Clara Palmieri tells her story: how I became a vegan bodybuilder

Get ready to be seriously inspired by this vegan bodybuilder interview! We got the chance to chat with the incredible vegan bodybuilder Clara Palmieri, a true force of nature from the lovely outskirts of Milan, Italy.

This girl isn’t just any athlete; she’s a powerhouse vegan athlete and a dynamo personal trainer who’s shaking up the scene with her vibrant energy and unshakeable dedication to a plant-based lifestyle.

Clara’s story isn’t your run-of-the-mill athlete’s tale. It’s a deep, personal dive into how switching to veganism turned her life around, not just physically but mentally and spiritually too.

In this juicy interview, Clara spills the beans on everything from her favorite vegan protein hacks to how she keeps her cool and stays ripped without a steak in sight. And let me tell you, her journey from battling personal demons to finding her zen and strength in veganism is nothing short of epic.

She’s here to bust myths, share her daily grind, and maybe, just maybe, inspire you to think differently about what’s on your plate.

Clara Palmieri’s Interview: How I became a vegan bodybuilder

Hi Clara, nice to meet you! Tell us a little bit about you!

Hi guys, my name is Clara Palmieri, I am 31 years old, and I come from Italy. Currently, I live in my hometown near Milan, after many years abroad. I am a professional athlete and work as a trainer. I have been vegan for more than 4 years now.

vegan bodybuilder Clara Palmieri

Can you tell us why did you decide to embark on this dietary journey?

My journey as a vegan started during a difficult period in my life. I was in a dark place, suffering from depression that caused gastritis. To avoid relying on medication, I began eliminating foods that made me feel sick, particularly meat, and discovered I was lactose intolerant.

For about 6 months, I was essentially a vegetarian with limited dairy consumption, though unintentionally. As I embarked on a spiritual journey and addressed my depression, it became clear that embracing veganism—a lifestyle extending beyond diet to encompass a philosophy and view on life—was the key to connecting with my inner self.

Do you feel better since becoming vegan? What changes have you noticed?

Of course, I feel better. Physically, my gastritis has resolved, and my digestive system has never functioned better, leading to improved skin, nails, and hair health, which all starts with gut health. Mentally, I feel more aligned with my true self, enhancing my overall well-being.

Is there any food that you have found particularly difficult to eliminate from your diet?

Certainly, eggs were challenging to eliminate. It took me 6 months to adjust and discover how to replace this protein source effectively. Eggs are indeed a marvel of life.

You have a unique job: you are a bodybuilder and personal trainer, roles heavily associated with protein consumption. Let’s debunk a myth: is it possible to achieve the right muscle mass by eating vegan?

Absolutely, it is possible. Many people don’t understand that our bodies recognize nutrients, not the specific foods we consume. As long as we provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients, the source doesn’t matter.

Obtaining the recommended daily protein intake from plant sources is not as difficult as some might think. What is crucial for vegans is to ensure intake of all essential amino acids, as plant proteins do not automatically provide a complete amino acid profile like animal proteins.

Therefore, eating a variety of vegan protein sources throughout the day is essential to create a complete profile, which also adds delicious variety to our diet.

vegan bodybuilder interview

Can you tell us about a typical day for you?

My daily diet varies depending on the season and my training goals. When preparing for a competition, I consume fewer calories but always strive to enjoy my meals.

For breakfast, which is also my pre-workout meal, I prefer a sweet start to the day with protein waffles or pancakes made with regular flour, soy isolate protein powder, and zero-sugar soy milk, often topped with peanut butter. This meal provides the carbohydrates necessary for energy during weightlifting.

Lunch, my post-workout meal, consists of rice cakes (an unpopular choice, but I enjoy them) or a more substantial portion of basmati rice or couscous with a wheat protein source, as I do not have issues with gluten.

In the afternoon, I snack on seitan and matcha green tea, sometimes with soy milk or just water. For dinner, I love pasta made from legumes, which is surprisingly high in protein and very tasty, usually served with steamed vegetables and olive oil.

Before bed, I have a large portion of zero-sugar soy yogurt to maintain protein intake during the night’s fasting period.

I ensure to consume at least 20g of protein every 4-5 hours and to include carbohydrates before and after my weightlifting sessions.

For those wondering: How do you ensure a balanced diet while eliminating so many foods from your diet?

The common misconception is that a plant-based diet is limiting, but in reality, there is a vast array of plant-based foods available that allow for a varied and enjoyable diet.

Supplements, such as vegan multivitamins with B12, D3, and iron, vegan omega, greens powder, and vitamin C, can help ensure we receive all necessary micronutrients and vitamins.

However, the key is not the diet—be it vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore—but balance and understanding what our bodies need. Consulting a good nutritionist is one of the best investments for one’s health.

If you don’t use food as medicine, you may end up using medicine as food in the future. Therefore, everyone should pay close attention to their diet, vegan or not.

Besides diet, has this change impacted other aspects of your life?

Yes, it definitely has. I was a professional horse rider for most of my life but stopped competing and working for the top stables in the horse industry.

I still work with horses and ride but with a different purpose and mindset, which makes me much happier than winning international competitions. I also began paying more attention to the beauty products I use and the clothes I wear.

vegan bodybuilder

Would you like to give some tips and advice to those considering this path?

Don’t make drastic changes too quickly, especially regarding your digestion. Plant-based foods are high in fiber and require time to adjust to. Make changes gradually and remember your reasons for embarking on this journey.

If your motivation isn’t strong, the transition may be challenging. Since eliminating meat from my diet, I haven’t missed it, although I sometimes miss eggs due to their prevalence in many foods. However, I’ve learned to be creative and find alternatives.

Thank You, Clara!

Massive shoutout to Clara for kicking back with us and getting real about her vegan voyage. If you’re itching to see what Clara’s up to or need a dose of her day-to-day plant-powered awesomeness, hit up her Instagram at Trust us, you’re gonna want to see the cool stuff she’s cooking up (literally and figuratively).

Let’s dive in and get the lowdown from the vegan athlete who’s living proof that you can be strong, healthy, and totally in sync with the planet.