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Founder of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine

“A whole food vegan diet is the way to go. You will have more energy, much less risk of disease, and rarely get sick. I interview vegans all the time, and all of them tell me they wish they had done it sooner.”

Name: Brenda Carey
Occupation: Editor-in-Chief/Founder of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine
City/State/Country: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Age: 46
Height: 5’9″
Type of Training: Triathlete (swimming, running, biking), as well as weight training and yoga.
Weight: 122 lbs.Fitness Accolades: Former lifeguard, Ashtanga Yoga instructor, 4th female finisher at CrossFit Games in Santa Monica in 2013, first place overall 5k in the 2013 PowerMarathon in Austin, Texas, first female finisher at 50k Saturn Day ultramarathon on 7.5.14 in San Antonio, Texas, ran 17 miles in the Vegan Global Run on 4.4.15 in Miami Beach, Florida, daily victories in getting stronger and faster, breaking old PRs…

Website/Social Media:

Q: Who do you admire the most?

Modern/Living: Ellen, Oprah, Kathy Freston, Alexandra Paul, Leilani Munter, Fiona Oakes, Andrea Kladar, Pope Francis. All of these people have used their lives to make a statement that is changing the world for the better, involving compassion, athletics, education, intelligence, and humor.

Historical: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lennon. These people all used their lives to make the world a better, more compassionate place, also.

Q: Tell us the story of how you became the founder of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine.

The short version is that I spent years trying to find my path to a career that makes the world a better place for animals, promoting a compassionate lifestyle. I became vegan as a 20-year-old model. Shortly thereafter, I put myself through college and law school with the idea that I’d be an animal rights attorney.

By the time I graduated, I realized that was not my path. The law is not very animal-friendly, and I don’t really like fighting, especially when it is a losing battle.

So I tried using the law to help animals by starting a Humane Society in California that consisted of Humane Officers that were trained very well in the law (by moi).

“There are no exemptions under the animal cruelty laws for farm animals in California. So we busted a slaughter house and with a warrant and aided by the LAPD, we seized animals and took them to sanctuaries.”

Shortly thereafter, we were faced with a lot of frivolous legal challenges (seems that we made the status quo nervous), and after a year of very little sleep and witnessing a lot of animal cruelty in investigations and fighting in court, I folded that organization.

After that, I moved to Hawaii for two years and became an Ashtanga Yoga instructor and a professor of Communication Studies at Hawaii Pacific University. I also got into improv comedy acting and standup comedy.

From there, I ended up doing standup comedy in NYC for eight months. From there, I moved back to LA and created a sort of silly online TV show on the paranormal.

At the same time, I met Robert Cheeke after reading his bodybuilding book.

I was searching for my way to make the world a better place for animals and was inspired by Robert to start a blog called “Female Vegan Bodybuilder.”

That followed my journey to put muscle on my model-thin body with high-protein vegan foods.

I got so much positive feedback that I decided to start the magazine.

“At the time, I knew nothing about graphic art or publishing.

Fortunately, I had a background in photography and a very supportive boyfriend (Brian Acree) who helped me teach myself everything and start this magazine all by myself on my laptop.”

At first, I thought I’d make a few and give them out for free.

Then I called the distributor who handles the magazines for Whole Foods Market and sent them some emails with images and information on the first issue, and they ordered several thousand copies right away!

And we were off and running!

We were quarterly from the Summer 2012 (first issue that featured Robert Cheeke on the cover with Koya Webb) until the November/December 2013 issue (that featured John and Ocean Robbins and family on the cover), when we went bi-monthly. That was also the first issue where we went international, into eight countries.

We are currently working on expanding our digital reach and starting a book publishing branch.

Q: What are your personal passions outside of fitness?

Vegan nutrition and science! I love researching the tough stuff. I spend days obsessed on scholar.google.com. Some of the articles I have written (or helped research for other writers) literally represent hundreds of hours reading intense scientific journal articles.

It’s important for me to get a complete understanding of plant-based nutrition so that I can explain it in simpler terms to our readers and share life-improving information. The magazine always includes the citations to the articles, too, so that our readers can see the science for themselves.

Sometimes I get so excited about an article or two that I find on a controversial topic, that I have shared it on social media. This can get me into trouble, as people will often react with disdain against something that brings new information that they don’t understand.

I encourage them to read the science, but a lot of people are intimidated by the medical jargon and don’t feel comfortable reading science for themselves. Instead, a lot of people will “follow” a certain doctor or nutritionist and take their word for what is scientifically true. I think this is dangerous.

Often, trusted doctors and nutritionists sell supplements and other products, and even though they mean well, they have bills to pay like everybody else.

“Any time the has a vested interest, there is a tendency to be biased towards what will help them make a living.”

Only what we are willing to research and understand on our own can truly be trusted.

Q: What uncommon activity do you schedule into your daily routine?

I suppose that putting together a magazine is rather uncommon. Every day, I spend quite a few hours on the computer developing articles with my contributors and scheduling photos shoots and overseeing them, etc.

Other than that, I spend time preparing (and gathering) organic vegan meals for myself, my dogs, and sometimes our whole staff.

Since we moved to Miami, we don’t have an office, we all work from our respective homes. But when we had an office in Austin, TX and had a staff there daily, I enjoyed making everybody big salads for lunch almost every day. I love nurturing others with nutrition. It’s my maternal instinct or something, I guess.

Q: Tell us about the path that led you to plant-based fitness?

When I was a little girl and I found out what meat was, I didn’t want to eat it. I grew up in Mississippi and had never heard of a vegetarian, so I was on my own.

“I tried to eat plates full of canned vegetables and clearly did not get enough calories. Without support from an adult, I became very weak and fainted a few times.”

This scared us all, and I was told that if I didn’t eat meat, I would die. So I reluctantly ate it after being reassured that the animals did not suffer, etc. When I was nineteen years old, I was finally out of Mississippi and modeling in Miami Beach.

“I went to a Macrobiotic convention with a photographer friend and sat at a table full of people who had healed themselves from cancer and heart disease, etc. with their (mostly vegan) diets.”

At the time, I also had an acquaintance who was an angry vegetarian who challenged my supposed love of animals and my food choices. As rude as she was in her approach, I could not deny that she was right and I was being a hypocrite. Now that I knew of the health benefits of eating vegan, it was a no-brainer to go vegan.

I gave up chicken and fish first, because a cow is a larger animal. I read about 20 books that summer (that I got at the library in Mississippi— this was in 1991, who knew those books were even there!) when I went home to visit family.

I learned about the animal cruelty of factory farming and about the nutritional benefits of the vegan diet.

I gave up beef about a month later, then eggs and dairy within another month. Then I gave up all my leather clothes because I was being challenged by non-vegetarians for being a hypocrite for refusing to eat animals when I was okay with wearing them.

“Again, I hated their approach, but I knew they were right.”

I gave thousands of dollars’ worth of leather clothing to the homeless, because I read that giving animal skins (leather and fur) to the poor helps take the status symbol away. Nowadays, I don’t even like to wear fake leather for a similar reason. I don’t want anybody to think that wearing leather looks cool and want to buy it to copy my look.

By the way, I’ve been vegan for about 24 years now and have never taken supplements of any kind. I dabble with chocolate protein powder because I like the taste, but I try to limit that, too.

Unfortunately, most vegan processed foods are fortified with vitamins, so I can’t say that I don’t get dosed with vitamins occasionally. I try to avoid processed foods, eating mostly raw.

As for the athletics, I took ballet as a kid and dabbled in that again in my teens, twenties, and thirties for short periods (along with jazz and tap), but never took it very far. My first job was as a swimming instructor (age 15); shortly thereafter, I became a lifeguard, which required a lot of testing of my athletic ability in swimming laps, etc.

I became an aerobics instructor in 1989 (you should have seen my colorful, crazy 80s aerobics outfits). I played a little softball and volleyball on teams in school and did a little running (5k) with my dad and brother as a teen. Again, nothing very serious.

I dabbled in fitness after that as I modeled (and mostly starved myself to stay thin, until I went vegan and found out I could eat fruits and vegetables all day—by then, I think I had caused a lot of muscle atrophy, which is unfortunate). I did a little yoga, starting in law school in 2000. I had a gym membership for years and would go months without walking in the doors.

But I didn’t get serious about fitness until recently (2011). Right before I started the magazine, I got pretty serious about bodybuilding because of Robert Cheeke’s influence. But since I am so tall and thin, my muscle is hard won.

It has taken me almost four years to put on enough muscle to be seen. It amounts to about eight pounds of solid muscle, which is about right for four years of training, but when you spread it out over a long frame, it doesn’t look like much.

I started running to burn off some of the fat that I put on with my massive protein diet I experimented with my first year of bodybuilding. Now I realize muscle growth does not require such massive doses. Dating Austin Barbisch has influenced me a lot. When we first met, I hired him (and paid him a lot of money) to train me in the gym.

It was worth every penny. I put on more muscle training with him for six months than I’d put on the prior two years. He is also an ultra-marathoner, and I’ve covered a few of his races for the magazine.

That influenced me to want run a 50k. Brian Acree actually ran it with me, and his support was instrumental in getting me across that finish line.

Nowadays, I am continuing to put on muscle in the gym and keep the fat off on the running track. It is the most efficient means of getting that fit look that I need when I make public appearances and speak on behalf of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine. Someday when I have more time, I’d love to do a triathlon and play team sports.

Q: What does your daily meal plan currently look like?

  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothie, a cup of tea, and a couple large glasses of water (often with lime or lemon juice).
  • Lunch: Large salad for lunch with tons of raw veggies, sprouts, olives, and Bragg’s Mango dressing (I love it because it’s organic, vinegar based, and oil-free).
  • Dinner: Sometimes another smoothie or salad, depending on my mood and how much time I have. I eat cooked food like lentils, potatoes, and other veggies in a sauté pan for dinner sometimes, too. I feel better when I eat less cooked food, so I keep that to a minimum.

I snack on fruit all day (apples, mango, raspberries, whatever is organic and on sale).

Lest you think I am an angel, I will admit that I do occasionally eat dark chocolate, peanut butter, vegan baked goods, and other vegan junk foods and treats. I just try to keep that fattening, processed stuff to a minimum and eat them rarely (once a week or less) as a treat.

Q: Philosophy on supplements?

“I don’t take any supplements (no, not even B12, as I often get asked). Supplements are not necessary if you eat a variety of whole plant foods.”

The vegan diet, when it is unprocessed, organic, and varied, provides everything the body needs to be optimally healthy, with no need for synthetic, laboratory-extracted pills and potions.

If you look into the science, you will see that taking supplements is also quite harmful. Many cancers have been related to taking vitamin pills and even oils.

Read my favorite book, “Whole,” by T. Colin Campbell for more on that. For more on the B12 controversy, see the VHF website, as we love to delve into that controversial topic and have a couple articles on the science posted there.

Q: Favorite butt exercises and describe the form you use.

This is a great (and very specific) question! Wow! Okay, I have scoliosis so I cannot do squats or deadlifts with heavy weight.

“If you are lucky enough to have a straight spine, squats and deadlifts are the best exercises to grow/tighten your glutes. Just start with light weight, and keep your spine straight (neutral) as you move.”

I recommend working with a trainer until you get the form down, as it can be complicated, and if you don’t do it right, you can really get hurt. If you have an imperfect back like me, you have to get more creative.

But I can do lunges with quite a bit of weight without hurting my back. I also do thrusts laying on my back on the floor with weights on my hips.

I also do cable kickbacks (I even have my own ankle strap since the ones at the gym are often missing or really dirty). I use the abductor machine at the gym. My trainer taught me to do way more sets and reps on this machine than I had ever done before. Sometimes, we hog that machine for half an hour as we do our reps to failure over and over.

Just when I think I’m done, he will say “Give me five more.” Then he will say, “Five more” or “Ten more.” It’s grueling at that point, and sometimes I will call him names, but he knows it’s just the muscle fibers talking, and I apologize later and thank him for pushing me harder.

I think it’s a huge benefit to have a workout partner pushing you past what you thought were your limits (check out all the big, muscular guys at the gym who do that, and you will see what I mean.) I also do indoor rowing (which is a killer butt workout) and run long distances on the track (any time I run for more than 30 minutes, I feel it in my butt later).

As someone who had a pretty flat butt before I started working out, I can attest that these moves work. In all of them, I am very aware of keeping my spine neutral and not arching or curving out.

Q: Describe your training regimen: favorite exercises, weekly training schedule, etc.

I do yoga every morning for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on my schedule, to get my spine in alignment and get ready for the day. I work out at the gym about six days a week for about an hour a day, sometimes two hours, if we have time.

When I am preparing for a running race, like the Vegan Global Run, I will alternate running at the track for an hour one day with working out at the gym for an hour the next day. Sometimes it gets to be too much, and I am just exhausted and have to take a day or two off of running and lifting weights.

On those days, I just do my yoga, hydrate really well with water and electrolyte blends (recipes in several issues of the magazine), and take a power nap to help my body recover faster. I also take an Epsom salt bath every night and add turmeric to my food as often as possible to help recover faster.

My smoothies have fruits like cherries and pineapples, which also help recovery. Finally, I eat lots of greens in salads and munch on seaweed, which helps reduce inflammation and speed recovery, also.

Q: If you have to pick only three exercises, what would they be?

That would be tough. I do so many different exercises and keep mixing it up all the time so I don’t plateau. If I have to choose:

  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Pull-ups

This would hit every muscle in the whole body if you varied the angles a little and did them right. Note that yoga utilizes pushups and lunges. There are lots of benefits to these moves.

Q: What tips can you share about fitness that you don’t typically read in magazines?

“Going vegan is the best thing you can do to be a better athlete and/or get more fit! That is something you don’t read in other magazines (besides Vegan Health & Fitness).”

We are seeing some other mainstream magazines acknowledge the vegan diet and its health benefits recently. I know it is because they see our publication on the shelves and they know we’re selling and they want to compete. Whatever it takes to bring veganism into the mainstream!

Q: What are the biggest trends you see in fitness right now?

  1. People want excitement in their workouts, so they are doing obstacle courses and CrossFit type workouts where you don’t know what you’re going to have to do until you get there. It’s more mentally stimulating than doing the same old thing in the gym every day.
  2. The camaraderie people are experiencing in these new styles of workouts is also wonderful. We are social creatures, and we like to compete with other people and have someone to high-five when you do something really well.

Q: Do you meditate?

Absolutely!

“If you don’t sit (or lay) still for a few minutes every day and/or pray, or just get quiet and clear your mind, you will never be your best self.”

Life is stressful. We need to turn off occasionally, and not just by passing out and sleeping. We need to learn to control our minds and relax. I am a spiritual person, so I pray. I heard someone say once that meditation is actually when you stop praying (talking to your higher power) and listen.

I love that. We so rarely listen.

If you’re not religious, you can just sit still and turn inward to connect with your inner compassionate nature.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to try a plant-based diet?

Do it! Do it now!

You can truly maximize your life when you go vegan because you are more productive and you just function better.

Tons of bodybuilders and athletes know it, and they are at the tops of their fields. Tons of people have turned around diseases like cancer, heart disease, immunological, and inflammatory problems. Not only that, but who wants to be a part of the horrible animal torturing and slaughtering meat industry?

It’s a great feeling knowing I’m not a part of that. It’s a perfect example of good karma. When you choose to do the compassionate thing, you benefit greatly in your own body, too!

Founder of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine was last modified: September 26th, 2017 by Chris Willitts

Weekly News Updates

You can easily fuel your workout with plants

Whether you’re plant-curious, flexitarian, vegetarian or 100 percent vegan,
fuelling your fitness regime with the correct nutrition is the single most
effective way to boost both your performance and overall health.

Nutrients are often divided into two groups: macros and micros. Both play
an important role in your muscle building process, endurance potential, and recovery time.

Macro and micro

Macro nutrients are the three main components of the human diet needed
in the largest amounts: fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Micronutrients are
those needed in minute quantities but are equally as important – these
include all your essential vitamins and minerals.

So, what should we be looking out for in vegan diet – and which are we
most at risk of falling short of?

Let’s start with the biggest contender in the sports nutrition world: protein.

Protein: quality over quantity

Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need animal protein to make great
gains in the fitness world, nor do you need excessive amounts of it.

As rule of thumb:
RI* for those not training: 0.8g/kgBW evenly spaced throughout the day.

For those carrying out a training regime: 1.2-1.7g/kgBW evenly spaced
throughout the day – this could include one 20g serving (protein shake) after training.

Simple enough, right?

You can be healthy, fit, and strong without animal-based products

Protein supplements

When it comes to sports nutrition, protein supplements are the best way
to consume the highest quality (complete) on-the-go aminos without
loading up on extra calories.

But with the market being so saturated,
which do you choose?
One option is Perform by Vivo Life.

Because it combines four
different types of plant-based protein, plus BCAA, Perform contains a complete amino acid profile in one scoop, it also contains digestive enzymes, turmeric and pink Himalayan
salt to speed up absorption, prevent joint inflammation, and replenish
electrolyte stores following exercise.

You canfind out more here

Men’s Fitness Admits: ‘You Can Get Jacked On Vegan Diet’

Vegan Bodybuilder Shares His Daily Diet Plan

Major NBA Player Credits Vegan Diet For Weight Loss

Vegan Health & Fitness Expo

Expo Ticket Packages
All access pass both days – all speakers, events, and the exhibit hall –
$90 online / $100 day of show
Saturday Event Pass – Access to all Speakers, the juice party, and the exhibit hall-
$50 online / $60 day of show
Sunday Event Pass – Access to all speakers, events and the exhibit hall
$50 online / $60 day of show
Subscriber Bonus! Subscribers get two free classes (a $20 value!). If you are already a subscriber, claim your two free classes.
Exhibit Hall Passes
The Exhibit Hall is one of the main attractions of the expo, and is a great place to mingle with other vegan fitness enthusiasts in between speakers. It has booths that will feature a wide variety of great vegan fitness and health products – clothing and accessories, shoes, food, supplements and more. There is also a professional studio where you can see photo shoots for the magazine taking place, and where you can have a picture taken striking your best pose. A fitness competition will also be held in the exhibit hall that anyone can enter, and the winners will be featured in the spring issue and on the magazine website. Also, there will be a media booth where interviews with speakers and attendees will be podcast or streamed live to the internet.
Speaker & Event Schedule
Saturday January 26
8:30-9:30 am Morning Yoga Session with Nicole Sopko –
Given the name Gopi Om by her guru, Nicole/Gopi believes that a yogic lifestyle enables a person to approach the more mundane aspects of life with a lighter heart and a more accepting attitude. She has been studying with Sri Dharma Mittra exclusively for the past several years, recently completing his first ever 800 hour training. She strives to live every moment as an offering to the divine and to pass on the teachings of yoga as they have been generously shared with her. Come for a morning of yoga asana (postures) and other techniques that will challenge and restore your body and your mind.
$10 online / $15 day of show
10-11 am
Mindy Collete – Come hear female vegan bodybuilder, bikini competitor, and fitness model Mindy Collette’s fascinating story. She will share advice on how to get the body of your dreams by eating a vegan diet, living a healthy lifestyle, and keeping work outs challenging.
$10 online / $15 day of show
11:30-12:30 Spice Wllllams-Crosby – learn about being a “Smart Vegan” from this amazing actress, stuntwoman, martial artist, and doctor. Spice, featured in the winter issue of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine is a true fitness legend, there is even a bronze statue of her at the Olympic Village representing female champion athleticism. A dynamic speaker with so much to teach. Learn about making smarter food choices and learn a few moves from one of Hollywood’s most gifted stunt choreographers. This class will be fun and informative!
$10 online / $15 day of show
1-2 pm Koya Webb – The gorgeous fitness model who graced the premier cover of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine with Robert Cheeke will share her secrets for health and beauty. Not only is Koya a top fitness model who has been in and/or on the cover of every fitness magazine in the country, and yes you might recognize her from her Nike ads, but she is also a very well-educated nutritionist and personal trainer. Her detox diet plans are sought out as the best tasting and most effective! Koya has also recently become certified in Ashtanga Yoga and will be featured in the upcoming spring issue of Vegan Health & Fitness doing some favorite poses. Learn first hand from Koya how to stay beautiful, fit and oh so happy, through eating a healthy vegan diet and exercising regularly. Koya will even end the class by taking you through some favorite exercise moves.
$10 online / $15 day of show
2:30-3:30 pm Dr. Heather Shenkman – An expert on keeping the heart healthy, Dr. Shenkman is a board certified cardiologist. She will teach you what to eat and what to avoid to keep your ticker ticking! Learn how to prevent and even reverse heart disease– the number one cause of death in the world! What’s more, Dr. Shenkman is also an accomplished triathlete and reluctant yogi. She will end her class by leading you through some favorite exercise moves.
$10 online / $15 day of show
4-5 pm Jennifer Argenti – Professional Violinist/Champion Surfer/Triathlete
Jennifer is a 17yr vegan whose road to veganism began long before she ever realized. Come along for Jennifer’s unique and inspirational story as she shares why and how she became a vegan and the incredible results of a lifestyle that changed the course of her life for the better – landing her a Champion surfing title, a USA surfing Championship ranking, Instrumentalist of the Year award and her most recent endeavor, triathlons. All participants will receive free Aubrey Organics hair/skin care samples!
Make sure to stick around for the juice party where Jennifer will serenade the crowd with her lovely violin sounds!
$10 online / $15 day of show
5:30-6:30 pm Ryan Vance shares his inspiring documentary about 77 year old champion bodybuilder Jim Morris – Introduction by super vegan athlete John Lewis (“The Bad-Ass Vegan”)
$10 online / $15 day of show
7-8 pm Matt Ruscigno is a Registered Dietitian (the only professional credential in nutrition) a vegan of 16 years, and an accomplished athlete. He is co-creator, along with award-winning filmmaker Sasha Perry, of the Day in the Life of a Vegan Athlete series of short films. Matt will discuss vegan nutrition for athletes and show clips from A Day in the Life.
$10 online / $15 day of show
9 pm
Juice Party – This is your chance to mingle and have a really good time! Drink organic fruit or vegetable juice, play games, win prizes! Check out the display of vGals/vGuys photos by Melissa Schwartz. The amazing Jennifer Argenti plays violin. Robert Cheeke MCs. You won’t want to miss this fabulously fun and healthy party!
$15 online / $20 at the door
Sunday January 27
8:30-9:30 am Morning Yoga Session with Nicole Sopko –
Given the name Gopi Om by her guru, Nicole/Gopi believes that a yogic lifestyle enables a person to approach the more mundane aspects of life with a lighter heart and a more accepting attitude. She has been studying with Sri Dharma Mittra exclusively for the past several years, recently completing his first ever 800 hour training. She strives to live every moment as an offering to the divine and to pass on the teachings of yoga as they have been generously shared with her. Come for a morning of yoga asana (postures) and other techniques that will challenge and restore your body and your mind.
$10 online / $15 day of show
10-11 am John Pierre – the well-known vegan personal trainer to the stars (most notably Ellen Degeneres) leads us in his super fun bootcamp workout – Come and see what all the celebs are raving about and get your blood pumping in a class that is suitable for all ages and levels.
$10 online / $15 day of show
11:30-12:30 Chef AJ – Enjoy a fun and entertaining cooking demonstration with the author of the highly acclaimed “Unprocessed” recipe book extraordinaire! Learn how to make something delicious, healthy and easy that your family will love. What’s even more fun is that we get to taste it, yum!
$10 online / $15 day of show
1-2 pm Dr. Mark Berman – Renowned doctor, and Q & A columnist for Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine, Dr. Mark Berman is a vegan doctor who cares about the well-being of all life, be it human, animal or the ecosystems upon which we depend. Dr. Berman was formerly the director of medical programs for Keas, Inc – a health IT start-up in San Francisco. Prior to that he was special assistant to the President & CEO at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for childhood obesity and a part time obesity consultant for Harvard Health Publications. Dr. Berman says his views have been influenced by his studies in physical therapy (McGill University), medical school (Yale University), research methods (UCSF, Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship) and internal medicine (Brigham &Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School).
$10 online / $15 day of show
2:30-3:30 pm Amanda Riester – Learn a thing or two– or a million from this amazing champion female boxer and fitness bikini competition champ turned healer and animal communicator.
$10 online / $15 day of show
4-5 pm
Todd Goldman – One of the few people certified in the US as a second degree black belt level instructor in Krav Maga, Todd will introduce you to this amazing martial art (and teach you a few moves)
$10 online / $15 day of show
5:30-6:30 pm John Salley – Come hear the record setting four-time NBA Champion, actor, and talk show host tell his amazing story and share inspirational messages about being vegan and living a healthy lifestyle. You will also hear about his latest exciting projects! If that’s not enough, you can read more about this amazing athlete in the upcoming spring issue of the magazine.
$10 online / $15 day of show
7-8 pm Robert Cheeke – You may know him as Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine’s premier issue cover guy. Or you may know him as the most recognizable vegan bodybuilder in the world. He is also a best selling author and and a Cornell-certified plant-based nutritionist and a pretty darn great endurance athlete as well. On top of it all, he is one of the best motivational speakers you will ever hear. Robert ends our expo with this session and sends us out into the world ready to be the fittest, healthiest vegans ever!
$10 online / $15 day of show
….Make sure to check out the must-have vegan health and fitness products at these featured booths
……….

What do four-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, triathlete Brendan Brazier and Ultimate Fighting Champion Mac Danzig have in common? Supreme muscular development for sure, but surprisingly these three top athletes follow vegetarian or vegan diets, as do a number of other top athletes around the world. For years, the conventional belief that ruled professional and amateur athletic training programs was that consuming meat was the only way to build muscle. Today, we know a balanced vegetarian diet that includes plant-based protein assists muscular development … no steak required.

Well-planned vegetarian diets that meet energy needs and contain a variety of plant-based protein foods, such as soy products, other legumes (beans and lentils), grains, nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein for athletes without the use of special foods or supplements. Consideration must be made for the type of vegetarian diet an athlete follows:

  • Vegan – a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, and which relies on plant protein only to meet protein needs.
  • Lactovegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products, a source of protein.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products, sources of protein.

Athletes need to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day to ensure this important nutrient is available when their bodies need it most. Moreover, not every source of protein is equal — it is actually the amino acids that make up protein that our bodies need. Meat, eggs and dairy foods are typically the most coveted protein sources because they contain all nine essential amino acids in the ratios that humans require. On the other hand, some plant-based proteins do not contain the essential amino acids in proportions that humans require. Include a variety of protein sources throughout the day to provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids, even if all of the protein sources come from plants.

Key is Protein Quality

The standard method of determining protein quality is the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which compares a protein’s amino acid quality based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it.

Egg protein has a high PDCAAS since it contains the perfect balance of the nine essential amino acids and is easily digestible, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians. Other vegetarian foods that have a high PDCAAS include dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and milk, and soy, including tofu, edamame, soy milk and soy yogurt.

Eat Protein at Every Meal

Vegetarian athletes looking to build muscle should eat good quality protein at every meal. Here are some tips for building muscle without consuming meat:

  • Eat five or six small meals per day that not only include protein, but also a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, vegetable oils and plenty of water.
  • More than half your calories each day should come from quality carbohydrates, which fuel your muscles.
  • Fats are necessary for supplying energy to muscles during workouts. Good sources of fat include olive oil, almonds, walnuts, avocados and canola oil.
  • Find a registered dietitian nutritionist who can work with you to create a personalized vegetarian eating plan that meets your individual needs.

Vegan Diet & Sports Nutrition ᐅ All About Protein, Vitamin B12 & Iron

“You’re vegan? But where do you get your protein?” People who have decided to follow a vegan diet have certainly heard that often enough.

Athletes need even more protein than non-athletes, but they also have to keep an eye on the other essential nutrients. If you work out regularly and eat a plant-based diet, you have to really take a close look at what you eat. This is the only way to be certain that your body will get everything it needs to be able to perform at its best and recover quickly.

Anyone who is wondering whether veganism and sports are compatible should take a look at athletes like Patrik Baboumian, Venus Williams, and Brandon Brazier. We’ll tell you how to do it right and show you which nutrients are especially important to ensure balanced vegan sports nutrition.

What does “vegan” mean and what are the benefits?

Veganism is a special form of the vegetarian diet. Vegans don’t eat any animal products at all, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or honey.

A plant-based diet…

…is associated with a lot of health benefits, because plant-based foods are very nutrient-dense. They are rich in fiber, folate, vitamin C, and other vitamins. Vegans also consume more unsaturated fatty acids and less saturated.(1)

Athletes can really benefit from the high density of nutrients, as they need more vitamins and minerals during an intense workout. The abundance of antioxidants prevents oxidative stress and protects the immune system. A vegan diet is also high in carbohydrates. This macronutrient is the most important source of energy, especially during workouts.

Tip:

Studies show that vegans have a lower energy intake than people who eat animal products.(2) More energy is required if the activity level is high. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils should be a regular part of the vegan diet. Frequent smaller meals can also be an easy way to boost the energy intake.

Micro and Macronutrients in Vegan Sports Nutrition

In order to maximize performance and prevent deficiencies, athletes who follow a plant-based diet should make sure there is variety in their meals. Particular focus should be on these nutrients:

A) Macronutrients:

  1. Carbohydrates
    Athletes aren’t the only ones who need carbohydrates. A vegan diet is rich in this macronutrient, which means fiber, antioxidant, and phytochemical intake is strong, too. The high level of micronutrients is one of the biggest benefits of plant-based foods. Exercise can produce free radicals and lead to oxidative stress. Vegan sports nutrition can counter that and support recovery after training.(3) The high intake of fiber from whole-grain products, beans, and lentils may cause gastrointestinal problems. In some situations (before a race) it makes sense to substitute these with low-fiber carbs:
    • rice
    • white pasta
    • white bread

If you’re working out, you should eat a snack rich in carbohydrates before and after training to keep your performance strong. It can be helpful to eat some carbs during your workout if it is a long one. Most supplements (e.g. gels) are vegan, so you can take them without any worries.

  1. Protein
    Many people think that it’s difficult to get enough protein when you follow a vegan diet. However, if you eat a wide variety of foods and increase the energy intake, this is not an issue. Athletes require more of this macronutrient than inactive people.

Calculate your protein requirement:

Vegan athletes generally eat less protein than athletes who consume animal products.(4) The challenge is focusing on quantity and quality. Plant-based protein sources often lack some essential amino acids, especially BCAAs or branched chain amino acids.

Are you concerned about getting enough high quality protein as a vegan athlete? The best route is to eat many different sources of plant-based protein each day:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • beans
  • lentils
  • tofu
  • quinoa
  • grains

This ensures that you meet your daily requirements for protein and essential amino acids.

If you can’t get what you need from natural foods (due to long workouts), it pays off to use vegan supplements (from soy, peas, rice, or hemp seeds). Pay attention to the quality of the supplements. The Kölner Liste® has a large database of products.

  1. Fat
    Vegans usually consume less fat, saturated fat in particular, than those who eat animal products. This reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.(5) Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, play a critical role in healthy (sports) nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to prevent inflammation in the muscles and joints.(6) Let’s take a closer look at fatty acids:
  • Omega-6 fatty acids:
    Plant-based diets provide plenty of omega-6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. These can be found in wheat germ oil, thistle oil, and hemp oil.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids:
    Vegans often lack omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and rapeseed oil.
    The body produces two other fatty acids from alpha-linolenic acid: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, only a small percentage of alpha-linolenic acid is converted into EPA and DHA. The main sources are cold-water fish, shellfish, and algae. In order to avoid a deficiency, vegans are advised to supplement these fatty acids. This doesn’t have to be fish oil – by now there is a variety of plant-based nutritional supplements produced from algae.

It’s important to consider both the quantity and quality when it comes to fat. About 30% of your daily calories should come from fat. High-quality plant-based sources for vegan athletes are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

B) Micronutrients

  1. Vitamin B12
    Since no animal products are consumed in a strict vegan diet, there is a risk of developing a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is produced from microorganisms in the gut flora of plant-eaters. The micronutrient can only be found in meat and dairy products. A B12 deficiency leads to problems like:

  • fatigue
  • anemia
  • poor concentration
  • muscle weakness
  • nerve damage

Vitamin B12 can also be found in fortified plant-based milk or breakfast cereals, but it is not yet clear how much of this is actually absorbed by the body. Vegans have to supplement their diet with B12. At least 6 mcg should be consumed daily.(7)

  1. Iron
    According to the U.S. Department of Health, men should consume 8 mg of iron per day and women 18 mg. Plant-based foods like grains, legumes, seeds, and green vegetables provide iron, many of them even more than meat. The degree to which our body can absorb iron depends on the form of the iron in the food. Readily available heme iron is found in meat, while plant sources contain only non-heme iron. The rate of absorption of nonheme iron is only about 1 to 15%.(8)

The good news:

You can enhance the absorption of nonheme iron with your diet. If plant-based sources rich in iron are consumed in combination with vitamin C, the iron is absorbed better.

Try the following iron-rich foods:

  • oatmeal with raspberries
  • hummus with bell pepper
  • colorful millet salad with oranges

Tip:

Fermented vegetables and sprouts also increase iron absorption. Be careful with how much coffee and tea you drink – they inhibit iron absorption.

Female vegan athletes are especially affected by low iron levels. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by low consumption or poor absorption of iron and leads to symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakened athletic performance. Do you struggle with these symptoms? Consult your doctor; a blood test can give you a clearer picture.

  1. Zinc
    Zinc is important for cell growth, regeneration, and protein metabolism. That’s why athletes require more in their diet. Zinc has a positive effect on athletic performance.(9) Like iron, plant-based zinc is not absorbed as well as from animal sources. This is why vegans have to pay special attention to getting enough trace elements. The recommended daily intake is between 7 (women) and 10 mg (men). Vegans should consume even more than that.
    Zinc can be found in oats, beans, nuts, seeds, and nutritional yeast.
  2. Calcium
    Calcium is an essential mineral – in volume it’s even the most important in our body. Almost 100% of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth. This micronutrient is also an important factor in blood coagulation.

Calcium:

…can only do its job in the body if there is sufficient vitamin D available. This vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium from the gut into the blood, regulates the calcium metabolism, and is needed for bone growth. That’s why it’s particularly important for vegan athletes to spend enough time outdoors in fresh air and sunshine. Vitamin D should be supplemented in the wintertime.

The recommended daily calcium allowance for adults is 1000 mg. If you do not get enough in your diet long-term, you will experience bone loss, which can result in fractures.

What foods should vegan athletes include in their diet to get enough calcium? Plant-based sources are:

  • kidney beans
  • broccoli
  • bok choi
  • kale
  • almonds
  • sesame
  • fortified soy milk
  • fortified fruit juice

Important: spinach and arugula provide a lot of calcium, but they also contain oxalic acid, which decreases absorption.

  1. Iodine
    One study looked at the dietary intake of vegans in Germany. Researchers found that along with calcium and vitamin B12, there is too little iodine included in the diet (only 40% of the recommended allowance). This trace element is used by the body to produce two thyroid hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine. The hormones control many processes in the body, such as growth, bone replacement, brain development, and the metabolism. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily allowance of 200 mcg per day.
    Seaweed is a good plant source for iodine. The micronutrient can also be found in potatoes, cranberries, and iodized salt.

Summary: What are the most beneficial foods for vegan athletes?

They should be colorful and diverse! We’ve put together a list of the best vegan foods for you below:

These plant-based foods power up your workouts:

Nutrients | Foods

***

20 Tips For The Vegetarian Bodybuilder!

If you’re looking to build more muscle mass but enjoy eating a vegetarian style of diet, you may often feel as though you might be defeated before you get going. You hear so much talk about protein being the most important nutrient needed to build muscle and one that you should be consuming very large amounts of to achieve success.

Don’t be so quick to jump to this conclusion however. While it definitely is true that protein is an extremely important nutrient to have in the diet, it’s not true that you necessarily need copious amounts of it to make progress. There are plenty of ways for vegetarians to build the muscle they are after despite the fact that they aren’t consuming any meat products.

Let’s have a look at the 20 top tips that the vegetarian bodybuilder needs to know.

1. Get Sufficient Calories

The very first thing you must do as a vegetarian bodybuilder is make sure that you get enough calories. If you don’t take in enough calories on a regular basis your body is much more likely to turn to incoming protein for fuel and you very well may see a deficit forming.

2. Consume Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables

Second, be sure that you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a high quality source of nutrients as well as all the antioxidant protection to keep your immune system feeling strong.

3. Don’t Neglect Chickpeas And Legumes

For vegetarians looking to build muscle, one of the key sources of protein they need to be looking into are chickpeas and other legumes. These will also be a good low-fat source of carbohydrates as well and make for a great snack before a hard workout.

4. Swap Rice For Quinoa

If you’re in the habit of always eating brown rice with your meals, swap that up for some quinoa instead. Quinoa tastes much like brown rice (a combination of brown rice and oatmeal) and is higher in overall protein content than the brown rice. On top of that, quinoa is actually a complete source of protein, whereas brown rice is not. This is important for the process of muscle building to take place.

5. Utilize Egg White Or Soy Protein Powders

Fifth, it’s a very wise move to make use of egg white protein powders, if you eat animal by-products, or soy protein powders if not. These will dramatically help to boost your protein intake and are quick and convenient for when you need them. As long as you do make sure to mix them up with other sources of protein, they are definitely a ‘must-have’ for your daily diet.

6. Avoid A Heavy Reliance On Processed Foods

One big mistake that many vegetarians make is relying a great deal on heavy, overly processed foods. Don’t do this. Remember, being vegetarian doesn’t mean you get free range to eat as many high-carb snack foods as you want. You still do definitely have to be eating healthy and making an effort to maintain a fresh diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

7. Keep Your Workouts Short But Intense

When it comes to your workout, as a vegetarian you should aim for short but intense workouts. This will help prevent muscle mass loss from taking place and your body relying on protein to get through those workouts. If you were doing very long workout sessions that’s when your protein needs will be really elevated, which could get more difficult being on a vegetarian diet.

8. Be Sure To Vary Your Food Choices

Also be sure that you’re taking the time to vary your foods in your diet as well. As a vegetarian you may find that it’s easy to gravitate to the same foods over and over and over again. Try to prevent this if you can. By making sure to take in a higher variety you will prevent nutrient deficiencies and have better luck with your diet program.

9. Make Use Of Tempeh

Another protein source that’s highly beneficial for vegetarians is tempeh. This one is one that is often overlooked so start finding creative ways to add it to your diet today. Many people find they prefer this over tofu, which is the other main vegetarian option.

10. Consider Going Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

One thing that you may want to consider, and this will highly be based on your personal beliefs, is going lacto-ovo vegetarian. What this means is that you will include both egg and dairy products in your diet. This will dramatically boost your protein options since then you can include egg and egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, and milk. It will definitely make your life as a vegetarian bodybuilder easier.

11. Utilize Nuts For Fuel

Another great food that you’ll want to take in are nuts. Nuts provide a healthy source of fat and will provide a long-lasting form of energy as well. One handful will significantly boost your calorie intake and help make muscle gain that much easier.

12. Take In Plenty Of Flaxseeds, Walnuts, And Flaxseed Oil

For your essential fatty acids, since you likely won’t be consuming fatty fish or fish oil, turn to flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. These will have to be your primary sources for this must-have nutrient.

13. Start Adding Peanut Butter

Another good way to boost your fat content is to start smearing natural peanut butter on as many foods as you can in your diet. This will also help to boost your overall calorie intake as well, which is obviously important when aiming to build muscle. Smear some peanut butter over your bananas, apples, mix it into oatmeal, or add it to any fruit smoothies you may be preparing.

14. Consider Iron Supplementation

One nutrient that you may fall short in without eating any red meat is iron. Since iron is responsible for good red blood cell development, it’s not one you want to risk being low in. If you do, you’re going to find you’re fatiguing a lot faster in your workouts as well. If you plan on carrying out a vegetarian diet for the long term, consider adding an iron supplement to your day.

15. Focus On Broccoli And Spinach Intakes

Two other vegetables that you’ll definitely want to think about adding in higher quantities as well are broccoli and spinach. These both will contain nice doses of calcium, which is another nutrient you may fall short in. In addition to both of these, also think about using a calcium supplement.

16. Don’t Let Others Get You Down

Unfortunately one thing that many vegetarian bodybuilders deal with is others telling them they won’t see success. Try and block this out as best as possible. If you want to really pack on the muscle, you need to stay in a healthy frame of mind – and their negative influence is definitely not going to help you do so.

17. Eat More Frequently

It’s also important that you’re making sure to eat frequently throughout the day. Since you won’t be taking in as much protein with every meal you eat as someone who isn’t a vegetarian, by getting in regular meals you’ll help ensure that you do always have that steady stream of amino acids going into the muscle tissues.

18. Monitor Your Body Fat Levels

Since one thing many vegetarian bodybuilders are concerned over is muscle mass loss, be sure that you’re regularly monitoring your body fat levels. This will give you a better indication if you are losing muscle mass so that action can be taken to help prevent this.

19. Supplement With Branched Chain Amino Acids

Another important supplement that you’ll want to use is branched chain amino acids. These you should specifically take immediately before and after the workout is complete as they too will help to safeguard against muscle mass loss.

20. Stay Positive

Finally, the last tip is to stay positive. It may take slightly longer to build muscle as a vegetarian, but if you stay positive and keep working towards your goals, you definitely can get the results you’re looking for.

Conclusion

So be sure that you’re keeping all of these tips in mind. More and more people are turning to this style of eating and it definitely does not mean you need to give up on your fitness and muscle building goals.

5 exercise tips to keep in mind when adopting a vegan diet

Vitabiotics share their top 5 fitness tips for those adopting a vegan diet to help you stay on track to achieve your fitness goals.

There are countless benefits of adopting a vegan diet, including increased energy and faster recovery time after exercising. Diet plays a vital part in helping you to achieve your fitness goals, so the nutrition experts over at Vitabiotics have provided their top 5 fitness tips for those adopting a vegan diet to help you stay on track to achieve your fitness goals.

1. Opt for low intensity, low frequency and short duration workouts

It’s important to start slow if you’re adopting a new exercise routine. Easing yourself into exercise can help to build up muscle strength over time and aid recovery.

In order to make sure you’re not overexerting yourself to begin with, opt for short, lower intensity and lower frequency workouts. Exercise for around 30-45 minutes per session and lift heavy weights for fewer reps.

This is the optimal level of exercise to help you gain muscle without putting too much pressure on your body.

Low intensity exercise includes activities such as:

  • Beginner’s yoga – Opt for Hatha yoga if you’re new to this practice. This form is more gentle and moves more slowly than other forms of yoga.
  • Swimming – A long duration, low-intensity swimming session can exercise your whole body without overexerting your muscles.
  • Light walk – Walking is an easy exercise to get into, and it can help you to lose weight and de-stress.
  • General household chores e.g. gardening, mopping and vacuuming – You can burn calories through daily household chores. Sweeping and vacuuming for 30 mins can burn 136 and 119 calories respectively!

Once your body is used to regular low-intensity workouts, you can up the intensity to burn more calories without damaging your muscles.

2. Eat the right pre-workout foods

In order to make the most of your workout, it’s essential to fuel your body with the right foods. This can help to improve your performance whilst exercising and give you the energy to see your workout right through until the end.

Your main food focus before a gym-session should be carbs. More specifically, a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. However, make sure to keep your food-intake light so you don’t experience any crippling stomach cramps during your workout!

A handful of fresh, medjool dates are an easy to grab snack that you can munch on before heading to the gym or before you embark on a run. They’re high in glucose and can provide you with an energy-boost to keep you going whilst exercising.

3. Perfect your post-workout meal

If you’re having a hard time recovering from exercise, you may need to rethink your post-workout nutrition.

Firstly, you should always aim to eat a recovery meal or snack within 15-60 mins of finishing your workout, as this is when your muscles start the repair process.

Secondly, it’s important to include both carbs and protein in your post-workout snack. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan-friendly ingredients you can throw together to make the perfect smoothie or shake to repair and refuel your muscles.

Opt for:

  • Fruit smoothies with added soy milk and coconut yoghurt – Fruits such as grapes, mangoes and pears are heavily alkaline and can help to reduce lactic acid build-up after a workout.
  • High-quality vegan protein powder – If you find it difficult to get enough protein, incorporate a vegan protein powder into your post-workout meal or shake for a boost.
  • Lentil spaghetti bolognese – With this hearty meal, you’ll get the right carbs and proteins to facilitate a speedy recovery.

Refining your nutrition will help to provide you with all the tools you need to aid muscle recovery after a workout.

4. Take vegan-friendly vitamins

You may find it difficult to get the right levels of vitamin B-12 when adopting a vegan diet. This is because this vitamin is normally present in animal products such as liver, eggs and fish. Vegans and all adults over 50 – even meat eaters – should get their B12 from supplements or fortified foods.

Vitamin B-12 plays an important role in energy production, therefore, you may feel more tired and sluggish if you’re not getting enough in your diet. Viva!Health recommends an intake of 5µg per day from fortified foods, with the regular use of supplements to ensure topping this up.

Iron is another vitamin that many people worry about being deficient in when they adopt a vegan diet, but it’s a myth that you need to eat red meat to get enough iron. Research suggests that vegans actually consume more iron than meat-eaters or vegetarians. You can easily achieve your daily iron intake from a range of everyday foods like nuts, seeds and raisins to your cereal along with a few vitamin C-rich blueberries or strawberries. Or tuck into scrambled tofu on wholemeal toast with a glass of orange juice. An iron-rich lunch might be a Moroccan lentil soup and a wholemeal roll, or a quinoa and mixed bean salad. Dinner ideas include smoked tofu stir-fry with brown rice, broccoli and pumpkin seeds, or chickpea and spinach curry or pasta and beans. Be adventurous!

A vegan supplement can help you to get the right levels of important vitamins and minerals to support an active lifestyle, and they don’t contain any animal products so they’re vegan-friendly. You can find out more about which supplements you should be taking on a vegan diet here.

5. Take an extra rest day (or two!)

When you’re passionate about exercise, it can be difficult to remember that rest is just as important as keeping fit.

It’s crucial to give your muscles that extra time to recover, so take as much time as you need to make sure your body is ready to hit the gym for your next session.

On your rest days you should feel comfortable and relaxed and you don’t have to avoid exercise completely. Instead, opt for low-intensity exercise such as yoga or walking to remain active whilst giving your muscle times to rest.

Exercising on a vegan diet shouldn’t be complicated. Simply keep your body fueled with a high quantity of high-quality foods and you’ll be right on track to achieve your fitness goals, and hopefully exceed them!

Want to know more about what foods you should be eating to help fuel your workouts? Check out our vegan workout nutrition guide here. If you want to learn more about building lean muscle on a vegan diet, check out our top tips here.

7-Day Vegan Meal Plan: 1,200 Calories

Following a vegan diet, or even just including more plant-based foods in your routine, can be a healthy and delicious approach to eating. Research has shown that cutting back on animal products and eating more beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is associated with a decreased risk for diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Plus, you may have an easier time losing weight on a vegan diet, thanks to fiber-rich foods, which help you feel full and satisfied throughout the day.

Related: 9 Healthy Tips to Help You Start Eating a Vegan Diet

At 1,200 calories, this vegan meal plan sets you up to lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week and includes a variety of nutritious foods and balanced meals to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need each day. Whether you’re a full-time vegan or just looking for healthy vegan recipe ideas, this plant-based meal plan makes for a week of wholesome eating.

Looking for a different calorie level? See our 1,500 calorie and 1,800-calorie vegan meal plans.

How to Meal Prep You Week of Meals:

  1. Make a batch of the Vegan Pancakes to have for breakfast on Days 1, 5 and 7. Store the cooked pancakes in a single layer in an air-tight container (To buy: amazon.com, $38) and freeze until ready to eat; reheat in the microwave.
  2. Cook a batch of Basic Quinoa to have for lunch on Day 2 and dinner on Day 5.
  3. Make the Quinoa & Chia Oatmeal Mix to have on Day 4. Store the dry mix in an airtight container (To buy: amazon.com, $17) for up to 1 month.

Looking for More? See all of our healthy vegan meal plans and check out the Cooking Light Diet to get customized meal plans sent to your inbox.

Day 1

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Breakfast (296 calories)

  • 2 Vegan Pancakes
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter

Mix peanut butter with 1 tsp. warm water (or more, as needed, to thin out the peanut butter). Drizzle over pancakes.

A.M. Snack (150 calories)

  • 3/4 cup edamame pods, seasoned with a pinch of salt

Lunch (245 calories)

  • 1 serving White Bean & Avocado Toast
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber

P.M. Snack (30 calories)

  • 1 small plum

Dinner (499 calories)

  • 1 serving Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Daily Totals: 1,221 calories, 50 g protein, 137 g carbohydrates, 38 g fiber, 59 g fat, 1,586 mg sodium

Day 2

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Breakfast (262 calories)

  • 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin

A.M. Snack (100 calories)

  • 1/2 cup edamame pods, seasoned with a pinch of salt

Lunch (360 calories)

  • 4 cups White Bean & Veggie Salad

If you’re taking this salad to go, pack it up in this handy meal-prep container, specifically made to keep your greens fresh and dressing separate until you’re ready to eat. Buy It! amazon.com, $35 for a two-pack.

Dinner (500 calories)

  • 2 cups Black-Bean Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Daily Totals: 1,220 calories, 48 g protein, 153 g carbohydrates, 46 g fiber, 53 g fat, 1,370 mg sodium

Day 3

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Breakfast (266 calories)

  • 1 serving Peanut Butter-Banana Toast

A.M. Snack (114 calories)

  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Lunch (325 calories)

  • 4 cups serving Green Salad with Edamame & Beets

P.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 2 cups air-popped popcorn

Dinner (446 calories)

  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup
  • 1/2 small whole-wheat pita, toasted
  • 1/3 cup hummus

Meal-Prep Tip: Save 1 serving of the Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup in a leakproof meal-prep container (To buy: amazon.com, $7.19) for lunch on Day 4.

Daily Totals: 1,213 calories, 49 g protein, 132 g carbohydrates, 34 g fiber, 57 g fat, 1,760 mg sodium

Day 4

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  • 1/3 cup Quinoa & Chia Oatmeal Mix cooked with 1 1/4 cups unsweetened soymilk

Meal-Prep Tip: Make the Quinoa & Chia Oatmeal Mix and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

A.M. Snack (30 calories)

  • 1 small plum

Lunch (309 calories)

  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup
  • 1/2 small whole-wheat pita, toasted

P.M. Snack (114 calories)

  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Dinner (472 calories)

  • 1 serving Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Daily Totals: 1,222 calories, 51 g protein, 177 g carbohydrates, 40 g fiber, 40 g fat, 1,327 mg sodium

Day 5

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  • 2 Vegan Pancakes
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter

Mix peanut butter with 1 tsp. warm water (or more, as needed, to thin out the peanut butter). Drizzle over pancakes.

  • 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

P.M. Snack (100 calories)

  • 1/2 cup edamame pods, seasoned with a pinch of salt

Dinner (487 calories)

  • 1 cup Chickpea Curry
  • 1 cup Basic Quinoa

Daily Totals: 1,208 calories, 44 g protein, 149 g carbohydrates, 33 g fiber, 50 g fat, 1,253 mg sodium

Day 6

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  • 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin

A.M. Snack (17 calories)

  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into sticks

Lunch (308 calories)

  • 1 serving Vegan Bistro Lunch Box
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Dinner (525 calories)

  • 1 serving Thai Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce
  • 1 cup Vegan Thai Cucumber Salad

Daily Totals: 1,211 calories, 51 g protein, 118 g carbohydrates, 32 g fiber, 65 g fat, 2,065 mg sodium

Day 7

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  • 2 Vegan Pancakes
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter

Mix peanut butter with 1 tsp. warm water (or more, as needed, to thin out the peanut butter). Drizzle over pancakes.

A.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 1 medium orange
  • 4 cups serving Green Salad with Edamame & Beets

P.M. Snack (93 calories)

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn

Dinner (434 calories)

  • 1 serving Rainbow Veggie Spring Roll Bowl

Daily Totals: 1,209 calories, 45 g protein, 144 g carbohydrates, 32 g fiber, 51 g fat, 1,732 mg sodium

You Did It!

Congratulations on finishing this vegan weight-loss meal plan. Maybe you followed along with every single meal and snack or perhaps just used it as an inspirational guide for following a vegan diet. Either way, we hope you found this plan interesting, delicious and informative. Following a plant-based diet meal plan is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. Keep up the good work and try one of our other healthy vegan meal plans or vegetarian meal plans.

Watch: How to Make Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Healthy Vegan Recipes

22-Day Vegan Meal Plan

How to Meal Prep a Week of Vegan Lunches

Cheap Vegan Meal Plan to Lose Weight

7 Vegan Trainers Share How They Fuel for Even the Toughest Workouts

Photo: HealthyLauraCom /

The crazier your schedule, the harder it is to follow a vegan diet. That’s because successfully omitting all animal products from your life takes careful planning and prep and a whole lot of commitment. That’s even truer for people who exercise for a living: Post-workout hanger is a real thing, and vegan or not, there are consequences to not fueling and recovering properly. (See: The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout)

Still, there are plenty of benefits to following a vegan diet. For one, eating more plants and fewer animals has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, as we reported in “The Difference Between a Plant-Based Diet and a Vegan Diet.” Plus, some vegans say they have more energy, learn a ton about nutrition, and feel more connected to where their food comes from.

Considering going vegan yourself? We tapped trainers for their tips on how to stick to the diet on long days, after taxing workouts.

Make sure you consume enough calories.

“One of the biggest mistakes active people make when going vegan is not eating enough calories. When I switched from a standard American diet to a vegan diet, I’d go to the grocery store, buy a cart full of veggies, then leave. I was eating a ton of kale, spinach, and root vegetables, but that’s not nearly enough calories for a typical meal. Finding calorically dense foods, like potatoes, nuts, grains, and seeds helped me meet my energy needs for the day.”-Chelsea Cox, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor in Washington, DC

(Related: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?)

Simplify your life as much as possible.

“The truth is, it’d be hard for me to maintain a vegan diet if I had to meal prep everything myself (I wake up at 4:00 am and work until 8:00 pm). So I use 22 Days Nutrition, a service that sends me a package every Friday with the meals I need for the following week-things like brown rice with green beans and lentils, and quinoa with cherry tomatoes and potatoes. I heat my meals up in the morning, throw everything in an insulated lunch bag, then head to the gym for the day.”-Hernan Santa Jr., head boxing coach at EverybodyFights in New York

Always arrive prepared.

“A lot of people turn to junk food to make up their calories, so it’s important to be prepared when hunger strikes. I meal prep things like overnight oats and chia seed pudding so I have breakfast ready every day of the week, and I always keep nuts, coconut jerky, and dried fruit in my bag to pick on throughout the day. I also keep a vegan protein shake on hand for after I work out. My favorite has half an avocado, a handful of spinach, a handful of frozen blueberries, one scoop of vegan protein powder, and one cup of Ripple pea protein milk.”-Jessi Lucatorto, instructor at SPEIR Pilates in Los Angeles

Fat is your friend.

“I eat a lot of fat throughout the day to keep me full: nut butter, avocado, nuts, and hummus. I even keep a jar of nut butter upside down in the cup holder in my car. Sometimes I use it for my salad or put it on a celery stick for a snack, but it’s always there ready to go.”-Adrianne Peterson, Flywheel instructor in Austin, TX

Embrace the bowl.

“I make a banging breakfast bowl starting with Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Just the Clusters cereal (it has 5g of protein and 3g fiber). Then, I add a nut butter for more protein, pomegranate seeds, sliced bananas, blueberries, and a ton of chia seeds. Then, I top with raw almonds, cacao nibs, and raw cashews. One of my go-tos after a long day of work is another bowl-this one’s a bean bowl with pinto, black, or refried beans, and coconut oil and brown rice. The key to keeping your energy up, on a vegan diet or any diet, is eating a lot of whole foods.”-Walter Clyburn, Crunch personal trainer in San Francisco

Focus on nutrient-dense foods.

“Bread and pasta aren’t necessarily bad, but it’s easy to rely on them too much, especially at restaurants where pasta is the only vegan option. Look at menus beforehand to make sure you can order more nutrient-dense foods, too. I love legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas. And remember: Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy: Oreos are vegan!”-Corinne Fitzgerald, coach at Mile High Run Club in New York

(Related: 12 Things No One Tells You About Going Vegan)​

Think beyond meat substitutes.

“When I first went vegan nine years ago, I ate a lot of meat and cheese substitutes, which are highly processed. Those types of foods are okay from time to time, but it’s important to think of your vegan diet not just in terms of what you can’t have; there’s much more to vegan eating than meat substitutes. Whole foods-like hummus, nuts, greens-are both fun to cook with and make you feel more energized. Plus, when I switched to a more whole foods–focused diet, my mood, skin, and digestion improved.”-Devin Tollison, SoulCycle instructor in Chicago

  • By Kiera Carter

Vegan diet and exercise

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