Muscle Building Protein Sources for Vegetarians.
Muscle building is actually a process divided into two levels – First, you need to exercise to damage muscles in order to stimulate the need to build them bigger and stronger. And second, you need extra protein and rest to actually build the new muscles.
Therefore it is most crucial for you to take adequate macros if you’re willing to get maximum gains from your workout pain.
Research shows that when a large amount of calories comes from protein, then it minimizes muscle loss during weight loss and drives it towards fat loss.
Hence, it is highly recommended to eat eggs, fish, chicken, meat to get your necessary protein supply.
But what if you’re a vegan? Will you get sufficient protein from veggies? Can you still grow your muscles being a vegetarian?
We’ll find answers to the above questions, but before them let’s answer one more question.
How much protein is needed to build muscles?
This is the most common question. Before shooting for protein intake you should know how much protein you actually need for your goals.
Experts say if you are regularly hitting the gym, then you’ll need about 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of your body weight in order to make sure your muscle breakdown doesn’t outrun your muscle protein synthesis which is primarily required for muscle building.
Endurance athletes should aim for 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight.
One more important thing to consider that animal-based protein-rich foods like chicken, beef have higher protein quality score than their plant-based counterparts. Means you’ll absorb less protein per ounce of the plant-based foods.
Therefore if you’re opting to get enough protein from plants, you need to eat more in order to compensate their lower digestibility.
How to get Adequate Protein on a Vegan Diet?
Yes, you can get enough protein from plant-based foods for your muscle building regime.
But unlike meat-lovers, vegetarians have to work hard in the kitchen to meet their protein requirements. They have to eat a variety of protein sources, in enough quantity throughout the day. Do this and you’ll get all the essential amino acids.
Also, some vegetarian meal plan includes eggs and dairy, so it is easy to get protein-rich foods than going fully vegan. In fact, research shows that going vegan will help you live longer.
Best Plant-Based Protein-Rich Foods:
Quinoa is basically a seed that can grow into a leafy vegetable if not harvested. It looks like rice and many cook it like grains. This superfood is packed with all the 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and are necessary for bodybuilding.
One cup of cooked quinoa supplies 8 grams of protein – a complete one at that!
There are so many varieties of nuts available and these all are so delicious that it is quite impossible not to incorporate them into your diet. (Unless you are allergic, please skip them in this case). Nuts are rich in protein and are great to add to salads, dressings, or simply eat them alone.
Just one cup of whole almonds provides 30 grams of protein and 71 grams of “good” fat!
3. Tofu and Tempeh:
These two meat-alternatives are a great source of plant-based protein. Both are highly-versatile and absorb the flavors of sauces, vegetables or anything cooked with them.
Tempeh is easier to digest because of its fermentation process. One cup of tempeh gives you 30.78 grams of protein!
Both the foods are great as meat-alternatives.
4. Beans and Legumes:
The mixture of beans and rice make for an awesome complete protein. Beans and rice also provide you with the necessary carbohydrate fuel you need to keep going for a work-out.
The more beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils you eat the more of a fart festival you’ll be. Just one cup of chickpeas used in hummus boasts 39 grams of protein, 121 grams of carbohydrates, and 7.7 grams of unsaturated fat.
Seeds like flax, chia, sesame, and sunflower, are packed with protein and “healthy” fats. Both Chia and Flax seeds have a nutty taste to them thus you can add them to your post-workout smoothie to make it an ultimate recovery drink.
Along with protein, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.
As a vegan bodybuilder, it is essential to get enough protein for consistent muscle repair and growth. It is not impossible to meet your protein requirements with vegan foods but in order to do so, you have to eat sufficient quantity of plant-based protein-rich foods.
Also, it is highly recommended to eat a variety of protein sources in order to get adequate nutrients through your diet.
Remember protein is essential but you cannot ignore other macros, try to maintain a healthy macros-balance in your diet.