There’s a myth that exists that you can’t be a vegan, and expect to be strong. The two are seen as mutually exclusive. This is a falsity.
While it is true that it can be harder to sustain your energy and build strength on a largely plant-based diet, it isn’t impossible. You can train, recover and perform well on a vegan diet, but it requires a little bit of careful planning.
You’re going to have to become a Master Chef at learning how to combine different foods to get the most nutrient wise so that you’re able to power through your workout and maybe rack up a few PR’s too! We’ve all heard the saying, ‘fail to plan and plan to fail.’ Nothing could be truer on a plant-based diet. If you fail to plan, you will 9 times out of 10 find yourself reaching for the easiest thing that you can get and while (vegan) donuts as delicious as they are, will give you that sugar high during your WOD, it isn’t sustainable, nor is it healthy if you plan on being an athlete that is a force to be reckoned with.
Luckily for you, we’ve made it easy for you with this round up of power foods to include in your diet to not only give you the energy you’ll need, but these foods will also help to boost your recovery post-wod, whether you’re vegan or not.
Energy is measured in calories and these come from proteins, fat, and (my personal favourite) carbohydrates. Because plant proteins are digested differently to animal proteins, a healthy combination of all three is vital. Make sure that you are buying the best quality food that you can afford. There is no cutting corners if you’re going to be a well oiled plant-based machine. The key thing to look out for are foods high in nutrients that plant-based athletes often miss out on.
You want to include as many foods as you can that are rich in these nutrients:
B vitamins (thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, pantothenic acid and folic acid.)
This powerhouse group of vitamins are necessary for energy processes in the body as they work collectively and individually in every cell to support and help the body in releasing the energy it gets from the foods you’re eating, as well as maintaining and supporting a healthy metabolism and fueling energy production. Certain vitamins such as folic acid aid in the production of new and healthy red blood cells which transport oxygen to the rest of the body.
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3 years!🌱✌🏻 . . It’s been EXACTLY 3 years when I decided to eat fully plant-based and live a Vegan Lifestyle. Not knowing (until today) it was actually also “#WorldVeganDay”😅 . . I still remember it like yesterday, I watched Gary Yourofsky’s speech on YouTube and even though I didn’t like the guy at first, he made me make a connection I didn’t make before. Until this day the only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner. . Ps: I tagged some awesome Vegan dudes who I recommend following.✌🏻 . 📸: @barbellphotography
Vitamin B12 is an exceptional one, due to the fact that it is made by micro-organisms and not plants, therefore supplementation may be required and/or the consumption of fortified foods, it is also necessary for DNA synthesis and production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. A diet rich in these vitamins will provide you with energy and the more energy available in your body to utilize, the larger your gas tank is going to be and you just might be able to crank out those wall balls for a little bit longer, should they find you in a WOD like Karen.
Foods to eat:
- Steel cut oats
- Sweet potato
- Beans and pulses
Bananas: Bananas are incredibly easy to grab pre or post workout. They’re loaded with your simple sugars, which are easier for your body to breakdown and utilize for energy pre-workout. Bananas are also rich in potassium, an element that is vital for healthy muscle contraction, maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system, and vegan Crossfitters might find a friend in this fruit because the potassium also helps in preventing fatigue, enhancing muscle strength and also maintaining that lean muscle that you’re building. Deficiencies in potassium have been found to cause weakness due to cellular processes being impaired.
Iron to support healthy blood flow, and an often overlooked one, magnesium for normal and healthy muscle and nervous system function. Foods rich in these key nutrients will not only help you build muscle but if you are a vegan, it’ll help you in answering the question that all vegans get asked: where do you get your protein?
Here’s a round up of the best foods to add to your diet, to not only ensure that you train well but also aiding you in improving your performance as well as your recovery time post workout.
TOP FOODS TO EAT REGULARLY IN YOUR DIET
These are your everyday go-to’s and should make up most of your day-to-day diet, whether you’re an athlete or office worker!
- Fresh fruits – especially apples, bananas, papaya, mango, satsumas, pears, all types of berries, kiwis, pineapple and melon
- Vegetables and leafy greens – Try and eat more vegetables such as squash/pumpkin, spinach, watercress, raw leaves, and corn/sweetcorn
- Grains – Oats, brown rice, wild rice, barley, millet and quinoa
- Plant proteins – Tofu, puy lentils, edamame beans, chickpeas, split peas (lentils), sprouts such as alfalfa, sprouted lentils and chickpeas, beans and peas
- Fermented soya foods – Tempeh, tofu, Tamari
Check out the delicious recipes on the next page…