Protein is the most essential source for muscle building and losing fat. In fact, building muscle requires two things, regular exercise to stimulate the need to build muscles and protein to actually build new muscles.
Protein is easily accessible via meats and poultry products but what if you favor beans over beef? Is it possible to get all the protein your body requires to look ripped and perform best on a vegetarian diet? There is no need to worry. A study conducted by Arizona State University found no difference in measures of endurance or strength – or levels of lean body mass – in vegan athletes as compared to meat lovers.
It is somewhat true that a vegetarian diet, as compared to non-vegetarian diet is low in protein and hence, vegans find it difficult to gain the required body mass.
But with strategic planning, it is entirely possible to power your muscles on plant protein.
For starters, you need to determine how much protein is essential to show your muscles some love.
How Much Protein do you need to Gain Muscle?
If you are hitting the gym regularly, strength training, and breaking your muscles, then consume about 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh to make sure that breakdown of your muscles doesn’t overtake muscle protein synthesis.
That is, if you are a 170-pound person, you will need around 115 grams of protein daily. Protein is the dynamic force behind your gains, so make sure you are up-to-date on your protein consumption.
On the other hand, if you are an endurance athlete, you should aim for 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram you weigh.
The amount of protein you ingest throughout the day makes a difference. If you are looking to gain muscle mass, experts suggest spreading your intake throughout the day, that is; 25-35 grams of protein per meal.
However, you will want to make sure that you are getting a steady source of essential amino acid as it plays a crucial role in stimulating the muscle protein synthesis. So, ensure that your food is leucine-rich, as it will do a better job stimulating the muscle growth.
Animal-based proteins like meat, poultry, dairy products, etc. have a higher protein quality score than their plant-based counterparts, as they are denser in essential amino acids. It means that you digest less protein per ounce when sticking to a vegetarian diet.
How to Get Enough Protein on a Vegetarian Diet?
As a vegan, you may have to work harder in the kitchen in order to get enough protein. But it is somewhat impossible to see the same results as meat eaters. Vegetarians may need to eat a variety of protein sources and that too in high quantities, spreading them throughout the day.
Veggie eating means dodging meat, but most allows for dairy and eggs. So it is easier to get sufficient amounts of high-quality protein than going completely vegan.
There is a new wave of well-designed plant-based protein powders available at YesWellness.com that contains isolated proteins like pea, rice, or soy, that considerably increases their digestibility, making them a great addition to post/pre-workout shakes.
Legume-based pasta and spaghetti and no-meat products like pizza and burger that are tasty and no longer spoiled with preservatives are also helping vegans to get their fill of protein.
In fact, meatless weekends may help you live longer. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that people who consumed plant-based protein like beans and lentils more often experienced lower rates of early death, especially from heart disease. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that people who ate more plant-based proteins ingested a wider variety of food that bounced their overall nutrient intake.
Here are some muscle-building tips for plant eaters
Remember, you need to eat more as compared to the meat eaters. But the experts suggest start small and add one new nutritional habit every month.
#1 Switch your Water with a Simple Protein Shake
Whenever you drink water, make sure that you add a scoop of high-quality protein powder. This way will add around 20 grams of protein without thinking about it.
#2 Avoid Oils and Use Nuts and Seeds
Seeds and oils have protein in them and oils don’t. Instead of lentils with olive oil, try lentils with pumpkin seeds. Instead of salads topped with olive oil, try salads with cashews and almonds. It will compensate for your daily protein requirement.
#3 Always Have Cooked Beans Ready to Eat
Beans are dense in protein. Cook up a batch of beans several times a week and have them ready to eat all times. You can also munch on canned and frozen beans as well.
There are plenty of vegetarian protein options that you can take advantage of to gain the muscle mass. However, it is important to start slow and allow your body to adjust to the changes.