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Exercising the Vegan Way - Things You Should Keep in Mind as an Athlete
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Exercising the Vegan Way - Things You Should Keep in Mind as an Athlete

There is a mistaken belief that vegans have a problem to lead an active life due to their dietary habits. When it comes to exercise and sports they would allegedly underperform and would not be able to achieve the same results as the athletes who are on a regular diet. This is simply not true for well-informed vegans, since they use substitutes for proteins and dairy products, and know how to compensate for the lack of certain vitamins and minerals.

Planning meals appropriately can normalize the intake of calories. This is specifically important for active participation in any sports activity since they require one to be at their optimal level of physical performance. That is why we listed several important things you should have in mind in order to go vegan and still stay at the top of your game.

 

Good Food

If you believe that switching to a vegan diet will be the perfect way to lose weight then you are absolutely right. Plant-based meals will be processed by your body much faster than meat, which can lead to weight loss. But when you're an athlete, the last thing you want is to weaken your body and lose kilograms. In order to avoid this, you have to intake more food and increase the number of meals per day. Maintaining your weight might be hard at the beginning due to the transition, but your body will adapt soon enough and you'll be able to continue your athletic success and achievements while still being vegan.

 

Bad Food

Vegan doesn’t mean healthy. It’s a common misconception but still one of the main reasons why people adopt a vegan diet. Being vegan is a lifestyle choice, and the foods you choose are at your discretion as well. To be fit you must eat the appropriate plant-based meals. Vegan pizza, burgers or ice cream are not going to give you an athletic body and excellent fitness results. They could actually be almost as bad as those with meat and milk. Another important aspect to take into consideration is your body's reaction to a vegan diet. Some plants may disagree with your gastrointestinal system and cause flatulence, nausea, and stomach pain.

 

On Withdrawal

Good or bad, all changes have one thing in common - they need some getting used to. Transition to a vegan diet can be stressful to the organism and one may feel signs of withdrawal. The beginning may be great for some but others it may feel so bad that they'd start to doubt their decision. You may experience both physical or emotional disturbances. Some of the symptoms may be headaches, fatigue, irritability and for some these may last for weeks. Human bodies are used to us being carnivores, and now that you’ve become a herbivore it may take time for the changes to take effect. Be patient, put on some active wear and workout whenever you get the chance. This is the perfect way to keep your mind on the goals and stop you from giving up.  

 

Protein is Your Friend

Whenever someone says they are vegan or have recently become one, they get asked is it is possible to compensate for the lack of proteins. This is due to the misbelief that meat is the only source of protein.

Here is a list of the healthy replacements for meat which can provide the same quantities of protein:

  • Amaranth and bulgur
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Oat bran and wheat germ
  • Sprouted lentils and beans
  • Peas Kale Broccoli  
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet corn
  • Artichokes
  • Spinach
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash Cauliflower
  • Baby zucchini

 

On Supplements

Supplements are important for everyone. The food we have readily available has all the nutrients we need. However, it is the quality of the food and how we prepare it that can diminish the number of necessary nutrients. Before using any supplement, get a blood test to see if you need any in the first place. Too many vitamins and minerals can be detrimental to the body.

Vitamin B12 should be taken by all vegans since the amounts in the mushrooms and organic produces are insufficient. Vitamin D and Iodine are also desirable, as are calcium and iron. The latter shouldn't be taken without consulting a doctor or nutritionist since calcium and iron are both found in green vegetables.

 

Achieving Balance

The vegan diet is a choice and as such it will require that you know all the facts so to be prepared for the outcome of the change until you get used to this new way of life. As an athlete, you use fat first and then protein to keep your body in shape and gain stamina to endure the most demanding workouts. Being vegan or not, the rules don't change, you just stop gaining fats and proteins from one source and use another. The science has proven for so many times that it's always the matter of proper combining and choosing the right ingredients that will keep us healthy and in shape, and not if we are omnivores, vegetarians or vegans.

 

Image source: unsplash.com

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