There are many reasons why you should all consider becoming a vegetarian and they are:
- The negative effects on the environment and the contribution to global warming i.e methane from cattle.
- The contribution to world hunger.
- Forest clearance for cattle ranching.
- The cruelty to animals issue.
- The thought of eating dead animal carcasses make them feel ill.
- Health reasons.
The question that plagues so many of us, is, “how do you build muscle on a vegetarian diet?” People often wonder if it can be done and I am here to tell you that it can.
First of all, humans were probably intended to be herbivores and not carnivores. Physiologically speaking, we have all the characteristics of a herbivore and none of the characteristics of a carnivore. We have the teeth, jaws, digestive enzymes, low stomach acidity, and the small intestine length of a herbivore. Probably the most disturbing and revolting of those is the small intestine length to body length ratio. Carnivores have a small intestine that is 3-6 times body length. This is because meat goes rotten quite quickly, and needs to pass through the body quickly. Unfortunately, humans have a small intestine length of 10-11 times body length. What this means is that long after the meat has gone off, it’s still in your body rotting away and contributing to untold number of diseases.
When you add in all the chemicals and other unhealthy substances that our meat contains these days (just think of the antibiotics and vaccines that the animal receives), oh and how about growth hormones, pain killers etc. You can see that eating meat might not be in the best interest of those interested in remaining healthy long into the future.
With that out of the way let’s move on to the question of how to build muscle on a vegetarian diet. As I have mentioned plenty of times in the past, and I will say it again that high protein diets are a scam. You really don’t need that much protein to build muscle. Although many people thought he was off his head. Mike Mentzer first told us that, back in the mid 90’s. I once asked him his thoughts on protein intake, his reply was “That’s the biggest scam under the sun! Nobody needs that much protein. Muscles are 70% water. The only reason you read about the benefits of high protein area because that’s what everybody sells! Well It’s all a big lie!”
Say what you will about Mike, but I think he was ahead of his time and you have to respect him for that.
In all fairness, having a vegetarian lifestyle should not affect your strength gains at all. In reality it shouldn’t really affect your size gains much either. As you know, you need a caloric surplus to build muscle. To do this as a vegetarian, you need to focus on good fats like nuts, oils and avocados, starchy carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, pasta and brown rice and for protein sources you will be limited to dairy and fish (if you eat them) or if you are a true vegan- beans, legumes, quinoa, soya, hemp protein, nuts, etc. Even though your protein will be lower than that of most meat eaters you can still build plenty of muscle.
Look at guys in jail. Walk into any prison and take a look at the weight pit. You will see some of the biggest, most jacked guys you will ever see. Ask yourself how many grams of quality protein do you think they eating per day? Very little, I can assure you that. Someone I know, used to be a prison guard, and he told me of how big and strong the guys were. “How can they get so big with no protein” I asked.
He told me that he had no idea because all they had to eat was grits, fake potatoes, rice and a small serving or two a day of very low quality beef, offal or a meat substitute. So maybe they were getting 90 grams of protein per day. Yet they were huge.
You do not need high protein diets to build muscle.
When it comes to adding muscle while maintaining body fat, this is the only area of your regime where you may have difficulty. Because it will be impossible to get all the calories you need from veggies and fruits. You are going to need to pile down the starchy carbohydrates like rice and bread. If you are lean, this shouldn’t be a problem. Because your insulin sensitivity is lower when you are fatter, you may have trouble staying lean by eating all those starchy carbohydrates. This may slow down your size gains because you may end up with a buddha belly in no time.
To combat this problem, I would recommend carbohydrate cycling the way a normal meat eater would do it. Have super high carbs on training days and limit your starchy carbs on non training days. Maybe one day per week, only have vegetables as your carbs and eat nuts, and beans and fish and eggs that day.
Building a great physique on a vegetarian diet is really possible. Clarence Bass and Bill Pearl were vegetarians and a couple other legendary bodybuilders were as well. Robert Dos Remedios, is vegetarian and is a lean 240 pounds and in incredible shape. Jon Hinds is a committed vegan, in his mid 40’s, and is jacked and strong as could be. Georges Laraque – NHL, The greatest tight end in NFL history, Tony Gonzalez is also a vegetarian, it hasn’t done him any harm in the least.
For lots more information and ideas, on how to build muscle especially meat free ideas. Visit Jason Ferruggia’s web site.