vegan and sportsDid you change to a plant based diet a while back? Are you looking to continue or resume your active lifestyle? Are you a fairly physically active individual and not sure how veganism is going to impact your lifestyle? Rest assured that as long as you eat properly you have nothing to worry about; in fact you might be doing your body a favour in switching to a plant-based diet.

How does veganism affect your fitness levels and performance?

If you undergo a moderate level of physical activity on a regular basis and have recently switched to a plant-based diet, you might notice some changes in your body and your overall performance. Those changes are often related to the way your body processes certain foods and to the fact that you suddenly might be eating less protein or not getting the whole protein combinations.

It can also be related to a lack of minerals and vitamins such as calcium and iron and essential fatty acids that are crucially needed for your muscle and bone development
as well as blood flow. However, this problem is not directly related to the diet itself but to how your administer it.

What changes do I need to be making?

First and foremost, it is crucially important that you understand the diet and how to eat properly as a vegan in order to avoid any potential health issues. Fit and physically active people specifically need additional minerals and different types of proteins and fats than people who do not exercise or who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. For those reasons, it is your responsibility to know your nutrition needs, and find the best food combinations that would provide you with those nutrients.

Another important consideration is using protein powders and supplements. Many vegan soy-based protein mixes can be easily added to shakes to be drunk as a snack or even as a meal replacement. They usually provide you with high quantities of protein and most of the essential nutrients and minerals that your body needs.

Supplements of vitamins and essential fats are easily accessible in drug stores and are often tailored to people with various lifestyles.

It is certainly possible and even healthy to be moderately active, healthy and vegan all at the same time. What is the most important is to understand the challenges and prepare a meal plan that compensate for the lost nutrients.

Photo credit:  Ariel da Silva Parreira