Posted by: Joe English | April 15, 2010

Training — Exploring Vegetarian Protein Challenges

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

In a post earlier this week, I dipped my toe into the waters of vegetarian eating. The intent of that post was to help out a young runner that was getting some bogus information from their coach that it isn’t possible to be a vegetarian runner. The basic premise of that piece was to clarify that being a vegetarian is a choice in the source of protein, and so long as one gets enough protein it shouldn’t really matter what the source of that protein is.

In the comments to that post, readers helpfully added that vegetarians do have some special needs that they need to pay attention to, such as monitoring their iron and calcium intake. A reader also pointed out that some of the best runners in the world are in fact vegetarians.

It wasn’t really my intent to jump into a how-to of vegetarian eating in writing that earlier piece. If I over-simplified, I did so only to dispose of the question on the reader’s mind, not to provide a more detailed exploration of the challenges of vegetarian eating, of which there are many.

As a vegetarian eater myself – a choice that was foisted upon me primarily due to a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol – I am acutely aware of just how complex the very simple statement “you just need to get enough protein” really turns out to be. There are a couple of sides to this complex problem and today, I wanted to just wade a bit further into the pool here to offer some thoughts on the ins and outs of getting your protein from plant sources.

To continue reading, click here.


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