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October 1, 2014

Veganism and Protein-based Bodybuilding

Vegan Bodybuilder Joel Kirkilis
Can A Vegan Diet Give You Muscles?

This is the question most people who consider going vegan or vegetarian ask before they decide to change their diets. Will I lose a major source of protein if I give up meat. The answer is ultimately yes, but there are some other things to consider before you make up your mind about veganism.

Yes, meat is a great source of protein and if you give it up you will lose that major source, but you can replace that great source of protein with another source of protein that can give you just as much protein as you had before and maybe a little more.

Indeed there is a whole movement within the bodybuilding community of vegan bodybuilders, like Joel Kirkilis above.

Now before you think it is more difficult to become a vegan bodybuilder vs an omnivore bodybuilder, remember:

Gorillas Do It

Gorillas are a close evolutionary relative to humans and they live off a strictly plant based diet. I don't think anyone would accuse a gorilla of lack an adequate source of protein as they are often very strong, powerful and muscle animals. So how do they do it? Well, gorillas spend all day eating plants as the plants do not allow them to gain enough energy to sustain them the entire day, but the plants that they do eat provide them with enough protein to help them build the muscles they need.

Humans have an advantage when it comes to a vegan diet because unlike gorillas humans eat starchy foods which will provide extra protein and a vast amount of carbohydrates. I know what you are thinking, gorillas are similar to us but they are not the same, they must have different genes and body structures that allows them to process plants differently than humans do. The answer to that is no, not really. Gorillas have the same DNA and the same digestive systems as humans and are 99% identical to humans in terms of DNA. That 1% difference is really minor.

Gorillas also do not have an extra special means of digesting food to get more protein out of it. The protein is already there in the plant based food, we humans just need to start realizing that meat is not the only source of protein out there.

Professional Athletes Do It Too

David Haye is a professional boxer and became vegan while competing professionally. At first he was concerned about what becoming vegan could negatively effect his ability to participate in professional boxing. He was concerned that without meat he would not be able to maintain his muscle mass. It was not until he did some research on the protein value of plant based foods that he realized that he could get what he needs from plants.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson also became a vegan after dealing with depression, weight gain, drug abuse and alcoholism. He became a vegan as part of a process that was intended to help him get his life back on track. After becoming a vegan Mike Tyson was able to get back into a physique that rivaled that of his heavy weight fighting days.

What If You Just Want To Try It Out First

Protein is easily accessed through plant foods such as beans, seeds and grains. If you are not yet ready to take the plunge just yet, why not try out a vegan restaurant first to see if plant based protein is right for you. A great place to try is Rawlicious, a Toronto raw vegan restaurant, which provides several different smoothie options that can be fortified with Hemp Protein and SunWarrior Brown Rice Protein.

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