Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Animal testing

In general, I, like most of you, am opposed to scientific testing on animals. I do make one exception, though--when the testing is done on human animals. Rabbits, dogs, cats, monkey, rats, mice, and any other animals should never be used in the name of science. Ever. But human testing, well, I think that's a good thing.

For the past week Andy and I have been part of a study being conducted by an honours student here at JCU. The criteria: vegetarians who exercise for 90 minutes or more a week. We fit those criteria, so we signed up. What we had to do was keep a 7-day food and exercise diary; and one morning we went in to uni before the sun was up to have our blood pressure taken, get some finger-prick blood samples drawn, and bike our guts out for a VO2Max test. The researcher took blood samples before and after the exercise to test for oxidative stress levels (I think aka free radicals that come from meat, processed crap, and environmental factors). She is comparing vegetarians with omnivores, so I was more than happy to take part in the hopes that more proof comes out supporting the health benefits of veganism.

Here is a tiny peek at some of the food recorded in our diaries...

Mashed potatoes, zucchini couscous, and beans&greens (cannellini and beet greens). The recipes were from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, which I'm borrowing from a friend. Apologies for the poor photo quality.

Much of this produce from the markets on Sunday. For $22 we got all this. Beets, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, coriander, onions, zucchini, corn, eggplants, avocadoes, and 12--yes 12--tangelos. Funny story about the tangelos: we said good morning to the woman at the stall and she told us the tangelos were $2 for 8, but to grab 10 of them. A minute later her husband came over and told us to grab two more, "to make you feel good". Well, we feel good, but a little overwhelmed by 12 tangelos!!
This produce led to a curry, roasted vegetables, salads, sandwiches, and lots of other yummy food.

I lasted 12 minutes in the VO2Max Test, which was longer than they expected from me. Every two minutes the resistance on the bike increases, so it got harder and harder, and eventually my leg muscles went on strike. But it isn't all give, we get a bit of take, too. Andy and I will both get a detailed nutritional analysis, we'll get the results of the test (which is normally quite expensive), and we got a free set of measuring spoons and scales (practically the day after kristy and I started a movement against scales).

If I hear about her study getting published anywhere, I'll let you all know.

Update: Andy and I had a bit of a competition before the actual test, to see who could last the longest. Well, we found out the results, and here is the report:
Test time: 12 mins 20 secs
VO2max: 48.8mg/kg/min
Max heart rate: 180 beats/min

Test time: 12mins 45 secs
VO2max: 38.9mg/kg/min
Max heart rate: 186 beats/min

* you both did very well in the VO2max test to cycle for over 12mins!


kristy said...

Scales? I'm not sure if we can be blog friends anymore :-)

Alec said...

That food looks so fresh and delicious, and for $22?! That's so cheap! How does that compare to American dollars?

That study sounds so cool. Did they make any distinction for vegans? I'd love to sign up for a study like that. Anything to help show the world you can be vegetarian/vegan and be super healthy and athletic sounds cool to me.

Pink Theory said...

interesting...I'd be curious to see the results of that study. Though I bet I know what they are, 'Eliminating meat from your diet and exercising regularly are good for you!' :-)

The spread of fresh produce looks simply amazing!

Vaala said...

Wow, that's quite an impressive haul from the markets!

You'll have to let us know how the study goes.

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

Your veggies look delicious! The fitness test/nutritional analysis actually kind of sounds fun! I look forward to hearing more about it.

Theresa said...

Alec, at the moment AU$22 is worth US$21.03. The US dollar is slipping by the second ;)

Bianca said...

I can't believe you got all that for $22!

And that's awesome about the test. I'd love to take part in something like that if ever offered the chance. Sucks Andy beat you though!

Theresa said...

Ah, Bianca, it is a shame he beat me on the time... but my VO2 Max level was so much better than his! So I guess we both one, one contest each :)

Cookiemouse said...

I find that being vegetarian does not stop me riding around Amsterdam on my bike every day with my girlfriend sitting on the back. OK, she is only 45 kilos, but after a few beers I still get her home alright.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Sounds like fun! And what a great way to get a free nutritional work up! You and Andy must both be really healthy with those times and VO2 maxes :-)

the little one said...

That is great that you're participating in the study. You show them how healthy we are! Interestingly, for how much I (try to) exercise, I have no idea what good VO2 levels are. Still, I have no doubt that yours were excellent!