Plant-based diet for cycling - tips and tricks?

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iggg
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by iggg

Some time ago , I decided to try a plant-based diet. The reason for it was a blood test that showed very unhealthy cholesterol levels. I didn't want to go on a medication for the rest of my life, so figured it was worth to give this diet a try. Today I received the results of my second blood test - cholesterol level is less than a half of what it used to be - yay.

For those of you who tried (or are on) a plant-based diet - is there any advise you can share? Things to watch for? It's quite a big life change, and I am curious if there are ways to make it a bit easier on yourself. For example, one thing I already discovered through an unpleasant experience is I have to watch my protein intake, as it's too easy to not eat enough grams per day.
Last edited by iggg on Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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joejack951
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by joejack951

A protein-deficient diet seems pretty difficult to pull off. What were you (not) eating and what happened?

iggg
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by iggg

That's what I heard too. When I switched to the diet, I first saw a spike in performance, but I also was mindful to macronutrient ratio during first few weeks. Then, my fitness started deteriorating, eventually hitting multi-year lows, with heart rate going through the roof. Eventually I measured my weight and discovered I lost 3lbs of muscles during this period (i have scales that measure body composition).

So, the day I hit the bottom and discovered loss of muscles, I bought protein powder and consumed 90gr of protein. The very next day I went outside and did my typical 40m loop - and the power was back and through the roof. Since then, I am back to my former self. Could be a coincedence, of course, but the timing is too suspicious

sanrensho
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by sanrensho

You were calorie deficient and so you lost weight and muscle. Not eating enough is the #1 mistake made when switching to a nutrition-dense plant-based diet. We've all been there. It's the insufficient calories, not the protein, that made you feel weak.

Had you crammed in enough calories or calorie-dense food, you wouldn't have lost that weight and muscle in the first place. And "protein deficiency" is not a thing. Since all plant foods have some protein, just make sure you're getting enough calories and don't obsess over protein or macros. The protein will fall in place, you'll get more than enough especially if you're a hungry cyclist who burns a lot of calories.

TLDR: Track your calorie intake before switching. Then make sure you're getting sufficient calories after the switch. Oh and get some B12.
Last edited by sanrensho on Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

niklasp
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by niklasp

iggg wrote:
Tue Aug 17, 2021 8:16 pm
Some time , I decided to try a plant-based diet. The reason for it was a blood test that showed very unhealthy cholesterol levels. I didn't want to go on a medication for the rest of my life, so figured it was worth to give this diet a try. Today I received the results of my second blood test - cholesterol level is less than a half of what it used to be - yay.

For those of you who tried (or are on) a plant-based diet - is there any advise you can share? Things to watch for? It's quite a big life change, and I am curious if there are ways to make it a bit easier on yourself. For example, one thing I already discovered through an unpleasant experience is I have to watch my protein intake, as it's too easy to not eat enough grams per day.
Eatnlre protein then. It's very easy to source when not eating meat. Do a Google search.
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raisinberry777
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by raisinberry777

sanrensho wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:06 am
TLDR: Track your calorie intake before switching. Then make sure you're getting sufficient calories after the switch. Oh and get some B12.
This. There are many calorie-dense (and protein dense) foods that are plant-based.

barbaar
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by barbaar

Yes.. switched to plant-based some months ago.

Protein is an issue, but there are supplements available that will solve that. The next challenge is just to find a way to enjoy these supplements. Right now, banana and chocolate seem helpful.

Also taking B12.

I have lost some kilo's, but see nothing to worry about in my stats. Volume-wise, I do need to eat more. Went to a vegan restaurant, and diner + desert was not even close to enough ;)

MarkoP
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by MarkoP

I've been on a plant based diet for almost 10 years. Daily macros are 440 carb, 85 fat, 140 protein. Depending on length/intensity of my rides the carb intake can reach ~800/day. I actually struggle not to overshoot protein intake.

My B12 was actually on the higher end. My only supplements are D3 w/ K and EPA/DHA.

Currently weighing in at 157 at 6' with a very lean and athletic build. On the bike 6-7 days per week, strength training 2x week, and 30min of daily stretching and mobility.

It's an easy lifestyle to follow with tons of options for food. Helps that my wife enjoys cooking but a good resource to start is Derek Simnett (IG and YouTube)
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iggg
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by iggg

Thanks, i am watching Derek's channel now - it looks like a great source of information for newbies like myself

bilwit
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by bilwit

I primarily stopped eating meat about 6-7 years ago and am largely plant based (though I will still consume some dairy and egg products and I'll even have fish once in a blue moon). I think most people overthink it. Black beans, cauliflower, broccoli, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms--all easy sources of protein that you can swap meat with especially in combination. A lot of times I just cook the same mix of vegetables as a base and serve it with a different source of carb (pasta, tortilla, brown rice, etc). If you need a late or early snack, my go to is peanut butter & jelly on toast.

I don't know how you feel about meat imitation products (seitan, soy or bean-based ie. Gardein, Morningstar, Field Roast, etc; some lifestyle vegans hate the stuff), but they give you the option of cooking what you would normally eat, just watch the sodium intake if that's a concern and maybe not solely eat these things all the time (highly processed foods) but the point is that going plant based doesn't mean you have to live like a monk if you don't want to. I find it's best to use them as supplemental ingredients to your dish rather than a main ingredient or main course as their corresponding meat product would be used.

bestazy
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Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:37 pm

by bestazy

I was vegan/plant based for a few years before I started riding seriously.
I can also agree with those who have said to eat more. Every now and then I track my caloric intake using a meal diary for a month or so just to make sure my eating habits are going alright, and I almost always go over the recommended caloric intake without gaining weight. I don’t have anything other than my own experience to back this up but I think a plant based diet for an athlete lends itself to a lot of large portions.

Still anecdotal, but in my experience, taking some supplements (multi, B12, and omega-3s, etc) helps me to feel satiated and energetic. Some days if I forget to take them, my stomach will still feel as full from eating but I’ll still have a subtle craving for more food.
Last edited by bestazy on Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lozaen
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by Lozaen

Maybe for a Start, you could read the Book "the plant based cyclist", Published by GCN.

I read it out of curiosity, and delivers a first basis....from there you can dig deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.
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Lewn777
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by Lewn777

There is almost no such thing as protein deficiency unless you are on a starvation diet. Most people in fact eat far too much protein and some amino acids have been linked to health problems. So the classic 'where do you get your protein?' argument is in fact dead in the water.

AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

Lewn777 wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 10:43 am
There is almost no such thing as protein deficiency unless you are on a starvation diet. Most people in fact eat far too much protein and some amino acids have been linked to health problems. So the classic 'where do you get your protein?' argument is in fact dead in the water.
Citation please.

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Conza
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by Conza

LCHF. Carnivore here (for all the reasons vegan claim to be vegan).

Tips? Possibly better than SAD ('standard American diet') you were likely on before... doesn't mean it's optimal though.

Tricks: "very unhealthy cholesterol levels"

On what type of diet? https://carnivoremd.com/dave-feldman-th ... olesterol/
It's all about the adventure :o .

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