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International Vegetarian Foods Boost Metabolism and Build Lean Muscle – Coach Johann CSCS


Vegetarian & Vegan foods boost metabolism and rev your muscle building machinery with their complex carbs, fiber and amino acids!

Really, vegan foods are not just for vegans and vegetarians.

I regularly train folks who choose vegan foods instead of animal protein sometimes.

Their reasons vary from the “bloating” and “hormone” effects of (supposedly) animal protein.

Other reasons include religion and heritage. And some still just think of animal rights, choosing to stand up for a silent minority.

And I personally feel, after seventeen years of training others, that animal protein is a benign thing that leaves us no worse for wear nutritionally if eaten, vegan foods are so damn popular (especially here in the Bay Area) and some are even… delicious??

Boosting metabolism is about building muscle. Period.

Building muscle means adding lean muscle, not BIG muscle, to your frame. This is the goal of EVERY exerciser – of every weight loss dieter.

Nutrition-wise, boosting metabolism means you spare protein (why low-carb dieting does not work) and amino acids to build muscle.

Foods higher in complex carbohydrates, fiber AND protein flesh out this profile.

So, vegan foods boost metabolism and rank among the best foods on earth specifically for this purpose.

In a multicultural areas like the Bay Area, international and vegan foods are as common as eggs and toast.

Here is the list of top international vegan foods and healthy snacks that boost metabolism.


Cooking Method

With shiitake dashi or as kombu, instead of fish or pork stock, are both cooked with seaweed or veggies.


Miso soup Vegan Foods Boost MetabolismBreak it down to what it is: miso is fermented natural soybean paste that is then mixed with a boiling solution of delicious kombu or dashi broth which is essentially seaweed, kelp or mushrooms. This combo makes the soup a strong source of protein, essentially AA tryptophan, high in complex carbohydrates and low in calories and fat.


Metabolism boosting benefits:


The high complex carbs make it post workout worthy recovery, during a weight loss program.

Eat for lunch of a hard cardio day, post workout of intense cardio day, excellent for weight loss (increase protein, exercise carbs, and low in calories).


Cooking Method

Fermented bread made from black lentils and rice batter


Adjust your eyes for good dosa, and free up both your hands. You’ll need all the finger real estate you can get to rip bread-like dosa to shreds while dipping and scooping condiments on your left right in satisfying stasis.

For breakfast, dosas are perfect because of the high complex carbohydrates and dosa Vegan Foods Boost Metabolismsmall amounts of protein make it an excellent base for veggies and eggs, rounding out a bright and varied breakfast. This makes for a lighter breakfast, with just enough room for extra sides to add morning bulk, but not weigh you down. You will be hungry right in time for lunch without the deluge of calories.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


Similar to miso kombu, dosa is high in complex carbohydrates and have some protein in them. The fermentation process increases the amount of B vitamins within, which may assist in energy metabolism.

A perfect snack option for cardio day because the complex carbs stack glycogen stores, and provide small amounts of bonus protein.

SOBA (Buckwheat noodles)

Cooking method

80% buckwheat and the rest wheat flour. Served cold or in a soup.


For those of you who are curiously and cautiously watching your gluten… buckwheat is GLUTEN-FREE, because it is not actually wheat. A mound of soba noodles, often served cold, taste like the perfect combo of sweet and savory, which dissolves in your mouth a nice texture.

You’re eating so healthy with soba, you can taste it with every slurp.

soba metabolism boosting vegan food
Soba, is nearly totally, and sometimes is totally gluten-less and contains all essential amino acids and a heaping amount of dietary fiber making it great for weight loss folks who need bulk and won’t sacrifice taste for it.

One cup of soba noodles contains about twenty-five grams of carbohydrates, mostly fiber and some complex carbs, which stimulate the body to recoup, and prime fat burning.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


The amino acids are perfect for a weight loss program, where cardio day will scorch up blood sugars, leaving the body to digest branch-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), to metabolize fat during medium intensity intervals.

And, soba is prefect for lunch, donating complex carbs at minimal calories.


Cooking Method

Flattened or leavened wheat/wholeflour meal cooked.


Roti specifically, may have a small amount of fat in it in a couple of seven inches pieces, but is mostly monounsaturated fat, oil, which is supremely great for metabolism especially during interval or intense 40 minute workouts.

It has around 11 grams of protein in that amount and is totally made with complex carbohydrates.

Soft and doughy pita is leavened and is made from (sometimes whole) wheat flour. The puffier implement of scooping delicious gobs of chutney and rice internationally adorns plates from Greek to Middle Eastern, to Levant cuisines.

Metabolism boosting benefit:

Bonus protein in 4 gram orders per piece and higher in calories, pita dressed in ghee (clarified butter) or eaten with veggies is a filling post workout snack, especially after cardio or interval day.


Pita is meal food, not snack food.pita Vegan Foods Boost Metabolism

Because of the high calories, relatively, and the complex carbs and bulk, pita is best after a workout or as with dinner with protein, and provides the body its building blocks for glycogen after a vigorous cardio session.

Roti, on the other hand, makes for a great lunch and midday snack, and maybe, with some sugars, a decent add-on for pre-workout.

Monounsaturated fats are more available for metabolism early in the workout, this

roti Vegan Foods Boost Metabolism

helps us during bouts of intense cardio or interval day. For lunch, roti are perfect for feeding protein into your body without sacrificing the calories and building lean muscle – even during a weight loss program, or an endurance running and cardio program.

In San Jose…

Sultan Bakery
670 Stockton Ave,
San Jose, CA 95126

Sagar Sweet Restaurant
146 George St
San Jose, CA 95110

PORRIDGE (Congee or Polenta)

Cooking Method

Congee is short or long grain white rice boiled in water. Polenta is cornmeal, boiled and cut.


Congee, the creamy and pearly and saucy gruel of mystery and epic origin comes served sticky and hot. Some restaurants serve it with preserved black eggs giving you the most unique eating texture in gastronomy.

It’s a porridge, not in the same vain as the Westernized sugar-doused Cream of Wheat, but served Spartan, a result of boiling water with white rice grains and nothing more – the natural sweetness of the congee Vegan Foods Boost Metabolismrice digesting on your tongue is all the sugar you need.

Polenta is a porridge boiled in stock or milk with cornmeal then scraped and cut. High in carbohydrates and complex ones at that.

 Metabolism boosting benefit:

A cup of congee is higher in calories, complex carbohydrates and has about 12 grams of protein.

This is meal food only. Eat it for breakfast or for supper, inviting proteins as sides and a hearty, rich protein dense recovery food.

Complex carbs and easily digestible because of the water-based constituents, these are the types of meals that our body’s soak up, deliver into the blood and coast until our heart reaches that fever pitch and are dumped into the cells for instant delicious metabolism.

In San Jose (Cupertino)…

Top Café

1075 S De Anza Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95129


Cooking Method

As vegetable moussaka, or in baba ghannouj.


Eggplant is the purple-white meaty, mealy fruit that cooks and sweats like sirloin.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


High in complex carbs (surprise) and having some sugar, this is lunch or pre workout food.babaghan Vegan Foods Boost Metabolism
With actual sugar content from carbohydrate, eating eggplant provides your body with the blood sugar it needs.

Sugars from a source which is loaded with carbohydrates, allow your body’s machinery to build the energy for any type of workout. When we (mainly you, I hate the taste of eggplant) eat the purple stuff, we are boosting metabolism and inviting energy that keeps us awake, vigorous, focused and ready.

In baba ghannoj, with oil added, it is super low calories and fiber dense. Eat this before workouts or for lunch to ready your body to burn body fat during workouts with just enough bulk that will endorse hunger – truly how to boost metabolism

In San Jose…

Gulzaar Halal

1880 W San Carlos St
San Jose, CA 95128

Phone number (408) 292-2786


Cooking Method

Add this stuff in any recipe that uses vegetable oil, cook with it, add to coffee and tea, swipe a spoonful and these are just some of the many uses.


Okay, here’s the deal. I speak from a nutrition and metabolism and exercise and health background.

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and it says so on the nutrition label. This is not news.

Quickly, here’s the one-two, on fats. Saturated fats and oils are the same molecule and are the same in calories. Period.

At cooler temperatures, oils get hard and LOOK like fats, as the fatty acids crystallize and link up.

Olive oil, grapeseed oil and canola oil, similarity, if held at cold temperatures turn to a butter consistency. Coconut oil happens to solidify at the temperature which exists in most American climes, and at the supermarket, a “normal” room temperature.

Chemically however, saturated fats are long chains of fatty acids and are more likely to solidify at room temperature very easily. Shorter chain are likely and thus look like oils.

Coconut oil are unique in that they are medium chain triglycerides – fatty acids. So, they are some where between physically acting like oil or like “butter.”

The taste is amazing, and I am not a coconut freak like lots of other folks (despite my Jamaican lineage).

Where olive oil adds a hint that is easily replaced during cooking or when added to pastas, coconut oil, added to egg batter or cooked with has a great flavor that meshes perfectly with most foods and coffees.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


So, medium chain triglycerides are great because they are not metabolized as quickly as saturated fats, therefore, during exercise or for those who are in great shape can be a uniquely incredible source of energy.

Your body will burn this stuff up like white lightening under a blue flame during exercise, seeing as it probably stays in your blood longer. This includes those who are dieting for competition and exercising too.


For those who are looking to strictly lose weight, pass on coconut oil until you reach your goal.

There are identical calories in other oils, about 120/tbsp, but the prevalence of saturated fats (really just medium chains that link up at room temperature) may not get metabolized as quickly if your are not working out, and probably will get stored as fat similarly.

In San Jose…

The supermarket


Cooking Method

Soaked red kidney beans, small, are added to sautéed vegetables and then to a vegetable stock for reduction. The creamy beans are added to fluffed white rice.


Beans are what nutrition geeks call “superfoods” because they are nutrient dense – meaning calorie wise, there are lots of nutrients in them.

Besides the carbohydrate complex overload and the requisite protein in the red beans and the white rice, beans alone have antioxidants, pigments and even iron which for decades has been associated with heart health and vitality.

Rice, even white rice though it is lionized, is amazingly delicious and nutritious all the same with small amounts of protein and complex carbohydrates in 120 calorie per cooked cup. Together, expect loads of healthy glycogen building happiness and surreptitious bonus protein loading.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


Heavy meal food, great for dinner along with a side, helps recovery from interval day, a hard workout week by adding complex carbohydrates.

The protein therein helps to maintain or boost protein status for the day. This is perfectly low fat, healthy and hearty – everything that your body craves nutritionally and nourishment-wise after a great workout, even for weight loss as hunger is not-a-thing after eating a creamy sticky bowl of RB/R.

In San Jose…




779 Story Rd
Ste 10
San Jose, CA95122

East San Jose




Cooking Method

Chutneys are ground in a mortar with and added to spice. Fruits like mango or tomato or infinite others are then added to vinegar and sugar, and cooked down to a reduction. These may include sugar, salt, garlic, tamarind, onion or ginger.


Lumpy relishes play perfectly with rotis, flatbreads and often completely change the complexity of any dish by adding in tang and sweet flavors. Think of chutney as the edible smoothie, easily stored for another day, easily consumed and readily added to any meal. Simply, chutney, especially the fruit ones as opposed to the peanut based ones, are sugary addons and beneficial.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


Because it is made from fruit, legumes and reduced, carbohydrate load is high and the sugar ratio is relatively higher than any other food on this list – a cup of chutney, fruit chutney, is around 150 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrates, sometimes up to 30 grams of sugar.

This is pre-workout food, or midday snack food for sure, as the simple fructose boosts sagging blood sugar levels to regular, just in time for any type of workout and exercise.

The low amount of calories and high sugar means you should add this to flatbreads or your meat sub to lower its glycemic response, allowing for the sugars to just flow into those craving muscle cells, priming a high level and effective workout… no matter what the workout type.

In San Jose…

Punjab Cafe

322 E Santa Clara St
San Jose, CA95112



Cooking Method

Crushed chickpeas, Olive oil and lemon juice and spice… ginger?


A dip, a side dish, a main course – hummus, the Mediterranean appetizer from antiquity combines garbanzo beans and olive oil into a delicious emulsion of awesome energy. Scoop it with flatbread, add it to regular bread or organic-slash-homemade chips for the ultimate superfood experience. It makes an excellent post workout snack and perfect side for dinner or even post dinner.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


Among the known beneficial sources of minerals and vitamins, the extra protein and monounsaturated fats, hummus has fiber.
hummus Vegan Foods Boost MetabolismFiber, in concert with protein in any food is metabolism boosting energy waiting to be unlocked.

This is because foods which are great vegan protein sources are not usually high in fiber, meaning, that food is either a protein source OR a source of bulk.

Hummus, like all beans derived foods, has a decent amount of both, so you do not have to sacrifice a meal. Hummus is relatively high in calories so save this so those high workout days and post workout meals when you have a big calorie deficit to maintain.

Now, your body is ready to sponge up protein and complex carbohydrates for muscle building and glycogen rebuilding – the two major telltales of high metabolism.

In San Jose…

Gulzaar Halal

1880 W San Carlos St
San Jose, CA95128



Cooking Method

None, mix it to water, almond or soy milk and enjoy.

NutriBiotic’s Full spectrum Rice Protein is the best vegan protein supplement on the market by miles and miles.


Blended plant based proteins are the new normal for vegan proteins… more specific for quality vegan protein powders.

Instead of buying hemp protein (relatively low amounts of protein per serving, decent fiber), rice (a decent source with fewer grams of fiber), pea (yellow peas mainly, high in protein but people hate the taste), and soy (high protein, though lower than pea proteins – people dislike the carrageenan) blended plant based proteins combine those four main forms into something magically nutritious.


Metabolism boosting benefit:


FSRP contains a TON of vitamins and minerals, lots of herbal supplements, lots of protein (over 24g per serving which approaches the amounts in non-overdosed whey supplements) and…

…it actually tastes great!

It is low in carbohydrates, relatively, and is high in fiber. This is a perfect post workout supplement and in dire cases, can be a snack.

In San Jose…, or in the South Bay, go to Sprout’s.

Or better yet, come to my store or shop online!

Vegan and vegetarian exercisers have LOTS of options! Anywhere you live, vegan and vegan-eaters, eat these foods, at restaurants, buy them raw at the supermarket and enjoy.

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