Date: 20 Aug 2020
Author: The Vegan Society Aotearoa
Many athletes are finding much better performances after taking up a plant-based diet, for these guys dairy milk simply has not got what they need. Whether they are ultra marathon runners, rugby or football players, weightlifters, cross fitters, all kinds of athletes are finding they have better recovery times after making the switch. There’s even a US based website dedicated to Dairy-Free athletes: Www.switch4good.org. Unless you are a baby cow, dairy milk is not an ideal food.
Why are they doing this? Studies show that plant-based proteins are a far better protein source for the human body than fatty animal proteins. The lack of cholesterol in a plant-based diet makes it a key must for those who want peak performance from their bodies. Without those fatty globules blocking up the arteries, blood flow is faster and stronger, carrying vital oxygen around the body and enabling efficient oxygenation of the blood. The lack of additional lactic acid in the diet allows muscles to recover from exercise much quicker and with less stress on the body than when dairy is consumed.
After Game Changers, the highly acclaimed film by James Cameron about plant-based athletes, many watched it and realised they wanted those same gains. For those dedicated to winning, it is a no brainer. Plants have power, after all, that’s where the animals get theirs from. By going plant-based, they are simply cutting out the middleman and applying nutrition direct to their body, in an energy efficient way. This is what makes for top achievement in their fields.
Not just athletes, many doctors too are finding they reap the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Some have formed an organisation called Doctors for Nutrition, featuring general practitioners, specialists, dieticians and experienced clinical staff, they advocate for the healthcare sector, policy makers and society at large to adopt whole food plant-based nutrition as a powerful tool in disease prevention and care. You can find out more about them at www.doctorsfornutrition.org.
Dairy milk can cause a lot of problems in adult humans. Many non-caucasian races are highly sensitive to dairy, a fact not taken into account by European based health advice. Some issues experienced are eczema, asthma, psoriosis, bloating and digestive issues, cancer, diabetes, hormonal issues – especially for women and type 2 diabetes. Many of the symptoms of these clear up or are severely lessened by avoiding dairy.
22nd August is International Plant Milk Day, why not try going dairy free for a week, see what benefits you notice. Try a different plant milk product each day! Find out about some of the alternatives here.
Some mini profiles of four prominent health vegans
Dr Mark Craig GP and competing cyclist
I have two vegan children thriving on this diet and compete nationally and internationally at triathlon and mountain bike racing. Changing my diet and lifestyle in this was is the most profound change I have ever made, as much for the fairness to animals ethics and huge environmental benefits and aligns all my values in one go. Read more on Dr Mark Craig
Dr Luke Wilson Board Director of Doctors for Nutrition
I founded Two Zesty Bananas with colleague Dr Matthew Hobbs in 2014. Since then I have co-authored The 21st Century Food Course, completed the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, worked part-time as a general practitioner, and spoken at events in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. I have experience helping hundreds of people transform their lives by adopting a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, particularly through my work on the BROAD Study.
Brad Coleman Ultra Marathon Runner
When I first became vegan, I was mainly running half marathons and was nervous about the effect my change of diet could have on my performance. But, to my relief, my times improved. Not slowly, and not slightly either. Within a matter of months, I had knocked over 10 minutes off my half marathon time, and I was running a new personal best in every race I took part in.
Apollo Taito NZ Army Sergeant
I hold a Masters in Health Management and swear by the vegan lifestyle, attributing my good physical health, fitness and mental wellbeing to it. I am a New Zealand born Samoan, a professional health manager, a soldier, a PHD student, a writer/blogger and an animal advocate! Read more on Apollo here
Studies showing benefits of plant-based milks