Tag Archives: Vegan

vegan diet

Being a vegan bodybuilder

Naturally when you think about bodybuilding, you think about protein, and when you think about protein, you think about meat.

However, you may be surprised to find there are actually a lot of champion bodybuilders, such as Kenneth Williams, Robert Hazeley and Patrick Baboumian who live on a vegan diet.

Amateur bodybuilder Kiran Dehal does not feature in competitions but has gone from 63kg to 93kg in three years, having also implemented a vegan diet into his regime one year ago.

I talk to the 20-year-old about the decision behind becoming vegan and how he has successfully adopted veganism into his lifestyle.

Why did you become a bodybuilder?

I was originally introduced to bodybuilding by a friend I went to school with when I was 17. He was very interested in it and invited me to train with him at a nearby bodybuilding gym. From these sessions I developed an appreciation which turned into a dedication then into a love for the process of bodybuilding.

 What was your thinking behind turning vegan as a bodybuilder?

Looking at my diet I realised that the proteins I was getting in my diet also came with a lot of fat.

I found it was very difficult getting the toned and cut physique that I wanted.

After doing some research on vegan diets, and athletes who have followed them and thrived, I made the decision to transition into the lifestyle.

Ethical and environmental aspects also came into play through time but the main reason was health and cutting some fat from my diet.

 Were there any differences you noticed when you became vegan?

Due to the fact that I was paying much more attention to what I was eating and was cautious to the potential negative effects of drastically changing my diet, I only gained positive effects from this.

I had more energy, less bloating and felt fresh and healthy, keeping my muscle and becoming more cut.

 Is it any harder now getting the required protein you need to build muscle?

I have a big appetite and tailored my diet to keep a good amount of protein in it, so no.

I did my research into meals that would be suitable for me to eat and I now know what sort of foods I should be looking to include in my diet.

 What do you now eat daily to get sufficient protein?

My diet now contains more beans, lentils and lagooms, I have switched my whey protein for a sunflower protein, although the taste isn’t as pleasant.

I’m cooking more of my own food so I know exactly what’s in it and keeping to a strict regimented diet.

 Have you noticed any difference in the speed you build muscle since you became vegan?

I now find it much easier to cut than bulk which has both its benefits and setbacks, but overall I’m happy with the results.

What advice would you have for any bodybuilders who are thinking about becoming vegan?

Commit to it, do your research, plan ahead so you can be prepared for what’s about to come.

It won’t be too long until you don’t even notice being vegan and it all just comes naturally to you!

‘Peace starts at the dinner table’

Ella Simola has swum at the Finland Junior Championships, tried her hand at karate, Muay Thai and MMA and is about to begin boxing training. She is also a vegan.

The 21-year-old from Tampere made the switch to a fully plant-based diet at the age of 15.

“I had always been an animal lover – just like any other kid, I would have never wanted to hurt them,” she told me. “But it was hard to make that connection as our society sees animals as products. One day I accidentally saw a part of a documentary about slaughterhouses, and I was shocked.”

Horrified by the cruelty she had witnessed, she started doing research about changing her diet.

“I transitioned to vegetarianism at first, and when I was a bit more familiar with nutrition and such, I went fully vegan. It was the best decision of my life.”

Switching to a plant-based diet not only put the young adolescent’s conscience at rest, but it also boosted her swimming.

Restored

“It seemed like my body had been waiting for me to change to this diet all along. I noticed a change in my energy levels immediately,” Ella said.

“I didn’t feel a need to take a nap before training anymore, and my swimming felt easier. Also, my skin got clearer.”

“My love for martial arts comes from the same reason why veganism appeals to me as a lifestyle so strongly- the goal to live a peaceful life. And peace always starts at the dinner table”

Ella is an advocate for everyone at least trying veganism.

“There’s a lot of research suggesting that plant-based diet is the healthiest choice, but also a lot against it, although most of this is basically propaganda, as meat, dairy and egg industries are big gold mine after all.

“From my own experience I can say that I have never felt better. I sleep better, have energy to work out and have restored a healthy relationship with food.

“I have heard many people tell how they have cured from eating disorders with the help of a vegan diet. A lot of athletes, also bodybuilders, do great as vegans and are able to build muscle without any problems.

“I have also learnt to listen to my body’s needs now, and know how to nourish myself with the right foods.”

Direction

In 2010, Ella also took another radical turn in her life, this time deciding to give up swimming for the Koovee Club even though she had excelled in the pool.

“I quit because I just didn’t feel like I could stay dedicated to it any longer. I trained seven times a week and basically didn’t have any free time.

“It was a huge thing for me to quit, because swimming had been my whole life for eight years, and it had provided me with such amazing memories.

“I don’t regret my decision, though, because afterwards I had time to invest my energy to other things. I found out that I was talented in other sports and I started enjoying training again. ”

Martial arts became her focus , and she initially took up karate.

Fascinated

“When I quit competitive sports and left swimming behind me, I became fascinated with self-defence. I discovered David Meyer, who does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and speaks proudly about animal rights,” she said.

“Inspired by him I did karate, Thai boxing and MMA. The thing about these sports is not that you become more violent, but that you learn to avoid confrontations.

“My love for martial arts comes from the same reason why veganism appeals to me as a lifestyle so strongly – the goal to live a peaceful life. And peace always starts at the dinner table.”

Ella’s next sporting challenge is boxing: “I have totally fallen in love with boxing and I do want to compete in it. Considering my combat background, I hope it will happen soon.”