Because an extra banana is not enough!
This blog (review) is dedicated to fellow runner/fitness junkies who have so far survived on the power of bananas or enerzal water for most of her runs!
But life takes over, asks you to transform, find ways to cope up and look for smart solutions! And then the banana is not enough! You realize that you are getting tired during your runs/workouts. The stamina is starting to give way. You ask – Lack of sleep? Too much work stress? Or am I taking my nutritional needs for granted??? The last one is what I figured for myself! The truth is unless we eat an extremely diverse diet on daily basis without fail, we need to work on our nutrition intelligently to stay the course of fitness, long term. I figured two gaps for myself –
- Need for extra protein – my long runs, my gym workouts and my strenuous yoga workouts demand me to have a better recovery!
- As a woman who is ageing, gone through multiple deliveries, working and trying to stay fit everyday – what I am doing for my bone health?
So, trying my best to limit my research to something as genuine as possible (staying away from artificial and synthetic pre-workout mixes) I read about Plant-based Nutrition! Had no idea that UNIVED had pioneered the concept in India!
But before buying anything in this cluttered market, online or on recommendation, I decided to chat up with Amit Mehta( The founder of UNIVED) , about his offering of Vegan Sports Nutrition!
Here is an extremely informative, clear and neat FB messenger chat with Amit clarifying my doubts over plant-based sports nutrition that I would like to share with my readers!
Tanya : I run 40-50 kms a week. Is it really possible for me to get my performance and recovery needs from plants alone? And beyond this – can veganism sustain a weekly regimen of training, swimming, cycling, running, weight lifting and sports.
Amit :“The answer to both your questions is a resounding, yes! Not only can you sustain an active athletic lifestyle, but you can go a step further and actually improve your overall health, as well as your performance and recovery rate, by adopting a plant-based diet. The beauty of a plant-based diet is that it completely cuts out the intake of disease and cancer causing foods, and instead feeds your body with food that is rich in micronutrients, anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, and various other supportive and health boosting compounds. This ‘refined’ [no pun intended] food intake leads to a steep incline in overall health, which then has a domino effect on all aspects of your life – cognition, cardiovascular health, motor skills, heart health, and so much more. For these reasons, and more, elite athletes across various sports are quickly turning to a plant-based diet.
Tanya : How about the protein part of it? They say that Plant based nutrition lacks the right amount of protein. How would you explain that?
Amit: If we say that an average diet is roughly 2000 calories a day, and consider that an athlete would consume maybe 2500 calories per day, then that 360 calories that I need to get from protein works out to 14% of my daily intake. In other words, out of 100% of the calories I consume, I need protein to contribute about 14%.
Note: a higher accuracy requires constant calibration, but you cannot go wrong if you maintain a general rule of between 12-20%, going higher when you are training harder and cutting down on easier days.
Now, if we look at protein content of varies plant-based foods, it’s easy to agree that there is a sufficient protein intake.
- Most Lentils: 17-19grams protein per cup
- Tofu: 8 grams per 100grams
- Rajma: 24grams per 100 grams
- Peanuts: 26grams per 100 grams
- Peanut Butter: 8grams per two spoons
- Plants, nuts, seeds: varied
Many of the foods mentioned above are a staple in the Indian diet. So, as long as we include a little bit of these in every meal throughout the day – and balance the rest with a good plant-based protein (Pea Protein), we are well taken care of!
The real trick is to simply eat right. Meat consumption, often leads to excessive protein intake. This can have serious health deteriorating effects.
The real question that people should be asking – is not where they can get their protein from (which is available plenty) – but where can they get their Vitamin D3 from (both vegans, and non-vegetarians), as that is what everyone really struggles with and I would argue that upwards of 95% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D3. “
Tanya: Is that true that Plant-based nutrition leads to extremely fast recovery? How?
Amit: During exercise, we are damaging the DNA of our cells (exercise-induced oxidative stress), however, after exercise (during recovery) the body increases the anti-oxidant production (defense mechanism), which is fueled through the food that we eat (needs to be anti-oxidant rich). This ‘recovery period’ is really our ‘opportunity’ to boost our immune system and raise our overall health.
In other words – just exercise does not make us healthy, what the body does (based on what we feed it) during the recovery phase, is what ultimately increases our health. Plants have the greatest anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; on average it is 64 times greater than meat.
If I take the least healthy plant-based food that I can think of – plain iceberg lettuce (which is mostly water), it is graded at an index of 17 units of anti-oxidant power. How does compare to fish and chicken? Fish averages at 11 units, and Chicken is at 6 units of anti-oxidant power. Iceberg lettuce has nearly three times more anti-oxidants than Chicken!
Plus, the added benefits of phytonutrients, which are totally absent in meat. Such rich nutrient intake helps reduce oxidative stress and boost the body’s defense system. The topic is vast and I can get shed lights on many angles, such as ease of digestion and more, but will stick to the scope of the question – this is the simple answer.
This is interesting – the logic behind plant-based nutrition! So I know the gaps, I understand the plant-based philosophy but this is what I still want:
- High quality protein, after my long runs, I feel drained hence needing a solution for energy replenishment and muscle recovery.
- Easily digestable. Avoiding constipation and flatulence. The more digestible it is the better it works on muscle recovery!No animal protein
- No chemicals, no whey, no soy, cholesterol and dairy
- No synthetic emulsifiers and no animal protein that gives a lot of side effects.
Given the above, I have identified the Pea-protein – A high quality plant protein solution – Pea protein! It is non-animal protein from yellow split peas. Has to be tried! More Info on this https://unived.in/lean-raw-unflavored-pea-protein-213.html
It’s a new journey for me, I am excited to have stepped up and figured out a clean and natural solution to my nutritional needs! There is a lot of science behind sports nutrition, but I want to keep this simple for people who are genuinely looking for good nutritional supplements and are getting confused with too much stuff around!
This article is a genuine effort to bring home the point that people who love fitness and want to reap maximum benefits from their fitness activities – be it running, cycling, swimming, must make an extra effort to build up the muscle wear and tear.
Unfortunately an extra banana is not enough! Hoping to have cleared off doubts for the ”many me” out there!
Tanya Agarwal (with Amit Mehta) for Wellthy.fit