A new study out this week says there is a link between meat and cancer. Even before this news healthy-minded people have been lessening their meat consumption, some ditching it altogehter. The question is, can a vegan diet really give runners (other other active people) the fuel they need to really rev up their work-outs? The answer, according to several experts, is yes!
We all know that to run a marathon (like the upcoming NYC Marathon) runners need to eat a healthy diet and, of course, stay hydrated. One of the most important things to fuel a run is protein. The good news is that protein doesn’t have to be in the form of meat.
Vegan food expert Pamela Elizabeth just opened her 5th Blossom Du Jour restaurant so she is one of the country’s advocates of vegan protein. She “veganizes” meat-full dishes such as Philly cheese steaks and burgers. She even has a new quinoa sweet potato burger that is full of protein needed to fuel the body. Quinoa is actually a complete protein and ideal for any meal of the day. Pamela also suggests these protein substitutes for vegan runners:
Seitan, black beans, tempeh, tofu, lentils, cashews, kale.
Vegan protein powder is another fitness fuel for vegans and non-vegans alike.
According to NYC Gastroenterologist Dr. Prem Chattoo of Hudson River Gastroenterology:
“It is important to have some form of protein for workouts, but being a vegan won’t impede any workout, as long as protein is supplemented. If the body does not receive enough protein, starvation mode kicks in, in which the body breaks down muscle tissue and loses muscle mass.”
Dairy can be another concern. You don’t want to be weighed down by heavy dairy and cheese, instead you want your “dairy” to help power your body. This was the idea behind Nutritional Health Counselor Cindy Kasindorf’s Joni Juice. She was a long fan of nut milks so she created a superfood juice and smoothie collection called that is meat and dairy-free. Her company’s Satisfy Me super food smoothie combines almond milk, raw sprouted almonds, organic hemp seeds, organic chia seeds, organic maca and more. It’s the perfect drink to have before taking off on a big run.
Of course vegan or not NYC Physical Therapist Karena Wu, Owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy says try to keep the fat grams down in the days leading up to a race, “carbo-load, don’t fat load. During the last 3 days before a run, make sure your calories emphasize carbs, which is what fuels you on race day. Carbs can come in many forms from vegetables to healthy grains. So load up on healthy ones and your body will thank you later.”