Friday, 06 August 2010 04:50

How Vegetarian Males Can Maintain Their Weight (EVG Q&A)

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"My beau is 42, of a lean build, and is trying to stop eating meat.  However, he has had to re-add animal proteins to his diet in the past after having quit because he lost weight so rapidly.  He has cut back to eating meat this time to about once or twice a week, and is already showing massive fat and muscle loss. Part of the problem is, he's allergic to most nuts, so this is not a protein option, doesn't digest lentils well, and cannot do dairy, either.  I know he really wants to do this, but even I, a vegetarian of 24 years, cannot believe the changes in his weight and muscle tone... Anybody out there who can help?  Please!!"  Thanks - signed, Lover of Man and Beast

My answer:

I'll begin by directing you to vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, who specializes in teaching people (especially men) how to build muscle on the vegan diet. Though he had a lean build as a teenager, he was able to find ways to bulk up by eating plants and working out - he has never taken steroids. Robert recommends the following protein sources: hemp, pea, rice, tempeh, tofu, quinoa, and spinach, and suggests consuming 1-2 grams per pound of bodyweight. Robert also recommends keeping your total caloric intake high for energy and to recover from exercise/training, and to eat frequently. 

Outside of being friends with Robert, I don't have much knowledge on maintaining the vegetarian diet as a male, so I reached out to my Facebook community for advice and this is what they advise:

  • Eating whole plant foods, one should neither be underweight nor overweight. To maintain muscles you have to lift something heavy.
  • No need for extra protein or fats. Fruitarian is good enough. Lots of water rich ripe sweet fruit + greens & occatioanlly a hand full of raw nuts = Ripped! Plenty of aminos in fruits & veggies to grow muscle. Protien has to be broken down into aminos to be used anyway. By past a step. Go direct. Strengthen digestion & the rest of the body!
  • Workouts and muscles thrive off of lots of greens. If I haven't had kale my workouts and recovery times suffer. Hey, if it works for a gorilla....
  • Do load bearing exercise and eat foods with enough calories and amino acids (or proteins). Simple!
  • I use the "Kind Diet" approach, where I base most meals around whole grains and add protein (beans, etc.) and some type greens (kale, collards..). I occasionally will drink some Raw Vegan Protein from Sun Warrior also. I do yoga and distance trail running. I do not have any problem maintaining weight/muscle and I would actually like to lose a few pounds
  • As a male vegan (18 years, vegan that is), who happens to be a cyclist, I'm constantly trying to figure out how to get rid of that extra 5 to 10 pounds. Maintain body weight?? No thanks! :)
  • I don't have any issue maintaining weight. It's keeping it off that's the issue!! Damn you sweet tooth!! My local supermarket sells chocolate flavoured soy protein, which I make up with rice milk. Big batches of food made with TVP and scrambled tofu!! And tons of nuts & seeds...
If you have further advice for this reader, please add it in the comment section below
Read 17522 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 03:39