In most societies and cultures, veganism and fitness rarely go together. It’s common to think that going vegan will just mess with fitness goals! Yet, as veganism becomes more popular, people are realizing that this is not the case. As long as you keep certain things in mind, it’s possible to be fit and strong while following any kind of diet.
The biggest controversy is protein. Meat has all the amino acids you need. And since it’s a staple food in American diets, it’s easy to see why there are so many myths around proteins, vegans, and exercise. But plant-based sources have a good protein content, too! This is where knowledge and education come in. Keep these 5 things in mind and your fitness goals as a vegan are totally attainable.
5 Facts About Exercising And A Vegan Diet
1. Getting Enough Protein Is Easy
Protein is a must for exercise. It fuels workouts while helping muscle synthesis and recovery.1 With the right approach, getting enough of protein is really easy. It’s all about knowing the right sources.
Beans, peas, nuts, nut butter, and soy products contain protein.2 Quinoa is a complete protein, while one cup of cooked spinach has 5.35 grams.3 4
2. Fitness Doesn’t Always Accept Veganism
As a vegan, expect some pushback from the fitness world. The focus has always been about bulking up on steak and eggs. Consequently, many people have assumptions and judgments about veganism. Here’s the good news, though. Veganism is gaining more acceptance, in fitness and beyond. So, even if people pry or scoff, continue your hard work. If veganism is your jam, then stick to it!
3. Not All Vegan Foods Are Healthy
If there is one thing you should remember, this is it: veganism does not equal healthy! It can be really easy to eat poorly on a vegan diet. Know that for every traditional junk food, there is a vegan version. Many of these products are processed. Artificial coloring, fake flavoring, and salt are often added for enhanced taste. Before you know it, you’ll be spending tons of cash on fake food.
Instead, learn how to make plant-based alternatives. Craving a burger? Make one out of fresh vegetables and herbs. If you’re starving for an ice cream, blend frozen banana slices with berries. This way, your workouts will be fueled by real food.
4. Skipping Meals Won’t Help
Most societies and people associate veganism with weight loss. Sure, that might be the goal of some vegans. But that doesn’t mean veganism is about eating less. If anything, going vegan requires more food to maintain satiety, energy levels, and weight.
Again, it’s all about smart food choices and eating regularly. This is especially important for exercise as your body needs the nutrients to work hard. Remember, food is fuel.
5. It Takes Time To Adjust
If you’re new to veganism, take your time. Don’t dive straight in. Abruptly and immediately cutting out every animal product from your diet will make it hard to adjust, move forward, and learn what works for you. So, start small.
Ditch red meat for a few weeks and then, move on to pork, chicken, or turkey. After you’ve cut out all meat, work on skipping eggs and dairy. Slowly incorporate protein products like soy or tempeh. Experiment with different food combinations, spices, and herbs.
By taking your time, veganism will organically become a part of your fitness habit. The Internet is an amazing source of information. Research different ways to prepare plant-based sources of protein. The more you learn about different cooking techniques, the more veganism will work for you.
|↑1||van Loon, Luc JC. “Is there a need for protein ingestion during exercise?.” Sports Medicine 44, no. 1 (2014): 105-111.|
|↑2||Vegetarian Choices in the Protein Foods Group. ChooseMyPlate.gov, United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑3||Healthy food trends – quinoa. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑4||Basic Report: 11458, Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture.|