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Building and Maintaining Muscle On a Raw Food Diet

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The main reason people in the West are skeptical about adopting a raw vegan lifestyle is

their sincere belief that they will become boney and weak as a result. This belief is based on

the many myths surrounding protein – where it comes from and how our bodies use it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are raw vegans who do appear quite thin and weak, but that is a

reflection of the foods that they are selecting and how many calories they consume. Just

because someone is a raw vegan doesn’t mean that they are eating a balanced diet. It does

not mean that there’s an absence of protein in raw foods.

Most of the raw vegans I know look like most other physically fit people – slim and toned. I

even know a couple of overweight raw vegans, but they were more over weight before they

became raw vegans. In addition, there are raw vegan body builders all over the North

America, and they are just as ripped as the meat eating variety (who don’t take steroids).

Two examples, right off the top of my head, are Wade Lightheart and Danny Dalton.

Wade Lightheart is a three time World Body Building Champion from Canada, and a

certified sports nutrition adviser. Danny Dalton is an American cab driver and amateur body

builder, who’s over 50 years old but looks 40, at most. Both of these men have bulked up

and buffed out eating a raw vegan diet. And if they can do it so can you!

Nutrients your body needs to build Muscle

There is a widespread misconception about whole protein ONLY being available in meat

and animal products, such as milk, eggs and cheese. It is also widely believed that your

muscles need complete protein molecules in order to build muscle. This is also untrue. The

fact is, our bodies cannot use the whole protein molecule as is. Our digestive system must

first break it down into it’s subunits (amino acids) in order to absorb it and put it to use,

building and/or maintaining muscle.

It’s not surprising that so many people believe in myths regarding protein. Since 1915,

nutrition education in American schools has been provided for by the National Dairy

Council. Their reasons for providing this “educational” service are pretty obvious. And their

self-serving “nutrition facts” are anything but factual.

Here’s the truth: Fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, sprouts and grains all contain complete protein molecules. Just like meat. Raw foods also contain essential and non-essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue. In addition, they have zero to moderate fat content and offer high quality carbohydrates. No empty calories here.

Raw Foods That Contain Whole Protein:

Durians – A one cup serving of Durian(choppedordiced)provides4 grams of protein, 66

grams carbohydrate (9 grams dietary fiber), 13 grams fats (unsaturated only), and 357

calories.

Alfalfa Sprouts – A one cup serving of Alfalfa Sprouts provides 1 gram of protein, 1 gram

carbohydrate (all of it dietary fiber), 0 fat, and 8 calories.

Garbanzo Bean Sprouts – One serving is about 3.5ouncesand provides 10 grams protein,

24 grams carbohydrate (3 grams dietary fiber), 4 grams of fat, and 160 calories.

Mung Bean Sprouts – A one cup serving of Mung Bean Sprouts provides 3 grams of

protein, 6 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams dietary fiber), 0 fat, and 31 calories.

Hemp Seeds (Shelled) – One ounce of Hemp Seeds provides 10 grams of protein, 2 grams

carbohydrate (1 gram dietary fiber), 13 grams fat, and 162 calories.

Kholrabi – 1 cup of Kholrabi provides 2 grams of protein, 8grams carbohydrate (5 grams

dietary fiber), 0 fat, and 36 calories.

Kale – 1 cup chopped provides 2 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate (1 gram dietary

fiber), 0 fat, and 33 calories.

Broccoli – One cup chopped provides 3 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrate (2 grams

dietary fiber), 0 fat, and 31 calories.

Sprouted Almonds – A one ounce serving provides 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of

carbohydrate (3.3 grams dietary fiber), 11 grams fat, and 163 calories.

Brazil Nuts – A one ounce serving provides 4 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate (2

grams dietary fiber), 19 grams fat, and 184 calories.

As you can see, not only are raw foods a great source of whole protein, but they also

provide less fat and better muscle fuel (complex carbohydrates) than meat. There are many

other raw foods that provide whole protein, but these are among my personal favorites,

because of their taste, texture and how well they combine with other raw foods.

I wish I could find unit counts of individual amino acids for these foods as well, since you

would be able to see how combining certain raw foods creates additional “whole protein”,

without the body needing to break it down for use. If you are trying to build muscle, eating a

wide variety of foods that contain both complete protein molecules and amino acids is very

important. Even eating a food that contains no complete protein molecules, only essential

and non-essential amino acids, is useful to that end.

It’s not at all difficult to consume sufficient amounts of whole protein if you’re a raw vegan.

It’s all about choosing the right foods. Most green vegetables are a good sources of whole protein,

and they benefit you in many other ways as well. How much protein an individual will need largely depends

on their age, weight and gender.

For example: An adult man weighing 185 pounds will need approximately 67 grams of

protein per day. If he’s an active athlete, he will need 101-135 grams of protein. An adult

woman weighing 130 pounds will need approximately 47 grams of protein per day. She’ll

need at least 50 grams while she’s pregnant and 60 grams while she lactates. If she’s an

active athlete, she will need 71-95 grams of protein per day.

If you’ve been a raw vegan for even one week, you already know that maintaining a healthy

weight requires that you consume a LOT more food than you would if you were eating a

typical Western diet, a vegetarian diet, or even a cooked vegan diet. And there are so many

whole food sources of both complete protein and amino acids (that can be eaten raw) it’s

really just a matter of choosing those that appeal to your taste buds and whatever

carbohydrate/protein/fat ratio you’re trying to achieve. So, choose wisely and enjoy!



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