Sports nutritionist Nigel Mitchell gives some simple tips to powering your workouts with a meat-free approach.
From a fuelling point of view, carbohydrate intake isn’t a problem if you’re switching to a vegan diet. The areas that can be more challenging, however, are protein and fats.All too often people just cut out the animal foods and do not replace with plant options.
The other thing to consider are some of the micronutrients, in particular vitamin B12 which plays an important role in energy metabolism.
Here are my five top tips to not only fuel your workout, but also ensure you are on top of your plant-based diet plan:
1. Opt for Oats
Porridge for breakfast is great, and soya milk provides more protein than most other non-dairy options. You can boost it further with a scoop of vegetable protein.
I like the unflavoured Healthspan Elite Complete Vegan Protein (1kg, £24.99). This as a range of vegetable proteins and is GMO free.
2. Stick to Seeds
Chia and flax (milled) are good options. These boost micronutrients and are great for omega-3 fats.
If you’re traveling or struggle to have regular seeds, the Healthspan Elite Veg-Omega 3 1,000mg (60 capsules, £24.99) can be a useful supplement.
3. Go Nuts
Snacking on nuts helps to maintain energy and provide protein. Additionally, they are high in the antioxidant’s lutein and zeaxanthin, and they also pack in significant amounts of vitamin E.
4. Keep Vits in Mind
Look to include some foods that are fortified with vitamins such B12. Most soya milk is fortified, and mushrooms contain B12 in varying quantities.
5. Include Iron
Iron is essential for red blood cells and enzymes in the body. It can be worth having blood tests every three months or so to keep an on things like your iron status.
Many vegetables provide iron, particularly leafy greens like spinach, but the body is not always good at absorbing it. One of the things I use is a Lucky Iron Fish: a cooking tool that infuses your meals with iron.
Nigel Mitchell’s book The Plant-Based Cyclist (£14.99) is an accessible, complete and practical guide to plant-powered cycling. It’s also an unbiased guide for any athlete wanting to either cut down or cut out animal-sourced products.