As a sports nutritionist, the subject of vegetarianism is quite controversial. Validated as an alternative therapy to treat forms of inflammation, heart disease and even cancer, various degrees of vegetarianism have been shown to be effective. Viewed as extreme by some, especially those meat lovers, vegetarians have their place among environmentalists and alternative practitioners.
My question is: Can someone maintain optimal performance or body composition on a vegan diet? Is it possible to maintain or even increase skeletal muscle mass without animal protein in the diet? As a practicing master sports nutritionist, I have found it to be challenging to write menus that stay within targeted macronutrient and calorie ranges without foods that are mostly protein.
None the less, in a back-to-the basics interview with one of my mentors, the grandfather of fitness, the late, great Jack LaLane, I was asked by Jack, "Do you eat the recommended 3-5 services of vegetables a day?" I did not. In the latest NASN Personal Training textbook it recommends replacing meat, including fish and chicken with fruits, veggies and whole grains as main dishes. So even for fitness and performance, it is now becoming widely accepted that the meat on your plate should be more like a side than the main dish.
So the question remains: how do we get all these veggies in and make them delicious. Steamed broccoli every night just does not sound like a good time.
Problem solved. My good friend and colleague, Liz Eddy has created a great contemporary website of vegan recipes that gets updated regularly with new ideas from her juice to her desserts, I'm sure you'll find something you like, I know I did.