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Resources for Plant Based Diets for Athletes

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More and more athletes are investigating and adopting a plant-based approach to nutrition and fueling their training.  Contrary to the constant reminders in the media, plant-based nutrition is not deficient in protein - if you eat the right mix of nutrients.  

At Poppy Sports we are plant-lovers.  I might not be fully plant-based (cappuccinos are in my repertoire and always will be; I am a Euro after all!) but most of my diet is now plant based.  Why?  In a nutshell, my energy levels are so much higher and that translates to a better work/life/sport balance.

I thrive not only on plants, but on learning (especially podcast-based on long runs) and here is a summary of the great books, cookbooks and podcasts that particularly support plant-based athletes.

I'll keep updating these resources, so keep checking back!

Plant based diets for athletes

Plant-Based Cookbooks

VB6: Vegan Before Six by Mark Bitten

A great introduction to moving to a plant-based diet if you are contemplating the switch.  This bestseller focuses on eating whole food plant based before dinner, and healthier versions of your more traditional meals for the evening meal.  Great tips throughout.

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bitten

A companion to the VB6 book with over 350 recipes for healthy vegan meals during the day and what the author named 'flexitarian' dinners at night.

A great resource for those beginning to introduce a more vegan approach to your nutrition.

The Plantpower Way: Whole food and plant-based recipes and guidance for the whole family by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

We have more people to feed other than just ourselves!  The PlantPower Way offers practical advice (and recipes) to bring your family on the plant-based journey too.  

It might not always be perfect, 'Mom, it do NOT like this!' but this book does offer practical advice to help all your family have a more open approach to a more veggie-filled plate.  Simplicity is at its core, and we like that!

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Over 150 plant-based recipes again, based on the documentary film PlantPure Nation that highlighted how plant-based nutrition impacted a small town in the rural south.  

Every recipe comes with a photograph, which we love as cooks and for quick browsing to find what you need.  The book includes good advice on how to build a plant-based pantry and breaks the recipes into meal types and snacks. It also - importantly includes spices, toppings, marinades and dressings; an important step of adding amazing flavors to any plant-based meal.  

My fave:  Black bean and rice burgers.  Easy, delish, quick and baked, so no messy frying pan - that has my vote.

The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes

This comprehensive cookbook has over 120 whole food plant-based recipes and has sold over 850,000 copies.  The China Study was the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted revealing that following a plant-based diet leads to optimal health with the power to halt or reverse many diseases.

Learn more about The China Study featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives available on Netflix. Author Leanne Campbell is the daughter of the author of The China Study T. Collin Campbell.

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Best part of Veganomicon?  The authors include menus for every occasion which makes thinking outside of the traditional entertaining box much easier to digest (pun intended!) 

Add to that, the collection of super-quick meals to get onto the table and 'into your belly' in under 45 minutes.  What it lacks in pretty food photography, it makes up for ease of use and offering very practical ways to eat plant-based. 

Inspirational Books from Plant Based Athletes

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

An inspiring book from author (and podcaster - see below) Rich Roll who went from overweight lawyer to living a plant-based lifestyle and a ultra endurance athlete.  You will walk away from reading his story believing everyone has the power to transform your life on every level

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

Probably one of the most famed plant-based athletes who was before his time.  For nearing two decades Scott Jurek has been one of the world's most impressive ultra marathon runners who also happens to be vegan.  With recipes at the end of each chapter (the vegan chili with bulgar wheat as the 'meat' substitute is amazing - I know, I eat it every week) Jurek challenges us all to expand our food horizons.

Podcasts on Plant Based Lifestyles

The Rich Roll Podcast

Vegan athlete Rich Roll touches on many different subjects in his long-form podcasts. Many of the episodes touch on nutrition and living a plant-based lifestyle and what that means for a person and their larger circle.  Listen deeper and you may find yourself expanding your horizons in other areas of your life as well.  

I love tuning into this podcast on long runs; some of them 'run' up to two hours.  Highly recommended.


Forks Over Knives

The ultimate documentary to the health reasons for adopting a plant-based diet. This documentary showcases scientific studies that have proven the benefits but met with negative feedback from the food 'establishment' who appear to put profit before public health. 

As the documentarian covers the science and research, he puts himself on a plant-based diet and sees the impact on his health over a period of several months. A must-see for anyone considering the science behind being vegan.

Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

A pratical documentary made by the Forks Over Knives team that follows Rip Essentyn, former pro-triathlete and firefighter at the Engine 2 station in Austin, advising families on the basics of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. Offers practical advise on how to eat #plantstrong


Vegucated is a guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it's all about.  Amazing to see some transformations and the struggles they all face at points throughout the journey.  Small spoiler here; the results are varied!  

Food Inc

An unflattering look at the US's corporate controlled food industry.  Enough said.

These books, documentaries and podcasts just scratch there surface of resources available to athletes interested a more plant-based approach to nutrition and the benefits of such.  We'll keep adding to his list as we research more, but this is a great list to get you started.

Comment below and let us know your favorite go-to resources.


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