Tag Archives: vegan

Veganism and Vegetarianism: Ditching Ribs for Radishes

How to Follow a Healthy Vegan Diet | AIPT
Bowl of chickpea salad. Courtesy of: https://www.aipt.edu.au/articles/2019/09/how-follow-healthy-vegan-diet

Is a Vegan or Vegetarian diet plan too complicated to follow? Too expensive? 

Veganism and Vegetarianism have been on the rise for the past 10 years, and are currently the biggest trends in food and nutrition.
So why are people giving up their chicken and eggs? And more importantly, where can Vegans and Vegetarians get the right nutrients to ensure that not only they’re healthy, but their wallet is healthy too. We’ve done some digging, and we’re gonna spill the kidney beans on all the details you need to know…

Veganism is a bit different from being a Vegetarian.
Vegetarians = don’t eat fish, meat, or anything that contains it e.g. gelatine or animal fat.
Vegans = don’t eat any products that come from animals, including eggs, dairy, and honey.

Some make the decision to switch for animal welfare, or for the environment, but some choose to ditch the drumsticks, sling the steak and cut the chicken for their own personal health, not to mention some of the cost benefits.

Whatever your reason, we’ve included loads of helpful tips, tricks and titillating meal ideas to help keep you full of energy no matter your personal goals at the gym.

Gaining Muscle

How to Gain Muscle Mass Naturally - 5 Key Variables for a ...
Woman using Pulldown Machine. Courtesy of: https://www.theultimatealphaproject.com/gain-muscle-mass-naturally/

Gaining muscle requires resilience, determination, and of course, protein. So if you’re looking to get as hench as John Cena, you’re in luck! You can definitely still do that on a Vegan and Vegetarian diet.

Extra Tip: Check out this dumbbell set– helping you build muscle even whilst stuck at home for lockdown #3

Foods High in Protein: 


Easy Homemade Seitan Recipe. Make Protein Packed "Wheat Meat!"
Seitan. Courtesy of: http://coachdebbieruns.com/easy-homemade-seitan-recipe/
Memphis-Style Vegan Pulled "Pork" | Food Adventure Club
Memphis-Style Vegan Pulled “Pork”. Courtesy of: https://foodadventureclub.blogspot.com/2011/05/memphis-style-vegan-pulled-pork.html

Seitan is a meat-textured substance made of wheat, originating from Ancient China. It is easy to find in most supermarkets, but also comes in a lot of pre-made vegetarian and vegan meat-substitutes, so if making it from scratch isn’t your style, it won’t be a problem. It takes in flavour really well, which means you can easily personalise it to your favourite hoisin duck recipe, or maybe your favourite pulled pork bbq sauce. And the best thing – it’s PACKED full of protein! A really easy way to enjoy a tasty meal whilst getting all the protein you need to bulk up.

Chickpeas and Beans:

A Roasted Chickpeas Recipe that Actually Makes Them Crisp ...
Roasted chickpeas. Courtesy of: https://www.theawesomegreen.com/a-roasted-chickpeas-recipe-that-actually-makes-them-crisp/

Chickpeas and beans are a super-easy way to get protein into your diet, whatever meal you’re cooking. Kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans and chickpeas are all really easy to find in the supermarket, and really cheap too! They can be popped into a curry, chilli or soup for some extra flavour and texture or even mashed into a patty and cooked however you like to make a protein-packed delicious burger. Chickpeas can be roasted by themselves with paprika and garlic for a tasty snack you can take on-the-go, at Tesco, you can pick up a tin of chickpeas for just 55p. Why not give some of these ideas a try!?

Extra Tip: Here’s a great recipe for roasted chickpea wraps that have 4 of your 5 a day! I’m munching on one right now and can confirm – delicious!


Delicious Foods That Are Good for You: Green Peas | Food ...
Peas in a decorative bowl. Courtesy of: https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/delicious-foods-green-peas/

Ah, the unassuming pea. Something your Mum or Dad always had to force you to eat, but now a great way to get pea-tein in your diet in an incredibly healthy way. Peas are bursting with protein to help you gain muscle, but are also known to boost weight-loss and aid digestion, so a great addition to your dinner regardless!

You can get peas into your diet in really creative ways, seeing as you can cook them however you like,  or even eat them raw! Have them on their own, as an addition to your Sunday roast, in a curry, rice dish or soup, even mashed with your cheat-day chip shop takeaway. They’re cheap, easy to grab at any supermarket, and really versatile.

Extra Tip: Check out some of these reci-peas on BBC Goodfood to see all the creative ways you can get peas into your diet!

Weight Loss

25 Weight Loss Tips for Men – How Men Can Lose Weight
Person weighing themselves. Courtesy of: https://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/a19536817/weight-loss-tips-1/

Losing weight is different for everyone, depending on your activity, metabolism and routine; but generally, cutting your calories, eating healthier, and exercising more will help aid in losing extra weight.
If you’re counting calories and worried about how becoming Vegetarian or Vegan might affect you, we’re here to help.

Extra Tip: If you’re looking for some at-home cardio help, check out this indoor trampoline for the most fun you’ll ever have working out!

Carbs: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

VineelaSiva: How to cook Pasta(Basic)
Bowl of plain white pasta. Courtesy of: http://vineelasiva.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-cook-pastabasic.html
Irish Soda Bread Recipe (Traditional Brown Bread)
Brown bread loaf, partially sliced. Courtesy of: https://www.happyfoodstube.com/irish-brown-soda-bread-blenerville-ireland/

Refined carbohydrates (‘bad carbs’) are mostly known as bread, pizza, pasta, tasty and convenient, but aren’t too great if you’re looking to shed some pounds. They tend to not have much fibre and don’t make you feel as full as complex carbohydrates (‘good carbs’). Chickpeas, beans, soya, and whole-grain foods such as brown pasta and brown bread are all complex carbs that will help make you feel full without having a negative effect on your diet.

So if your meals contain a lot of white bread and pasta, try switching them out for whole-grain substitutes, and try adding more chickpeas and beans to your meals to make you feel more full, reducing your portion size and curbing extra snacks.

Extra Tip: Here’s some great recipes that include whole grains!

Highly Processed Foods:

Ultra-processed food could raise cancer risk – 5 of the ...
Examples of processed foods. Courtesy of: http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/health/healthy-eating/ultra-processed-food-could-raise-cancer-risk-5-of-the-worst-to-avoid-11364250651590

As with any diet, it’s really easy to reach for frozen foods that are easy to sling in the oven after a long day of work. If you’re not already veggie or vegan, meat is a common example of processed food to avoid when dieting, as its high in salt and fat, so might be worth dropping.

If you’re already vegan or vegetarian, foods like frozen veggie burgers, microwave meals, and cheese, are all going to make losing weight harder. A better alternative would be preparing meals ahead of time so you can reheat them throughout the week when you don’t have time to cook, for example, soup, curry or bolognese that can be packed full of your favourite vegetables.

31 Meal Prep Recipes Perfect For Quick Easy Meals To Lose ...
Meal prep boxes. Courtesy of: https://www.trimmedandtoned.com/31-meal-prep-recipes-perfect-for-quick-easy-meals-to-lose-fat-fast/

Extra Tip: Check out this exercise bike that will make you feel like you’ve cycled for miles even with Boris telling us to stay inside.

So if you think that going vegan or vegetarian is right for you, know that it won’t get in the way of whatever your goals are at the gym, and that going meat-free won’t cost you an arm or a leg to do!

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Bodybuilding On A Vegan Diet

It is a common misconception that bodybuilding and following a vegan diet are mutually exclusive. This is false! Bodybuilding is all   about eating right and training hard, whether animal products are included or not.

Diet plays a huge part in building muscle. Traditionally, bodybuilders include eat a lot of meats, due to their high protein and calorie content.  As vegan diets exclude a lot of food groups, it is important to know which foods contain key nutrients to build muscle.

For muscle gain, protein intake should be around 0.7-1.0 grams per pound of body weight and a calorie surplus of around 10-20% is recommended. Vegan diets do tend to be lower in calories than those including animal products, so you will need to significantly increase your portion sizes to be successful and avoid unwanted muscle loss.

Attempting to lift heavy weights and carrying out intense workouts with insufficient calorie or protein intake can be dangerous, so careful meal planning is absolutely vital. If you are new to the vegan diet, start with low intensity workouts until you have fully adjusted to avoid injury! Click below to learn how to safely lift heavier weights.


What To Eat & When?

For the best results, it is critical to get the right balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and to schedule meals around your workouts. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also important to remember, as they are crucial for maintaining good health and aiding the muscle building process.


Eating protein is key for bodybuilding, as it is responsible for maintaining nitrogen balance within the body. When the body has sufficient protein, it has a positive nitrogen balance, therefore is in an anabolic state. This means it uses proteins to build muscle tissue. However, if you have a negative nitrogen balance, your body will break down muscle tissue to use for energy and enter a catabolic state.

Proteins are made up of of amino acids. Most of these are made by the body, but there are nine essential amino acids that can only be obtained by consumption – foods containing all of these are “complete proteins”. Nutritional guides can tell you which amino acids are in various foods.

For bodybuilders, protein intake should occur every 2-3 hours. This is easily achieved by having 5-6 smaller meals a day or having plenty of snacks ready. High protein intake is recommended 1 hour pre-workout and within an hour post-workout. It is common to use protein shakes or other sports drinks for this, as they are not too heavy. The largest protein intake should occur approximately 1 hour before bed as the body will naturally enter a catabolic state during sleep. 


Carbohydrates can be a controversial topic for some, but the fact remains, that they are the primary source of energy for the body and the macronutrient that is most easily broken down for energy. Therefore, carbohydrates are essential for bodybuilding. Your body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose for immediate use or stores it as glycogen for later use. 

Some glycogen is stored in muscles. When those muscles are used, the glycogen is converted into energy to be used instead of breaking down muscle tissue. Glycogen stores are also essential for the muscle repair that happens post-workout.

Your biggest meal of the day is usually your highest carbohydrate intake, this should occur 3-4 hours before your workout. Many athletes also benefit from another smaller carbohydrate intake about 1 hour pre-workouts to ensure the body is energized. High carbohydrate intake is also essential post-workout to top up depleted glycogen stores.

Carbohydrates are made up of sugar, fiber and starch.  Simple carbs are higher in sugar and should be avoided – these include cakes, biscuits, sugary cereals and white bread. Instead, bodybuilders opt for complex carbs, high in fiber and / or starch, e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains and rice.


Contrary to popular opinion, fat is essential for a healthy lifestyle. As the third macronutrient, it is easily overlooked by bodybuilders and there is a heavier focus on protein and carbohydrates. 

Vegan diets are already lower in calories, so fats can help bodybuilders consume enough to stay in a calorie surplus as they are caloric dense. Many key vitamins are fat soluble, this means that they can only be absorbed in the presence of fat – some examples include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.

There is no specific recommended time to consume fats, however it is important to remember that fats slow down the digestion process. This means they are great to consume before sleeping, to keep your body in an anabolic state for longer overnight.

Omega-3 fats are highly praised in the health community. This is great news for vegans as nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3.


Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining good health. Most fresh fruit and vegetables are high in macronutrients anyway which is great news for vegans! 

When bulking, the most important micros to look out for are iron, vitamin C and calcium. Iron is vital for transporting oxygen to the muscles and vitamin C helps increase the amount of iron absorbed by the body. Calcium intake is closely linked to metabolism in that insufficient calcium levels will trigger the hormone responsible for storing fat.

Head to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/ for more information on vegan nutrition.

5 Staple Foods

1) Tofu & Tempeh

These soy derived products make for great meat substitutes as they are packed with protein and extremely versatile! Tofu provides 13g protein per 100g and tempeh provides 19g protein per 100g.

2) Legumes

Vegan essentials such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas all come under this category. They are rich in protein, fiber and are a great source of vitamin B. Chickpeas, black beans and lentils are also great sources of carbohydrates. 

3) Nuts

As a great source of fatty acids and protein, nuts are a staple for building muscle (even for non-vegans). Almonds and cashews are among the most popular as they are rich in iron, but all nuts provide great health benefits. Many are also available as nut butters or non-dairy milks.

4) Quinoa

As a complex carb and a complete protein, quinoa is a great addition to any vegan pantry. It is high in carbohydrates and protein, as well as packing in micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium and iron.

5) Fruit & Vegetables

This one seems obvious, but fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, essential for any vegan meal!


Now you have the diet nailed, check out some great exercises for full body workouts and muscle gain – good luck!