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 41 year old high carb, low fat raw vegan athlete who competitively 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.
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
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:
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: