Building Muscle With Plants

Robert Cheeke is an athlete. He’s eaten a plant-based diet since he was 15. Thirteen years ago he debuted his website, Vegan Bodybuilding which is still going strong.

Here’s what he looks like now at 35 years old:


He’s tweaked his diet over the years. In a recent article* he describes giving up eating so much plant-based “protein” and…

In 2012, I said goodbye to processed foods and supplements for good, and allowed real food to fuel my athletic endeavors.

I am currently stronger than I have ever been in my life, performing lifts that few people my size are able to manage.

When I look at him, knowing he sculpted that body on a diet of plant food, I’m skeptical of the adage that meat builds muscle. Does it? Perhaps people forge such robust bodies in spite of all the meat they eat, not because of it.

Cheeke said:

There is a collective fear among Americans and people around the world that if we’re not eating animal products, then we won’t get enough protein.

I think he’s right.

By the way, whenever I talk about eating plants, people think I mean kale, or broccoli, or spinach. I don’t. Not only. You can’t survive on a diet of greens. Eating plants means eating starch … potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes and pumpkins; all manner of grains like wheat, rice, corn, oats, millet, quinoa, barley; all manner of legumes like chick peas, green peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans; and starchy fruits like bananas. Whole populations have thrived for generations on these foods.

* An Athlete’s Journey from Vegan Protein Addict to Plant-Based Whole Foods

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