Why Real Men Eat Their Vegetables πŸŒπŸ†πŸ₯’πŸ₯•

in Natural Medicine β€’ 2 months ago

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I thought it only fitting to use a cover image of a meal that my man made. A completely vegan, and deliciously loaded homemade pizza. Besides grilling (and slop), pizza has become his specialty. Any time we want to grab a slice, he sets to work in the kitchen making the dough (spelt is our fave) and chopping up veggies to load that bad boy up. I generally make the sauce, often a pesto full of herbs from the garden. For a treat I will sometimes buy vegan cheese to get more of an authentic feel, but I think he would agree with me that generally even without the cheese we both get stuffed sharing even just half a pan! Any veggie will do. That's kind of the dude way of cooking anyway, right? Just throw on whatever you've got and make it a meal.

When I saw the latest @naturalmedicine challenge in partnership with the Man Cave, I knew I had to jump in with some thoughts. Of course plant-based nutrition is right in my wheelhouse anyway, but it's always fun to have a specific prompt to run with. Just because it's a "manly" challenge doesn't mean the ladies don't get any say, especially as an athlete, I often eat as much or more than most men I know anyway. πŸ˜‚


I really enjoyed reading @pavanjar's entry for this challenge as he hit on a lot of tips I often give anyone transitioning to a plant-based diet. One of my biggest lessons when I started cutting out animal products was making sure I filled my plate with plenty of other food to get in enough calories. I never ate a ton of meat, but when you are eating especially clean it can be a challenge to make sure you are taking in enough nutrients for your activity level or muscle mass. Since men tend to be bigger and more muscular than women, that can be especially true. Most plant-based foods (with the exception of nuts/oils/avocados/etc.) are less calorically dense than animal-based foods, so you may need to eat more to get in the same amount of calories. That's great if you are wanting to lose weight, but to maintain muscle mass you gotta eat!

I find it a little funny because so many people demonize "carbs" as the enemy as far as weight gain, when any man that I have known to go even 80% plant-based has lost weight! A whole foods, plant forward diet is generally full of complex carbs. Now there are many ways to do a vegan diet--you can still go low carb, even keto, if that's your thing, but in my research the best diet includes some starches (potatoes are life), whole grains and as much fruit as you like. If a man is omitting meat and dairy from his diet, whole grains and beans are great sources of fiber and protein to fill him up and keep that manly body fueled up!


Of course we can't talk about men's health, without touching on a subject I alluded to in my cover post. According to this article Dr. Greger, 40% of men over 40 have problems with erectile dysfunction. That's almost half of you dudes! The crazy thing is that a big percentage of that can be prevented with a healthy diet, not surprisingly one full of plants and low in animal products. Perhaps there's a reason why so many fruits and veggies are shaped like a phallus? Who needs a blue pill when you can eat a banana. Or a daikon radish if you were wondering what that was.


There are so many amazing male athletes out there now proving you don't need meat to perform at a really high level. I love following Rich Roll, not just for his athletic endeavors, but he always has some truly inspirational people on his podcast. Of course The Game Changers was such a huge film that influenced quite a few men I personally know to try to at least reduce their consumption of animal foods. I also really love the book Proteinaholic as it speaks to many questions men have about needing meat (which is not the only food with protein). There really is a plethora of information out there now, and while some is purely anecdotal, much is extremely well-researched and documented.


On the anecdotal side, my dad has had some awesome success regaining his health this year taking the plunge and finally listening to his middle daughter. He first was wooed to the idea of plant based eating when I made tempeh chili to share with the family years ago. Not long after he made a big batch when his buddy, who is 6'4" and generally weighs somewhere around 300 pounds, was in town along with a traditional ground beef version. Wanna guess which one got eaten first? Yep, the tempeh one was ravaged by both of the big guys. My dad is no small man either, and he has always enjoyed lifting weights. Back when I first transitioned to a plant-based diet he was happy for me and saw how I had no problem maintaining my own hard-fought muscle mass, but he always said he just had to have some meat (sound familiar?).

Fast forward to the beginning of this year and a not so good diagnosis of pre-diabetes. After a long conversation on the phone, he had a plan to cut out beer and beef, along with drastically reducing dairy, chicken, and fish. He also finally shook of the lethargy of the winter and got in a great lifting routine again with daily walks for low impact cardio. If I remember correctly, it only took three months to get his numbers back in the healthy range. To this day he still checks in at the end of the month with his stats on the meals he ate. The last check in was out of 93 meals for the month only 7 had meat, and the other 86 were meatless. It also included a shirtless photo with a much smaller midsection and more muscles in his upper body than most senior citizens have in their whole body. Also, tofu doesn't give you man boobs, but beer might.

I'm really proud of my pops for taking control of his health. And as he would tell you, he doesn't feel deprived in any way. He still enjoys a little bit of meat here and there, but when he does his portions are much smaller than they used to be and come in a meal with plenty of plants to balance it out. That really is the amazing thing about the vegan food industry and recipe creation now--anything you can eat, I can eat vegan. Cheese, ice cream, burgers, sausages, even fish sticks--you can find it all in plant-based forms. Not all of it is healthy, but if you are more focused on the ethical side, there really is no reason not to give the plant-based options a try. Some of it is almost too close to the "real" thing for my own liking after over 7 years without it! Though Chao cheese is the bomb and melts beautifully on a manly pizza, haha.

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Ultimately we all have control over the food choices we make and figuring out what works best for our bodies. But it's about time we squash the myth that vegan men are weak or plant-based meals are bland and not filling. I think for the most part the word is out, but it's always fun to be a part of a challenge that gets new perspectives and makes people think a bit. I am happy to do my part helping the men in my life be the healthiest versions of themselves they can be, and perhaps inspire a few others along the way with my mouth-watering recipes, as well.

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The problem is that many people don't take the time to investigate and study these things, so these myths are often created. I also have an average very similar to your dad's, I could swear that the same, 7 out of 93 meals a month. Although I must know how to balance the diet, it is not easy here but I do what i can. I still need to work on the issue of exercise.

This article is very good, I was very happy to read your father's story because it is a perfect example for men. Thank you for sharing it.


Love that you have learnt so much during this challenge. You'll be sharing plant based meals too one day!

I hope so! :D

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Real men eat pink vegetables. Just kidding. A corny pisces joke. Lots of good info here I'll be sharing with my man. Hope your doing well. I finally found my way back!

HAHAH - love it! Corn isn't pink though :P - he he he.

Haha, love it. We can all use more laughs this year, so I'll take a corny joke any day. Nice to see you pop back up! Hope you're hanging in there and doing ok!

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You're right - you absolutely did make me laugh!!!! That not so subtle daikon was placed BRILLIANTLY. Lmao. That's amazing about your Dad. What a legend. And I can't believe they went the tempeh over the beef one - well, I can, because YUM!

I never understand the mega fuss about carbs either. Sure, don't eat tons of bread and potatoes, but as long as you're eating tons of veggies and other things in moderation you should be good, right? Loved this post - you are such an advocate but not only that you know your stuff. If I was a meat eating manly man reading this, I'd be kinda interested in maybe eating less meat and upping my veggies, and feeling safe that not only will I feel good and my protein needs will be met, but my eggplant will be firm :P

I've never heard about chao tofu - learn something new every day!!!!! I'll have to look out for it here. Love the comment about man boobs too! I joke with Jamie that beer is giving him man boobs - but he's lithe and decidedly UNFLABBY - if he wasn't I'd divorce him. But his carrot is working very well thanks very much, so I'll keep him for a while longer :P

Haha, I figured a few people would get a giggle out of this one. A lot of angles I could have taken, but this topic was just begging for a little bit of cucumber humor. Though all joking aside, it is really quite concerning those numbers are so high. I hope many men think a little more about diet before the pills if they're having that issue.

Really it comes down to eating a variety of things from the ground and not overindulging on any one thing, right? I think we tend to make it too hard and over-science things when it's really not that complicated.

And cheers to firm carrots! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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Oh ladies you are too funny!

A good laugh does wonders for the soul, doesn't it? πŸ˜‰

That daikon! How did I know what was coming? 🀭

I live with a septuagenarian dedicated carnivore. He used to eat meat three times a day. Not any more. You are making me think about how little he now eats by comparison. And lots of carbs. But he as he always says, he has a feed conversion ratio that is so poor, if he'd been bred for beef.... lol. He uses a lot of very agricultural analogies!πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Couldn't help it on that one. I actually had quite a few choices from my vault of vegetable photos, but the daikon was just too perfect for PG illustrative purposes. 😜

I love hearing the stories of your carnivore husband enjoying those meatless Monday meals. Though with your cooking, how could he not?

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I do have to admit that it was never hard to convince him to eat his greens. The challenge was more eating them without meat!! lol

Now, he's quite "into" the meatfree Monday thing and actually suggests meals he likes! If that's my doing, I'll happily take responsibility! 🀣

This is a really great post. And it reminds me of a story ... A few years ago on my birthday in December, we once organized a bbq outside. In winter, so everything made completely windproof. Put a large stove outside, and on that stove we also made a large pan of veggie pea soup. In addition, we had various vegetarian snacks for the BBQ, including skewers, all prepared with great care. There would be a number of people who normally always have meat in their diet, and especially for them we had ordered some meat snacks that they could throw on the bbq. To our amazement it turned out at the end of the evening that all vegetarian snacks were finished. But the meat snacks were hardly used.

Funny how that happens, isn't it? I think most people wouldn't even notice if you didn't tell them a dish is vegetarian or vegan. I get joked with this time of year a lot about missing out on the turkey for Thanksgiving, but really most people's favorite part of the holiday meal is all the sides! I totally forgot about my brother-in-law surprising me last year when he not only tried but said he really enjoyed the cranberry marinated tofu I made. I forgot about that until reading your comment, but I'm sure there's many more instances like that than I can even remember!

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As always a great informative post. We have been slowly reducing the number of meals which include meat. Although I understand the benefits of eating a completely plant-based diet, I don't think I'll ever be able to give up hamburgers altogether. Took a look at the link you included in this post about beer. From there it had a link about hops in beer and the correlation between breast cancer and Phytoestrogen found in hops.

Very interesting info, thanks.

Good morning! Nice to see you again. And thank you for the lovely comment as always.

While of course I am perfectly happy totally meat-free, I think most people really would benefit if they just reduced the amount as you are doing. Especially when you grow so much of your own food and eat so many healthy items to go with! My dad still has some beef on the rare occasion, but now he'll have a 2-4 ounce filet instead of a ribeye. My boyfriend will still eat meat if we go see family or at a friend's house, but he's totally meat-free at home. People sometimes get caught up with all or nothing when it really comes down to being mindful and making progress that makes sense for you and your lifestyle. πŸ˜„

And good eye on that link with breast cancer. I started researching it a lot after quite a few clients being diagnosed over the last few years. Really alcohol is a big one to avoid completely or limit if that type of cancer is a concern. That site is one I visit often as the good doctor has a lot of great information that you can easily search by topic of interest.

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That's great to hear your dad has made a great recovery in a short space of time just by changing diet. I remember hearing you on an interview a couple of years ago with Actifit about plant based diets and how much quicker you can recover from exercise, which has stuck and I've still yet to do something about it... I am at least eating lots of vegetables even if pretty much every meal has some dairy or meat in... I'll get around to it... eventually!

It really is amazing how quickly a few lifestyle changes can manifest into good results sometimes! For some it takes longer of course, but I'm really happy my dad caught it before it really progressed into anything bigger. You've got half the battle down just eating vegetables! I can't tell you how man times I've heard from people "I don't like vegetables". I like the approach to fill your plate with more good stuff first, then it eventually starts crowding out the stuff that maybe we would eat a little less of. Much more positive approach that leaves you feeling much less deprived than just crossing off a bunch of faves off the list right from the start! Though I will admit I think that vegan cheese I shared would make a fantastic toastie! ;)

Well, I'd never give up a cheese toastie 😜

I've never made a kitchen sink burrito in my life!

Blue pill: Not cuz you have to but because you like to, wait! Is this live, are we on the air? Forget I said that.

Another well written one, Plants, congrats on the reward. That stuff about carbs, so weird, even people reading this are probably 'carbs are bad' when really they're essential. They do all kinda weird stuff like clear out your arteries.. who'da thunk?! Eat meat, clogged artistries, don't eat meat, clean arteries.


I'm sure it has nothing to do with all those cattle farmers who knew their product wouldn't sell without promoting the shit outta protein.

I know, excellent use of the word "shit"

As much as I know you'd like to address this response in its entirety, I'll keep it simple. Ya'all got any exciting plans to end this weekend?

I have to say, this was a fun one to crank out. Of course I'll talk all day about food if you let me, but it's fun to squash some really silly fallacies every now and again. The carbs one really is my pet peeve, though. But as with the dairy myth, the meat myth, and so many others--the industry works against us and pumps out so much fake news it's no wonder most people don't know which way is up. Now when someone has some major health issues going on, that's a whole different story. For the average Joe, however, eat some damn plants.

Nothing exciting going on our end other than the usual Sunday routine. Laundry, cleaning and of course cooking. Just because there's some big holiday this week doesn't mean I'm not meal prepping like a madwoman leading up to it. ;) Apple cinnamon oats, shredded veggie & chickpea salad, this new chickpea-based tempeh and a whole crap-ton of cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage since they are all in season right now. And that doesn't even count the sweet potatoes, vegan pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry marinated tofu that's going down on Thursday. Simple, ha!

Hugs to you and the wifey. Hope the weekend was a good one for you guys, as well!

Yeah she ain't been preppin and having me run to several joints for specialty items for about a week, either. And it's just she and I! Which reminds me.. I need to get a pie pan--the first one had crust in it.


pumps out so much fake news..


Dang, I knew I misspelled something. ;)

DKS had to carry about 30 pounds of produce and a few other goodies yesterday at the farmers market, but I think (fingers crossed) I'm good until at least Friday on grocery runs. But hey, he ain't gotta cook nuthin'.

Have him text me, maybe he can pick up a few things for me and I for him and we'll limit our travels while you ladies are none the wiser and just assume we're being the good little boys that we are.

Haha I am pretty sure a plant-based diet is a men's viagra and much more. Love the pizza btw and I totally agree on the carbs. Nothing wrong with complex carbs coming from whole grains. My fav these days is a chickpea flour crusted pizza. Have a beautiful day ღ ღ ღ

So true, haha! Plants are good for just about anything that ails you. Unless maybe you cut off a finger trying to cut into a spaghetti squash maybe. 😜 I love chickpea anything, so I'm sure that makes a great pizza, too! I just tried hemp & chickpea tempeh, or Hempe as they called it. So good! And great for a soy-free option!

Oh that's sounds interesting. definitely gonna try that. I am perfecting my recipe for peanut tofu.... not far off now!

You're calling my name with some peanut tofu!


Good evening @plantoplanks, thanks once again for such great information.
We have been eating and juicing raw fruits and veggies for forty years now. My kids were brought up on morning carrot and apple juice. They got used to mom having a bottle of juice ready for them before games. Bags of orange slices were always in their lunch bags.
The sweed and I start our day with green juice. It gives us so much energy. My fav is carrot, apple and spinach juice, slice of ginger if I have it, lemon is nice also.
I may be old, but I am not stupid. The closer we get to consuming raw food, the better in my book.
"Little blue pill" you mentioned, no thanks I'm good😁

What an awesome habit! An amazing pre-game boost of energy, as well. I have often had a bottle of beet juice before a big run, so I can appreciate that greatly. I still don't have a juicer in my kitchen, but it is on the "someday" list for sure. That carrot, apple, spinach combo sounds like the perfect start to the day!