Veganism and high-performance athleticism aren’t things that most people think would go together, but as more and more of the country’s best are showing, those terms are by no means exclusive.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to veganism and peak performance is the misguided belief that there simply aren’t enough plant-based proteins available to keep our muscles working and our brains operating at the top of their game. As it turns out, however, there are more than enough sources of protein within a vegan diet, and one needs to look no further than people like Tom Brady or Serena Williams, among others, to find proof that the vegan diet is by no means lacking.
That’s right, both the New England Patriot’s all-star quarterback and the number one women’s singles tennis player on eight separate occasions make use of an almost entirely vegan diet when competing. Brady’s typical meal during the football season, according to sports reporter Dan Pompei, “might include a breakfast smoothie–made with almond milk, a scoop of protein, seeds, nuts and a banana–a midmorning homemade protein bar” before telling us he typically has a salad and “whole grains and legumes for lunch, a second smoothie as a snack and a dinner of quinoa with greens.”
As if the evidence of Brady’s abilities aren’t proof enough of the benefits of a vegan diet, there is some hard science behind the idea too. David Rogerson, a senior lecturer in Sports Nutrition and Strength and Conditioning at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, recently published an article supporting plant-based diets for athletes. According to his research, the main sources of protein should be lentils, beans, and grains, but the athlete should also be sure to be eating plenty omega-3 rich nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds for their anti-inflammatory effects. Snack foods like dried fruits are also recommended, to help ensure that the proper caloric intake is achieved each day.
And finding a vegan recipe that doesn’t taste like cardboard isn’t the hassle it used to be either! With apps out there like Food Monster and HappyCow, thousands of delicious recipes and restaurants are available at your very fingertips whenever you may need them. And with new additions uploaded each day, you can rest assured that you’ll never have the same meal twice.