Scott Jurek , the top ultrarunner arguably of all time, setting ten ultramarathon course records. Carl Lewis winning 9 Olympic Gold medals in track athletics. Heather Mills setting 5 world records in downhill skiing. Just 3 of hundreds of totally vegan athletes at the highest level in their sport. If they can preform at that level on a vegan diet, that surely is proof animal protein is not needed for strength, endurance and muscle building.
Too understand why humans don’t “need” animal meat to get a desired muscle tone you first have to understand how we build muscle:
How We Build Muscle
When you understand how muscle is built, you will realize that animal products are not necessary, and they could actually have an adverse effect on your health. Muscle size only increases when two conditions are present:
First, you stimulate growth by consistently engaging in resistance training that exerts stress on muscle fibers, creating micro-tears in them.
Second, you need to eat enough calories to support muscle repair and growth, a small but vital proportion of which must consist of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Amino acids help us recover from training, and they help damaged muscle tissues repair and grow.
However it is more complicated than that as not all calories are equal. Person A consumes 2,500 calories of whole plant foods with 70 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates and 15 percent each from proteins and fats, which is close to an ideal ratio for energy production, muscle growth, and overall health. Whilst Person B consumes 2,500 calories from numerous sources, including refined carbohydrates and heavily processed proteins and fats, and has a ratio of 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates, and 30 percent each from proteins and fats.
Even though they consume the same number of calories each day, Person A is poised for health and fitness success, while Person B is likely to experience low energy, as well as inferior muscle-building results and health outcomes. His insufficient carbohydrate consumption, combined with his excessive intake of protein and fat (both of which require more energy to process and digest), could negatively impact his exercise program and whether or not he has the energy to train. Further, at 30% of calories, Person B’s protein consumption is three to six times what science suggests we need, and much of that protein will just be excreted and unused. Also, his low carb, high protein, and high fat diet mirrors the typical American diet, which has left most Americans unhealthy and overweight.
When you eat whole plant foods, you consume not only fuel (carbohydrates), but also amino acids (protein), fatty acids (fat), fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other components in the right proportions for promoting good health. When you consume processed and refined foods, you sacrifice a huge proportion of these nutrients, and you acquire the toxic baggage that comes with these foods, including excess fat and cholesterol, refined sugars, refined flours, artificial colors, additives, preservatives, and more. The amino acids in fruits and vegetables are sufficient to build muscle, and their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants also keep us healthy, so we can exercise regularly and turn consistency into results. It is easy to see how a whole-food, plant-based diet will result in optimal health and athletic performance, including building muscle.
It has worked for me and all vegans I know. Since going vegan a while ago i have had so much more energy for my sport and running; feeling healthy and satisfied pretty much all of the time.
But for those of you who aren’t vegan, I challenge you instead of coming back and trying to argue, try going vegan and if you don’t feel the healthiest you have ever felt then I am willing to have a debate.