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Benefits Of 100% Plant Based Diet For BJJ Athletes

Benefits Of 100% Plant Based Diet For BJJ Athletes

It’s a common misconception that athletes cannot eat a plant-based diet, because it does not provide the protein they need. In fact, many world class athletes are vegetarians or vegans. Here are famous athletes with Plant based diets:


Mixed martial arts fighters Mac Danzig, Jake Shields, Jon Fitch
Tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King
Boston Celtic Robert Parish
MLB first baseman Prince Fielder
Iron Man world champion Dave Scott
Gold medalist Carl Lewis


BJJEE.com sat Down with “Plant Based Athlete” who is a 39 year old high carb, low fat raw vegan athlete who pb1competitively trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is living on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. Growing up playing competitive sports,  he always thought he was eating well and living a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t until 2011 that he began to really understand proper nutrition. After watching a documentary, “Forks Over Knives”, he began to seek real answers through reading, research, and experimentation with his own diet. He now feel healthier, happier and more fit than ever. He has more energy now when training (7-10 times per week) at age 39 than he’s ever have. Check out his website: www.Plant-Based-Athlete.com

1) What were your reasons for switching your diet to plant based?

I went to a 100% Plant-Based diet after seeing a documentary, Forks Over Knives. I then did more research and read a book by T Colin Campbell called the China Study. That book and several scientific journal articles got me to get off meat and dairy completely.

2) Please go through the guidelines of your diet? (what do you eat, how often, etc)

I eat a whole foods Plant-Based diet with 80+% of my calories coming from unrefined carbohydrates, mainly fruit and vegetables. I eat 3-4 times per day and consume around 3,000 calories a day, I weigh around 140 pounds(63kg).

3) How has this diet affected your body and how you feel? How about how you roll?

Everything has improved since dropping the acidic foods like meat, dairy, and processed foods.. My recovery is better than ever, I rarely get sore, and my cardiovascular endurance is better than ever rolling at almost 40 years old.

4) What are favorite forms of plant based proteins?

All plant foods contain carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. I’ve actually dropped my protein to well under 10% of my calories and have never felt better. Excess animal protein can actually cause several problems including cancer promotion, liver and kidney disorders, digestive problems, calcium deficiencies, and other mineral imbalances. My digestion is something that has improved drastically with the elimination of acidic foods and the excess consumption of fiber and simple sugars through fruit.

5)Please tell us about the change in energy (feeling energised) that you feel from going plant based.

As I mentioned earlier, my cardiovascular endurance has improved drastically. Also, my overall mood and energy has improved through a Plant-Based diet. I’ve never felt this good in my entire life.

6) What advice would you give to those who have a hard time resisting to junk food cravings?

Most people crave junk food because they’re depriving themselves of carbohydrates. Instead of eating unrefined carbs before they get hungry during the day they binge on refined junk food carbs packed with fat and chemicals. I suggest eating large amounts of sweet, ripe organic fruits during the day. By keeping your fat intake low and adding these simple sugars your mood and energy will improve, and you’ll also find yourself not craving junk food at the end if the day.

7) Any recommended reading or videos?

Yes, I’d watch a few documentaries, Forks Over Knives and Food Inc. I’d also pick up and read these books- The China Study by T Colin Campbell, The 80/10/10 Diet by Doug Graham, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn.
I hope this was informative, thank you for your time.

Additional information:

Plant Protein Sources

It is untrue that the only sources of quality protein come from animal products. In Plants, grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds all contain significant levels of quality proteins. If you are concerned about getting adequate protein for athletic performance from a plant-based diet, then eat the following foods, which are excellent plant-based protein sources.

Sprouted grains such as buckwheat, oats, quinoa, and millet
Vegetables including dark greens, mushrooms, peppers, and yams
Legumes like pinto beans and lentils
Raw nuts and seeds, including hemp, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
Chia Seeds and my Power Protein Smoothie
Complex Carbohydrates

Athletes may wish to eat foods that stick with them longer on the day of athletic performance. Complex carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen. Some good sources of complex carbohydrates include:

Oat groats
Brown rice

Because athletic performance does require more energy, eating calorically dense foods can help meet those energy needs. Fats that can help increase energy stores for athletic performance include:

Coconut oil

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8 thoughts on “Benefits Of 100% Plant Based Diet For BJJ Athletes

  1. Peter

    Igor, you can do it. I did it in Bulgaria and yes, people look at you funny :D and it requires work, but it is worth it. You can try eating meat on weekends only so you can test it out. It is going to be an interesting experiment on way or the other.

  2. Frank

    This is awesome!! I thought I was the only 80-10-10er in the Mma/jiu jitsu world!! Love seeing this, got my purple belt last month and have been a raw folder for a few years now, it saved my life. Almost died from a heart attack at 19 and was told I needed surgery and pills. I said f that and became vegan, then raw vegan. Heart is amazing now and I went from not being able to walk up stairs without my heart exploding to cycling 50 miles and training for hours!!

  3. ross

    I am also a jiu-jitsu player and have been living the 80/10/10 lifestyle for about a year and a half. I would like to connect with any other plant based grapplers, find me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/ross.vollmer

  4. Arseny

    I always thought that vegan diet affects your weight. So instead of keeping around 80kg I would lose all that weight and compete in lighter weight divisions?

  5. Arizona

    I’m not quite vegan yet but been vegetarian for a while now and I love it! I love to eat all day and with a plant based diet I don’t feel nearly as guilty as before. I’ve found that eating a plant based diet has also encouraged me to make more healthier choices across the board. If very occassionally I feel I REALLY, REALLY need some meat then I’ll eat some, but most of the time I don’t even miss it that much.

  6. John Belardo

    I have been vegan/vegetarian for now over 3 1/2 years . I have overcome arthritis having taken meds for 10 years and cancer 2 times both most likely side effects of a fast food diet and medications . I am now free from cancer and arthritis meds and train GJJ at least one a week and stand up self defense once a week. I also lift weights and do yoga and have a busy surgical practice and a wife and 3 kids. My transformation in my diet has alleviated my arthritis ti the point that I don’t need meds and having gone against my oncologist’s advice to do chemo I instead am putting my trust in my 90 percent vegan diet. I feel great with plenty of energy and vitality and live a full life. I have recommended vegan lifestyles to my patients and have seen miracles by their health changes too. Trully we ate what we eat… No more processed foods, or animal products for me and my family. My only wish is that had I learned this early in my medical training I would not have had to suffer cancer and arthritis. But those were my teachers and motivators.

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