Vegetarian Bodybuilding and Active Athlete in General
Some of our trainees are vegetarians. Their food ranges from vegetable sources including dairy products and non-fertilized organic eggs (lacto-ovo vegetarians) to trainees exclusively eating only vegetable food (vegans). Of course, there are other types of vegetarians out there (pescatarian, flexitarian, fruitarians etc), but that is really beyond this article :o)
Without entering any debate about reasons for doing that, we are going to say few things about having active sport life and being a vegetarian.
First of all, being a vegetarian among meat-eaters (myself included) means that you are really stubborn person, who generally have more willpower than meat-eaters – I have seen this many times. This helps a lot, because although options for food sources are limited, I am certain that vegetarian trainees will for sure commit themselves to really eat what they have to eat, in order to obtain their goals.
Amount of protein per bodyweight, usually in grams per pound or per kilogram is one of the most argued nutritional goals, not only for vegetarians, but also for all trainees in general. If you are elderly person whose hardest physical activity is walking up the stairs from time to time, or similar, than yes, 0.8 – 1.0g of protein per kilogram (g/kg) is enough. But if you are active trainee who trains several times per week in gym, on the track or field, than at least 2 g/kg are needed. Teenagers loaded with growth and other hormones and trainees involved in high amateur or professional competition, training up to 2 times a day (or more!), need 3 or more g/kg.
And no, such amounts of protein will not make your kidneys run amok, just drink enough water, so that your pee is clear, not yellow (this is general recommendation, not only for people who eats lots of proteins).
Also, when dealing with different protein sources, one must consider protein biological value and PDCAAS. Although some supplement companies misuse these values, they are good indicator of protein relations among different food sources.
Vegetarian food sources are generally harder to digest than food than has some animal content - this is regarding calories and amounts of protein eaten compared to amount of calories acquired.