a tub of greek yogurt with frozen blueberries or raspberries