Vegan Diet Basics for Athletes.
Well, if you are an athlete looking for the perfect ratio of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats, then our guide will be handy for you. It is ideal for everyone regardless of their body needs or food preferences. Also, whatever sport you are participating in from bodybuilding to CrossFit and triathlon, you can manage all with a plant-based diet. Our vegan diet will also help you perform better and recover faster while in the field.
What is the vegan diet for athletes?
A vegan diet for athletes is not different much from the normal diets except that it doesn’t include meat and animal products. If you love taking meat or fish, then it”ll take some time to adjust to this diet, but if you’re a natural veggie and fruit lover, then you”ll require less adjustments.
Besides, you can add other foods and supplements to your diet provided they are plant-based. Since you’re going to leave some food groups, here are tips to ensure you get the most of your athlete vegan diet.
Top Three Pre-Workout Nutrition Tips for Athletes Vegan Diets
- Develop a plan
If you’re an athlete, whether vegan or not, you must always have an eating plan. You should always check the essential foods in your nutrition, i.e., hydration, recovery nutrition, and supplements. Also, it”s important to ensure the food in your diet contains all the essential nutrients to prevent mineral deficiencies.
As a vegan athlete, you may not always find good food at a go. Therefore,it”s vital to ensure that you plan for the food to eat to get proteins and avoid carbohydrates.
- Start a day with water
Staying hydrated is important to everyone, and that applies to athletes too. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, headaches, brain fog, and also affect your health in other ways. Therefore, take water not only during the workout but also throughout the day. I”d suggest you buy a beautiful water bottle with high capacity. Wherever you’re going, carry it with you and take small sips of water to ensure you remain hydrated. Besides water you can also try other non sugar drinks such as natural juice or even eat fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and watermelons. It’s the best thing to drink water before taking your breakfast in the morning.
- Look for Supplements
Supplements are not essential but are an important addition to your diet. If you have a lower budget, then leave the supplements, but if you don’t eat various types of vegan foods, then you might need some supplements. Also, since you will be working out your body will lose many nutrients which can lead to their deficiency. If you have some mineral deficiencies, then try different types of meals. Check their nutrient composition and ensure you get all the require minerals and nutrients. It’s best to consult a nutritionist on whether you should use supplements. The essential supplements include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Protein powder.
- Keep the Protein and Calcium High
The top worry that most people on vegan diets have is getting sufficient protein. But you can do it, and you only need to incorporate vegan proteins in every meal. You should distribute protein to the three essential meals: breakfast, lunch, and supper. you can try vegan protein foods such as beans, soy, lentils, whole grains, peas, and nuts.
Calcium is also vital for athletes as they exert stress on their bones every day. Dairy contains high amounts of calcium but is not included in vegan diets. Plant sources include green vegetables, soy products, and orange juice.
- Reduce intake of fake meat.
There are many fake meat products in the market that should be absent in your diet. Most of them contain sugars and sodium that are not ideal for athletes. A vegan diet aims to take many healthy foods such as fruits, beans, legumes, and vegetables. Once in a while, eat these foods, but don’t let them be a major component of your diet.
- Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are an essential component of your diet. As a vegan athlete, I cannot emphasize the need to eat more vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, and salads. Vegetables are nutrient-dense foods meaning they contain a low amount of calories but numerous macronutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. You can eat these vegetables as raw or cook them, but it”s advisable to combine them as they’re essential during digestion. Also, ensure you rotate your vegetables daily or weekly as they”ll enable you to get a wide range of nutrients.
- Take Enough Calories
As an athlete, you should take an amount of food that will keep you comfortable. Don’t overeat and make sure your diet is rich in calories. You need more calories depending on your body size, age, and other factors.
Since most vegetables have fewer calories, it”s vital to include nutrient-dense foods in your diet. Such foods include nuts, legumes, seeds, and even whole grains. In the end, what is essential is eating food that”ll provide the energy you need to exercise.
Post-workout vegan nutrition tips for athletes
- Increase the protein intake
After a workout, your body will need food rich in protein and carbs. Carbs are vital after workouts as they help to refuel and rebuild your muscles after a tough workout. Also, they stimulate the muscles to absorb more amino acids from proteins via the increase of insulin.
As the carbs replace the used fuel, it prevents muscle breakdown and ensures there is enough energy in your body that enables muscles to recover faster in post-workout.
- Eat the right types of carbs
There are different types of carbs, including refined carbs and whole carbs. Whole carbs are natural and have fiber that enables the body to regulate the blood sugar. Examples of whole carbs are fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. Refined carbs are taken through industrial processes to remove fiber. Examples of these carbs are fruit juices, white bread, white pasta, and white rice. Though refined carbs cause the blood sugar levels to rise in the body, they only give energy for a short while then cause your body to desire more sugar. Therefore, take whole carbs and some little refined carbs.
- Rehydrate sooner after exercises
After working out, you should take enough water or other fluids as it”ll boost your performance. However, some athletes tend to dehydrate at the end of their day, causing them more problems during sleep. That is, according to a study of 35 male rugby players, 25% rehydrated their bodies at the end of the day woke up 2 to 3 times to urinate. The rest (75%) with proper rehydration did not experience any problems at sleep.
- Eat Real Food
After your exercise, you must eat food instead of supplements. Take fruits, vegetables, and whole food as they”ll help you regain your body strength. According to a 17-day study conducted on cyclists, a supplement does not add value to your body in the absence of real food. These cyclists used a supplement containing vegetable juice and freeze-dried fruit.
- Fat is not a bad idea
Many people think that taking fats after workouts slow down their digestion and inhibit their bodies from absorbing nutrients. Fats are essential in a vegan diet as they contain high amounts of calories which your body will burn to generate energy. But while fats may slow down the absorption of meals you take after workouts, they”ll not reduce their nutrient value. You should take limited proportions of fats after a workout.
Vegetarian Diet for Diabetics
If you have diabetes, then you should be glad to join the ever-growing list of people on vegetarian diets only. More and more people are going for veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, and whole grains as they have a myriad of health benefits. Also, you”ll show care for the animals and the environment at large.
As a diabetic person, it”s important to know the food to take and how it affects you. It’s called
being health conscious and is useful in managing your condition. Vegan diets are plant-based, and they have been proven to help in lowering the rates of type 2 diabetes, treatment of chronic diseases, and also reducing the cholesterol levels. Vegan diets are useful for people with type-2 diabetes as it helps you to lose weight, which is a factor helpful in the treatment of the disease
Vegan diets also contain few calories enabling you to maintain healthier body weight. But when on vegan diets, minimize on high-fat foods such as nuts and cheese or you”ll soon gain more weight. Also, diabetic people are now more predisposed to cardiovascular diseases (CVD); hence the need to keep healthy body weight, reduce cholesterol levels, and also lower blood pressure. All these are benefits derived from vegan diets, which makes it ideal for people with diabetes. Always ensure your diet contains enough proteins, good fats, and high fiber carbohydrates.
As a vegan athlete, there is no such thing as perfect diet. You should change your diet based on your energy requirements, and the nutrients need in your body. Also, it’s possible to become a vegan athlete, and the fewer calories in plants should not scare you off. Instead, you have more vegan food options, and its upon you to look for these foods and make a food journal.