When it comes to bodybuilding or just gaining in size and strength, it will have to be a byproduct of exercise and diet. You can not afford to go low with the protein intake. And it’s relatively easy for you to stack up on your macros through meat, fish, poultry, and dairy.
However, for anyone converting to ‘veganism’ or even trying to maintain a vegetarian diet, it might be a tad bit difficult to meet the required macro to promote ‘muscle growth.’ But it certainly is not impossible.
Vegan diets had a common issue for everyone- THE BLAND TASTE!
But luckily, we live in a day and age of modern, easy cookbooks where no matter what your taste and preferences are, you can find a recipe that will do your tastebuds justice.
How much protein do you really need?
There have been many debates as to how much protein intake for muscle growth and protein amount per body weight seems to vary all over. So I decided to go with the figures that worked for me.
According to BMC, you need to take in 1.4-2 grams of protein/kg of body weight to promote muscle growth. Now, these figures are known to vary for a wide variety of reasons, from your body type to your everyday lifestyle habits. And not to mention your workout regimen.
Say, if you are a 170 pounder(77.11kg), working out to see some serious gains, then you will have to take in at least 1.4 x 77.11 grams of protein. That comes to roughly 108 grams. So, I hope you have a better understanding of how much protein to take in through your daily diet.
I have compiled a list of protein-rich vegan food that you will enjoy eating while siphoning the necessary amount of protein for muscle synthesis:
1. Nuts & Seeds
For: Snacking & Refueling
Good Sources: Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia, and more.
These are miracle snacks that come with around 6 cals per gram. Nuts are perhaps the best source of dietary protein and sufficiently high in fiber as well. There is no trace of dietary cholesterol and has low levels of unsaturated fat. If that weren’t enough, these magic kernels are abundant with Phytochemicals which act as antioxidants.
Another reason it’s great is that we end up losing track of our calorie intake through indulgent of munching. So these nuts are the perfect snacks to replace everything with. Plus, they help calm your hunger down.
2. Vegan Protein Shakes
For: Maximizing Protein Intake
Good Sources: Almond and protein-based milk, Hemp, and Pea Protein Powders.
We all know and love protein shakes. But if you are aiming to be a proper vegan through and through, then worry not, my green gal, you still can reap the benefits of protein shakes, since there are alternatives for vegans. You can count on Hemp and Pea Protein Powder. Plus, when you incorporate the powder with almond milk, you can expect an extra boost in the amount of protein you will ingest.
Relevant: Premier Protein Shake Review
N.B- If you wish to know when to take your protein shake before or after .
3. Beans & Legumes
For: Substituting meat
Good Sources: Kidney, Black, Soy, Lupin, Navy Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas, and Mesquite.
Beans and Legumes are where the vegan world is revolving around. After much trial & error, we have a verdict, and it’s The Meatless Meat.
Now I will understand any skepticism that may be thrown my way, but these were tested among meat-eaters, and most of them were happy with the results. Sure, you can tell apart a Soy Bean and Lentil pork chop, but you can do the same with beef and mutton.
So, before writing this off your book, I suggest you try it from a reputed vegan restaurant, make sure it’s from a good source, as these haven’t been pioneered yet by everyone, but getting there.
4. Leafy Greens
For: Low calories and High Nutrient Value
Good Sources: Cabbage, Spinach, Watercress, Lettuce, Kale, and Green Beets
Vegan or not, collard greens always belonged to a healthy balanced diet. But when you are focusing on JUST a vegetarian diet, you can expect more of a punch than you did before. Because you will obviously be packing more than you did before to make up for the calorie loss that comes with a change in diet.
Plus, these leafy greens come with various health benefits- protects your brain, makes your skin glow, supports bone health, supports bone health, supports healthy aging, and does so much more. And all this with the least amount of calories. Spinach itself is 10 folds less calorie-packed than chicken.
Another great thing is, you can add this to your morning protein shake, and use it as a wrap for your veggie shawarmas and tacos.
5. Traditional Carb Alternatives
For: Substituting rice, noodles, and everything carb
Good Sources: Cauliflower, Squash, Quinoa, Eggplant, and Zucchini.
Okay, this is the latest health trend. Replacing unhealthy carbs with cauliflowers, quinoa, Eggplants, and squash. The potential with this regimen is limitless.
The most popular use of this is replacing pizza dough with cauliflower. That way, you get to enjoy pizza without carbing up THAT much.
This was just one example. There are many variations for implementing the carb exchange. Just pick your comfort food and change the carb base with either squash, zucchini or cauliflower.