This article provides guidance and suggestions for those who follow or want to follow a plant-based diet alongside their training. If your plant-based or just looking to try something new, this article will provide useful information and knowledge to help excel your nutritional goals. Continue reading if you’re interested in naturally fuelling your body through the power of plants especially for veganuary!
Vegan vs Plant-based- what’s the difference?
Veganism and plant-based diets have recently become increasingly popular, yet some people may be confused about the differences between the two. One of the key differences is that veganism includes avoiding animal products of all kinds, including clothing, makeup, washing products etc, while plant-based usually refers to diet only.
Vegans do not consume anything produced through the exploitation of animals; however, some plant-based (vegetarians & flexitarians) may consume eggs, dairy and sometimes seafood. In simpler terms, being plant-based just means you can be a little bit more lenient with your diet. Note, that vegans & plant-based individuals may have different views and opinions when it comes to eating, and one person’s diet may look very different to another’s.
Benefits of being Vegan or Plant-based
- Lowers your blood pressure.
Several studies have shown that plant-based diets can reduce blood pressure and help reduce heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A meta-analysis investigated data from 39 studies and concluded that people who followed a plant-based diet had lower blood pressure on average than those who ate meat.
(Yokoyama at al, 2014) (Kim et al, 2019)
- Healthier heart.
Meat consists of saturated fat, which can contribute to heart issues when eaten excessively. It’s suggested that eating a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by 16 % and dying of this condition by a staggering 31%. Although, it’s not just about limiting meat intake, it’s important to make sure plant-based foods your consuming are healthy (like whole-grains, vegetables, and fruit).
(Satija A et al, 2017)
- Can help aid weight loss.
Eating plant-based can help you drop the pounds – A study using 65 overweight adults all followed a plant-based diet for one year lost 9.25 pounds (4-5kg) on average. This is because whole grains and vegetables are considered low on the glycaemic index , which means they’re digested more slowly. Additionally, fruit contains antioxidants and fibre, which help prolong fullness.
(Wright, Wilson and Smith, 2017) (Huang R, Huang C, Hu et al, 2016)
Will I get enough protein if I follow a plant-based diet?
Regardless of your diet, protein needs for a plant-based individual are the same as a meat, fish, and dairy eater (regarding training goals are the same). There is plenty of protein in plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, pulses, grains, nuts, seed and even some vegetables.
A main challenge for plant-based individuals is prioritising protein packed foods, as animal sources consists of much higher protein. However, this isn’t a problem; it just means you need to be more creative when it comes to meal planning and pay more attention to the amount of protein your get per meal/snack. A simple way to maximise your daily protein intake is to include a quality plant protein powder (hemp, soy, pea etc) into your daily routine.
So, yes you can get enough protein through a plant-based diet, it just requires more attention to detail when it comes to prioritising and planning meals. Below are some examples of high plant-based protein sources.
High protein plant-based foods & meal ideas
Chickpeas x 100g
Lentils x 100g
Baked beans x 100g
Tofu x 100g
Quorn mince x 100g
Quinoa x 100g
Oats x 100g
Cashews x 50g
Peanut butter x 50g
Sunflower seeds x 50g
Chia seeds x 50g
Veggie sausages x 2
Soya milk x 500ml
Hemp protein powder x per scoop
Eat natural nut bar x 1
Plant based meal ideas
-Soya milk porridge & chia seeds.
-Peanut butter & toast & banana.
-Nut muesli & soya milk.
-Veggie sausage, beans & toast.
-Salad with sunflower seed & avocado.
-Smoothie bowl, with fruit & nuts.
-Pitta bread/wraps with quorn.
-3 bean chilli & rice.
-Chickpea & spinach burgers with sweet potatoes fries.
-Lentil curry with roasted potatoes.
-Handful of nuts.
-Pitta with peanut butter & jam.
-Rice cake with peanut butter.
-Hummus & carrots.
Main things to remember:
- Being plant-based is generally diet & nutrition driven.
- You can hit protein targets through a plant-based diet.
- Plant-based diets have shown to provide numerous health benefits.
- Prioritise high protein food sources in meals.
- Get a plant-based protein powder to help increase daily protein intake.
- Everyone’s different- what works for them might not work for you.
BSc Strength and Conditioning
Huang R-Y, Huang C-C, Hu FB, et al. Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of General Internal Medicine. January 2016.
Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, et al. Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association. August 2019.
Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. July 2017.
Wright N, Wilson L, Smith M, et al. The BROAD Study: A Randomised Controlled Trial Using a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet in the Community for Obesity, Ischaemic Heart Disease or Diabetes. Nutrition & Diabetes. March 2017.
Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, et al. Vegetarian Diets and Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. April 2014
Nutrition is essential for progress
When it comes to changing your body composition, either gaining muscle or losing body fat, nutrition will be the most important aspect.
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here are some of most asked questions
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