WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN?
Vegans and vegetarians are constantly being asked “Where do you get your protein?” This question presumes that there is no protein in plants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Plant based eating provides more than the recommended average requirement of 42 grams a day. Athletes in many sports thrive on a plant based nutrition program.
Consider the average 70 Kg/154 lb sedentary man burning 2000 calories a day. If he consumes a diet of only potatoes, beans and broccoli he is getting 56 grams of protein. If he begins training for a marathon and increased his calories to 4000, he is getting 112 grams. This is much more protein than needed for an athlete in training.
Athletes in many sports have been plant based. The Olympian Carl Lewis was the fastest man in the world and record long jumper–vegetarian. The Kenyan long distance runners who have dominated U.S. marathons eat a diet of boiled rice, poached potatoes, boiled porridge, cabbage, kidney beans and cooked cornmeal. Strength athletes such as power lifters and body builders have been vegetarian.
A more expansive discussion is provided by Michael Gregor M.D. of NutritionFacts.org, in the video presentation below. This is one of our favorite resources for nutrition information.