PLANT-based diets have become a widely discussed topic, as more and more celebrities and athletes have adopted meat-free lifestyles.
Now, sports fans want to know more about bodybuilders with meatless diets.
Can a vegan be a bodybuilder?
Vegans can be bodybuilders. Multiple successful bodybuilders have chosen this way of life.
It is important that these athletes consume enough protein, and they can do so while following a plant-based diet.
Sentient Media states: “Consuming large quantities of protein is a key component of bodybuilding.
“The most well-known protein sources are animal products, but in recent years we’ve come to learn that muscle can be built just as effectively by consuming protein from plant-based sources.”
The outlet continues: “Bodybuilding on a vegan diet might not be conventional, but it certainly is possible.
“Despite the common misconception that vegan diets are lacking protein, you can meet the body’s protein requirements through purely plant-based sources.”
It continues: “Muscles grow by being damaged and broken down when we exercise, followed by building back up stronger than they were before.
“This growth requires protein, and large amounts of it. The protein can come from animal products but it can also come from a more ethical and environmentally-friendly source: plants.”
What do vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders eat?
Vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders eat a wide array of foods.
As Sentient Media notes, common protein sources for these athletes include beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and tofu.
They also often consume plenty of nuts and seeds, as well as oats and kamut.
Bodybuilder Jehina Malik — who has been vegan since birth — told Great Vegan Athletes: “I eat in moderation but I have a tendency to eat a lot of nuts, of which cashews are my weakness. And different meals made from lentils are so good.”
Bodybuilder Torre Washington was raised vegetarian before becoming vegan in 1998.
On his website, he states: “I get all of my protein from plant-based foods such as seeds, nuts, and legumes.”
Per Great Vegan Athletes, he often consumes lentils, oatmeal, tofu, seitan, grapefruits, broccoli, and Japanese sweet potatoes.
Washington also spoke about his eating habits with Insider.
According to the publication, his “go-tos” consist of pea protein, oatmeal, lentils, tofu, and rice and beans.
He frequently eats produce like fresh greens and fruit smoothies.
Insider also states that Washington “doesn’t keep an especially strict eating plan.”
It continues: “Early in his bodybuilding career, he didn’t even track macronutrients and barely counted calories, doing so only when he needed to cut weight quickly.
“He’s since stuck to a more structured nutrition plan but still leaves plenty of room to thoroughly enjoy food.”
Washington often indulges in vegan desserts, which he says have drastically improved since he began enjoying them in the 1990s.
He told the outlet: “I don’t restrict myself. I allow myself to partake in cake, ice cream. I eat it on a regular basis, and I can still compete.”
Has there ever been a vegan or vegetarian Mr Olympia?
Jim Morris was a successful bodybuilder who became a vegetarian in 1985.
Per Great Vegan Athletes, he later turned to veganism in 2000 at the age of 65.
In 1996, the late sports star earned big in his last competition when he won the over-60 category of Mr. Olympia masters.
In 2011, he opened up about his diet and health with the outlet.
He said: “It was only after I retired from competition in 1985 that I started considering my health and eliminated what I had over the years identified as the cause of my digestive, respiratory and joint problems.
“These were namely all animal sources,(beef, fowl, dairy, pork and fish). I continued having fish on rare occasions as my ‘treat’.”
He continued: “In 1999 because of a nerve condition I consulted a cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist, hand specialist, acupuncturist, chiropractor and two pain specialists from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
“Had a brain scan, an MRI of my neck, another of my entire spine, had an unnecessary carpal tunnel operation, suffered Vertigo from interaction of medications prescribed by several of the above and continued to have the problem.
“A friend got me in to see the Chief of Neurology at the Norton Hospital in the USC Medical Center who advised me to try to endure the pain and the problem may clear up on its own. Which it did.
“The horrific nightmare of the experience so terrified me that I determined to do everything in my power to never again fall into the clutches of the Pharmedical Industry. I stopped eating fish and all processed and refined products.”