Developing training habits takes skill, determination, and discipline. But if you haven’t incorporated a healthy diet to go alongside your physical regimen, you may be working harder to achieve less reward. Plant-based diets, particularly vegan and vegetarian diets, can help maximize training and make your time in the gym count for more. And fitting a plant-based diet into your lifestyle may be easier than you realize – here are a few of the reasons why your workouts will benefit from a vegan diet and some easy, tasty suggestions on how to make the transition to a vegan diet.
Recovery Rate Boosters
The morning after an intense training session, it’s not abnormal to wake up with a dull ache in your muscles. Some people enjoy the residual burn, while others find the discomfort can hinder their motivation or ability to do more. Regardless of your feeling towards that post-workout ache, however, you’re not likely to continue enjoying it if it continues throughout the week. That’s where a solid diet can come in: while eating vegan won’t prevent you from feeling the lingering burn entirely, there’s evidence it can help mitigate inflammation more quickly, according to experts at the Arthritis Foundation.
Protein and muscles go hand in healthy hand. But while it’s well-established proteins can help muscles build faster and stronger, many popular protein sources, such as shake mixes, may not provide the ratio of nutrients your body needs. Fortunately, finding that balance can be easily achieved with plant-based meals where many of the mainstays already have a 4:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Steel cut oats, for instance, are well-loved by dieticians and can be combined with chocolates, bananas, or berries for a work-out boosting breakfast that travels well from the gym to the office.
Small Changes Can Add Up
While it’s easy to see how a plant-based diet can enhance your training by lowering inflammation, providing ideal nutrition ratios, and helping you withstand energy crashes, it may still seem daunting to make the change. Fortunately, the once prevalent idea of healthy food as bland food has long since been discarded and it may be much easier to make the change than you realize. Consider the following plant-based foods to work into your daily routine:
- Black bean burritos. Full of protein and great on the go, you can customize your burrito to fit your individual preferences while packing great nutrition.
- Chia seed puddings. These tiny seeds can pack a protein punch and provide a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids which can help control muscle inflammation.
- Classic green smoothie. There’s a reason the green smoothie is so popular for health-minded professionals – not only is it often wholly vegan, it contains plant-based protein powder, it’s also ideal for grab and go fuel and can be tailored for your palate.
For more great ideas on how to incorporate workout-boosting vegan foods into your lifestyle, look for recipes featuring chickpeas, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms as their primary ingredient. And remember, even the smallest change in your diet can add up over time and yield greater rewards when combined with your workouts.