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From: Bryanna (
Subject:         Re: don't know where to start
Date: December 22, 2008 at 8:02 am PST

In Reply to: don't know where to start posted by Franco on December 22, 2008 at 1:40 am:

I urge you to read Chapter 16, “The Vegan Athlete”,
in the excellent book “Becoming Vegan” by
registered dieticians Vesanto Melina and Brenda
Davis. Here are some excerpts:

“…Exercise can lead to increased energy output for
up to 24 hours after the exercise has stopped.
This is a very minor increase, but it can make a
difference in the long term. In addition, eating a
whole foods vegan diet may increase energy
requirements by up to 10-15 percent due to reduced
overall digestibility of high-fiber whole foods.

…For those training more intensely several times a
week, energy needs can be as high as 3000-6000
calories a day or more.

If you are constantly lacking energy, the problem
may be that you are eating too little. Many
athletes restrict energy intake in an effort to
maintain a low body weight. Interestingly, this
can seriously impair performance by lowering
metabolic rate and reducing energy available for
activity. When you increase food intake, your
metabolism generally returns to normal and your
energy levels skyrocket. In fact, athletes have
been known to increase energy intakes by 1000
calories or more per day, vastly improve
performance, and not gain an ounce.”

“It is widely believed that the most important
nutrient for athletes is protein, and the more, the
better. While protein is a very important nutrient
for athletes, it contributes only about 3-6 percent
of the total fuel used and is needed in smaller
amounts than the other energy-giving nutrients.
Athletes who eat carbohydrate-rich diets use even
less protein for fuel than those who consume
higher-protein and fat diets. (Carbohydrate has a
protein-sparing effect.) In addition, more highly
trained athletes tend to use less protein for fuel
during exercise, depending on the type of activity;
caloric intake, intensity of training, etc.”

“The general recommendation of 12-15 percent
protein is appropriate for most vegan athletes,
although for those with low caloric intake
(athletes attempting to keep body weight low), 15-
20 percent may be necessary. For those with
extraordinarily high caloric requirements (such as
Ironman athletes), 10-12 percent may be sufficient.
For example, a 50 kg (110 lb) gymnast who requires
about 1.4 g protein/kg body weight needs about 70 g
protein per day. If she eats only 1600 calories
per day, her protein needs would be 17.5 percent of
total calories. On the other hand, a 70 kg
endurance athlete who requires 1.4 g protein/kg
body weight needs about 98g protein/day. If he
eats 4000 calories, his protein needs would be
about 10 percent of total calories.

When receiving protein solely from plant foods, as
is the case for vegans, protein requirements may be
higher than for non-vegetarians due to a reduced
digestibility of certain plant proteins. For those
consuming more highly processed and soy-based plant
proteins (veggie “meats”, tofu, and soy shakes) no
increase in protein above non-vegan athletes is
generally required. For those relying more on
whole foods (legumes, nuts and seeds), an increase
of 10-15 percent will compensate for the reduced
digestibility of these foods. Using a variety of
protein sources will help ensure a reasonable
protein intake.”

“It is not necessary to use protein powder shakes
or bars to get sufficient protein. However, if you
have difficulty meeting energy and protein needs,
they can be helpful, for example, for non-cooks or
especially while traveling…”

“…Eating excessive amounts of protein will not
increase the muscle mass or improve athletic
performance but could be detrimental to performance
or overall health. Surplus protein gets converted
to fat and stored or oxidized for energy. Amino
acid oxidation increases risk of dehydration,
because by-products of protein metabolism must be
excreted via the urine…"

You might want to read the Vegetarian Resource
Groups sports nutrition guidelines for vegetarian
athletes. It explains about dietary needs and has a
meal plan.

You might also find this excerpt from an interview
with Jane Black, a champion vegan bodybuilder,

Many athletes are concerned about adequate protein
intake. Explaining her experiences, Jane says:

"According to various elite weightlifting coaches,
protein requirement for a highly competitive
weightlifter is 2 to 2 1/2 grams per kilo of
bodyweight. If I adhered to that, I would be eating
about 150 or so grams of protein, which I feel is
ridiculous. I eat probably about 60-75. I have
never had a problem building strength. The
variables for strength building vary greatly for
individuals, - genetics, general state of health,
and training program. All of these factors and more
must be monitored ongoing if a person wants to take
on a sport, or build strength or explosive power,
which Olympic lifting is all about. I fully believe
that a person can be incredibly strong as a vegan.
If you are going for a bodybuilder 'look,' i.e.
extreme hypertrophy, low body fat, a vegan diet
will have its drawbacks, but then I would challenge
you to ask yourself why that is important to you.
Most of the pictures of contest ready bodybuilders
on popular magazines [used] a ton of unnatural and
pathological dietary practices to achieve that

You can read more and find more links here;

I would also like to add that, though you
absolutely don't need to use soy protein
supplements, don't be afraid of soy! I have a
whole page on this issue on my website:

Furthermore, Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarians have
eaten alot of "processed soy" (soy burgers, canned
soy products, etc.) since the late 1800's and they
have been the subjects of many health studies. The
average Seventh Day Adventist has a longer life
span and a greater level of health than the average

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