With so many different diets out there, it sometimes feels like we’re all constantly playing catch-up. What’s more, everyone pushing a particular diet always seems to profess how wonderful their dietary plan is compared to others. This can be overwhelming to the average bodybuilder looking to improve their physique with steady training and a good dietary plan.
One dietary plan that is making the rounds in the bodybuilding community is the vegan bodybuilding diet. I was fascinated the first time I came across this diet and decided to give it a trial to see if it is one diet that I could recommend to my bodybuilding beginners.
In this post, I will explain what a vegan diet is while also highlighting some of the foods that make up this diet. I will also provide you with tips on how to start a vegan bodybuilding diet. In addition to this, you will learn why you should follow a vegan diet plan for your bodybuilding needs today.
What Is a Vegan Diet for Beginners?
A vegan diet for beginners is basically one that is predominantly made up of plant-based foods. These foods include fruits, whole grains, nuts, and vegetables. It is also worth knowing that as a vegan, you should never consume animal-based foods, such as; lean meat, sausages, eggs, and also dairy products.
At this point, you may be wondering how you are expected to get all the nutrients that your body requires for your bodybuilding needs from plant food sources only. Well, you will be amazed to learn that there are many plant-based foods that offer just as much nutrients as animal-based foods.
Also, you can beef up (no pun intended) your nutritional requirements through the consumption of fortified plant-based foods as well as supplementation.
What Foods Make Up a Healthy Vegan Bodybuilding Diet?
To ensure that your vegan bodybuilding diet is healthy, you should include foods that help you to meet your protein, fat, and carbohydrate needs. There are many foods that offer you high amounts of macronutrients, essential minerals, and vitamins. Some of these foods include:
#1. Base (plant-based) meals
Your base meals can consist of pasta, potatoes, brown rice, wheat bread, chickpeas and other similar whole grains for your carbohydrate requirements.
#2. Fortified (plant-based) dairy alternatives
While dairy products are no-good if you want to maintain a vegan diet, you should never shy away from fortified plant-based dairy alternative food products. These food products include low-sugar and low-fat yoghurts, almond, and soya drinks.
#3. Fruits and vegetables
You should try to consume a minimum of five helpings of vegetables and fruits daily. Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce should be part of your daily meals. You can also include broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, and so on.
Fruits like apples, oranges, berries, pineapple, plums, and bananas are great for providing your daily mineral and vitamin requirements.
These fruits and vegetables are rich in selenium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, iodine, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E complex and so on.
#4. Plant-based protein
Protein is necessary for skeletal muscle growth, so if you want to improve your muscle mass, your protein consumption needs to be on point. You can get protein from foods like beans, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
#5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acid can be derived from foods seeds and nuts like chia seeds, shelled hemp seeds, and walnuts. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil and rapeseed oil.
To ensure a healthy vegan diet, avoid foods that contain high amounts of salt and saturated fat. Make sure that you use mainly unsaturated spreads and oils while also consuming foods in small quantities at a time.
You may find it difficult getting all your essential mineral and vitamin requirements from food sources only, so make sure to use supplements as well. The supplements you use should contain good amounts of iron, selenium, iodine, vitamin DB12 and vitamin D amongst other minerals and vitamins.
You should always stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. It is recommended that you consume anywhere from 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
How do I start a Vegan Diet?
If you have now decided to start a vegan diet, you must know that it is never easy switching from one dietary plan to another. A vegan bodybuilding diet is not just a conscious decision to eat only plant-based meals, but also a change in your lifestyle.
So before you take that next step to being a vegan, here are a few pointers to get you started on this life changing journey.
#1. Get informed
It is important to get as much information on vegan bodybuilding diets as possible. The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be to face the challenges that may come with being a vegan.
Learning more about vegan diets will also help you decide on the types and amount of foods you will need to meet your daily bodybuilding requirements.
By updating your knowledge base on vegan diets, you will also learn more about vegan cuisine that are both tasty and thoroughly nourishing.
#2. Make a commitment and stick with it
There are no half-measures when it comes to dieting. If you have made up your mind to be a vegan today, then you need to back your thought process with action.
This means no “cheating”, you need to strictly adhere to your convictions of being a vegan. You can’t be a vegan outside your home and someone else when no one is watching.
#3. Maintain a balanced diet
You need to be aware of the plant-based foods that you need to meet your daily need for macronutrients. It is always better to consume more (caloric surplus) than less (caloric deficit) when it comes to a vegan bodybuilding diet.
Since you will be engaging in regular daily or every other day workouts, you need to ensure that your body has the necessary amount of calories and nutrients to meet your daily energy demands.
#4. Consult an expert
It is important that you do not start your vegan journey alone. You need someone to mentor and guide you as you transition from your present lifestyle to a vegan one.
Chat with a dietician or your personal trainer to know what daily food requirements would be ideal for your training program.
#5. Stay positive
While being focused on maintaining a vegan diet is important, equally crucial to your lifestyle change is your mindset. You need to have a positive mindset believing that your vegan diet will see you through your bodybuilding efforts.
Being vegan is tough, especially if you have been used to a particualr type of lifestyle and diet all your life, but with a positive attitude, you should be just fine.
Why Should You Follow a Vegan Diet Plan?
There are many reasons why you should follow a vegan bodybuilding diet, however, here are a few worth remembering:
- Healthy lifestyle: A vegan diet will ensire that you eat clean at all times. Your daily meals will consist of healthy plant-based food sources and coupled with regular workouts, you are sure to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Prevention and curative measures for diseases: By eating clean you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your cholesterol levels. A vegan diet can help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Improved fitness: Your fitness level is bound to improve significantly when you start a vegan diet plan. Your cardiovascular conditioning will be better with less unsaturated oils in your system.
Also, your digestive system will be much better when you consume fiber-rich foods. You can be sure that your constipation worries will be a thing of the past and you will generally feel lighter on your feet.
If you want to begin a vegan diet today, you should first find someone that is experienced in this type of diet. Meeting this person is important, as they can share their experiences and motivate you to being successful in your new endeavor.
It is also important to get as much information about the types of foods that you can eat as well as the amount of food (calories) needed during your workout sessions.
Remember that being a vegan is a lifestyle choice, so never rush into any decision. Take your time and be sure that being a vegan is what you want out of life.
On a final note, a vegan bodybuilding diet will make you feel healthy and fit at all times, so if you are serious about being a vegan, then I can certainly help you on your journey here today.