Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The winning VeganMania team (left to right): Ross Cannon, Jeff Olichwier and John Beske

Last night, Chicago VeganMania entered a team in the 6th Annual Brown Cow Ice Cream Trough Eating Contest. The Trough is a gargantuan sundae containing 21 scoops of ice cream with massive amounts whipped cream, cherries and sprinkles. As reported yesterday, this was the first vegan team that ever entered the contest, and it required the creation of a separate all-vegan version of the concoction, which contained three scoops apiece of seven different flavors of Chicago SoyDairy's Temptation Vegan Ice Cream, and a specially blended non-dairy whipped cream.

The VeganMania team completely dominated the event, obliterating the concoction in 6:52, or slightly more than half the time of the nearest competitor. In fact, when officials shut down the competition after 22 minutes, only three teams had finished at all.

The reasons why the VeganManiacs so thoroughly devoured the competition may take more time to understand. No one on the team had ever done this sort of thing before and they only decided less than two days before to enter, so there was no time for preparation. They faced a variety of teams from ambitious college students, to guys who look like they'd be good at this sort of thing. Yet, at the point when Ross, John and Jeff set down their spoons and triumphantly thrust their arms in the air, most of the other troughs looked as though they had barely been touched.

More significantly, while the vegan team was dancing and celebrating, and all went home to nice dinners, the other competitors were clutching their stomachs and wearing pained expressions.

One reason was Jeff Olichwier, who easily consumed 40% of the ice cream himself, easing the load of Ross and John, and whose first words after victory were, "Great, where's dessert?", but that still doesn't account for the vast dominance.

At least one other team's coach was quick to call foul. "These guys had a completely different product", said the white-haired man, whose name we didn't feel compelled to collect since we're not pretending to be a reputable news organization. "Their spoons slid right through it like it wasn't even there!"

"It's true we'll have to put an asterisk next to this one on the plaque," conceded Brown Cow owner Connie Brown. "But we very carefully measured everything. Their trough had the same number of scoops, the same caloric and sugar content, the same air density, everything."

Is the different chemical makeup of the product responsible or may victory be at least partially attributable to the nature of the vegan diet? A training guide for eating contests suggests that competitors train by eating a large amount of low-calorie high fiber and high water-content foods like fruits and vegetables that will stretch out the stomach allowing it to hold more food. Well, this is a pretty good definition of a vegan diet.

At the same time, humans did not eat dairy until a few millennia ago, and then only in northern European countries. It is said that the body needs to produce a special enzyme to digest dairy products, and that many people, particularly people whose ancestors are not from northern Europe, have difficulty producing this enzyme. That's why lactose intolerance is so widespread and why dairy is the most common allergen. Perhaps even people who can abundantly produce this enzyme still can't create enough of it to keep up with massive consumption such as a Brown Cow Trough.

"I think that if the other teams would have eaten the same thing we did, they'd have done better than they did," pondered VeganManiac Ross Cannon. "But we would have still beat them."

More commentary and a photo gallery to follow tonight.


ariel said...

Just another reason to say "GO VEG!" right? Except this time its a competitive triumph :)

Marla said...

They just BLEW the competition away. It was ridiculous! I also think vegan potlucks are the ideal training ground for competitive eating. ;)