So you’ve made a lifestyle change and finally decided to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but you’re also still working hard at building or maintaining lean muscle.
How do you do it?
It might be quite surprising, but building lean muscle and maintaining it on a vegan diet isn’t that much different from any other diet. No matter what eating plan you follow, the fundamental basis remains that you want to consume more or a surplus of healthy fats, protein and calorie, with the emphasize on protein. All that changes is the source of protein.
Get enough Protein.
For maintaining muscle, bone mass, prevent fatigue and keeping the immune system strong, protein is the most important nutrient and is vital for your diet, especially when it comes to building and repairing muscle tissues. Vegans and vegetarians don’t have a hard time getting their hands on healthy fats and good carbohydrates.
What Are the Best Protein Sources for Vegetarians?
If you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian, eggs and dairy alone provide you with ample opportunity to get sufficient protein, but for the others there’s a vast array to choose from to provide your muscles with the amino acids and protein required.
Here are examples of foods that are high in protein:
- Nuts and seeds
- Lentils and legumes
- Brown rice
- Red Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Collard greens
- Hubbard Squash
Which protein powder is best?
Many people use soy protein powder, but soy is not really recommended, especially for men. Many others choose other popular alternatives like hemp or rice protein. Pea protein powders, however, is often overlooked because of concerns about its amino acid profile, digestibility, texture and taste.
Pea protein is an amino acid-rich food, and makes for a wonderful source of amino acids you need. Clean and pure, a high-quality, pea protein isolate is a 100% vegan protein that contains all the essential amino acids, comparable to whey protein in terms of its leucine and an abundance or Arginine content. Some plainly call it the “vegan’s whey”. Outside of just the amino acid profile, pea protein actually performs just as well in terms of body composition and performance when compared to whey.
You can build lean muscle mass while being vegan/vegetarian.
Protein is the most crucial macronutrient for a vegan/vegetarian lifter if you want to build and maintain muscle.
It’s recommended to consume protein powder like Pea Protein isolate.
Watch out for micronutrient deficiencies so use a multivitamin supplement.