Vegetarianism isn’t a new concept, but it continues to gain traction as public-health recommends, conservationists and animal-welfare associations push for folk to eat more plants and fewer animals. ( a campaign called Meatless Mondays, for example, is being adopted by towns and cafes around the world. ) But what does a meatless or reduced-meat diet mean for fitness buffs?
The key isn’t to just remove beef, but to replace it. The most terrible mistake folk make when they change up their animal-eating habits is that theyll go from filling their plate with steak, potatoes and a salad to just potatoes and a salad. You have to think, at least until it becomes 2nd nature, What should I eat to replace what I was getting [nutritionally] from the meat? Then put a giant scoop of beans and rice on your plate. Follow these eating suggestions so your body isnt asking, Wheres the beef?
Dont skimp on CalorieS Vegetarian diets tend to be high in fiber-rich foods that fill you up without providing much caloric energy. That can be an issue when youre burning 2,000 calories on a long exercise. Select some foods that are more refined and calorie-dense. As an example, if youre having whole vegetables, select white rice or pasta instead of whole-grain. This’ll help you get the easily reached energy you need.
Choose Complete proteinS Legumes, grains, seeds and nuts are adequate sources of protein, but individually they arent complete. This implies they contain some, but not all, necessary amino acids. To compensate, select plant-protein sources that complement each other. We do this naturally by eating beans and rice, and nut butters and bread. But if youre doing hard training thats breaking down a lot of muscle, its smart to eat from a wide selection of these sources to make sure you get all of the amino acids you need.
AbSorb more iron. The iron in plant foods, such as spinach, Swiss chard, nuts and whole grains, is tougher for your body to absorb than iron from animal sources. So when salad munchers become iron deficient its often because they are not soaking up it well. There are many tricks that aid in making plant iron more accessible. Organic acids, like ascorbic ( vitamin C ) and citric ( in citrus fruits ), significantly improve assimilation. Drizzle citrus vinaigrette on your leafy greens, chase a meal with orange slices and smother your burrito in tomato-rich salsa.
Bulk up on b12. If you eat dairy products, you don’t need to fret about getting sufficient vitamin B12, which is vital for nerve function ( nerve damage from B12 deficiency is irrevocable ) and for your body to create oxygen-carrying red blood cells. But if you go vegan, youll need to consume a selection of B12-rich foods like fortified whole-grain cereals, textured plant protein and fortified soy milk. Or take a multi-vitamin.
ConSiDer Creatine. Creatine, which is abounding in beef, pork and fish, is essential for building strength and generating power for sprints and climbs. Analysis shows that creatine stores are lower in the muscles of vegetarians than in nonvegetarians. But studies have shown that vegetarians perform just as well as meat-eating sportsmen, and some top class sprint sportsmen, including Carl Lewis, have competed on meatless diets. If you do sprint-type riding and are concerned that youre not getting sufficient creatine, you could benefit from a supplement. The advised dose is 5 grams a day.