Book Review: Vegetarian Sports Nutrition by D. Enette Larson-Meyer, PhD, RD


There are not quite enough reliable resources for the plant based athletic community. I am so glad that I came across this book. Every recommendation is backed by science and is practical for any level of athlete. I marked several pages that I will refer to again in the future. Here are five pieces that I found to be the most helpful:

1. One of the most common challenges I see in athletes who are transitioning to a plant based, vegan, or vegetarian diet is a reduction in their daily calorie intake. Larson-Meyer very clearly explains the need for understanding your individual calorie expenditure and intake. It is recommended that you consume adequate whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds to maintain the higher than average energy needs of an athlete. (pages 15-22)

2. She addresses the concern for consuming sufficient vitamin C for endurance and ultra endurance athletes. While vegetarians get plenty of vitamin C from their high fruit and vegetable consumption, it should be noted that exercise produces free radicals in the body which antioxidants like vitamin C help to fight the damage of. It is recommended that athletes consume and extra 100 mg and endurance athletes may require up to 500 mg in addition to the RDA of 75 mg/day for females and 90 mg/day for males. (pages 105-106)

3. Iodine is a nutrient that is not to be ignored. it is used to produce thyroid hormone, which regulates energy metabolism and protein synthesis. We get iodine from sea vegetables and iodized salt. If you do not have a sufficient source of iodine in your diet, you may be compromising your performance. (page 111)

4. Not only are the types of foods discussed, but the timing of those foods are also. Eating a snack or meal pre workout is absolutely recommended. However, it is recommended that you test out the timing of when that snack or meal takes places to avoid conditions such as rebound hypoglycemia or heartburn during your training or race. (pages 117-118)

5. One of the most helpful tools from this book is the instructions for estimating ones sweat rate and fluid requirements. It is recommended that athletes check their sweat rate as often as their training changes or their training environment changes. (page 125)

Happy snacking!

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