Plant Based Athlete

Posted on May 02 by
in Blog
Since Tom Brady announced he eats a predominantly plant-based diet, recreational, collegiate, and professional athletes everywhere are curious to learn more! While there are many benefits to consuming a diet predominant in plants, many athletes struggle to sustain this new way of eating because of decreased energy and performance and an increase in injury and hunger levels. One thing I've learned is that athletes don't do well when they are hungry!

To prevent these common side effects, I recommend my clients always take a gradual approach to adopt a plant-based diet. This month I'm sharing the fundamental principles for fueling the plant-based athlete!

3 Essentials for the Plant-Based Athlete





 

1. Energize with a variety of foods.
Mix it up to diversify your energy balance from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Depending on the physical demands of your training and goals, energy and macronutrient needs will vary. Yet, the foundation of every strong athlete is built on the proper fuel.

An athlete's plate should consist of:
  • Carbohydrates: Whole food carbs help with ATP/energy production.  Plant-based carbohydrates include grains, fruits, starchy and non-starchy vegetables, beans, peas and legumes.
  • Protein: Crucial for building, repairing, and maintaining muscle mass along with hormone balance and satisfaction, protein is indispensable. Some plant-based protein sources include beans, peas, legumes, soy products, nuts, seeds, vegan protein powders and RTDs.
  • Fat: Vital for various things, including brain function, vitamin and mineral utilization, and meal satisfaction, fat is an essential macronutrient. Sources of plant-based fats such as plant oils, olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut.
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2. Hydrate right.
Athletes have increased fluid needs, and therefore, it is vital to address. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramps, headaches, brain fog, and decreased performance. It is crucial to stay hydrated throughout the day, and especially after strenuous workouts.

For workouts under 45 minutes, regular water works well. To increase flavor, add fresh fruit or herbs. However, as duration and intensity increase, sweat and water loss also increase; therefore, fluids with electrolytes can be helpful.
  • Coconut water is a plant-based beverage that contains naturally occurring electrolytes.
  • Add a pinch of salt and a small amount of 100% fruit juice to your water if coconut water isn't available!
  • Nuun electrolyte tablets provide a balance of ingredients for mineral replenishment and optimal hydration before/during/after your workout.
  • Body Armor Lyte is an alternative to Gatorade or Powerade. It is low in calories, no sugar added, packed with potassium and other electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.
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3: Enhance performance with natural pre-workout fuel.
Maximize your training sessions with a pre-workout meal or drink if your are exercising later in the day and not exercising in a fasted state.
  • Single serve peanut/almond butter and bananas. Portable, inexpensive, and easy to digest, these natural energy sources give the perfect pre-workout fuel.
  • Caffeine. Research has found that consuming 200 - 300 mg of caffeine (equivalent to a cup of coffee) an hour before a workout can be beneficial. Acting as a natural stimulant, coffee and tea can help improve workout performance.
  • Pre-Workout. There are also many plant-based, pre-workout supplements such as amino acids, electrolytes, B vitamins, caffeine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and beta-alanine. Consult with a registered dietitian to discuss what's best for you!
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Bonus Tip! Work with a Registered Dietitian:
When adopting a plant-based diet, it's important to work with a registered dietitian to ensure that you are meeting energy requirements. Food is fuel, and an RD can help to individualize your plant-based diet so you feel comfortable and satisfied with the foods you eat.
Supplements to Consider for the Plant-Based Athlete





 
 
  • Iron: Athletes are at risk of developing iron deficiency due to a combination of factors including increased requirements (training stimulates production of red blood cells) and growth increases (the demand for iron to produce new tissues and blood cells). Iron helps to transport oxygen throughout the body, so supplementation for athletes (especially females due to loss of iron through menstrual cycles) should be considered.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin is needed to absorb calcium and other minerals along with promoting bone growth! Vitamin D is not found in many plant foods in significant amounts unless the food is fortified with it; however, it can be obtained when our skin is exposed to the sun, so getting 10-15 minutes of direct sun exposure per day may also be beneficial. If these options are difficult for you to achieve a vitamin D supplement may be necessary.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These fatty acids have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and swelling, as well as increase range of motion after damaging exercise. Omega-3 is also extremely important for brain function and skin health. Consider a plant-based omega-3 supplement made from algae, hemp or flaxor other omega-3 rich plant-based foods.
  • Vitamin B12: A necessary supplement for anyone following a plant-based diet. Some research suggests that athletes with poor or marginal nutritional status for vitamin B12 may have decreased ability to perform high intensity exercise. B12 is important for nerve function, brain function, and formation of red blood cells. There are many vegan B12 supplements availalbe which can be taken orally or via shot.
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There are a variety of factors that will influence your need to take additional supplements, always consult your physician and registered dietitian before starting any supplements.
Featured Recipe
Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu





 


Timing: 45 minutes | Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces rotini pasta (gluten-free if desired or low carb)
  • ½ cup reserved starchy pasta water
  •  


Instructions:

  1. Cook onions, carrots and celery in oil over medium heat in a large skillet for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the dry lentils, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  3. While ragu lentil mixture is cooking, cook pasta according to directions on the box until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining.
  4. Add the pasta eater to the ragu sauce and then mix the pasta and ragu sauce together.
  5. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.
  6.  


Optional toppings: Fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese.

Garlicky Grilled Lettuce with Tahini Dressing

Posted on April 20 by
in Blog
Ingredients
 
3 slices thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce
 
Instructions
 
Add bacon to medium skillet over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes per side until bacon is crisp. Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
 
 
To prepare dressing, combine tahini, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, honey, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water and sea salt in a small bowl or jar. Whisk to combine and refrigerate.
 
To a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon garlic. Set aside. Rinse lettuce and pat dry with a clean towel. Cut lettuce head through the core into four equally sized wedges, then remove outermost leaves.
 
Preheat grill to 400°F (204°C). Brush lettuce wedges with olive oil and garlic mixture. Place lettuce cut side down and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn lettuce to grill the other cut side for 2 to 3 minutes.
 
Remove from grill and serve each wedge with 1 tablespoon tahini dressing, and equal amounts crumbled bacon and chopped red onions.
Garlicky-Grilled-Lettuce-with-Tahini-Dressing-780x520

It is National Garlic Day!

Posted on April 19 by
in Blog
  • Garlic reduces inflammation, boosts immune function, improves heart health, and is toxic to cancer cells
  • Garlic is known for its powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties and can even ward off antibiotic-resistant superbugs
  • Sprouted garlic and fermented “black” garlic may be especially healthy
  • garlic-benefits

Vegan Fudge

Posted on April 15 by
in Blog

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy nut butter 
  • 2 scoops chocolate vegan protein powder
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted 
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • cinnamon to taste

 

Directions:

Mix all together, transfer to a glass container and freeze for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.

fudge

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