Handling A Vegetarian Diet Properly

In: Food and Drink

6 Jun 2011

Vegetarianism is not a new idea, but it continues to gain traction as public-health recommends, conservationists and animal-welfare organizations push for people to eat more plants and less animals. ( a campaign called Meatless Mondays, for instance, is being adopted by towns and cafes around the globe. ) But what does a meatless or reduced-meat diet mean for fitness buffs?

The key is not to just remove beef, but to replace it. The biggest mistake people make when they change up their animal-eating habits is that theyll go from filling their plate with steak, potatoes and a salad to just potatoes and a salad. You’ve got to think, at least until it becomes 2nd nature, What should I eat to replace what I was getting [nutritionally] from the meat? Then put an enormous scoop of beans and rice on your plate. Follow these eating recommendations so your body isnt asking, Wheres the beef?

Do not scrimp on CalorieS Vegetarian diets have a tendency to be high in fiber-rich foods that fill you up without providing much caloric energy. That may be a problem when youre burning two thousand calories on a long exercise. Select some foods that are rather more refined and calorie-dense. As an example, if youre having entire plants, choose white rice or pasta instead of whole-grain. This will help you get the easily accessible energy you need.

Select Complete proteinS Legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are satisfactory sources of protein, but individually they arent complete. This means they contain some, but not all, necessary amino acids. To compensate, choose plant-protein sources that complement one another. We do this naturally by eating beans and rice, and nut butters and bread. But if youre doing hard coaching thats breaking down a lot of muscle, its smart to eat from a wide selection of these sources to make sure you get all the amino acids you need.

AbSorb more iron. The iron in plant foods, such as spinach, Swiss chard, nuts and whole grains, is tougher for your body to take in than iron from animal sources. So when vegetarians become iron deficient its often because they are not absorbing it well. There are many tricks that help to make plant iron more accessible. Organic acids, like ascorbic ( vitamin C ) and citric ( in citrus fruits ), noticeably improve absorption. Drizzle citrus vinaigrette on your leafy greens, chase a meal with orange slices and smother your burrito in tomato-rich salsa.

Bulk up on b12. If you eat dairy products, you don’t need to fret about getting plenty of vitamin B12, which is necessary for nerve function ( nerve damage from B12 deficiency is irrevocable ) and for your body to create oxygen-carrying red blood cells. But if you go vegan, youll need to consume a range of B12-rich foods like fortified whole-grain cereals, textured vegetable protein and fortified soya milk. Or take a multivitamin.

ConSiDer Creatine. Creatine, which is abundant in beef, pork and fish, is necessary for building strength and generating power for sprints and climbs. Analysis shows that creatine stores are lower in the muscles of vegetarians than in nonvegetarians. But research has shown that vegetarians perform just as well as meat-eating athletes, and some world-class run athletes, including Carl Lewis, have competed on meatless diets. If you do sprint-type riding and are concerned that youre not getting sufficient creatine, you might gain advantage from a supplement. The commended dose is five grams a day.

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