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Unless you are really athletic, you don’t need any special measures
An athlete is someone who trains 5-7 days a week for prolonged periods of time. If you are training for a marathon, triathlon or are a swimmer or a runner, you are an athlete who needs to pay special attention to his or her vegetarian diet. If you go to the guy two to three times a week, you are not an athlete and you don’t need any special dietary measures.
The diets of athletes are similar to those of non-athletes
Like all other people, athletes need carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Today there are a lot of examples of elite athletes that prove the possibility of being an athlete and being a vegetarian at the same time. These examples include baseball player Prince Fielder, basketball player Salim Stoudamire, and legendary track athlete Carl Lewis.
There are different opinions about how much protein athletes need
Some scientists are not sure if athletic activities lead to higher demands in protein. Others are convinced that increased levels of physical activity mean higher protein needs.
Too much protein is not a good thing
At a certain point in the past football coaches served the players a steak meal before big games. However, this often made the players sluggish. Overall, high-fat high-protein meals are not the healthiest.
Carbohydrates promote performance
A diet that has a healthy ratio of carbohydrates and includes fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice and other grains, results in an increased performance while athletes who decrease their carbohydrate intake show lower performance levels.
Carbohydrate loading has science behind it
In the past, athletes used to “carb load” before sporting events. Today science suggests that a diet with plenty of carbohydrates is the way to go not just before a running race or a triathlon, but on a regular basis.
Not all carbohydrates are the same
Carbohydrates in candy, snack cakes, and soft drinks have nutritional value that is close to zero. They do have calories and they can help you burn protein in your body for fuel, but whole foods are much better than junk foods when it comes to nutritional value.
A well-planned diet will provide athletes with all the minerals they need
Generally speaking, a well-balanced vegetarian diet should provide an athlete will all needed minerals and nutrients. Under certain circumstances, athletes do need to pay special attention to calcium, iron, and vitamins B12 and D.
You need special planning for sustained high performance
If you work out a lot and need a lot of calories, add snacks in between your meals. You can also reduce your intake of low-calorie foods such as leafy greens and replace them with starches and nuts, including rice and potatoes.
Special events require special preparation
You want to eat high-calorie foods that are easy to digest a few hours before an event. Fat takes longer to digest, which is why carbohydrates are a great choice.