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Vegetarian Muscle Building
One of the most frequent email requests I receive is for a description of my vegetarian diet for muscle building. Since there is so much interest in this topic, I thought I’d share it with you today.
Breakfast: My day always starts with a smoothie. This will normally consist of rice, pea or hemp protein, or a combination of the three. I mix 30-40 grams of protein in 8 ounces of organic coconut milk and 8-12 ounces of water. I also mix a banana, mixed frozen berries, a tablespoon of cocoa beans, and 2 tablespoons of maca powder, which is great for boosting testosterone production and virility. This smoothie is absolutely delicious.
Snack – A few hours later, I’ll have some tangerines and some pistachios/cashews or a couple of apples with almond butter. Whole Foods Fresh Ground Almond Butter is one of my favorite things, and I could easily eat a whole container in one sitting. Sometimes for a nightly treat I mix it with organic honey and kill the entire container, washing it down with a cup of hemp or almond milk.
I’m a big fan of high sodium for strength and energy production, so I always eat a few pickles every day and add sea salt to most of my food.
Lunch: This usually consists of some sort of legumes or beans, which are a mainstay in any vegetarian, muscle-building diet, with organic brown rice or quinoa. I’ll saute the black beans with peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic and mix it into the rice. I top it with salsa and some fresh avocado. This is my Mexican style rice and beans. Sometimes I just mix the beans and rice or quinoa with the marinara sauce. I always cook enough for two days.
Sometimes I’ll have a salad with that or eat some raw greens or mix some steamed kale or spinach into the whole thing.
I’ll occasionally have a couple of almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I’ve completely eliminated peanuts and peanut butter due to the deadly toxins they contain, along with wheat due to its inflammatory properties, so these aren’t eaten as much as they used to be. I take some brown rice bread for the times I eat them.
Snack: similar to the previous one. When I’m not around food, I always carry organic raw food bars and a variety of nuts with me. If I’m at home and had fruit for my first snack, I try making this snack with raw veggies and hummus along with a decent amount of nuts.
I also drink another smoothie a few times during the day, which is usually right after a workout. It’s similar to the smoothie above, except I don’t include the coconut milk or cocoa, instead I use maca powder. I mix a banana, almond milk, water, frozen spinach (you don’t taste spinach at all, so it’s nowhere near as gross as it sounds) with Vega and some extra protein.
During my workouts I drink coconut water or plain water. And I try to drink at least a pint of water throughout the day from my glass or Sigg bottle and do my best to avoid plastics due to the estrogenic effects. I also drink a couple of cups of green tea a day.
Dinner: I usually cook a kind of stew made up of a large variety of vegetables and some types of legumes. For example, I came home the other day and all we had was squash, onions, spinach, and garlic. I tossed it all into a pot with vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and yellow snap peas, which have 10 grams of protein per ¼ cup (you’d have to eat a lot of meat to equal the protein in two cups of yellow snap peas). I let it cook for 2 hours and then added some quinoa. It was absolutely delicious. Other times we’ll mix brown rice with a variety of other vegetables and lentils. If I was trying to lose weight, I’d probably skip the brown rice. Adding potatoes (even just one) to stews makes them creamier and even tastier.
I severely limit my soy intake due to its estrogenic effects, but for the occasional cheat meal, I’ll have some tofu with brown rice or some type of meat substitute with brown rice noodles.
I also eat soy and wheat free veggie burgers one or two nights a week and always have a huge spinach salad mixed with tomatoes, broccoli, olives, peppers, onions, carrots, apples, berries, nuts, seeds, avocados and whatever I can stay. I top it with olive oil, Vega oil and balsamic vinegar.
Dessert – Occasionally when I’m going to cheat, I’ll have some organic coconut milk ice cream. This is, of course, made with coconut milk and not cow’s milk. It’s delicious and quite healthy. Coconut milk contains healthy MCTs and has none of the dangers of cow’s milk. It is sweetened with organic agave syrup. I highly recommend it.
The only other cheat dessert I will eat on a regular basis is organic dark chocolate. This has been shown to have a variety of health benefits. The brands I buy are the ones that support slave-free and fair trade practices. These include Newman’s Own, The Endangered Species Chocolate Company and Green and Blacks.
So this is my vegetarian diet for muscle building. It’s very easy to follow and much healthier than eating pounds of red meat and saturated fat.
Jason Ferruggia is a world-renowned fitness expert renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He has trained thousands of clients during his 14 years as a professional strength coach, including more than 500 athletes in over 20 different sports. Jason has written hundreds of articles for numerous top training magazines and websites, and is the author of four fitness books. He is also the lead training consultant for Men’s Fitness Magazine, where he also has his own monthly muscle-building column. For more information on building muscle, visit…
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