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5 ways to nail your vegan training diet


We're seeing more and more customers either becoming vegan, trying out a vegan diet for a period of time ('Veganuary'!) or wanting to try it out but worried about how to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. We've picked the well-nourished brain of track cyclist and rower, Cillian Cook, who used to eat meat and doesn't miss it one bit. He's also very in-the-know about about Sports Nutrition, as Assistant Manager for the Category at Holland & Barrett.


Add greens! Spinach, kale whatever you want to everything. If you’re cooking a dinner or making a smoothie add greens. They contain tonnes of vital minerals and vitamins, and it bulks out whatever you're adding them to.


There is literally milk, whether it be milk powder, whey powder or caseinate in every processed food. Stick to wholefoods and you won’t accidentally add dairy back into your diet. Dairy is the first thing I would say to drop if you are thinking of becoming vegan and its even more important if you are an athlete. We are the only animals that drink the milk of another species. It is designed to help a calf grow into a cow and is incredibly inflammatory. Get it out of your diet as soon as you can.

[Note from Helena: I definitely recommend TrueStart Coffee black anyway!]


It’s easy to get all your nutrients, both macro and micro, from plants. The standard protein, iron and calcium argument against a whole foods, plant-based diet is a lie. All that’s needed is a bit of research. I was able to perfectly match my macro nutrients from when I ate meat to being vegan, and my micro nutrients went through the roof. Also, if you are in a pickle with very limited time, go with rice and beans! A complete protein, source of fibre and really quick to make - you can also mix in as many vegetables or greens you want and have a really well rounded meal.


“Being vegan is expensive". This is a really common misconception. Eating processed food that’s made for vegans is expensive, but a plant-based, wholefood diet can be done relatively cheaply. When you think about the staples of a vegan diet, rice, lentils, beans etc. these are very inexpensive items. You then bulk this out with various vegetables and fruits and it remains relatively cheap. The problem is when you purchase alternative products like vegan “meats”, vegan pies or vegan ready meals. These can be quite expensive and if you are eating a lot as an athlete it will soon add up.


As an athlete you may supplement your diet with various forms of sports nutrition or vitamins. Double check the capsule of your supplements as they can contain gelatine. Also some gel and carb drink products may surprise you and have milk in them.

There you have it! Thanks Cillian, who knew trying a vegan training diet could be so simple. Has this helped you? Let us know in the comments. If have any unanswered questions, fire away and we'll see if we can help you.

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