Vegetarian Hard-Body Answers: Where’s the Beef?

July 7th, 2010
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Resource link mentioned at end of article is: EZ Veggie Meals (<- click to visit)
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One of the biggest areas of confusion when it comes to muscle toning (or building) and getting lean (for males or females) is the topic of dietary protein intake.

Quite often this discussion leads into the subject of “vegetarian” nutritional habits – and whether or not they are conducive to muscular enhancement and improving body composition…

Confrontation on the Playground?

Last week I felt like doing an outdoor workout – so off to our local playground I went, for a sweat-breaking, bodyweight training session (I do this about 2 times per week). I got right into a 25 minute chest/back/core workout.

At the end as I was stretching out and toweling off – one of the dads came over to ask about my workouts, what else I do, etc…. His wife also stepped over to chat, as well.

Then he asked… “With your kind of physique – you must eat a lot of protein, like red meat and chicken, right?”

I said, “Actually, most people would consider me a vegetarian. I don’t eat any red meat and I don’t remember the last time I ate chicken.”

He asked, “Well, don’t you need those meats to build and maintain muscle?”

I said, “No, but unfortunately – that’s what most people have been led to believe.”

His wife then turned to him and said “Ha! See, I told you!” (I had to chuckle at that point)

He asked “What foods do you eat to get enough protein in your diet?”

I rattled off a simple list:

“Various nuts, different types of beans, nut butters, peas… I also eat eggs on occasion, and fish – maybe once or twice a week. And then there’s the protein that comes from the grains I eat, and the organic skim milk I add to my espresso…”

He asked “And you get all the protein you need from those?”

I replied “Yes, see – even if we workout consistently – we don’t need as much protein as people generally believe… So, once that notion is clarified – It’s so much easier to embrace the concept and practice of moving toward a vegetarian approach to your nutrition…”

Then he started to get it… And his cool wife chimed in again.. “Thank you SO much for helping him understand this. We’ve gone back and forth on this for years…”

They then asked what a typical day of eating looks like for me – and I told them…

7am – mocha-espresso with 2 ounces organic skim milk

10:30am – natural peanut butter, a little regular butter, ground flax seeds, ground cinnamon on a piece of oat/nut bread – PLUS a fruit – PLUS a double strength green tea

1:30pm – another mocha-espresso with 2 ounces organic skim milk

2pm – chick peas and baby grape tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sea salt and black pepper – PLUS a medium organic banana

4pm – granola cereal with almond milk – PLUS a fruit – PLUS a double strength jasmine green tea

7:30pm – Peas and cheese on multi-grain wrap seasoned and quick-cooked in pan to melt cheese and brown the wrap – PLUS my famous Sinful Salad; chopped romaine lettuce, chopped apple and sliced strawberries – WITH my ‘secret’ home-made dressing

10pm – 2 ounces of chocolate – PLUS double strength red tea – PLUS fruit (cherries, blueberries, orange, etc… depends what’s in season – and what’s in the house :-)

That’s just a one-day example. I have MANY variations of that. I never get bored and I NEVER feel hungry.

Stay tuned as I’ll surely be sharing some more of these “examples” in the future. And if getting into the “fitness vegetarian” thing is something of real interest to you – then you’ll want to check out one the top resources on the subject from vegetarian expert and author, K. Pauza at: EZ Veggie Meals <- click to visit
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