Prior to taking on a vegetarian or vegan diet please read, study, plan, and meet with a dietian or nutritionist. Protein, carbs, and fat are only a small part of the equation. Minerals such as iron, calcium, etc can be difficult to get daily requirements following a veg diet. Learning how and what to eat is extremely important. Not learning about this upfront can lead to serious health issues.
My nutritionist also indicates your genetics plays a vital role. Someone from an Asian background versus someone from a European background will have very different nutritional needs.
It is assumed all to frequently is that all bodies are alike. Life is an art of discovering your path, not someone else's, and your body, not someone else's. I believe that there is a degree of variation and that there is no one regimen that fits all.
@KG Thanks! I'll have to add that book to my list.
Vegan is great, makes you feel better and keeps your energy levels up. Mouthwatering foods are mentioned here, especially the pie and the salad - could you post the recipes please?????
Having been on a vegan diet for decades and performed at high levels in Track and Field and practiced yoga rigorously throughout, I can't help but feel that it's extreme to eat animal products!
Those who think we need masses of protein should look into the amount of protein in human mother's milk: 2.5% and that's the time in our lives when we're doing our most rapid growing. We can get more than enough protein for our needs in the plant kingdom, indeed, since we're made for eating plants, that should come as no surprise. I can recommend that if you're a vegetarian and struggling with iron, drop the dairy and shift to a vegan diet.
A vegan diet is the only diet which, in terms of intent, supports the principle of ahimsa and ensures that we honour our debt to the environment and the community (Two of the Five Debts which yoga's principle and most ancient texts, the Vedas, inform us we all owe under the Pancha Maha Yagna).
Check out the book "Thrive" by vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier. Lots of great nutritional advice and recipes!
I can completely understand why a Vegan diet may seem compelling to athletes (especially yogis). There is something undoubtedly enticing about eliminating meat and animal by-products from ones diet - something that seems clean, simple. However, (speaking as a former vegetarian of fourteen years as well as a student and teacher of yoga and former classical ballet dancer) it is important to remember that the body is a complex organism that when left, for the most part, "alone" functions in a balanced manner. The way we tend to tamper with our bodies is a lot like the way human beings tend to tamper with the fine balance of the Earth, once you start adding and subtracting things start to teeter out of balance.
I guess what I am driving at is that it is important to remember that our bodies also need other foods that cannot be found, easily or at all, in an all plant matter diet. Our bodies must have protein in order to grow and repair, and fat to keep our organs healthy and aid in the digestion of our food.
If we turn to yoga as our guide here we will see that the key is always balance. Balance in the body, balance in the mind, balance in the heart and spirit.
To Karen - Can you get "gentle iron" or "ferrochel" or "bisglycinate" iron where you live? (first one is a Solgar product) That is the only iron supplement I've found which doesn't hurt my tummy.
-From someone who's had iron deficiency problems when eating meat & when not eating it.
(I'm also now off gluten, FWIW.)
B12 is important. Early vegans got their B12 from bug parts that snuck through processing or pasta or bread. These days, things are so thoroughly processed that we don't get those little organic tidbits. Nutritional yeast addresses the need. We sprinkle it over almost everything, on sandwiches, etc. at least once a day.
Don't let the word "yeast" scare you: nutritional yeast is a good yeast (as opposed to candida, a very bad yeast). Beneficial yeasts in your food will NOT increase the chance of yeast infections and in fact can help build up your immune system and fight bad yeast candida.
Caveat: "Wild, airborne yeast found in naturally fermented kombucha and in sourdough breads can be a problem for someone with a pathogenic candida infection."
Non-heme iron is indeed harder for everyone's body to digest. That's why it's important to make sure you eat vitamin C with your iron sources.
[athlete, 25-year vegetarian, the last 10 of those vegan]
I am a vegan and an athlete. I ran my first marathon yesterday and everyone was doubting me and feared my vegan diet was going to inhibit my performance. I finished under 4 hours and today I feel great, I've recovered much better than i expected and after reading this article I totally think my vegan diet is was has allowed for such a great recovery!
Love the article!
thank you thank you!