While some people may picture vegans to be skinny and weak, plant-based eaters know better. Eating a vegan diet can fuel you to have serious strength and power.

Last year, a vegan strongman lifted a record-breaking 1,212.54 pounds over 32.8 feet, while yelling “Vegan Power!” Also, consider Jim Morris, a 78-year old vegan bodybuilder who has said about his diet that, “since becoming vegan, all my health problems have completely disappeared. My yearly checkups are perfect.”

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How do vegan athletes and bodybuilders build muscle, gain energy and fuel up to dominate in the competition? Here are five plant-based superfoods perfect for the vegan bodybuilder.

1. Quinoa

Cooked quinoa contains 39 grams of carbohydrates per cup, making it a fantastic energy booster. This ancient grain is also high in protein (8 grams per cup), fiber (5 grams per cup), and is a good source of iron. Get even more (including recipes) on quinoa here.

2. Legumes

Legumes have protein, and when paired with healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, you’ll create a complete protein to help fuel a weight lifting session. One cup of chickpeas used in hummus has 39 grams of protein, 121 grams of carbohydrates, and 7.7 grams of unsaturated fat. Lentils are also a great choice, as one cup of them contains 18 grams of protein.

3. Kale

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse to keep the body healthy and strong overall. One cup of kale contains 1000 percent of your daily-recommended vitamin K, an antioxidant that promotes bone growth, and that one cup has more than 180 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A, which aids vision, growth, bone formation, tissue repair and red blood cell production. Check out our recipe for baked kale chips – yum!

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4. Nuts

Having a handful of nuts is a simple way to get some quick nutrition since they can be easily stored and quickly eaten just about anywhere. Walnuts will give you an energy boost and provide you with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. About a quarter cup of walnuts provides about 90 percent of your recommended daily intake of omega-3s. Almonds are also a great choice.

5. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain about 41 grams of carbohydrates (though sizes can vary), which will provide energy for any strength machine. These orange potatoes contain calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They’re also the best source of beta carotene out of all produce. Here’s 15 ways to get your sweet potato on.

Eating the above foods will help increase energy, build muscle and gain strength. Bodybuild on, strong plant-based people!

Image source: US Navy / Wikimedia Commons

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