In the latest installment of Batman The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway plays the new, more sinister Catwoman. In interviews for the movie Hathaway reveals that she turned to an all Vegan diet in preparation for her role because she wanted to fit into her catsuit. And much to my frustration, I’m now getting asked by my clients if they should try the star’s eating strategy.
So, should you go Vegan?
I’d have to say no, that is unless you don’t care about the muscles on your body. Say what you will, attack me, call me narrow minded etc., people who adopt Vegan diets lose muscle mass and get soft. I’ve seen it time and time again and even Bob Harper admits is his book Skinny Rules that after eating Vegan for a while, he felt week and looked soft. I know, many of you will write me and say I don’t know what I’m saying and provide me with a list of athletes that are Vegan. And that’s great – but they are by far a minority. If they perform that well without meat, imagine how much better they’d be with it! But surely there must be health benefits to the most extreme form of Vegetarianism right?
Proponents of this type of eating will tell you that meat is bad, especially red meat and cite studies of people who had better blood profiles of cholesterol, triglycerides, sugars and may have even lowered their blood pressure and risk of cardio vascular disease when switching to a Vegan lifestyle. And this may be true, but what was their diet prior to going meatless? Did they eat a healthful diet with lean cuts of meat that were portion appropriate along with plenty of fibrous veggies, fruits and nuts? Or were they fast and junk food eaters who are now claiming that Veganism is the healthiest way to go? Do you see my point? If you want to be Vegan or Vegetarian for ethical or moral reasons than that’s great. But I believe that a diet of lean meats, veggies, nuts and seeds (PALEO!) is not only as good, but better than a meatless diet.
In an interview for USA Today Hathaway admits to eating ‘ a lot of pasta’ and pizza with wine as her Vegan menu. Surely that’s not a healthy diet now is it? You mean to tell me that because pasta and pizza are Vegan, that they’re better choices than 4 ounces of grilled chicken or fish with a side or two of mixed vegetables? Sorry, not today…not any day.
I’ll tell you why the Vegan diet works for many – it eliminates food groups that we tend to over-indulge in and that promote poor health and fat gain. Many people eat far too much fatty red meat and fried chicken or fish and too many calories in general. By taking those foods out of the diet permanently, people will generally get healthier and lose weight. However that doesn’t mean they’re at their healthiest or best weight. Do you understand what I mean? The Paleo plan is similar in that eliminates everything white – no bread, no flour, potatoes or rice etc., so as a nice consequence your blood sugar stays low and you burn fat all day. Most of us have trouble regulating or moderating small amounts of food, so diets that have an exclusionary component can sometimes work.
I’m not slamming anyone’s choice to eat a certain way. What bothers me is the ‘packaging’ surrounding some diets and the celebrity push that they get. Interestingly while I find Anne Hathaway very beautiful, I certainly wouldn’t say she looks fit by any stretch. She has zero muscle tone anywhere on her body. Now if that’s the look you’re going for, I guess boil up some pasta and order out a pizza. If not, eat small portions of lean meats including fish throughout the day and give your body the building blocks it needs to support and sustain life and grow muscle tissue. Got it?
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