Journal: Trip to Portland and one month vegan!

Happy World Vegetarian Day!! 

I was in Portland for a long weekend and found that the food choices for this new diet were much more abundant than in Austin, TX. Not to say that Austin does not have great restaurants, like Counter Culture and Bouldin Creek, and delicious options at non-veg restaurants (like Titaya’s and Elizabeth Street Cafe), but Portland is packed to the brim with vegan and gluten-free options. It is really great to have so many choices, and I am seriously not missing meat or dairy products in the least.

Portland bridge

The Northwest VegFest at the Portland auditorium was fantastic. Vegans sure are a nice bunch! Christy Morgan (AKA The Blissful Chef) gave a great presentation on higher-protein foods for the active person or athlete. I cruised around the festival and made so many new friends and tried many delicious new food products. Most notably Robert Cheeke, Ed Baur, and many other vegan athletes, plus cookbook authors Robin Asbell and Jill Nussinow. We ate our faces off in Portland, and I didn’t gain a pound. We walked and took the bus everywhere, and the weather was perfect.

Austin devouring his meal at Blossoming Lotus

My workouts continue to be strong and my recovery is great. I feel less tweaky in my shoulders after difficult chest and shoulder workouts. I noticed that this milky or chalk-like coating I used to see on my tongue when I brushed my teeth is clearing up to reveal a healthy pink color. I suspect that dairy was the culprit. My weight is stable at about 185 pounds at about 6% body fat despite my increase in food intake. I guess vegetable-sourced protein does process more efficiently than meat. My skin feels a little thinner (in a good way), which I think might be a result of cutting my dairy and gluten as well. Dairy and gluten restriction is a common practice in bodybuilding a week or two before competition. Even omnivore bodybuilders know a mild allergy to dairy and wheat could show a slight puffiness under the skin, hiding hard-earned muscle definition.

Lastly, the soreness I have after long runs is decreasing. That is probably the best part of this dietary change! I have read that many vegan athletes experience this same benefit. I definitely welcome the advantage, because I have a lot of training to do this year with a natural bodybuilding show, a 12-hour foot race, and a 100-mile foot race ahead.