Have you ever wondered what it’s like to build muscle on a vegan diet? Well, HFM’s Andy Greening has undertaken the vegan body-building challenge with help from food supplier, Pulsin. Read on for Andy’s nutrition strategy during his time training for plant-based success.
As I’ve been vegan over a year now, the being vegan part is easy for me; it’s the being healthy part I need to focus on. I naturally eat a lot of whole foods and avoid a lot of milky coffee type drinks, but my biggest issue is my appetite. I could eat for England, especially now I’m training the best part of 5 days a week. Learning to aim for lighter foods is my main goal, especially as I’m looking to lose weight rather than bulk up. I’ll disclose my food diary in a later post, but below is my vegan diet strategy.
Vegan diet strategy
The first thing people address about training on a vegan diet is the protein intake. I’m taking in around 70g a day of protein, which just sits over the average RDA for a male. I get this from a diet of pulses, Pulsin protein bars, tofu, grains, seitan, broccoli, oats, and legumes. Tofu and seitan are also high in amino acids, making sure full recovery is addressed.
I also use Pulsin rice and pea protein powders which I sprinkle into my cooking. This amplifies the protein content by around 8.1g of protein per 10g serving. I always try and make sure I can focus on a type of protein when making any meal and making sure it’s the basis of the meal.
Being vegan doesn’t mean you’re deducting the protein source from your plate, it just means you need to replace it. This is something which you’ll find the less vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurants seem to struggle with (salad and chips).
Vegetables, pulses, grains and legumes are mainly associated with carbohydrates as much as protein. The main challenge for me is not to use carbs the same way an omnivore would use them, especially when training.
For example, if I was to eat some tofu and wanted rice with it, I can replace the rice with a more balanced food such as a bed of broccoli or cauliflower rice (finely grated cauliflower).
I also make sure I don’t overload the carbs. By no means do I disregard or avoid them but as mentioned, most things I eat contain a level of carbohydrates, so there’s no need to seek them out as they occur naturally in my diet.
I’m not a salt addict by any means, I do like foods with some high sodium levels. Yeast extract (marmite) and tofu, both big staples of my diet, do have high sodium levels, so it’s important not to slip and have too many other foods high in sodium.
For Andy’s previous post, see HFM vegan body-building transformation diary: week 1.
For vegan nutrition foods and supplements, visit Pulsin.