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Eat Plants To Fuel - The Vegetarian Exercise Enthusiast

04.26.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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I’m happy to welcome back guest nutrition blogger Christine Turpin this week to share with WOW members the benefits of Vegetarianism. 

Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN
Washington Redskins Team Dietitian

Who is a stronger athlete - the vegetarian or the omnivore?  Studies indicate a diet fueled by vegetables is not an inferior eating plan and should not hinder exercise performance if you are careful to get all the nutrients your body needs. 

Are you skeptical?  It should help to know vegetarian triathlete, Dave Scott, has earned six Iron Man Champion titles all while eating plant based foods!  

People choose to adapt a vegetarian eating plan for many reasons, including environmental concerns, animal rights, religious / cultural beliefs and health benefits. 

 The health benefits of a vegetarian eating plan include a decreased risk in:
--Coronary heart disease
--Hypertension
--Type 2 Diabetes
--Lower rates of obesity and body mass index (BMI)
--Reduction in the rates of certain types of cancer (lung and colorectal)

A vegetarian diet is appropriate for all stages of life, including athletes at all levels of fitness; recreational to elite athletes.  

If you are thinking of becoming a vegetarian, consider which type is right for your lifestyle: 

(1) Vegans: Eat only plant-based foods
(2) Lacto-vegetarians: Include milk and milk products but don’t eat eggs, fish, and seafood
(3) Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Consume milk, milk-based foods, and eggs
(4) Pesca-vegetarians: Eat fish, dairy products and eggs

This choice of lifestyle needs to include careful strategies to incorporate plenty of fruits & vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy fats.  The variety of nutrients will optimize performance, good health and prevent nutrient deficiencies. 

Think ahead and plan accordingly!  If you are like me, with each day being a race against the clock to get out the door, prepare meals and snacks the night before to save on time and ensure proper fueling. 

Fuel On!

Christine Turpin, RD, LDN, CSCS
www.nourish2perform.com
Christine is owner of Nourish2Perform and consults with competitive and recreational athletes and law enforcement agencies. Nourish 2 Perform specializes in integrating fitness and dietary education to maximize performance for athletes of all ages, recreational exercisers and other professionals engaged in competition or physically demanding occupations

Christine will be back next week to educate us on the specific nutrients vegetarians need to pay close attention to.  In the meantime, she has provided great resources below.  Thanks Christine! 

Connect with a Sports Dietitian: If you want to go vegetarian, educate yourself and connect with a sports dietitian in your area (http://www.scandpg.org/search-rd/).  A sports dietitian can assess your nutritional needs and assist you in meeting your fitness and nutrition goals. 

Vegetarian Resources:

The Vegetarian Resource Group: http://www.vrg.org/

The Vegan RD: http://www.theveganrd.com/

 

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