Year over year vegan and vegetarian based diets continue to grow in popularity. In 2015, a Harris Poll National Survey of 2,017 adults aged 18 and over found that eight million Americans, or 3.4 percent, ate a solely vegetarian diet and that one million, or 0.4 percent, ate a strictly vegan diet. This trend is only going to continue. In the next decade, 10 percent of the total population is expected to partake in a vegetarian diet. Here's a fun fact: according to the University of Oxford if the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion. One common fallacy that has prevented people from committing to a plant-based diet in the past, is the belief that gaining muscle is hard to do on a vegetarian, more so vegan diet. Luckily, we are here to prove that wrong. Here are 5 plant-based muscle building foods to help you get big.
Quinoa is a type of seed with over 120 different varieties. This gluten-free “superfood” is packed with (good) carbs, all nine essential amino acids, and one cup contains 8 grams of protein. The nutritional aspects, light taste, and feel make it the perfect pre-workout meal.
Unless you are allergic, we highly recommend using nuts to pack on the protein. There are so many types of nuts with different tastes and textures, making them a perfect add-in for nearly every meal. Even nut spreads such as peanut and almond butter are a nutritious and tasty protein source (provided it isn’t full of unwanted sugar). Almonds, in particular, are one of the most nutritious. One cup provides 30 grams of protein and 71 grams of healthy fats. Although they do require a lot of water, almonds are still far more sustainable than animal-based proteins--, especially beef.
Seeds such as flax, chia, and sunflower are also packed with healthy fats and loads of protein. With a dense nutrient profile and high levels of protein, flax and chia seeds make for a perfect addition to a post-workout smoothie.
All types of beans are high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and nutrient-dense. Beans and legumes are easy to mix into any meal of the day, even the chickpeas used in hummus provide nearly 40 grams of protein, 120 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of unsaturated fats. Beans are a prime source of protein in any plant-based diet. Try them with rice for a highly nutritious, carb and protein-filled, pre-workout meal!
Soy-based foods such as tempeh and tofu are great meat substitutes and boast high protein numbers. Yes, it is true that excessive amounts of soy can decrease testosterone levels in men, however, consumed in moderate amounts, that isn't the case.
Although people tend to believe attaining protein and packing on muscle is difficult on a plant-based diet, that isn't necessarily true. Whether you just want to be healthier, or pack on muscle like Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson, these 5 plant-based muscle building foods will help you get stronger and feel better than ever. Once again, we see a healthy lifestyle packed with all the necessary nutrients is more than possible on a plant-based diet.
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