Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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)

Advertising

    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.

    Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

    Trending in Physical Strength

    1 15 Core Strength Workout Exercises for Beginners 2 The Lifehack Show: How Exercise Slows Aging with Judy Foreman 3 How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide) 4 7 Best Lower Back Stretches for Relieving Pain 5 7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

    Feeling tired all the time?

    Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

    I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

    Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

    If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

    In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

    What Happens When You’re Too Tired

    If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

    Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

    • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
    • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
    • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
    • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
    • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
    • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
    • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

    Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

    Unfortunately, yes!

    Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

    Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

    Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

    Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

    Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

    Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

    1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
    2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
    3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

    The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

    It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

    Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

    Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

    If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

    Advertising

    Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

    Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

    But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

    Symptoms of fatigue include:

    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Low stamina
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Anxiety
    • Low motivation

    These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

    Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

    How Much Sleep Is Enough?

    The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

    Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

    So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

    And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
    2. Exercising regularly
    3. Using stressbusters
    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

    So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

    In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

    Advertising

    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

    And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

    But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

    L — Living Healthy

    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

    So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

    1. Unplug

    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

    So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

    2. Unwind

    Do something to relax.

    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

    3. Get Comfortable

    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

    Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

    If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

    Advertising

    Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

    E — Exercise

    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

    That’s what happened in my case.

    But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

    As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

    My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

    That made sense to me.

    So, I decided to swim.

    I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

    Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

    Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

    So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

    A — Attitude

    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

    Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

    Breathing.

    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

    Advertising

    Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
    3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
    6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

    Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

    N — Nutrition

    Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

    For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

    Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
    3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

    If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

    • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
    • Regular Exercise You Love
    • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
    • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

    More Tips to Help You Rest Better

    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
    [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
    [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
    [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

    Read Next