There are two primary misconceptions about being a plant-based athlete. The first (and biggest one) is that you cannot get enough adequate protein to perform at a peak level. This is simply patently false. If you are eating a well balanced whole food plant-based diet with a wide variety of high protein plant foods, protein sufficiency should never be a problem. Despite enduring 20-30 hour training weeks, it has never been a problem for me and it shouldn’t be for you either. During very heavy weeks I will supplement with some hemp, brown rice and pea proteins. But I still use them sparingly and prefer to procure the vast majority of my protein from plant-based whole foods.
The cookbook addresses this issue with some helpful tips, as well as a listing of the high protein plant-based foods that are a staple of my diet.
The second misconception is that an athlete cannot get sufficient calories on a plant-based diet. Again, false. If you are eating a well balanced plant-based diet you should be more than adequately fortified no matter how much you are training. In fact, plant-based foods (particularly when raw and Vitamixed) are so nutrient dense that you ultimately provide you body with a higher percentage of nutrients per calorie than you would on an ordinary diet. Over time, I have experienced a reduction in my appetite as my body learns to run more efficiently on fewer calories. This occurs when processed (very low nutrient dense) foods are supplanted with nutrient dense foods. The cookbook provides more insight on this issue.
And if you are still a doubter, just look at ultra marathoner Scott Jurek, triathlete Maik Twelsiek or UFC/MMA fighter Mac Danzig -- all astounding athletes training and competing on plant-based diets. Scott Jurek is one of the world’s top ultra runners, and Maik Twelsiek was the only athlete able to ride pace with Chris Lieto (the fastest cyclist in triathlon) at this year’s Ironman World Championships.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Ultraman World Championship is a three-day, 320 mile (515-km) annual endurance race held on the Big Island of Hawaii. The race is divided into three stages over three days: The first is a 6.2-mile (10-km) ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, followed by a 90-mile (145-km) cross-country bike ride, with vertical climbs that total 6,000 feet. Stage two is a 171.4-mile (276-km) bike ride from Volcanoes National Park to Kohala Village Inn in Hawi, with total vertical climbs of 4,000 feet. Stage three is a 52.4-mile(84-km) double-marathon, which starts at Hawi and finishes on the beach at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. Each stage must be completed within 12 hours or less. The swim portion of stage one must be completed in 5.5 hours or less. Participants who do not reach the finish lines within the time limits are disqualified.
This event attracts athletes who seek to explore the extreme in physical and mental abilities. The race is limited to 40 athletes on an invitation-only basis and attracts participants from around the world, including Brazil, Canada, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia and the United States. Racers must have reached their 20th birthday prior to the start of stage one. Each racer must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two people over the entire course. Many support team members are volunteers from the Big Island community.