When most people think of the word “protein”, the first thing that pops into their minds is a giant slab of meat on dinner plate.
However, as more and more research emerges regarding the potential harm of a meat-centric diet, many bodybuilders are turning towards veganism as a way to take care of their long-term health. A common roadblock for many would-be vegans is concern about the nutrient deficiencies that can arise from eschewing meat in favor or plant sources of protein.
Veganism Is Not For Pansies
For those manly men out there who see a vegan diet as something for tree-hugging hippies, try telling that to mixed martial arts fighter Mac Danzig. When not beating his opponent’s head in with a barrage of brutal strikes, he’s eating a completely vegan diet.
Like many fit vegans, he uses the following guidelines for crafting a vegan diet that not only dodges animal-based hormones and acidic amino acids, but packs on rock-solid muscle.
Eat Vegan, Get Ripped
Protein: It really is possible to get more than enough protein without ever going near a steakhouse. Believe it or not, when water is removed, most plants have more protein by weight than their animal counterparts. By eating plenty of beans, nuts, legumes, and soy products, you’ll easily reach your protein needs.
The first thing to remember is to not just focus on the amount of protein, but the quality. Most vegan foods aren’t complete protein sources, meaning they don’t have all the amino acids that the body needs.
With a few tweaks to the diet, this shortcoming can be easily overcome. One approach is to eat complementary proteins –combining foods that have the amino acids that the other is missing. You can even combine this protein-combing strategy while eating complete protein sources like soy and tempeh.
Iron: The truth is, even though many plant sources are packed with iron, your body can’t absorb most of it. That’s why it’s wise to take an iron supplements with a vitamin C source like an orange (as this greatly improves absorption).
Vitamin B12: This important vitamin is almost non-existent in plant foods. Don’t fret. By popping a cheap multivitamin you’ll get all the B12 that you need.
Calcium: Even though dairy groups would have you believe that you’ll bones will turn to Swiss cheese without dairy, that’s simply not the case. By eating large helpings of green leafy veggies, you’ll get moiré than enough calcium.