Though red meat is rich in protein, many people are paying attention to the potential negative health effects from consuming meat (especially pork and beef). This can cause some problems, especially when you’re active, working out, or building muscle because protein is needed to maintain your physique and your muscle. While there are other sources for protein, many people are raised in a “meat and potato” kind of environment so making the jump to a more plant-based diet can be challenging…at first.
So what’s wrong with meat? Many cuts are rich in fats. These aren’t those “good fats” like you find in avocado or olive oil. In studies, animal fats seem to contribute to a number of health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, arthritis and diabetes. Some also believe that certain compounds found in meat-based protein promote different types of cancer.
And even if that is not an immediate concern, the manner in which livestock is raised is a concern to many health conscience bodybuilders. They know they want a complete protein source; however, they’re not so quick to sign up to receive the growth hormones or disease inherent to crowded and unsanitary conditions.
In short, eating meat can carry some risks. For this reason, some people to give up meat and live a healthier lifestyle by becoming a vegan or a vegetarian. While the diets are similar because they are primarily plant-based, there are differences between the two.
Difference between a Vegan and a Vegetarian
Vegetarians are people who refrain from consuming all kinds of meat and seafood.
There are different types of vegetable eaters. The largest group is known as ovo-lacto-vegetarians. They do not eat the meat of animals but will consume milk and eggs in their diet.
Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but do not consume dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs.
While the term vegan is supposed to be just another type of a vegetable eater, others would like to classify it in a category of its own. Vegas do not consume any kind of meat, eggs and dairy products. Additionally, they do not use by-products of animals such as leather goods, fur coats, silk ties, brushes from animal hairs and the like.
Why Make the Switch to Vegan or Vegetarian?
There are several different reasons why people choose to sacrifice their love for the taste, comfort and memories associated with a meal that includes meat and switch to fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains.
First of all, they have chosen to live the disciplined lifestyle because of health reasons. They understand the benefits of the vitamins and minerals and other nutrients found in quality fruits and vegetables.
Others have shifted because they believe this is the proper way to treat animals and preserve the earth’s natural resources. Some people may argue that a vegan’s strict diet is incomplete because it lacks in certain nutrients. However, vegans can still find the nutrients they need from other foods and supplements.
So what about bodybuilders that want to make the leap to a non-meat diet? Some say that bodybuilding vegan is impossible; however, mounting evidence shows that while it may be “hard” to achieve but this it is possible.
Vegans and Bodybuilding
Contrary to what others believe, bodybuilding vegan is possible despite the strict plant-based diet. Vegetable dieters have proven to be successful in developing their muscles. This shows that meat is not really that the only way for building muscle mass and strength.
Overview of Vegan vs. Vegetarian
There is only a slight difference between vegans and vegetarians with the former having the stricter discipline between the two. While both totally eliminate meat in their diet, vegans do not consume any animal food products such as eggs and dairy. Also, they do not tolerate the use animal by-products.
Be sure to Read Part 2 of our Vegan Bodybuilding Series!
Support Your Vegan and Vegetarian Bodybuilding Workouts and Muscle Recovery
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most.
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