This is the second part of our ‘best foods for vegan bodybuilders’ series, to view part 1: The Best High Protein Foods To Eat As A Vegan Bodybuilder simply follow the link.
Fat is probably the most misunderstood macro-nutrient, followed by carbohydrates. Yes, fats taken in excess is harmful to our health, but fats are essential to our health also. It is not possible to completely eliminate fat from our diets as several metabolic processes within our bodies rely on it. It is possible however to substitute carbohydrates (for the most part) with fats i.e. a ketogenic diet
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In fact the vitamins A, D, E, K need fat to be shuttled around our bodies. Fat is needed to provide anti-inflammatory properties, maintain a healthy heart (omega-3-6-9), manufacture testosterone and regulate cholesterol levels in the body. When bodybuilders hit 3-4% show ready condition, they are in fact at their weakest and most vulnerable state. Here are some of the best plant based sources of fat;
The Best Plant Based Sources of Fat
Avocados are quite delicious in whatever form they come in be it chocolate mousse, guacamole or even half shell. They contain about 23 grams of monounsaturated fats that are healthy for your body. Avocados usually stand out on the super-food list as it has a myriad of wonderful properties that do your body a tone of good,
Nuts are a general term for the many varieties of nuts we have out there. Many of them packed with wholesome monounsaturated fats and the much sought after omega three fatty acids. Ranging from cashews to pecans to almonds to pistachios, these nuts provide you the fat and oils you need to stay strong and healthy. Too many nuts however may impair absorption of nutrients due to the presence of enzyme inhibitors. Soak your nuts overnight to rid of these antagonists.
“It is not possible to completely eliminate fat from our diets as several metabolic processes rely on it”
Seeds are great because they are delicious and can be mixed in with just about anything be it breads, salads or even sweets. It is a fact that savi seeds are the highest source of omega-3 on earth. Many people think fatty fish are but they are dead wrong. Closely behind are super foods such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds and hemp. These foods will keep your strength and stamina high for those intense lifting sessions.
Olives and Olive Oil
We’ve all heard the health benefits of olives oil, in fact some of you may already be using it whenever the need for oil arises. The wonder oil only contains 14g of saturated fat per 100g with the remainder being mostly mono unsaturated fats. Don’t forget to drizzle some on your salads for a true Mediterranean style diet.
Suitable Snacks for Vegan Bodybuilders
Most of us lead busy lives, for this reason it is important (especially as a bodybuilder) to plan your gym meals. Go too long without food and risk going catabolic, hence why snacking serves an important part in any diet. Here are some snacks we we suggest you throw into you meal prep bag before leaving the house:
Dried tart cherries
These calorie dense gems are one of the best pre and post workout snacks available due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They can help reduce post workout soreness whilst providing the simple carbs needed to fuel your muscles before and after an intense workout.The best part, they are non bulky and have long shelf lives. Just make sure you get the ‘no added sugar’ kind.
Larabars are a very tasty and very convenient snack you need to throw into you meal management bag. They take up hardly any space at all but always there when you need it. This super snack made from fruit, nuts, seeds, dates and a few spices serves as 100% natural, vegan friendly energy bar. It’s the innocent smoothie of the energy bar world and comes in 19+ flavours and varieties. For those with a little extra time there are many recipes online to make your own ‘larabars’.
Peanut butter and banana sandwich
This classic combo, and a personal favourite of mine, takes only takes 2 minutes to make and makes the perfect snack. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter with a whole mashed banana served between two slices of wholegrain bread. What’s not to like? The easily digested bananas will give you an instant spike in energy whilst the fat and protein from the peanut butter will give you longer lasting energy. Whenever I’m feeling completely nuts I’ll use almond butter instead of peanut butter for a little variety.
As already mentioned, meal planning is key when it comes to succeeding at a diet, bodybuilding or otherwise. You need to plan each of your meals (and snacks) and reserve a little time to eat them throughout the day. It’s best to spread them evenly throughout the day but do what ever suits you best. Just because your stuck at work it doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a bodybuilder.
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Use these tactics to stay healthy, strong and keep up with your meat eating non vegan friends at the gym. The results can be astounding but your dedication is mandatory. If you’re are thinking of joining the vegan bodybuilding wagon, hop in! There is plenty of space for everyone but just remember to read our article on the 3 core principles of bodybuilding first!!