Health and fitness: Hi Mr Bhutan,

Can a vegan build muscle? 

-Elen, 28 years 

Dear Elen,

A true vegan is someone who doesn’t eat anything that is animal based, not even dairy and eggs.

Yes! Vegans can build muscle; there are a few vegan muscle monsters out there! But they only make a tiny drop in the ocean, because as a vegan when it’s comes to muscle building you are holding the other end of the stick.

The biggest limitation with being a vegan is that plant based protein do not have the complete amino acid profile required to re-synthesise muscle to create new growth in size and strength, while all animal based protein are complete.

So, vegans must be far more disciplined and diligent with proper food combination to create a complete muscle building meal.

I would recommend vegans to focus on the core of their diet based on grains, nuts and seeds to ensure they get plenty of leucine, as this is a very important amino acid that plant based protein has very little of, so consuming multiple sources of vegetable based protein in every meal is very important.

To ensure you have enough protein in every meal, you could supplement with soy protein and hemp seed protein supplement, which are readily available in the market. It’s an easy and delicious way to ensure your nutrition and they come in many flavours.

An anabolic breakfast for vegan’s:

40gm oats

20gm nuts

Sprinkle some chia seeds