So it’s over.
VeGAINuary came and went in a blink of the eye.
Overview of macros (daily average across 28 days):
- 140g Protein (= 1.8g per kg of my bodyweight)
- 2800 Calories
- 275g Carbs
- 90g Fat
So overall, compared to my normal diet I increased in all areas. Regardless of being on a Vegan diet the goal was to get into a calorie surplus & increase protein, which I did. So mission accomplished.
And did I put on muscle?
See here for yourself:
P.s. No idea why I chose to wear sunglasses and sorry about the "Corona-Lid" haha.
Without being able to weigh myself I can’t give an exact figure but I definitely have stripped fat and added muscle. All with only 2 weeks with access to weights – and that was only a barbell. No pull-up bar, dumbbells, weight machines or cables. The first 2 weeks were purely bodyweight workouts.
Overall, I’m very happy!
Can you put on muscle on a Vegan diet? YES!
AM I GOING TO CONTINUE WITH THE SAME DIET? NO, AND HERE'S WHY.
Firstly, I’ve always suffered from stomach issues with food – bloating, cramps etc, but never actively sought to overhaul my diet to make myself feel better. “Going Vegan” for me was an experience to see if these issues got any better and unfortunately they didn’t. That’s not to say I can’t be plant-based and feel good – I just need to be careful with my food choices. Next plan for me is to try the FODMAP diet exclusively and find the trigger foods. But enough about little old me.
The VeGAINuary challenge has taught me that you can have an enjoyable, delicious Vegan diet. I had ice cream, cookies and amazing meat-free burgers and sausages. So I wasn’t just eating celery all day!
So why am I not sticking with Veganism for good?
I’m a strong advocate, and now even more so after trying a load of plant-based performance meals, that you need to get your macros from a variety of sources.
Protein wise – add seeds and nut butters to your shakes. Switch rice for lentil or chickpea pasta. If making a chilli (Carne or Non-Carne), add as much veg as possible.
I do however feel that MY diet does need dairy, eggs, fish and the odd helping of high-quality locally sourced meat. I’m so lucky to live in Cornwall where we have some of the best produce in the UK at my disposal.
But remember, that’s just me.
DOES THAT MEAN I DON'T THINK YOU CAN PERFORM & GAIN MUSCLE ON A VEGAN DIET?
100% not. Vegans can DEFINITELY gain muscle (I just proved it can be done in just 4 weeks!) and eat just as much, if not more, than meat-eaters.
Food plays a much more important role in life than we give it credit for. The relationship between plant & meat-based protein sources is far more complex than we could ever imagine. So although most Vegan diets do have less protein (unless you follow a regimented plan as I did), science still hasn’t proven whether this is less effective for muscle growth.
THE MAIN TAKEAWAY = ADD PROTEIN TO YOUR MEALS LAST!
“You what now? I want as much protein as I can mate?”
Bear with me on this.
Rather than think “I’m having chicken breast tonight” and then adding Vegetables and Potatoes as a side. Switch this round.
Start by building a meal around vegetables (to include your main carbs), healthy fats and plant-based protein sources. If you’re using something like Lentil Pasta (a gamechanger for me), peas, avocado and some other seasonal veg, you’ll already have 25-30g of protein on your plate. Do you need a massive chicken breast or meat-free burger? Maybe. Maybe not.
Just some food for thought.
See what I did there?
So that’s my 4 week experiment over. Hopefully you enjoyed it – I certainly did. Now I just need to work out what to do next?
Want to try the same Vegan Protein that I used during my 4 week VeGAINuary experiment - buy below!