Arby’s to Vegetarians – Eat My Meat

I pay little attention to the world of fast food, especially since I rarely eat it.  Recently, I recently learned that Arby’s has a slogan: “We Have the Meats”.  Understandably, it’s the kind of slogan that begs for criticism, especially from within the the vegetarian and vegan communities.  From what I heard, coinciding with Arby’s limited release of its Brown Sugar Maple Bacon and criticism of its choice of slogan, Arby’s decided to reach out to the herbivores among us:

We respect you. We respect your life decisions. With that in mind, we want it to be abundantly clear that this letter is not meant to sway or convert you. We’re sharing this to offer our support.

Nearly a year ago, we embarked on a journey to tell America about our meats. By now, you’ve likely heard the Arby’s tagline: We Have The Meats®.  It’s tough to hear, but it is what it is. We have many meats. And we have quality meats.

It is understandable that you disapprove of our meat-bravado. Your voices have been heard. Letters, emails, voicemails, Tweets and Facebook comments – we hear you. We love our meats, but realize they’re not for everyone.

Then on Sunday, June 28, we launched a meat innovation that has likely tempted you: Brown Sugar Bacon. It’s our pepper bacon, glazed in-restaurant with brown sugar and then cooked to perfection. It may be hard to resist…even for you. Hardcore vegetarians likely won’t budge, but for those of you who are on the fringe or new to the game, avoidance can’t be easy. 

We, at Arby’s, have created this temptation. So, we’d like to help.

We’re giving you a number to call: 1-855-MEAT-HLP. This is a Vegetarian Support Hotline. When your nose betrays you and alerts the rest of your senses to find and devour this sweet meat, please call 1-855-MEAT-HLP. You will receive the support you need to resist this gateway meat and get tips on how to avoid temptation. Delicious. Sizzling. Temptation.

Be strong. We’re here for you.

While I don’t approve of a company doing something like this, nor is this they way that I would have addressed the issue, I admit to getting a bit of a kick out of this if only for one reason.  Arby’s is a fast food company.  Fast food companies make their money by generating as much sales volume from as many people as possible.  Maintaining a high customer base means not overtly pissing off several million people.  Yet, this is exactly what Arby’s did.  Crudely put, not only did Arby’s deliberately potentially troll several million people, but also the company told them in as nice a way as possible, both literally and figuratively, to eat its meat.

I read a few responses to this from the vegetarian/vegan community, and, predictably, they were none too pleased.  To conclude this post, I’ll briefly respond to a paragraph from a post published at the Huffington Post with the Captain Obvious title “Thanks But No Thanks, Arby’s: Vegetarians Don’t Want Your Meat”:

You may have chosen to target vegetarians in your latest advertising stunt because you’re scared of us and our growing power as consumers. I don’t blame you. The number of vegetarians and vegans in America is skyrocketing while meat consumption has dropped significantly over the past several years. Nasdaq.com recently warned investors of the impending “death of meat.” The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee–a panel of our country’s foremost nutrition experts–recommends Americans cut back on animal products or cut them out completely, as does the United Nations.

I can’t say for sure whether or not the people in Nathan’s community have had any significant impact on the fast food industry as a whole, but in the specific case of Arby’s, the numbers don’t lie: 18 quarters straight of positive same store sales growth and 9.4% same store sales growth as of the first quarter of this year.  By comparison, that’s pretty damn good compared to the rest of the industry.

So despite there being a “skyrocketing number of vegans and vegetarians” (according to the Vegetarian Times, the combined total is approximately 3.2% of the U.S adult population (7.3 million), declining meat consumption, a lone investment advisor predicting the “death of meat” on the basis of a draft  of proposed dietary guidelines and the expert nutrition recommendations that our society has loyally followed as evidenced by a healthy non-obese population, Arby’s has one of the strongest sales metrics in the industry and has consistently grown it’s business over the last 18 quarters.

Yet Arby’s targeted vegetarians because the company is scared of them?  This is as idiotic as a CrossFitter saying that a strength coach is scared of CrossFit because the coach criticizes high-rep Olympic Lifting.  No.  Arby’s targeted vegetarians and mocked them because the company can afford to get away it.  I don’t have access to data but based on what I know and have experienced with vegetarians and vegans, my guess is that they would represent a very small percentage of the customer base and an even smaller percentage of revenues.  My guess is that Arby’s will generate enough publicity to boost sales to make up for the difference, and it won’t take much to get there.

While I personally wouldn’t do what Arby’s did, at the very least, I’ll give the company kudos for putting the money where the mouth is to prove that point.  After all, the strategy could backfire…maybe.

 

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155 thoughts on “Arby’s to Vegetarians – Eat My Meat

  1. I’m not bothered by Arby’s response because I don’t understand the initial objection. I mean, Arby’s does sell meat. Advertising that fact doesn’t seem objectionable. I mean, I get that some vegetarians and vegans find the mere processing for food and subsequent consumption of meat to be inherently problematic, but Arby’s is far from the worst offender in that regard and thus is an odd target because they have the word “meat” in their slogan.

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              • Depends on where you live in the US. Any University campus will have enough vegetarians/vegans to achieve a critical mass necessary to feel slighted & victimized & vocally complain about it because the local restaurants treat salads as valid vegetarian options.

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                • There was a guy in my campus who used to end everything with “Go Vegan”

                  A lot of Americans seem to come to vegetarianism and veganism for political reasons. This gives some of them a mantra that everyone should be vegetarian or vegan and if we all abandoned meat eating, utopia would be upon us.

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                  • That’s kinda the point. In such places, the lack of acceptable vegetarian options at restaurants becomes something of an outrage & political call to action.

                    Thus instead of Vs making polite requests for an expanded menu due to the presence of a large, if unrealized, market; they demand it through protests or other annoying displays. As if businesses were intentionally discriminating against the V population, rather than just unaware of it, or unaware that it was large enough that V options are worth the additional expense to add to the menu.

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                    • Which seems really odd since in my (admittedly limited) experience, anglo countries (i.e. UK, US, Australia, New Zealand) are likely to have non-salad/fries vegetarian options in most eating places. (its not that difficult to stick a slice of cheese and a few veggies in between two pieces of bread.)

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                      • Ah, see, here is the issue. The demand is usually not for a few easy vegetarian options, but for a whole vegetarian friendly menu with organic this & that, and using ingredients that may or may not be useful in other entrees, dishes that may be difficult to prepare alongside the rest of the fare, etc.

                        And to be honest, lots of restaurants have robust vegetarian menus and do a decent amount of business catering to that demographic. But the key is that they do a decent amount of business with that demographic. They realized the market potential & engaged with it & it was sufficient to justify the expense.

                        This is not always the case, but the outraged V’s often act as if the lack of a robust menu is nefarious, instead of just simple market analysis.

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                        • Another problem, for vegans, is that a lot of allegedly vegan dishes have butter in them because one technique most chefs use is to put butter in every pot or pan first for flavor.

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            • You live in a culture that is moderately supportive of this. I have heard tell that the American South will foist chicken or fish on someone claiming to be vegetarian. (Yes, seriously).

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    • I am bothered by it, personally.

      I don’t know what the campaign was they were responding to, so I can’t comment on it, only on their response – or more accurately, as you point out at their advertising campaign thinly disguised as a response.

      So here’s their calculus, presumably: We can sell more meat by being assholes to vegetarians and amusing people who like to hate on them, than we would sell veggy dishes by being respectful to vegetarians. So let’s go with the asshole option.

      For what other groups would it be acceptable to do this? If a group of Jewish people had objected to their slogan “We have the bacons”, and they’d responded with a letter inviting them to call the support hotline at 1-855-PORK-HLP should the temptation to break kashrut be too great, the logic there would be the same. We stand to gain more sales of bacon sandwiches by being sniggering assholes toward Jewish people to the amusement of antisemites than we would gain sales of beef and chicken sandwiches by being respectful to Jewish people. So let’s go with the asshole option. Would that be cool?

      I realize vegetarians have not suffered millenia of oppression, so my contrived example is way nearer the extreme end of the spectrum of awfulness. But it’s on the same spectrum – the tactic is a gamble that this minority group is sufficiently unpopular that, of the majority of people who don’t belong to it, most will be apathetic to our picking on them, and more will be amused by our picking on them than turned off, even when you include members of that minority, some of whom will definitely feel hurt.

      So, are there some minority groups where that’s cool and other minority groups where it’s not?

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      • Seriously, lighten up. It’s an ad campaign.
        Or are you trying to say that MILF sale is somehow now a bad thing too?

        Along the lines of BAD AD CAMPAIGNS, this fall way below sending people a pizza coupon because the corporation exploded a guy all over the center of your town.

        And they know better than to go after actual religions that are vegan.

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      • Actually, it occurs to me – not only can I not comment on the campaign to which they were responding – I can’t comment on whether it even really existed, or if it was just half a dozen cranks in the whole continent, writing the kind of crank letters any multinational company is going to get, or if it was indeed wholly fabricated so as to have a thing to pretend to respond to.

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      • Context matters. Jews who object to “We got the Bacons” are being silly. Now if GE started an ad campaign for kitchen ranges with the tag line “You’ll just die over our gas ovens.”, that would be a valid target for anti-semitic criticism.

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        • I agree that those initially objecting to the slogan would be being silly. But the equivalent response, gambling on gaining sales from people who like seeing Jews mocked, would still be pretty low.

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            • “They” being, what, the tiny fraction of a percent of all the Jews in America who were being silly about the hypothetical slogan, or all of the Jews, being the ones targeted by the response?

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              • Oh, ‘they’ is absolutely the silly minority. The rest of the un-silly population, being that they are not silly, will most likely recognize it for what it is.

                And if the un-silly are offended because it went too far, they are free to make their displeasure known.

                I, for one, being unaffected by this, will refrain from being offended for others unless it becomes clear that it is necessary to do so (because the other is such a minority & lacking in political power that it needs help to be heard).

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          • I’m also not sure that Arby’s is hoping to draw customers in by mocking vegetarians. I doubt anyone is going to say, “Ya know, I was gonna get McD’s today but fuck vegetarians, I’m getting Arby’s.”

            Then again, how many people turned out en force for Chik-Fil-A over the whole gay thing? So who knows.

            I don’t know much about Arby’s… they’re not in my area… but I wonder if this is about branding. Is their marketing typically silly? I mean, they did have a, “We have the meat” slogan so maybe they are just trying to further that brand image more than trying to exploit the mockery of vegetarians… though maybe that is one in the same.

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      • Kim is right (yeah I said it). Poking fun at vegetarians is just that, poking fun at vegetarians. And in this case, Arby’s was poking fun at vegetarians who, in the first place, were trying to use Arby’s to score points for their cause. Turnabout is fair play.

        And by way of an answer to your question: if some group, purporting to speak for some minority, decides to score points by creating phony outrage around some company or organization and that organization responds by mocking that group, personally, I have no problem with it. Again, turnabout is fair play.

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        • Has anyone verified that this “campaign” actually existed? That Arby’s PR team didn’t just make it up because they figure their target market will believe anything if it lets them make fun of straw vegans?

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          • Has anyone verified that this “campaign” actually existed? That Arby’s PR team didn’t just make it up because they figure their target market will believe anything if it lets them make fun of straw vegans?

            The Arby’s letter referred to criticism directed at the company. Whether or not it was part of a concerted campaign or individuals acting alone, I took it on faith, based on the company’s own words, that they received criticism from vegetarians and vegans.

            As I said to , I doubt Arby’s target market particularly cares about what vegetarians or vegans eat.

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      • Honestly, if they responded to a Jewish group objecting to the very notion that they’d advertise bacon when there are people in the world who don’t eat bacon, I’d still think it was pretty funny and totally OK.

        If they went out of their way to take a shot at Jews for no reason during a bacon-filled ad, that would be an asshole move. But assuming they’re not fabricating the claim that they’ve taken criticism for (gasp!) advertising a product that most Americans buy, tweaking their critics seems perfectly fine.

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        • I tend to object pretty strongly to the use of death threats to get people to stop an advertising campaign, even if that advertising campaign is directly targeting you and yours.

          In that vein, while no Jews have objected to a campaign about bacon, some have objected, in quite strong terms, to “facon” being advertised to Jews.

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      • I guess I should hold back endorsing the response until I know more about what the vegetarian/vegan response was.

        If Jews came out en force against the Wendy’s Baconator and insisted that Wendy’s shouldn’t make or advertise the thing, then I do think they’d be deserving of criticism. I think any group that tries to force its personal views on others is deserving of criticism. Now, the tone of that criticism and the specifics therein could make it offensive.

        Now, on the other end of the spectrum, imagine if NAMBLA targeted a strip club for encouraging men to have sex with adult women… surely we wouldn’t hesitate to endorse a scathing response.

        So… on the scale that runs from NAMBLA to Jews, I don’t know where vegetarians fall. But you do bring up a solid point.

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  2. I admit I think their response is kind of hilarious. Also, I love Arby’s, and have since childhood, though I probably only eat their once a year, if that. I’m pretty sure that cheese-like substance they put on their roast beef sandwiches is actually made of heroin.

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    • I will admit to laughing my ass off when I read it. I will admit to laughing my ass off even more when I called the Vegetarian Hotline twice in order to hear both messages.

      Putting on my business hat, I don’t know if I would deliberately troll people like that, but then again, if I spent enough time in that end of the business and grew weary of the criticism from likely non-customers, maybe I would.

      I try to take a more moderate and level-headed approach to things…Yes you all can stop laughing now.

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      • “I don’t know if I would deliberately troll people like that”

        I assume it’s being done to court the “You’re vegetarian? I’ll eat twice as much meat, then” crowd.

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        • I assume it’s being done to court the “You’re vegetarian? I’ll eat twice as much meat, then” crowd.

          In other words, me during my college years. I did piss off a few vegans with the offer of a BBQ.

          I was 21 and stoned. Cut me some slack ;)

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      • Trolling is good business! (Or so says my friend with the advertising company).
        Causing an international incident (littering violation) is Bad Business.

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  3. Vegetarians and vegans were never going to eat at Arby’s anyway. A lot of regular Arby’s customers probably have a low opinion of vegetarians and vegans in the culture war that we call the United States. This seems like a call out to Arby’s fans and a insult to vegetarians.

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  4. I’m vegetarian and I don’t understand the response of the vegetarian community. Lots of fast food places sell meat. Lots of people like to eat meat. Perhaps if this were India where a sizeable population is not only vegetarian but fully willing to not eat in places which also happen to sell meat such a campaign would work, but this seems bizarre. Part of living in a pluralistic society involves living with the fact that lots of people will be engaged in activities only you and the members of your rather small community find morally problematic. Someone help me out here: what is this bizarre outbreak of moral busybody-ness?

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    • Lots of vegetarians are on a Mission. There aren’t’ just eating what they like but they want to spread the Good Word based on vegetarianism being the Right Way.

      I’ve never actually known these kind of people in meatspace. All the vegetarians i’ve known were nice friendly people who never pushed their eating preference and were fine with people eating meat around them.

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        • I don’t’ mind people pushing veganism on their cats. Of course it is epically stupid, but i don’t like cats much so it works for me.

          The way people feed most pets is only good for a laugh in any case.

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          • Kim is actually right on this, and whether or not you like cats, I never got the feeling that you would willingly harm animals. Trying to make cats Vegan does horrible things to the animals. They are carnivores, not scavengers like dogs and people.

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            • Oh yeah, it is mega stupid to try to make carnivore into a vegetarian. My wife has cats. While i’m not a fan of them none of them have died while i’ve watched them when the wife was away. I’ve seen the cat food aisle at petco. Pet food is marketed to sound good to people, not to cats.

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      • The ones I choose to associate with are nice friendly people. But I’ve run across the evangelicals as well.

        I have to avoid those people, they are bad for my cholesterol.

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  5. “Fast food companies make their money by generating as much sales volume from as many people as possible. Maintaining a high customer base means not overtly pissing off several million people.”

    I’m pretty sure fast food companies have target markets. I am even more sure that the target market for Arby’s does not include vegetarians. Some fast food companies try to accommodate vegetarian customers, but Arby’s isn’t one of them.

    Frankly, the whole affair looks like a lot of empty posturing on both sides: Two groups who have nothing to do with each other displaying their tail feathers when they happen to pass on the street.

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    • Frankly, the whole affair looks like a lot of empty posturing on both sides: Two groups who have nothing to do with each other displaying their tail feathers when they happen to pass on the street.

      If tail feathers look like a middle finger, I think I agree. ;)

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  6. If you allow yourself to be massively trolled to the point where you are helping out the troll then you have no one to blame. The V’s in this case are just massive suckers. Heck the letter wasn’t even really written to V’s despite the title. It was written to rile them a bit and knowing it would get extra attention. Sort of a force multiplier for advertising. I’m assuming the ad people know that as loud and sanctimonious and self-righteous as some V’s can be, there are just as many, if not more, who loudly and sanctimoniously hate V’s and will feed on anything that seems to piss them off. Sort of the “I eat meat because you don’t like meat” kinda person. Childish but with money.

    Arby’s does make a decent turkey sandwich fwiw based on my extensive research of having eaten there twice in the last five years while on business trips.

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    • “Arby’s does make a decent turkey sandwich fwiw based on my extensive research of having eaten there twice in the last five years while on business trips.”

      Arby’s is sometimes the least bad option. They aren’t actually good, but then again neither is most of their competition.

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      • What do you think of the rise of mid-price fast food places like Shake Shack, 5 Brothers, etc?

        It seems that there is a market for a place that can make a good 7-9 dollar burger but not be a complete sit down restaurant.

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        • Arby’s best niche is the least bad option out of a bunch of fast food places.

          Five Guy’s has very good burgers and fries. A step up from BK and McD’s ( both of which i like). I just had good five guy burger on Sunday after finishing a marathon.

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            • yum….just remember a regular order of fries weighs about a pound and half.

              Anchorage really needs better fast food options. No 5 guys, no jack in the box, no white castle……its like we’re some third world country.

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              • Ach! White Castle is atrocious. You just have warm fuzzies from childhood.

                I had McDs for the first time in years on Memorial Day weekend (last time I had it was September 2011). Before that I had Shake Shack in December in Chicago. So I’ve grown used to eating fast food not that often. I think a lot of the places like Shake Shack are just regional.

                Interestingly I’ve spent some time looking at restaurant options in Anchroage and Juneau. Food seems expensive up there.

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        • I don’t know either of them. I suspect that they are regional players. Panera is often mentioned as an example of the slightly more upscale rapidly prepared food establishment. I would go there over any of the standard fast food places.

          What I mean when I say that Arby’s can be the least bad option is that it is entirely possible to find oneself with nothing but fast food places to choose from. If Arby’s is among them, it is likely to be the least bad. This is because you can get a sandwich that is nothing but sliced meat on a bun. It isn’t particularly high grade meat, but at least it hasn’t been subjected to any of the various indignities other fast food places insist upon.

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  7. I don’t think I have ever eaten at an Arby’s. All I know is that “I’m so hungry that I would even eat at Arby’s” is considered a great joke from the Simpsons.

    I just want their to be a Shake Shack in San Francisco. Super Duper is okay. There are some odd chains in Northern California. Marin County has an A.W. of all things.

    I don’t know what is going on in the food world right now. There seems to be a high zeal among the followers of a million different diets with strict Orthodoxies. You have the paleo-crowd, the glutten-free crowd who get very angry when you declare that glutten intolerance is more myth and self-diagnosis than fact, you have Dan Barber declaring that grains are good but Big Agra stripped away most of the nutritional elements for higher yielding variants, you have vegetarians, you have vegans. You also have Buzzfeed and other places posting never ending gluttony of high caloric food. I can’t tell you how many times someone has posted a picture of something as a “must have now” and all I wonder is “when are you going to require a triple bypass?” The food is usually jammed packed with meat, cheese, and a trillion other things. I recently learned that there is something called a “Lady’s Brunch”. A Lady’s Brunch is a cheeseburger that uses a glazed doughnut for a bun. You have people who argue for farm to table without realizing that farm to table is easier in temperate California and harder in the rest of the United States.

    What I do know is that everyone is a fanatic for their foodie beliefs. Vegetarians and Vegans get a wrap for being the most insufferable of the food fanatics. I know plenty of vegetarians and vegans who just see it as a personal choice and don’t moralize. I know others who meet the stereotypical example of vegetarian and vegan who think everyone who eats meat, diary, etc. is committing some kind of war crime. TAL ran a story a while ago about a mom with two sons. The slightly older son (6 or 7) was a vegetarian and would get really really upset (like breakdown in tears) if anyone ate meat in his presence. The younger son (around 5) was having none of this and adopted a “You are not the boss of me” attitude. I side with the younger son. I also know plenty of people in their 30s who seem to have the same hyper-vigilance about their veganism or vegetarianism.

    The bacon crowd is also strangely fanatic. I see a trillion things about bacon, bacon, bacon on social media and in memes.

    So this basically seems like meat-eaters purposefully trolling non-meat eaters.

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    • Farm to table is entirely doable here in Maryland in season. You pay a premium to do it, but you also can get noticeably better quality. I regard meat from the guy at the farmer’s market an occasional treat. Doing farm to table year round would also require that you be a food preservation hobbyist with lots of spare time and storage space.

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    • Saul,
      We just skipped part of a Television Show because it had shellfish on it. In a picture.
      (In all fairness, that’s both an allergy and a taste aversion).

      If the meat smells are making someone feel nauseous, then it’s a poor idea to eat near them (due to the danger of projectile vomiting). And rather rude as well.

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  8. FTW I listened to an interview with Rick Rubin where he said he maintained a strict veganism for most of his adult life but did not start losing weight (and he was big) until he reintroduced meat into his diet and did other things (like stop being nocturnal).

    So the idea that all vegetarians and vegans are super-fit is false.

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        • It does take quite a bit of extra effort and care to be a vegetarian or vegan and to exercise seriously. It can be done but they have to be careful about getting enough protein.

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          • Vegan is tough, but if you are lacto ovo, protein should be fairly easily available. Tofu, lentils, nuts, beans, milk and eggs give you a sufficiently broad variety of protein sources.

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          • Getting enough protein as a vegan is not very hard at all. Most nuts have more protein per unit weight than even very lean meat like chicken.

            Also, advances in nutrition science have shown that protein requirements are much lower than originally thought. This summer I’ve been eating a diet that’s 80-90% comprised of fruit, meaning that I don’t even get close to the alleged protein requirements, even for sedentary persons. But I bike an hour every weekday and play sports on the weekends, and I feel fantastic. Go figure.

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            • Getting enough protein as a vegan is not very hard at all. Most nuts have more protein per unit weight than even very lean meat like chicken.

              I agree with your main point although I’m not sure if I agree with your support of it.

              Whether or not nuts have more protein per weight, while debatable (my initial run of the numbers puts them close to even), is irrelevant. People that focus on protein consumption to build/maintain muscle mass aren’t going to look at that metric. However, they will look at the fat to protein ratio. With lean chicken breast, that ratio is somewhere around 8. Canned white albacore tuna is somewhere around 25. A serving of almonds? At best it’s 0.4 to 0.5.

              Assuming that almonds and chicken have the same protein content on a per unit basis, if I want to eat 30 grams of protein, with chicken I’m consuming just under 4 grams of fat. However, on a best case basis, with almonds, I have to consume 60 grams of fat.

              I eat close to 200 grams of protein a day. If I safely assume that 75 grams comes from plant sources, if I wanted to get the remaining 125 grams of protein from almonds, I’ll also consume 250 grams of fat. Multiply that by 9 and that’s 2,250 fat calories, more calories than I consume when I put myself in a deficit and feel like leaning down a bit.

              One of the people I follow in the calisthenics world that I very much admire is Frank Medrano, and he happens to be a vegan. He does eat nuts (as we all should), but he gets most of his protein from plant-based sources (eat enough veggies and the protein count adds up) as well as legumes, which for active people are great because they can get decent amounts of protein from beans and also get the carbs they’ll need to fuel their exercise.

              I’ll also note that vegan strength athletes and body builders will supplement with rice protein or some other kind of vegetable-based protein powder, and for obvious reasons: the foods with both the highest protein-to-fat and protein-to-carb ratios are not naturally found within the vegetarian or vegan diet. If you have any natural food sources that can give me 20 to 25 grams of protein with minimal fat and carbs, let me know. For now, lean meats and fish dominate in that respect.

              Again, I think your main point is correct, but from I’ve observed and read, they take a different path to get there, at least the more athletic among them.

              Also, advances in nutrition science have shown that protein requirements are much lower than originally thought.

              And these are advances of what kind? Advances made by whom?

              With all due respect, you are going to need to cite your sources.

              Given the impact increased consumption has had on my body composition, an increase necessary due to the level of training/exercise I undertake on a regular basis, I’m not inclined to believe you.

              Even for sedentary people, especially those trying to lose weight, protein consumption helps fight off the potential catabolism that can take place during dieting when the body attempts to convert amino acids into fuel. With increased consumption, the amino acids that get converted are from food sources as opposed to muscle mass. Therefore, this greatly improves the chances of weight loss being attributed to loss of body fat (what we want) as opposed to fat free mass (not good).

              This summer I’ve been eating a diet that’s 80-90% comprised of fruit, meaning that I don’t even get close to the alleged protein requirements, even for sedentary persons.

              There’s also B-12, essential fatty acids and creatine, among others.

              But I bike an hour every weekday and play sports on the weekends,

              You’re in NYC so unless you tell me otherwise, your bike is used to commute in stop and go traffic, correct? If not, are you using your bike for steady state exercise or HIIT?

              What does your sports activity entail? Do you do any high intensity strength training? Do you do strength training at all?

              and I feel fantastic. Go figure.

              While I’m genuinely happy for you, based on my quick read on the Intertubes, there are more than a few nutritionists and medical professionals that have expressed concerns about those kinds of diets given the vitamin and essential fatty acid deficiencies. I also read a few articles about people having bad experiences with them because of those deficiencies, something that may not show up in the short-term but may in the long-term.

              If you like it, go for it, but I will politely decline going down that road. As it is, without a protein source, I may as well kiss my gains goodbye. I’ve worked too hard for that.

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              • Hi , thanks for the thoughtful reply. You may be right that for some very specific athletes, protein requirements are too high to be met on a whole foods, plant-based diet. But even if this is the case (and frankly I’m still doubtful), this is a very small subset even of the population of intense athletes.

                You seem to be saying that sure, plant-based eaters can do well for aerobic exercise, but forget anaerobics. That’s not really true: Carl Lewis set his best times as a whole foods vegan, Roger Bannister was a vegetarian before protein powders were available, Serena Williams played some of her best tennis as a near-whole foods vegan, there are lots of whole food vegan bodybuilders, etc.

                People who want to lose weight while still getting a lot of protein should try eating young shoots and greens, which are about 70% protein per calorie. You mentioned you were looking for a way to get 25 grams of protein with minimal fat and carbs, so maybe try eating a shit-ton of that, or other sprouts or tender young greens?

                But don’t count out nuts so quick. Just because they have a lot of fat doesn’t mean you’ll gain a lot of non-muscle weight by eating them: As meat-eating Paleo dieters like to point out, fat metabolism is pretty complicated. I’m not terribly worried about getting enough omega-3s given flaxseeds and walnuts. I don’t take any supplements, but that may be a quirk of other aspects of my lifestyle: I get lots of sunlight and don’t drink alcohol.

                On your theory, it seems we should at least be able to agree that eating red meat isn’t required for building lots of muscle, as the protein/fat calorie ratio is much lower for red meat than for lots of whole plant foods.

                I don’t lift weights, but a lot of my exercise is HIIT: I do speed work on the weekends, I swim, I play Ultimate Frisbee (which entails lots of sprinting, kind of a mix between American football and rest-of-the-world football). Pull-ups on a tree are about as close as I get to weight-lifting–I’m not trained in it and I’m afraid of getting injured. But I’m still more active than probably 90% of Americans. Last weekend was pretty typical: 5k trail race in the morning, 15 miles of bike riding, 2 hours of quasi-HIIT frisbeeing on Saturday. The next day was about 5 miles each of walking and swimming and 1000m of sprint swimming. My weekday bike route is from Astoria to the South Bronx, meaning most of my route is a stop-free straight shot from the Triboro Bridge on-ramp to the Bronx, so it’s not totally leisurely or stop-and-go.

                Unless you’re extremely tall, 200 g/day of protein is probably way more protein than your body can really use. Assuming you don’t weight more than 220 pounds, you’re eating about 20% more than the upper limits for athletes encouraged by mainstream medical professionals, and as much as 100% more than is encouraged by more up-to-date science. But who knows, maybe you’re really an outlier? People’s mileage on diets varies. But hopefully I’ve at least shown you a different perspective.

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              • However, they will look at the fat to protein ratio. With lean chicken breast, that ratio is somewhere around 8. Canned white albacore tuna is somewhere around 25. A serving of almonds? At best it’s 0.4 to 0.5.

                Protein to fat ratio?

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  9. I applaud Arby’s response. Similarly, I applaud the response that Protein World had when the outrage industrial complex kicked in in response to their “Are you beach body ready?” ads. And it’s not because I have anything in particular against militant vegans and fat acceptance crusaders (although I do).

    Not every product is for every person and that’s the way that it should be. If someone is marketing something that you don’t like in a manner with which you disagree, then don’t buy it. Or go further and register your complaint and undertake a campaign to make your complaints public. You have every right to do that, but that company has no obligation to take your complaints seriously. No company has an obligation to be all things to all people.

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    • Similarly, I applaud the response that Protein World had when the outrage industrial complex kicked in in response to their “Are you beach body ready?” ads. And it’s not because I have anything in particular against militant vegans and fat acceptance crusaders (although I do).

      Two things:

      1. Do you have a link or an article that has the response (I’d look but I’m a bit preoccupied at the moment).

      2. What are your issues?

      I wonder if they’re similar to ones that I may have with both of those groups.

      It’s awful for me. I spend 2 1/2 years busting my ass to lose fat and gain muscle and lo and behold I hear the Dadbod is all the rage. I better get my outrage machine fired up. ;)

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      • Not sure where to find a definitive article on Protein World’s response, but their approach was to double down and say that anyone that outraged by their marketing campaign was never likely to be one of their customers anyway. Whenever there is any sort of dust up involving one group getting offended by the actions of some company or another, people invariably start making this tautological argument that implies that the company is always wrong, because the job of the company is to be liked and since people don’t like them they must be doing a bad job of marketing/PR. And that argument ignores the fact that companies don’t make money off of internet goodwill; they make money off of sales.

        My issues with militant veganism/vegetarianism is that it is a very obvious attempt to make a niche set of preferences into a universal moral standard without bothering to do any of the moral or ethical work. My problem with much of the fat acceptance movement is that (1) it is insecurity masquerading as supreme confidence and (2) the whole idea of demanding to be accepted is directly contrary to the notion of acceptance.

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        • The Protein World example is worth looking into for me. I remember a similar thing happening after a trainer/physique model posted a picture of herself with her three kids with the text “What’s Your Excuse”

          The fitness community didn’t think anything of it. The weight loss community went bat shit crazy.

          This looks like the same thing. I may have a completely different perspective of a beach body and getting ready to have one as someone that may not eat or train the way I do. If I stay in shape year round, eat a consistently healthy diet and want a “beach body” in the sense that I want to perhaps take off a few extra lbs of winter fluff (not much) off an already relatively lean physique, my approach to that is going to be much different than the approach I would recommend to someone that is say 30 lbs overweight and looking to lose it.

          Maybe I ought to look into this although body shaming/fat acceptance is an extremely sensitive subject, and being a male delving into a subject that gets a ton of debate among women could get me in trouble if I’m seen as “mansplaining” (yes, I’m actually using that term smh).

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          • Just a note that I read a study about people gaining on average 5lbs over the winter…
            (quite possibly due to lack of exercise). So the “go for a beach bod” may simply be “okay, get back to where you were last year”

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            • In one way, yes, but when you have some people that are looking for a “beach bod” look and they’re already lean and fit (in some cases very), but want to cut down more, it’s basically short-term dieting strategies that they do (think of a softcore version of a bodybuilder’s cutting diet).

              They’ll go into a caloric deficit, up protein intake (I’ve gone up to 1.5 grams/lb a day), drop carbs, maybe drop fat. They may use meal replacement substitutes (generally high protein with minimal carbs/fats). Diets will be clean with very little added sugar.

              They’ll probably use supplements (fat burners can be quite effective in the short term due to their fat mobilization/appetite suppressant abilities). At that level, the supplements almost become necessary because people that are already lean and trying to lean down more are going to start fighting the body to do it.

              There are different ways to do it, and I’m far from an expert on it, but I am a reader of bodybuilding.com (not a bodybuilders) so I see all the different diet strategies, especially this time of year.

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    • When a comedian makes an actually funny Jew joke, I’ll laugh along and generally expect other people to. When they make the same joke and get a standing ovation for their willingness to stand up to Big Israel, we have a problem.

      (Disclaimer: I am Jewish in a fairly minimal sense and rather thoroughly carniverous)

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      • That’s great, but what does it have to do with my comment?

        We should all be able to reasonably agree that poking fun at vegetarians is not the same thing as taking pot shots at Jews and other ethnic minorities. If you want to start making equivalences between them, that’s fine, but I am bowing out and you can go down that road without me.

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      • Guy,
        No need for the comedian. The Israeli Supreme Court is busy being hilarious enough without getting paid.

        Who knew that a boycott was treason? (and has concommittant legal consequences?)

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  10. A skyrocketing increase of a tiny minority is still a tiny minority.

    I wasn’t aware of this new campaign but I’ve heard the “we have the meats” ads. That this new ad tweaks the noses of a group that I find tedious because of their intolerant, self righteous attitudes only makes it the ad more enjoyable.

    I know, and have dated several, women who are not meat eaters. None of them has gotten up in my face about me tucking into a lamb chop at dinner. Too bad the rest can’t learn to live that way.

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  11. The strategy seems pretty obvious to me. Arby’s sells meat sandwiches. Vegetarians don’t eat there anyway. The advertisement isn’t targeting vegetarians. It’s mocking vegetarians to appeal to people who don’t like vegetarians.

    I mean, they sell meat sandwiches. That’s their whole deal. They don’t have a lot of vegetarian customers to alienate. Not a lot of downside there.

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    • When I linked to this on my Facebook page, I made a joke that I was a bad person for laughing at this. Of course, I come here and try to approach the topic with a little more moderation. It doesn’t always work.

      I’ve seen a few super obnoxious vegans/fruitarians on YouTube. They are taking aim at some of the high subscriber fitness channels. They’re pathetic.

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      • I like vegan food. When done properly (often Indian, which has a damn fine tradition of vegetarian cooking). I also like meat.
        It’s not unusual for me to go vegetarian for a week or two.

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        • Just because I eat more than my share of meat doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy vegetarian or vegan dishes. It just means I don’t make them a part of my regular diet. Nothing more.

          I’m not going to turn down a healthy dish on the basis that it lacks meat.

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          • I like pizza enough to eat it a full week straight (seriously, I do this). Same with salsa, and half a dozen other recipes, including a pickle dip that I’m still tinkering with.

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    • I live in NJ, home of the local greasy spoon diners. The mere mention of Denny’s in my presence is an offense punishable by banning…I think! ;)

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      • banning’s fine, i just wanted to rep the denny’s tumblr.

        regardless, i was born/raised in jersey, and know from diners. (candlewyck is still hype)

        i know denny’s is not a diner – though it certainly is not the satanic majesty of, say, an ihop. i would not recommend eating at any of those types of places, though bob evans is ok enough with the coffee. now that i’m in ‘murica i would have to drive many miles to find a diner, and many more to find a diner with a french dip that is not complete bullhockey. such is the sum of my life choices.

        but the denny’s tumblr? it is magic. it is a unicorn. it is an apotheosis. it makes me feel better about denny’s, though i would neither eat there nor recommend others do so. it is easily the best corporate social media presence going on right now. a++ would be entertained again.

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        • They definitely have some stuff on there that is aiming for, uh…virality.

          I’m looking at you, “hash pipe” and “munch, munch, pass”, plus “fryshadow” (wow, on that one. Brave, Denny’s).

          Also: A rare “Nannerpuss” sighting!

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        • I admit to liking the D page. See? I can’t even spell it out now.

          I actually like Bob Evans so I’m not that much of a purist. Hell, I rarely eat diner food anyway unless it’s an omelet.

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  12. Arby’s ad campaign leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Just like Arby’s sandwiches (Ba-dum! tsh!)

    Clearly, this is an ad that mocks vegetarians to sell sandwiches to people who were already meat-eaters. And that makes me uncomfortable. It reminds me of a genre of ads from my youth that mocked effeminate (and implicitly homosexual) men to sell stuff to straight dudes. And that’s not the sort of behavior I want to see coming from the companies whose products and services I buy.

    Perhaps part of the reason I feel this way is that most of the vegans and vegetarians I know are friendly and non-judgmental people, while the obnoxious diet evangelism I’m exposed to comes exclusively from the diet trends that still let you eat steak.

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  13. Thank you for the feedback. I’ll through your points.

    I think I need to make some clarifications about protein intake. Theoretically, I don’t see issues with people getting enough protein on a vegan diet. In practice, while I think this still applies to more sedentary populations, it becomes a struggle for active individuals that require a higher protein intake if only because there are by my lights very few whole foods that aren’t animal-based that provide a sizable amount protein without providing substantial calories from other macronutrient sources. It not only becomes a challenge when managing total caloric intake but also macronutrient timing and what they call “hitting the macros” (i.e X% of calories from fat, carbs and protein sources).

    To @mike-schilling’s question about ratios (to calculate those, a nutrition label provides the necessary data), I want the most bang for my buck when it comes to protein because I want to be able to eat it throughout the day with as few other macronutrients as possible. My fat intake is between 20% to 30% of total calories. A higher protein to fat ratio keeps me within that range.

    It’s a whole other dynamic when it comes to managing carbohydrate intake because of the importance of peri-workout nutrition and insulin. If the goal is for the body to burn fat throughout the day during non-workout periods, my opinion is that meals should be mostly proteins and fats with veggies. While I don’t buy into the myth that smaller meals boosts metabolism, smaller meals provide for more constant satiation and keep blood sugar levels low enough to prevent insulin increases from effectively shutting down the body’s ability to burn fat – something that happens with insulin spikes (hence, one of many reasons why processed sugars, soda, etc. is so terrible).

    Given my macro intake, without a form of vegetable-based protein that I could use as a supplement, I don’t think that I could achieve my goals, and I don’t say that with any kind of anti-vegan bias. In fact, having watched videos of vegan bodybuilders, strength athletes, etc. discuss workout nutrition, they resort to supplements because they run into the same kind of trouble.

    I don’t think this applies to a small subset of athletes, and even if it did, this can apply to everyone that has interest in not only losing weight, but making significant improvements to their body composition. Weight loss can do that by virtue of burning off fat, but without some kind of muscle building/resistance training, weight loss will only go so far.

    I’ve read a number of things about vegan athletes and it always seems to me that vegan athletes are mentioned when vegan diets are criticized for not being able to produce either professional quality or championship-level athletes. I don’t believe the former, but the latter does in a way speak for itself. You produced a very small list, and it’s interesting that you mention Carl Lewis because while he did produce his best times shortly after becoming a vegan, his long-term success may be a bit more debatable, possibility due to limitations in the diet that may become an issue for people in the long-term:

    http://www.bulletproofexec.com/carl-lewis-vegan/

    I have a pretty simplistic view about the vegan diet and sports nutrition, and I’ll admit that it’s mostly based on assertions. I look at the highest level of athletics and there are people competing for prizes/paydays/whatever that have significant value both short-term and potentially long-term. Carl Lewis went vegan in 1990 and then kicked ass in 1991. If the diet was that big of a contributing factor, why haven’t other competitors jumped on the bandwagon?

    Elite level powerlifters can spend months pushing past a plateau just to add another 5 to 10 lbs on an already massive deadlift. If they thought that a vegan diet could push themselves past that plateau, they’d be all over it. Same as bodybuilders. Yet, very few are and those that are vegan aren’t quite at the highest level (with a couple of exceptions you listed).

    I’m not trying to criticize a vegan diet, but there is a sizable disconnect between the people/activists that promote a vegan diet and people that need their diets to fuel their performance.

    But don’t count out nuts so quick. Just because they have a lot of fat doesn’t mean you’ll gain a lot of non-muscle weight by eating them

    I don’t count them out at all, nor do I count out any fats. Fat consumption is quite crucial to the fat burning process. I don’t worry about the high fat content in nuts or any whole food so long as I’m consuming them within a reasonable calorie range. However, foods high in fat, even whole and healthy foods like nuts, can become a problem if they’re overeaten. My experience with nuts and nut butter is that it’s extremely easy to do, especially given the caloric density (9 calories/gram vs. 4 for protein and carbs). Add to the fact that I don’t find nuts the least bit satiating and it’s a potential recipe for disaster if I don’t measure out my portions (with nuts I do).

    People who want to lose weight while still getting a lot of protein should try eating young shoots and greens, which are about 70% protein per calorie. You mentioned you were looking for a way to get 25 grams of protein with minimal fat and carbs, so maybe try eating a shit-ton of that, or other sprouts or tender young greens?

    How much of a shit-ton are we talking about and how much of a cost is that going to be? My guess is that we’re looking at an option that’s extremely cost ineffective, which is the reason I don’t eat free-range meats (at approximately 1 lb a day cooked weight, that gets costly). My other question is whether or not the amino acid profile in vegetable protein is complete? I know that with foods like rice and beans, the amino acid profiles are incomplete and are only completed with being combined.

    I’ll also mention that if we’re talking about consuming a massive volume of food, that could be an issue. As it is, I can eat quite a lot of raw broccoli and spinach on any given day.

    I’m not terribly worried about getting enough omega-3s given flaxseeds and walnuts. I don’t take any supplements, but that may be a quirk of other aspects of my lifestyle: I get lots of sunlight and don’t drink alcohol.

    The main reason why I mentioned essential fatty acids is that if you’re at 80-90% of your calories from fruit, I don’t know if that leaves enough room in whatever’s left to provide you with those. Can you get enough fat calories from that 10% to provide you with what you need? If you’re consuming 2500 calories/day, 10% is 250 calories or approximately 28 grams of fat (2 servings per nuts give or take) – Does that provide enough?

    On your theory, it seems we should at least be able to agree that eating red meat isn’t required for building lots of muscle, as the protein/fat calorie ratio is much lower for red meat than for lots of whole plant foods.

    I think in general I would say yes. The best protein/fat gram ratio is in something like London Broil, and that’s around a 3-4 so there’s less bang for the buck. Most important, I’ve been able to improve myself without eating a lot of red meat. Most of what I’ve consumed is poultry and some lean fish like tilapia.

    I’m glad you’re active and frequently exercising. For pull ups, you may want to check out a website like PullUpSolution.com (it’s not mine nor am I affiliated with it). The program is for sale but I think you can get good technique lessons without buying the program. You should also try going to the bar parks if you can, especially since you’re in NYC.

    Given what you do, it wouldn’t surprise me that you’d have plenty of energy to do it given your carb intake. Whether or not you’re getting enough protein to make substantial long-term gains above and beyond a baseline level, assuming you ever get into resistance training or do lots and lots of pull ups like I do, I don’t know. My guess is probably not, or, at the very least, it will slow you down. By now, if you’ve been at this for a while, your body may have already made the adaptations it should be expected to make when someone goes from minimal exercise to frequent exercise. I’ve been there too.

    I thank you for the different perspective. I know protein intake has been and will be debated by mainstream medical professionals, nutritionists that train athletes, S&C coaches and just about everyone with an opinion. I wasn’t sure if the protein requirements listed were for athletes performing in their sports or athletes as they train. It could be different. There will also be a very wide range of protein requirements based on the physical requirements of each sport.

    Because what I do is specifically geared for building lean mass, high protein is required. I’m 180 lbs, and 200 g protein makes it a ratio of 1.25 g / lb. For muscle building, it’s arguably the midpoint (although I generally stay closer to 1). I tend to up my protein intake in the summer because I want to maintain my caloric intake, and with summer being summer, I tend to drop carbs a bit, but I’m not too crazy low (keto isn’t my thing).

    It’s been fun as always…

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    • Hi , I think it’d be fruitful for me to push back a little more.

      I don’t think eating lots of protein to the exclusion of other nutrients is necessary to lose weight. I used to be about 50 pounds heavier than I am now (not in the good way), and I lost it on a plant-based diet. Medical research shows a pretty convincing link between nut consumption and the ability to lose weight.

      I’m familiar with that bulletproofexecutive article, but I think its conclusions are not well-supported. The parsimonious explanation for Carl Lewis’ decreased dominance in sprinting events after going vegan at 31-years-old is the fact that he was 31-years-old. Sprinting events are typically won by people in their mid-20s or perhaps late-20s; by the time Lewis adopted veganism, he was already an old-timer by Olympic sprinter standards.

      It’s also possible that Lewis’ performance declined for reasons that are related to veganism but not inherent to it. For instance, as a dark-skinned and dark-eyed person in North America, it’s plausible that Lewis had Vitamin D problems when he dropped animal products — but this can be corrected by prescribing more sunshine at the right times of year. Or it may be that Lewis drank alcohol, which can quickly deplete B12 stores (happened to me in law school, I’m sad to say) — but again, this can be corrected simply, by cutting out alcohol. So to claim that Lewis performed poorly after 1991 because of his vegan diet is simply not a good argument.

      Like I mentioned before, fat metabolism is pretty complicated. Fatty acid ratios have different effects depending on, for instance, a person’s sodium intake and levels of physical activity. As a side note, if you really buy into the fatty acid ratio explanation for Lewis’s decline, you should probably switch up a few things in your own diet. Pastured meat has a much more favorable ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. The non-pastured poultry you eat is chock-full of omega-6s, and if the fish in your diet is as lean as you say, then any omega-3s you’re getting from them probably aren’t gonna be nearly enough to counter the imbalance (especially if the tilapia is farmed, which is the most common scenario, especially if you’re buying cheap). Unfortunately, you’re right that eating pastured animals is very expensive. But luckily, the cheapest source of whole-food omega-3s (by far) is only about $2/pound: Flaxseed, which is a plant!

      I also have to disagree that a fruit-based diet can’t result in gains. I used to not be able to do a single pull-up, now I can do sets of a dozen without too much strain. Those gains all came on a low-protein, fruit-based diet. I suspect that the easy digestibility of fruit and nuts means my body can make really good use of the little protein I get. Consider the chimp: Our relatives eat as much or more fruit than I do (scientists have estimated that half of the carbon atoms in a typical chimp come from figs alone!), and we have very similar digestive systems. Chimps are also about twice as strong as humans, pound-for-pound. They clearly don’t have any problems getting gains off of fruit, so why would I?

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      • Thank you for the pushback. It allows me to add a little of my own. ;)

        I don’t think eating lots of protein to the exclusion of other nutrients is necessary to lose weight.

        Correct. It’s not necessary. While weight loss is a complicated dynamic, especially when factoring homeostasis into the equation, for our purposes, we can look at it from a calories in vs. calories out perspective. Eat fewer calories than your body burns, you create a caloric deficit. Over time, that deficit leads to weight loss. To some degree it may not matter where those calories come from. Several years ago, a nutrition professor lost over 25 lbs on a Twinkie diet. I didn’t consume anywhere near my protein levels today when I dropped 25 lbs back in early 2013.

        What I will argue is that of the three macronutrients, protein is the most optimal for weight loss, followed by healthy fats and then carbs. This is for three reasons. The first is satiety. The second is the thermic effect of food (100 protein calories yields about 80 usable calories – the other 20 go to digestion). The third is that protein consumption, especially on low/lower-carb diets, is lean mass sparing because in the event that the body tries to create glucose from amino acids, it can do so from the amino acids consumed rather than from the amino acids found in muscle.

        So to claim that Lewis performed poorly after 1991 because of his vegan diet is simply not a good argument.

        Then let’s let look at Lewis another way. A 31-year old sprinter that competes against younger sprinters that should be able to beat him switches his diet and wins races. Those sprinters that should have beaten him and didn’t look at Lewis and say “how the hell was he able to improve so much?” Being competitive athletes looking for every possible edge to become a champion given the rewards, all of them decided that the Lewis’ diet helped to give him a competitive advantage so his competitors all adopted a vegan diet and also saw their performance increase.

        It would be a nice story if it was true, but it clearly wasn’t. If it was, every vegan activist would be waving that flag. Just as we can’t explain Lewis’ decline, we can’t explain what exactly caused Lewis’ increase in performance, especially in light of the fact that his competition did not follow suit. The best part of the article I posted is not the explanation on Lewis per se but the nutritional deficiencies that I believe lead most athletes and their coaches to shy away from a vegan diet.

        As a side note, if you really buy into the fatty acid ratio explanation for Lewis’s decline, you should probably switch up a few things in your own diet.

        Luckily I don’t.

        But luckily, the cheapest source of whole-food omega-3s (by far) is only about $2/pound: Flaxseed, which is a plant!

        If I want to consume the same amount of protein from flaxseed as I do from a serving of chicken breast (24 grams), as opposed to the 3 grams of fat I get from lean chicken breast, I consume almost 48 grams of fat from flaxseed (based on a label I looked up on an organic Flaxseed product). Respectfully, that does not work for me. Flaxseed is good for me to help me get my fat intake for the day, but not as a direct source of protein.

        I also have to disagree that a fruit-based diet can’t result in gains. I used to not be able to do a single pull-up, now I can do sets of a dozen without too much strain.

        I went from 3 to almost 18 in a short period of time when I started back again. We have the same types of gains yet different diets. There’s a reason for that: beginner gains. In the field of exercise science, it’s based on specific adaption to imposed demands. When the body experiences stressors, it adapts to those stressors. The muscles get stronger and allow for additional stress and more gains.

        For people that go from doing nothing (or little) to doing something, they will make tremendous gains. You did it. I did it. The specific diet type is going to have very little to do with this and is more explained by basic exercise science than your body’s use of protein.

        Going past that point is going to require a little more effort and attention to programming and diet. Without those, the gains will be harder to get, especially without proper protein intake.

        Chimps are also about twice as strong as humans, pound-for-pound. They clearly don’t have any problems getting gains off of fruit, so why would I?

        Because you aren’t a chimp and if you want your body to grow, you won’t use chimps as your guide to muscle gains. As it is, chimps may be strong but I don’t think that they are specifically focused on making maximal muscle gains the way humans do when they do periodized training and follow specific diet protocols.

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        • I guess I’m having a hard time understanding your position. So going vegan can be good for weight loss, athletic improvement, and

          There are other strategies for satiety (and preventing metabolic cannibalism you speak of) besides protein. Fat is highly satiating, as is fiber, which in raw plant foods is omnipresent. Your body doesn’t need to convert its own protein into glucose when you’re eating a lot of carbs (which are typically about 50% glucose!) Your argument that protein is uniquely necessary is highly unconvincing, and runs counter to mainstream medical evidence besides — which isn’t to say you’re necessarily wrong, but you need to make stronger arguments.

          I brought up flaxseed to counter your argument that vegans have trouble with essential fatty acids, not to talk about protein. Please read my posts more closely.

          Also, I have to respectfully disagree that I’m not a chimp(!!). The only differences between chimps’ digestive systems and ours is that we’re better at processing grains on the front end, and worse at processing intensely-fibrous foods (I’m talking twigs and mature leaves here) on the back end. If you can identify another, I’d love to hear it.

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