Bill Pearl is a former bodybuilder who competed from 1953 to 1971. During that time, he won 11 bodybuilding contests, both as an amateur and professional, including Mr. USA in 1956 and Mr. Universe in 1953, 1961, 1967 and 1971. Despite being retired from the sport for four decades, Pearl still trains as of 2011 and takes an active interest in bodybuilding, offering an online consultation and program setting service.
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Early Career Diet
From the start of his bodybuilding career until 1969, Pearl ate what most would consider to be a typical bodybuilding diet of that era. This included lots of protein from meat, eggs and fish, and a high level of carbohydrates, based mainly around grains and starches. During this time, he won 10 of his 11 bodybuilding titles.
Switch to Vegetarianism
At age 39, Pearl switched to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. He first decided to switch to this way of eating after he found that his blood pressure, uric acid levels and triglycerides were all far too high, which were putting him at risk of future health complications. He attributes these conditions, along with the joint pain he used to suffer in his early career with the meat-heavy diet he had been eating.
Since his switch to lacto-ovo vegetarianism, Pearl's diet consists of mainly egg whites, dairy products and meat substitutes for protein sources, fruits and vegetables for his carbohydrates, and a few whole eggs every day for his fat intake. Pearl generally believes in following a high-protein, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. If you decide to follow a lacto-ovo diet you will be consuming plant foods, eggs and dairy products, according to Colorado State University Extension.
Before emulating Pearl's diet, consider a few factors. While Pearl states that meat can cause health problems, a diet that contains good quality meat, specifically grass-fed organic meat, offers many vitamins, minerals and health benefits that are impossible to obtain through a vegetarian diet, according to nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden. Pearl also recommends a low fat intake, however low fat diets can cause nutrient deficiencies, and also rule out many foods which are beneficial for health, such as nuts, olive oil, oily fish and avocados.