Semi-vegetarian. Vegetarian. Vegan. There are multiple ways one can go about a plant-based diet. This is not a “pro veggie” diet post. It’s more of a guideline to help those who wish to give a plant-based diet a shot to improve their health and wellness. Before we begin I want to make one thing perfectly clear; being a “plant-based” eater does not automatically make you healthy! In fact, there are many people who follow plant-based diets who are quite unhealthy. Baked Lays® chips are plant based. Doesn’t make them healthy. Ok, moving on.
GET YOUR PROTEIN!
If you didn’t see this coming then you don’t read enough of my posts. Being a vegan/vegetarian body builder has become all the rage lately. Even if you don’t plan on getting on stage in front of hundreds of people in your bathing suit it’s still important to include adequate amounts of protein in a plant-based diet (something that is extremely lacking for most individuals who follow said diet). Beans and legumes are my first “go to” for protein on a plant-based diet. Rich in fiber, nutrients, and minerals they are a one-stop shop for a heavy nutrient dense food source.
Along with beans and legumes one should consume a decent amount of fermented soy products, preferably tempeh, tofu, and natto). Why? They are easily digestible, lower in phytates that prevent nutrient absorption, and high in vitamin K2 (great for bone and cardiovascular health).
Remember, our bodies are very efficient at processing protein for multiple uses. If your goal is fat loss….eat protein. If your goal is increasing lean muscle….eat protein.
YOU’RE GOING TO NEED SUPPLEMENTS (probably)
The amount of supplements you’ll need depends on the level and style of a plant-based diet you are following. The less animal products you consume means you’ll have a lower amount of iron, vitamin B12, A, K2, and D. Taking a multi-vitamin should help cover your bases. An Omega-3 supplement is greatly needed to handle all the nutrient absorption your body will take in from a plant rich diet. Plus, it’ll aid in hormonal health.
Plant-based protein powders are also available at nearly every convenience store in the US. Some taste good, others not so much. You’ll have to go through some testing to see which protein powder you like best and which one agrees with your stomach (I recommend Aloha Protein). If you’re a plant-based athlete or avid fitness enthusiast then get some creatine while you’re at it. Most people get plenty of creatine in their diet if they eat animal meat or dairy. Use it to help improve your athletic performance.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!