The Weightlifter's Guide to Vegetarian Clean Eating

Find out why a meatless diet can give you more power and energy.

Vegetarian Tacos
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Whether you're considering going vegetarian because of moral or environmental concerns or you are just looking for a fast track to better health, you may have one pressing concern: Will I get enough protein in my diet to maintain my active lifestyle? True, protein is the building block for muscle growth, which makes that question valid for active women everywhere. But a closer look reveals that even some of the most popular diets today, including the meat-centric Paleo diet, are based on principles that savvy vegetarians have been using for years: Eat simply, benefit greatly.

And while a poorly planned vegetarian diet — or any other diet, for that matter — isn’t going to have you setting PRs in the gym anytime soon, a well-thought-out one will help you reach your goals and feel great. It’s time vegetarians got their place at the table for healthy living—without sacrificing muscle. Here’s what athletes need to know about going vegetarian.

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Just as you have choices for workouts, there are a variety of approaches to a vegetarian diet. Some options:

Vegans: follow the strictest form of vegetarianism, avoiding all animal-basedfoods as well as products such as leather sneakers or bags.

Lactovegitarians: follow a mostly plant-based diet, but they alsoconsume dairy products like milk, cheese, and eggs.

Pescatarians: expand their diets to include fish and seafood along with dairy products.

Flexitarians: (or omnivores) don’t fit a strict vegetarian ideal since they still occasionally have red meat, poultry, or pork. If you aren’t ready to commit to a nonmeat diet, it might be the right approach for you.