*This is an edited version of a blog post I originally published on FredRicky.com
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m focusing on becoming a better runner. Increasing my time and speed gradually overtime will definitely help, but diet is a huge factor. I need to make sure I’m getting enough energy without becoming sluggish, and I need to eat the right foods in order to recover quickly.
If your resolution this year was to be healthier you (of course it was), a plant-based whole-food diet can help! Not only does a plant-based diet benefit your overall health, but it also helps fuel you for that trip to the gym.
There has been some controversy over the years with people saying that a plant-based diet can’t provide enough protein or energy for a runner’s, or a physically active, body. However, there’s a large number of people who rely solely on plant-based foods and who thrive on the benefits. For instance, Ultra-Athlete Rich Roll is fueled by nothing but plants and completed the 320-mile uber-endurance event, and finished in the top 10 males with the 2nd fastest swim split.
Many others have raved about the endurance and athletic benefits after switching to a plant-based diet. These benefits include:
- Acid reduction. Plant-based foods dramatically reduce the amount of acid in your body. Too much acid can cause inflammation and decreased performance. Running long distance can definitely cause some inflammation, but rather than taking a pill, eat foods with low glycemic index levels. They supply your body with the carbs it needs to support your training, and fiber-filled foods rich in antioxidants help reduce inflammation even more.
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol. With lower blood pressure, you might notice that you are able to run longer without worrying about your cardiovascular health. You’ll be able to run and workout longer, which also can reduce the need for blood pressure medication. This benefit is great for your overall health, not just for running.
- Longer lasting energy. Plant-based foods actually contain the highest quality carbohydrates available. For example, quinoa and oats are extremely nutritious and are considered a high-carb food. They’re very filling since they are both high in fiber and protein.
- Improved recovery. If you recover faster, you’ll be able to train harder and more often. A plant-based diet includes nutrient-dense foods that are able to fight effects of oxidative damage and inflammation. This reduces muscles soreness and improves your recovery time, so you can get to the gym sooner!
If you’re looking for healthy whole-food, plant-based meals or snacks for your pre- or post-workout, I urge you to try Fred and Ricky’s (if you’re in the St. Louis area)! They have tons of high-protein, fiber-filled, nutrient-dense foods for you to try.
Questions? Leave a comment or send an email!