Don't worry: We’re not suggesting you convert to an entirely vegan diet overnight—or ever. But, adding in more plant-based foods by swapping out some of the meat can mean big benefits for your muscles—and the rest of your body and mind.
“If you’re new to plant-based foods start with meat-free Monday and build from there,” says Natalie Kent, a Paris-based health coach and founder of The Whole Life.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions from Kent’s clients, when she suggests they eat a diet that’s higher in plant-based foods. “It really is a myth that you can only get complete protein from animal products and it's a myth that needs to be put to bed,” she assures. “There are many delicious plant-based foods that can give you all the protein you need, pre- or post-workout.”
Here are just a few: Quinoa Lentils Hemp seeds Tempeh Edamame Spinach Lentils Black eyed peas Broccolli Chia Seeds
The following recipes incorporate many of these ingredients. So, stock up and get cooking. There’s a breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe here so you can eat vegan for all of one day. (If you're into it, check out more vegan recipes here and here.)
Follow Natalie on Instagram for more plant-based recipe ideas.
"These tiny seeds are a protein powerhouse as well as being full of good fats and fibre," says Kent. "Paired with complex rye bread and a spread of coconut oil, this post-gym breakfast couldn’t be simpler or more nutritious."
2 cups strawberries, chopped in half
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- Place the strawberries in a blender along with the maple syrup and blitz until they are completely broken up in to a pulp.
- Transfer to a saucepan and heat until warmed through but not piping hot.
- Then add the chia seeds and heat for another 2 minutes, stirring through.
- Remove from the heat and let it stand to cool for 15 minutes.
- Once cooled transfer to your desired jar or enjoy straight on your rye toast with a spoonful of coconut oil.
- I garnish mine with some cocoa nibs for an extra hit of goodness.
"These little black jewels are packed with protein and are so versatile," says Kent. "I like to use lentils in so many different ways but for a quick lunch dish this hummus can be made in minutes. With the addition of beets for extra antioxidants and a sprinkle of hemp seeds, you'll get the energy to see you through the afternoon."
1 can lentils
2 medium precooked beets
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 handful of parsley
2 Tbs. tahini paste
2 Tbs. cold-pressed olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. sea salt
- Place all the ingredients in to a food processor and blitz.
- You can really do this to your desired consistency. I like mine still a bit chunky but if that’s not to your preference, blitz for slightly longer.
- Then spread on organic rice cakes. I like to add a sprinkling of hemp seeds for extra protein.