The Vegetarian Athlete
Many athletes have made the decision to stop eating meat. Despite common misconceptions, the word “vegetarian” has nothing to do with consuming vast amounts of vegetables. Although vegetables do play a large role in the vegetarian diet, the word itself actually comes from the Latin word “vegetus” meaning full of vitality, vigorous and cheerful.
The list of reasons why people switch to a vegetarian diet is as varied as the people themselves and include issues pertaining to ecology, economy, religion, ethics, emotions and of course health. Not only can a vegetarian diet meet the nutritional needs for any high performance sport, studies are beginning to show that it may also play a major role in disease prevention
A vegetarian diet for endurance athletes is really not all that different from a normal (healthy) diet, with the exception, of course, of the meat. If you’re switching from eating McDonald’s every day, then sure, it’s going to take some getting used to. But if you eat lots of nutritious, whole foods as it is, there really aren’t all that many adjustments you need to make to go vegetarian.
You can take it as far as you want, and some vegetarian and vegan athletes tend toward raw and gluten-free diets, citing even greater energy gains. There are differing degrees of health in even vegetarian diets, and mine still includes a lot of delicious cooked foods that “normal” people eat.
Links of Websites of Vegetarian Resources:
- No Meat Athlete: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-diet-athletes/
- The Vegetarian Athlete: http://www.thevegetarianathlete.com/
- Vegetarian Runner: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-303-308-10861-0,00.html
- Active.com: http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/The-Vegetarian-Athlete.htm
- About.com: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition/a/VegetarianTips.htm
- Vegetarianism in a Nutshell: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/athletes.htm
- Vegetarian Cooking: http://www.vegetarians-cooking.com/
Keep up the good work!