I’ve been working on this first blog post for a while now, putting off publishing for fear of becoming ‘one of those vegans’ or simply a ‘vegan’. The term has almost become a pejorative byword for snobs pushing their diets in your face. And at first I thought, yeah: “I don’t want to become one of those people.”So I won’t. Instead I’ve decided to combine three of my passions to make something (hopefully) far more interesting and useful: writing, cycling (plus running) and eating. Well, why shouldn’t I? Sure a lot of people probably won’t care or will get annoyed, and that’s fine, comment is free as they say. But it’s something that I’ve come to feel passionate about and as a journalism student I feel obliged to write about it.
Disclaimer: if you are interested in either A) exercise, or B) food, then keep reading.
I made the decision to go vegetarian back in June this year, and immediately felt the differences in terms of energy on and off the bike. For the those three months over summer I became more and more aware of what I was eating. I had been careful with what I ate a long time prior to going vegetarian, but this was different. I began trying foods that I had never even thought to try before, mainly at family events like barbecues when I was forced to to actually think about what I was going to cook instead of simply plumping for some burgers and sausages. Of course my family all thought I was mad, especially my dad and brother who I think have been worried about me since I started prancing about in lycra and shaving my legs.
Then I began researching how best to combine a veggie life with the heavy amounts of exercise that I was doing (being a student out of term-time with zero money, cycling several thousand kilometers over summer seemed like the best option). That was when I discovered Durianrider and Freelee the Banana Girl, or more specifically the high-carb, low-fat, Raw Till 4 vegan lifestyle they so animatedly advocate. Some of you may already know them, some of you may hate them and you wouldn’t be the only ones. In terms of polarised opinions on health, the debate surrounding their lifestyle is pretty high up there. Until March of this year their website, 30bananasasaday.com, came with its very own hate site, 30bananasadaysucks.com. Imaginative. About as imaginative as the site’s creator, Sean Dunaway, who got arrested for selling subscribers’ emails to spammers.
Anywho, the lifestyle Freelee and Durianrider promote is high-carb, low-fat, Raw Till 4 vegan. No calorie restriction, no draconian schedules, just pure and simple, natural eating. The below video sums it up pretty well.
Got the gist? Animals don’t calorie restrict, so why should we? Because it’s fashionable? Sure you can fast and get thin, but you won’t be healthy. Try running/cycling up a hill in a respectable time when you’ve got no energy reserves. It’s impossible, and after about an hour of exercise you’ll bonk (go into glycogen debt). I know because I used to do it. I’m ashamed to say it, but I used to be in the ‘carbs make you fat’ camp. Even when cycling regularly I used to limit my carbohydrate intake because I was afraid of gaining weight. And then I used to wonder why I ran out of energy after a few hours riding, even when I was eating on the go. The ‘glycogen tanks’, as Durianrider puts it, were empty.
After enlightening myself with some high-carb therapy, I was riding for 5 hours in a day without ever feeling like I was about to topple off my bike. I was also getting leaner, even though I’ve never really had to worry about my weight. However, I never had the courage to go full vegan, partly because I was afraid of what people would say, and partly because of the ‘inconvenience’ of it. Well, after two weeks of taking the plunge, I can confidently report that it is not inconvenient at all. Sure it might make Christmas dinner (or any dinner for that matter) with the family a little extra work, but I’m willing to take that.
So why did I decide to go vegan? Because I felt that, even after making improvements with my cycling as a vegetarian, it was still holding me back. Meals out would always result in something which contained hellish amounts of cheese, the go-to option for restaurants with no better ideas. In fact, my consumption of dairy in general was what tipped me over the edge. I won’t go into detail about dairy products just now, this post is already far too long, but it will be something that I return to with a vengeance.
So here I am, two weeks gone a vegan and just starting the Raw Till 4 lifestyle. I’ve still got some things to learn – I’ve already made a few noob errors – but I’m excited to be combining these passions and channeling them through this blog. Expect some recipes and a few videos too, just to shake things up (and you never know, YouTube might give me some money for them). As a student, I’m going to be pushing how to do this (admittedly expensive-sounding) diet at first, proving in fact that it isn’t expensive as long as you do it right. That’s if you want to do it of course, if you don’t that’s fine. If, however, you do wish to give it a try then I will feel like I’ve achieved something.
I’m sorry that I have nothing of actual interest or importance to share right now, but this is just one of those awkward, first-date, laying down the rules posts which I presume every fledgling blog has to go through. I’m going to be working on my online presence over the next few weeks, but for now you can find me on Instagram as the_wheelin_vegan, which I pretty much update daily (whether this is as a public service or an addiction, I’m not quite sure yet) where you can see other such delights as the photographic masterpieces seen already.