PLANT FUELED MUSCLE – Lean, Mean And Green!

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It seems to be that there is a collective fear among the Western world, that if we’re not eating animal products, then we won’t get enough protein….But in actual fact, quite the opposite is true.

With so many amazing, high-quality, vegan plant-based protein powders available, it’s no wonder why there are so many vegans winning bodybuilding competitions – including Mr. Universe.

Soy, hemp, brown rice protein, yellow pea protein powder, mixed protein powders (e.g. vega – quinoa, buckwheat, lentils, beans). These are just a few of the plant-based proteins that are now available worldwide. It seems as though the argument about animal protein is one that is debatable. 

It’s not just our environment, the animals, and our health that plant-based nutrition is known to improve…now there is more and more evidence of how plant-based proteins can build muscle just as effectively as animal protein. 

But Why Vegan Protein?

It’s no accident that some of the strongest land mammals with high muscle mass are all vegan – including gorillas, horses, elephants and rhinoceros to name a few.

Many bodybuilders around the world have made the transition from animal to vegan protein with outstanding success.

Some of the best vegan proteins include:

  • Grains like wheat, rice, and oats.

  • Vegetables and legumes such as: peas, lentils, chickpeas and potato.

  • Beans – excellent source of protein and fiber. 

  • Nuts – Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios, cashews and brazil nuts. 

  • Seeds – Quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and oatmeal. 

  • Tempeh/Organic tofu, edamame – foods containing soy, such as: tempeh, tofu, and edamame, all offer complete protein containing all amino acids.

  • Greens – spinach, kale, spirulina and broccoli. 

  • Creating a mass gaining, plant-based meal plan is easier than you might think.

All whole plant-based foods contain protein, and there are many different recipes you can make for high-plant based protein meals. 

There is no need to worry about mixing and matching proteins either. As long as you get plenty of variety throughout the day, you will get all of the essential amino acids you need. 

Beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains are protein dense and high fiber foods, also higher in calories for an intense workout.

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens, are amongst the healthiest plant proteins to consume in smoothies, salads, or cooked meals, which are also known as “superfoods” due to their nutrient dense content.

Vegan Muscle 

Most Vegan Bodybuilders have made the transition to Plant-based protein due to the negative effects of animal protein on their body. 

Dr. Campbell’s “China Study”

Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live and Dr. Caldwell Esselstein’s “Forks over Knives” all explain the dangers and major health consequences of eating a high animal protein diet – the promotion of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and many other significant problems, that afflict millions of people around the world. 

Vegan Bodybuilders  

Derek Tresize

Derek Tresize is a Vegan bodybuilder who has won numerous Bodybuilding competitions and made the transition over 10 years ago. 

He said after just 30 days, his body felt cleaner and he lost 5% body fat over 2 months. 

He also believes eating animal proteins promote growth the same way they promote cancer growth. They increase sex hormones, insulin, human growth hormone and body fat. 

He says that he can have many more calories on a plant-based diet, and have lower body fat and a lower body mass index.

Torre Washington 

Long-time vegan, Torre Washington, started competing in bodybuilding competitions in 2009. His mom started him off as a vegetarian, but he evolved to becoming vegan after doing research. 

Ever since, Torre has won numerous competitions and placed in the top 3 in all but one of the sixteen competitions he has entered.

Torre describes himself as committed to the philosophy of living off the land and advocates for veganism to his global fan base. He brings awareness to the plight of animals, as well as the need to heal our planet through living a vegan lifestyle. 

He was awarded the Humane Hero Award by the Florida Humane League in 2016 for his animal advocacy.

Samantha Shorkey 

Samantha is the first-ever vegan WNBF bikini pro.  She is also a self proclaimed “Fitness Freak” who is passionate about promoting a plant-based diet to the masses.

Samantha believes that it all comes down to her vegan diet for her fantastic physique, as well as her youthful looking skin and healthy weight.

Samantha says: “I definitely have more energy as a vegan, and I just can’t help but feel good knowing that everything going into my body is clean, unprocessed and grown from the earth”.

To recap, it definitely seems like there is enough evidence to suggest that plant protein does in fact build muscle in our bodies, just as well, if not better than animal proteins such as: meat, dairy and eggs. 

Try it for 30 days on a high plant protein/ high carb diet and see the difference!

By: Kristina Dow (Director of WAN’s International Vegan Outreach)

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