Vegan Slow-Carb Diet: Week 4 Recap

OK, so I’m starting to think this whole slow-carb diet thing is bullshit.

I remember being a little dismissive of the supplement recommendations when I first read them in The Four-Hour Body, figuring that my normal vegan diet is varied enough that I actually do get all the nutrients I need from food and hardly ever get sick. The first couple of weeks into this diet, things seemed okay, since I was getting all my exercise in the morning and had ample time in the evening to cook different veggies to go with my beans and tofu.

This past week was different, as I had more going on in the evening (details below) and used the mornings to work on my writing, all of which ate away at my time for cooking. I found myself just cooking beans and tofu, sometimes making a salad, and sometimes chopping up some squash or microwaving my frozen veggies, so that I would at least be filling up. When it hasn’t been enough and I’ve been hungry at work, I’ve just eaten more of the peanuts I keep in my desk drawer. And I can’t help but think that twice over the past week, for lack of fruit in my life except on Saturdays, I’ve had some scratchiness in my throat and that little voice telling me to go on and take an Emergen-C now so that I don’t get sick.

Well, so far I’m not sick, but at the same time I feel like a dumbass for following through because I was apparently getting all my vitamin C I needed from fruit before. Until I break from this diet at the end of next week, fruit is strictly for cheat day. To my way of thinking, no diet that comes with a supplement recommendation is a healthful one, but I’m sticking with it anyway until next weekend. My inner scientist needs to know the outcome!

My weight seems to be about the same, hovering within a pound or two of where I was when I started on Oct. 2. The main “advantage” I can see in cutting out the carbs is that I don’t seem to be fattening up on all the cooking oil, salad oil, peanuts, peanut butter and sunflower seeds that have filled the void left by my usual carb sources, even though I normally limit my consumption of these foods because of the fat content. If I were sedentary and needed to lose weight, then this would be a good way to do it because at least the diet doesn’t particularly restrict fat. But I’m not and I don’t, and I kinda want my overnight oatmeal in a jar with raisins back.

One more week…

MONDAY

Exercise: 6-mile run followed by Body Pump with Randy and Chris. Kinda digging the new release!

TUESDAY

Exercise: Monday’s Spartan workout. I had to skip the cardio burnout at the end because I was out of time and needed to get ready for work, but the rest of the workout was good and I was able to work in the cardio burnout on Thursday.

WEDNESDAY

Exercise: 7-mile run, including about 5 miles solo and 2 as part of the Strictly Running Pizza Run that happens on the last Wednesday of the month during Daylight Saving Time. The October Pizza Run is always Halloween-themed, and I got to the store in time to snap this picture before heading back out to run. The sumo wrestler won the costume contest 🙂

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THURSDAY

Exercise: 5 rounds of 30 burpees, 30-second side planks and the cardio burnout that I didn’t get to on Monday: ¼ mile on the treadmill at an 8% incline, 2.5 miles per hour and a 25 lb. kettle bell on my shoulder to simulate the log carry, then another ¼ mile at an 11% incline, 3.5 miles per hour and no weight (so it still felt like a fast hike). This part of the workout, 2.5 total miles walked plus all the burpees and planks, took an hour and a half!

Afterwards, I got someone in the stretching area to take photos of me demonstrating the exercises I talk about in this post, and then I went upstairs for 30 minutes of stationary bike.

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FRIDAY

Exercise: Nada, since I doubled up after work on Thursday. Instead, I spent the morning proofreading and editing some of my freelance work and sent it off to the client so that I could check it off my list in time for the weekend.

SATURDAY

Exercise: 20 miles along the Peak-to-Prosperity Passage of the Palmetto Trail. I opted for this one because it’s free, not too far out of town and because I’ve been slack in renewing my Harbison annual parking pass. (Last weekend I just paid the $5 day fee, but I can’t keep doing that on general principle knowing that the annual pass will only cost $25 when I get my act together and renew online.)

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Other benefits of running this stupid-easy, flat, mostly straight trail: faster pace per mile (my average the whole time was just under 10 minutes, which never happens at Harbison except on the gravel roads and some of the easier stretches of Firebreak) and an abundance of gravel rocks (a couple of miles past the old train trestle at the trailhead shown here) that were apparently brought in last summer to bulk up the trail. This was not an advantage on account of large chunks of loose gravel being fun to run on, because believe me they’re not. Rather, I like to think that the relative discomfort was good preparation for the Beast next weekend. You know those stretches between obstacles where you feel like you should be able to run it, but somehow the trail conditions make it really uncomfortable? Yeah – that was what I tolerated for the better part of 20 miles yesterday.

Anyway, because I got such a late start yesterday morning, my “cheat day” didn’t start until I got home at 2 PM. Another Elvis smoothie, and then after trying and failing to nap for a couple of hours, I got up and made a semblance of the rice and gravy I’ve been thinking about for a while. Because I was still dragging and didn’t feel like standing over the stove to make my usual pan gravy, I just got the rice boiling and then dropped most of the flavor ingredients for gravy (soy sauce, nutritional yeast, sage, etc.) straight into the pot and let it all cook together.

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After a trip to the store later in the evening, I also had a couple of granola bars and a small take-and-bake loaf of bread with sunflower seeds and dried fruit (raisins and/or cranberries, not quite sure but it was good).

***

I guess one reason to be positive about the diet is that I have been able to adapt and to keep doing the things I normally do, including a 17-mile run last weekend and a 20-miler yesterday. And since processed garbage is obviously a no-no on any slow-carb diet, it’s entirely possible that I’ve been eating better despite having cut out a bunch of things that are, in fact, good for you. Especially if you’re active.

It’s also entirely possible that the emphasis on protein has helped me build strength and recover more fully after the more-frequent strength and plyometric workouts I’ve been doing to prepare for the Beast, but only my results next weekend will tell…

 

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