One of the most outdated myths surrounding the whole veganism-vegetarian debate is that solely depending on plant sources for essential nutrients, especially protein, isn’t enough to fulfill daily requirements. While vegetarianism does include some sources of protein-rich animal products and sources, it left a big question mark on veganism.
However, extensive research, studies, experiments, and trials conducted on the subject have successfully proven that a purely vegan lifestyle is actually much healthier and better for the body. So much so that even athletes are slowly making the switch and converting to veganism.
One does wonder, though, how do athletes get all the protein that their bodies need, given the extensive training and physical exercise that they do daily? A very important question that has surfaced a lot is that, “Can you be a vegan athlete with a completely plant-based diet and still be able to meet your protein need?”
If you’ve also wondered the same, you’ll find the answer to the question below.
One of the few things that come to mind when you think of soy is tofu. Tofu is an excellent source of protein, especially because it provides you with all the nine essential amino acids that you need for a healthy body.
But, there are many other soy-products, equally or even richer in their protein content such as soy milk, tempeh, edamame, etc.
Tofu and tempeh, for instance, make amazing post-workout snacking options for athletes as they offer quick recovery and also provide all the protein that they need.
Beans and Legumes
These two plant-based sources are said to be the foundation of healthy and nutrition-packed vegan diets.
This plant-based group includes all kinds of lentils, chickpeas, and beans. They are super-rich in protein, fiber and serve as great substitutes for meat in dishes like stews and soups.
Venus Williams, a famous American professional tennis player, also shifted to veganism, and she once said that adding a large amount of legumes to her daily diet, lentils in particular, significantly helped her boost a rigorous and intense training routine.
Although whole grains still aren’t considered to be high-protein foods by a lot of people, that’s primarily because all their protein-rich elements are stripped away during the milling process, turning them into refined grains.
Quinoa is an example of one of the most beneficial whole grains, and it is also one of the only whole or complete plant proteins other than soy. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is also extremely delicious when paired with other plant proteins. Many athletes eat generous servings of quinoa as part of their daily food intake as it also boosts performance and increases muscle mass.
No surprises here because oats, other than being a highly nutritious plant-based food, are also one of the world’s best performance breakfast options.
Oatmeal is a popular plant protein among numerous endurance athletes where one single cup provides them with more than 20 grams of protein.
A famous NFL vegan player called Andre Patton once said that he absolutely swears by oatmeal for breakfast, given the large amounts of protein and other essential nutrients present it.
There are numerous other protein-rich plant sources for vegan athletes, of which the most popular and beneficial are the ones mentioned above. This answers the commonly-asked question that you can be a vegan athlete and also fulfill your protein requirements at the same time!