Thread: Fad Diets
View Single Post
Old 07-02-2010, 07:41 PM   #24 (permalink)
FitDay Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 576

Originally Posted by CoeyCoey View Post
I thought I could have a logical discussion on this board. I guess I was wrong.
It would seem that your idea of a logical discussion is one in which you aren't presented with any counter-arguments for which you don't have readily available responses.

You disrespect the posters on this forum by abusing data, attacking yauncin for trying to keep the discussion MORE logical than both of us are doing, and avoiding addressing my valid points by claiming that we're getting "emotional." You appear more emotional due to your sarcastic tone. I'm just trying to understand what you already understand; we only grow as people when we try to understand each other. But your last response merely repeated your previous response, and failed to address my points about the traditional Inuit diet as studied by Steffanson or the suspect interpretations of Dr. Campbell's own data in his book, "The China Study."

But let me now address the list of athletes you provided. I tried to find a biography or reliable source that could back up your claims that these are really vegetarian athletes. I also broke your list down into strength sports, endurance sports, mixed sports, and not a sport.

Endurance sports:

As rpmcduff said, these athletes burn calories at a remarkable rate. Michael Phelps (more of a mixed sport athlete) maintains at over 10,000 calories a day. Even amateur marathoners routinely eat more than 3000 calories in a day (as evidenced by my dad when he ran the LA Marathon). The most convenient source of this many calories is grain products, which also have a satisfactory amount of protein. Rote calories are required to keep the body from eating itself; protein is an afterthought. That said, even Brendan Brazier's own website states that "Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100 percent plant-based."

According North Pole Women's history of arctic expeditions, there is no mention of a Nicky Cole ever having existed. She does appear on several vegetarian sites as part of lists similar to the one you provided.

Similarly, there doesn't seem to be any record of a Jane Wetzel American marathon champion.

Martina Navratilova recently started eating fish again because it was difficult to maintain her protein intake while on tour. Dave Scott, who won his Ironman titles as a vegan, is no longer a strict vegetarian.

Peter Burwash, Ruth Heidrich, Brendan Brazier, Debbie Lawrence, Scott Jurek, Sixto Linares, Estelle Gray, Cheryl Marek, all check out to be vegetarians. They appear to be doing well and have found what works for them, and I can respect that. Paavo Nurmi was a vegetarian from a young age and had an unsurpassed love for his sport.

Mixed sports:

For Ridgely Abele, who passed away last year after a battle with cancer, I was unable to find a biography that listed him as a vegetarian. Peter Hussing also appears on lists of vegetarian athletes, but these assertions are impossible to verify. Dan Millman's own website doesn't mention anything anywhere about his vegetarianism.

Bill Pickering is 210-lbs shop owner who set a record for crossing the English Channel in 1955. I can't verify that he is a vegetarian.

Art Still is vegetarian football player who lost tremendous weight when he switched to his new diet. That season he injured himself numerous times. The following pre-season he showed up to practice at 250lbs, which he achieved by stuffing himself with even more fruits, nuts, and yogurt, and covering his nutritional bases by taking up to 60 pills a day (source). That's no way to live.

Keith Homes, Desmond Howard, Murray Rose check out as vegetarians in this category.

Performing Arts

Like figure skating. Not a sport in my opinion, but let's have a looksie.

Surya Bonaly is an "ethical vegetarian" but this hardly attributes to her success as an "athlete." She was known to be highly technical but struggled with her artistry.

Charlene Wong Williams happens to be a vegetarian as well, but again, it's tough to say if this made her an elite figure skater.

Strength Sports

Strength athletes require copious amounts of protein because they're constantly breaking down the muscle in order to rebuild it bigger and stronger. For the record, I don't really consider bodybuilding a sport, again more of a performing art, but strength sports are the means by which bodybuilders achieve their ends, so I've included them here.

Andreas Cahling turned vegetarian after he had begun competing in bodybuilding. Bill Pearl became vegetarian after he had already won several national titles. Both men are lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and both men built their physiques on dairy, eggs, and meat, then maintained them with their lacto-ovo-vegetarianism. Find me someone who has built this level of physique on a purely vegetarian diet.

Stan Price is another athlete for whom I can find no historical evidence of ever having existed. The powerlifting record database (here) makes no mention of a Stan Price or Stanley Price anywhere.

Chris Campbell's wife converted him to vegetarianism well after his prolific wrestling career, around the time he became a coach (source).

Ingra Manecke is a vegetarian but I was unable to find out if this transition was pre- or post-career. As a German national it is unlikely she was raised in a vegetarian household.

From looking at this list I conclude that world record holders are not defined by their diets, but their passion for the sport and determination to win. You won't find vegetarians somehow stacked on top of the rankings. Their diets just happen to be part of their lifestyle. And they certainly don't comprise any more than 1% of top athletes.

Additionally, athletes are special people with special needs. I don't presume to assume that what they eat is what I need to eat, whatever it is that happens to make them successful.

Finally, to Coey's final point, it stands to reason that feeding cattle diets they have not evolved to eat causes them flatulence, much like processed grains and unnatural trans fats cause me flatulence. I consider myself an "ethical omnivore," eating grass-fed-and-finished open pasture beef, free-range chicken and eggs (not on a vegetarian diet), line-caught open water fish, whole dairy, and organic fruits and vegetables. I don't consider myself contributing to the type of pollution put out by CAFOs and fish farms.

In any case, I've blabbered on long enough. Respond if you have something that adds to the discussion.

My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).

Last edited by tandoorichicken; 07-02-2010 at 07:46 PM.
tandoorichicken is offline   Reply With Quote