There are several types of diets that you can follow when you’re trying to shed fat or add muscle mass. Whether you follow a plant-based diet, keto diet, or a routine of intermittent fasting—all you need to do is make sure you hit your macros. Otherwise, another easier way to do so is stay within your calorie range. However, for an athlete it is slightly different.
An athlete needs to follow a specific set of diet. Here, we are going to talk about the best plant-based diet for athletes. You see, it is not necessary for athletes to follow a meat-diet to reach their goals. A plant-based diet or vegan diet is just as effective if moderated properly. There are many successful international athletes from various countries who claim to be on 100% Vegan diet and are able to achieve their fitness goals.
First, let's get to the basics of a plant-based diet. In the simplest term—a plant-based diet or vegan diet is one where no food products from animals are used. This means no meat, eggs, milk, curd, cheese or other dairy products. The diet revolves around vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods and plant-based nutritional supplement products.
Now, coming to the type of diet that an athlete needs to follow. Their macros, calories and water consumption need to fit perfectly in their diets to prepare them for tournaments and other events. This means there should be no cheating without the assigned cheat meals.
Considering you understand that athletes need a special diet, we can dive into the vegan professional athlete diet.
What are the Food Items Present in a Plant-Based Diet for Athletes?
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread
- Milk (soy, hazelnut or any other plant-based milk)
- Green and starchy vegetables
- Plant-based protein powders
Rarely you will find the best plant-based diet for athletes without the inclusion of protein powders.
Moreover, a number of athletes who follow a vegan professional athlete diet will tell you that they like to make protein smoothies as well. A smoothie is one that lasts a long while and is retained well by the digestive system. The point to remember here is that plant-based diets includes a significant amount of carbohydrates. This already is a great factor in terms of an athlete's diet because carbohydrates can help in improving endurance and athletic performance.
Furthermore, plant-based diets help in improving health by keeping away heart and other diseases. This adds significantly to the advantages of an athlete following a plant-based diet.
Obviously, the second point to note here is that best plant-based an athlete needs a significant amount of protein. The options of best protein diet for vegan athletes will include a good amount of vegan protein options such as tofu or tempeh. However, it will also consist of plant-based protein powders because maybe completing protein from just vegetable alone might not be possible for different types of sports and bodybuilding goals. Few goals require more protein and plant based protein powders can help to complete that daily protein requirement for muscle repair and muscle growth.
Several supplement companies around the world are indulging in creating plant-based protein powders. Vegan Greens is one of the Indian companies that are investing heavily in creating high quality natural plant-based protein supplements that work as efficiently as whey protein powders and also have less fat and only require amount of carbohydrates.
These protein powders are made from plants, green superfoods and Ayurveda herbs. Both of these ingredients are known to have helped mankind develop strength, endurance, and a better immunity system for centuries. These protein supplements made from superfoods and Ayurveda herbs are great additions to the best protein diet for vegan athletes.
International athletes who have adopted a best plant-based diet
She is a star tennis player who has shown us her skills on court time and time again. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome and as a result she adopted a raw vegan diet.
Over time she said that “Once I started, I fell in love with the concept of furling your body in the best way possible (through raw, vegan food).”
The Formula 1 World Champion is another athlete who follows as well as promotes a vegan diet. He has been following the vegan professional athlete diet since 2017.
His reason for adopting the vegan lifestyle is to protect the environment, wildlife and curb pollution that generates from meat production.
He says, “It is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The curly is horrible and I don’t necessarily want to support that.”
David Haye is a famous British former professional boxer who retired with world titles in two different weight categories. As a boxer, it is very important to keep strength and endurance at peak.
Given that, Haye is one of the athletes who decided to follow a plant-based diet. His research on vegan diet started after he suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2014.
Haye’s reason for following a vegan diet was that it provides ample nutrition requirements of an athlete. He said, “Apes are 20 times stronger than humans and they are vegans. They eat plants all day long.” It’s a myth that you need to eat meat for strength.”
Barny Du Plessis
Barny Du Plessis is probably the best example for the debate whether a plant-based diet for athletes actually works or not.
He retired in 2013 and adopted a plant-based diet due to his growing health concerns. However, he returned to the stage in 2014 and won the title of Mr. Universe. Since then he has become one of the first vegan bodybuilders and has adopted a vegan lifestyle.
He has been advocating vegan based diets and now, he competes at several national and international levels as a vegan bodybuilder.
His partner, Josie Du Plessis, is another bodybuilder who follows a vegan diet. Both of them promote veganism showing the world that there are many benefits that come from following protein-rich plant-based diets.
One of the most popular Indian cricketers, Virat Kohli, is said to be following 100% Vegan diet and have seen good improvements in his body.
The ultimate point to understand here is that whether it is the best protein diet for vegan athletes or plant-based diet for strength athletes, they do serve the same purpose as any traditional diet that consists of meat and dairy products. The same fitness and sports goals can be achieved with vegan protein-rich diets. Then, why not save the environment and live with happier and healthier green plant-based diet and lifestyle.
Vegan Greens can help and guide in switching to a complete vegan plant-based diet. Brand like Vegan Greens have many options to meet the plant-based nutrition needs of athletes, which can help them in achieving their sports and fitness goals.