Plant Strong! How to Start a Plant-Based Diet

These days more and more athletes are turning to a "Plant Based diet" to fuel their bodies and they're using "nutrition" as their competitive edge. Did you know 6X Ironman Champion and triathlon legend Dave Scott is a vegetarian, along with former professional triathlete & champion ultra runner Brendan Brazier. So is Olympic great Carl Lewis, NFL All-Star Tony Gonzalez, MLB All-Star Prince Fielder, Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and NBA great Robert Parish, just to name a few. It's amazing what happens when you give your body what it really needs and wants.

So, maybe you’re considering exploring the many health benefits of a Plant-Based Diet, but not sure where to begin? Depending on your personality and motivation there are a few ways you can get started.

Here are a few ways you can get started:

Baby Steps: There’s nothing wrong with a little trepidation, and taking small steps is better than nothing at all. This approach allows you to make small changes gradually over a few weeks. The first thing I recommend is eating at least one salad every day (easy on the dressing please!) Next, I recommend limiting dairy to no more than once a day, 3 or 4 days per week. After a few weeks, try to cut back even more. Eliminating (or at least, drastically reducing) dairy can make a huge difference in how you feel. *Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need dairy to get adequate calcium. When you eat a healthy diet, rich in natural foods such as vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, it is impossible not to obtain sufficient calcium.

A Step-by-Step Transition: This plan has you adding in more plant based foods into your diet and gradually eliminating other items.

Step One: Eat as you normally do, but start adding more raw veggies and fruits to your meal. *Using a Vitamix and making healthy green smoothies is a great way increase your intake of fruits & veggies. Make your salad your main dish.

Step Two: Eliminate junk food. That means processed foods too! Steer clear of anything that comes in a box. Focus on REAL foods. Start cutting back on breads, pasta, rice and sugar.

Step Three: In addition to your raw veggies, start adding in more cooked veggies.

Cut back on oils and salt.

Step Four: Start reducing the amount of animal products that you are eating. Begin by eating one vegetarian meal every day. Eliminate beef and pork. After a week or two, make even more of your meals vegetarian. Eliminate other animal products (or reduce them to only once a week). This transition can be as gradual or as rapid as you want. *keep in mind that not all vegetarian items in the market are healthy for you. Many are just processed frankenfoods. Again, focus on REAL food.

*For those that are not interested in going completely vegetarian (or vegan), I recommend that 90% of your food intake be plant based. Think about animal products as a condiment, rather than the main course.

EAT HEALTHY & THRIVE! Enhance Performance and Recover Faster. Sound Nutrition is a very powerful tool and your Competitive Edge!