Can Athletes Perform Well on a Vegan Diet?
It brought up the question of protein:
Q. Is it hard for someone who’s training vigorously to get enough protein on a vegan diet?One answer was given by Nancy Clark, "a sports nutrition expert:"
"You do have to be diligent about protein intake if you’re vegan. I have clients, especially women, who say, ‘Oh, I put a few chickpeas in my salad.’ But that’s not going to do it. Women need about 60 to 90 grams of protein a day, and athletes are on the high end of that. That means you have to eat cupfuls of chickpeas. And you can’t eat a quarter of that cake of tofu. You need to eat the whole thing. It’s not that there aren’t good sources of vegan protein. But it’s not as bioavailable as meat. So you need to have more."I don't know what has happened in my life to make me so agreeable, but I agree with her. If you're vegan, 3 chickpeas on a salad won't cut it.
But you don't need a lot, even if you're an athlete. Rich Roll, the ultramarathoner vegan, says he doesn't get much more than about 10% protein (10% of a 2000 calorie diet is 200 calories from protein or about 50 grams of protein. Although Roll probably eats more calories and so more protein). Still, 3 chickpeas probably only provide about 0.25 grams of protein.