Expert Opinion on Plant Based Diets for Athletes
August 7, 2020
Around the world the popularity of plant-based diets, or at least diets that encourage the reduction of animal products, are on the rise. Proponents of these diets argue that there are health, environmental, and ethical benefits of ditching meat, egg and dairy – but what does this mean for athletes? Most textbooks will still tell you that the best sources of protein are from animal based foods, and many coaches, nutritionists and doctors still advise athletes to ensure they are eating meat, eggs and dairy regularly.
Follow in the footsteps of these successful athletes
Find out what our panelists had to say about Plant Based diets for Athletes
Dr Yesheen Singh
MBChB MBA, is a plant-based physician based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has extensive experience in private and public health systems in SA and the UK and has additional post-graduate education and training in Functional Medicine, Public Health and Health System Engineering. Dr Singh’s personal passion is empowering communities through education on the role of nutrition and lifestyle change in changing the impact of disease on individuals, families and communities. He is the founder of Phyto Pro – Plant-based Cleans Nutrition, a range of plant-based protein shakes and supplements.
“For me, it all centers around inflammation, and the role that inflammation plays in the recovery process… Inflammation is something that is created through the stress of the physical activity, and it is something that we counteract with the nutrients that are present in a plant-based diet.”
Dr Yesheen Singh hosts a live chat every Sunday on Instagram on topics related to living a healthy plant-based lifestyle. Follow Dr Yesheen Singh (@askdrsingh) and watch his chats on the Instagram channel PhytoPro (@phytopro).
Dr Roxie Becker
MBChB, graduated from UCT cum laude in 2018 and is currently doing her second year of internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto. During medical school, she spent a month at the Barnard Medical Center in Washington DC, studying plant based nutrition under Dr Neal Barnard and Dr James Loomis. She is also a certified CrossFit coach and has a keen interest in lifestyle and preventative medicine; using nutrition and lifestyle changes to prevent and treat chronic diseases.
“The faster you recover, the more workouts you can get in, and the better that you can be, as an athlete. So, you really want to limit your recovery time as much as possible.”
Dr Roxie Becker would like to share the following evidence based materials on nutritional information for plant-based athletes;
Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers, from the Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition.
Fueling the Vegetarian (Vegan) athlete, by the American College of Sports Medicine.
You can follow her on Instagram (@drroxiebecker) and contact her by email ([email protected]).
Simon de Waal
BScHons, MSc Sports Science,CSCS, PhD Candidate, Sports Science Lecturer, Running Coach, his teaching and research involves training load monitoring of road and trail runners as well as applied strength and conditioning. An amateur runner who competes regularly on the road and trail circuit in the Western Cape, South Africa and constantly striving to improve his performance, Simon believes strongly in concurrent endurance and strength training to improve performance and avoid injury. As such, he also holds a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) qualification from the NSCA. He is passionate about providing evidence based information that encourages plant based athletes.
“When you are doing endurance exercise.. up to 100% of your energy is derived from carbohydrates. Eventually, you are going to run out of stored glycogen in your liver and muscles, as well as glucose in your blood, and you are going to hit a wall. This is where nutrition really plays an important role.”
Simon de Waal has also provided a list of resources for plant based athletes. You can contact him on Facebook, or Instagram (@rootedindirt) Visit his website if you are looking for more advice on endurance training or plant-based nutrition.
E.T.A Certified Fitness Trainer, has been in the fitness industry as a personal/group trainer and coach for nearly 10 years, with becoming a certified kettlebell instructor through StrongFirst in 2015. He has been into competitive sports such as triathlon, mountain biking, trail running, CrossFit and Kettlebell Lifting over the past 8 years and he has been vegan for nearly 5 years and vegetarian before that. He has experience training plant based athletes, and witnessed many clients over his time as a vegan make the transition to a plant based diet in his training facilities. He is also the owner of the The Iron Movement Gym in Durban.
“Funnily enough, some of the strongest members of our gym happen to be plant based… It is going to help you transform into the best athlete you can be.”
Rhain Hoskins offers online training on request. Visit his Instagram (@theplantpowered) to get in contact. Check out his YouTube video on How to use a Kettlebell correctly.
Are you interested in the following questions?
In practice, are athletes still scared of plant based diets?
Which foods should athletes be eating on a plant based diet?
Are there specific pre- or post-workout guidelines?
Is soya really healthy?
Should athletes be eliminating milk?
How do you lose fat without losing weight?
Which vegan supplements should athletes be taking?
If so, please follow this link to our replay, to listen to the answers.
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Phyto Pro is a clean-ingredient, plant-based, sport- and functional-nutrition brand, inspired by nature and grounded in science. It’s industry-leading formulations are created by a team of medical professionals with years of experience in plant-based medicine and bring their “first do no harm” philosophy to the food and nutrition spaces. Visit the website here.
Being both the farmer and processor, Rugani Juice has year round supply of the freshest veggies that are harvested daily and extracted into a 100% juice within four hours. Their produce is fully traceable and undergoes a world first extraction process that ruptures 95% of veggie cells, optimising the nutritional content of it’s juice. Combining the ‘Harvested Daily’ principle with extraction technology, Rugani Juice is a nutritionally superior product.
Buy your favourite Rugani juices in cases of 10 on the NEW Rugani Juice Online Shop here! They are also available at all Food Lover’s Market stores and Dis-Chem Pharmacies nationwide, as well as selected Spar, Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers and other independent retailers.
Curious about the difference between carrot juice and fruit juice? Watch their video here.
Follow them on Instagram (@ruganijuice)
Outcast Foods creates easy-to-prepare healthy and yummy plant-based meals. They create instant whole-food falafel, burger and flapjack pre-mixes, and do not believe in shortcuts. Their pulses are activated to increase nutrient absorption and use only whole foods. So no gluten, fillers, preservatives or additives. Just pure quality ingredients where natural flavours are brought to life.
Visit their website here. Or follow them on Instagram (@outcastfoods) and look out for their new flapjack mix launching soon!
Regular Online Webinars brought to you by ProVeg South Africa
Did you catch our previous webinar on How to Stay Healthy during Stressful Times? Read our reflection here, to find out what our team of medical doctors and holistic practitioners had to say about achieving healthy balance during a pandemic.
We hope that you enjoy attending our online webinars as much as we enjoy organising them. We are planning a series of regular webinars that highlight the benefits of a plant based diet and provide insights from experts across multiple disciplines. Follow ProVeg South Africa on Instagram (@provegza) and look out for the details of our next exciting online event.
Needing personalised advice?
Please get in touch with our trusted plant based dieticians
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]