If there’s anything I love about working out, it’s how it makes me feel about myself. Strong, structured, and usually sweaty. Since fitness is something that’s so important to me (and you, since you’re here), I need to live the rest of my life in a way that supports being active. To me, the biggest part of that is eating a vegan diet full of plant-based, whole foods. A vegan diet and being fit are not mutually exclusive like people once thought. Today, there’s more and more proof coming out that a vegan diet is equally or more supportive for fitness than a traditional diet. Follow along for 3 of the ways I see veganism as being a key part of my fitness!
- Feeling light after meals: There’s no better way to a miserable workout than eating too much or too soon beforehand. The heavy feeling, the gas, the lump in your throat. Something I’ve noticed about vegan meals though, is that I rarely if ever feel that way after eating. It’s an amazing discovery! Without cheese, meat, or an extreme amount of grease in your meal you will notice a huge difference in how you feel after eating. Animal products take longer to be processed by the body, so it’s no wonder a veggie burger feels so much better to eat than a cow burger. The relatively higher fat content and lower fiber content of a meaty, cheesy meal makes it slower (even 24 hours slower) to digest than a plant-based meal. With a vegan diet you will more than likely avoid that heavy, tired, and sluggish feeling after eating in favor of feeling light and ready to go.
- You get enough protein, really: Macro and micro-nutrients are each important for the body. There’s no getting around the fact that we need calcium and vitamin D and b-12 (the list goes on). But what seems to be the biggest concern of people curious about plant-based eating is ‘Where do you get your protein?’ And while I think vegan influencers (shout out Grace Beverly and Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen) are doing a great job of clearing this up, there is still some doubt out there that you can get enough protein to build muscle without eating meat. With whole foods like chick peas (15g/ cup), tempeh (12.5g/serving), edamame (19g/serving) and plant-based supplements like protein powders, bars, and snacks with upwards of 20 grams of protein, I’d say it’s totally possible to meet and exceed your protein needs without animal products. My friend Francesca of Plantifully Based even made this video showing her vegan way to 120 grams of protein a day!
- Build yourself up without breaking anyone else down: The way I see it. it’s just cheating to EAT muscles if you want to gain muscles. Like when else would that fly? You can’t just listen to Vivaldi and then know how to play the violin. A huge part of working out is the confidence boost you get from looking good and feeling good about the hard work you’ve put in. So why taint that by consuming animal products that come at the cost of so much suffering of others? And it’s not just the animals who suffer. Slaughterhouse workers are often silenced and definitely exposed to de-humanizing brutality. The environment is taking a beating from big-agriculture and the greenhouse gases that are it’s by-product. Do your body, your mind, and everyone else a favor by moving past meat and onto eating better things.
Being vegan and working out are a huge part of me, and they sure as heck have helped me find my passion! So let me know how you feel – do you think vegan fitness works? If you haven’t already, give it go and see how you feel. If you usually eat meat and dairy, switch to plant-based meals for 2 weeks to see how you adjust. I’m always here for meal-prep ideas and to answer any questions you have about your fitness and health plans!