Working out & getting enough protein on a vegan diet

Today we’re welcoming Naomi Carpenter from With Love Naomi, to share her vegan experiences when it comes to working out and getting enough dreaded protein! Naomi is body & butt goals, so keep reading to find out how to strike the ideal vegan balance when working out and building muscle, all from plants!

I feel I’m a bit of a lazy vegan if I’m honest… only in the sense that I kinda decided one day that I was going to do it and that was that, plain sailing from there on! It was great from the start, I still eat a lot of the things I ate before and even lost weight! (Although that doesn’t last too long guys… you soon discover exactly how to find vegan junk food!) I hadn’t consumed milk in almost 2 years anyway as I didn’t ever really like it and I’ve never been a fan of eggs/cheese so after becoming vegetarian and cutting meat out anyway it felt like the next natural step!

However, one of the things I was worried about when becoming a vegan was how it would affect me in the gym. For the last few years I’ve been pretty into training, building muscle and shaping my body so I was worried I may not be able to lift as heavy or train as hard BUT to be honest it was the complete opposite! I’ve smashed most of my PB’s and had more energy and more confidence than ever. Which safe to say I was buzzing about. I felt in the best shape of my life with ACTUAL CONFIDENCE on holiday for the first time ever! (not that the sheer amount of food I ate on the all-inclusive didn’t swiftly change that… not sorry)

In 24 years and 8 months of being alive no one had ever asked me where I got my protein from… Not going to lie I had thought people were joking when they said they had been asked that but It’s coming up to only my 5th month of being vegan and I must have been asked 83746 times… So, I started to panic like “Wait… Where do I get my protein from…?!”

But guys, there are so many things that contain complete proteins without having to even look very far, so there’s no need to panic! I’ve always been a canny chef but you literally don’t even need to be. Quickest, easiest way to consume protein? Beans. Like literally a tin of beans. You can have them with almost every meal. I’m not saying go home and buy Tesco out of Heinz but at least you know that’s an easy, fuss free option!

I have so many friends coming to me now asking for advice and they are always so surprised when I start listening off all of the things they would normally eat or that think they couldn’t have that are vegan (my favourite ones to say being crumpets and bagels lol) Plus there are SO MANY places whacking out their own vegan menu which makes me unbelievably excited (so put down that tin of beans and get the ‘Happy Cow’ app downloaded and get your little herbivore ass out to try ‘em!) I’m lucky I live in Newcastle because there are so many vegan places now, I’ve had Sunday dinner with soy Yorkshires, pancakes and with bacon (fake bacon of course) burgers coming out of my ears, hot dogs… I could literally go on for hours about all of the delicious food I still eat.

You get a feeling of pure delight when you find out there’s a vegan option of something you’ve been craving! (yes, I am talking about ben and jerry’s chocolate brownie ice cream…)

At the end of the day it’s all about what works for you and what you want to change first! There are so many blogs/Instagram pages/YouTube channels that are full of free, helpful (tasty) advice. I went from pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan within a few months and for me that was the best decision I ever made and now it’s just habit!

There’s so much support out there to help you if you’re stuck. For me it’s been a lovely positive journey so far. The only advice I can give is to bare in mind that not everyone will understand your decisions or be on board with what you are doing/going through on your journey but that’s also fine! Don’t be afraid to explain how and why or even feel like you have to, you do you.

With Love, Naomi x


Top sources of vegan protein (just in case you’re worried!):

  • Lentil Flour
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tahini
  • Almonds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Oats
  • Tofu
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Pistachio Nuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Red Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Potato
  • Peas

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