Written by Alex Simpson
4 Common Myths Associated With Vegan Bodybuilding
Whether you’ve recently converted to veganism, or if you’ve been a vegan for many years now, you will probably have had plenty of people making false assumptions about you and your diet.
Veganism is becoming more popular every single year, all across the globe, and there are now countless vegan individuals from all walks of life, that are involved in a whole variety of different sports and disciplines.
Vegan bodybuilding is really taking off, with more and more athletes choosing to follow a plant-based lifestyle for their own reasons. As a result, the demand for quality vegan-friendly sport and bodybuilding supplements is higher now than ever before.
Not too long ago, if you wanted a dairy-free alternative to whey, other than soy protein, you really had little else to choose from. Nowadays, however, there are more plant-based supplements aimed specifically at vegan bodybuilders, than ever before.
If you’re thinking of looking into becoming a vegan bodybuilder, or if you simply want to discover whether veganism and bodybuilding really are compatible with one another — here’s a look at 4 common myths associated with vegan bodybuilding… that are simply not true.
Vegans don’t get enough protein
This is perhaps the most common misconception and myth associated with vegan bodybuilding, and it is usually an uneducated assumption made by people with little idea of what they’re talking about.
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients, with the other two being fat and carbohydrates. There are plenty of protein sources out there that are meat-free and that do not come from animal-based sources at all.
Vegan foods that are good sources of protein
The first place to start with vegan bodybuilding is making sure that you have a healthy, balanced diet. Supplements work brilliantly alongside the food you eat, and should not by any means replace wholesome meals.
In terms of foods, the following are all good sources of protein and amino acids:
- Brown rice
Quinoa and tofu are especially great as they’re actually a source of ‘complete protein’, meaning they contain all of the amino acids required by the body.
Vegan protein supplements
To quickly make sure that your daily requirements are met, without the fuss or expense of meal prep, there are also plenty of quality vegan-friendly supplements to make part of your diet too.
Some of our top choices include:
Vegans don’t get enough calcium
We all know that calcium is commonly found in milk and dairy products, but vegans can’t have animal products, so surely their bones and teeth will be brittle and weak, as calcium is vital for bone and teeth health, right?
Well, actually no — calcium is not exclusively found in milk.
It’s also found in many green leafy vegetables, especially kale — in actual fact, pound for pound, kale contains more calcium per serving, than milk.
Kale and other green leafy veggies are also packed full of other essential minerals, including zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese, to name but a few.
The body also requires vitamin D to absorb calcium into the bones, and contrary to popular belief, other than the sun, there are other vegan-friendly sources of this essential vitamin, including vegan-friendly vitamin D supplements, fortified grains, some brands of orange juice, and soy milk.
Vegans can’t build muscle
Again, this myth is linked to the misconception that vegans don’t get enough protein, and it’s simply not true at all.
There are many, many vegan bodybuilders, strongmen, and athletes out there that are incredibly heavily muscled, and who find it relatively easy to build muscle by following a vegan-friendly bodybuilding lifestyle.
What’s more, many vegans, due to their nutrient-rich diets, tend to have more energy than regular bodybuilders, so their time in the gym becomes even more productive as a result. There are plenty of vegan-friendly foods and supplements out there that are packed full of proteins and amino acids, that, when combined with an effective training regime, can yield hugely impressive muscle gains.
All vegan bodybuilders are healthy
This is not necessarily true. When people think of vegan diets, they tend to envision raw superfoods, green vegetables, colourful fruits, nuts, seeds, and juices that are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
There are many vegans who do eat like this, but just like the rest of the population, there are plenty who don’t eat as healthily as they could. It’s worth pointing out that snacks such as potato crisps and chips fried in sunflower oil, are vegan-friendly…
You can also find many baked goods aimed at vegans, which, whilst tasty, may not be very healthy, so remember, just because a person is vegan, that does not necessarily mean they eat fresh vegetables for every meal, and wash it down with a freshly blended fruit juice.