Vegan Athletes

As an athlete, you want the best for your body. With so many contradicting recommendations out there, it can be difficult to know what nutrition plan is truly best for you. For athletes, a diet high in protein from lean meats, fish, and eggs is often the obvious choice. However, if you find your results have hit a plateau, it may be time to consider a vegan diet to take your athletic performance to the next level. While you may think you need meat, dairy and other animal based proteins to thrive, there are numerous advantages of a vegan/plant based diet in sports. By definition, vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products and follow a strictly plant-based diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Consider these benefits of the vegan way of life to determine if it’s worth a try for you.

Improved Digestive Health

No one can jump their highest or run their fastest when weighed down by bloat or constipation. A plant based diet is high in fiber, which supports digestive health and keeps your body running smoothly. Juicing or blending fruits and vegetables creates a nutrient rich energy source that is easy to digest, contributing to improved digestive health while also providing the nutrition you need to for a long training session or race. Because of this, a vegan diet for sports can lead to better performance and generally be feeling better while you train.

Improved Recovery

Athletes need to recover after intense workouts and proper nutrition is one of the best ways to restore your body after working it to fatigue. Lean animal protein like chicken or eggs is often considered the go to sources to promote recovery. However, meat and dairy products are known to produce high levels of acid in the body. This can increase acidity in blood pH, which can lead to inflammation and, ultimately, impede your recovery process. Alternatively, a plant based diet and plant-based protein powderproduces alkaline rather than acid, which lowers risk of inflammation and can actually improve your recovery after a workout.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

While there are advantages of a vegan/plant based diet in sports, many of these advantages improve health and quality of life for athletes and non-athletes alike. Vegan athletes who eliminate meat and dairy from their diets reap the benefits of better cardiovascular health. Improved cardiovascular health means a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other chronic health issues. For athletes, this can also mean improved endurance. Even when your days of competing are over, a healthy heart is always something to strive for and maintaining a vegan diet contributes greatly to this.

Improved Performance

With better digestive health, a quicker recovery process and a stronger heart, improved athletic performance is sure to follow. Whether you strive for a faster time, more reps or a more explosive jump, improvements in all of these areas will certainly support better performance. The advantages of a vegan/plant based diet in sports are numerous, but making gains in the sport you love is perhaps most important. Give veganism a try to see what changes for you – you just might never go back.

Up Your Game by Going Vegan: Benefits of a Vegan Diet for Athletes

Vegan athlete slideshow

David Carter (born December 10, 1987) is an American football defensive end and vegan activist.

David Carter (born December 10, 1987) is an American football defensive end and vegan activist.

David Carter (born December 10, 1987) is an American football defensive end and vegan activist.

David Deron Haye (born 13 October 1980) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 2002 to 2018. He held multiple world championships in two weight classes, and was the first British boxer to reach the final of the World Amateur Boxing Championships, where he won a silver medal in 2001.
Colin Rand Kaepernick (born November 3, 1987) is an American activist and American football quarterback who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League (NFL) in 2016.
Christopher Lloyd Smalling (born 22 November 1989) is an English professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Premier League club Manchester United and the English national team.
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996, when he last won an Olympic event. He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games.
Barny du Plessis, 40, from Bristol, UK has competed in 55 shows in 20 years. He won the Mr.Universe competition in 2014.
Abel Nazario Trujillo (born July 18, 1983) is an American mixed martial artist who most recently competed in the Lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Wilson Chandler (born May 10, 1987) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Venus Ebony Starr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is an American professional tennis player who is generally regarded as one of the all-time greats of women's tennis and, along with younger sister Serena Williams, is credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women's professional tennis tour
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (born August 3, 1977) is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He has won six Super Bowls, the most of any football player ever, and due to his numerous accomplishments, records, and accolades, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history
Tiarah Lue Blanco (born May 5, 1997) is a professional surfer from Puerto Rico who won the first place Gold medal at the International Surfing Association (ISA) Open Women's World Surfing Championship 2015 in Popoyo, Nicaragua and successfully defended the title by winning the 2016 edition in Playa Jacó, Costa Rica.
Scott Gordon Jurek (born October 26, 1973) is an American ultramarathoner, New York Times bestselling author of Eat & Run, and public speaker. Throughout his career, Jurek has been one of the most dominant ultramarathon runners in the world, winning many of the sport's most prestigious races multiple times. Jurek has followed a vegetarian diet since 1997, and a vegan diet since 1999.
Nathan Donald "Nate" Diaz (born April 16, 1985) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Diaz is the younger brother of former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and WEC Welterweight Champion, Nick Diaz.
Meagan Duhamel (born December 8, 1985) is a Canadian pair skater. With partner Eric Radford, she is a two-time world champion (2015, 2016), a 2018 Olympic gold medalist in the team event, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist in the team event, a 2018 Olympic bronze medalist in the pairs event, a two-time Four Continents champion (2013, 2015), the 2014–15 Grand Prix Final champion, and a seven-time Canadian national champion (2012–18).
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for Mercedes AMG Petronas. A five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.
Kyrie Andrew Irving (born March 23, 1992) is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Kendrick James Farris (born July 2, 1986) is an Olympic weightlifter from the United States.
Jermaine Defoe holds the Premier League record for the most goals scored as a substitute, with 22, as of 11 January 2014. On 19 November 2016, Defoe scored his 150th Premier League goal, becoming the joint tenth-highest goal scorer in Premier League history.
Defoe made his England debut in 2004 and has made 57 appearances, scoring 20 goals, including three appearances and a goal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Jahlil Okafor (born December 15, 1995) is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere (born 1 January 1992) is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club West Ham United and the English national team.
Jack Linquist is a professional track-racing cyclist who won his first race in 2007 when the 26 year old cycle messenger won the 2007 Puma Velocity race in New York City. He has nine race victories in his career.
Hannah Teter (born January 27, 1987) is an American snowboarder. She is an Olympic champion, having won the gold medal in halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy and silver at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. She also won bronze at the 2005 FIS World Championships at Whistler, British Columbia, and has six World Cup victories in her career.
Fabian Delph (born 21 November 1989) is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder or a left-back for Premier League club Manchester City and the English national team.
Kelly Slater (born February 11, 1972) is an American professional surfer, author, actor, model, environmental activist, businessman, and innovator, most well known for his unprecedented 11 world surfing championships.
John "John" Alexander Florence (born October 18, 1992) is a Hawaiian professional surfer. He is known as "one of the most dominant Pipe surfers of his era" and has most recently won the title of 2017 World Surf League Men's Champion, putting him temporarily head of his arch-rival, Gabriel Medina, in terms of world titles. He is the first Hawaii-born surfer to win back-to-back world titles since the late great Andy Irons.
Fiona Oakes is a British distance runner, who holds four world records for marathon running. In 2013, she won both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon. She runs despite losing a kneecap from an illness when she was 17.
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