A bike is an amazing machine and a lot of things in cycling training depend on it. But even more wonderful and much more sensitive mechanism is a human body. Human can deal with the most difficult environmental conditions. The human body is extremely complex it still hasn’t been fully discovered. It’s a real nature’s masterpiece with just one weakness.
Man is omnivorous which lets him to adapt to the most difficult situations. Thanks to that, people inhabit virtually every piece of our planet, along with places that are permanently ice-covered and places with extremely high temperatures or areas with rocky mountains. And such a great ability to adapt to the environmental conditions should evoke awareness among people at the time of prosperity and peace that we are expected to live in harmony with our own body and the surrounding nature.
Unfortunately, man has got a weakness, which is a perpetually restless mind. All the time we are looking for better, faster, more synthetic, reduced solutions of what we need. Through the brain, whose points of entry are eyes and ears, we receive a lot of information and the noise which makes it difficult to choose the right solution.
It is widely known that diet, especially sport’s diet, is a key element of being in a good shape and to have good results. But the question is: how to choose the right diet that is the best for you, possible to stick to it for a long time and which is natural?
„It’s Easier to Fool People Than to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled” – Mark Twain
Since childhood, we’ve often heard that we should drink milk to have strong bones. Real men know that the biggest amount of protein is contained in meat. We also hear that it is worth eating fish because it is “healthy”. And most people depend on and trust in this belief. But is that true? Maybe there are better ways of eating which are better for our body, environment and which are more ethical?
Is it possible to live without animal products or to eat minimal amount of them?
It turns out that not only can you successfully give up animal products, but also after such a change in eating habits our body enters into a completely new level of training and performance. Many people who are amazed by the effects of such a change tells uncommon stories of how their health has improved and changed and how incredible transformation they’ve experienced.
What about this protein?
Some kind of a basis in athlete’s nutrition is protein or at least everyone thinks so. How much protein do we really need? According to some research, we need from 0,8 to 1 gram for each kilogram of our body weight. Studies in this field also show that taking protein in greater amount than it is recommended does not bring any rational benefits to people practicing both endurance and strength sports (Hoffman et al. (2006), (Philips & Van Loon, 2011)). We usually eat much more. Do we really need products of animal origin to provide ourselves with the optimal amount of protein? It turns out that we don’t have to eat animal protein to make our body spinning like a top. What’s more important, large amount of saturated fat together with animal protein get into our body and it affects our health. Hence, vegetable protein is a much better alternative and it provides all the essential amino acids. If you practise strength sports and you want to build a muscular body, you should focus on the proper amount of protein. However, in the case of endurance sports, the key element is the energy from carbohydrates.
Fat in a diet of endurance athlete
Fats are also needed in our diet. Surely, the body needs the proper amount of fat but undeniably highly saturated fatty acids and trans fats are harmful and we should avoid them. Basically, when it comes to fat in the endurance athlete’s diet, we don’t need it much. The fat weakens our sensitivity to insulin and it also causes the effect of weakening of the transport of oxygen to the body cells, including the muscles – and it’s something we certainly don’t want during intense exercising.
So what proportion is the best for someone who practises endurance sports? This value, recommended for achieving high sports result is 80:10:10 – that is 80% of carbohydrates, 10% of protein and 10% of fats. Surely, we don’t have to be so much strict in sticking to this proportion. However, many athletes confirm that such a balance is the best solution.
Then, how to get this proportion without calculating the composition of each meal? There is one and really simple way – you should eat a lot of low processed plant products and you will automatically reach the level of a high energy diet which is full of the necessary micro and macro components, full of fibre – the fuel of our intestinal flora from which our well-being depends on. Low processed plant products have incredible power. They make our body return to its natural rhythm, our metabolism stabilizes and we feel great and free because we always have a lot of energy to do difficult and demanding training. Our body regenerates much better after exercise on such a diet. The power of plants has been discovered by many athletes such as: Rich Roll, Brendan Brazier, Michael Arnstein, Dave Zabriskie, Christine Vardaros, Catherine Johnson, Molly Cameron and many others.
Is going on a vegan diet difficult?
It turns out that this lifestyle is as difficult as it is difficult to lay off animal products. For some people it will be an easy and fast change guided by their understanding and motivation. For others, it will be a more difficult process, requiring plant substitutes that will be helpful in this transformation. Many people have wrong attitude to it because they perceive it as a sacrifice and rejection of something good while it is the new beginning and new experience. Our taste changes after giving up processed animal products. The taste buds become more sensitive and the sense of smell significantly sharpens. Nutrition based on vegetables in endurance sports should rely on simply low processed plant products that are: raw fruits and vegetables, whole wheat pasta, rice, vegetable sauced, juice, groats, dried fruit, baked vegetables and all what plants give us and what is the best.
How to start? There are two ways of changing your lifestyle.
- The first way is breaking with the past overnight. Undeniably, it’s a difficult challenge and it works pretty quickly but you have to be fully conscious of your decision. We have to bear in mind that in the beginning it can be a bit of shock for us and for our body. Our intestinal flora has been accustomed for years to different products. Our metabolism was working on a standard diet in a different way, it was usually much slower. So now it needs time to stabilize and to work as efficiently as possible gaining energy from plants and their power.
- The second option is approaching the diet with small steps, limiting animal products for one day a week, then two days a week and then we leave one day a week with a meal containing meat to finally give up this type of nutrition.
And what if you fail? If you have some moments of doubts and if you undergo social pressure to eat something from animal products, it will be a good lesson for you. Surely, nothing terrible will happen, but you will see how heavy and bad taste was what you had eaten before. After laying off milk for a month, drinking it again tastes like…oily liquid with an unpleasant smell.
Is supplementation necessary on a vegan diet?
Some people say it’s not, but especially for the athletes, supplementation with vitamin B12 is significant. Actually, it’s the only ingredient of supplementation that is needed on this diet. We don’t need vitamins and amazing cures that are advertised on TV. Vitamin B12 was once a part of nutrition when people were closer to nature. This vitamin comes from the soil (from bacteria). Mainly, it’s a vitamin that we could provide while eating unwashed plants…but it’s easier to supplement it. Many people older than fifty have problems with absorbing this vitamin so that supplementation of it is recommended to them. In the past, vitamin B12 was used by athletes to increase sports performance and it was in the so-called ‘soft’ doping group.
Today, it’s much easier to change your normal diet for a diet with low-processed plant products. On the internet, we can find a lot of information on a properly balanced vegan diet, recipes and information on increasing sports performance through eating plant products. To help you get started, it’s always good to read some books. The most recommended are:
“Finding Ultra” Rich Roll,
“Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” T.Colin Campbell, PhD,
“How Not to Die” Dr. Michael Greger,
“The 80/10/10 Diet” Douglas Graham,
“The Starch Soluion” Dr. John A. McDougall
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Changing our way of nutrition is difficult. Mainly because of our habits, customs and comfort. More often than not, slightly different diet faces with criticism from other people who simply assume it as something “abnormal”. Honestly, that’s how it really is – standards dictate traditional nutrition we’ve known since childhood. Statistical norms indicate that the number of people with cancer, heart disease and diabetes is still growing. It is worth trying to answer a couple of questions – what do we want to achieve? What are we willing to sacrifice? What will be the influence on our future and the lives of future generations? Let’s hope they will benefit from the wonderful gifts of nature.
It is worth trying the diet based on plant products only. We won’t lose anything (we can only lose some weight ;)) but on the contrary, we can gain a lot not only in terms of health but also in terms of our sports performance. Ethical issues are a completely different matter.
Check out Youtube channel: VegeReggae