There is a common misconception that people need to eat a lot of protein to be healthy, and that typically means eating meat and dairy products. There is an even larger misconception especially among athletes - that the body needs extreme amounts of protein to perform better. This is not the case, however. In fact, many athletes (including myself) turn to a plant based diet to increase performance and health. Contrary to popular belief, eliminating meat and dairy from one's diet will not result in a protein or nutrient deficiency. In fact, a plant based (or vegan diet) will actually increase opportunity to take control of what you eat and maximize your health potential through a balanced and thoughtful diet. To dispel this common myth even further, let's take a look at protein and carbohydrates:
Protein: Athletes do not need much more protein than anyone else and meat is not the only source of protein. Athletes (and most people) need high-quality protein which can come from a variety of non meat and dairy sources such as quinoa, soy beans, spinach, seeds and legumes.
Carbohydrates: To perform, athletes need carbs to fuel their muscles. While we typically view protein as the hero, carbohydrates are actually equally as important and where plant based athletes have the advantage. Many of the plant based protein sources cited above also contain an ample amount of carbohydrates. A plant based diet can be very healthy and advantageous for athletes. When properly planned for and well-balanced, a vegan diet is a healthy way to achieve optimal performance.
AUTHOR: Jamie Walker
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