What You Need To Know About Meat-Free Fitness


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You absolutely can reach peak fitness without eating meat. You do, however, need to manage your nutrition very carefully. This means a lot more than just eating lots of healthy fruit and vegetables. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know.

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Why go meat-free?

Some people go meat-free for ethical reasons, such as sustainability. Others go meat-free for health-related reasons such as a need to lose weight. Some people go meat-free purely to reduce the cost of grocery shopping. Even if you’re not up for going meat-free, you may still want to reduce the amount of meat in your diet for any and all of these reasons (and more).

Meat-free protein

If you’re thinking of going meat-free then the need for protein is likely to be high on your agenda, especially if you’re into fitness. Actually, it’s fairly easy to get protein from non-meat sources. Lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, and grains are all excellent sources of plant-based protein.

What’s more, you can get “convenience” protein products too. For example, if you love a protein shake after your workout then you can get a whey protein alternative. More generally, there are lots of vegetarian/vegan “meat-style” products on the market. They are usually made of Quorn, soya, or tofu, all of which are high in protein.

Meat-free iron

Meat-free iron can be more of a challenge, particularly if you’re into fitness. It’s especially challenging for women as women already need additional iron for bodily functions such as menstruation.

The good news is that there are plenty of plant-based sources of iron. Cruciferous (green, leafy) vegetables tend to be full of iron. Dried fruits can also be rich in iron. The bad news is that iron from plants has lower bioavailability than iron from meat-based sources. This basically means that you need to eat a lot more of it to get the same result.

Lack of iron can leave you feeling tired, weak, and generally unwell. In fact, it can lead to anemia. This means that if you’re very active and not eating meat, you may need an iron supplement.

Meat-free calcium

Some meats are a good source of calcium. In general, however, it’s pretty easy to replace any fiber you currently get from meat. If you are planning to continue eating dairy then you can get all the calcium you need from that. If you’re not, then there are plant-based alternatives. In fact, many of the foods which give you protein and/or iron will also give you calcium.

Meat-free Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for keeping your blood healthy. If you want to get it purely through diet, then you need to eat some form of animal product. This includes dairy, eggs, and yeast. Plant-based sources of Vitamin B12 are only sufficient if they’re consumed in a concentrated form. Effectively, this means some kind of supplement.

You can get Vitamin B12 supplements in various forms. Some of them you take directly, e.g. tablets. Others are combined with other products such as plant milks. This makes them easy to consume as part of your regular meals.


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