Losing Energy as a Vegan?
by Jodi A.
(San Pedro, CA)
I'm losing energy as a vegan... can you help?
My husband and I are just starting to become vegan. It's been 21 days now and I love it, my husband on the other hand doesn't really mind it, but him being a competitive cyclists it's hard for him because of the lack of energy he gets from this diet. He does take in a lot of recovery protein shakes among other nutrients, but still does not get enough energy from those resources. And to be honest, I go to the gym almost every day and notice that I've lost the energy I use to have before I started, but still want to continue the vegan diet for a lot of good reasons.
Can you please recommend what we should do about not getting the protein we're lacking any vitamins/supplements we need to keep up the energy for athletic people? Thank you for any advice given!
I’m glad you contacted me. That definitely is an odd situation; most people who go vegan report huge increases in energy levels, and vegan athletes often report decreased recovery time between races/activities. Let's see what we can do to help you stop losing energy as a vegan.
It’s hard to say exactly what could be missing in your diet simply because eating a vegan diet leaves us with so many options nowadays. There are people out there who start eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, and finishing them with vegan ice cream bars and they qualify as vegan. I am guessing you and your husband are not those people.
Have you taken a look at the vegan food pyramid? It gives a good cursory look at exactly what we should be eating on a daily basis. My guess is that you would probably benefit from adding more whole beans and leafy green vegetables to your diet. Dark leafy greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, chard, are packed with vitamins and minerals which protects our cells, eyes, and bones, regulates blood clotting, reduces inflammation, and all-around helps our bodies. Dark leafy greens are perhaps the most important vegetables out of all land vegetables, and we need to make sure to have them everyday. Beans provide us with protein, calcium, fiber, regulates blood sugar levels, and much more.
I would also definitely recommend that you check out Thrive, by Brendon Brazier. Brendan is an Ironman triathlete who eats a completely plant-based diet, and he certainly thrives upon the diet.
Another prolific vegan marathoner is Scott Jurek, who also eats an entirely vegan diet. You can find out more about him on his website: http://www.scottjurek.com/#/bio/. He doesn’t yet have a book, but he has certainly been featured in many books, including Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall.
There are a few other pages that you should check out on our site, including learning about Rip Esselstyn, another vegan athlete, and read another question about a reader struggling with health as an athlete.
Hope that helps!