Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet: Building Muscle Without Meat
“Vegetarian bodybuilding diet”?! Are you CRAZY?!
You can’t build muscle without meat! (Can you?)
Well not many people know that I was a lacto-vegetarian bodybuilder for 8 years before I bit into a Big Mac during one of my wife’s pregnancy cravings and was brought to the “Dark Side”.
But while I’m still a carnivore today, I have a friend who is a full-on vegan vegetarian bodybuilding fanatic…
…and stacked with muscle!
Recently he shared his vegetarian bodybuilding diet plan with me and I thought those of you who are looking to build muscle this way would benefit from knowing what he eats…
Can You REALLY Build Muscle On A Vegetarian Diet?
Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible…AND he’s a proud vegetarian bodybuilder!
He’s written hundreds of articles for numerous top rated training magazines and websites and has authored four fitness books. He is also the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit www.HardcoreMassBuilding.com
Since there is such great interest on the topic of “vegetarian bodybuilding diet” among my subscribers, I thought I’d ask Jason for a rundown of what he eats to build muscle on a vegetarian diet…
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet
Sample Meal Plan
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #1: Breakfast
My day always starts with a protein shake.
This typically consists of a vegetarian protein source like rice, pea or hemp protein, or some combination of the three.
Blend 30-40 grams of protein in 8oz of organic coconut milk and 8-12 oz water.
I also add a banana, some mixed frozen berries, a Tbsp of cacao nibs, and 2 Tbsp maca powder to naturally increase my testosterone to build more muscle.
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #2: Snack
About 2 hours later, I’ll have a couple of tangerines and some nuts like pistachios or cashews or maybe a couple of apples with some almond butter.
In fact, natural almond butter is one of my favorite foods and I could easily eat an entire jar of this stuff in one sitting!
Sometimes for a treat at night I mix it with organic honey and kill the entire container, washing it down with a cup of hemp protein with some almond milk.
The healthy fats in the almond butter and the high quality hemp protein powder is a great muscle-building combination for the vegetarian bodybuilder.
I’m also a big fan of high sodium intake for strength and energy production so I always have a few pickles every day and add sea salt to much of food.
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #3: Lunch
Lunch for me typically consists of some kind of legumes or beans, which are a cornerstone in any vegetarian muscle building diet as far as I’m concerned.
I mix it with some organic brown rice or quinoa (a super high-protein grain).
I’ll sometimes sauté up some black beans with peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic and mix that in with the rice too and then top it all off with salsa and some fresh avocado for my personal Mexican style rice and beans.
Sometimes I go “Italian” and just mix the beans and rice or quinoa with marinara sauce.
I will sometimes have a salad with that or eat some raw veggies or mix some steamed kale or spinach into the whole thing.
As another alternative, I may have a couple of almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch (there’s that almond butter again!).
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #4: Snack
In order to stick to my goals of building muscle, on a vegetarian diet you have to be prepared throughout the day.
When I’m not near food, I always carry raw organic food bars with me and a variety of healthy nuts.
If I’m home and I already had some fruit for my first snack, I’ll switch to raw veggies and hummus along with a decent amount of nuts for my second snack.
I also drink another protein shake some time during the day which is usually right after I train.
It’s similar to the shake above except that I don’t include the coconut milk or the cacao but I do still add a dose of the maca powder.
I blend a banana, almond milk, water, frozen spinach (you don’t taste the spinach at all so this is nowhere near as gross as it sounds) with Vega and some extra protein.
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #5: Dinner
A high protein stew is the one of the easiest and best meals for a vegetarian bodybuilder.
I normally cook up a large variety of vegetables and some kind of legumes, like yellow peas which have 10 grams of protein per ¼ cup (you would have to eat a lot of meat to equal the protein in two cups of yellow peas).
Throw everything in a pot with vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and let that cook for 2 hours.
When it’s done, mix in some quinoa or brown rice but if I’m trying to get lean I’ll usually skip the brown rice.
Adding potatoes (even just one) to the stews makes them creamier and even more delicious.
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Meal #6: Dessert
Occasionally, when I am going to “cheat” on my diet, I’ll have some organic coconut milk ice cream.
Coconut milk contains healthy medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT’s) and has none of the dangers of cows milk.
It’s sweetened with organic agave syrup (which is a low-glycemic natural sweetener) and I highly recommend it if you have a sweet tooth!
The only other cheat dessert that I will regularly eat is organic, dark chocolate which contains antioxidants and has shown a variety of health benefits.
Miscellaneous Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet Tips:
- During my workouts I drink coconut water or regular water. And I try to drink at least a half gallon of water throughout the day out glass or my Sigg bottle and do my best to avoid plastic because of the estrogenic effects.
- I also drink a couple cups of green tea each day.
- I’ve cut out peanuts and peanut butter completely due to the deadly toxins that they contain.
- I’ve also cut out wheat because of its inflammatory properties (NOT a good combination when you’re trying to build muscle).
- When I do get bread, I choose brown rice bread to avoid the problems associated with wheat.
- I severely limit my soy consumption because of it’s estrogenic effects but for the occasional cheat meal I will have some tofu with brown rice or some kind of meat substitute with brown rice pasta.
- I also eat soy and wheat free veggie burgers one or two nights per week and always have a huge spinach salad mixed with tomatoes, broccoli, olives, peppers, onions, carrots, apples, berries, nuts, seeds, avocado, and whatever else I can fit in there. I top that with olive oil, Vega oil and balsamic vinegar.
It’s very easy to follow, and a whole lot healthier than eating pounds of red meat and saturated fat and I promise you that you won’t feel “deprived” once you taste how delicious it can be to build muscle while still following a vegetarian bodybuilding diet!