The debate over which nutrition regimen to follow is never-ending and everyone is always wondering about which is the healthiest way to go. Wanting to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a vegan bodybuilder and learn more about the specifics of following a plan-based diet, we had a quick chat with one of Egypt’s most prominent bodybuilders, Omar Salama.
What made you decide to go vegan?
I went vegan for three main reasons. From a young age, I always knew I didn’t like the thought of eating other sentient beings that can feel pain. I always wanted to befriend or play with animals not eat them. While growing up though, we are taught that eating animals is healthy and essential for building your body and becoming stronger.
Secondly, I went vegan because of the undeniable hazards that I discovered that animal meat & animal by-products have on the human body. Back before changing to veganism, I always tried to discredit studies supporting a plant-based diet, just because I have been studying all these years what I thought were proper nutrition diets. I later found out, though, that I was studying material from a flawed system that is based on cherry-picked studies. So you can imagine the shock I had when I realized what I have been studying, practicing, preaching to my clients could actually be causing them harm.
The final reason I went vegan is environmental factors. I found out that livestock is the number one cause of global warming. Cows, pigs & chicken do emit methane gas which increases carbon dioxide levels causing a massive warmth to the planet.
What do you usually eat in a day as a vegan?
My breakfast usually consists of fava beans, boiled lentils, tahini, tomatoes and arugula with kiwi, pomegranate and a banana. I also go for a quick shake before my workouts which includes 400g of green peas and a banana.
After I finish working out, I go for a post workout shake with a vegan protein powder.
For lunch, I usually go for black beans or red kidney beans with rice, broccoli & spinach. A couple of hours later, I have another shake which consists of 400g of green peas with another banana.
Finally, for dinner, I go for 125g oats with peanut butter, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts & pomegranates.
What supplements do you usually take as a vegan?
Here are my most essential supplements: vitamin b12 as methylcobalamin form, zinc gluconamate, creatine monohydrate and plant based protein supplement.
How many times a week do you usually workout and how long is your average workout session?
I usually workout 5-6 times a week and an average workout session for me is about an hour long.
How has being a vegan impacted your life?
Becoming a vegan is honestly the best decision I have ever made in my life. People always ask me how do you get your protein to look that good on a plant-based diet? My answer will always be, plants have protein without all the unnecessary problems that come with animal protein. The biggest & strongest animals in the world ( like rhinos, gorillas & elephants) are all herbivores & they get all their protein from plants.
How do you keep you get your body nourished and energized before a workout?
I keep my body nourished before & after my workouts with lots of fruits, grains, legumes & vegetables full of fibers, protein, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals.
What are some words of advice you’d like to give to any of our readers who are considering the vegan lifestyle?
The advice I could give to people interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet is to watch documentaries, read studies and get educated before taking the big step.