Archives for Vegetarian

Eating and Bodybuilding

NOTE: This post has been submitted by James Chan, NSCA-CPT. His profile is at the end.

Ever since I’ve read the book, “The China Study,” I’ve experimented with lowering my animal protein intake and upping my vegetables. If you haven’t read the book, what it essentially says is that the lower your intake of animal proteins, the lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a whole slew of other diseases.

It provided some very compelling evidence, compelling enough for me to reevaluate some of my assumptions as a former bodybuilder of ten years who ate 5 times a day of high protein (all animal) meals.

Every so often, I get the question from vegetarians, “Can I build muscle as a vegetarian?”

My answer: NO, you cannot build a large muscular physique without animal proteins. Animal proteins don’t just include beef, pork, poultry, and fish, but they include anything that comes from an animal: eggs and dairy.

The key word is can you BUILD muscle without animal proteins? Try it on only soy, beans and nuts, and you will not build a yoked out physique at all. You can build an impressive physique that is trim and lean IF you strength train, but your muscles will have a soft and stringy look to them.

But big, buff, and dense muscles? NO.

Now a lot of people point to vegetarian bodybuilders such as Bill Pearl and others, but I’ll tell you this: Bill Pearl built an impressive muscular physique with animal proteins and THEN became vegetarian. afterwards, he still ate eggs and dairy.

Having experimented with a near vegetarian diet, I will tell you this: it is much easier to maintain a muscular physique on a vegetarian diet AFTER you’ve built it on a diet chock full of animal proteins.

And even then you will lose muscle density on a vegetarian diet. plus you will experience poorer recovery from workouts and more aches and pains.

However, your cardiovascular health will be much better. Rather than having an brawny physique, my physique is now trim and lean. but that is only because I am still strength training heavily, not running and yoga.

Plus I still eat animal proteins, but I practice what is known as “protein-pulsing.” Rather than constantly eating a steady flow of animal proteins every few hours every day, I gorge on protein once a day.

This is the way animals eat, and predatory animals such as tigers and leopards can maintain a very large and impressive musculature on that.

Author Profile:

James Chan, NSCA-CPT, is a full-time police officer for the University of California Police Department in San Francisco. He is also a NSCA certified personal trainer, and from time to time, trains a handful of clients ranging from off-duty law enforcement to white collar professionals. His training articles have appeared in Fitness and Physique Magazine and He is also the author of the book “Strength and Physique, Volume One.”

Check out his website for more information.

Editors Note: Vegetarians still have a chance. You may not be able to look freakishly large as a bodybuilding, but as James stated, you can certainly create an athletic, trim physique on a vegetarian diet.

For the best vegetarian meal plans, check out Easy Veggie Meal Plans.

What You Need to Know About Eggs

For a long time, eggs had a bad cholesterol rap, but these days they top the list of must have whole foods. Eggs are an excellent source of nutrients and protein.

Here are some great facts that you may not have known about eggs.

• Whole eggs contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by the human body, with the exception of vitamin C.
• One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 amino acids.
• Egg white protein is used as the gold standard in comparison to other proteins. In other words, you just can’t get much better than this.
• Egg yolks offer essential vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are not found in the egg white. On top of that, they are one of the only naturally occurring sources of vitamin D.
• One egg contains just 5 grams of fat, and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.
• A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. New research has shown that moderate consumption of eggs does not negatively affect cholesterol levels as previously thought.
• Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. Research has shown that people who consume foods rich in these two carotenoids, have a lower risk for age related macular degeneration and heart disease.
• Eggs promote healthy hair and nails.
• There is no recommended daily limit on how many eggs we should eat. However that is not a green light to OD on eggs. Eggs should be incorporated as part of a healthy balanced diet. As with anything, moderation and variation is the key.
• Cage free, omega-3, organic, grain fed…which type of eggs should I choose?

If you can afford the price tag, its best to choose “free-range”, “cage-free”, or “organic” omega-3 eggs from vegetarian fed chickens. Also look for USDA Grade AA or A and make sure to check the expiration date before you load up your grocery cart with these little jewels.

Commercially bred chickens that are confined to cages and eat standard feed may produce eggs containing antibiotics. This issue could be contributing to the escalating epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacteria throughout the world. This is a whole article in and of itself, but the main take away is that in order to cut down on the consumption of antibiotic residue and other toxins found in conventionally raised chickens, its best to buy organic eggs or free-range eggs whenever possible.

About the Author

Sheila Viers is a health and wellness author who hails from Michigan. She has a passion for and spends her time training, inspiring others, and researching information on how to live a better life through fitness and nutrition. You can find out more about Sheila by visiting her website,