Practical tips for vegan athletes

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
What to look for when you’re a vegan athlete? Seven practical tips!

A healthy and varied diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It delivers all the vitamins and minerals for optimal performance. A healthy vegan diet should offer a good replacement for animal products, and contain protein, iron and vitamin B.

Seven practical tips:

1.      Whole grains, greens and legumes

Choose whole grains such as bread (with iodized salt) and brown rice. This gives long lasting energy and contains many vitamins, minerals and fiber. (Weightloss with fiber). The combination of whole grains, green vegetables and legumes is golden for vegan athletes.

2.      Combine protein sources

Combine different types of plant based proteins, because not all types of plant based proteins can be use equally well as animal based protein by our body as a building  material. Protein from potatoes, rice, soy beans and leafy greens is of better use than protein from bread, legumes and nuts. (About soy protein)

3.      Increase protein intake

Increase your protein intake. Vegan athletes need about 30% more protein than non-vegan athletes.

4.      Vitamins and minerals

Monitor the amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Vegans have an increased risk of a  deficiency of iron and B vitamins. Whole grain products, legumes, soy products, fruits and nuts contain much iron and B vitamins. Choose vitamin B12 enriched products or a supplement after consulting a doctor. (Do you need supplements?)

5.      Fruit

Combine your meal with fruit. Plant based iron is better absorbed in combination with vitamin C.

6.      Avoid coffee and tea

This lowers the absorption of plant based iron.

7.     Monitor fat

Monitor the amount of fat in your diet. A vegan diet can have an increased risk on too much fat, such as when you eat a lot of avocado or nuts. Although unsaturated fat also  has positive effects on your health, too much fat will simply result in weight gain.

Create your own health!©