I’m sure growing up at one time or another you’ve probably heard that dinner table spiel from your parents; “If you want to have strong bones and muscles you got ‘a eat your meat!” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how else do we get all the protein, vitamins and minerals that we need if we don’t eat our meat?
Let me be rhetorical for a minute… Where do you think all the animals that we consume get theirs?
That’s right, from a plant-based diet, and just like the animals bred for our use and consumption, we too are herbivorous (plant eaters). Here’s a few obvious reasons why; Like all herbivores in the animal kingdom, we too have a long intestinal tract, our teeth are flat for chewing and our jaws move side to side for grinding.
If we were leaning more towards the carnivorous (meat eater) family we would have fixed jaws, sharp, scissor like chompers for ripping and tearing and a digestive system that could safely consume fat and cholesterol without the nasty side effects of obesity, chronic disease and premature death.
Over our evolution, we have made no physiological adaptations to eat meat nor to consume any other animal products (milk, eggs) in our diet. If you look at our Lipid metabolism (the process by which fatty acids are digested or stored in the body) we are 100% herbivores, inside and out.
“Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.” ~ Milton R. Mills, M.D
Now, I know what you’re thinking, our prehistoric ancestors ate meat, lots of meat and they survived and somewhat thrived. The difference between them and us is that they did it to survive from one day to the next. The least of their problems was worrying about long term health and preventing chronic disease.
“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
Knowing what we know and the plethora of choices and information that we have available today, do we really need to sacrifice and exploit others to meet our dietary needs? The answer is unequivocally… NO!
I’m not going to get into the obvious moral and ethical reasons why plant-based is the right and only choice, I want to explore the reasons why it’s a better and more logical diet for long term health, improved athleticism and overall athletic performance.
When we eat animals, we are consuming the protein, vitamins and minerals that they’ve ingested from their feed, the drawback for us is that we’re ultimately consuming the second hand, watered down, almost like version of the originals, along with a heaping serving of saturated fat and artery clogging cholesterol… Can you say Obesity & Cardiovascular Disease?
If a plant-based diet is good enough for the goose, its definitely good enough for the gander.
There are many benefits of choosing a plant-based lifestyle over one that is derived from exploiting and consuming our animal friends, and those benefits aren’t so one sided and self centered – living a plant based lifestyle is paramount in preventing many of the chronic illnesses and ills that plague our society today, such as…
- High Blood Pressure
- Premature Death
- Behavioral & Mental Issues
- Heart Attacks
“I cured my cancer and heart disease by eating meat, dairy and eggs.” ~ Said No One Ever!
Moving on to the athlete, here are some of the Ah-Mazing benefits and reasons why switching to a plant-based diet will improve performance and crush sets…
The Drano Effect
When you’re consuming lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains, your body gets a nice cleansing as the food is digested and the fiber works it’s magic.
And speaking of the magic of fiber, it optimizes digestion and minimizes belly bloat, which can set you back during training.
Leaving out the animal products also helps keep your cholesterol levels down and the blood flowing clog free.
When you’re light and clean on the inside, you can be quick and responsive on the outside.
Phenomenal Cardiovascular Health
Because a plant-based diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fats, you can maintain and improve your cardiovascular health with ease.
An optimal system at peak performance helps you train longer, train harder and improve recovery times between sets.
When your cardiovascular system is firing on all it’s cylinders, it’s easier to breath, maintain stamina, stay motivated and in the zone during training sets and on competition day.
Going the Distance
Many plant-based athletes contribute their increased endurance and in turn better performance to a plant-based diet.
The extra shot of endurance derived from a plant-based diet makes it easy to keep pace with all the happenings in life without having to sacrifice valuable training time.
The Side Effects
Because plant-based diets aren’t loaded with saturated fats, it’s easy to maintain a toned, chiselled physique and a natural body weight that doesn’t yoyo between meets.
As I’m sure you would agree, a well-balanced diet is paramount for all athletes – filling up on fats and non-foods will only hinder and stall any goals and progress you wish to make.
Yes, believe it or not, athletes can survive, thrive and compete with great success on a 100% animal free plant based diet.
Here are a few good plant-based alternatives that are common and easy to find.
Good quality plant-based protein sources are…
Hemp seed nut and flour
Beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, soy, adzuki)
Unsweetened soy drink
Good quality plant-based fat sources are…
Extra virgin olive oil
Flax seed oil
Hemp seed oil
Non-roasted nuts and seeds
Calcium rich plant-based foods include…
Dark, leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale)
Iron-rich plant-based foods include…
Dried peas and beans (kidney, lima, lentils)
Walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds
Hopefully I’ve touched on many of the pros of becoming and plant-based athlete, because when you truly look at it from every possible angle, there really are no cons worth entertaining.
We can choose a diet of animal products that causes pain and suffering to ourselves and to others, or we can choose a plant-based one that promotes vitality, athleticism, health, and harmony for all…
The choice is ours.
Going plant-based will improve your game and most of all improve your life and the lives of all concerned.
Nothing Beats Get’n Veggie Strong!
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