Vegan runners share their diet tips so that others can be inspired to follow a vegan diet too.
Fiona Oakes is the founder of the running club Vegan Runners. She is a record-breaking marathon runner in the United Kingdom and is also an animal lover. Vegan since the age of six, Oakes says she pays less attention to her diet than one might think for an athlete of her caliber.
She told Runner’s World of her diet, “Very basic stuff. I don’t snack in between meals, I don’t use recovery shakes or gels. We don’t have spare money for flamboyant diets. I’m not ruled by my diet. I eat what I’ve got when it’s available. Seasonal stuff. Very basic, no hard secrets. The diet has always played a far less important part in what I’ve done than the actual training that I do, which I am very rigorous with.” According to her website, “Fiona has been Vegan for over 45 years and participates in endurance sport to demonstrate that her diet is not prohibitive to performance.”
Melissa Sundermann is a vegan endurance athlete. She ran the Boston Marathon nine times!
Sundermann told Great Vegan athletes of her diet, “I eat a lot of nuts and seeds. Since I work out every day, the extra calories from nuts and seeds help to keep my calorie intake in check. My daily lunch basically consists of roasted sweet potato, squash, kale, beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, snap peas and a selection of fresh fruit. I also consume a lot of tofu and my favourite way to prepare it is to scramble the tofu along with turmeric, cumin, spinach and peppers. I add the tofu to grains, pizza, potatoes, salads, etc. I love quinoa as this a great source of protein. I add ground flax and nutritional yeast to almost every meal I eat throughout the day.”
Amateur runner Will Lloyd is a personal trainer and came second in the “London 2 Brighton Challenge,” a 100km race. He told The Vegan Society about his diet, The foundation of my diet is based on grains, potatoes, fruits, veggies, beans and the odd treat here and there! I get plenty of protein and carbohydrate, I say to people worried about this to do their own research on how much protein or carbs is in different foods.”
Scott Jurek told Bon Appetit about his smoothie routine, ” For breakfast, I’m really into green drinks, so I might do barley grass, or blend greens into my smoothie—something as simple as kale, arugula, or spinach. If I have spirulina or chlorella on hand, I’ll put those in, too. I make sure to replace the carbohydrates I lost on my run with banana, frozen pineapple, or frozen mango, and then I’ll mix it up with whatever berries I have. I use brown rice and pea protein for my protein powder, and I also incorporate 7 Sources, which is an essential fatty-acid blended oil. Sometimes I’ll throw in coconut or avocado.”
And ultrarunner Laura Kline shared anti-inflammatory benefits of her diet, very important for athletes. She told Women’s Running, “I really enjoy curries—on top of the excellent flavor coconut milk provides essential electrolytes and curry spices are the best anti-inflammatories you can find in nature.”
These are just a few of the numerous vegan athletes’ diets! Interested in learning more about how to become a plant-based athlete? Check out these resources:
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