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Vegetarian athletes and great recipe swaps


Posted by Cags R under Nutrition on 20 August 2012 at 11:00 PM

We have tons of great recipes in the Cooking and Recipe Swaps Tribe and this week we're focussing on the vegetarian options! Many people still fear that vegetarian or vegan diets will have a negative affect on their sport - but this is not the case.

As well as some of our top users such as Nikos and Sian living vegan lifestyles (and no one can say those 2 aren't hardcore athletes!) there are also famous sports people who cut out meat from their diet without it effecting their sporting achievements. Winner of 6 Iron Man competitions, Dave Scott, has achieved remarkable success and he's done it all on a meat-free diet! Scott Jurek - one of the world's most renowned ultra runners - is a vegan and has written a book about his life as a vegan athlete:

I actually prefer "plant-based" to vegan, because to a lot of people "vegan" sounds like "crazy." [...] I wasn't eating granola and salads because I wanted to make a better world (that would come later), or be nice to cows. Even today, if I had to, I'd kill and eat an animal if I needed to survive. I was just noticing that the more I ate "hippie food," the stronger I felt.

But I was still an athlete, and I was still a meat eater, and to tell the truth, I couldn't imagine being the former without the latter. It would take different people to help me see that not only could a plant-based diet sustain me, but it could actually make me a faster, more powerful athlete.

If you're interested in learning more about his transformation from a carnivorous diet then check out his book Eat and Run

Still need convincing on going meat free? Check out these 5 vegetarian recipes from Tribesports users which will help you get creative in the kitchen:

Egg white omelette with asparagus and herbs - Sounds like a healthy start to the day! Egg whites are full of protein though if you can't resist the yolks this is still a much healthier start to the day than the average cooked breakfast. Wholemeal toast with grilled tomatoes complete the dish.

Vegetable paella - There are many great vegetarian tapas dishes which work well as a starter for this paella. With a wide range of vegetables this dish provides amazing combinations of flavours and you can always play around with different textures too by adding the veggies at different times.  

Sweet potato falafels - I think Kirstie M is possibly my favourite cook on Tribesports; all her ideas always sound amazing with unique twists to traditonal recipes! The sweet potato falafel is healthier than regular falafel as it is baked rather than deep fried and are recommended in wraps with fresh salad - goes well with garlic and chili sauce too.

Moroccan vegetable tagine - This recipe is really flavoursome, using the authentic Moroccan spices and slow cooking them with a whole range of vegetables and dried fruit. Add raisins and sultanas to the cous-cous and add side of cucumber and mint yoghurt if you need to cool it down! 

Pasta with kale, chili and garlic - Really fresh and light for a pasta dish and super quick to make too. For those of you who have not tried kale, it is part of the broccoli and cabbage family and is essentially nature's multi vitamin tablet! This dish's creator Joe C says:

For me, one of the best things about quitting meat was that it forced me to be a better cook. I had no choice but to learn more about food, otherwise I'd be confined to very limited options and probably bored to tears.

I'm glad my kale pasta recipe made it in there – everyone should eat more dark green veg!

To find more ideas of how to use kale in different recipes check out this discussion.

If you're concerned about where you would get your protein from, look up the great suggestions of protein options for vegans in the Vegetarian and Vegan Athletes Tribe.

For all you non-vegetarians, do you think you could complete the Challenge to Say no to meat for 30 days? Take it now!