Monday January 27, 2020

Professional Athletes Choosing to Fuel their Bodies with Healthy Vegan Foods

Former Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie stays in top shape by eating vegan, and our very own national football captain Sunil Chhetri

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Athletes, Fuel, Vegan
From tennis legend Novak Djokovic to Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton, elite sports stars are opting for vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains. Pixabay

This National Nutrition Week (September 1-7), there’s no denying that a growing number of professional athletes are choosing to fuel their bodies with healthy vegan foods. From tennis legend Novak Djokovic to Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton, elite sports stars are opting for vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains, and other plant-based foods instead of animal-derived ones.

Former Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie stays in top shape by eating vegan, and our very own national football captain Sunil Chhetri has also stopped consuming animals’ flesh, eggs, and milk. He says that eating vegan food helps with recovery and that he’s experiencing other health benefits. “It’s been a few months since I’ve turned vegan now and I feel as healthy as I will ever be.”

From Ironman tri-athletes and record-breaking runners to “America’s strongest weightlifter”, athletes excel when they eat vegan. Vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian broke the world record for the most weight ever carried by a human and holds multiple weightlifting world records. Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel is an Olympic bronze, silver and gold medallist who also holds two world championship titles — and she’s vegan. US women’s national soccer team star Alex Morgan went vegan because of her dog and says it makes her “stronger and helps with fatigue and recovery”.

Many professional basketball and American football players including DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee, Kyle Kuzma, Jahlil Okafor, Colin Kaepernick, and Malcolm Jenkins are vegan and they credit their animal-free meal plans for improving their recovery time, energy levels, weight loss, strength and more.

Athletes, Fuel, Vegan
This National Nutrition Week (September 1-7), there’s no denying that a growing number of professional athletes are choosing to fuel their bodies with healthy vegan foods. LifetimeStock

Venus Williams, the most decorated tennis player in Olympic history, is meat-free while professional surfer Tia Blanco went vegan at age 16. Athlete Dana Glowacka powers up with vegan food and holds the women’s world record for the longest abdominal plank which she held for over four hours.

Some of the toughest athletes on the planet are vegan because they know that humans don’t need to eat animals to be strong. In fact, a study revealing that Roman gladiators were predominantly vegetarian inspired the upcoming documentary ‘The Game Changers’, which features professional athletes — including executive producer Hamilton — sharing how turning vegan optimises their health and builds strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who’s been dairy-free for over 40 years — and Djokovic are also executive producers. When the tennis player stopped eating animal flesh, he said, “(It) hasn’t just changed my game, it’s changed my life, my wellbeing.”

Vegan mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Abel Trujillo credits his Kundalini yoga practice for inspiring him to go vegan and explained: “Not only is eating an animal energetically bad for raising the Kundalini aka being in your higher-self, but also spiritually and physically.”

Eating vegan foods that are low in fat and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants benefits athletes’ performance, endurance, recovery, and more. These foods keep their hearts strong, body weight and inflammation down, and saturated fat and cholesterol levels low, which prevents pain, increases aerobic capacity (the ability to use oxygen to fuel exercise) and improves blood viscosity so that more oxygen reaches the muscles, thereby improving athletic performance. The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics confirms that vegan foods are appropriate for athletes and reduce their risk of suffering from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and obesity.

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Many professional athletes choose to build and maintain body tissue with vegan protein sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh and non-dairy milks — because unlike animal-derived sources of protein, they also contain fibre and complex carbohydrates which are the primary fuel used during high-intensity exercise. For example, Trujillo loves eating sweet potatoes before competitions because they provide the complex carbohydrates and energy he needs for fight night.

Athletes are also choosing to fuel up on vegan foods to protect animals from the intense suffering caused by imprisonment in cramped, waste-covered cages, sheds, or warehouses; genetic modification and drug regimens that result in chronic pain and crippling deformities; abject abuse; and slaughter by the billions.

Athletes, Fuel, Vegan
Vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian broke the world record for the most weight ever carried by a human. LifetimeStock

Sports stars who eat vegan foods also score big for the environment and prevent the waste of precious resources. Raising animals for meat, eggs and dairy is responsible for more greenhouse-gas emissions than the world’s transportation sector and more water pollution than all other industrial sources combined and it sucks up one-third of the world’s freshwater resources and global cropland for animal feed.

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Let’s all be winners for our health, animals, and the planet by going vegan. (IANS)

Next Story

PM Modi Receives A Letter From Pamela Anderson To Promote Vegan Food

Anderson in her letter praised India's cuisine that made it the 'easiest place on earth' to be vegan.

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Anderson is a vegan, an advocate for animal rights, and an active member of the animal protection organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Baywatch icon and former Bigg Boss guest star Pamela Anderson on Friday wrote a letter on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to serve only vegan food at all government meetings and functions.

In this letter, she urges Modi to lead India’s fight against climate change by serving only delicious vegan (wholly plant-derived) food at all government meetings and functions. The animal rights group and the actor explained that raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy causes nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

“With your country’s innovation and agricultural history, I’m sure that India-produced soy and other versatile foods can easily replace these damaging foods,” she writes. PETA Director urged Modi to adopt pro-vegan steps taken by other countries such as New Zealand, China and Germany.

“I appeal to you to show that India can equal or best them,” the 52-year-old actor added.

Modi  getting down from Air India Airplane.
Narendra Modi getting down from Air India Airplane.

Expressing concern over climate change she wrote, “My heart goes out to everyone affected by the severe air pollution plaguing Delhi. I worry about the residents as well as the animals who can’t wear face masks or stay indoors.”

She said that according to latest reports, 36 million Indians could face the threat of annual coastal flooding by 2050. The World Bank has predicted that at least 21 cities in India are approaching zero groundwater levels for next year and that 40 per cent of Indians may not have water to drink by 2030.

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Anderson in her letter praised India’s cuisine that made it the ‘easiest place on earth’ to be vegan. “India is the easiest place to be vegan… I still remember the beautiful colour of saffron rice and the alluring aroma of veggie biryani. India’s foods are so fantastic and varied that it’s the easiest place on earth to be vegan”, she added.

Last month, she had written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to serve nutritious vegan meals in correctional facilities. (IANS)