The popularity of vegetarianism is growing. But the struggle between meat eaters and their opponents does not stop. Refusal of animal food (especially for athletes) is a serious step. Are there any vegetarians who proved the advantages of a vegetable diet with their example? Can the adherents of the “green” diet make the menu in such a way as not to lack a protein and other important elements? The answers to these and other questions are discussed below.
Who are vegetarians (are they all the same, what are the “species”)?
Vegetarians are different. Their main “types” are presented in the table:
There are other types, for example:
- semi-vegetarians (informal term) – those who do not disdain slaughter food on holidays;
- sand-vegetarians – people who abandoned meat, but continue to consume fish and seafood;
- Fructarians are vegans, whose diet is at least 75% of fruits and vegetables, while nuts and grains have a more modest role; adherents of this “regime” only eat fruits of plants that do not need to be destroyed (for example, tomatoes, but not potatoes);
- raw food – vegans who eat food cooked without heat treatment.
Is it possible to build muscle and exercise strength?
Opponents of meat food are by no means theoreticians. They have the opportunity to rely on real examples of athletes who have achieved great athletic heights. Here are just a few eminent athletes who opted for a vegetable ration:
- Bill Pearl – Mr. Universe; by the way, an outstanding bodybuilder is already nearly 90 years old;
- Patrick Babumyan – Armenian-German Strongman, holder of the title “The strongest man of Germany”, European champion and world record holder in one of the exercises of power discipline;
- Frank Medrano is a star of calisthenics and Youtube, a guy who does the impossible with his body; Frank does not differ in size, but it’s enough to look at it so that all doubts about the possibilities of a meat-free menu disappear.
To create a muscular body, in the first place, proteins are necessary. This is a trump card of meat-eaters – they insist that it is impossible to get building components without meat. Indeed, meat food is the best supplier of proteins. In this sense, vegetarians are more difficult. But for the “production” of protein portions of vegan it is enough to diversify and balance the diet. And “difficult” does not mean “impossible.” Read the article about separate nutrition.
What problems can the athlete face?
The next section is about where the vegetarians take protein. But meat eaters and scientists have other arguments not in favor of the vegetable menu. And they are fair. True, everything is solved. Opponents of consumers of slaughter food can face the following problems.
Deficiency of creatine
Athletes need creatine – without sufficient quantity, the productivity of the training is reduced. The bottom line is that in natural food this component is contained only in meat. What to do for those who seek to combine vegetarianism and sport? To use specialized sports supplements. The human body is able to produce about 1 g of creatine per day. Athletes need, at least, as much to receive from the outside.
With the help of additives, you can easily bypass the obstacle. Moreover, after inclusion in the diet of this component, the increase in power indicators in vegetarians and meat eaters is different – in the former it is higher. By the way, in intellectual competitions, meat eaters – “creators” also lose to vegans.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Among other things, B12 helps the body to fully digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Sitting on a vegetable diet, it is almost impossible to receive this vitamin in sufficient quantities. This problem is especially relevant for women athletes who lose blood during critical days. But, again, additives or capsules will help out.
The disadvantage of B12 is not limited to – in the diet of “naturopaths” there are not enough foods that contain iron, sulfur, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, etc. That’s why “food minorities” and sportsmen need vegetarian vitamins and minerals in particular .
Deficiency of amino acids
Meat food contains almost all amino acids necessary for the body . Vegetable food is much inferior to meat in this parameter. Theoretically, you can easily get a protein, for example, from soybean alone. But the amount of protein itself is unimportant – it is necessary to saturate the body with various protein components.
The solution to the problem lies in a varied diet. What can not be obtained from one menu item can be obtained from another. For example, legumes are characterized by a lack of amino acids containing sulfur. A cereal deficiency is characterized by a deficiency of amino acids of lysine. Combining both, you can turn a minus into a plus.
Previously, scientists insisted that every meal should include all the necessary protein components. Then the opinion of experts has changed – today it is considered that much more than the total daily amount of amino acids, without binding to breakfast or lunch.
Hormonal failure in female athletes
Vegetarianism leads to a decrease in the amount of estrogen in the blood. This, in turn, negatively affects the regularity of menstruation and bone density. Women who are far from an active way of life, the difference in this plan with meat eaters is almost none – the problem concerns those who are experiencing great physical exertion. Vegetarians need to consume a large amount of calcium.
How to replace meat (protein products of animal origin)?
For a set of muscle mass is enough 1.5-3 g per kilogram of body weight of the athlete. This amount is quite possible to get from plant foods.
- Soybeans. This is the main source of protein for meat opponents. Soy and its products contain a lot of protein – about 36% of the total weight of the product.
- Nuts and peanut butter. A lot of protein is also in these products. They are not only useful, but also tasty. But we recommend buying peanut butter, in which there is no harmful palm oil.
- Beans. The peculiarity of legumes is that they contain about the same protein as meat food – 20-25 g per 100 g of product. Vegetarians do not have to limit themselves in the choice – you can constantly alternate beans, peas, lentils, etc.
- Buckwheat and other pseudo-grain crops. These products contain about 10-15 g protein per 100 grams of cereals. But the virtue of buckwheat, as a good source of protein, rests on another plus – one of the most complete amino acid profiles. This is one of the reasons why buckwheat is considered a very useful product.
General recommendations in nutrition
How do athletes eat vegetarians, if the needs for various elements are large, and where not kicking – the deficit of one or the other? The answer is already obvious – their diet is very diverse. In their case, and there is no question of getting by without a well thought-out meal plan. Nutritionist is not necessary, but to respond to the needs of the body is vital.
Good sources of calcium for vegans:
- Almond nuts;
- sesame seed;
- leafy cabbage, spinach and other green leafy vegetables;
- sunflower seed.
These products will solve the problem of tense muscles. This is especially true for those who sweat profusely during training. Together with sweat, calcium and sodium go away. The last element can be obtained in excess, podsalivaya food.
Foods rich in iron:
- green bean;
- dried peas;
- peanut butter;
- soya beans;
- Greek and almond, cashew;
Iron also actively comes out with sweat. The result of the lack of an element is fast fatigue, low productivity.
At first, it may seem that the culinary classes of a vegetarian are akin to the work of a pharmacist. But in fact, everything is easier – in a few weeks everything will turn out to be in place and orient in proteins, vitamins and trace elements will become simple. The main thing is that vegans-athletes are not at all obliged to make a complex moral choice – in matters of nutrition they are on equal terms with meat eaters.