How Vegan Bodybuilding is like the 1960s Space Race

Two years ago I began a vegan bodybuilding experiment to demonstrate that plant protein can support the same rate of muscle gains as animal protein.  I felt this would allow me to make a powerful point, particularly among a Chinese audience given that the Mandarin word for muscle (肌肉) contains the word for meat (肉) and the word for protein (蛋白质 dan bai zhi) literally translates as “egg white substance”.  Surely, gaining muscle without meat, or any other animal foods would challenge some engrained ideas and help raise some of the critical issues related to meat consumption, such as disproportionate land and water use and green house gas emissions.

Progress shots so far..

But as things progressed, I realized that the greatest benefit of this was not a propaganda victory for any particular group, but practical lessons.  Eating and cooking nearly 4,000 calories of high-protein vegan food in spite of a busy lifestyle is like the US sending men to the moon. It’s a seemingly crazy thing to do, but the problem-solving done along the way can create a lot of value for a lot of people who may never wish to fly to the moon or become vegan bodybuilders.

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Mandarin vs. English Part 1

Ask a five year-old American child “what’s an archipelago?” and the child probably won’t have a clue.  Ask a Chinese child the same question (in Chinese, of course), and they’ll know or at the very least they’ll be able to guess, even if they’ve never heard it before. This is because the Chinese word for archipelago is a self-defining term composed of the two words “group” and “island,” referring to geological formations like Hawaii or the Philippines.

This is one of thousands of terms that are far easier to learn and remember as a Chinese-speaking child, which is part of the reason that perceptions of Mandarin as the world’s hardest language to learn are all wrong.  As I’ll explain in this article, even after accounting for tones and characters, Mandarin is significantly easier to learn and use than English which is why we should all be a little annoyed with the British empire for spreading the wrong language around the world. Way to go, guys.

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How to Actually Cut Back on Meat

A lot of people intend to reduce their meat consumption for many great reasons, but alas, the law of inertia makes it hard to change.  Anyone who has ever been in a row boat knows that it’s way easier to adjust the angle than to turn around.  That’s why I wrote up this list of lower meat diets–a menu if you will–of lifestyles.  It turns out that cutting back on meat consumption is one of the most incredibly impactful actions an individual can take, so take a look and see if any of the diets I mention would be a good fit for you and be sure to share this article with friends who may be of the same mind…

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If you love your country, eat less meat

American patriotism is a matter of pride for many and action for few.  Many of those who fly the flag seem to simply be proud that they’re proud, but lose sight of the meaning and basis of patriotism. When traced to its roots, the latin word patriota means fellow countrymen, and the greek origin patrios means “of one’s fathers” which means that patriotism is a sort of filial commitment to one’s countrymen and to serving and aiding one’s countrymen.  

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