Raw food and athletics should go hand in hand for optimum health and performance. Athletes are constantly pushing their bodies for more and better results. This puts tremendous stress on their bodies. Raw food helps repair the damage done by this stress, as well as rebuilds muscle tissue better each time for increased strength and athletic performance.
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A great documentary you should check out is called "The Raw Natural". It highlights the benefits of eating raw and organic foods as they relate to athletic performance, including positive mental attitude, visualization and getting in the zone. See interviews with professional baseball player Jonathan Huizinga, snowboarder Evan Strong, surfer Dean Randazzo and others as they discuss not only their athletic performance, but how they overcame injuries and major life changing health challenges and still emerged at the top of their game!
You can get your own copy of this inspiring film by visiting The Raw Natural
Why These 6 Athletes Follow the Raw Vegan Diet
Professionals are always looking for something to give them an edge. From the most cutting edge training equipment, to world renowned coaches, to hypnosis, world class athletes are dead serious about conditioning their bodies and sharpening their game. In the ultra-competitive world of sports, steroids, performance enhancing drugs, and energy drinks, the latest pseudo-supplements may seem like the holy grail of peak performance. Enter the raw food diet...
Why would athletes want to consider going raw? Just ask these guys:
1) Tim Van Orden: This raw vegan runner is one of the top mountain runners in California and had this to say about the raw vegan diet: "Moving to a raw vegan diet was the best choice I've ever made as an athlete. My endurance has dramatically improved, and I recover from hard training and races in less than half the time. I've had to stop doing upper body workouts at the gym, because I now build muscle too quickly, which slows me down as a runner. My asthma is gone and I'm no longer troubled by joint pain."
2) Bob Mionske: This former national champion cyclist stopped eating meat as a teenager. Later in his life he removed chicken and fish from his diet and describes switching to a raw vegan diet as a natural progression on the ladder of healthy eating. Some of his accomplishments include finishing fourth in the Seoul Olympics at the Olympic trials in Spokane, WA and winning the 1990 National Road Championships in Albany, N.Y. He also competed in Barcelona in 1992 as a teammate of Lance Armstrong.
3) Suzanna Strachan: Proving that you don't need to follow a complete vegan diet to reap its benefits, Suzanna Strachan admittedly leads a vegan lifestyle of 75-90% raw and has demonstrated extreme athleticism in Ms. Fitness competitions.
4) James Southwood: This Salvate (French kickboxing) expert has been raw vegan since 2004. He needs no introduction among the martial arts crowd and burst onto the scene in 2006 when he won his first international bout in the World Savate Assault Championship. He was also undefeated in the British rounds for the entire year of 2006. About the raw diet he states, "Being raw is a light, clean and pure way to live. Exercising and competing in this physical state is the only way I would choose to do it."
5) Carol Alt: This ex-model is known to convince her Russian hockey star husband Alexei Yashin to go raw. Apparently adding more raw foods to his diet increased his athletic performance.
6) Brendan Brazier: Most raw food enthusiasts know who Brendan Brazier is. This Canadian athlete was the 2003 Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He's known to consistently place near the top at international Ironman triathlon events. He's written a book called "Thrive: A guide to optimal health and performance through plant-based whole foods" and claims raw food solved his problems of lethargy and chronic muscle soreness.
While the benefits of going raw are undeniable, from managing diabetes, to healing cancer patients, to improving skin complexion, to weight loss, for many people, going 100% raw is a tough switch to make. But if you've tried everything else and are looking for the next secret to athletic performance, try eating more raw fruits and vegetables.
How the Raw Vegan Diet Helps with Top Athletic Performance
Athletes are always looking for the next big thing to give them an extra edge. Just flip through a fitness magazine and you'll be bombarded with programs, products, and supplements that promise to revolutionize your athletic performance. Many highlight their active ingredients and the scientific research proving why their product is so good. Often times though, these ingredients are found in their natural form in live or organic foods like fruits and vegetables. Research even proves that some nutrients lose their value when heated or cooked. Since athletes know that proper nutrition is a critical part of their performance, it's beneficial to explain how the raw vegan diet aids athletes to be at the top of their game.
Athletes know that in order to get the most from your workout, you should eat lots of carbohydrates to maximize the glycogen (energy) storage in your muscles. The glycemic index is the best measure for a food’s ability to gradually increase blood glucose (energy) levels. Nutritionists will tell you that foods with a low to moderate glycemic index (GI) consistently release blood glucose and help maintain fat oxidation, which saves muscle glycogen. The lower the GI, the better, especially when you eat before a workout. Foods with a high glycemic index might cause hypoglycemia, or a sudden drop in blood sugar. The key is to eat foods that will maintain a constant level of glycogen over the course of the workout. If you do happen to eat foods with a high glycemic index, you can extend it a bit by eating soluble fibers, protein, and fat. Essentially, you want to slowly absorb and release energy during a workout and eating foods with a high glycemic index will help with that. Luckily, raw fruits and vegetables have a low GI and help dampen the adverse effects of high GI foods. After intense competition or a high impact workout, foods with a high GI can be very helpful. During intense exercise, muscles need fast and accessible energy.
Naturally, raw foods are an easy and healthy source of high GI foods. They also contain enzymes and oxygen, which your body needs during exercise. Being raw, they retain most of their nutritional value also. In addition, fruits, veggies, and soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds are excellent sources of the most absorbable amino acids available.
The elder statesman that comes to mind when I think of raw food is Jack Lalanne. Prior to becoming a late night pitchman for his juicer, Jack was at the highest levels of competition in the bodybuilding world.