Four easy ways to adapt a plant based lifestyle for longevity and muscle building

Turning to veganism for a healthy lifestyle, but how does it affect your ability to build muscle? 

Starting a plant-based diet seems to be one of the most popular moves in the dieting world. Many people are now leaning towards a more flexible way of eating than only restricting animal products. People usually choose a vegan lifestyle because of the ethics surrounding animal treatment and the endless health benefits it provides. Many athletes are adapting this nutritional choice to assist them in achieving peak performance and health. 

When on a plant-based diet, most people find they are wondering about the following things:

  • Am I getting enough protein for my muscle building needs
  • Some plants contain anti-nutrients (like Lectins) that can harm your gut function long term
  • The worry regarding nutrient deficiencies

Building muscle requires a higher than average protein intake, as well as caloric surplus. So it can get tricky when you first start the journey. 

The old bodybuilding way

Traditional bodybuilding diets include a wide variety of animal products because of their high protein content. I was placed in the same mindset when I was building muscle and becoming leaner for shows.It’s not impossible to achieve your protein quota when on a vegan diet; it takes a little bit of fine-tuning, making sure you pick the proper nutrients & sufficient calories.The problem is macronutrients need for building muscle may be lacking somewhat. 

Planning your food intake

You may like to start your vegan journey slowly, adding more and more vegan options as you progress and familiarise yourself with the different food choices. It takes some getting used to overtime, and there will be several staple foods you will eat regularly, mainly to support your protein goals. Eating several meals a day may be a better option for you if your goal is to build a lot of muscle. It’s challenging when you are eating fewer meals than this — although when you have mastered the plant-based way of life, you may choose to alter your nutritional plan at any time. Bodybuilders are not in shows every single week. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a break from dieting — but still watch your macro-nutrient requirements. Just make one change at a time, and then move to the next. 

Four easy ways to adopt a plant-based lifestyle for longevity and muscle building.

One: Protein and plants

Vegan protein sources don’t usually contain all essential amino acids. Filling up on the following high protein foods will help you maximise muscle gain. It’s in your best interest to eat them several times a day:• Tofu• Legumes• Quinoa• SeitanOne great source I use regularly is vegan protein powder. Adding this to your smoothies and breakfast will help add to your protein quota during the day. 

Two: Fat sources are essential

It’s important to add fat sources to your diet — whether you eat plant or animal protein. Fats are higher in calories than all the other macros. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to monitor the amount your eating. Avocado, Almonds & cold-pressed olive oil will help you build muscle and help with fat loss along the way. Just go easy on them. 

Three: Drink lots of water

Building muscle still requires a lot of fluid to keep you hydrated and help flush out toxins. Eating plants will increase your fibre intake a lot, and you may experience some uncomfortable gut side effects. This can include bloating, flatulence and perhaps some stomach pain. This is natural, although it should not persist for long periods. If it does, you should consult with a naturopath. Drinking water will help reduce all of the symptoms above — not to mention clearing your skin and helping you perform at your best and strongest in the gym. 

Four: It takes time

Educating yourself on the essentials of plant-based protein for building muscle takes time and possibly making a lot of mistakes along the way. You risk adding some nutrient deficiencies, but you are well informed on what you should and should not be eating — this won’t affect you. You may already know a lot of vegans who are thriving on this kind of diet. What they say is true — it is one of the best and most sustainable lifestyle plans you can use and thrive for life. If you are a meat-eater contemplating adding more plants — start with sacrificing one meal during your day, and then move onto one full day of plant-based meals. Then as you become accustomed to it, keep swapping animal protein for plants until you can spend seven days eating plants. Any diet takes about 30–40 days to experience the benefits and allowing your boy to adapt to this new way of life. Stick with it, and you will become amazed at how much you’ve changed your health and life around. Plus, you have the added benefit of building lean muscle mass in the process.

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