- Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2010 21:19
Contrary to popular belief gaining muscle through a vegetarian diet is not impossible. For our muscles are composed of 70% water, therefore all you need to do in order to gain muscle is have a caloric surplus and eat the right foods so as to control your fat intake.
As a vegetarian we tend to rely a lot on eating carbohydrates for energy. If you are doing this, it may not be the best thing for you because too many carbohydrates and simple sugars tend to increase your insulin and actually have greater negative effects than positive, such as expanding your waistline. Fear not though for there are other foods out there which are better designed to give you the most energy per calories. Such as whole wheat pasta and bread or oatmeal, eating these foods are allowed only on days of increased activity simply because of the fact that they are complex carbohydrates, which make it harder for your body to break down keeping you feeling fuller longer, whilst providing a great source of energy. On average, women should lean towards 125-175 grams of carbohydrates on low days and 200-300 grams on higher days.
Even though you are a vegetarian your whole diet should not be all fruits and vegetables and no protein, the body needs protein for everyday functions as well as to build muscle mass. A few foods to add to your diet would be to snack on nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, and walnuts. Eating nuts is a great way to add protein as well as protect your heart since they are comprised of healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Legumes are also helpful as they contain high amounts of protein along with dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese will influence your diet greatly as well as help you build muscle faster. Eggs should not be overlooked as well for they are a lean protein and also contain several vitamins and minerals. To make sure you’re getting enough iron when you stop eating red meat be sure to eat plenty of dark green vegetables such as spinach.
For those true vegans out there, dairy and fish are not an option, so make you have some legumes, and other nuts on hand to snack on. Tofu and soy both make great protein substitutes as well. But, if you really want to help build those muscles, you should not hesitate to invest in a good protein powder and mixing yourself up a nice smoothie with it in the morning. But remember it is not impossible to obtain muscle as a vegetarian, stay motivated and keep in mind that just by cutting out meat from animals you are doing your body a favor and saving yourself a lot of medical bills down the road.