Vegetarian Sports Nutrition

There couldn’t be a more appropriate introduction to D. Enette Larson-Mayer’s “Vegetarian Sports Nutrition” than the book’s forward, written by legendary ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek.

Jurek is a seven-time consecutive winner and course record holder of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, and a two-time consecutive winner and course record holder of the Badwater Ultra Marathon. He’s also a vegan. As Jurek says in his forward, “A plant-based diet returns athletes to the sound principles that truly lead to optimal performance and health.”

It’s advice I think more runners should take.

Larson-Meyer’s got cred too. She an assistant professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Wyoming. She’s also a registered dietitian with training is exercise physiology. Her PhD is in Nutrition Sciences.

The book’s subtitle, “Food choices and eating plans for fitness and performance,” pretty much says it all. It covers the general (getting adequate calories from plant-based sources, building muscle without meat, boosting iron intake and absorption) to the particular (how to eat before, during, and after events, reducing muscle cramps and inflammation, and managing weight). The book’s appendices are a gold-mine of information for both the recreational and the competitive athlete. They cover the energy costs of different physical activities, a glycemic index of common foods, and recommended daily intakes of vitamins and minerals. If you want to go deeper than that, there’s an extensive bibliography.

This is essentially a reference book, equally at home on your kitchen bookshelf or in your runner’s library. But it’s also a good book to read straight through, because the story of why the vegetarian option makes sense is a good story. If you’re already a vegetarian athlete, this book will deepen your understanding of your nutrition lifestyle. If you’re considering becoming a vegetarian, and perhaps wondering if you can do that and still reach your performance and fitness goals, this book will answer your questions and convince you to take the step.

The book’s publisher is Human Kinetics, always a good bet for athletes of any description.

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