Expert Corner – Train Hard, Eat Vegan

Expert Corner – Train Hard, Eat Vegan

Are you a vegan or vegetarian – or want to be – and are struggling to know how to eat well to support your training? VPT Elia Johnson, who has been vegetarian for 15 years, can show you how.

If someone wants to live a healthy life, incorporating more plant-based food into your eating habits can only be beneficial. Plant-based food is anything that comes it its natural form, without any sorts of unnatural ingredients. Following a vegetarian or vegan balanced diet will automatically help you to get the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that you'll need on a daily basis. And let me make it clear – anyone (doing no sports or doing plenty of sports) can get enough protein through a plant-based diet, with no need from any sorts of animal products. Foods like beans, lentils, chickpeas – and also seeds and nuts – are all very high in protein. And even though your diet will contain way more carbs than usually is recommended, you have to remember that these carbs are different because they are natural and therefore easier to digest. If losing weight is what you want to do, you just need to control your portion sizes, stay away from refined sugar, gluten and other processed food. Just because it's vegan doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthy – so keep it as natural as possible.

If you do more sports than an average person, or just want to grow bigger muscles (more than 3-4 times per week – or if it's VERY intense) additional plant based supplements might be a good way to get more protein to build muscle. You can buy these supplements in Holland & Barrett, or other health stores/online stores. A good brand to look for is Myvega. At the moment there is also a lot of fake meat which is a meat made from a plant. These products are very protein rich as well, but not a personal favourite of mine (because it's so processed).


Before training, it's good to get a bit more carbs, because they provide energy, and you'll need that in your workout. You can make yourself a gluten-free avocado sandwich, with plenty of veggies inside.


1 small avocado

25 g plant based natural yogurt

1 clove garlic

1/2 red onion

3 cherry tomatoes

Blend the ingredients together, spread it over a toasted gluten-free bread, and add some lettuce, and which ever greens you prefer. Right after training it is always good to get some protein to repair and build the muscle tissue.


If you don't have the time to cook straight after a workout, you can start by getting a protein shake. One that is very protein rich – and also very tasty! – is the peanut protein shake.


400-500 ml unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant based milk)

1-2 bananas

1 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter

25-30 g soya vanilla protein powder

Blend all the ingredients together, and after you've made it a few times you'll learn how to adjust the amounts – so that the taste fits you.


A lot of people tend to eat a heavy dinner, which leave them tired and totally drained. To get a filling dinner you will need to focus more on the lighter food choices, but which is still satisfying. An option for that could be a quinoa salad.


20 g quinoa

1-2 teaspoons of chia and flaxseed

40 g butternut squash

2-3 tender stem broccoli

1 small handful green beans

1 clove garlic

1 beetroot

1/2 red onion

2 baby corn


Juice from a lemon or 1 teaspoon olive oil mixed with mixed herbs

Plant-based yogurt if need it to be more creamy

How to:

Cook the beetroot until soft and the butternut squash. Put in in the fridge.

Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve, and then bring them to boil with 100 ml water. Make the quinoa absorb the water until they are fluffy (total 15-20 min)

When ready separate the rest of the water and mix it with grated onion, grated garlic, and the seeds.

Put the beans, broccoli and baby corn in a bowl – pour hot water over. Separate the water.

Take out the butternut squash and the beetroot and cut them up.

Now bring all the ingredients together and add a little salt if desired.

Don't be shy! Email Elia right here.