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30 Day Vegetarian Challenge

Hi Gym Podders – Hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and happy! To introduce myself, my name is Peter and I’m currently serving as the Branding & Partnerships Executive at The Gym Pod. I’m originally from the USA; I moved to Singapore about a year ago and was fortunate enough to join The Gym Pod team last June. I’ve been loving the challenge ever since – we’re constantly thinking of new and creative ways to deliver fitness options to you. It’s basically our job to think out-of-the-box, while we build gyms inside-of-a-box (ha ha!). To put it bluntly, I’m a bit strange and unconventional myself. I’m always looking for ways to challenge my mind and body out of my comfort zone. Some things that I’ve recently tried (for better or for worse) range from:
  • “Caveman” diet, Keto diet, egg diet
  • The Wim Hof “Iceman” breathing technique to hold my breath for several minutes
  • Packing my bags and moving to Singapore!
I was recently searching for new experiments, and luckily some friends of mine had recently seen the Netflix documentary, Game Changers. Game Changers has since taken social media by storm, advocating for the various benefits of a plant-based diet and veganism. My friends challenged me to a 30-day vegetarian diet: I duly obliged.

Planning

Since moving to Singapore, I’d been consuming a ton of meat in my diet purely because I enjoy eating at hawker centres (seriously, how is food this delicious, THIS cheap?). If I was going to succeed in a 30-day vegetarian challenge, the only way to avoid the temptation of my favorite prawn mee with pork ribs, duck rice, chicken rice, etc, was to avoid hawkers completely. I turned to my local FairPrice.

The Diet

By no means am I an expert chef, so I essentially decided to eat the same few meals for 30 days. Common meals consisted of vegetarian omelets (eggs were allowed), veggies in either mala or tom yum soup, and I also developed a newfound love for making mushroom risotto. The first few days were tough and boring, but after the first week or so, you get over the typical meat cravings.

One of my lovely risottos.

The Results

I felt incredible. I significantly cut the amount of grease I was eating, my focus levels increased, and I arguably had more energy while working out (not sure if this was placebo or not). Additionally, there is plenty of research out there that shows a plant-based diet might even strengthen your immune system, which I am grateful for now given the current situation of COVID-19. Now, more than ever, make sure you all are eating plenty of veggies! I never really paid attention to how poor my dieting was. I’m always pretty active whether it be exercising in The Gym Pod, The Spin Pod, or playing football as much as possible. However, I had never felt this clean in a while. My gut feeling is that it was not so much an indication of eating too much meat (who knows), but rather that I really needed to cut back the amount of grease that I was consuming. I challenge all of you who may be on a fitness journey to start being more conscious about your diet. Whether you are drinking 5 bubble teas per week and trying to cut down to 3, or trying to refuse the pork lard in your wanton mee (trust me, I know it’s tough), try to balance your workouts with a healthy diet. Finally, strength definitely comes in numbers. Whether you’re embarking on a new fitness or nutrition challenge, try doing it with friends! 30 days without meat was much easier to get through knowing I had friends going through the same struggles as me. Mind you, they’re all the way in the US! We simply kept in close contact via text message the whole time. Challenge yourself with something new this month, surround yourself with good company, and your mind and body will thank you for it.
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