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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based

How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based

I remember when I cracked the code to fat loss.

It was in June 2015 and I was staring in the mirror. Traces of a sixpack had become visible. It was my first time I’d ever seen them. Ever.

Since that moment on, my friends asked me jealously over and over again: “How did you do it?”

I thanked them all. But they wouldn’t understand. Weight loss is simple, but not easy.

How I started the vegan bodybuilding diet

It was in the beginning of 2015 that I’d made the scary decision to stop eating animal products and started the vegan bodybuilding diet. I was a meat-head before.

Poultry and rice in a tupperware was the only thing that I’d known. Readily packaged in my lunch box every morning before I left the house. While I did gain muscles with that diet I’ve felt unfulfilled. I had a lethargic attitude, with little energy.

– “Is this what my life is going to be like?” I’d started to ask myself.

I didn’t feel I could reach any destination with the little drive and constant fatigue that I had. People called me “Aschess” way back in high school. It’s the swiss-german word for having no drive. No interest. No direction.

I didn’t have any direction. Nor did I feel I wanted to.

Only later did I realize that it could all be linked to my eating habits. I was eating poison, not fuel. In hindsight, I was a monkey.

The pleasure-chasing money

Farmers and hunters in third world countries have been catching monkeys for centuries. The way they do it is by setting up a trap. A container, filled with fruits.

The container contains two holes, one on the top, one on the bottom. The hole on the top is not big enough to get the food out, the fruits get sneaked in from the bottom by the trap-setters.

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Then they wait. Every once in a while a monkey approaches and tries desperately to retrieve the fruit through the top-hole. The farmers or hunters slowly move in but the monkey can’t let go of the fruit. It got competing demands.

The monkey wants to keep the fruit more than it wants to keep its freedom. At the moment of life or death, it couldn’t let go of the enticing promise.

If the monkey just surrendered what it was holding onto, it would be living a free life. At the sight of the dangerous humans, it could have dropped the food, pull out his limbs and flee the scene. Yet it didn’t. It couldn’t.

Monkeys get caught with pleasure traps.

Little did I know that I was also caught in a pleasure trap set up by the food industry.

Pleasure vs Motivation

I am not a big fan of Sigmund Freud and his theories. Yet what I agree with him on is that every human being deals with competing interests.

At 2am in the morning, we decide that we want to better our life in an instant. The next day we catch ourselves scrolling mindlessly through Facebook.

This phenomena can be explained by the motivational triad. Living beings are motivated by three things:

  1. Pleasure seeking
  2. Pain avoidance
  3. Energy conservation

These 3 motivators are omnipresent. We want to get in better shape because we seek the envious stares of our friends at the beach – we seek pleasure. Or because we hate seeing an unhealthy number on the weighing scale – pain avoidance.

But probably one of the strongest motivators is energy conservation. We want to spend as little energy as we possibly can.

If we expended energy like no tomorrow, we would’ve not be able to survive in scarce times.

Are you eating fuel or poison?

Our food choices are based on the motivational triad. We seek energy-dense, easy to eat food that give us maximum mouth pleasure. That’s why Nutella is so popular all around the world.

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Nutella is a snack, carefully formulated to appeal to our innate pleasure seeking and energy conservation factors. It’s perfectly manufactured to make us addictive.

If we want to live healthy, lose weight and keep hunger at bay while eating plant-based, we have to eat fuel, not poison.

Eat fuel: The 3 distinctive factors

Filter your foods through these 3 filters and they will help you keep hunger at bay and lose weight. This helps you avoid the pleasure trap.

Filter #1: It’s vegan.

“First, nutrition is the master key to human health. Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition—isn’t.” — Dr. Colin Campbell

If there’s one thing we have to realize, it’s that meat and dairy is not a super package.

There is not a single gram of fiber to be found in animal products. Fiber helps us feel satiated and feeds our healthy gut microbiome. Also plant-based foods have up to 33 times more antioxidans than animal products.[1]

Filter #2: It’s unprocessed.

Mother Nature’s powers cannot be stuffed into a pill. — Dr. Michael Greger, MD

The food is not fancy packaged. Most of the best food choices can be found in the produce isle.

In processed foods we can often find added salt, sugar and other artifical sweeteners. Processed foods (even when vegan) also often contain less fiber. For example brown rice is to be preferred over white rice, because white rice is a processed product. It’s fiber content is greatly diminished.

I have seen great results just by switching white rice with brown rice in my clients’ diets.

Filter #3: It’s solid.

All our calories should always come in solid form. This increases our satiety and is way more healthy.

We should minimize our soda intake. Eliminating soda and smoothies out of our diets, for weight loss, can dramatically increase our progress.

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What to eat in a day

This is a sample meal plan of how your day could look like. This meal plan is not meant to be followed 1:1. Pick what works for you and disregard what doesn’t.

This day is taken out from my popular article:

7-Day Vegan Diet Plan: Eat Healthy with Under 2,000 Calories per Day

Total stats of this plan is:

1872 calories, 244g carbs (61%), 71g fat (18%), 85g protein (21%), 59g fiber

For the average women (5’4”, 126 pounds, moderately active, age: 26-45), this is a calorie deficit of about 100 calories.

For the average men (5’10”, 154 pounds, moderately active, age: 26-45), this is a calorie deficit of about 700.[2]

The goal deficit for sustainable weight loss is about 300 calories. For the most effective results, the average women should therefore eat a little bit less (minimize the nuts). And the average men should eat a little bit more (add handful of nuts and berries throughout the day).

Breakfast

Banana-Ginger-Pear-Bowl

(734 calories, 98g carbs, 27g fats, 32g protein, 20g fiber)

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 pear, stoned
  • 1 date, stoned
  • 3 tablespoons almonds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 250ml soy milk

Steps

  1. Cut the banana, pear, dates and almonds into pieces (size to your personal liking).
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the soy milk.

Lunch

Green Salad with Edamame and Beets[3]

(271 calories, 30g carbs, 8g fat, 21g protein, 12g fiber)

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    Ingredients

    • 2 cups mixed greens
    • 1 cup shelled edamame
    • 1/2 medium beet, shredded
    • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

    Steps

    1. Combine greens, edamame, beet and cilantro.
    2. Top with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

    Snack

    Handful of Pecan Nuts

    (301 calories, 6g carbs, 31g fat, 4g protein, 4g fiber)

    Ingredients

    • pecan nuts

    Steps

    1. Put a handful of antioxidant-rich nuts in your hands.
    2. Then eat it. Simple.

    Dinner

    Rice, Kale and Beans Combination

    (566 calories, 110 carbs, 5g fat, 28g protein, 23g fiber)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup brown rice
    • 200g kale
    • 2 cups Kidney Beans

    Steps

    1. Cook the brown rice and the kale in a medium-sized pot.
    2. Add the kidney beans in a pan with a little bit of water.
    3. When the ingredients are ready: Drain the water.
    4. Add a tablespoon of flaxseeds (approx. 50 calories) for extra crunchiness and health.

    Conclusion

    We humans are caught up in pleasure traps in our dietary decisions. Too often we eat food that is silently poisoning us. It’s time to stop being a monkey.

    We need to fuel our precious engine instead of clogging it. Spare parts are few and there’s a waiting list. Repairing costs are expensive, especially in countries with no health coverage.

    Therefore we should pay special attention to where our food comes from, it’s level of manufacturing and consistency of substance.

    This way, we’re not only fueling our body, we’re also paving our way to our best shape ever.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Florian Wüest

    Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

    Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles? The Low Carb Lie How I Learned the Importance of Cardio the Hard Way Fat Cells Used to Be Our Friends, Now They’re Enemies

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    Published on January 14, 2021

    How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

    How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

    Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

    Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

    The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

    For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

    • A range of fruits and vegetables
    • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
    • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
    • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
    • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
    • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
    • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
    • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
    • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

    Calorie Counting

    A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

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    The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

    Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

    Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

    How to Balance Your Plate

    When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

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    • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
    • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
    • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
    • A spoon of unsaturated oil

    This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

    An Example Day

    Breakfast

    • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
    • A piece of fruit

    Snack

    • A handful of mixed nuts

    Lunch

    • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
    • A piece of fruit

    Snack

    • Apple slices with nut butter

    Dinner

    • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
    • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
    • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
    • A piece of fruit

    How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

    There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

    When You’re Pregnant

    During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

    You should also avoid the following food groups:

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    • Raw or undercooked eggs
    • Unpasteurized cheese
    • Raw or undercooked meat
    • Pâté
    • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
    • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
    • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
    • Vitamin A supplements
    • Liquorice root
    • Alcohol

    When You’re Breastfeeding

    While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

    When Going Through Menopause

    Menopause

    changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

    • 1200mg calcium per day
    • High-quality protein at every meal
    • Foods rich in vitamin K
    • Foods rich in phosphorus
    • Foods rich in magnesium

    Organizing Your Shopping

    Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

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    Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

    Final Thoughts

    Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

    More on Healthy Eating

    Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

    Reference

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