February 12, 2013
Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet
Plenty of bodybuilders and figure competitors are vegetarian and adhere to a strict set of rules when planning meals and buying foods for a vegetarian bodybuilding diet. They abstain from all meat and meat products, which are a dense source of dietary protein and amino acids that help to build muscle tissue. But a competition diet can be modified to accommodate these vegetarian choices.
There are plenty of plant-based foods that are rich in protein and amino acids. Soybeans are an excellent source of protein, and as an added bonus, contain all eight essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are vital because the body cannot produce these, they must be included in one’s diet to repair muscle tissue and grow strength. Many soy products contain adequate amounts of protein and are designed to substitute the flavor and texture of meat. Products such as tofu can be stir fried or baked. Vegetarian burgers, sausage and meatballs are made with texturized vegetable protein, very similar to soy, and many people cannot tell the difference between vegetarian substitutes and meat unless they told which they are eating.
Hemp and hempseed is another valuable food product that contains all eight essential amino acids. Hemp protein shakes are delicious and a quick way to get protein after an intense bodybuilding workout. They also are available in flavors such as chocolate or vanilla, or you can flavor them yourself by adding fruit, frozen berries or flavored sweeteners such as Stevia.
Beans and rice is a popular combination of foods that provide all eight essential amino acids. Try combining kidney beans with rice and vegetables to create a summer salad or add some noodles for an asian meal. Of course, burritos are healthy and nutritious with beans and rice, whole wheat tortillas and plenty of green vegetables.
Many other food products contain adequate protein that is sufficient for a vegetarian competition diet. Nuts are a great source of protein, but don’t eat too many because they are very high in calories.
For lacto-ovo vegetarians (those that eat dairy and eggs), egg whites are mostly protein and many vegetarian bodybuilders and vegetarian figure competitors eat egg white omelets in the morning for breakfast. Low-fat and non-fat dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese are also full of protein.
Quinoa, a species of goosefoot, is a grain related crop grown for its seeds. It is related to cereal grains, but not a true cereal. Many describe it as a cross between rice and couscous. Quinoa is a high protein food that can be substituted in many meals to boost the protein in a vegetarian competition diet. For example, you can substitute quinoa for rice, noodles, pasta or simply add to a salad or topping of a meal.
There are many alternatives to meat for those seeking a vegetarian competition diet.