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Vegetarin Cyclist(26 posts)

Vegetarin Cyclistlindykid
Jun 2, 2003 9:47 PM
I know they are out there, but I need some help.

I am currently SLOWLY converting to be a vegitarian. The problem I seem to have is this. I am 26 (as of yesterday) and have a super fast metabolism (roughly four years left to enjoy it also!). I plan on racing a lot (next year) and plan on making cat 2...pro maybe (eventualy). I have heard of one pro track racer that is a vegitarian. Anywho...advice and maybe some websites is what I am looking for.

Currently I only eat fish for meat.

Thanks for anyone that helps
Well...Smiker
Jun 2, 2003 11:32 PM
I've been a vegetarian (but eating seafood) for about four years now. When I started I was still a HS student, and my riding was purely for fun and the ability to go fast. About 2 years ago I started road riding as well as mountain biking.

So I can't really say whether it has affected my power, speed or endurance etc. But I find as long as I make sure I do eat enough protein and take certain steps to get the correct nutrients, I feel ok. For example, mushrooms, eggs (I still eat them, judge me if you will) and nuts (and legumes) are your friends. Vitamin C helps you absorb protein, espeically from fruit and vegetables. Bran inhibits protein absorbtion. I do occasionally have a small amount of chicken, or lean red meat. But that's about once every few months or so, if I'm feeling a bit flat.

If you're planning to race at a high level you may need supplements. I never really do over 400k a week (I race mtb, not road), and usually it's more like 200-350k due to university and work commitments. And vegetarianism doesn't present any issues for this. I think it'd be worth seeking some professional advice if you want to race at a high standard. I hope this helps in some way.

Smiker
No vegetarianNiemand
Jun 3, 2003 1:32 AM
You are not a vegetarian, even ignoring your 'occasional' intake of chicken and red meat.
Fish (and other seafood) are not vegetables. Never have been and never will be.
Seafood is not a vegetableColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2003 6:26 AM
Seafood is definately not a vegetable. Also eggs and dairy are not vegetables. Seems the only true "vegetarian" would be one who eats no meat, dairy, or eggs--sometimes called a vegan. I always laugh at Catholics during lent who eat fish on fridays because they can't "eat meat".
Many different definitions of "vegetarian".Eug
Jun 3, 2003 7:12 AM
Notice he didn't say he's a vegan. It's an acceptable definition (to some) to include dairy, eggs, seafood, etc. eg. "Lacto-ovo vegetarian". Looking at another issue, some vegans would balk at the concept of taking supplements or processed foods. It's all dependent on ones own personal preferences and philosophies. Personally I don't care (but then again I'm not any sort of vegetarian), as long as the diet is healthy.

And before someone argues this... No, a vegetarian diet is not healthy per se, although many vegetarian diets are. Similarly, an omnivorous diet is not unhealthy per se, although many omnivorous diets are.

BTW, if anyone cares, both Lance Armstrong and Alison Sydor are omnivores, like most competitive bikers.
got to agree with youNigeyy
Jun 3, 2003 8:42 AM
I'm a vegetarian (eating cheese, eggs, dairy products etc) and I honestly believe that you shouldn't be concerned (well, at least not for ethical or moral considerations) about whether or not you have a vegetarian diet or not, rather if the diet you have is healthy. Doesn't matter if you have a poor vegetarian diet or a poor meat eating diet -you still have a poor diet. And yes, being a vegetarian certainly does not mean you have a healthier diet. You have to have a good diet regardless.

My only pet peeve is I've heard people (poorly informed) say that you need to eat meat or fish.... total rubbish.
Don't "need" to eat meat or fish, but...Eug
Jun 3, 2003 9:46 AM
Yeah, you don't really need either meat or fish in the diet but it really depends what's in the rest of the diet. The more restrictive the diet, the more difficult it is to make it truly healthy with a complete complement of nutrients. This is not only because it's harder to get all the nutrients in a limited repertoire, but also some people just get sick of those foods.

However, many vegetarians ARE able to make it happen, and love it. And that's great. :)

P.S. I just finished a fatty smoked meat sandwich for lunch, just because that's what was provided at the meeting (meating?). Oh well, a fat fest once in a while isn't the end of the world. ;)
the key is quality "complete" proteinColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2003 1:58 PM
There is simply no way you are gonna get the best sources of protein from vegetable-only sources. Soy is OK as far as protein, but way overhyped. Some even say that the phytoestrogens are not good for males at all and to avoid soy. Combining stuff like beans and rice will help, but it is not the same as a good skinless chicken breast or a piece of salmon for quality, "complete" protein. Bottom line is to eat vegan/vegetarian for ethical reasons, but for optimum health--especially for athletes--it just doesn't add up.
really?ctisevn
Jun 3, 2003 3:19 PM
did you read the below linked bike.com article? if not, you should. It, or more specifically, the author would seem to suggest entirely the contrary to what youve said. especially about soy and the availability of "complete" proteins.
from the artice:

Contrary to popular belief, plant protein sources like soy are some of the highest absorbable, and higher than beef. The top ranked foods are:

Casein 1.00
Egg White 1.00
Soybean (isolate) .99
Beef .92
Pea Flour .69
Kidney Beans (canned) .68
Chick Peas (canned) .66
Pinto Beans (canned) .63
Peanut Meal .52

and more directly stated

The major point to take away from this first installment is that adequate protein intake from plant sources should not be a concern if you're consuming the right foods
/end quote
not to be snide, well maybe a little, but it would appear it just does add up. at least it does for him and apparently some of the people he coaches.
Sorry got to disagreeNigeyy
Jun 4, 2003 4:07 AM
You can certainly get excellent protein from vegetables!

Though not too many pro-athletes are vegetarian, I'd be very careful to extrapolate the reason is a veggie diet doesn't cut the mustard (ooh, excuse the pun). You've got to look at how many athletes are non-veggie and how many are veggie; the proportion is way higher for non-veggies, hence you've got to figure they will figure much more prominently. This is also not even taking into account the commonly held notions that a vegetarian diet isn't "manly" or doesn't provide enough protein, hence dissuading people from being veggie, hence more people are meat eaters, etc a bit of a cycle. Just my opinion, but all of this combines to make successful veggie pro athletes harder to come by.

Still stick by my original assertion you don't NEED to eat meat or fish (though admittedly it probably is easier to maintain a healthy protein diet since meat stuffs are easier to get hold of).
please explain....reklar
Jun 4, 2003 2:26 PM
>There is simply no way you are gonna get the best sources of >protein from vegetable-only sources...
>Bottom line is to eat vegan/vegetarian for ethical reasons, but for optimum health--especially for athletes--it just doesn't add up.

Please explain two words for me then: Dave Scott

good luck...
According to cartoonist Nicole Hollander:dzrider
Jun 3, 2003 11:22 AM
"Can you be a vegetarian and eat sea food?"

"Sure, it's like being a feminist and liking men."
re: Vegetarin Cyclistcipolini2b
Jun 2, 2003 11:47 PM
Nice job on deciding to convert to vegetarianism. I have been one for almost 4 years, and have no regrets. I am 20 years old, and don't think being a vegetarian has slowed me down at all. I drop meat eating riders all the time :] So much of the artificial stuff out there is great: Very nutritous, tasty, low-fat. I'm not saying you should live off power bars and goo, but eat them with more regularity. Its better. Vegetarians generally have lower BMIs (body mass index) than omnivorous people, which easily makes up for any "advantage" meat gives you. I'm in my second year of racing, and am almost a cat 2. By the way, Sean Yates was a vegetarian (or maybe a vegan?) and wore the yellow jersey in the tour de france and other grand tours on numerous occasions. Nice job on the conversion. Its very simple, really. Just keep at it.
welcome to the club!reklar
Jun 3, 2003 12:47 AM
Hey, I was about your age when I became a vegetarian! One caveat: I don't race (yet, at least) but I play soccer competitively and i ride hard so take my advice with that in mind...

You are smart to transition slowly to vegetarianism. I believe the body handles any dietary or exercise change better if you do it gradually. I started eating less and less meat (red meat and pork, then chickens and shellfish) over the course of a couple years and finally one day realized i would no longer eat any meat. It has been four years since...

For me at least, I've found that getting protein is important not so much to retain muscle mass (although important), but rather for satiety. I gained weight as a vegetarian for awhile because I was feeling hungry since I wasn't getting as much protein as I had been previously. Your body burns through carbs fast so you don't feel "full" for as long as you do after eating protein-heavy food. Balanced diet, anyone?

You sound like you are somewhat more active than I was/am...I became a vegetarian and took a sedentary job at the same time. That and winter was good for about 15 lbs. Then an injury set me back another 15 as I couldn't work out and hadn't quite figured out the diet yet (hello portion control, as I hit 30). I ballooned up to 208 about a year and a half ago from 170-175 or so...Anyway, cutting out some sugar this spring along with riding has allowed me to cut my weight back to 182 (and dropping) as of today!

I feel great, I'm stronger and faster than I was when I was eating meat and I find that there is less down time. As an example I went with a friend to get a burrito before a ride...he had carnitas, I had only beans. I was fine to ride 30 minutes later when we were ready to go, but he was struggling--you know that heavy/tired feeling? You don't get that as a vegetarian so much (you probably know this as you are not eating red meat)...My overall energy level is higher than it was when eating meat.

Beans, tofu and meat substitutes are the key. Black beans, pinto, kidney, you name it! If you are not going to become vegan (i couldn't live w/o dairy!), cheese and eggs are probably good sources too. Probably best to add a multivitamin as well to make sure you are getting the right mix of vitamins. These days I eat a lot of meat substitutes as I was brought up on hot dogs, burgers, etc. I don't miss anything really. There are great substitutes for chicken, hamburger and even hotdogs and sausage out there (as well as some bad ones--you may have to try a few before you find one you like). Check the tofu section of a decent grocery store. I was never a big fan of fish, so I haven't tried/looked for fish substitutes...My only real complaint is the occasional restaurant that doesn't have much on the menu other than salad (maybe a token portabello or eggplant sandwich--as if all vegetarians want to eat that every meal).

There have been reports about high mercury levels in fish, so depending on how much you are eating, that may be a concern.

As far as fitness advice goes, I think Bill Pearl, 5 time Mr. Universe, is/was a vegetarian and knows a thing or two about nutritution and fitness. Obviously his advice won't be cycling specific, but I think he wrote a book on fitness with Ed Burke (cycling fitness guru who passed away recently). Not an endorsement, as I have only skimmed these books, but they looked good:

www.billpearl.com
www.billpearl.com/product.asp?i=2625

Also it seems Robert Millar was a vegetarian (second in the Vuelta one year) as was Sean Yates (correct me if I'm wrong on any of this):

http://ww
message got truncated--here is the restreklar
Jun 3, 2003 12:51 AM
Also it seems Robert Millar was a vegetarian (second in the Vuelta one year) as was Sean Yates (correct me if I'm wrong on any of this):
http://www.iht.com/IHT/SA/98/sa052898.html

Lots of other athletes are vegetarians as well including Desmond Howard (heisman trophy winning receiver), hank aaron, edwin moses, dave scott (5 time ironman winner). Here's a link to an article about protein for vegetarians by none other than Dave Scott:

http://www.imaginefoods.com/pages/mediacenter/ds_protein.html

If you need any further impetus to continue with it, read Fast Food Nation! Let us know how it goes from time to time...good luck!
Some resourcesNiemand
Jun 3, 2003 1:38 AM
Try
http://www.vegsource.com/
http://www.vegansociety.com/html/info/infohome.html

for more information about vegetarian and vegan nutrition. Vegsource expecially has a ton of stuff. I'd also recommend 'Vegan Nutrition' by Gill Langley for more in-depth information (even if you are vegetarian).
Whos the pro track racer thats a veggie?Sprint-Nick
Jun 3, 2003 4:01 AM
Who's the pro track racer thats a vegetarian?

Also what are your motives for switching?

Cheers,
Nick
Whos the pro track racer thats a veggie?lindykid
Jun 3, 2003 8:19 AM
Motives? For some strange reason...whenever I start competing really hard or training. The idea of eating meat just does not apeal to me. I could only real stomach seafood products. The other reason is the treatmeant of the animals. Don't get me wrong I have no qualms about people eating meat at all. It is just the whole idea of cows standing in their own feces(sp) for their lifetime just is not cool. Not to mention the sh!t conditions for the workers.
Good on yaSprint-Nick
Jun 3, 2003 7:47 PM
Its cool that you've made the switch. I must say I really respect your motives.

By the way I'm sorry if asking for your motives came out wrong! It was just completely out of curiousity.

Cheers,
Nick
Here's some info...eyebob
Jun 3, 2003 7:16 AM
There's a cycling coach out my way, Adam Hodges-Myerson who's also a strength and conditioning coach. He and I recently exchanged some e-mails regarding this very topic. He set up a Forum in Yahoo for vegetarian athletes that you might want to check out. (the new forum is in it's infancy, but the more that join, the better) Or go to his website at cycle-smart.com.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of vegetarian/vegan endurance athletes out there who compete at a high level. I think Dave Scott won the Ironman 5 times and he's a vegetarian (for example).

BT
Here's some info...lindykid
Jun 3, 2003 8:23 AM
Thanks for the info everyone! Reklar, thanks for the ton of info I will look into righ away. I have read fast food nation and was pretty depressed afterwards. Ironicly that was not the reason to become a vegitarian. Agian, thanks everyone for the info. *bookmarked*
Here's some info...Koolaideprived
Jun 3, 2003 9:27 AM
Been a vegetarian for approximately one year now, 18 years of age, and I've found that as long as you eat a mix of the foods that are still available to you you'll do fine. I have a much higher energy level than I used to and don't get that "lethargy" that other people have spoken of. Take a multivitamin, make sure it has plenty of iron in it, iron can be hard to come by in a veggie diet unless you're constantly eating spinach and the like. I am a lacto-ovo, and feel a little bit hypocritical sometimes because of my large consumption of egg whites because it is my main source of protein. Take it slow and if you get a craving that usually means your body needs something.
one more thoughteyebob
Jun 3, 2003 11:00 AM
If you're going to continue to eat fish, eggs, and milk/dairy products at least start eating the orgainic variety. Pesticide residue along with the use of GH has been linked to a variety of diseases in humans. IMHO we've just scratched the surface of documenting the effects that these things have on our bodies. Good for you for chosing a healthier alternative, but be careful that you don't overlook the effect of traditional farming (ag. and dairy) can have on your health.

BT
I totally agreeColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2003 2:02 PM
Organic milk is great. No growth hormones and other stuff for me. Same with produce. It pays to buy organic. I also get the cage-free eggs...first because my wife insists and second because they have more omega 3 than other factory eggs.
re: Vegetarin CyclistSLB
Jun 3, 2003 9:52 AM
here's another article:

http://www.bike.com/template.asp?date=8%2F29%2F2002&lsectionnumber=5
re: Vegetarin Cyclistlindykid
Jun 3, 2003 2:49 PM
Thanks again everyone. Just FYI, I know the eating fish does not make me a vegetarian. I am slowly cutting out meat, red meat was first then chicken next is fish. If I survive...heh.