Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Going, going, Vegan!
Emily Boldrin, PhD, RD

We had a friend visit over the weekend. Let me clarify, we had a number of visitors over the weekend. At one point there were 6 people staying with us in a space of about 600 square feet. It was delightful, fun, charming and…cozy.  J One of our visiting friends was in town for a long drive competition. For those of you not familiar with long drive competitions (I sure wasn’t!!) – It is where the competitor tries to hit a golf ball as far as they can, while staying in bounds.  Participants in a long drive competition can hit the golf ball up to 465 yards. To put it in perspective, golfers on the PGA tour drive the ball on average, about 280 yards.  So, those who participate on the long drive competition are incredibly strong and very fast.

Anyways, our friend is absurdly athletic, strong and just an overall big, muscular guy. Along with participating in the long drive competitions, he is involved with CrossFit. According to their website “CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide” (What is Crossfit). Needless to say, he demands a lot from his body. Both physically and nutritionally.  

While he was here, we got into a discussion one night about nutrition. He was very interested in following a vegan diet (for those of you who don’t know, a vegan diet eliminates all sources of animal products. No meat, cheese, dairy, eggs, etc…). He asked me, given his physical demands, was this kind of diet suitable for him? It was a good question! A vegan and even a vegetarian diet is not without nutritional “risks”. But I talked to him about well known, high profile, athletes who have competed at the professional level following a vegan diet. The well-known track and field star Carl Lewis was one worth mentioning. There have been numerous other athletes as well. Football stars, boxers, MMA fighters, cyclists and hockey players have all followed a vegan diet and been successful at what they do.

So… to get the point… if well-known high level athletes can compete at a professional level and still get the nutrition they need, why is there such a stigma about vegan and vegetarian diets not getting enough protein and/or not being able to meet nutritional needs? Is it our societal norms? Thoughts?



n.d. What is Crossfit. Retrieved from http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/what-crossfit.html.




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