The world has gone sport crazy. The Rio Olympics has been the biggest talking point over the last few weeks and we’ve enjoyed Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Tour de France. So, when people think of an athlete’s diet what often springs to mind is mountains of chicken, eggs and whey protein powders - they need to fuel all that muscle, after all. Animal protein is a must to make muscle, right? Wrong.
Modern sporting superstars are now looking to see how best to fuel their bodies and are turning to plant-powered alternatives which are taking them to the top of their game, leaving their competitors for dust and showing that vegan diets not only enhance their performance but also improve their recovery times.
Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultra-marathoners of all time holds the American record of 165 miles run in 24 hours! Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll are vegan pro Ironman triathletes and Patrik Baboumian is even taking the vegan diet into the world of competitive strongman all proving that athletes gain all the necessary protein, fat and carbohydrates without the unnecessarily high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats found in animal products.
We are often fixated on counting calories, which, on a vegan diet is something not to worry too much about, however, all athletes or sports people then have one thing in common, their intense exercise regime, spending a lot of time pushing their bodies to the limit and burning a huge amount of calories.
Although a vegan diet can naturally be less calorie dense than their meaty alternatives, a great balance of complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein sources provide athletes with all the energy and nutrients they need without requiring the addition of animal products in the diet.
So, if you have been inspired by the last few months of international sporting fun and want to get more exercise whilst using a vegan diet to power you through your workouts or runs and leaving you feeling energized then here are a few examples of how you can do it
· Before eating breakfast I recommend a glass of hot water with lemon.
· Then followed by a big bowl of porridge topped with blueberries, strawberries and banana, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a handful of soaked raw almonds
· A huge salad either a kale-avocado-olive salad or a mix green-sprouting salad with a variety of vegetables and some seeds
· A big bowl of mixed vegetable soup (I call it ‘Half the Garden Soup’) with crackers or whole wheat bread or pita
Snacks and post work-out:
· Fresh fruit and greens smoothie made with coconut water
· A handful of raw nuts
· Coconut water with a raw protein powder that is pea, hemp rice or chia blend based.
Meals incorporating some of the following are all great for suppers
· Beans and legumes - chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, lentils, split peas etc.
· Wholewheat or gluten-free pasta or Brown rice
· Other grains and seeds - quinoa, bulgar wheat, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, farro, millet
· Starchy veg like potatoes and sweet potatoes
· Occasional soya based products such as tofu and tempeh
· Nuts, milks and butters – almond, cashew, walnuts, peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, hazelnut milk, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk
· Oils: olive, coconut, flaxseed (unheated), hemp (unheated)
To Loving Botanical Life