I turned to Eline and asked our Surfermonkey companion and foodie expert on what’s best to eat when you want to keep yourself fit and build up a strong and healthy body.
What’s best to eat when you’re a surfer and a vegan too?
Ps: This can be useful for non vegans too ofcourse!
Food for fuel: a vegan’s approach
More and more people want to shift to a vegan diet but fear their meals won’t provide the right amount of energy for an active lifestyle. First of all: there is absolutely no reason a plant based diet couldn’t do this for you (unless you’re not making smart meal choices). it’s a matter of getting the right ratio of protein, carbs and healthy fats in every meal. This will provide the body with fuel for performance and speed up recovery, muscle growth, and repair. It will also prevent any nutritional shortages that can limit performance (read: shorten your surf session – and we don’t want that). Remember that you will definitely have to fuel up before and after every workout and that it’s best to choose whole food sources to do so. Protein and energy bars can be helpful when there’s nothing else available, but they will generally only provide energy for a limited period of time.
“Are you getting enough protein?”
Every vegan knows that the biggest concern of our omnivorous friends seems to be our protein intake. I won’t waste any time investigating the protein intake of my junk food loving peers, but let’s just say it’s absolutely possible to get enough protein from a plant-based diet. This being said, you should be aware of the choices you make and change habits from your omnivorous past. Simply cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy and replacing them with, ehm…, nothing will definitely not be enough. Nutrition experts estimate that most of us need between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight. That works out to 55 grams of protein per day for someone who weighs 55 kgs or approximately 10 percent of normal caloric intake. Of course, when working out or maintaining a very active lifestyle, your body will need a bit more than this. Vegan athletes and Surfermonkeys (!) could choose between these 3 macronutrient ratios choices, depending on their nutritional preferences.
- (A) 30% Protein, 50% Carbs, and 20% Fats
- (B) 40% Protein, 50% Carbs, and 10% Fats
- (C) 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, and 20% Fats(!) that’s us, boys and girls
Vegan protein sources
Vegans get protein from legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans,…), grains (quinoa, amaranth,…), seeds (hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds,…), tofu etc. To boost your protein intake, you should definitely include them in every meal. Tofu seems to be one of the most unappreciated vegan goodies there are. If not cooked or seasoned well, it tastes bland and uninteresting. BUT, once you get the hang of it, tofu can be a real winner too. Why not start your day with a satisfying tofu scramble or get snacking on these fried tofu chunks? Whatever you do; ALWAYS season and marinate your tofu and find out how good it can actually taste. Another option is to supplement your protein intake with a vegan protein powder. Although it is not really necessary to use supplements, it can be helpful on very active or busy days. You can use a protein shake for breakfast or drink one before or after a workout. When a few years ago most protein powders consisted of whey powder and other non-vegan ingredients, you can now actually find good vegan blends that are so much better for you. My personal favorite is this one from MyProtein, made from peas and brown rice, enriched with superfood extracts.
Vegan meal plans
To get you started, here’s a typical one-day meal plan that should get you all the right amounts of vitamins and energy.
- Green smoothie with spinach, berries, a banana, cashew/peanut butter, a scoop of vegan protein powder and unsweetened non-dairy milk.
- Tofu scramble with baked tomatoes and rye bread.
- A soy, coconut or almond milk-based yogurt with flax and hemp seeds and some berries.
- Apple slices with peanut butter.
- A Buddha bowl made with black rice or teff, sesame seeds, avocado slices, broccoli, cauliflower, roasted butternut or zucchini squash, lemon juice to sweeten, black pepper and spices, edamame or chickpeas.
- Quinoa with black beans, salsa, sweet potatoes, and kale or spinach.
As you can see, vegans get to eat a variety of healthy, plant-based foods all day long and don’t have to suffer in silence through deprivation or counting calories. Be sure to include carbs, fats, and protein in each of your meals and figure out what ratio of carbs to fats to proteins works best for you.
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