Raw vegan sports nutrition is often viewed with a fair bit of skepticism. And the question that comes up the most frequently is: how is it possible to get enough protein with a plant-based diet?
In this article, we want to show you how the raw vegan diet can be designed for sports, the major benefits that come with it, and how athletes in particular have a lot to gain from it!
What Requirements Need to Be Met in Sports Nutrition?
Several athletes have already proven that top performances can be achieved with a vegan diet. These include, for example, tennis pro Novak Djokovic or former triathlete and Ironman Brendan Brazier. That being said, the plant-based diet should be sophisticated and well-planned, which is noticeable when you take a closer look at these athletes’ eating habits.
This makes sense, because depending on the type of sport and performance goal, there are individually increased demands on the body and thus accordingly on the nutrient requirements. Additionally, it’s important to have a strong immune system because a low susceptibility to infection allows for more continuity in training. And Brendan Brazier additionally recognized that the key to delivering peak performance lies in being able to shorten your recovery times.
Important requirements for a sports-appropriate diet are:
- Excellent supply of nutrients
- Sufficient fluid intake
- Strong immune system
- Short recovery times
Health Benefits of Raw Vegan Sports Nutrition
Fresh plant foods have a particularly high nutrient density compared to conventional mixed diets, and are also enzyme-rich, antioxidant, and largely alkalizing. And the vegan diet can be classified as health-promoting and beneficial when the emphasis lies on naturalness and wholeness.
An overview of the essential advantages of raw vegan nutrition:
- Excellent supply of nutrients
- Low energy density (low calorie count) – which is great for those who want to build muscle and reduce fat
- Compared to animal products, plant foods contain no cholesterol and no purines, but plenty of fiber and phytochemicals, which are not found in animal products
- Removes disadvantages of highly processed vegan products like white flour, sugar, too much salt, hydrogenated fats
- Balanced acid-base balance, less waste, less antioxidant stress, strong mitochondria
- Sufficient hydration due to the high water content of raw vegan foods
All of these aspects are especially beneficial to athletes, but of course also show up in overall physical and mental health.
Positive physical effects are:
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Lower susceptibility to infections, which leads to more continuity in training and constant improvement of physical vitality and performance
- Less inflammation parameters in muscles and joints
- Easier weight management
- A lighter, stronger body gives more pleasure in exercise
- Shorter recovery times after training
The Nutrient Supply
The specific nutrient requirement depends on the type of sport, training intensity, and training frequency. The more intense the training is and the more energy is used, the higher the need for nutrients. Additionally, age and gender play an important role.
We’re very pleased to have developed, in collaboration with Victoria Rust, a sports-oriented diet that best provides the body with all important macro- and micronutrients: a diet that enables vitality, supports muscle building, is metabolized in a base-forming way, and thus keeps the body in a good acid-base balance.
The new PLUS module, “Raw Vegan Sports Nutrition”
We’ve considered each of these aspects in detail in our new PLUS module, “Raw Vegan Sports Nutrition,” as a part of our Holistic Nutrition Coach training program. To summarize, it’s all about the sufficient amount of protein and healthy fats, and it covers the nutrients considered potentially crucial by the German Nutrition Society in vegan nutrition. It also includes sustainable, well-combined, and healthy fitness recipes, nutritional values, pre- and post-workout meals, recipes for filling and strengthening meals for fitness and muscle building, as well as alkaline dishes for recovery and a toned body.
>> Ideal Endurance Performance
In addition to nutrition, we want to consider two other aspects for optimizing performance in endurance sports..
The ability to regenerate, and physical stress caused by improper nutrition
- Many people are not aware of the importance of physical regeneration. After all, anyone who’s able to recover quickly after training feels vital again in a shorter amount of time, and can train more effectively overall.
- Physical stress can be a result of practicing a diet that stresses the body, that’s metabolized in an acid-forming manner, and/or contains too few nutrients. And the consumption of refined and denatured foods in the form of industrial finished products is especially counterproductive. Nutritional stress is also caused by the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used in conventional farming.
Rule of thumb:
A sport-specific diet is ideal when enough of the right nutrients reach our cells, and we consume as few substances that burden our digestive system and excretory organs as possible.
>> Effective Muscle Building
Training and nutrition play an important role in muscle building.
- First and foremost, targeted muscle building requires targeted training. 3 sessions per week is an ideal amount, so there’s always at least one day for regeneration..
- In addition to the necessary training stimulus, the body also needs enough nutrients for muscle growth. Getting enough protein plays a decisive role here. Proteins help the muscles to regenerate after intensive training sessions and support the formation of new muscle cells.
Victoria Rust has found that moderate protein intake at the right time during intense training can make a big difference in shape, muscle growth, and training results. That’s why she incorporates higher-protein foods like sprouts, including activated buckwheat seeds, into her diet, and adds small amounts of raw protein powder to her workout menu when needed. We would recommend hemp protein in particular. Hemp protein has 20 amino acids (including the 8 essential amino acids), has a high biological value, and is very well absorbed by the body.
Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Meals
Pre-workout and post-workout meals are what you eat before and after training.
The most important thing about the pre-workout snack is how easy it is to digest. It shouldn’t be too large or “heavy,” and shouldn’t be particularly fatty or high in protein or fiber, since digesting it would consume valuable energy.
Digestion is one of the most powerful energy-consuming processes in the body. After a meal, blood circulation is directed to the digestive organs, and the provision of energy that’s so important for performance, as well as blood flow to the muscles, would suffer as a result. So fatty and heavy meals should be eaten at least 2 hours prior.
Instead, fluids, short-chain carbohydrates, and electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphates are the top priority. The best source of these is fruit with a high water content. Lack of fluid can slow muscle response, reduce endurance and strength, and cause cramping. So, water-dense fruits are hydrating and contain readily available simple sugars, which the body doesn’t need to break down first, and can quickly convert into energy. Leafy greens, in addition to fruit, can provide valuable alkaline-forming minerals.
Sensible pre-workout meals are:
Fruit mono meal / freshly squeezed green juice / beet juice / wild herb smoothie
Are you interessted in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the health benefits of a plant-based diet? Download the curriculum for our Holistic Nutrition Coach training program.
After an intense workout, it’s best to help the body recover and regenerate. Muscles need nutrients to recharge and repair. During exercise, muscle cells empty their glycogen stores to provide energy to the muscles, and micro-tears occur in the muscles.
Thus, for a fast and effective recovery, it’s ideal to get the right amount of quickly available carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates help to replenish the glycogen in the muscles that’s been depleted during exercise. They also stimulate the release of insulin; insulin has an anabolic effect, meaning it builds muscle by making amino acids available to muscle cells more quickly. The protein then helps repair and build muscle. Fat, on the other hand, would inhibit the absorption of nutrients and should only be consumed in small amounts immediately after exercise. The ideal ratio of protein to carbohydrates is 1 : 4.
Alkalizing foods help get rid of excess acid. Intense exercise builds acids in the body. If you don’t neutralize them, your body will use minerals from your bones and other stores in the body to do so.
The best post-workout meals/snacks are: Green smoothies, buckwheat porridge, fitness nicecream, protein bars, mung bean salad, fitness zoodles, spaghetti with chlorella, smoothie bowls, or raw vegan protein shakes.
Electrolyte-rich fluids provide minerals that have been eliminated through sweating. Green smoothies are ideal for this as well.
Sprouts like mung bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and many more are another way to enrich the diet with nutrients. Enzymatic processes during sprout growth increase nutrient density and availability many times over.
Beet juice is considered a top pre-workout booster, since it makes you more powerful and promotes regeneration after hard training sessions. This power juice has a positive effect on the heart and vascular system and increases endurance during training..
- 2 beets
- 1 apple
- 1 carrot
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 small lemon
- 250 ml water
Wash the beets, apple, and carrot thoroughly. Cut all ingredients into pieces and juice. Dilute the juice with a little water and enjoy in small sips.
Kale is a superlative vegetable. It provides an enormous amount of protein for a vegetable, about 4 grams per 100 grams. Additionally, kale is very rich in vitamin C and contains plenty of blood-building iron and minerals like potassium and calcium.
- 200 g kale
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt, pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds/li>
Pluck the kale leaves from the stem. Cut the avocado into cubes and add it to the kale leaves along with salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Massage everything until the kale becomes smooth. Cut onion into thin half-rings and tomatoes into small cubes and fold them into the kale with the pumpkin seeds.
These protein bars are ideal snacks for athletes. They provide an extra serving of protein, since pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds are among the best sources of protein in the raw vegan diet..
Go to the recipe >> HERE
We’re pleased that with the advanced module “Raw Vegan Sports Nutrition” we can provide recreational athletes, as well as endurance and strength athletes, with confidence through a plant-based diet. The experience of athletes shows that a sensibly applied plant-based diet provides all the building blocks for an ideal supply of nutrients, and that shortened cell regeneration and peak athletic performance are indeed possible.
NEW: PLUS Modul Raw Vegan Sports Nutrition
Would you like to join our unique, based on nutritional sciences and practice-oriented training program for gaining a high level of health?
We are more than happy to inform you about our training program on our website!