Vegan Athletes and Protein

Thursday, December 15, 2011
It seems that not a month (or less) goes by that I don’t read or hear about a vegan runner or other type of athlete that supposedly had issues with being an athlete simply because she was vegan. For example, I just read this on Yahoo! Sports today:
While a vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, you'll have to be extra careful to be sure your protein needs are met. An athletic friend I knew several years ago started a vegan diet and actually passed out in training after several weeks of consuming far too little protein. It's not something you want to have happen to you.
As you can see here, the author has a story that basically claims that because her friend was vegan, he or she was not getting enough protein, thereby he passed out. I’ve had co-workers also tell me similar stories about how they knew someone who had issues with their running or just getting enough protein because they weren’t eating meat. Here’s the thing, if you are eating healthy and correctly as a vegan, you will NOT have any problems. It’s as simple as that. What people fail to realize is that a lot of ominvores are severely lacking in their health. Look at all the fast food so many folks eat, that stuff is far from healthy.
The bottom line here is, vegan athletes have no problems with their health or fitness if they eat properly. Just as omnivore athletes don’t have any problems when they eat correctly. It’s the same deal, there’s nothing extremely different about it. Vegans get their protein in through foods like beans, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, and tempeh. There is no shortage of protein out there when you educate yourself. Not to mention that most athletic individuals don’t require that much more protein than the average person.
Are you a vegan athlete? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


Alison said...

I'm a vegan runner and triathlete. I've been vegan for five years, and I've been an athlete for less than two. Despite my short time in athletics, I've competed in sixteen races, including two full marathons, a 50k ultra-marathon, and a full ironman. I've never had a problem with nutrition, and I don't eat anything terribly different than other vegans. I use a plant-based protein powder in my smoothies, but that's pretty much it. The rules for athletes are the same, whether you're vegan or not: eat enough to fuel your training, and get as much of your nutrition as possible from clean foods.

Bammer said...

This article is from 2010, but it's still relevant.

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