Vegetarian Column By Marcus Samuelsson
Many considering vegetarian diets are concerned when it comes to their muscles and athletic performance. Protein is essential to build muscle and the general misconception is that this is too hard to do without meat in your diet. However, the newly released US government dietary guidelines explicitly link vegetarianism to better heart health and what better way to show off your healthy heart than through some hardcore athletic training!
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters Jake Shields and Jon Fitch are both in training and both vegetarians. While most of their competitors look to lean, low-fat meats to boost their protein during training, these two rely on a healthy ratio of fruit to non-animal proteins to build up muscle.
These important dietary decisions aren't something Shields and Finch do themselves, but are part of their family routines. While other members of their family aren't eating 6 to 7 meals to prep for a fight, they still share their nutritional ethics.
Some of the dishes that these guys incorporate into their routines are favorites of ours too! Try out a protein-packed oatmeal breakfast, super healthy legumes such as lentils, or a high iron and protein entree.