First things first, vegetarians may have amore challenging time getting ripped than those who eat meat and seafood, but for many, it's worth the effort to live a more sustainable life. I can understand the reasoning behind eating fewer animal products and nevertheless performing on a high physical level. I also regularly have clients who request solutions for vegetarians, so I decided to look into this topic with you today.
One day I had this client coming to me, saying she wanted to gain muscle and lose fat while being on a vegetarian diet. She wasn't exceptionally trained and only had some experience in lifting weights. The first thing that came to my mind was, how will we cover her daily protein needs?
Protein is the material we need to recover from strenuous workouts, so there should never be a lack of it, or we waste our training efforts. Generally speaking, animal protein sources often combine with fat, whereas plant protein sources often provide carbohydrates simultaneously. To provide her with a better overview ofwhat she can eat to cover her protein needs, I created a list of what I consider pure protein sources. Below you can see an excerpt.
You can see that I marked some of the foods with arrows. That's because I distinguish between fat and carbohydrate sources. Plant protein often comes with carbohydrates, which will directly impact our blood sugar levels in larger amounts. The blood sugar level is a good indicator of whether you are set up to be burning fat or carbohydrates. You wouldn't assume that after consuming a glass of coke, your belly fat will melt away. The same is valid for oats because they are both high in carbohydrates and thus will elevate your blood sugar level. The result is that you have more energy, but you will not mostly burn fat.
That's why I suggest eating protein sources such as cheese or nuts at times when you don't have rice, bread, or other pure carbohydrate sources. That means you would time your meals so that you eat protein sources in combination with carbohydrates together, such as oats and milk. Some foods, such as yogurt, have small amounts of carbs in them. In combination with fat, those carbs will be digested extremely slowly, preventing them from impacting your blood sugar level. These foods are fantastic to combine with either carbohydrates or fat sources.
Enjoy your vegetarian fitness journey!