After some recent soul-searching, I realized that I had been falling short of eating enough fruits and veggies for the past few years due to bodybuilding. Since a bodybuilding diet places a huge emphasis on getting enough protein, I’d sadly skipped out on veggie side dishes and servings of fruit more often than I care to admit.
Over the past few months I’ve done lots of research on what exactly a vegan bodybuilder might eat and found out that there quite a few of them out there, like Nimai Delgado. Using Nimai and other athletes as inspiration, I’ve reincorporated lots more plant-based foods into my diet and I’m feeling terrific and happily, maintaining my muscle mass just fine!
I’m certainly not completely vegan, but I’d say probably 90% of the time I choose plant-based meals. So in case there’s anyone else out there looking for proof that being a vegan bodybuilder is possible, I decided to document a full day of high protein totally-plant-based eating!
Meal 1: Kashi Go Lean cereal, protein almond/cashew milk, and strawberries
For my first meal, I weighed out one serving each of the cereal and the almond & cashew milk with my trusty $10 food scale. I like this milk because it contains pea protein to give it an extra boost (most nut milks don’t have much protein, if any). I also had about a cup of fresh strawberries because fruit in the morning makes me feel VIBRANT somehow. Def a placebo effect, but whatever.
52g carbs/14g fat/20g protein
Snackaroo: one serving of cashews
I was still feeling a little peckish after my breakfast so I grabbed a handful of lightly salted cashews that hit the spot. (8g carbs/13g fat/5g protein)
Meal 2: black bean spaghetti with tomato sauce
This black bean spaghetti is a brand new find! I saw it at the grocery store and had to try it because it boasts 25 grams of protein per serving and is made from just one ingredient — black beans. Seriously, that’s the only ingredient listed!
I am pleased to report that I found the spaghetti really tasty! I also thought the portion size (2 ounces) was generous and it looks like I’ll be able to get four servings out of one box. 10/10 would definitely buy this pasta again.
I topped it with a serving of your average Prego pasta sauce and the macros for this meal came to 29g carbs/3g fat/26g protein.
After lunch I needed a little bit of a break from work, so I headed to my apartment complex pool for an hour or so. It’s nice to be able to walk there, get some sun, take a refreshing dip in the pool, and then head back home with a clear head!
I just brought my water bottle to the pool with me this time but sometimes I’ll bring a smoothie to sip on or some fresh fruit to munch.
Meal 3: green smoothie
Speaking of smoothies, after I got back from the pool I had a green one! I often have these for breakfast, but today I ended up having it later in the day. My go-to smoothie recipe is to blend about 1.5 frozen bananas, a serving of a frozen fruit blend, some spinach, and several ounces of coconut water. It always turns out perfectly — the coconut water is key. I use this Ninja blender and it works great for me.
81g carbs/1g fat/4g protein
Meal 4: protein shake
Around 5:00, I got a protein shake ready to take with me to the gym. I like to use one scoop of Vega Sport plant-based chocolate protein powder and a teaspoon of creatine. I put them into a shaker cup sans water, then add water from the drinking fountain at the gym after my workout.
I love the taste and blendability of this protein powder but it’s so finely ground that it flies EVERYWHERE when I’m trying to scoop it into my shaker cup. Oh well!
4g carbs/3g fat/30g protein
Meal 5: Sriracha tofu with rice
For my final meal of the day, I heated up some leftover baked Sriracha tofu and rice that I’d made the day prior. I used this recipe from I Love Vegan for the tofu but used sesame oil instead of olive oil for a little extra flavor.
Regarding tofu: I can typically eat about 1/2 container of extra firm tofu for a meal, which comes out to 20-30g protein depending on the brand. That works out perfectly because studies have shown that 20-30g protein is about all your body can absorb at a time. I’m sure there are other studies out there that refute that claim (aren’t there always?) but it’s what I personally ascribe to as it seems logical. Haha.
Once I reheated my tofu and rice in the microwave, I drizzled extra Sriracha and sprinkled some sesame seeds over it all for extra flavor and to make it look prettier. 🙂
26g carbs/6g fat/30g protein
My macro totals for this day came to 200g carbs, 40g fat, and 115g protein. I was a little bit under my goal macros in all three categories and therefore under on my calories for the day, but I felt okay about it because I ate as much as I felt hungry for.
Like I said, I’m not vegan but I do choose plant-based options most of the time and this day of eating is an accurate representation of what I typically eat. I hope this helps you if you’re a vegan bodybuilder looking for high protein meal options!