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Why I’m going Vegan

“For my entire life, I’ve always thought a decent meal meant a portion of vegetables to make you healthy, a pile of carbs to give you energy, and a big slab of meat to make you strong.”

So, can climbers really go entirely without eating any animal products whatsoever?

Today I’ll be starting what might be one of the biggest challenges of my life, and I might need some advice from anyone out there who’s interested!

I’ve always eaten lots of meat; anyone who knows me well knows my favourite places to go for a meal are steak restaurants, bbq smoke houses or burger joints. In the past I’ve always thought that eating lots of protein (and loads of delicious meat) was an important part of my diet if I wanted to continue to get stronger and improve in my climbing.

Meat Strength - Louis Parkinson Climbing

Does meat really make you stronger (and/or have hairier armpits)?

For the past 3 weeks now I’ve quickly been reducing the amount of meat I eat, for various reasons. After first deciding to be Pescetarian, before “graduating” to vegetarian and maybe even vegan, I expected to find the whole thing really difficult. For my entire life, I’ve always thought a decent meal meant a portion of vegetables to make you healthy, a pile of carbs to give you energy, and a big slab of meat to make you strong (you might be able to tell the depth of my knowledge of nutrition isn’t particularly impressive).

Worlds-Largest-Hamburger - Louis Parkinson Climbing

A big ol’ pile of muscle juice (or so I thought…)

If I’m suddenly taking a pretty important part of my diet away, am I still going to be able to do all the stuff I want to? Won’t I be tired all the time and have to eat meat to sustain myself? Will I give in to temptation just by thinking of its sheer deliciousness, or in wishing for a meal with friends at one of our favourite meaty restaurants?

Quite surprisingly, I was astonished by how easy I found it! Although I craved protein a week after starting my new diet (especially after long climbing sessions), I realised I didn’t want meat anymore. During that first week I thought about why I was doing this; I quickly realised that all of the reasons I stopped eating meat also applied to fish as much as other animals, so…I stopped eating that too. I just had to get better at finding alternatives to keep my protein cravings in check, and that wasn’t actually as tricky as I’d originally thought!

On another note, I finally got around to watching a truly eye-opening documentary called ‘Cowspiracy’ and, funnily enough, found pretty much every point the film made impossible to argue with. Even if you’re an avid meat eater, I highly recommend watching it – see the trailer below to find out more:

Through changing my diet, I’ve found that various soy alternatives to meat are actually really delicious, very cheap and full of protein! So, after last night’s heavily soy-based meal and a HUGE tub of ice cream for dessert, today I start my brand new vegan adventure! Now that I’ve let you and everybody else know that I’m now a vegan by writing it on my blog, just like all vegans do 😉 – sorry vegans! – I’ll have some added peer pressure to force me to stick with my exciting new vegan plan, or else face the dreaded wrath of the Vegan Police

Vegan Police - Louis Parkinson Climbing

So – in order to stop that from happening – do leave a comment on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages if you have any great vegan snack ideas or delicious recipes I can try, or if you just want to know why on earth I’ve decided to do all of this!

Side Note:

Having massively and quite suddenly reduced the amount of meat I’ve been eating, I’m currently feeling stronger than ever! This could be down to most likely a healthier diet, or of course some weight loss, but for now everything looks peachy! I’m also off on my first bouldering trip to a place called Magic Wood (apparently not a bizarre fantasy land with elves and goblins, but a pretty amazing looking bouldering area in Switzerland nonetheless). The trip is in a couple of weeks’ time, so stay tuned for an update!