Plant-based diets have taken root in many cultures around the world in recent years, mostly thanks to the growing realisation about the health benefits of this eating pattern. But contrary to what some people think, plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean you must forego all animal products. Rather, you might just eat meat or dairy products less frequently, or in smaller portions.
To replace those lost calories, you should eat more beans and legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. These mostly low-fat, nutrient-rich foods have been linked to improvements in many health-related issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
A plant-forward diet also can help reduce your food budget. And there’s yet another reason to feel good about this eating pattern: it helps preserve our planet’s health. A diet that contains only small amounts of animal foods requires a fraction of resources such as water, energy, and land to cultivate, and it generates fewer greenhouse gases. What’s more, by eating unprocessed or minimally processed foods, you avoid the additional energy and packaging that go into the production of processed foods.
“Following a plant-based diet may be an important way to reduce your carbon footprint. Research suggests that diets high in red meat account for five times the emissions of plant-based diets.
Plant Based Diet And Fitness
The stereotype of the weak, skinny vegan has become so universal that most people would have a hard time believing any person of significant size or strength didn’t eat meat or other animal products.
This is because we’ve been conditioned to believe that you need to eat lots of animal protein to build muscle and strength, and that protein only comes from animal foods.
Of course, only one of those two beliefs are true, as anyone who has ever seen a (herbivorous) silverback gorilla can easily deduce.
Most people, however, seem to think humans are more like lions, requiring meat or some form of animal protein at every meal to get big and strong.
There are many reasons for how this myth became so ingrained in the popular culture, but the reality is that from the hippie culture of the 60s until recently, a lot of those who followed a plant-based diet were skinny. This is partly because, for several decades, most people who chose meat/animal-free diets did so solely for ethical, environmental or health reasons, and didn’t really care about having big muscles.
Those who did care often lacked the basic nutritional understanding necessary to build muscle and strength eating plants.
What About Protein
The idea that you can’t get enough protein from plants, and/or that sources of plant protein are “inferior”, has no basis in science. What is backed up by scientific research is how much protein (animal or plant) is required to increase and/or maximize size and strength.
While the majority of people only need to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (g/kg) per day — or 0.36 grams per pound (g/lb) — to maintain good health, research focused on gaining muscle and strength has consistently shown that considerably more protein is required.
Current research suggests that most athletes require between 1.2-2.0 g/kg , with endurance athletes on the lower end of the spectrum (, and bodybuilders and strength athletes toward the upper end (≥1.6). If your goal is to increase muscle mass and strength as quickly as possible, like professional bodybuilders or powerlifters aim to do, research shows that as much as 2.2 g/kg can be effective.
Vegan Chocolate Brownie
Roasted Butternut Squash and Israeli Cuscus
One question people always asked me, whenever time am going out to eat, what do you eat, being that you are a vegan and healthy/gym junkie.
The thing is that a lot of people are ignorant when it comes to diet and eating healthy, most people thinks diet is starving themself or just eat some lettuce. One can still go out and have healthy meals, but they are a few tricks to it.
The best bet for meeting your health goals is to cook your own meals at home, where you can control the ingredients and portion sizes. However, we all enjoy eating out from time to time. Just keep in mind that restaurant meals—in particular, fast-food meals—are linked with higher intakes of calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, and lower intakes of healthful foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. One of the biggest problems you'll face when you dine out is sheer portion size, which has increased dramatically over the years. Those bigger portions translate into more calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat.
Fortunately, the dining scene has improved. EU laws now requires chain restaurants to provide consumers with clear and consistent nutrition information on menus, menu boards, and in writing, which can help you make healthier choices. And more and more restaurants are meeting consumers' desires for healthier fare by providing smaller portions, more fruits and vegetables on the menu, more vegetarian options, and lighter preparation styles.
Here are some of my tips for dining out healthfully:
· Patronize restaurants where good choices, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables—abound.
· Check out the restaurant website in advance in order to decide what you'll order, instead of making impulse decisions. Many restaurants post their menus online, enabling you to find the healthiest entrees. Some even list nutritional information on menu items. Beware of those with high calorie, fat, sugar, and sodium levels.
· Skip pan-fried or deep-fried foods. Instead, look for foods prepared with healthful techniques, such as baking, grilling, poaching, or roasting.
· Avoid dishes prepared with gravy and heavy sauces. Or ask the waiter to use half the sauce or to serve the sauce on the side so you can decide how much of it to use. Because gravy is often made with fatty pan drippings from meat, it's relatively high in saturated fat. Many sauces are made with butter and cream, which are also high in saturated fat.
· Resize your portions: split a meal with a friend, order small plates or side dishes, or take half of it home for lunch the next day. Take advantage of the "small plates" trend, in which you and your dining companions share small servings and avoid large portions of single dishes.
· Get extra vegetables. Many restaurant entrees don't come with a generous serving of vegetables. But you can easily remedy that by asking for more vegetables, ordering vegetables from the side dish selection, or substituting vegetables or a salad for a less, healthful side dish, such as fries.
· Lighten up dessert. Skip the indulgent, rich desserts, such as ice cream, cakes, and pastries (some can contain more than 1,000 calories) and go for simple treats, such as berries and peaches. If you want a sweet dessert, share it with others at your table. You'll get the full taste, but just a fraction of the calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
· Watch those beverages. Sweetened drinks (often refilled during the meal) and alcoholic beverages can add hundreds of calories to your meal. Opt for sparkling water, plain tea, or coffee.
The winter is slowly but surely making its way on us which means for most people within the fitness industry its bulking season. That means upping your calorie intake to make it to that all-important calorie surplus. Having to eat a load more food sounds great in theory, but for a lot of people that means things can get pricey.
I want to share with you 3 simple shake recipe that is, budget-friendly bulking shakes that won’t only provide a delicious boost of calories alongside high-quality protein and carbs but won’t break the bank, in fact they can help you save money and stimulate muscle growth at the same time.
These recipes are quick and simple and great to have on the go.
Peanut Butter Banana:
Place all ingredients in the blenders and blitz
Chocolate and Coconut Kick
Place all ingredients in the blenders and blitz
Hemp and Berry Blast
Most people you come across in the gym, know that they need to keep hydrated in order to stay energised.
But it can be easy to underestimate how much hydration can affect your workout. It doesn’t help that there are so many contradictory statistics about how much water we’re meant to drink each day, and how frequently.
Now the question is what are we supposed to believe?
Tranquillity 360 fitness thought it was time to set the record straight. Here’s our definitive guide on how you can stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.
Effects of dehydration on the body
You’d be forgiven for believing that only considerable dehydration can have a detrimental effect on exercise; we’re talking headaches, excessive perspiration and general aches.
But did you know that a mere 2% reduction in fluids can result in a 10-20% degradation in performance? That means your performance can be sapped even when you don’t feel dehydrated at all.
The tell-tale signs of dehydration are thirst and dark-coloured urine. It can also cause digestive issues and constipation, and can even make you feel hungrier, because a dehydrated brain confuses hunger and thirst. When you spot any of these symptoms, your body needs some water.
The amount of water you should drink per day depends on several variables, not least the level of activity you plan to undertake. For example, a marathon runner will obviously have different requirements to somebody who is doing a 30-minute weights session in the gym.
The weather can also make a big difference, too, since you’ll sweat a lot more in warmer conditions.
General guidelines suggest that you should drink at least 2 litres of water per day. You should increase this by 500ml per hour of intense training and increase this again if you tend to sweat a lot when you exercise.
How much water should You drink before exercising?
This is where a lot of people come unstuck. Most people are good at taking water to the gym with them for a mid-workout refreshment, but it’s even more important to make sure you’ve topped up your fluid levels prior to your session.
You're most dehydrated when you wake up, so start the day with a tall glass of water and avoid coffee if you can. Having drinks regularly throughout the day will make a huge difference in your energy levels by the time you’re ready to work out.
Getting enough water on board when you’re in full flow might be easier said than done, but it’s imperative that you don’t allow your levels to dip.
A short water break between sets or during quick breaks from cardio can help stave off exercise-induced dehydration, keeping you at your best for consistently high performance.
An easy way to ensure you get enough water is to set a timer -- on your phone or watch -- to go off every 15 minutes as a reminder to rehydrate. This is especially important if you’re doing exercise over a long period of time, such as training for a marathon.
What should you drink during a workout?
Not that we were expecting you to have a gin and slimline tonic on-the-go between each set of assisted pull-ups, but nevertheless, it’s worth reiterating that plain old water is the most suitable drink to have on hand during your workout.
Of course, it all depends on the length and intensity of your workout.
Electrolytes are minerals that, amongst other things, regulate the level of water in your body. A regular gym session probably doesn't require a fancy sports drink but long-distance runners or those who train with great intensity would do well to replenish their electrolytes.
What to eat and drink after a workout
While many of us fail to take hydration into account before our workouts, even more of us let ourselves down after an exercise session.
Drinking 50% more fluid than you lost through sweat will help to boost your recovery. The fastest way to recover is sipping small amounts of water regularly, rather than guzzling down litre after litre in one go.
You should also ensure that 20% of your water intake comes from solid foods. Opting for foods that are naturally high in water content -- like cucumbers, tomatoes and celery -- can help you recover more quickly post-workout.
4 ways to spot dehydration during your workout
As we’ve already alluded to, our bodies can play tricks on us when our fluid levels start to drop. We have four tips to help you recognise the effects of dehydration before it starts to become a problem.
1. Check your muscles
Muscle cramps are a giveaway that you’re not hydrated enough. If you start to feel cramp coming on, take a break to have a drink. Don’t guzzle it down; instead, opt for short, small sips over a few minutes.
Once you’re refueled, ease yourself back into your exercise, being careful not to overdo it: it can take a while for your muscles to fully rehydrate.
2. Don’t ignore a dry mouth
One of the first signs of dehydration is dry mouth. As soon as your mouth starts feeling a little dusty, get a drink. Ignoring dry mouth can seriously impact your performance.
3. Pinch yourself
Skin elasticity, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal, is a giveaway of your hydration levels (though it’s not 100% reliable for everyone). Gently pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds. If the skin takes a while to return to its normal position when you let go, you may be dehydrated.
4. Stop if you feel dizzy
Feeling lightheaded during a workout is a sign of dehydration and a signal to take your workout down a notch.
Though willpower sometimes makes us want to push ourselves through a few more reps or another mile, feeling dizzy is an indicator that your brain isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. You should stop exercising the moment you feel dizzy; powering through a dizziness spell can be dangerous.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.