It’s now been a week since I commenced my latest roadtest – vegan! The challenge with a vegan diet, particularly for people who want to gain muscle, shred fat, and maintain energy levels, is usually:
- Getting enough protein
- Getting enough iron
- Getting enough calcium
So can it be done?
For this roadtest, I’ve enlisted the help of our affiliate dietician at Raw by Bek, Ellena Burnett. I knew I couldn’t do this one alone – particularly when it came to getting the right sources of protein and iron.
Here’s the challenge with a vegan diet – while there are plenty of protein sources, none of them have a complete set of proteins. So you need to know more in order to pair the right foods.
After a consult with Ellena, she’s put together a plan that takes into account not just the vegan roadtest, but also the amount of training I do (and the intensity of that training), the time I have to prep food (needs to be simple), and my goals (shred).
The meal plan
A typical day for me this week has looked like this:
- Overnight oats (oats, cinnamon, vegan protein, chia seeds) with coconut yoghurt and half a cup of berries.
- 180g tofu, 1.5 cups of cooked veggies, rice.
- Tofu, veggies, rice – although this varies depending on if I’ve trained in the evening, and how intense the training was.
- Morning tea has typically been a slice of whole meal toast with avo, and in the afternoon a protein shake on almond milk. If I’m training that evening, I’ll also have something like a banana to fuel my workout.
What I’ve learned so far
- This isn’t too different to what I was already eating in terms of type of food – I’ve just had to swap out a few things like real yoghurt for coconut yoghurt, and a different source of protein for dinner (I was already having tofu and veg for lunch).
- I wasn’t having anywhere near enough protein or good fats in my day-to-day diet. I have actually doubled the amount of tofu I’d usually have for lunch.
- Eating out isn’t too bad – it’s certainly easier than Keto! So far there’s either been vegan options or I can make modifications to menu items to make them vegan. However, finding vegan wine (yes, that is a thing) is proving more difficult if you’re buying off the menu! May need to investigate BYO…
- I hate vegan protein powder. It has a weird after taste I thought I’d get used to. That has yet to happen. Also vegan protein powder = vile farts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This diet has also coincided with my getting braces and Invisalign fitted. Long story short, will need jaw surgery next year and this is the pre-work. But that’s a story for another day.
It means I also need to be wary of if the food is too tough to eat. But more than that, having to take out the Invisalign every time I want to eat is a right pain in the arse. So much so that my laziness has trumped my hunger at certain times, which has actually been a really good way to curb my snacking habits!
One week down, and I’m feeling pretty good, although a little lethargic. I’m not saying vegan is to blame for that, as I’ve also had a massive week at work. So let’s see how week two goes … stay tuned.