View Full Version : Nutritional resources for Vegetarian/Vegan Cross Country Athletes

John Yano
09-10-2013, 12:16 PM
Any recommended resources for my athletes that are vegetarian/vegan athletes?

I have noticed an increase in the number of athletes that are vegetarian/vegan. I am not vegetarian/vegan and have not known many colleagues that are such while running.

First thing that came to my mind was iron deficiency. What else should I be concerned with?

Any help would be much appreciated.

John Yano

Torres BHDP
09-11-2013, 09:57 AM
Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek is a vegan and he has written a book called "Eat and Run". I haven't read it but I would like to. Supposedly there are many recipes and food alternatives included in the narrative.


Runner's World Magazine's "Performance Nutrition for Runners" is just about the best resource on general nutrition for runners that I have ever found. It debunks many myths we have about nutrition and running and the amount of each of 3 food types (carbs, protein, and fats) we need to sustain us as competitive runners. There is enough information in this book that could allow you to create work-around/alternative foods sources for the missing necessities your runners may lack from a veggie/vegan diet.


If you want to get more in depth on the background of the specific mineral requirements necessary for sustained health (some of which is included in the Runner's World book), and what impact these deficiencies have on the body, try "Dr. Jensen's Guide to Body Chemistry and Nutrition".


Hope this helps...

edit 9/12: I'm about halfway through "Eat and Run" and it is a fantastic book about running and many great tips for how to eat properly as a runner. I know most people worry about protein intake being a veggie/vegan so here is a quote from the book:

Getting Enough Protein
One of the biggest questions I had as an ultrarunner contemplating a vegan diet was how to get enough protein. Here are a few of my tricks: In my breakfast smoothie, I add some nuts and a hit of plant-based protein powder (brown rice, hemp, pea, or fermented soy protein). I’ll also have a grain source for breakfast, such as sprouted-whole-grain toast with nut butter or sprouted-grain cereal or porridge. Lunch is always a huge raw salad—I love my Lacinato kale—and I’ll up the protein content with a soy product (tempeh, tofu, or edamame), a big scoop of hummus, or maybe some leftover cooked grain or quinoa. Dinner might be beans and whole grains, maybe some whole-grain pasta. If I didn’t have soy at lunch, I might have it with dinner. Add in some Clif Bars and trail mix as snacks throughout the day and some soyor nut-based vegan desserts and I get more than enough protein to maintain my muscle tone and help my body recover.
I seek out traditional whole foods rather than highly refined meat substitutes. I look for products that have been sprouted, soaked, or fermented to help break down the indigestible cellulose in plant cell walls. Among soy sources, I favor tempeh, miso, and sprouted tofu, which are all more digestible and have less phytoestrogen (a naturally occurring substance that some—in spite of medical evidence to the contrary—suspect might mimic estrogen’s effects in humans) than isolated soy protein. I eat sprouted-grain breads and tortillas, and at home I often soak my whole grains and beans before cooking.