When the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘bodybuilding’ are mentioned, most of the people could not relate them, which somehow is explainable because you cannot pump up your muscles eating sweet potatoes and kale. Once you will read this article, maybe you may change up your mind until the next time ‘vegan’ and ‘bodybuilding’ are mentioned together to you.
Natalie Matthews from Huston is a professional bodybuilder who was pump up her muscles eating tofu. Natalie is a certified vegan chief too, who wants to experiment and surprise people around her that her body shape is get through a plant-based diet. The three-time Naturally Fit Federation bikini bodybuilder explains that she sees herself as a walking billboard that broke all the stereotypes of being a vegan and a bodybuilder in the same time. Natalie, 28, explains that she is the one that can show the people that everything is possible i.e. being healthy vegan, being strong, and build muscles can be combined all together.
Natalie spends her childhood days in Puerto Rico and that is the period since she became a vegetarian. About five years ago she decided to make extra changes in her every day diet by giving up the milk and the cheese as support to her husband, who was recommended to exclude these ingredients in order his sinuses to get improved. Afterwards, Natalie explains that she noticed great change in her body health, starting from clearness of her acnes to gaining extra energy. Nowadays Natalie runs the web site ‘Fit Vegan Chef’ where she posts vegan recipes and she sells cookbooks too. She explains that currently she is in her best shape thanks to the vegan lifestyle. She is trying to break the stereotypes about the vegans and the sports that they are successful in, explaining that there is a great amount of vegan athletes all over the world who are healthy and dominate in different sports.
Her healthy lifestyle is based on consuming enough protein in her body. The usual protein sources that are included in her diet are: tofu, legumes, tempeh, veggie burgers, protein pasta, and dark leafy greens. The USDA recommends each women up to the weight of 150 pounds to consume 54 grams of protein on a day-to-day basis i.e. two grams of proteins per one kilogram of bodyweight. During her workout session Natalie consumes double of this amount of proteins i.e. about 110 grams. Also, she makes sure that 80 percent of her diet is consisted of whole foods. Even when Natalie is not in her workout session she eats a lots. The greatest thing about being a vegan is that you can consume a great amount of food, because the plant-based foods have low calories and you can fill your stomach with as much amount as you wish, explains Natalie.
Natalie allow us to take a look into her daily food menu. Here is how it looks like.
Every morning Natalie drinks a big glass of water and a cup of coffee sweetened with stevia, instead of sugar. She is practising early in the morning, so before going to the gym she consumes bowl of oats and berries. Her bowl is not fulfilled up to the top, because she does not want to feel heavy before she starts with lifting. If she feels like she does not want to eat oats, she will prepare a protein smoothie or will eat fruit with home-made pumpkin granola. During the weekends she is making a gluten-free vegan protein waffles. The same are consisted of vegan protein powder, flax meal, oats, and cacao nibs.
- Post-Workout Lunch
When she finishes with her workout, her body is seeking for mix of carbs, proteins, and fats in order to get recovered. She is taking a bid bowl and puts inside a rice, potatoes, or pasta as a base, and on the top she has tofu or lentils. Then she is overloading her organism with steamed green vegetables, probiotic raw sauerkraut, salad greens, and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour. In order to gain healthy fats, she makes tahini mixed with lemon juice. Sometimes she mixes the tahini with avocado or pumpkin seeds. She used to say that her meals consist all the colours of the rainbow and she tries to eat each colour.
Sometimes when she is doing the everyday activities she may get hungry. In that case she consumes cookie-dough balls which are prepared from oats, dates, vegan protein powder, and peanut butter. If she is tired of eating cookie-dough balls, then she gets hummus with pita or chocolate peanut butter bars rich with proteins and made at home.
When dinner comes, Natalie mixes up a vegan fried rice, which is actual her favourite food. This vegan fried rice is made of tofu, garlic, rice, steamed veggies, and turmeric spice. At the end she adds a probiotic kombucha.
Natalie is very proud of being vegan because she is helping not only her health and organism, but the environments and the animals too. She suggests to you becoming vegan too, because it is a beneficial condition and you can go to any supermarket or restaurant and find vegan options.