The lean vegan diet is an excellent way to build lean muscle mass.
Since the vegan diet relies on protein sources other than meat and dairy, here at The Fitness Tribe, we thought it would be an excellent idea to educate you on this special diet.
We’ll go through the specifics and dispel the rumors. Grab a chair and stay awhile.
Lean Vegan Diet Explained
In general, vegans do not consume anything that comes from an animal.
That includes chicken, beef, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and even honey. Since so much protein is in food made from animals, vegans must find different forms of protein to keep up overall health.
Plant-based foods are vital for a vegan.
Things like rice, potatoes, chickpeas, nuts, pasta, and every vegetable you can imagine are consumed in the lean vegan diet.
It focuses on naturally occurring foods and avoids foods high in salt.
Macros and micronutrients from whole foods are a significant part of the vegan meal plan and help people lose weight, build lean muscle mass, and maintain healthy body weight.
Macros and Micronutrients
You might have heard of people using diets that count macros.
The vegan diet is similar in that it breaks down the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you should consume from whole foods daily.
The idea behind counting macros helps the body use essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals from foods for better overall health.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function correctly at a cellular level.
Having the proper vitamins and minerals is an essential part of the lean vegan diet. Vegan food needs to be high in Vitamins A and D and rich in potassium and iron.
Some vitamins travel through the body by water and others by fat. Having the right amount of macros helps micronutrients flow throughout the body.
Balanced Vegan Meal Plan
Deciding on the vegan diet usually means there will be plenty of changes you need to make from your current diet.
If you are a significant meat eater, you must find different ways to get the proper protein intake.
You can try vegan protein powders, but don’t rely solely on that. Some examples of possible foods to eat are below.
- Brown rice
- Chia seeds
- Peanut Butter
These are just a few examples of common vegan foods. These combined with other vegetables and grains and vegan protein powder ensure you get the right vitamins and nutrients from this plant-based diet.
Making sure your mealtimes are planned out is also vital with a vegan diet.
Cravings arise when your meals are too far apart, and your blood glucose (sugar) falls too rapidly.
Hunger will lead you to make unhealthy choices which usually means sugar.
By timing your meals made with healthy whole foods, you keep those glucose levels steady, so you can maintain a diet full of healthy fats.
Exercise Plays A Role
While diet affects about 90% of your body’s physique, exercise is vital when building lean muscle mass.
Not only that, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn when at rest. We bet that has you sitting up and paying attention.
Lean vegan diets set you up with the proper plant-based protein, saturated fats, and other vitamins and minerals, but there’s more work to be done to get defined muscle mass.
Let’s look at some of the best exercises to combine with the lean vegan diet.
The health benefits of weight and strength training are numerous.
It builds lean muscle mass, promotes overall strength throughout the body, and improves functional fitness.
Depending on your fitness goals, the exercises that you choose might vary.
Generally, it’s best to choose compound exercises that work many different muscle groups to increase overall strength everywhere.
Strength training is crucial for muscle growth, but it also promotes better bone health.
Studies show that bone density has improved with weight bearing exercises and it can even cause bone growth.
The stress put on bones doing weighted exercise causes cell regeneration within bones making them stronger.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Combing the vegan diet with HIIT training is an excellent way to lose weight or maintain a healthy fitness level.
HIIT features high cardio levels for short bursts.
The benefits of HIIT are numerous. Everything from increased metabolism, anti-aging, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease are a by-product of this particular exercise program.
Specifically, increased metabolism leads to more fat burning and better muscle definition.
When it comes to HIIT and anti-aging, studies show that HIIT increases the levels of telomerase in the body.
Telomerase is an enzyme that increases telemeres on choromosomes to prevent them from getting shorter, which happens as we age.
By doing this, intense exercise like HIIT can slow the aging process.
Fat Loss vs. Building Muscles
When attempting the vegan diet, it’s essential to listen to your body and it’s needs.
Meal prep to ensure you are getting the right amount of calories and nutrients is essential.
Since you are staying away from animal foods, finding plant-based protein is vital to keep you safe and healthy.
Vegan foods like beans, chickpeas, and nuts are full of protein to ensure you get the proper protein intake to gain muscle.
Once you start incorporating exercise into your routine, more calories are expended. Fat loss will occur once you expend more calories than you consume.
Also, muscle definition will increase, especially if you incorporate strength training into your workout routine.
A plant-based diet if full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to muscle growth too.
Final Thoughts On Lean Vegan Diet
If you’ve thought about trying the vegan diet for losing weight, we encourage you to consider doing as much research as possible on proper nutrition before incorporating exercise into your routine.
Like any diet, once you limit your calorie intake, it takes time for your body to adjust.
If you are changing your diet completely to plant-based, there will be an adjustment period.
Pay attention to your energy levels and what your body needs.
Count macros and micronutrients to ensure you are getting the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Generally, the results will be more muscle mass, better metabolism, and weight loss.
Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.