Vegan Dance Sport – Totally Doable

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Frederic Frenessen

In my own personal experience with the Vegan diet I’ve had to kind of ‘wing it’ I haven’t had the luxury of having a nutritionist telling me what, what not and especially how much to eat. I’m a firm believer in what you put in, you get out, so naturally I’ve wanted to fuel myself with the best possible foods and nutrients to help me perform at my best. It hasn’t necessarily been a straight road, but it has definitely been a positive one 🙂

Just B12

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I get a lot of questions when people find out I eat plant-based.. “Calcium? Iron? Where do you get your energy?” but my favourite is probably “But where do you get your protein from?!”. Tofu, beans, vegetables anyone? In fairness that is a pretty valid question though because we do mostly relate protein to animal meat, but that’s not the only place you can get it! Another common question I get is “ok Rach, but what supplements do you have to take?”, to which my response is apart from B12… nothing! Now that’s not to say that that may change in the near future but at the moment I don’t feel like I need anything and through often tracking my daily intake on platforms such as My Fitness Pal (so handy it has an app for your iPhone so that you can track while you’re on the go!) and cronometer.com I can honestly say Im hitting all my nutritional targets with food alone!

A Quick Break Down

Now, for those of you out there wondering what on earth I consume in a day, this part’s for you! I’m not a robot so my intakes do vary depending on how intense my training is but lets face it, us dancers are pretty close to athletes with what we do. I classify it similarly to ballet; athletes creating art. We need energy to be athletic, but we still need to look like dancers.. ahh the common dilemma! So I thought I would show you a small food diary of a general day for me. Let me just say that I’m not a dietician or a nutritionist so please don’t think this is a ‘guide’ for what you should be eating. I merely supplied it to prove that on the Vegan diet you can get in enough protein, fats, carbs and vitamins without substituting calories along the way. For those of you playing out there, I’m 160cm tall and 26 years old 🙂

Breakfast: Smoothie
• 3 bananas
• 1 cup mixed berries
• 1 tsp (heaped hehe) peanut butter
• 1 handful frozen spinach
• 6 dates
• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk • 1 cup cold water

Snack: Large Soy Latte (mm mm mmmmm!)

Lunch: Falafel Wrap
• 1 wholemeal wrap
• 1 handful lettuce/mixed leaves
• 3 cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 carrot
• 1/4 cup cucumber and capsicum • 1 shallot (spring onion)
• 1 baby beetroot
• 1 tbs hummus
• 1 apple
• black coffee
• 1 tsp coconut sugar

Dinner: Vegan Sushi Rice Bowl
• 1 cup cooked sushi rice
• 4 button mushrooms sautéed
• 85g tofu
• 1/2 brown onion sautéed
• 1 tbs soy sauce
• 1/4 avocado

That’s a pretty normal day for me but what you need may be completely different! Hitting a total of 2003 calories and pretty much smashing all my targets, it just goes to show you can do it through eating plant-based! Also, don’t worry about the low Vitamin D percentage as I live in Australia so its safe to say I’m getting most of my Vitamin D through that sunshine. I don’t tend to snack a lot but if I do get hungry between meals I usually have some fresh fruit (whatever is in season or some dried mango.. I’m addicted to it! I also take a 1000mg B12 supplement twice a week and sometimes if I’m feeling a bit sore I will take a Super Strength Magnesium supplement (great for muscle tiredness, cramps, energy production and healthy nerve function!)

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Start Slow

So, if you are interested in making the switch over to eating more plants and less meat you could definitely start through making a few substitutions. You could stick with your normal daily eating plan but try making one of those meals meat free #meatfreemonday. To make it easier you could try switching out chicken for tofu in your favourite chicken dish or change up a tuna salad for a bean salad. One thing my boyfriend/dance partner did was change from whey protein to pea protein which he now throws into his breakfast smoothies to up his protein intake.

By easing your way into it you have the chance to see how you start to feel after each meal and notice any differences. I used to have bacon, eggs and avocado for brekkie every dang day (fat, fat and more fat I know!) and I used to wonder why I’d have such terrible brain fog. When I swapped over to fruit smoothies the difference in how I felt shocked me! I felt clearer, energised, fresh and ready to start the day… seeya later stodginess!

The key to any diet though, even the vegan one, is to eat a variety of foods which include carbs, fats and protein. If you can set some goals as to how much of each you feel you personally need (or better yet, let some of the websites I mentioned earlier help you!) then the rest is easy… and fun! It does take a bit of trial and error believe me, but I can guarantee you will feel better for it in the long run 🙂

Author: Rachelle Plaass
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

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