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Vegan Strong busts the protein myth

July 22, 2023

In 2018, the Vegan Strong Team spawned from the insight that vegan bodybuilders were living proof that plants have all the protein you need and the bodybuilders were effective communicators of that message. To bust the animal protein myth that exists within the fitness community, Vegan Strong created a touring team of champion vegan bodybuilders that attend fitness expos to inspire and educate fitness professionals and enthusiasts about plant- based eating and how to achieve peak fitness and health goals on a plant-based diet.

What is Vegan Strong’s mission?

Our organization’s mission is to demonstrate that plant-based diets can provide all the nutrients and protein necessary for achieving peak physical fitness and health. We aim to dispel the misconception that animal-based protein is needed to build muscle or meet the heightened daily protein requirements of a bodybuilder’s diet​. We do this by traveling to large mainstream fitness events teaching folks about plant-based living.  We also have the largest team of competitive vegan strength athletes in the world to help “show by doing” that plants have all the protein you need to be a successful athlete.

Where does your motivation come from? Why is plant-forward eating—and thinking—important to you?

Our plant-forward eating motivation comes from a combination of factors, including health, compassion for animals, and environmental sustainability. We believe in the potential of plant-based diets to improve personal health, prevent harm to animals, and contribute to the planet’s well-being​​. We see plant-forward eating as a path to healthier living and a more sustainable world.

In your view, how does the food we serve on our plates reflect our cultural/societal norms?

Food served on our plates often reflects societal norms, which currently prioritize animal proteins and overlook the power of plant-based nutrition.

However, our team members demonstrate, through their achievements in bodybuilding and fitness, that vegan diets can fuel even the most demanding physical activities and competitive levels. This challenges the prevailing norm that one needs animal protein to build muscle and stay fit.

How does Vegan Strong flip food norms in a plant-forward direction?

Our Vegan Strong Team shares plant-based meal plans and high-protein recipes, as well as offer practical tips for those who want to adopt more plant-based living. People want great tasting food but think plant-based foods can’t taste great. In addition to educating and inspiring people onsite, we distribute plant-based products so that people can taste new products and find ones they like, making it easier than ever to have a more plant-forward diet.

What norms, myths, or stereotypes is Vegan Strong challenging?

Vegan Strong is focused on busting the protein myth that exists within the fitness and strength industry. We travel the country to talk to attendees of mainstream fitness events about how to implement more plant-based foods into their diet. Mainstream fitness competitors and enthusiasts are some of the largest consumers of meat and dairy in the world, so having these conversations are enlightening and profound.

Our work at Vegan Strong is about more than just diet; it’s about creating a compassionate, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle. We invite everyone to join us on this journey!

What would a fully plant-based world look like?

In a fully plant-based world, norms would change to reflect an increased awareness and appreciation for the nutritional value of plants, with animal products no longer seen as the primary source of protein. This shift could lead to widespread changes, including improved farming practices, more sustainable food production, and more productive attitudes towards animals and the environment. We fully believe that the most direct route to reversing climate change is a plant-based world.

How can other individuals and organizations start “flipping” their norms in a plant-forward direction? What resources can you provide?

For individuals and organizations looking to “flip” their norms in a plant-forward direction, we highly recommend making one manageable change at a time.  For example, next time you go to the grocery store, rather than buying dairy milk, try a non-dairy milk!  Once you’ve adjusted to that, you can try a new swap.  Every step counts!  We offer a range of resources on our website. These include meal plans, recipes, and informative articles.