community-based, non-corporate, participatory media

About Contact Us Policies Mailing Lists Radio Video Publish! Calendar Search

Vegetarian Athletes
by AV Thursday, Mar. 11, 2004 at 10:31 PM

Fr Ron Lengwin Carl Lewis Dick Gregory Ruth Heidrich Martina Navratalova and other vegetarian athletes... whether they are health, economic, ethical, spiritual or other vegetarians their effect is to spread nonviolence and fitness in the world.

KDKA's Father Ron Lengwin has been unassuming in his
vegetarian diet. He has said that the apple Adam ate
might have been the first heart of a butchered animal.
The following are athletes who have found superior
health in a nonviolent diet.


Ruth Heidrich Six-time Ironwoman, USA track and field Master's champion

Carl Lewis, Olympic long jump twice

Nicky Cole
First woman to walk to the North Pole

Bill Walton.. Portland Trailblazers.. went to press conferences

Cheryl Marek and Estelle Gray
World record holders, cross-country tandem cycling

Dick Gregory trained at the Univ of Il ran 3000 miles
across the USA on a fruitarian diet

Surya Bonaly Olympic figure skating champion

Andreas Cahling.. world class weight lifter..
Swedish champion bodybuilder, Olympic gold medallist in the ski jump 10,000 Mad Cow Mad Pig Mad Chicken mad Fish links

Debbie Lawrence World record holder, women's 5K racewalk

Alan Jones when captain in USMC did 17,003 consecutive
situps as a vegetarian.. at that time a world record

Ingra Manecki
World champion discus thrower

Johnny Weissmuller.. Tarzan movie star.. broke 6 world
swimming records as a vegetarian

Martina Navratilova
Champion tennis player

Dr Irving Fisher at Yale found that randomly selected
vegetarians could hold their arms at length 9 times
longer than Yale football players*

Jane Wetzel
U.S. National marathon champion

Ridgely Abele Winner of eight national championships in karate

Charlene Wong Williams
Olympic champion figure skater

Peter Burwash Davis Cup winner and professional tennis star
(once lost a tournament because he would not step on a column of ants
which had entered the courtyard)

Peace Pilgrim vowed to walk til humankind found peace.. not to
eat less offered food.. for the next four decades she
walked 8 times across the USA as a vegan

Chris Campbell
Olympic wrestling champion

Keith Holmes
World-champion middleweight boxer

Desmond Howard
Professional football star, Heisman trophy winner

Peter Hussing
European super heavy-weight boxing champion

Sixto Linares
World record holder, 24-hour triathlon

Bill Manetti
Power-lifting champion

Ben Matthews
U.S. Master's marathon champion

Dan Millman
World champion gymnast

Martina Navratilova
Champion tennis player

Paavo Nurmi
Long-distance runner, winner of nine Olympic medals and 20 world records

Bill Pearl
Four-time Mr. Universe

Bill Pickering
World record-holding swimmer

Stan Price
World weightlifting record holder, bench press

Murray Rose
Swimmer, winner of many Olympic gold medals and world records

Dave Scott
Six-time winner of the Ironman triathlon

Art Still
Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs MVP defensive end, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame

Goose Gossage of San Diego Padres.. was in past suspended
for saying McDonald's cheeseburgers poisoned the world

Austin Carr.. Cleveland Cavaliers.. ate no dead bodies

Part excerpted from The Food Revolution, by John Robbins, published by Camaro Press. John Robbins, vegan Baskin Robbins heir
is a Kucinich endorser.

*not an endorsement of Yale endowment invested in earth
abusers,nor of their primate and other animal abuse


Both competitive and recreational athletes are often in search of a nutrition program to provide that winning edge. Many individuals are prone to experiment with vitamins and other supplements, protein powders, and pills, at the cost of a simple, yet important, performance factor?diet. While genetic, physical, and psychological factors all play important roles in determining athletic abilities, poor eating habits and nutritional deficiencies can impair performance. An appropriate sports diet will help support both athletic training and competition.

The Nutrition Game Plan

Due to the heavy demands of exercise and physical activity, athletes need extra nutrition. There are three basic fuels the body relies on while exercising?carbohydrate, fat, and protein?and more calories from these fuels are required to sustain energy levels and maintain lean body mass.1 In particular, a balanced diet that is high in carbohydrate, low in fat, and adequate in protein, is the recommended diet for athletes.1,2 Due to its high carbohydrate and low fat content, a vegetarian diet is an optimal sports diet.3 It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants?important nutrients that help the body utilize energy and protect it from the stress of exercise.

Fueling Your Body: Carbohydrate Gets the Gold

Your body is always burning a mixture of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. The duration of exercise, intensity of exercise, level of physical conditioning, and initial muscle glycogen levels will determine which primary fuel your body will use.4 In general, carbohydrate is the primary fuel utilized during high intensity exercise. In fact, about 55 to 75 percent of calories in the diet should come from carbohydrate, and even more in individuals who compete in endurance or ultra-endurance events.1 Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrate.

With prolonged exercise, at lower intensities, fat (in the form of fatty acids) becomes the primary fuel source. The shift to fatty acids during exercise helps spare the carbohydrate (glycogen) stores in your body and allows for prolonged exercise. However, while high carbohydrate intake is recommended for performance, there is no need to increase fat in the diet beyond the commonly recommended 10 to 30 percent of calories, as it is taken from storage sites in the muscles when needed. Increasing fat in the diet is not recommended for improving performance.5

Compared to carbohydrate and fat, protein is used only minimally for fuel,4 as its primary function is for building and maintaining the tissues of the body. Overall, a high-carbohydrate diet is most important in ensuring optimal storage of carbohydrate in the body, fueling the body for exercise, and supporting performance in both the endurance6 and strength athlete.7,8 A vegetarian diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, provides the high carbohydrate content to fuel your body through training sessions and competition.

Power for Protein

Strength and endurance athletes both have increased protein needs.1 Protein, composed of chains of molecules called amino acids, plays an important role in the building, maintenance, and repair of the tissues of the body, including muscle. There are 20 different amino acids in the foods we eat, but our body can make only 11 of them. The 9 essential amino acids which cannot be produced by the body must be obtained from the diet. A diet based on a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables easily provides all of the essential amino acids. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value, a method known as "protein combining" or "complementing." We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to obtain all of the essential amino acids.9 Concentrated protein sources include tofu, soymilk, tempeh, seitan, and various meat analogues which can be purchased in any health food store or the vegetarian section of your grocery store.

Protein requirements are very individualized and are primarily dependent upon body size. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for the average, sedentary or lightly active adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.10 For most people, this is more than enough. However, some authorities believe that protein needs for athletes may range from 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for the highly active adult athlete.5,11 Tips for meeting your protein needs are included in the table below.

It is important to keep in mind that while some protein will be broken down into amino acids for fuel during exercise, the primary role of protein is for structure and support. While protein needs are increased in the diet of athletes, adequate (10 to 15 percent of calories or enough to meet your calculated requirements), but not excess, protein should be consumed. Protein should come from plant sources, rather than meat, dairy products, and eggs, which are devoid of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Emphasis should be placed on a diet that is high carbohydrate to ensure that protein is spared for those activities it does best: the building and repairing of body tissues, including muscle.

Tips for Meeting Protein Needs

Top salads with a variety of beans, including chick peas, kidney beans, great northern beans, and black beans. These legumes have as much as 7 to 10 grams of protein per serving.
Shake it up! Blend non-dairy frozen desserts or soft tofu with your favorite fresh or frozen fruits with soy or rice milk for a thick, delicious, creamy, high-protein shake.
Marinated tempeh or veggie burgers grilled on a bun or added to pasta sauce, offer a quick protein boost to any meal.
On the go? Sports bars and soy powder shakes are quick and convenient supplements that can help increase the protein content of any well-balanced vegetarian diet.
Staying Hydrated

Maintaining optimal hydration status is important in promoting peak performance and preventing injury. Dehydration, defined as body weight loss of 1 percent or more due to fluid loss, results in a number of symptoms including headache, fatigue, heat intolerance, and dark urine with a strong odor. More serious effects include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.12 By maintaining a regular fluid schedule of at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, these symptoms are easily prevented.12

Fluid needs increase with exercise. Additionally, participating in activity at high altitudes, low humidity, and high temperatures can also increase fluid needs.12 The following guidelines, endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, can help you stay hydrated:13

Two hours before exercise: Drink 17 ounces (or about 2 cups) of fluid.
During exercise: Drink 4 to 8 ounces (or about 1/2 to 1 cup) of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
After exercise: Drink 16 to 20 ounces (or about 2 to 2+ cups) of fluid for every pound lost during exercise; weighing yourself before and after exercise can help you determine your fluid loss.
Water is ideal as a fluid replacer, particularly for activities lasting less than one hour. For those activities lasting more than 60 to 90 minutes, sports drinks containing carbohydrate or electrolytes may be useful both during and following exercise.13,14 Electrolytes and carbohydrate can also be easily ingested through food, in addition to water, following a training session or event.

Ready, Set, Go!

The sports diet must be as carefully planned as the training regimen. A well-balanced vegetarian diet, emphasizing consumption of a variety of foods from the new four food groups?grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables?is an optimal sports diet for both performance and health. By choosing generous servings of these foods with a focus on variety and wholesomeness, your body will reap the benefits.

Whole grains: Choose whole wheat or enriched breads, cereals, rice, and pastas. They are rich in complex carbohydrate, fiber, zinc, and B vitamins. A single serving also provides about 2 to 3 grams of protein.
Vegetables: Choose a variety of colorful red, orange, and yellow vegetables in addition to leafy greens for vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants that will protect your body from the stress of exercise. These foods also provide iron, calcium, fiber, and a modest 2 grams of protein per serving.
Legumes: Choose a variety of beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, great northern beans) as well as soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and textured vegetable protein. They are not only high in protein (about 7 to 10 grams per serving), but also rich in complex carbohydrate, fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
Fruits: Choose a variety of fruits and fruit juices for extra vitamins, especially vitamin C. from

poster is a couch potato one of whose motives
is to inspire herself.. she once had a chemical addiction to meat whose
taste is caused by factors such as the uric acid or preurine (trioxypurine)
in the flesh..

if you miss that you can always take out a veggieburger
and whiz on it

the blood of the terrorized animal mixed with the fat
also gives flesh a distinctive taste



Vegetarian diet for athletes
by Dr. Benjamin Spock, best selling pediatric writer in the world
..vice presidential candidate with presidential candidate Dr Martin Luther King for president one year
Fortunately, today we have the information as well as the testimonies of many athletes to substantiate the benefits of plant-based diets. Dave Scott, considered to be the world's greatest triathlete, holds a degree in exercise physiology. In his own words, it's a "ridiculous fallacy" to think that athletes need animal protein. He is joined in his views by such Olympians as Edwin Moses, the gold medalist who went eight years without losing the 400-meter hurdle competition, and Murray Rose who, at age 17, won three gold medals in the Olympic swim competition.

This year, I was glad to see Olympic champion Carl Lewis crown his career with his best long jump in two years to win a record-tying ninth gold medal. Lewis, of course, is a longtime vegetarian [vegan] whose dietary changes developed out of his moral and religious convictions. Several years ago Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis traded titles back and forth when they were being hailed as the fastest sprinters in the world - both were vegetarians.

Whether you are a world class athlete, a weekend athlete, or simply a recreational exerciser, we now know that you can meet your performance objectives, and improve your health by eating a plant-based diet that meets your energy needs. Even at my present age, 93, I found that switching to a plant-based diet improved my health dramatically.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, New Century Nutrition, Sept. 1996

add your comments

© 2001-2009 Pittsburgh Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not endorsed by the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center.
Disclaimer | Privacy