After having the opportunity to interview Scott Jurek last week, once again I was inspired to share some information about the benefits of a vegan diet, even for ultrarunners. People that follow strict vegetarian diets don’t eat any foods that come from animals or use any animal products (leather). They don’t consume eggs, dairy, or even honey. Their diet consists of plant- based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds etc..
But to get the benefits of plant-based foods, you don’t have to follow a strict vegan diet, you can include a plant-based diet as often as possible, but still be a bit flexible and once in a while include some fish, eggs, or even chicken if you feel the need.
Runners and athletes often worry that following a plant- based diet won’t provide enough protein and energy, and therefore their performance will be affected. The answer is no; if you focus on eating a healthy diet with lots of plant-based nutrients and protein, you might actually start feeling better and more energized. There are a few professional vegan athletes that have proven that following a plant-based diet can still give you enough fuel and support your body to win Ultramarathons. A vegan diet takes just a bit more planning and preparation to make sure you get enough nutrients, protein, and carbohydrates. The main fuel for runners are carbohydrates, which is easy to get on a plant-based diet through fruits and grains. Great sources of energy for long runs if you like plant-based diets are bananas, dates, apricots, nut butters or even potatoes and sweet potatoes.
List of great plant-based protein sources:
1.Tempeh, cooked, 56 grams- 10 grams protein
2.Lentils, cooked, ½ cup- 9 grams protein
3.Adzuki beans, cooked ½ cup- 8.5 grams proteins
4.Edamame, no shell, 1/2cup- 8.5 grams protein
5.Mung Beans, cooked, ½ cup- 7 grams protein
6.Black beans, cooked, ½ cup- 6 grams protein
7.Almonds, 28 grams- 6 grams protein
8.Peanuts, 28 grams- 5 grams protein
9.Tofu, 85 grams- 5 grams protein
10.Peanut butter, 1 tbsp- 4 grams protein
11.Quinoa, cooked, ½ cup- 4 grams protein
12.Hemp seeds, 1 tbsp- 3 grams protein
13.Chia seeds, 1 tbsp- 3 grams protein
14.Ground flaxmeal, 2 tbsp- 3 grams protein
Research has shown that including plant-based foods in your diet as often as possible will make a huge difference in your overall health, disease prevention, and physical fitness. Unfortunately, nowadays, we are constantly exposed to toxins, whether it is in all the animal products, the pollution or our whole environment, even making small changes in your daily diet will help you stay healthy.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!