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Vegetarian Bodybuilding Guide For Beginners

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First, let’s start by answering the question « Who is a Vegetarian? ». 

The Vegetarian Society has made it easy and simple to understand who a vegetarian actually is:

A vegetarian is someone who consumes pulses, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fungi, yeast, algae, and some other non-animal-based foods (e.g., salt) with, or without, dairy products, honey or eggs.

A vegetarian doesn’t eat foods that consist of living or dead animals or that have been produced with the aid of animals. This includes meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, insects, by-products of slaughter** or any food made with processing aids created from these.

So, a vegetarian is one who avoids eating meat. It’s usually a self-motivated lifestyle change and can be caused by a variety of reasons such as religious beliefs, health risks, ethical liabilities or moral considerations.

More recently, we have seen many athletes and bodybuilders turning to vegetarianism or veganism. A few years back, it seemed like an unlikely idea to switch to an entirely plant-based diet with no meat or dairy products involves and retain an ultra-cool, well-built body.

How would you get the necessary proteins, was the first question that aspiring vegans had to consider.

But contrary to popular belief, veganism is not at all an obstacle in your path to building muscle mass through resistance training.

Haven’t you heard about the Vegan Dread Torre Washington? He is one of the most inspiring vegan bodybuilders ever:

Torre Washington
Photo: forksoverknives.com

For the past two decades (since 1993 to be precise) this vegan bodybuilder from Miami, Florida has successfully avoided meat and dairy products of all kinds and has sincerely been a vegan.

No doubt, his physique can give many non-vegetarian bodybuilders tough competition. When Washington was asked about the probable drawbacks of being vegan on bodybuilding, this was what he had to say:

“If anything, I am at an advantage being vegan, since plants expedite the recovery and recuperation.”

Leon Gabbidon is another incredibly fit and healthy vegan bodybuilder who can inspire you to turn to veganism:

Leon Gabbidon
Photo: Twitter

The 32-year old Gabbidon gradually shifted from non-vegetarian to fully vegetarian. Firstly, he stopped consuming red meat, then chicken, fish, and finally eggs.

He gradually adjusted to the new lifestyle and eating habits and eventually, and he is in a happy phase at the moment. After all, with such a good body, who would be satisfied?

Gabbidon thinks that if animals are mistreated in their lifetime, then the quality of food they produce can only be poorer.

Gabbidon further states that he shouldn’t be taken as a “hippy dude preaching about the food industry.” To him, modern farming is quite a hard and messy business so how can something good be expected from it? Well, with 88kg and 7% body fat, it is impossible not to believe Gabbidon.

Types of Vegetarians

Vegetarianism is also called the vegan lifestyle since vegetarians avoid all kinds of animal and dairy products including eggs, processed foods created with animal derivatives as well as animal hide based clothing. They also don’t use products that have been tested on animals whether for medical or commercial purposes. Vegetarianism is not only a dietary change but actually endorsement of the philosophy that animals do have a right to live without any human exploitation. It is more than food; it is all about acknowledging the rights of animals.

However, not all vegetarians are the same. There are many different kinds of vegetarianism including the following:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism

Lacto-Ovo vegetarianism is a category involving people who avoid meat but eat dairy products, hence, the name Lacto Ovo. It is a Latin term where Lacto means dairy and Ovo means eggs. Lacto-Ovo vegetarians usually turn to vegetarianism to undergo some dietary therapy for treating different health conditions such as cancer, obesity, hypertension, gallstones, heart diseases, osteoporosis, or ulcers, etc.

Lacto Vegetarianism

This category of vegetarianism allows consuming dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream, butter, cheese, and kefir but excludes eggs. It is a very popular diet within Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. The Hare Krishna movement of the 1960s popularized Lacto Vegetarianism.

Ovo Vegetarianism

In this type of vegetarianism, eggs are allowed for consumption, but meat and dairy products are prohibited.

Veganism

This is probably the strictest type of vegetarianism. Vegans cannot eat any foods involving the use of dairy and meat including eggs. Vegans don’t consume all kinds of animal food sources. They even avoid using products that somehow include the use of animals such as wool, leather, and fur.

Can Vegetarians do Bodybuilding?

Believe it or not, vegetarianism is a worldwide trend, and its fan-following is increasing day by day.  According to Nutritional science, going meat-free can in no way create hurdles in reaching your muscle building goals.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined a variety of diet plans. The researchers identified that around 82% of the 3,000 participants (both males and females aged from 19 to 72 years) obtained protein RDA regardless if they ate meat or vegetables. The health records of all the participants were checked, and they were asked to fill up questionnaires regarding their dietary preferences.

When explaining the findings of the study, Kelsey Mangano, the lead author of the research study and assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, says that as long as a person exceeds the recommended daily allowance for protein, they can improve their muscle health no matter the source in their diet.

In other words, we have a clear proof that bodybuilders who want to go meatless can quickly build muscle by obtaining protein from vegan food sources like peas, quinoa, beans, soy, and nuts. The research also found that those who ate sufficient plant protein were at a reduced risk of death in comparison to meat lovers.

Let’s now check out some real-life examples of vegan bodybuilders who managed to gain lean muscles through plant-based sources such as broccoli.

Robert Cheeke needs no introduction. He is a champion-bodybuilder, Cornell University’s renowned Plant-Based Nutrition Program graduate, author of the much-acclaimed book “Shred It!” as well as the founder and president of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness. He is ranked among the most famous and widely followed vegan bodybuilders in the world. Just look at the incredible physique of Cheeke, can you tell the difference that he has made such a toned body on quinoa and beans?

Robert Cheeke
Photo: Twitter

Cheeke switched to veganism at the age of 15 and then decided to become a bodybuilder. He has so far won many international competitions and has promoted veganism by being a living breathing example of the positive health effects and productivity of vegetarianism. Cheeke has impressed and inspired an entire generation of bodybuilders to turn vegan.

When asked about the transformation, Cheeke explained that it is vital to give yourself appropriate time and space to adjust to the transformation. He turned vegan in 1995, and since then he has been trying to create a balance between workout and diet without consuming an awful lot of protein.

“I came to realize that the body is capable of using smaller amounts of protein, around 10-15%, to build incredible strength and size on a plant-based diet.

And eating enough protein is seriously not an issue on a vegan diet, in fact, it’s near impossible to not eat 10% of your calories from protein without even trying! You have nuts, seeds, legumes, grains and soya which naturally boost your protein intake effortlessly,” says Cheeke.

Robert studied nutrition in college and graduated from Cornell University’s renowned Plant-Based Nutrition Program. He provides a top-notch dietary rundown on what it takes to become a powerhouse vegan athlete without consuming large amounts of protein.

Cheeke has been an inspiration for so many bodybuilders, who switched to vegetarianism and veganism after seeing his great built and toned body.

Frank Medrano, the legendary athlete, vegan bodybuilder, and callisthenics expert is one such person who followed the footsteps of Robert Cheeke and became the most widely recognized advocate of veganism in modern times.

Frank Medrano
Photo: greatestphysiques.com

One tip that we can get from Medrano, apart from his dietary routine, is that he is entirely against using anabolic steroids and hormonal means to speed up muscle growth. He is a clear example and proof of the fact that it is possible for a vegetarian to become a bodybuilder and develop muscle mass.

Why Choose a Vegetarian Diet?

vegan food

People switch to or opt for a vegetarian diet for many reasons such as personal preference, repulsion for meat, health concerns, religious obligations. Some adopt it for purely ethical reasons as they don’t want animals to be killed or harmed for food. They want to protest against the ill-treatment given to the animals especially those raised on industrial farms.

The environment is an essential factor to consider for choosing a vegetarian diet.

Animal waste from factory farms has become an issue of concern because it is polluting both the land and water as well as damaging forests, which are cut down to create space for grazing cattle.

Religious beliefs also play a vital role in determining your preference for vegetarianism over non-veg diet.

For instance, Jainism followers are required to follow a philosophy of Ahisma, which means nonviolence and therefore, they cannot eat meat and even some vegetables like garlic and onion. 

Another religion Hinduism prohibits people from consuming meat and dairy, and the followers need to believe in the dietary practices of purity of body and mind and encourage self-control. Hindus are perhaps the largest vegetarian populace in the entire world. A vegetarian lifestyle is also the preferred way for Buddhists as they also support Ahimsa.

The condition of factory farming in North America, for instance, is such that the meat we consume is made from cattle raised on unhealthy, over-crowded conditions. The animals are also fed a dangerous cocktail of hormones and antibiotics on a regular basis, which is another aspect that raises concerns about the non-vegetarian diet.

So, no matter what your stand is with regards to the ethics of animal farming, the techniques, and practices adopted at modern factory farming should be a point of concern to any athlete and bodybuilder.

Moreover, by avoiding meat products, you easily avoid consuming LDL or bad cholesterol, Trans and saturated fats while your fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants intake get increased substantially.

Similarly, people switch to a vegan diet due to the many, diverse health benefits that it offers.

The vegan eating patterns are associated with many positive health outcomes including reduction in obesity levels, prevention of heart diseases, and lowering blood pressure. Since vegetarians consume a plant-based diet, which offers a low-calorie count with a little amount of fat and more fiber, vitamin C, and potassium than non-vegetarians, therefore, they can lead a healthy and energetic life.

Benefits of Vegetarian Diet for Bodybuilders

vegetarian workout

Bodybuilders can benefit significantly from a vegetarian diet because it offers a wholesome set of essential nutrients that fuel the body on a daily basis but without the involvement of unhealthy components from animal products.

There are so many credible books available on the benefits of the vegetarian diet for bodybuilders such as The Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Guide, and The Food Revolution by John Robbins that would inform you about the positive impact of vegetarianism on your muscle building goals.

Sometimes certain myths and misconceptions compel people to keep consuming a meat-based diet. Such as, you must believe that leaving the meat for life would be very difficult and unproductive.

Remember, changing habits is difficult indeed, but if you keep focusing on the great payoffs that vegetarian diet will be offering in the long run, you will not face any problem in making the switch. Even if you have been eating meat for a very long time, the transition wouldn’t be too difficult. Just make it a gradual process.

Dr. Rachel Johnson’s, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, advice is to switch gradually by eating one meatless meal a week. It can be as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role.

She advises looking for high-fiber whole grains, unsalted nuts, legumes and beans, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. This type of food is high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and other important phytonutrients. 

The first question that vegan bodybuilders are asked in an interview is “how do you manage to consume enough protein?” Well, protein requirements for vegan bodybuilders are higher than non-veg diet eaters, but it is also a fact that plant-based protein is far superior in quality than meat or dairy protein.

Research reveals that vegetarians can intake more protein than their physical requirements, and don’t even need to combine two vegetables to meet necessary protein count.

Protein is acquired from a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts to obtain the required protein intake and it doesn’t necessarily have to be consumed at one time. It is worth noting that many plant protein sources such as soybeans are complete proteins and contain all the nine amino acids as well.

Ideal Vegetarian Diet Plan

vegetables vegan diet

Vegetarian diet plan must incorporate a healthy mix of grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. To understand the different types of foods and the proportions in which bodybuilders need to consume them, the Eatwell Guide provides a comprehensive analysis of the essential estimations and statistics. This is your best go-to guide to understand the simple rules that you need to follow to ensure an ideal vegetarian diet plan.

The guide lays out some fundamental principles of an ideal diet for vegan bodybuilders such as getting at least five-a-day fruit and vegetable routine that must include whole grains as well. Opting for beans and pulses should be a must.

Reference Intakes (RI)

avocado tempeh for a vegetarian diet

You also need to refer to the Reference Intakes or RI to understand the scientifically proven benchmarks for the amount of energy (kilocalories), sugar, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, protein, and salt that an average adult need to consume daily. The fat, saturated fat, salt, and sugar RIs are the maximum daily amounts that one can intake while the fiber RI is 30g per day. But, remember that everyone’s body is different, and this information is only for basic guidance.

Let’s now check out the basics of an ideal vegetarian diet plan.

Breakfast

Ideally, you need to consume a protein-packed breakfast because it will be a lot more filling and sustaining for the day. You don’t need to take hours to prepare a vegetarian breakfast at all. Just blend a few nutritious fruits and herbs to attain the necessary nutrients and minerals, and a bowl of oatmeal would be perfect to refill the protein count. Protein in breakfast is essential as it slows the process of stomach emptying and you feel fuller for longer, so it reduces the temptation for snacking. Prefer filling your bowl of cereal or porridge with nuts, seeds, and fruits along with a generous scoop of natural yogurt to ensure maximum protein intake.

Moreover, it is a misconception that vegetarians are at the risk of developing a mineral or iron deficiency. The fact is that plant foods are an excellent source of iron and amino acids. You can benefit from muesli, whole grain bread, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin with a glass of vitamin C rich fruit juice. This would enhance your body’s iron intake.

These are your best options for an ideal vegetarian breakfast:

  • Oatmeal
  • Apples and nut butter
  • Nuts and berries blended in almond or coconut milk
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Smoothies

Lunch & Dinner

Lunch and dinner should also offer a carefully picked yet generous mix of beans, nuts, grains, and peas with starchy carbs. Carbs-rich foods are essential at lunch and dinner because if you don’t, then you might suffer from mid-afternoon slump. Carbs are responsible for a steady rise in blood sugar level.

You must also include some fat in your meals but not too much. Also, do check that you are incorporating the right type of fat because it is not only a good energy source but also offer fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Saturated fat count should be low in a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should try to avoid these types of fat. On the other hand, Mono-saturated fat are referred to as heart-friendly options and are present in olive, rapeseed oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Nuts and seeds offer a high amount of polyunsaturates including omega-3 fatty acids. You need to eat more of these.

Some easy to make vegetarian lunch and dinner options are as follows:

  • Falafel burgers
  • Red lentil, chickpea soup
  • Exotic avocado salad
  • Spicy vegetable fajitas
  • Hearty mushroom soup
  • Houmous & avocado sandwich topper
  • Veggie shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash
  • One-pot mushroom & potato curry
  • Spiced veg with lemony bulgur wheat salad
  • Spaghetti with spinach & walnut pesto
  • Hearty salads such as bean or quinoa salad
  • Sandwiches filled with hummus, nut butter, fruits, and veggies.
  • Leftovers from the dinner
  • Snacks

Every snack count…it does. You cannot thrive fully on a three meal diet and expect to achieve your muscle building goals quickly. Since plant foods are low-calorie options, therefore, they get digested faster.

So, you must be well aware of the best snacking options to keep your tummy fuller until lunch or dinner time. Ideally, you need to take a mid-day snack a few hours after breakfast and then an evening snack, which is after a few hours from lunch. Snacking is the perfect way to deliver essential nutrients like iron and vitamin D to your body.

It could be just a banana or two, a batch of wholewheat muffins or a smoothie, everything would do. Here are some of the best options to choose from for snacks.

  • Veggie chips
  • Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole or black bean dip
  • Kale chips
  • Almonds, pepitas, nuts
  • Nut butter with fruits
  • Hummus with veggies
  • Granola
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Fruit
  • Coconut cream with berries
  • Ice cream or sorbet
  • Frozen banana truffles

Vegetarian protein sources

Protein is a combination of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissues. Nine amino acids are essential to the functioning since our body doesn’t naturally produce these. These amino acids perform specific roles from metabolism to muscle growth and therefore, are indispensable for our optimal health and wellbeing. Many plant foods offer complete protein. Such as, lentils and soymilk contain more than 30% protein and whole wheat pasta offer 15% protein. Brown rice also provides rich protein count. Here’s a list of the most popular plant-based protein sources:

  • Tempeh
  • Soy
  • Seitan
  • Tofu
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli or spinach

Vegetarian supplements

It is true that a plant-based diet contains all the nutrients that your body may need but additional supplementation can further improve the diet outcomes and may compensate for the days when you don’t feel like consuming balanced meals.

Always remember that when you are on a vegetarian diet, you cannot ignore the importance of consuming multivitamins to avoid development of a deficiency.

However, vitamin B12 and iron are sometimes difficult to obtain in required amounts through plant foods. Therefore, following a balanced combo of a healthy vegan diet and vegetarian supplements is a good idea to attain the best of these vitamins.

Usually, vegetarians choose Vega protein supplement or soy protein bars to fulfill the necessary nutrition count.

Vegetarian workout

incline bench press bodybuilding

Although it is quite tempting to try out different exercises that appear in the many muscle and fitness related magazines. But, it is essential for vegetarian bodybuilders to realize that the program allows sufficient recovery time between workouts to train with high volume and frequency.

A fact to remember: it doesn’t take long to stimulate muscle growth, and a low reps-heavy weight combo would get the job done for you. Also, a single workout session must not last longer than 45 minutes, and ideally you need to work out for 30-35 minutes.

The intensity of cardio depends upon the individual, and you may choose not to do any cardio at all. Ideally, you should do 2 to 3 sessions of cardio for 15 minutes at low intensity per week.

In this regard, elliptical, bike, walking, and jogging on the treadmill are your best bets.

Do remember to keep the intensity, duration, and frequency low. You should start the cardio workout session after having a vegetarian protein shake made with hemp or soy. Consuming enough protein would help in preventing any muscle loss that may occur after the cardio workout.

Tips:

  • Focus on a single body part per day if following a split plan
  • Never workout for more than 45 minutes
  • Do perform at least three large muscle groups targeting exercises and two small muscle group exercises
  • Keep repetitions between 4-&-6 for core lifts like Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlift and 6-to-10 for other lifts

The Workout Split

Let’s have a look at the best way to split your workout for the week.

  • Sunday: Off
  • Monday: Chest/Triceps
  • Tuesday: Back/Biceps
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Legs/Abs
  • Friday: Shoulders/Traps
  • Saturday: Off

Monday: Chest and Triceps

  • Barbell Bench Press – Medium Grip– 4 sets, 6 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press-3 sets, 6 reps
  • Dips – Chest Version- 3 sets to failure4
  • Cable Crossover- 2 sets, 10 reps
  • Lying Triceps Press- 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Standing Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension- 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Tuesday: Back and Biceps

  • Barbell Deadlift- 4 sets, 10 reps
  • Chin-Up- 1 set, 50 reps
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown- 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row- 4 sets, 8 reps
  • Barbell Curl- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl- 3 sets, 10 reps

Thursday: Legs and Abs

  • Barbell Squat- 4 sets, 4-6 reps
  • Barbell Lunge- 3 sets, 6 reps
  • Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets, 5 reps
  • Standing Leg Curl- 3 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Cable Crunch- 3 sets, 10 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raise- 3 sets, 10 reps

Friday: Shoulders and Traps

  • Machine Shoulder (Military) Press- 1 set, 10 reps
  • Push Press- 4 sets, 4-6 reps
  • Front Plate Raise- 3 sets, 10 reps
  • Side Lateral Raise- 3 sets, 10 reps
  • Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise- 1-2 sets, 10 reps
  • Barbell Shrug- 2 sets, 8 reps

9 myths about being vegan

Vegans tend to be very dedicated individuals. It takes a lot of dedication to avoid all the animal products that are in our diets these days.

There are, however, many misconceptions about veganism in the US.

They aren’t doing lying to us intentionally, but rather they are misinformed about some of the basics of the lifestyle they have chosen.

Restrictive dieting can cause you to lose out on proper nutrition. Not only do vegans not eat animal products, but they also typically don’t eat:

  • Trans fat
  • Refined sugar
  • Processed grains
  • Processed vegetable oils

But what about the other lies they tell that need some correction.

1. There’s more protein in veggies than in meat

Men should eat approximately 56 grams of protein per day. Women, on the other hand, eat approximately 46 grams per day. The typical diet includes meat, which easily takes care of this protein requirement.

Vegans claim they get most of their protein from non-animal sources including:

  • Tofu: 20-30 g of protein per cup
  • Navy Bean: 20 g of protein per cup
  • Hemp seeds: 10 g of protein per 2 tablespoons
  • Sprouted beans, peas and lentils: 9.2 g per cup
  • Quinoa: 8 g per cup
  • Green peas: 7.9g per cup

Non-Vegan alternatives:

  • Greek yogurt: 23 g per cup
  • Steak: 23 g per 3 oz.
  • Sockeye salmon: 23 g per 3 oz.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast: 24 g per 3 oz.
  • Yellowfin tuna: 25g per 3 oz.
  • Boneless pork chops: 26g per 3 oz.

With the one exception being the non-meat (Greek yogurt), most non-vegan sources have more than twice the amount of protein in under half of a serving. You will have to eat more than twice the number of veggies to meet what the meat products can do.

Why protein? We need amino acids in the protein to transport nutrients and support our muscular tissues so we can move. From regulating our hormones to healthy skin and hair, our bodies need proteins to perform the simplest of functions.

2. Our primate ancestors were vegan so we should be too

Many vegans explain that because we come from apes we should follow a similar diet to them.

But, what do gorillas and apes actually eat? World Wildlife indicates that gorillas eat primarily steams, bamboo shoots, and fruits.

As a result, Huffington Post reports that apes in the wild do no develop obesity, diabetes or heart disease. Vegans conclude that as a result of them not eating meats or other refined sugars and grains, that their human counterparts can avoid serious diseases such as these as well.

The article, however, does continue to extrapolate that apes have a longer digestive tract and therefore can extract more nutrients from plants than humans. Because we have shorter tracts, we need higher amounts of protein-rich foods in order to maximize our bodies’ potential.

3. Humans were not meant to be meat-eaters

Some argue that because we lack certain physical characteristics that we should be more inclined to a vegetable-based diet. Since we do not have claws, sharp teeth, and strong hydrochloric acid in our stomachs to digest meat, we should be eating mostly fruits and veggies.

Research shows, however, that we don’t have the same bodies as carnivores in the world. We have adapted tools and cooking techniques to handle some of these challenges. Eating meat and gaining new nutrients enlarged our brains and allowed us to evolve further than our ape ancestors. We became omnivores as a result.

Susana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, explained that “it is certainly possible to survive on an exclusively raw diet in our modern day, but it was most likely impossible to survive on an exclusively raw diet when our species appeared.”

4. Vegans easily get enough healthy fat

Our bodies cannot make their own fatty acids, so have to consume them to have them actively in our bodies.

There are three many types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA and EPA are easily found in fatty fish. ALA occurs in vegan-friendly foods but is much harder to convert into the necessary forms for our bodies.

A “lack of essential fatty acids contributes to cognitive impairment, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” (LiveStrong)

5. Vegans get all their nutrients from plants without supplements

Many vegans have to take vitamin B12 because it is not found in anything that grows or comes out of the earth.

We only need about one microgram of B12 per day. If we are eating foods that come from animals, we are getting more than the needed amount. This vitamin is critical to ensuring our cells are functioning properly.

Vegans tend to test low on Vitamin D levels, which is critical for bone and dental health, nerve system regulation and preventing tissue damage. Vitamin D is commonly consumed through dairy products and foods like tuna, salmon, and eggs. These, of course, are off limits to vegans. If foods have high oxalate content, they have lower amounts of vitamin D.

6. Vegans never ever have cancer of heart disease

Some vegans don’t eat meat products and that is better than the standard American diet for these diseases. However, cancer is also caused by Vitamin D, B12, and omega-3 deficiencies.

7. Vegan food is always healthier

Just because something isn’t made from animal products doesn’t make it healthy. Vegan faux butter, like Earth Balance, has several ingredients that are worst to eat than butter including palm fruit oil, canola oil, soybean oil, flax oil, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, and “naturally extracted” food color.

8. Eating Vegan is cheaper than eating animal

Typically, veggies and fruits are cheaper than meat products. Antonia Noori Farzan reports that her monthly spend on groceries increased from $270 per month to $375 per month.

For example,

  • Vegan sour cream ($5.99) compared to organic sour cream ($3)
  • Amy’s vegan mac and soy cheese ($4.69) compared to real cheese version ($3.69)
  • Vegan pints of ice cream ($6.99) (Ben & Jerry’s are around $5)
  • 16 oz. coconut milk yogurt ($5.49) compared to Chobani ($3.99)

9. It’s becoming easier to be Vegan

According to One Green Planet, 7.5 million people in the US now eat diets that do not have animal products in them. This only accounts for 2.5 percent of the total US population.

It is difficult to eat out unless you focus just on salads, a roasted veggie plate, or having the protein removed from your plate.

So, what’s the point? There are great ways to reach your diet goals. You can be healthy while eating vegan, but be honest with yourself and make sure you supplement to get the right doses of essential vitamins and minerals.

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4 Comments

  1. Jasmine Hewitt Reply

    Wow, I really didn’t know there were vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders! I learned a lot from reading this, great resource!

  2. I didn’t know it was so easy to be a vegetarian bodybuilder. I’m interested in keeping fit, and I do quite a lot of weight training, but I’ve always assumed that eating meat was a necessary part of keeping fit. Now that I know there’s so much available protein in vegetables I’m definitely going to start varying my diet.

    • Hey Nigel, It might not be the easiest path but you can definitely be a vegetarian bodybuilder.

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