Why Are So Many Athletes Turning To A Plant-Based Diet?




Phil Letten, a PIT Fitness athlete, guest blogs below.

For many, a vegan diet used to conjure up images of skinny, frail, long-haired hippies who ate grass all day. In today’s day and age that kind of thinking has fallen to the wayside with countless athletes moving toward a vegan diet. Whether it be UFC fighter, Mac Danzig, track star and Olympic gold medalist, Carl Lewis, or Germany’s Strongest Man, Patrik Baboumian, the number of vegan athletes is growing all the time. Even NFL Players Tony Gonzalez and Arian Foster claim to eat “mostly” vegan.

A vegan diet is a diet, which excludes the consumption of animals and animal by-products (ie. Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs). Numerous publications that analyze food trends have predicted that eating vegan will be one of the top food trends in 2013. Reasons for adopting a vegan diet range from concerns about animal welfare, the environment, and personal health.

When it comes to fitness, many are concerned about overall health and athletic performance. There is an abundance of plant-based sources of protein. Some of those sources are beans, nuts, legumes, lentils, quinoa, spinach, kale, tempeh, tofu, rice protein, pea protein, and hemp protein. Many athletes claim that a plant-based diet gives them more energy and allows them to recover quicker between workouts.

According to the Center for Disease Control three of the leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and stroke, killing a combined total of around 1.3 million people in the United States annually. According to the American Dietetic Association vegans have lower rates of all three diseases when compared to the general public. Many studies have shown a plant-based diet can even reverse the effects of many diseases.

Could a vegan diet be what you need to obtain that added edge? I would suggest doing a 21-day trial to find out. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a 21-day vegan kickstart to support you along the way.


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