Sports and vegetarians, what food?

It is sporty and vegetarian is possible. As long as you follow certain dietary rules to maintain a balanced diet. Tips and testimonials.

What do Djamel Bourras, Surya Bonaly, Carl Lewis and Murray Rose have in common? Aside from their excellent performance, all of these athletes are vegetarians. Contrary to popular belief – a vegetarian would be more skinny, fragile or insufficient, his muscle mass would be less – choosing a vegetarian diet when exercising is not incompatible. “It simply came to our notice then. Indeed, excessive meat consumption can create excessUric Acid and toxins, “says Jean-Jacques Menuet, a sports medicine graduate at Saint-Malo (35).

Distinguish vegetarians, vegan, phlegmatic and vegan

Before you look closely at the contents of the sign, remember that when it comes to vegetarianism, there are subtle differences.

A vegetarian in its classic definition it has been eliminated from the consumption of animal flesh – meat and fish – but it eats eggs and dairy products.

Tighter, the vegan It feeds mainly on vegetables (without eggs or milk on its menus).

The polite is a versatile vegetarian who occasionally gives himself some meat and fish.

Much stricter, the vegan includes vegetarianism in a broader lifestyle that excludes all animal products (including clothing, cosmetics or cleaning products).

Vegetable proteins, cereals and legumes

If the image of the athlete sitting in front of a steak is still hard, it no longer corresponds to reality. Within a sports regime, whether one is a high level athlete or that sport is a simple pastime, many sources vegetable protein can easily compensate for the absence animal protein. So we prefer soy proteins, whole grains – buckwheat, quinoa, olives, kamut – and legumes – lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, beans …

“If necessary, we can also use vegetable proteins from sprouted rice or cannabis in powder form,” explains Olivia Meeus, a nutritionist who specializes in sports in Paris. Those who consume eggs it can also increase their intake. “You can eat six to ten eggs a week, provided they are organic and quality “, adds Olivia Meeus. If you are prone to cholesterol, you will reduce the risks by consuming only white.

The key to a balanced diet? Combine the legumes and cereals on the same plate to cover it amino acids which are the constituents of proteins. “Ever since I was a vegetarian, I’ve discovered foods I almost never eat, such as beans, peas, quinoa and different types of lenses, “says Jean-François, a 33-year-old athlete who exercises three times a week.

A diet that also seems successful for Estelle, 42, who exercises six to seven hours of exercise and three hours of running each week. Vegetarian for fifteen years, he became vegan and then vegan for moral reasons. She never felt so good. “Since I removed eggs and dairy products from my diet, I have even more vitality. I never feel tired and have fewer colds or viruses. After my workout, I recover better. body aches lasts less. ”

Ensure adequate intake of iron and B vitamins

The vegetarian athlete should be very careful about his contributions iron and vitamins B. “Iron transports oxygen during sports. Therefore, it is very important to monitor recruitment, especially if you are a woman, because every menstrual cycle causes iron loss,” he explains. Dr. Jean-Jacques Menuet. It is especially present in raw spinach, white beans, lentils and cardamom, iron can also be taken in tablet form, to be taken as a treatment for two or three months. Contributions can be supplemented by consuming spirulinafrom wheat germ or from royal jelly, which promote the renewal of red blood cells.

Muscles also need B vitamins for good oxygenation. “The sitter may not need it, but the athlete should make sure to supplement himself, because a deficiency can favor risk of injury“For the vegans, supplementation is essential, whether it’s sedentary or athletic.” Lack of nutritional diversity often leads to shortages, especially in zinc or inside vitamin B12 , the last game important role in the immune and cardiovascular level “, confirms Olivia Meeus.

In case of desire or during exercise, dried fruit – Nuts, hazelnuts, olive seeds, sprouted seeds or cannabis preparations, for example, represent interesting food snacks. Finally, adequate hydration is essential. “I ask athletes to check at night if their urine is clear, a sign of adequate hydration,” says Dr. Jean-Jacques Menuet.

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For optimal digestive comfort

Vegetables and seeds are known to speed up transit intestinal. Isn’t it possible for a vegetarian diet to cause bloating and other digestive upsets during exercise? Lionel is in charge of marketing. Vegetarian for a year, he does sports two to three times a week (muscle building, running, swimming, yoga). Having chosen this diet, he feels better and does not feel digestive discomfort: “Do I feel even better on that side. Maybe it is also related to the fact that I cook more and eat less processed products?” An observation shared by Olivia Meeus: “Vegetarians with a balanced diet consume more vitamins, from minerals, fromantioxidants and fewer ready meals. They often have fewer digestive problems than others. ”

However, it is not recommended to eat a vegetable dish two hours before a sports workout. Before the session, the athlete should also avoid products rich in gluten like Seitan. “The practice of certain sports such as swimming or cycling can put digestive organs in an awkward position. Before a session, I suggest a low-gluten diet and advise on foods that are very rich in fibers to prevent bloating, ”warns Jean-Jacques Menuet.

Get advice from a professional

Very often, vegetarians abandon animal products without trying to balance their dishes. This is the case of Jean-François, 33. “It simply came to our notice then meat and fish two years ago I had a stroke fatigue for fortnight. I went to see a nutritionist who recommended a dietary supplement based on whey protein. Everything quickly returned to normal. I keep taking it from time to time after a workout. “Before I choose a vegetarian diet, it is therefore advisable to be accompanied by a professional who will give you customized advice and prescribe it if necessary. blood test in order to identify possible deficiencies.

For more information, consult the French Vegetarian Association’s website.

One day menu for vegetarians

Breakfast: wholemeal bread, preferably toast, butter, jam or muesli. Simple yogurt or cottage cheese, ripe fruit and not fruit juice. If you need a small snack in the morning: compote or dried fruit or smoothie hemp seeds.

Meal: raw vegetables (probably at noon rather than at night). A dish of green vegetables with starchy foods (rice, red beans …) or legumes (lentils, beans, peas …), a little goat’s or sheep’s cheese or a dairy dessert. A very ripe fruit that takes preferably half an hour after a meal.

At 5 p.m. Wholemeal cookies, compote or yogurt, fruit depending on the athlete’s carbohydrate needs.

Dinner: a vegetable soup to cleanse the body of toxins, hydration, fiber and vitamins. A vegetable dish combined with vegetable protein (tofu, seitan ..) or eggs. Fruits cooked and not raw.


Vegetables sauteed in wok with tofu in combination with quinoa or millet. A little fresh goat cheese or cow’s milk if well digested. A fruit.

Thanks to Olivia Meeus and Dr. Jean-Jacques Menuet for their suggestions.

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Sports and vegetarians, what food?
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