30 Days to a Better Man-Day 4: Increase Your Testosterone

You may not have thought about testosterone much since your voice cracked while reciting Shakespeare in Mrs. Tonnelson’s ninth grade English class. (art of manliness)

Well, maybe some men haven't, Art of Manliness. But for this guy? I kindasorta think about it quite a bit - even as my voice began cracking while singing Rock Band karaoke at age 27 or attempting to enthusiastically hoot during burlesque at the bar.

Apparently, in order to increase one's T, I'm supposed to:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • Don't smoke
  • Don't consume soy
  • Meditate for at least 10 minutes
  • Lift weights
  • Eat a serving of good fat
  • Eat a serving of animal protein
  • Eat a serving of cruciferous vegetables
  • Have morning sex (does partner-less count?)

So, everything is all said and good, minus the "don't consume soy" and the "eat a serving of animal protein" crap.

First, the soy-increases-estrogen hoopla is bunk. A meta-analysis conducted in 2009 was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility which showed that neither soy foods nor isoflavone supplements from soy affect testosterone levels in men.

Researchers looked at more than 50 treatment groups from articles in peer-reviewed journals for this meta-analysis. Soy foods contain phytoestrogens, including isoflavones, which have weak estrogen-like qualities.

(Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS, Messina MJ. Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril. June 11, 2009. DOI:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038.)

Put it to rest already.

And with the eat a serving of animal protein suggestion? HUGE no. Art of Manliness seems to frown upon vegetable sourced protein by implying that it's inferior to animal based proteins - but this is just done dern not true. Aside from being a compassionate and valuable source of protein, veggie sources also contain micronutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that I'm not going to find in meat. I will find oodles of saturated fat and cholesterol, though. Ew.

Plus, I'm not all that hip to the idea of increasing my risk for cancer. Which means, again, no animal protein for me. Dr. T. Colin Campbell directed what The New York Times called "the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease." Campbell wrote a book on it called The China Study, which, in a nutshell, states that

"human studies also support this carcinogenic effect of animal protein, even at usual levels of consumption. … No chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein."

In other words, it's not fat and cholesterol that cause cancer—it's animal protein. The fat and cholesterol cause heart disease; the animal protein causes cancer.

So Art of Manliness? I'll pass.

Anyway, not-gonna-eat-meat-rant-aside, today I've consumed the following two veggie-based proteins:

  1. Tempeh. This is high in protein (19 grams) as well as fiber, iron, potassium, B12, calcium and isoflavones. It is made from cracked cooked soybeans inoculated with beneficial bacteria to give it a chewy, meaty consistency. Mmm! 
  2. Tofu. I had some extra firm tofu, which contains the highest amount of protein (16 grams) and the lowest amount of carbohydrates.

I could've opted for other sources - like nuts, seeds, and so on - but I couldn't resist the above while at Vertical Diner (local vegan restaurant) with my parents and Andrew earlier today. I feel like a better man indeed!

For relevant manly funsies, I shall now end today's task with images of a few of my favorite veg athletes who are all kinds of crunked out on veggie-based protein:

Bill Pearl. Bodybuilder and four-time Mr.Universe winner.

Brendan Brazier. Ironman triathlete who is a two time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion and holder of the 2003 and 2006 National 50km Ultra Marathon Championships.

Robert Cheeke. Bodybuilder and founder of www.veganbodybuilding.com.

Mac Danzig. Mixed martial arts fighter and the lightweight Extreme Challenge National Champion and winner of The Ultimate Fighter 6.

Kenneth Williams. Professional bodybuilder who made history at the 2004 Natural Olympia in Las Vegas which is the most prestigious natural bodybuilding competition in the world. He finished third out of more than 200 competitors from 37 nations and became America’s first vegan bodybuilding champion.


Looks like all of that soy and veggie-based protein are working fine to me. At least this guy took the Art of Manliness's advise today and ate some steak instead:

Manly to the max!

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