Vegan bulking isn't something that generally springs to mind as a complete sentence. After all, our cliche idea of a "vegan" is not someone who wants to gain weight, but rather someone who eats for health. However, in our growing culture of plant-based foodies, weightlifters and athletes are turning to this diet and are in need of ways to bulk up for their chosen activities.
For anyone who is vegan and wanting to gain muscle weight, it can be overwhelming considering the idea of how to bulk up without using meat and dairy. The good news is that it is absolutely possible!
Try these tips to gain weight and muscle mass in a healthy way, without using animal products like milk and chicken.
1. Keep Time in Mind
Bulking takes time, even on a diet with animal products. If you're trying to bulk while following a vegan diet, know that it will take longer without animal products.
But don't get discouraged, and keep at it, as you will see results over time.
2. Watch Your Portions
Just like bulking on a carnivorous diet, you should keep your potions large and your meals frequent, so you constantly have nutrients to draw energy from all day.
Don’t stuff yourself at every meal, but do snack continually throughout the day.
3. What About Second Breakfast?
Eat two large breakfasts. It is the most important meal of the day, after all!
Try a fruit and grain option, paired with a tofu, spinach, and avocado scramble (filled with fiber, protein, and healthy fats). You could even throw in some of your favorite cheese substitute.
4. Track Your Calories
Choose to reach less for those vegetables that are high in fiber and low in calories. Instead, choose more vegan friendly, high calorie foods like oatmeal, grains, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and sweet potatoes.
Try pairing them with your vegetables and get creative so you don’t get bored with your choices.
5. Eat Foods High in Protein
Animal-based products are an easy way to get the necessary protein to bulk, but since those aren't an option on a vegan diet, make sure to eat vegetables and legumes that are high in protein.
Keep cooked black beans and lentils ready to eat in the fridge all the time. Beans are a great muscle-building food chock full of protein. You could also add sweet potatoes to this medley for a little extra caloric intake, flavor, and for a change in texture.
6. Even More Protein...
Fire up the blender! Shakes are an easy (and fun) way to consume more of that protein that you need.
Get interested in all kinds of plant-based shake recipes that incorporate protein powder and consume three a day. They are all over the web and some of them are delicious, so get to work collecting your favorite recipes.
7. Eat Healthy Fats
Not all fat is bad for you! Eat more healthy fats like flax seed, avocado, coconut, and chia seeds so that cell growth is healthy.
You can add chia to anything with liquid after it has been blended or cooked, and after ten minutes of soak time it will be ready for you to eat. If you're incorporating flax seeds into your diet, make sure to grind them up first, as all of their great benefits aren't absorbed by your body when the seed is in its whole form.
8. Take Supplements
As a vegan, you are probably very adept at supplementing your body with plant-based alternatives.
Add five grams of Creatine to that regimen, which is helpful in supplying a little extra energy to the muscle tissues as they grow, and five grams of Glutamine which helps your digestive tract turn all the proteins you are eating into helpful energy for tissue growth.
Remember to stay active, and you should see some awesome muscle growth after a time!
Are you a vegan who's looking to build muscle? Share your tips on vegan bulking with the rest of the community in the comments below!