Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
August 13, 2018
When I first became a vegan way back in October of 2012, I really had no idea what to do with the lifestyle. At first, everything was in smoothie form and stir fry form, because I really had no other way to cook. I was a typical bachelor that ate everything in take-out form and making my own food meant getting frozen chicken patties and 40 dollars of deli meats and cheeses. So yes, I really had no clue how to actually eat. As I got deeper into the lifestyle, I started looking at research and even tried some unusual ideas to help with the transition. Thanks to additional moral viewpoints, I was able to strengthen my stance on the morality and ethical side and became an official vegan so to speak. Either way, we all want to read the good stuff and learn how to cook, like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 21-Day Vegan Challenge and The Engine 2 Diet’s cookbook to make things interesting in your life. We got other stuff like The Vegan Stoner Cook Book and Vegan Black Metal Chef Cook Book to make things interesting. At one point, me Jon and Christa all attempted something rather interesting. We got to meet a titan within the vegan movement named Dr. John McDougall, and he had a rather interesting “diet” that was built as a way to help people realize the potential for good dietary practices. For ten days, you ate nothing but potatoes. You could only bake and pan cook, minus the oils and other unhealthy sides that make potatoes bad for you. So no butter, cheese, sour cream and minimal (if any) condiments like mustard or barbecue sauce. It has worked wonders for a couple of gargantuan members in Hollywood like Penn Jillette and Kevin Smith. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19562004/kevin-smith-potato-diet/Either way, this will always lead to the question….is focusing on one type of food—or mono-dieting—really that good for you? The answers may surprise you.
The idea of mono dieting comes from a simple premise. When eating a meal, you focus on one macro group and just eat that. For example, you eat only oatmeal for breakfast, bananas for lunch and finish off with spinach for dinner. You might eat an apple-only or blueberry-only snack somewhere in that mix, but you get the idea. Some people try eating only steak for an entire day…trust me that will lead to some long bathroom sessions. Now, I have written in the past about this before, and there are some pretty extreme examples out there. A lot of people have done the 30-bananas a day diet (which I failed on after three days) and some people even try to do things like watermelon cleanses and apple cleanses (which are kind of dangerous when you think about it). This is the important message when it comes to this methodology….you have to listen to your body! While there are literally hundreds and thousands of people around the world that say this sort of eating will help you lose weight, that may be the only thing this type of eating is good for. The problem is the science they usually cite is incorrect, and the majority of bloggers and Vloggers are not dieticians. Our body is meant handle multiples types of foods, and we need these nutrients from that variety of food to keep ourselves running like a fine tuned machine. Limiting nutrients from other places can lead to crashes, which is what happened with me during the 30 Bananas a Day diet. While my sugar and carbs were being covered, I am still a big man trying to lift big weights, and I ultimately hit a wall when this happened due to the lack of fat intake and other essential nutrients that are not in bananas. You will see a lot of push back when it comes to his sort of eating, and even see some people get downright outraged. https://www.thecut.com/2016/08/mono-diet-potato-diet-penn-jillette.htmlHere is the honest truth….mono dieting does work. Any crazy fad diet can work…we all know this. But from a long term standpoint, the safety of the diet is where the true question comes to place. While mono dieting can be great for one meal (like maybe breakfast) doing that every meal is nearly impossible, especially if you have chosen one specific food. Or maybe not?
This is the part where I will say mono dieting can work, and the main reason is because there is actually 100 years of research to prove this point. Potatoes baby. Lots and lots of potatoes. While I have heard a lot of garbage from Raw vegans saying eating potatoes is horrible due to the starches, and eating non-organic potatoes is like biting into a heaping helping of pesticides, the research pretty much proves that potatoes may be the best (and possibly only) vegetable one can realistically sustain themselves off of for a long period of time. Starting in the post war destruction of World War I, scientists did research on fad diets to see if someone could conceivable live off potatoes for a year. This was not out of curiosity, but due to the fact so much land had been destroyed and farms burnt during this conflict. Potatoes can thrive in a smaller area than most crops and thus be mass produced at a faster rate. Tests indicated the men that were on this diet did maintain good health in the interim, and even had better health numbers in some measurable stats. Now this was only done for a year, and we have yet to really see anyone attempt to go more than a year. Jillette and Smith only went two weeks to start their diets, and even McDougall just focuses on his 10-Day Diet as an introduction to potentially going plant based (which was something he mostly tried to sell to older people looking to fix some of their health issues late in their life, especially considering McDougall is a healthy looking 71-one year old who also was a stroke survivor of 40+ years). There is the story of a man that recently ate potatoes for an entire year. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/diet/andrew-taylor-eats-nothing-but-potatoes-for-a-year-to-cure-his-food-addiction/news-story/41d8e6612679985fc9bf62e4b970ef15He cured his eating addiction and lost well over a hundred pounds while also fixing his health. He is still at it if you want to know, and obviously created a little business empire out of it. https://spudfit.com/
All I can say is be very careful with this methodology. Always remember, you have to listen to your body when you start doing this sort of thing. I have been thinking of going back to a potato style diet again considering the finances in my life are starting to make things tough on me, but as always, this is a big commitment. You will have to be very careful with the portions and maintain a decent caloric intake. The great thing vegetables is they fill you up quickly, and thus you will certainly reduce your caloric intake. Just be sure to adjust the amount you eat in conjunction with how much you work out.
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Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.