Allow me to preface this blog by saying that although I am a meat eater I think being green is cool.
According to a 2008 Vegetarian TImes survey there were 7.3 million people that considered themselves vegetarians in the United States, approximately 1 million of which considered themselves vegan.
With the abundance of food in the U.S, vegetarianism is generally considered a choice, typically for health, religious, environmental or ethical reasons.
Confusion exists over the true benefits of vegetarian diets, especially when it comes to athletic performance. Although these diets generally promote improved health, they also pose some legitimate health concerns. Vegan diets tend to be low in iron, zinc, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin D and B12, and possibly protein, all nutrients necessary for overall health and performance. As these nutrients are readily available and absorbed efficiently from animal sources, vegetarians who include animal products in their diet do not need to be concerned.
Perhaps the most important and possibly misunderstood concern lies with protein quantity and quality. While athletes require more protein, the average American female and male consume approximately 19 % and 44 % more protein respectively than the recommended daily allowance. But do vegetarian athletes consume adequate quantities of protein to sustain tissue maintenance, growth and repair?
Vegetable protein sources, with the exception of soy, are absorbed less efficiently into the human body, and almost all lack or are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids needed to build cells and tissues. Consequently, vegetarian athletes need to pay particular attention to both protein quantity and quality.
Vegetarian/Vegan Sources of Protein
Low Carb Flat bread, Kidney/Baked Beans, Avocado, Soy Milk/Tofu, Nuts/Nut Butter.Dried Apricots.Quinoa, Tempeh, Meat Substitutes, Eggs, Rice/Hemp protein supplement powders.
Vegetarians can’t be athletes!
Your typical meathead will think…and will often spout that meat is needed….or else you will look like this guy:
Yes…you an be a vegetarian/vegan and NOT look like “twig boy” and excel in athletics.
Bill Pearl-4x Mr. Universe, Joe Namath-Legendary Football Quarterback, Prince Fielder-Major League Baseball, Dave Scott-Iron Man Champion, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King-Tennis, Robert Parrish-Basketball, Gogen Yamaguchi-Karate Master, Carl Lewis & Edwin Moses-Olympic Track and Jake Shields-MMA are all examples proving otherwise.
My personal favorite, the baddest man on the planet, actor and noted vocalist Iron Mike Tyson committed himself to a vegan diet in 2010.