One Year Vegan: My Blood and Microbiome
Plus my Testosterone, Iron and Triglycerides
It’s that time again! Time to test see if plant-based eating does what all the documentaries, science books, non-science books and actual non-industry funded, peer-reviewed studies claims it does. Did that come across as douchey? I was going for smart-ass.
If you haven’t read my previous posts about my blood here is the most popular one What does the blood say after 30 days of going vegan? and my follow up What does the blood say after 6 months of going vegan? I decided to add a few things to these as I had some requests and I am more than happy to share my journey. After reading the Microbiome Solution and the Bloat Cure I became curious as to how healthy my microbiome was so I sent my poop to San Francisco! Ubiome to be more specific. A few people have asked me about my testosterone, Iron and Triglycerides so I’ll be including these here as well. Let’s jump in!
To recap my stance, I am operating under the assumption that there are no nutrients that I can get from meat that I can’t get from a healthier non-meat source. As of yet, no one has been able to provide me with any evidence to the contrary. The sources of my research are the China Study (a book my doctor recommended and touted as the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted), How Not to Die, Nutrition Studies, NutritionFacts.org, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to name a few. These resources are based on tens of thousands of studies conducted on hundreds of thousands of individuals that spans decades and conducted by world-renowned scientists, some Nobel laureates. All studies are peer-reviewed, committee reviewed, published in the most prestigious medical journals and backed up by thousands of people, including me, who have completely reversed their blood and cardiovascular health.
Tale of the Tape
At my heaviest I was 220 lbs, when I started to eat a bit better I was around 202 lbs, thirty days of being vegan I weighed in at 189 lbs, six months later I went down to 160 lbs where I remain today.
My body fat percentage was 30% (ugh) when I was 220 lbs, a year-ish later when I started being vegan it went down to 26%, six months later it went down to 20% and my body fat is now 15%!! I’m working to cut that even more by eating clean, fasting, and HIIT training a few times a week. I have so much energy when I eat right!
Cholesterol and LDL
A healthy range for total cholesterol is less than 5.19. Before going vegan (BV) two years ago my total cholesterol was 5.24. After thirty days it went down to 4.81 and a year later it’s at 4.72. Optimum!
Ideal HDL (good cholesterol) is more than 1 and mine was dangerously low BV. After thirty days it jumped to 1.2 and a year later it’s at 1.44. Oustanding!
A healthy LDL (bad cholesterol) is less than 3. Before Vegan my HDL was 3.63 (high risk!), thirty days of plant-based diet 2.53 and one year later it sits at 2.49. First Rate!
Someone posted a question asking about my triglycerides so here they are. Healthy range TG is less than 1.69. My Mine was 1.73 BV and thirty days of plant-based brought it to 1.28 and one year later it shot back up to 1.72. At the time I was trying to put on some muscle while weight training so I was eating as much as I could which is the reason for the high score. Super!
The healthy range for iron in the blood is pretty wide at 22–537. As a meat eater, I ranged from 42–108 and 30 days vegan I was at 115 and a year later I’m at 67. It’s in the range but I’m going to continue to evolve my diet to include more lentils, cooked spinach, pumpkin seeds and more. Killing it!
My B12 is still high and like I’ve mentioned before EVERYONE should be supplementing it! I was low as a meat eater. I supplement once a week. Top shelf!
Hb A1C AKA Insulin and Diabetic Risk
Repeating what I posted in the 30 Days post and a year later my Hb A1C remains at 5.2! Woo hoo!
I was on an upward trajectory towards diabetes while being overweight which is coming down fast. The term HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin. It develops when haemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, becoming ‘glycated’.
By measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), clinicians are able to get an overall picture of what our average blood sugar levels have been over a period of weeks/months. In September and six months before that I was at 5.5+% which is slightly on the warning chart below, but today it was 5.2% which slips completely off this chart into very healthy territory.
I think the daily meditation, my generally positive outlook on life and my training really set this up for success.
Me: 100/66 — in fantastic shape! STILL!!!
For the first time in my life, I feel I am the right weight for my size. I’m 5'8" and have leaned out while retaining muscle. I have more energy now at 46 years old than I did at 36. I hover at around 160lbs (156.6 lbs today) and I have abs again! Self-high-five! ✋
I have heard that vegan men have up to 30% more testosterone and so I was curious about mine. This was the first time I tested for testosterone so I have no previous levels to compare, but I can say that my testosterone is at 778 nmol/L and a healthy range is 240–950 nmol/L….FOR A 19-YEAR-OLD! A healthy range for a 46-year-old is 201–798 nmol/L. Personally, I don’t understand the obsession or stigma attached to testosterone, but my vegan blood seems to have a lot of it. Fist pump!
Let’s talk bacterium! My wife and I are pretty diligent on prebiotics with bananas, garlic, onions, oats, lentils, etc.… and probiotics in coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented pickles, etc… so I was pretty confident that our gut was good but who could resist sending poop to San Francisco?
I sent a stool sample to uBiome for testing and about six weeks later I was able to log on to see the results. The first thing I saw on the main results page was the following:
What does it mean exactly? I believe it’s telling me that based on all the data that they have, I have a very healthy microbiome. I won’t go into great depth about Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes mostly because I have no idea what they are but I will tell you that I have 67% Firmicutes and 22% Bacteroidetes which, according to uBiome, means that my levels do not correlate with a lean body type because “Studies have shown that gut microbiomes tilted in favor of Bacteroidetes correlate with weight loss and lean body types.” I can “take action” by considering a low-fat or low-carb diet but I won’t be considering either given that I’m pretty lean and in good shape.
My Microbiome Diversity is an 8.1/10 which seems pretty good as well. uBiome recommends eating more fiber, exercising and avoiding antibiotics if I want to improve it further.
Other than the overall score I was surprised to see one thing. I have virtually no Lactobacillus which it the most common probiotic along with Bifidobacterium of which I have a lot.
I think there’s something to be said about the fact that my mood has changed because of choosing to be plant-based. Just knowing it has such a positive impact on the world by reducing suffering in animals and improving the environment makes me happy. Add let’s not forget the fact that it’s an optimun diet for a long and healthy life!
I’m not saying it was always easy. There were challenges but that made it even better. My wife and I had to get creative in making healthy meals taste delicious. Soon I’ll post what exactly I’m eating daily and weekly to get a sense of where my nutrients are coming from. I hope this helps!