Bodybuilders have a reputation of eating a lot of proteins to encourage and maintain muscle growth. Poultry, white fish, and meat are common ingredients for their meals. But, when you’re a vegetarian or even a vegan, what can you eat to replace animal protein and still keep your bodybuilding shape? It’s fair to say that everybody needs a healthy diet. But most famous vegetarian and vegan eaters tend to be extremely slim, such as Natalie Portman, Sir Paul McCartney or even Kristen Bell. Can you build up muscles without eating any meat or fish? The answer is yes, but you need to be careful about your diet.
Your muscles need protein to recover
Ultimately, there’s no way around it. You can’t achieve the bulk-up effect you’re after without protein. Proteins are key to help muscle recovery after your workout, and they’re essential in building your muscles too. So, if you’re not keen on animal proteins, you need to use vegetal protein, and especially vegetal protein powder – which you can buy from Fitness Savvy – to maximise the results. Soy protein powder is the best option for vegans and vegetarians. You can find vegetarian-approved whey protein options that use only microbial rennet in their process – instead of animal rennet – but you need to read the ingredients closely. More often than not, vegan and vegetarian products are promoted as such, so that you don’t need to search.
The vitamins that combat soreness
Contrary to the common belief, proteins are not the only essential elements to help your muscles. You also need to consume plenty of vitamins to actively reduce the risk of muscle soreness after a workout. Vitamin C, for instance, is great to boost blood flow and decrease the inflammation caused by micro muscle tears. Additionally, vitamins D and E support your immune system, meaning that your recovery time can get shorter. If you’re not sure where to get your vitamins, the answer is simple: eat your greens!
If you want to help boost muscle growth, you need to increase your intake of protein – without necessarily increasing the overall quantity of food you eat. You need to become smarter in your choices. For instance, brown rice is high in protein, but quinoa is a better option with 50% more protein. Besides, it contains all the protein-forming amino-acids as it’s a complete protein. Another great swap is to exchange your tofu meal for a tempeh dish. Tofu is often described as soft soybean curd, while tempeh is a dense soybean cake. this difference in structure also creates a high nutritional profile, making tempeh richer in protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins.
Try the Lacto-Ovo approach
If you’re not a vegan, you can also make the most of the lacto-ovo diet, which is designed to maintain your protein intake through animal-derived sources. A combination of cottage cheese, egg white, yoghurt, and milk can work wonder on your bodybuilding regime. For vegans, unfortunately, the best option is to maximise your protein intake through soy-based and plant products: protein shakes, tempeh, and quinoa are excellent choices.
If you’re in the process of changing your diet and are worried about your muscle growth: Worry not. Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly protein shakes, and plants and soy-based products can help you to achieve your goals.