I’ve been involved in sports all my life. I just love moving my body around. Though over the years as I became an adult I got a little lazier and put on a few soft pounds. I’ve finally gotten my vegan diet into better shape and as a result lost some good weight, but I’m also focusing on improving my sports and athletic endeavours.
So if you’re just starting out running, or playing tennis or just doing some calisthenics around the house when you have a spare 20 minutes then these tips on sports nutrition for vegans and vegetarians will help you.
Even if you’re a seasoned weekend warrior hopefully some of my ideas will be of assistance. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder. Consider this your reminder to tweak your vegan meal plan for sports excellence.
However, if you are a seasoned professional athlete then this is not for you. You might enjoy it, but you’ll not find much here that will help.
This is for newer vegans and newer vegan sports enthusiasts. Let’s get to it.
Eating a clean vegan diet is going to be the key for understanding sports nutrition whether you’re vegetarian or vegan or even an omnivore.
I know it’s been said a thousand times before, but if you treat your body like a high powered performance vehicle and you give it the necessary fuel you’ll get the most out of your performance.
Just like you wouldn’t put low octane unleaded in a Ferrari neither should you put junk food in an athletic vegan physique.
So here are some tips on eating well for sports and other endurance activities.
Worry about the whole more than the parts
What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t focus so much on protein for example as on getting sufficient calories related to the amount of physical activity you’re doing.
If you increase your calories to meet your caloric needs you will obtain enough protein on a varied whole plant food based vegan diet. However, if you are a serious vegan bodybuilder then you will need to focus more on protein but for most of playing volleyball or running 10k events or playing tennis we should rather eat a variety of whole foods than focus on the parts.
The whole of your diet should be whole
I like the holistic word whole today. But it’s important when we’re trying to get the most out of our physical performance from a vegan body.
Eat whole foods 100% of the time if you can. Whole grains and whole grain breads. Beans and fruits and veggies should make up all of your food intake and certainly most of it.
You don’t need to worry much about oils. Use oils as usual but if you’re looking for more healthy fats, use ground flaxseeds and nuts and avocados in your diet.
Fried foods fizzle performance
Cut out junk foods. And especially be weary of highly refined and processed deep fried foods. Just say no to donuts and potato chips and french fries and anything else that has been drowned in oil.
High fat foods especially those that have been refined should be used very sparingly. This means boycotting dark chocolate except in small amounts. Boycotting vegan cheeses except when used sparingly.
Quench your thirst with Adam’s Ale
Adam’s ale in case you didn’t know is water. That should be your primary drink when thirsty. You may also have teas and coffee but sweeten them and lighten them with plant milks sparingly. 100% fresh juices and plant milks can be included in small amounts which in my mind is up to 2 cups per day depending on how vigorous your activities are.
Alcohol should be avoided. I don’t believe it has beneficial effects and even if it does, your physical activities are better for you than booze.
A clean engine requires a clean fuel. Don’t clog your body with poison, junk foods, alcohol and sweets. You might not end up being the fastest or the best, but you’ll be able to enjoy the way your body moves and how it makes you feel for years to come.