I want to know, other than beans, what would support muscle growth.
I love this life-style and I'm still "in the closet" with the whole vegetarian diet thing because I don't want people to judge me.
Everybody has their 2 cents worth to convince me why I'm not doing the right thing.
I guess they see what I used to look like - 6'3", 225 lbs, all muscle - but extremely unhappy.
Now I'm 180 lbs, full of energy and life. Becoming a vegetarian has changed my life, not only physically but mentally.
I'm very happy with my current weight. I just wanted some tips on good vegetarian food that would support my athletic life-style since meat isn't a factor anymore. I eat all vegetables, fruit, grains, and occasionally eggs (is that bad?).
Thank you for all your help and support. You're a magnificent person for doing things like this for people like me. - T. C.
Dear T. C.,
Thanks for your response, and your kind words. I'm so glad that a vegetarian diet has been good for you. Keeping a low profile is sensible - it's nice that you don't have the urge to make converts.
Many more people these days are interested in a healthy diet and reducing meat consumption, so it isn't quite as strange have a vegetarian diet as it used to be. Of course, I guess it depends on who you're talking to!
It isn't just vegetarian protein sources you should be concerned about. It's calories and overall nutrition. For your size, and physical activity, you need at least 3000 calories a day from a wide variety of foods. 3000 calories is a lot of food! Count calories for a while to be sure you're getting enough.
Fat is a major source of calories - incorporate lots of good fats in your diet - organic olive and other vegetable oils, dairy if you eat it (esp ghee or clarified butter), and egg. Nuts and nut butters, especially almond. Walnuts, flax oil and flax meal are good to have for the omega threes. Avocados are very high in calories and nutrition.
Vegetarian protein sources: Cheese and eggs are good protein sources, if you like them - try to get organic, and free range eggs. Nuts and seeds are good to eat daily. Whole soy products like tofu and tempeh, and seitan (wheat gluten). Beans are excellent and inexpensive vegetarian protein sources.
You asked for protein sources besides beans - I don't know if that means you eat beans already or not, but if not, then beanify your diet. I've attached SV's most requested report How To Eat Beans Without Gas.
For sure, protein builds muscle, if you're physically active. Otherwise it just makes you fat. And it doesn't maintain health by itself. Without enough calories, it won't keep your weight at a healthy level. In a vegetarian diet, protein can't be separated from the other foods you eat. The best diet is holistic, and includes a wide variety of foods in a balanced combination.
Sprouting is a great way to maximize protein and vitamins. Here's an SV article about sprouting
Enjoy a power salad a few times a week, or more, with a high carb entree and some tofu or beans, for a well balanced high calorie, high protein hit. How To Build a Power Salad
Plus plenty of water and other liquids, possibly two or three times what you think you need! Here's an article about water.
All the best, Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian