The Benefits of a Plant Based Diet For Athletes

What is a plant based diet?

A whole food, plant based diet should be seen as more than just a food diet because in truth, It’s also a mindful lifestyle. Plant Based foods will help improve your personal health but actually living this mindful lifestyle will contribute to animal welfare and the sustainability/protection of the environment. This post is sponsored by Forks Over Knives

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It’s important to note that a whole food, plant based diet does not require you to completely cut-out animal products, including dairy, eggs and even honey; that would be a Vegan diet.

We both follow a plant based diet but on occasion have a bit of chicken or fish. We always check that the meat is organic, ethically sourced and that the animals have been treated well on the farm. Personally, I believe that if you do eat animal meat then it should only be as a treat on the odd occasion and not a frequent part of your diet.

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Forks Over Knives – A plant based diet documentary that will get you up to speed.

You may have heard of Forks Over Knives from the popular documentary that has already influenced millions of people, including ourselves, to try out a plant based diet. If you haven’t watched it already, you should definitely do so, I think you’ll be amazed at what it uncovers.

Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the chronic diseases that afflict us, can be controlled or even reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. I am 100% behind the plant based lifestyle being the way of the future if not only for the sustainability of our planet but also our own personal health and the welfare of animals around the world. Full documentary synopsis here.

FAQs Surrounding Plant Based Diets and Athletes

Can a Plant Based Athlete Perform As Well as Meat Eating Athletes?

Yes they totally can! Here’s a list of plant-based athletes who are among the world’s best runners: Scott JurekSage CanadayKilian JornetEmelie ForsbergMichael WardianEllie GreenwoodBrendan BrazierTim Van Orden and Rich Roll to name just a few.

Can I get enough protein from eating whole, plant-based foods?

Absolutely! Beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all plant-based sources of protein that are also filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Protein needs vary from person to person depending on your age, health status, and amount of physical activity. Satisfying your protein needs from a plant-based diet is simple and achievable.

Do I need to take supplements to get more protein in my diet?

No, if you’re eating the right foods then you should be able to get enough protein in your diet. After intense workouts, in order to speed up recovery times, I use a vegan protein powder for shakes, rather than the more common dairy-based protein powders that are available (which I used to use). I recommend PBfit Protein Powder which is Vegan and Organic. I like the way most of the protein in it comes from powdered peanuts making it taste great! It provides 20g of protein in one 44g serving. If you do a lot of strength work in the gym you should probably be using a protein powder like this to promote muscle repair and growth.

Is it possible to eat plant based or even Vegan while running and still get enough energy?
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Yes, look into No Cow Energy Bars – For reasons mentioned above, they are my top food choice during long runs – No Cow Energy Bars Review. I also love to take natural foods such as bananas, nuts and dried fruits (such as dried apricots) on long runs for snacks.

Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

There are probably even more reasons to follow a plant based diet but these are the key ones that stand out to me and should hopefully convince you to give the lifestyle a try.

Following a whole-food, plant based diet and lifestyle can help:

  1. make you feel more alert and energised. We found that eating processed foods, too much meat and dairy can affect our energy levels.
  2. promote weight loss and the ability to maintain your goal weight.
  3. saves money, buying plant-based food is generally less expensive than buying meat, even when buying organic produce.
  4. improve sustainability for our environment.
  5. improve animal welfare.

Here are some other medical benefits that have been reported, many of these are covered in the Forks Over Knives documentary mentioned above:

benefits of a plant based diet for athletes

Food groups to eat from

  • Fruit (e.g. bananas, blueberries, oranges, strawberries)
  • Vegetables (e.g. broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce)
  • Tubers & Starchy Vegetables (e.g. potatoes, corn, green peas, winter squash)
  • Whole Grains (e.g. barley, millet, oats, quinoa, wheat berries, brown rice)
  • Legumes (e.g. black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans)
  • Seeds & Nuts (e.g. almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds)

I know this is a long list of foods, especially for those looking to start a plant-based diet. It can be confusing to know what to actually do with it all to make a tasty and satisfying meal. The Forks Meal Planner is a great way to overcome this hurdle and make your plant-based lifestyle as easy and enjoyable as possible to transition into and maintain.

Another way that can be helpful to supplement your diet when switching to go plant-based is to make healthy vegan protein shakes using plant-based protein powders. Click here to read more about plant-based protein powders, including how and when to use them and the brands we recommend.

Plant Based Diet Meal Planning

forks over knives

Whether you’re a seasoned plant based athlete already or just getting into it, the Forks Meal Planner is a great way to take the stress out of figuring out what food to buy and meals to cook. They are experts in plant-based meal planning, so if you’re looking to make 2019 your healthiest year yet, then the Forks Meal Planner is a great place to start.

Visit Forks Meal Planner

The Forks Over Knives team of chefs create personalized meal plans for you every week with delicious recipes that will be on the table in 35 minutes or less. We lead very busy lifestyles so quick preparation, healthy food is extremely important for us.

Every meal plan can be customized to suit your needs for the week and to make things even more convenient for your, Forks Over Knives has a function that tells you what you can batch-prepare to save more time during the week. Ingredients lists for each week is of course accessible from your smartphone making the shopping process much simpler too.

Must-Read Plant Based Nutrition Books

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All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. We may earn money if you buy from a link.

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