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All fruits and vegetables are alkaline-forming in the body. So, on a day-to-day basis, the most important thing is to consume more fruits and vegetables while reducing your consumption of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy, refined sugars, and processed/packaged foods. Not only will this greatly enhance your running performance but it will also tremendously improve your health!

If you are still skeptical about following a more vegetarian diet then the following landmark study conducted at the Institute of Sports Medicine in Mainz, Germany may be helpful.

The researchers investigated whether or not a vegan diet, compared to a typical western diet, would be adequate in providing the necessary nutrients in 55 high level runners (ie. 1000 km in 20 days). Both groups of runners (vegan vs. western diet) consumed 4500 calories/day with a 60:30:10 carbohydrate: fat: protein split. Not surprisingly (at least for me) was that the runners following the vegan diet showed higher levels of all vitamins and minerals, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats compared to the western diet group, and in fact exceeded official recommendations!

Another reason for consuming more fruits and vegetables as a runner is that long duration exercise and extreme environments/conditions causes a significant reduction in the body’s antioxidant defense system. A study out of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed significant reductions in major antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, retinol, ß-carotene, and other carotenoids as a result of prolonged running in the heat.

Since fruits and vegetables are the most abundant sources of antioxidants it is imperative to consume them on a consistent basis. Remember, antioxidants are molecules that disarm body damaging free radicals. Therefore, the greater the level of antioxidants in your body, the better off you’ll be in the long run (see pages 55-66 for more details).

Other examples of the benefits of a vegetarian diet for runners are found in the infamous Kenyan runners. It is well known that they are in a class of their own when it comes to distance running. Guess what they eat? They consume a relatively high-quality diet based on vegetable sources with maize and kidney beans as the staple foods! Their performances speak for themselves.

TOrunner
 

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I don't eat fruit.
I don't eat vegetables.
I simply don't like either.
Never have.
I've said it before: if my diet was severely lacking in essential nutrients, I wouldn't have been able to train as hard or for as long as I have done in the last 30-odd years.

As for the Kenyans? Yeah, they have a diet that's very good for runners. But much of their athletic ability comes about through their relatively hard lifestyle from a very young age. They go to school and back on foot, often twice each day. Many of them then come home to help parents work their farms etc. And all of this is done at altitude. Thus, the Kenyan kids who then decide to go on to become runners, have a tremendous advantage over their counterparts throughout the rest of the world. :cool:
 

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I've been vegetarian for 25 years... and wouldn't like to argue with carnivores, but I believe it's better, so long as you make sure you find enough protein from elsewhere.

For me really it's about personal choice and I choose not to eat pieces of animal, particularly when they mostly are bred, reared, and kept so cruelly before being brutally murdered.

:(
 

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What about the poor veggies? grown 'en mass' living a very uneventful life before being brutally murdered purely for our nutritional benefit?

lol, nah I'm just kidding, I can see and respect where you're coming from Trin, but personally I can accept that these animals are bred for food. Where possible I always try to make sure I buy free range or quality meat in the hope that the animal has had a slightly better quality of life.

It's like cars and household waste (actually moreso with household waste), the problems they cause certainly aren't desireable but it's a case of whether or not we're happy to live with the consequences.
 

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I am an omnivore, and I'd be offended if anyone thought I was replacing fruit and veg with meat. I eat very little meat anyway, and I do understand where vegetarians are coming from. I also try to buy meat from humanely bred animals. I don't see being vegetarian as unnatural, but equally eating meat is totally natural. I'd like to think that the little bit of meat in my diet, if having any ill-effects (and let's face it, I'm no elite, so I doubt it makes a huge difference), is greatly made up for the fact that in comparison to most people, I drink far less alcohol and I sleep well. I don't get ill very often, and generally am in very good health. So whatever I'm doing can't be so bad.
 

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My diet has become closer and closer to vegetarian as i've gotten into running. I eat meat about 2 or 3 times a week now instead of daily (or more) before i began running, a few months ago.
I eat loads of fruit and veges, love them! Before i eat anything i have a piece of fruit, speeds through the system "paving the way" for the following meal :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey guys,

I can agree where some of you carnivores are coming from. I'm not saying that you have to give up meat but the key (in the long run) to better health, energy, and performance is about eating more fruits and vegetables.

I find it funny that our society is brainwashed into believing that to be healthy and strong we need to meat.

I would simply like to direct your attention to some of the world's largest and strongest animals: the gorilla, the elephant, the giraffe, the rhinocerose. These animals only eat leaves!

Something to think about.
 

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I can see where vegetarians are coming from, but as Richard said, each to their own.

I eat meat, but love eat fruit and veg too. I generally get my five a day.

I think the main thing is trying to eat a healthy variety of food.
 

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I too agree with these sentiments. While I enjoy meat, it is an addition to my diet which these days consists mainly of fruit and vegetables, particularly oranges. During the working week I'll eat pretty much nothing else during the day and get through up to 6 a day.

I avoid fast food at any cost and have recently gone right off pizza for some reason (meat or otherwise)
 

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I believe that if you choose to eat meat (which we can live just as healthily without) then you should be able to go and visit where animals are kept and watch them being slaughtered in the most cruel way... often bleeding to death after spending hours in fear smelling the death of the animals it had spent it's short life with.

Don't bother replying to me, I'm leaving this thread... it's too distressing :(
 

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I do agree with Trin, and have seen the killing process of lambs, calves and chickens, and also on TV's latest drive (including the food fight week not that long ago and a series of programs called "Kill it cook it eat it") I've further seen goats and chicks (in addition to those mentioned above).

People should understand how/where there food has come from, seeing the way food is processed is why I'll always buy free range chicken & eggs.
 

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no, vegetarian isn't better for running... vegetarians and vegans are much more likely to develop anaemia due to iron deficiency (microcytic anaemia) or vitamin B12 deficiency (macrocytic anaemia)... if you are anaemic it reduces the oxygen carrying capability of your blood and you are at a significant disadvantage when you are running...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
just because you're vegetarian or vegan doesn't imply that you're healthy. In such cases, anemia can defintely occur.

I know many vegans who subside on breads and refined foods and barely touch any fruits and vegetables.

Conversely, I know many people (and runners) who are vegetarian or vegan and have no problems at all. It takes roughly 7 years for a b12 deficiency to arise because it is a tissue bound vitamin so if you are getting enough whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and plenty of coloured fruits and veg there shouldn't be any problems.

Spirulina, a blue-green algae, is a much better source of protein than meat. Parsley, green vegetables, and red fruit are some of the best sources of iron on the planet.

So it's not a lack of meat that's the problem. It's an unhealthy diet that is the issue.
 

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TOrunner said:
just because you're vegetarian or vegan doesn't imply that you're healthy.
TOrunner said:
So it's not a lack of meat that's the problem. It's an unhealthy diet that is the issue.
Based on those two comments, would it be fair to say that the most important thing to do is eat a healthy diet? As long as you get a good supply of protein, carbs, vitamins and healthy fats, it's not too relevant what sources they come from? (as long as you can tolerate the food you eat)
 

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Grant said:
I can see where vegetarians are coming from, but as Richard said, each to their own.

I eat meat, but love eat fruit and veg too. I generally get my five a day.

I think the main thing is trying to eat a healthy variety of food.
Could not agree more. I am a veggie but my business partner is a meat eater - together we have just written a book Fit Food which says just that. Eat a healthy variety of food that is right for you.
 

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Maasai runners in London.

There's a group of six maasai warriors over here to do the London Marathon on Sunday. They're here to raise money to buy a life-saving well for their village back in Tanzania.
Here's a diet-related newspaper extract:
... usual diet. Which consists mainly of milk, porridge, meat and a white sticky stodge called ugali, and blood, drained from the jugular veins of live cattle. "Milk is good but blood is better," explains Isaya. "It gives me great energy. I drink as much as five litres at a time and it will keep me going for ages without food."
And what about fruit and veg -- are they not bothered about their five a day? "No. That is food for a woman. Warriors eat meat, milk and blood. Though we do vary it. One week we might have a lot of milk, sometimes it's more blood."

And on such a diet, these warriors are able to run literally all day, either hunting for food or maybe chasing down and killing lions.
So why exactly do they kill lions?
"They kill our cows, so we kill them. We chase after the lion -- maybe from dawn to 11 at night -- until we kill it."
But don't they get afraid?
"No! The lion has made us run all day. We are angry with it. We think of it as a little cat."
And is anyone ever injured?
"No. It is very rare and shameful."

Check out www.maasaimarathon.org
 
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