I often get the question: “Do we get enough protein from vegan sources to build muscle?” The answer is; Yes! First of all we don’t need as much as we think (only about 10% of calories) and we definitely don’t need animal sourced protein. The contrary. People (mostly men) are reluctant to become vegan/vegetarian as they don’t think they would get enough protein to build muscle. Watch Frank Medrano, a vegan body builder, or google, there is a whole bunch of them. Macho-ism and health is not compatible – it’s time to drop it! Be more aware, even if it makes you do what your mum and wife always told you to… and it makes you more “feminine” (scary thought!)
I’m sorry to break it to you, but the only way to build muscle is through training. So do your push ups! And if you want to help your body to make sure it has all the components required to build muscle; than eat amino acids (the components of protein) and micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals from vegan sources. If you also have a healthy heart (you do if you can run) to support your muscles with enough oxygen, and glucose from mainly carbs (the fuel to build muscle), you will help yourself a lot.
Even in nutrition there is a main stream ‘fashion’. Now protein diets has been en vogue. It’s very unhealthy and sad. Sad because of the huge increase in animal sourced food, the 100 times more area used to cultivate the soy and corn to feed the animals per kg of protein produced, and the equivalent increase in diseases. It’s clearly proportional, like colon cancer and dementia.
I’ve researched a lot and over the years I have never seen the American government pages recommend cutting down on meat and dairy…until now. This is huge! There is so much subvention to the meat and dairy industry (hardly nothing goes to vegetable and fruit production), but I guess the cost of being unhelathy has caught up.
The conversion of animal sourced protein into amino acids requires a lot more digestive fluids like stomach acid. This will make your body more acidic and sluggish, a perfect environment for bacteria, viruses and parasites. That’s one of the reasons why you often see men with water retention at gyms. Their bodies retain the water to desperately try to clean their bodies, putting a huge load on the kidneys and digestive system. If they end the gym sessions with a few beers and burgers on top of it, there has probably been very little new muscle built over the years and much more desperate cleaning up by the body.
I find that vegan food gives lean muscles when training, and a detoxed and clean mind and body. It calms you and makes you less stressed and aggressive (less acid and biochemical stress). It gives a body awareness that can be seen. Most of them never compete but they live it. My Ashtanga gurus are good examples. They also have a philosophy behind the vegan diet that I find is part of the peaceful and healthy being. We see a much greater interest in vegan diets now, specially form young people in their 20’s, which is fantastic. I’m very hopeful and I see no quicker way to become healthy for both the Earth and us.