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 I 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. You do not need animal protein to gain muscle or power through your workout.

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 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—an Indian vegan diet plan with high-performance vegan foods to maximise your workouts and recover faster.

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 yeast), 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/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 seaweeds and spirulina. I get my fats from avocado, nuts, coconut and sesame oil (cold pressed), coconut meat (garri), and grass-fed ghee.

Eat enzymes –

Another secret is to keep the enzymes active in all foods. This can be achieved by focusing on lighter cooking styles. Over-cooking destroys enzymes and nutrients. Introduce good quality fermentation (in the form of quick-pressed salads, pickles made in brine, miso paste, and 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, and leafy greens.

Workout and Eating Tips

Eat something that will digest fast (so that less time is expended during the workout on digestion) and something that will burn fast, like dates (simple carbohydrates head to your liver for instant energy). Fruit sugars are also good. 

Your post-workout snack should include some good fat, protein, and simple carbohydrates. I focus on a greens smoothie with ½ an apple [fruit sugars], spirulina (for protein) and some nuts for good fats. Also, liquid helps the blood move freely to transport its nutrients– as post a workout, blood is anyway 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 ingredients except sesame seeds. Make balls and cover them in sesame seeds. Keep in the fridge for up to a week to 10 days.

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