T Nation

Vegetarian, Is Bulking Hopeless?


#1

After being "one of the smaller guys" (168lb 6' tall) on my lacrosse team I'm looking to bulk up and start lifting seriously. While dedication wont be a problem, (by reading most posts on here) my diet will be.

I've been a vegetarian most of my life. So eating cold cuts and beef isn't going to cut it. I do eat fish as much as I can without getting mercury poisoning. And eggs are a staple in my diet. Any suggestions on a diet that will give me the protein, creatine, and what not that I need to start putting on some weight?


#2

Whey
Milk
Eggs
Peanut butter
Fish

Stay away anything with soy in it.


#3

You might get browbeaten for your halfway stance with food products, but it looks like milk would fit in with your choices?

Add milk to your list, then buy creatine if you want it, and maybe some Metabolic Drive as well. Oh yeah, don't forget cottage cheese.

Anyway, just eat a ton of whatever mixed vegetable protein sources you want. Add a few supplements here and there as needed.


#4

first thing's first. WHY are you a vegetarian?

Ethical?

Health?

Religious?

I've seen one fellow bulk using only beans, oatmeal and protein powder (possibly some milk im not sure) because he was in college and broke as a joke. He was handy because he figured out that EAS brand whey blend powder was cheaper then buying milk in 1 Gal jugs. Now that Biotest has Grow! Whey EAS has been usurped as the cheapest whey blend.

-chris


#5

Beans and rice
pancakes
yoghurt
cottage cheese
eggs
more eggs
milk


#6

I think you are facing an uphill battle, my friend. Whether you accept it or not, you're choice in diet is running directly counter to what is natural for your body. Can you survive on a diet that absent meat? Yes, but it won't be ideal. Can you thrive on such a diet? Only a small few with incredible genetics can withstand such abuse.

And, to be clear, it isn't about the macronutrients (i.e., protein). It is about the micronutrients that exist aplenty in meat products. The analogs found in plants have been repeatedly proven to be much tougher for humans to absorb and utilize. No matter the form, plants are, simply put, one of the poorer found sources for human beings of all that exist and you have choosen to limit yourself to that group almost exclusively. It will be tough, to say the least.

As I see them, your choices are (1) excel in lacrosse OR (2) remain a strict vegetarian. I do not believe you can do both, but I wish you the best.


#7

Pancakes are number one on my bulking list.


#8

He eats eggs, they are a great source of protein. Being a great lacrosse player has little to do with being a vegetarian. The most important thing is being a skilled, fast and competitive athlete.


#9

It is possible. I am vegetarian for religious reasons, so no eggs or meat(fish is meat btw, I don't know why it is classed differently).

For carbs, you have veggies (frozen ones are handy), rice, pasta, oats and cream of wheat.

For protein you have beans (vary them to get full complement of aminos), milk, protein powders like Metabolic Drive and Grow!, and nuts, which also give you fat. Peanut butter, mixed nuts and olive oil give you enough fat.

A vegetarian diet only seems limiting, but it isn't. My advice is to go wild with veggies. Keeps you leaner when bulking. I like to stew them in beans, or stir fry them (it only takes 5 minutes) and add olive oil.

I'd consider using fish oil due to its massive benefits. You should stay away from soy(a), but having a little won't cause any harm.

Right now I am at 200lbs, at 14% bf, aiming to get to 220. The only major expense you will have is protein powders.


#10

Did you somehow miss the part where he wants to gain much more msucle mass?


#11

Eggs, milk, and protein powders can all serve as excellent sources of protein. They are complete proteins. There are no special properties that meat possesses over these sources.

Your trying to say that he can not reach his muscular potential using these proteins and training hard? If so, why?


#12

Very good advice!


#13

No, I'm trying to say your previous post was unnecessary and added nothing because his goal is to gain muscle mass, not simply be a great lacrosse player which is what your post was referring to. How was this not clear?

No one is denying that eggs, milk and protein powders have protein in them. There have been TWO well known bodybuilders who were vegetarians, but the truth is, their genetics were clearly far better than most humans on the planet and they would have probably been ridiculous in terms of potential had they not limited themselves.

Can it be done? Yes, and no one is denying that.


#14

The poster formerly known as ProteinPowda (no longer here but search for his threads) was a vegitarian and made some great gains. Since then he has started to eat meat and has made even better gains (we talk occassionally). Try doing a search for his threads on here, they'll probably have some good info.

DD


#15

There are indeed special benefits to eating meat over other PRO sources. think about:

-BCAA's
-Creatine
-Lipid-soluble vitamins out the ass
-Some of the most optimal fat content ever (esp. in the grass fed and farmers market meats the omega 3 - 6 ratio is awesome. And they always sell meat at the farmers market even if it's winter.)

Read Dr. Lowrie's "down on the pharm" article on meat to find out all about the sick benefits of meat.

It is indeed conceivable that a man can bulk on protein powder and oats etc. BUT it will not likely garner the same speed or quality of result that a meat eater's diet would.

Interestingly enough I love vege's and vegan's though because they make me feel special and they leave more animals for me. Like the one time i went to a comm&culture/womens studies facutly party and they had all types of tasty hors derves (sp?) but so many people.

Luckily there was a high percentage of women there who didn't eat meat. So I got to eat almost all the wings and little greek meatballs. At the tie I was pretty lean (too much touch rugby) and the vege's would ask me how I stayed so lean eating so much meat. I would say "that IS how I stay lean. Plus I a broke ass student, free food is free food." Good times.

-chris


#16

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#17

Again as others have referred to, it is not the protein alone that is the huge stumbling block. Such a view has been forced upon you but supplement companies.

A preoccupation with protein will quickly lead one to rely on powders quite heavily. The bodybuilders in the golden era of the sport had access to powders but still relied heavily on beef and chicken for the micronutrients therein.

You got protein AND the beneficial vitamins and minerals. They would SUPPLEMENT that with additional protein in powder form, not RELY on powders alone.

The other thing I'd like to point out is that it seems like the whole point of vegetarianism is to live a life that embraces the natural way. Although that is patently a false to begin with, it becomes even more ridiculous when you're eating Grape Nuts for breakfast and washing it down with a Myoplex shake for your protein needs.

Why would someone forgo pastured beef or free-range chicken, the foods of choice for thousands of years, for a highly proceesed, mass produced powder that bears absolutely no resemblance to anything you'd find in nature?


#18

Just understanding here. You can't eat eggs but dairy products are fine?

If that's true. Drink milk and squat. Seriously. Get the book super squats...although you get all the info you need on the first page. 1 set of 20 reps of heavy squats. Then a gallon of milk every day or 2. That's what made me jump from 200 up to 230lbs, roughly. Now I am losing the fat from all that calorie surplus. Still strong though :-).

Good luck man. I know a guy Mike Mahler who is a vegan and has managed to put on size using these expensive rice protein powders. I reccommend you google him and speak with him. He KNOWS how to eat vegan.

And as said before....stay away from soy. Best of luck dude!


#19

I did it I still do it. Drink lots of milk (whole milk esp since it tastes better!), almonds and walnuts like Shugart has in that clean bulking article and apart from that just eat a lot and drink a lot of protein powder (BCAA should be ~10g per 60g of powder, just add some to your shakes).


#20

Actually, he can eat eggs and fish. Due to some tech. problems the order of posts got mixed up. The OP's post is second on the page.

I don't use fish oil, but since he can, he may as well.

Milk is different from an egg. In an egg, there is a life developing. In milk, there is no embryo. Plus, my religion recommends cow's milk as an excellent food.

You are generalising.

Me being vegetarian has nothing to do with embracing a natural way of life. It is because taking life is prohibited in my religion. Even though animals are lower lifeforms, they still have souls. Unless they are pests, like mosquitos,ants, I don't kill animals.

Protein powders are just a massive plus in my case. With all the veggies, greens+ and a multivitamin, I get a more than adequate supply of minerals.