One of the best ways to stay healthy and have enough energy for your workouts is by eating a balanced diet. But when you eat only vegetables, you may have some concerns about staying strong, particularly how a Vegan diet might work with cross fit or strength training. But, there are plenty of healthy and strong athletes out there, in many sports, that can vouch for the benefits of a vegan diet.
MMA fighter Nate Diaz and NFL defensive end David Carter are two of them. These athletes, and many others (men and women) are keeping their muscles and their entire body fueled with a vegan diet.
The following is a bit of information that just begins touch on the ways that a body can be fueled by plants. We encourage you to do further research on plant-based proteins, carbs, and other nutrients and see how you can incorporate them into your diet.
Protein and the Vegan Diet
Raw vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds offer an amazing amount of protein for the human body, and when combined, can give an athlete a complete source of protein. Did you know that leafy greens and sprouts are made up of about 50% protein? Seeds and nuts like sesame, chia, and flax are also extremely rich in protein. Superfoods, such as hemp and quinoa are considered “complete proteins,” because they contain all nine essential amino acids. Even vegetables like parsley, cucumber, and artichokes contain amounts of protein that rival the protein content in animal products like milk and flesh.
We do want to point out that the body’s protein requirements are actually much lower than many people realize. By consuming an adequate number of calories from plant-based foods like those we’ve mentioned, the human body receives all of the protein it needs to functional optimally.
Calcium and the Vegan Diet
Many plants are naturally abundant in calcium, especially nuts and leafy greens. As long as a person following a vegan diet consumes an adequate amount of plants, he or she shouldn’t have to worry about getting enough calcium. Plant-based milks are often fortified with calcium, so these are great options to use in cereals and smoothies.
Were you aware that sesame seeds are one of the richest plant source of calcium on the planet? Cabbage, broccoli, almonds, collard greens, and kale are also super sources of this vital mineral. There are so many choices for calcium-rich foods, such as dandelion greens, dulse, and even prunes.
When you approach your workouts at A4 Fitness, in any one of our Los Angeles gyms, we would love for you to look at them as extensions of a healthy lifestyle. Which means, that your diet will also be part of keeping yourself fit. As you fuel yourself for your sessions with us at A4 Fitness, consider foods that energize and uplift, not drag the body down. That goes for meat-eaters and vegans alike.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding hundreds of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.