It had been two years since the first Tempe Challenge. I did not take that lean body for granted anymore. My metabolism was different, it stored fat more easily. I was also struggling in the United States with the temptation of western foods. And after I found my passion in the culinary arts, I could not sacrifice cooking and eating just for the sake of bodybuilding anymore.
My goal this time was to feel and look healthy again after a very intense 3-week culinary trip to Chicago, London, Oxford, Chipping Campden, Darmstadt, and Paris.
The main focus was still to use tempeh as the main protein source, but I combined it with fasting and shaping the gut microbiota. I used fasting to regain the joy of eating after the trip. Gut microbiota are the germs in our gut that can contribute whether we store fat more easily or the opposite and we can ‘shape’ them. High-fat diets were reported to increase the amount of microbiota in the Firmicutes group, which is correlated with obesity. In contrast, high-carbohydrate, vegetable, and fruit diets increased microbiota in the Bacteroidetes group. This is identical with lean individuals.
After a tough one-day fasting, with only Icelandic dried fish and coconut water, I carried on to the next days. I slowly increased my meal portion to regular increments with tempeh incorporated low-fat foods.
I have included a detailed program of the challenge which includes a severe food allergy reaction that got me hospitalized and made a slight change in my diet.
Again, this is not a scientific examination because the only control that I had was tempeh consumption and fasting. This diet was an effort to show tempeh as my main protein source and that I could still be healthy and move forward in shaping my body.”Enough! I need food that does not harm me!”
This is what I said to myself after a 3-week culinary trip. The food was great, I cherished every meal, and I got lots of culinary insight. However, the taste of a lean, fresh, and wholesome meal was missing. On top of that, I noticed that I did not feel healthy; my cheeks were bloated and my body felt heavy after the trip.
The following weeks after my trip, I began eating a meatless diet to reduce facial bloating; this had worked for me previously. To reshape my gut microbiota I additionally reduced my fat intake and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
I realized that as I was changing my diet, I was in actuality participating in The Tempe Challange again. I was depending on tempe, also known as “tempeh”, as a main protein source.
The Tempe Challenge is a resource used to build muscle mass by eating tempeh as a protein source. I had developed and initiated this idea in 2014 to increase the awareness on tempeh as a cheap, environmentally friendly, and tasty protein source. In this book, I document how I went through the steps of the challenge in a much more robust way. It includes how I developed some out-of-the-box tempeh recipes to keep the journey exciting.
Again, this is not a scientific examination because the only control that I had was tempeh consumption and fasting. This diet was an effort to show tempeh as my main protein source and that I could still be healthy and move forward in shaping my body.