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Best Plant Based Bodybuilding Diet

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What is Plant Based Bodybuilding

Plant Based Bodybuilding is a muscle building training program which focuses on plants in the diet.

The bodybuilding industry typically teaches bodybuilders to get their protein intake from meat or animal sources. Plant based proteins are not considered. In recent years, however, there has been increased interest in plant based bodybuilding.

There are now plant based bodybuilding organizations worldwide and top bodybuilders who are vegan. Numerous Plant based bodybuilding resources for bodybuilders are now emerging on the market. It would be important to note here that all plants contain proteins as their structural units.

Plant Based Bodybuilding helps bodybuilders to focus on eating more plants in the diet. The Nutrition Program focuses on a whole-foods . Whole foods are derived from plants. Whole foods should be unprocessed. If refined, they should be minimally refined. (wikipedia, 2019). Minimal refining prevents loss of the nutrients.

Examples of whole foods in the plant based diet

Whole grains
Legumes or pulses – are plants in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae). Legumes are the fruits or seeds of the Fabaceae family. They are also called pulses, especially in the mature, dry condition. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind.

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.” – Genesis 1: 29.

Protein sources in a plant based bodybuilding

All living things contain proteins. Since plants are also comprised of proteins as their structural units, they would all contain proteins in varying amounts. Another strong focus in Plant Based Bodybuilding is protein sources. Plants that are high in protein:

Protein rich vegetables

Green. leafy vegetables seem to be rich in protein. Eat the ones that you have in your country:

Eggplant – 0.82g per cup
Cauliflower – 1 cup = 2.28 grams
Zucchini -1 cup sliced (cooked)= 2.05 grams
Carrot – 1 cup chopped (raw or boiled) = 1.19 grams
Tofu-15 grams of protein per 4 oz serving (cooked)
Asparagus – Total protein: 4.32 grams per cup (boiled)
Red bell pepper – per 1 cup chopped (raw)= 1.48 grams
Spinach – 1-cup (30-gram) serving provides 1 gram of protein
Yellow sweet corn – Total protein: 4.68 grams per 1 large ear (raw)
Kale – 1 cup (cooked) = 2.47 grams; 1 cup (raw) = 0.68 grams
Beet greens – 1 cup (sauteed) = 3.70 grams, 1 cup (raw) = 0.84 grams
Brocolli – one cup of cooked broccoli has almost 4 grams of protein
Brussels sprouts – Total protein: 5.64 grams per cup (boiled from frozen)
Alfalfa – One cup (33 grams) of alfalfa sprouts provides 1.3 grams of protein.
Watercress – One cup (34 grams) of watercress contains 0.8 grams of protein.
Chinese cabbage or bok choy – One cup (70 grams) of Chinese cabbage contains 1 gram of protein


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Nutritional Yeast – Two tablespoons contain about 8 grams of protein

Tubers and roots

Tubers and roots include potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, yams and arrowroot. A review by the International Journal of Food Science (2016), shows that roots and tubers provide energy in the form of carbohydrates. Due to their high volumes of water, however, the energy provided is about one-third of that of an equivalent weight of rice or wheat.

Tubers and roots are also shown to be antiioxidants and therefore play a role in protection from cellular injury. They are rick in vitamins, glycoalkaloids (which kill bacteria, insects and fungi). Research has shown that potatoes and cassava are high in antioxidants. More research is needed on other tubers.

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Carotenoids are other important contents of tubers and roots. Carotenoids are widespread natural pigments with yellow, orange, and red colors in plants. These are indicative of the presence of chlorophyll, the lifegiving substance that provides oxygen and energy to humans.

Bodybuilders should also include tubers and roots in the diet since they are a good source of Vitamin C. In general, yams contain 6–10 mg of vitamin C/100 g. This may vary up to 21 mg/100 g. In addition, the vitamin C content of potatoes is very similar to those of sweet potatoes and cassava.

Other benefits of roots and tubers include

antibacterial effects of yams
inhibition of cancers by potatoes
and reduction of obesity by sweet potato
reduction of risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in postmenopausal women by yam

Protein value of tubers and roots

The protein value of roots and tubers can range up to 3%. Note that potatoes and yams contain high amounts of proteins in comparison to other tubers. Potatoes -Total protein: 4.55 grams per 1 medium potato (baked, with skin). The scientific evidence should reassure bodybuilders that they gain, rather than lose, from eating roots and tubers.

Table 1 shows the protein content of white potatoes (1.7g/100g), red skinned potatoes (1.9g/100g); sweet potatoes (1.6g/100g); cassava (1.4g/100g); yam (1.6g/100g). We see too that tubers and roots contain fats (low content); carbohydrates (for energy); fibers (detoxification); sugars (low content); minerals and vitamins. They are all nutritionally sound foods.

plant based bodybuilding root and tubers on

Source: International Journal Of Food Science, (2016)

Protein rich grains

Oats – 11 grams of protein per cup
Quinoa -8 grams of protein per cup
Lentils – 18 grams of protein per cup
Pea Protein – from yellow split peas
Wild rice -Total protein: 6.54 grams per cup (cooked)
Green peas – Total protein: 8.58 grams per cup (boiled)
Lima beans – Total protein: 11.58 grams per cup (boiled)
Fava beans -Total protein: 12.92 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Mung beans -Total protein: 14.18 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Chickpeas – Total protein: 14.53 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Pinto beans – Total protein: 15.41 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Brown Rice – A cup of cooked, long grain brown rice 5.54 g of protein.
Sprouted Whole Grain Bread -Whole grain bread has about 6 grams of protein per slice

Fruits rich in proteins

Remember to eat your local fruits

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Protein rich Nuts and seeds3>

Best Plant Based Bodybuilding Diet 1

Hemp Seeds -6 1/2 grams of protein per two tablespoons
Chia seeds – 3.5 grams of protein per two tablespoons
Squash and Pumpkin Seed – 8.5g per one ounce handful
Hazelnuts (Filberts) (Dry Roasted) – 4.3g per ounce
Sunflower Seeds (Dry Roasted) – 5.5 g per ounce
Pistachios (Dry Roasted) – 6 g per ounce
Cashews (Dry Roasted) – 4.3g per ounce
Peanuts -ry roasted – 6.9g per ounce
Pine Nuts – 3.3g per ounce
Almonds – 6g per handful
Pecans – 2.5g per ounce
Walnuts – 4.3g per ounce
Flax seeds – 5.2g per ounce
Coconut (dried) – 2g per ounce
Sesame Seeds – 4.8g per ounce
Macadamia Nuts – 2.2g per ounce

Go to this link for a more extended list of nuts rich in protein.

My unscientific comments about portion sizes for bodybuilders

I personally eat roots and tubers in my diet. The main benefit that I am aware of is a feeling of fullness for longer hours AND high energy during the day. My energy does not drop off.

I observe that some of the plant based diets prescribed for bodybuilders seem to be very low in calories. I would go faint on that kind of diet. I personally need at least 2 – 3 servings of tubers in my diet PLUS 2 -3 servings of veggies to keep up my energy levels. I snack on fruits, nuts and yogurt.

However, I use a lot of energy daily with body tapping, skin brushing, sunlight therapy, single lamp sauna, tinctures and other supplements and jumping on a trampoline. This could account for my increased need for calories. I consistently weight about 110 pounds for years.

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I am yet to study this area, but my recommendation for bodybuilders would be to eat a well balanced diet in which plant sources are used for proteins:

– replace recommended animal protein proportions with plants.
– include fruits, nuts, grains, tubers and other whole foods to meet body caloric requirements and to excrete toxins via the colon and other organs.
– eat adequate vegetables rich in proteins and other nutrients. They may need more. This is because the CHina Study, which I read some years ago, shows that humans burn calories without exercise on a veggie diet.
– eat a well balanced diet otherwise for the other nutrients.
– include other forms of exercise for muscle relaxation. cellular cleansing and stamina- trampoline. balance board.
– include antiinflammatory foods to reduce effects of muscle wear and tear – cactus, garlic, turmeric, moringa, mangosteen, green tinctures to oxygenate cells in a more rapidly absorbable form etc.
– use plant based milks (make your own) – almonds, coconut etc.
– avoid genetically modified foods and choose organic preferably.
– drink adequate amounts of clean water for cellular cleansing.
– See the MyPlate recommendations. Note that I personally am 99.99% plant based and very rarely eat animal products.

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Can you build muscle with plant based protein?

The answer is YES! Let us first answer the question about the nature of proteins. Proteins are

There are 2 reasons why plant proteins are superior to those from animals:

Research shows that animal meat is harmful to humans and that
Plant proteins convey superior overall health protection when compared to animal products.

I will now substitute that question and ask:

Which protein is better for overall good health and disease protection?
How much protein is needed to replace that wear and tear?
Which protein is best for healing that wear and tear?

Research on the overall health benefits of plant protein vs poor health effects of animal protein

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Purdue University research review on plant based vs animal protein

A 2019 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Pblic Health and Purdue University research report (sciencedauky,com, 2019) showed that diets that replaced red meat with healthy plant proteins led to decreases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers reviewed 38 studies considered to have met the scientific tandards and rigor. They examined the diets of 1000 individuals across 36 randomized controlled trials. The research compared various diets:

– people whose diets contained meat were compared with people who ate more of other types of foods. Those othere foods included chicken, fish and plant proteins such as legumes, soy, or nuts.

Researchers also examined data on the blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins, and blood pressure of all participants in the study. All of these are risk factors for Cardiovascular diseases.

The results showed that there was no meaningful difference in cardiovascular risk factors when diets with red meat were compared with all other types of diets. However, they found that people with diets higher in red meat had higher tryglyceride concentrations than the comparison diets. This equated to a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases in red meat eaters.

The breakthrough was in the health benefits of plant based foods. When compared with red meat diets, people eating diets higher in high-quality plant proteins had lower blood levels of total cholesterol and low density lipoproteins or LDL. LDL is bad cholesterol.

In other words, eating more plants reduces one’s cholesterol PLUS reduces risks for cardiovascular

The authors recommended adherence to healthy vegetarian and Mediterranean-style diets because of their health benefits.

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center Research

We will now examine a 2018 research from Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and AgroParisTech and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris, France. After examining data from over 81,000 participants, the researchers found that meat protein is associated with a sharp increased risk of heart disease and deaths. In contrast, protein from nuts and seeds is beneficial for the human heart.

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The study found that people who consumed large amounts of meat protein experienced a 60-percent increase in cardiovascular disease. In contrast, people who consumed large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds experienced a 40-percent reduction in cardiovascular diseases.

Gary Fraser, MB ChB, PhD the lead investigator said that results confirmed assumptions that nuts and seeds in the diet protect against heart and vascular disease, while red meats increase risk.

Fraser also concluded that the results show that the effects of plant proteins probably have a role to play in protection against cardiovascular diseases.

Take away

Bodybuilders and other humans should eat higher volumes of plant proteins in order to reduce the risks of illness and deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

Research on the effects of plant vs animal protein on muscle building

University of Lincoln 2019 research

An interesting study published by the University of Lincoln discovered that milk based protein shakes may not be the answer for post-gym muscle pain.Sports scientists found that shakes made from whey-protein (from the liquid part of milk) and a milk-based formulas did not enhance the rate of muscle recovery following resistance training.

The study divided 30 male participants into three groups. Each of these had at least a year’s resistance training experience. Each group consuming one of the following drinks following a prescribed intensive resistance training session:

– whey hydrolysate based drink
– milk based drink
– flavoured dextrose (carbohydrate) drink

The researchers tested the bodybuilders 24 to 48 hours after the resistance training session. Participants were asked to rate their levels of muscle soreness on a visual scale. The scale ranged from ‘no muscle soreness’ (0) to muscle soreness as bad as it could be’ (200). Participants also completed a series of strength and power assessments to test their muscle function.

Results showed a significant rise in the levels of muscle soreness across the three groups 24 hours and 48 hours after the initial resistance training session. Soreness ratings for all groups rose to over 90. This was significantly higher than the baseline muscle soreness ratings, which ranged from 19-26.

Results also showed reductions in muscle power and function. The findings suggest there was no difference in recovery response between the different formulas and no additional benefit of protein consumption on muscle recovery.

In conclusion, Dr Thomas Gee, Lead author and researcher said:

“While proteins and carbohydrates are essential for the effective repair of muscle fibres following intensive strength training, our research suggests that varying the form of protein immediately following training does not strongly influence the recovery response or reduce muscle pain.”

I must comment that one limitation of the study is that a plant based protein drink was not included. For example, there are plants which reduce inflammation – coconut, turmeric, moringa, mangosteen, cactus and others.


The scientific evidence shows that plant proteins provide protection against cardiovascular diseases. Eating a highly plant pased diet can only improve the overall health and well being of bodybuilders. The Plant Based Transformation Bodybuilding System will help bodybuilders to gain muscle and lose fat while maintaining a state of good health.


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2019, April 9). Substituting healthy plant proteins for red meat lowers risk for heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2019 from

Healthline. (2019). 19 High-Protein Vegetables and How to Eat More of Them. Retrieved from

International Journal Of Food Science. Roots and Tuber Crops as Functional Foods: A Review on Phytochemical Constituents and Their Potential Health Benefits. (2016). Retrieved from

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. (2018, April 3). Meat protein is unhealthy, but protein from nuts and seeds is heart smart: Study reports major comparison of animal, plant proteins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2019 from

Medical News Today. (2019) The 10 best vegetables for protein. Retrieved from

University of Lincoln. (2019, September 3). Protein shakes may not be the answer for post-gym muscle pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2019 from

Whitbread, D. (2019). 16 nuts and seeds high in protein. Retrieved from

Whitbread, D. (2019). Top 10 fruits highest in proteins. Retrieved from

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