Automatically, many meat eaters assume that vegans and vegetarians cannot build lean mass without animal proteins. Well, today we are going to bust that myth. One thing a person on a plant-based diet hates is talking with someone about his or her dietary system like there is a problem that needs to be fixed. With that said, vegetarians and vegans can build muscle and strength without animal protein.
Whey Protein Powder vs. Plant-based Protein Powder
As we talked about in a previous post, protein is a macronutrient. We need macronutrients for our survival. However, the debate on how much we need is still conflicted when various parties are asked. The two protein powders that we will talk about are whey and plant-based proteins.
Often times, whey protein is not always vegetarian-friendly. Many manufacturers sneak in ingredients like rennet. Rennet comes from the fourth stomach of newly born calves, lambs and kids (baby goat). Slaughtered before the weaning period, chymosin is extracted from these infants.
If opting for whey protein, be sure to do the research, and make sure it is animal-friendly by contacting the company directly.
As for plant-based proteins, there are many options available. Plant-based proteins are much gentler on the stomach. To name a few, there are pea proteins, hemp proteins, sprouted proteins, brown rice etc. These types of protein powders are safe for vegans, vegetarians and lactose intolerant diets.
Regardless if one is a vegetarian or vegan, eating fried foods is not going to help. Choose a clean diet and work with it to obtain that weight goal. Whether one is an omnivore or herbivore, filling up on only vegetables and fruits will not build muscle.
Most of the calories on a bodybuilding diet will come from dense foods. Be sure to mix up the fruits and veggies with dense foods. Here are some protein sources that mix well with vegetables:
For every vegetable eaten, pair it with a healthy fat and protein-packed side. This will help reach those macro goals and a balance of nutrition needed for muscle building.
A safe bet any vegetarian or vegan can make is that someone has warned them about deficiencies. The top four that often come across are iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.
Let us begin tackling each one of these.
There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme. Found in red meats, heme iron is absorbed easily in the body. Non-heme is found in vegetable-based foods. Here is a list of vegetables that contain iron:
Next on the list is calcium. Calcium is important for strong bones and is crucial in muscular contraction. A low calcium intake can increase cramping during workouts and hinder performance. In addition, it can lead to thinning of the bones and osteoporosis in the long-term.
Vegetarians can usually achieve dietary recommendations with dairy-rich foods. As for vegans, calcium foods include:
Following calcium, we are going to talk about zinc. This essential trace element encourages growth and development throughout the body. When someone lacks zinc, it can affect appetite, cognitive power, motor skills and men’s testosterone levels. To combat any zinc deficiency include these in one’s diet:
Fortified oatmeal or cereals
Finally, the most talked about Vitamin B12. A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can be serious if not resolved right away. This creates a concern for vegans since it is found in animal-based foods. However, to overcome vitamin B12 issues, seek fortified foods two to three times a day or find a supplement.
I hope that this helps the next time some “meathead” argues about muscle building on a plant-based diet.