Dispelling the Myths Around Nutrition in Veganism

A common misconception around veganism is that it starves the body of key nutrients.

Whilst many people enjoy the ethical side of being vegan, some have been put off by the fear their body won’t get the nutrients it needs. That’s especially the case with those into fitness; can you train hard and live an ethical lifestyle by turning vegan? The fear is you cannot; the reality is, you can.

The proof is in the number of high-level athletes who have turned vegan in recent times. Some notable names from the world of sport and leisure have not only opted for a vegan diet but proved that there are no negative side effects as once feared by the uniformed mass consensus. Venus Williams is a classic example; she is a top-level tennis player and a vocal advocate of veganism. She claims not only can she get the nutrients she needs, but it need not be a boring diet either.

“I’m definitely not a robot,” she said in an interview. “You can reward yourself and have fun eating as well. There are so many more athletes doing it, and sometimes they ask me how to do it. So, I tell them, ‘Hey, sometimes you just have to have some pie.'”

Another top-level performer is Lewis Hamilton, the record-breaking Formula One driver recently cruelly robbed of an eighth world title. His body is punished differently to Venus Williams, but it is no less physically demanding. He once claimed his only regret with veganism was not doing it sooner, and he admitted he was able to build significant body mass despite his diet.

“I was 68kg (150lb). I’ve had to be that weight for the past 12 years, and finally, rules change this year, and I can eat a little more and bulk up. I’m at 75kg (165lb) now and happier,” he said. “Adding weight was easy, and I did this on a vegan diet. I have plenty of protein in my diet, and I’ve gained muscle, and I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been.”

Even those whose feats of endurance are more cognitive than physical have expelled the virtues of a vegan diet. Daniel Negreanu is one of the greatest poker players of all time and is a well-known vegan. His field is of extreme endurance and stress, where much of the pressure is mental rather than physical. Again, he is firmly behind a vegan diet as a key strategy in his success, and whilst nutrient deficiency isn’t an issue, he has words of caution around fibre.

“If you eat a vegan diet, one thing worth monitoring is your fibre intake,” he tweeted. “You won’t be deficient in fibre eating this way, but you could easily be eating way too much fibre. 15-20g per 1,000 calories is plenty and avoids bloat and gassiness.”

These three are not alone in their passion for veganism; other famous athletes and leisure figures also prove that there’s a healthy life and an ethical one to be had. Scott Jurek, David Haye, Kyrie Irving, Novak Djokovic, Jermaine Defoe, Tom Brady and Mike Tyson are all committed vegans and ambassadors for the lifestyle. If they’re all doing it, and staying fit, then there’s nothing for you to fear. Veganism really isn’t the nutrient-free, boring lifestyle the doubters would have you believe.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy our other nutritional pieces, including this one on nutrient therapy.

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