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Nutrition tips for vegan athletes

Nutrition for vegan athletes

Veganism - The sign of the times

A nutritional diet that can be traced back to our very own ancient indian roots, from being deemed ‘tasteless’ to ‘trendy’, the concept of veganism has slowly but surely made inroads into the mainstream. Showcased by pure nutrition, the benefits of veganism are here to stay. 

Many among us have waved flags fueled by protein, soya, almond-milk and other dairy free alternatives, with the hope of being led to the promised land of sublime fitness and heavenly athleticism. One shouldn’t be perplexed by the definition that veganism vs vegetarianism poses. Simply put, vegans do not eat animal products, while vegetarians do not eat animals, barring eggs and dairy. 

The positive contagion of veganism has also spread to elite athletes, in their quest to exceed boundaries and be the best versions of themselves. Indicating that veganism is now evidently associated far from radical politics and the animal rights movement. 


The Elites

After stamping his authority in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, the lush Mercedes chauffeur, has rarely failed to impress on the race track. His achievements are something we can merely just dream about. He has on numerous occasions, given credit to his nutrition for punching above his weight. He said that pledging his allegiance explicitly to vegan recipes has made him feel the best he has ever felt. Consequently, many athletes have followed suit in becoming health advocates of veganism. 

Alex Morgan, an American footballer who has a renowned penchant for winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup, decided to dedicate her life to veganism, solely due to her love for animals. She further claimed that besides saving animals and the environment, she also noticed a positive side to becoming a vegan, in the form of being less-injury prone.

Elsewhere in the United States, Kyrie Irving too made headlines associated with veganism. He is of the opinion that the act of flesh-avoidance has boosted his energy levels, thereby making his body feel a certain sense of superiority.



Vegan recipe tips

The following tips will prove beneficial in maximising your potential while indulging in regular exercise. 

  1. Protein: 

Considered building blocks of life, proteins are essential to your diet. It assists in muscle growth by repairing cells and making new ones. Getting enough protein out of a plant based lifestyle is entirely doable. Hence, incorporating proteins in all your meals is key.

Soya, an ingredient whose versatility cannot be understated, is a bedrock to plant-protein. Additionally, it also provides nutrients like potassium, vitamin B and magnesium. Since it can be used in many ways and contains a complete protein profile, kitchens all across have borne witness to ‘Soya curries’, ‘Soya cutlets’, and ‘Soya pulao’. 



Beans are a unique addition among plant foods and can be relied upon in providing you with the necessary zest. ‘South Indian beans’ and ‘Beans aloo’ are some of the favourable options. 

Legumes are a viable option for lovers of soup, casserole and stews, thereby containing beneficial fats and fiber. Plenty of quickbreads come with essential seeds such as sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds. Oat bars additionally provide alternative options. Lastly, packed with healthy fats, peanut butter can feature in sandwiches, no less than it can in smoothies. You can use grains and peas as effective substitutes too. 


  1. Calcium

Calcium makes a compelling case for building strong and dense bones. Calcium lost through our skin, nails, hair, and sweat on a regular basis is always a concern, as our bodies do not produce calcium on its own. Therefore a thorough intake is essential in maintaining our bone density.



Emphasis needs to be placed on soya products like tofu and calcium fortified soy drinks. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, figs have a pivotal role to play in boosting your calcium intake. Finding vegan products has never been easier with ‘vegan cereals’ making up for breakfast, along with almond milk which is rich in Vitamin E. Making consumption of orange juice a norm could reduce risks associated with kidney stones and decrease inflammation. 


  1. Healthy fats

Fats have never usually been well-reputed. Although not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fats are consistently heart healthy, while industrially occurring trans-fats are harmful. In comparison to carbs and proteins, fats have more calories that can help make up for the calories burnt during intense workout.

If you do not replace burnt calories while exercising, chances are you may lose weight, which in turn could hinder your performance. Including healthy fats in your diet plan is a must in the form of avocados which contain 19% fat, beneficial in absorbing protein and potassium. 



Olive oil, which is part of the much sought Mediterranean diet, is often labeled the healthiest. Owing its lofty status to seasonal fruits and vegetables it acts as an anti-inflammatory and improves heart health. 

Lastly, coconut contains a high source of saturated fat, that supports the immune system, and additionally curbs hunger more effectively than other forms of fat. 


  1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B-12 can only be obtained from an animal-based diet or from supplements. When practicing a vegan diet, vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that you may fall short of. Deficiency of vitamin B12 may cause constant exhaustion and weakness. 



Aside from that, nutritional yeast can be used in sculpting a Vegan Mac and Cheese. Thereby, making it creamy and one of the best vegan alternatives. To further spoil oneself with a healthy option, nutritional yeast with melted vegan butter can be used in making vegan popcorn. Most plant milks are fortified with vitamin B12. 

Seaweed or sea vegetables are forms of algae that grow in the sea containing antioxidants and protective pigments. These can also be consumed in the form of smoothies, lemonades, bars or crackers. Vitamin B12 can also be obtained from cereals such as bran flakes and whole wheat oats. 


  1. Minimum ‘fake meats’

Made from ingredients like soy, wheat, gluten and vegetable protein, fake meats are products that mimic certain qualities of animal-based meat textures, flavors and appearance. However, this option should be limited since the products are excessively processed and high in sodium. 

Innovative companies that specialize in crafting fake meats have recently been established such as ‘Beyond Meat’. Basketball players such as Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul have invested in this company to push the vegan narrative that provides numerous benefits to athletes. 


All in all, being aware of the effects of nutrition is imperative to your health and wellbeing. Our behavior partly follows the diet we consume, with veganism evidently paving the way to a new culture. A culture that proves to be more robust, simultaneously keeping in mind the external environment, which entails the freedom and liberties of all. Being tricked into believing the staple notion that involves meat’s correlation to a healthy lifestyle should be deemed inconclusive, considering the negative health implications that are astonishingly being brought to light. 

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