The Plant-Fueled Athlete
Some of you may be familiar with the idea known as the protein myth, or the belief that it is impossible to get enough protein while maintaining a plant-based diet. I’m here to tell you this is not the case, even for active people! According to the USDA, Americans should be consuming about six ounces of protein per day. The average American, however, consumes about twelve ounces of protein, mostly from meat sources, daily!
While I have been pretty active my whole life, I did not start focusing on really gaining strength until about a year and a half ago, coincidentally also when I stopped eating meat. I did phase out eating meat over the course of about two months, which gave me adequate time to research various sources of protein and other vital nutrients. Since I have switched over to plant-based nutrition, I cannot say enough times how much stronger and healthier I feel.
Many people wonder where to start when phasing out meat, especially if you are active and concerned with fueling your body properly. However, having stopped paying so much attention to making sure I get large amounts of protein at every meal, I can say it is not necessary to worry so much about this. There is protein in many foods that are not the obvious sources like chicken, beef and fish. Most vegetables, seeds, and legumes have protein, so if you are consuming adequate amounts of healthy vegetarian foods and not relying on junk food for fuel, you shouldn’t have to be too concerned about meeting your daily needs. In fact, many people I’ve spoken to about switching to a plant-based diet feel they get more energy for their workouts when they eat vegetarian protein sources such as quinoa, lentils or soybeans as they don’t feel as “weighed down” by these foods. If you’re looking for ways to feel lighter on your feet, especially for aerobic activities, try giving a plant-based diet a go! Your body might just thank you.
Emma Ackel is a senior at Ithaca College with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has a concentration in International Business, and loves all things travel-related. She has a passion for all things health and fitness related, and especially loves embarrassing herself trying new, out-of-the-ordinary fitness trends!
Training minds, changing bodies!
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