Power your way through a vegan approach
I have been a vegan for years and exercised for years as well. The workouts came before being vegan. Yet I have never felt like a lacked anything in my diet to power through my workouts or even physically in muscle. I hear most people trying to lose weight or get fitter say that their gym trainers insist they eat animal protein to beef up. But this is actually not true. To gain muscle or power through your workout, you do not need animal protein.
Vegan power and your workouts
About 7 months ago, I decided to push my body into a new and more demanding exercise regimen. I shifted to Functional training. The goal of this fitness regimen is to improve fitness levels, cut body fat and keep you strong.
What sent me into a pleasant surprise was that within a week, I not only got through the workouts with great form, but also with ease and demonstrated very high performance levels.
So I am letting you in on my secrets – high performance vegan foods to maximize your workouts and recover faster, with a vegan approach.
Remove ‘nutritional stressors’: dairy, coffee, tea (Indian tea with caffeine and tannic acid), soft drinks, aerated beverages, or alcohol (minimal) and sugary starchy foods (all that’s made from refined white flour and yeasted), animal foods, dairy, wheat or gluten foods, simple sugars [high-fructose corn syrup, jaggery, other sweeteners] anything preserved or processed. I have been off all these energy depleters for the last 8 years.
What does a vegan meal plan to power through your workouts look like?
Add ‘nutrional efficient foods’ –
Combination of alkaline/acid-forming foods
My diet is naturally more alkaline but has acid-forming foods as well. Focus on whole grain, vegetables (of which greens form a huge part; for chlorophyll and oxygenation), quinoa, amaranth, sprouted seeds, fruits, beans, nuts, some sea weeds and spirulina. I get my fats from avocado, nuts, coconut and sesame oil (cold pressed) and coconut meat (garri) and grass fed ghee.
Eat enzymes –
Another secret is to keep the enzymes active in all foods, so focussing on lighter cooking styles. Over cooking destroys enzymes and also nutrients Introduce good quality fermentation (in the form of quick pressed salads, pickles [made in brine], miso paste, kanji. The recovery post exercise depends a lot on the body’s enzyme levels.
Eat assimilated protein
I eat natural plant sources of protein with a high pH in the form of sprouts, nuts, seeds and legumes [not over-cooked, as this makes it acid-forming], spirulina, wheat grass, leafy greens.
Workout and Eating Tips
Eat something that will digest fast (as lesser time is expended during the workout on digestion) and something that will burn fast like dates (simple carbohydrate heads to your liver for instant energy), also fruit sugars are good.
Post-workout your snack should have some good fat, some protein and a little simple carbohydrate. I focus on a greens smoothie with ½ an apple [fruit sugars], spirulina (for protein) and some nuts for good fats. Also liquid here which helps the blood move freely to transport its nutrients – as post a workout blood is anyways working to clear out toxins and lactic acid build-up.
Here is an energy bar/ball recipe –
Vegan ginger pear energy balls/bar
1 small pear, ¾ cup fresh or soaked dates, ½ cup sunflower seeds, ¼ cup ground flaxseeds, ¼ cup hemp protein, ¼ cup walnuts, 2 tbsp fresh ginger, sea salt to taste, 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
Method: process all except sesame seeds, make balls and cover mix in sesame seeds, keep in the fridge for up to a week to 10 days.