7 years vegan and I’ve never felt better, and never been stronger. I’ve only been training cycling for 6 months but think I can attribute many benefits to overhauling my diet. Certainly my diet changes eliminated my seasonal allergies, which helps for training and potentially even racing depending on the time of year. I also am confident that I sleep and recover better, get less sore, less inflamed, and am less likely to catch a cold. I’m just now feeling like I’m pushing the stress limiter on my body and my 6wk avg tss is about 625. I’m confident I couldn’t do that on my old diet.
That said, for me, vegan was a way to really structure and help ensure I switched over to more whole foods and away from some of the worst processed foods. Others who are able to follow a “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” diet and still stick in some cheese or meat or whatever in there - in moderation I think all the studies tend to say you’re okay. I’m just not a moderation person.
My views on nutrition for plant based athletes have largely been influenced by three podcasts: No Meat Athlete guys are ultra runners, Rich Roll is an ultra triathlete, and Thought for Food host Jackson Long was a competitive cyclist. If/when I feel the need to dig deeper, I’ll probably look to the Brendan Brazier book, but his products (Vega) are just too expensive.
I like watching Vegan Cyclist on YouTube, in part just because he’s relatable and seems like a nice dude. But I’d also be thrilled to have his abilities, and it’s motivating to know he worked his way up to that as an adult. I figure if when I go to strava leaderboards and see a Ⓥ or two in the top ten on all sorts of big climbs, and when someone like Scott Jurek can dominate an ultra endurance scene on plants alone, it’s got a good chance at being a successful diet for me.
And not to be preachy, but it’s not all about cycling either, and in that regard, I think eating vegan is the most ethical and environmentally friendly say to eat and shop. We all need to do everything we can to protect the earth and it’s inhabitants from the ill-effects of selfish and shortsighted actions and policies, and I think diet is a huge and relatively easy personal change that most people can make with minimal downsides.