There are several challenges that a vegan athlete faces if he or she wishes to have the strength and endurance necessary to successfully compete in different types of sports or other activities. Because of the choice to not consume flesh or dairy products of any type, or to make use of ancillary products that make use of animal flesh in any form, there is the need to plan meals with care and also to choose nutritional supplements wisely. Doing so will help ensure that the diet contains a sufficient amount of protein as well as all the other nutrients necessary to promote proper function of the muscles and guard against fatigue.
One of the key aspects of living a vegan lifestyle is to make the most prudent use of fruits, grains, and vegetables in planning meals. Since many people derive a significant amount of protein from animal products, the vegan athlete must find an alternative source. To accomplish this, the inclusion of a wide range of beans and other vegetables that provide protein is very important. Balancing vegetable protein with green leafy vegetables that help provide plenty of B vitamins along with some type of whole grain to add fiber to the diet will often be a great way to make sure an equitable amount of nutrients are absorbed each day,
Another great dietary tip for the vegan athlete is the inclusion of nuts for snacks as well as using them in different recipes. The heart-healthy oils found in many types of nuts can aid in preventing heart attacks and strokes, while also providing some fiber, protein and a nice range of vitamins. Sprinkling some walnuts or almonds on a salad that includes a mixture of greens, ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and a few garbanzo beans can be a great way to receive a lot of nutrients with relatively few calories involved. Toss the salad in a homemade dressing prepared using olive oil and some red wine vinegar and the salad also remains relatively low fat as well as low in carbohydrates and cholesterol.
Getting away from the three meals a day routine is also a good idea for a vegan athlete. Going with four or five smaller meals paced throughout the day will help to ensure the body constantly has the fuel necessary to produce energy and keep endurance at optimum levels. Supplement the smaller and more frequent meals with the use of high quality nutritional supplements that are produced without the use of any type of animal products or by-products. Check the manufacturer’s details on the supplements to make sure they are appropriate for use by people who abstain from any type of animal, fish, or dairy product.
While the vegan athlete does have to plan meals carefully in order to meet nutritional needs and avoid the possibility of experiencing a lack of protein or other essentials, there are benefits to planning and sticking to a balanced vegan diet. By choosing not to consume red meat, the athlete can avoid one prime source of cholesterol in the bloodstream while also reducing the chances of consuming too much fat. At the same time, the inclusion of more fresh fruits and vegetables increases the chances of taking in enough of the essential vitamins and minerals to enjoy a high quality of life. As long as the meals are balanced to include enough protein, fiber, and those basic nutrients, a vegan athlete will have plenty of strength, clarity of mind, and enjoy deep levels of recuperative sleep.