Why Athletics, Nutrition, and Health Hang Together with a Plant-Based Diet
The current parade of Olympic athletes can make those of us with ordinary abilities a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, we admire the limits to which people can push the human body. Finely honed and trained athletes set the standard for physical achievement.
However, you can also feel discouraged. After all, an Olympic gold medal can feel life a project for another lifetime.
Be encouraged instead. You can achieve your physical potential. Land in first place with vigorous longevity and superb health. Your key is a whole foods, plant-based diet and regular exercise. Don’t try too much at first in the way of training. Make sure your doctor agrees with the exercise plan you have in mind, especially if you are overweight, out of shape, or have a chronic disease. If you persist, you will be amazed at your achievements.
Here’s a small sample of inspiring, 100% plant-based champs.
- Carl Lewis won 10 Olympic medals in track and field – nine of them gold! His best year as an athlete was the year he stopped eating animal foods.
- Edwin Moses, another Olympic gold medal champ, won the 400-meter hurdle competition for eight years in a row.
- Brendan Brazier is an ultra marathon and triathlon winner.
- Dr. Ruth Heidrich won more than 900 first place running and triathlon ribbons after she gained the advantage of a plant-based diet.
- Pat Neshek, skillful Minnestoa Twins pitcher, added seven pounds of lean muscle after adopting a plant-based diet.
You may be wondering why sticking to plants fuels such excellent performance, while eating animal and processed foods impedes athletic achievement. Whole foods and fitness are natural partners:
While the myth is that protein in the diet builds a muscular body, this is simplistic and incorrect thinking. Exercise leads your body to build muscles. If you eat a lot of protein and don’t exercise, your body will simply convert the excess protein to fat and carbohydrates. This disposal process generates toxic waste products that harm your liver and kidneys. This is hardly a recipe for athletic achievement. Even with exercise, muscle expands slowly and you do not need to eat extra protein to reap the benefits of your workout.
You have roughly 70,000 miles of blood vessels nourishing every cell in your body. Eating animal and processed foods can clog this vital throughway, so your cells lack oxygen and food, and drown in their own toxic by-products of metabolism. Plant-based
athletes have the unbeatable advantage of open and correctly functioning blood vessels.
Plants supply highly beneficial phytochemicals. These nutrients are total absent in animal foods and degraded in processed foods. The powerful phytochemicals are key to maximum physical performance. And no, phytochemicals from a pill cannot do the same job.
So if you are inspired by the Olympics and want to jump off the couch and into the great outdoors to swing your arms and pump your legs, go for it. Achieve your best and win the gold medal for healthy lifestyle choices.
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Blog by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, a nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.