Making the choice to switch to a plant-based diet shouldn’t mean giving up your gains as an athlete — in fact, incorporating more plant-based foods may even give you an athletic advantage — provided you know how to properly fuel your body while eating vegan. The Vegan Athlete’s Nutrition Handbook by registered dietitian nutritionist Nichole Dandrea-Russert, MS, is a comprehensive guidebook for anyone looking to dive deep into the science behind plant-based eating and peak performance.
The book includes over 25 flavorful and fueling vegan recipes including the one below for Champion Chili, one of a handful of recipes that is meant to be your day before competition or post-recovery meals where fueling or refueling is warranted.
Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cooking Time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 large carrot, chopped
8 ounces organic tempeh, crumbled
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups cooked beans (black, kidney, and pinto are great choices)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chopped spinach
¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
¼ cup sliced green onion
1. Heat a large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots, peppers, and tempeh. Cook until the onions are translucent, and tempeh is slightly browned, about 3–4 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Stir in the spices, salt, and pepper, and jalapeño pepper, if using. Mix well.
4. Add the diced tomatoes, beans and the two cups of vegetable broth. Stir well.
5. Simmer on low for 45–60 minutes (longer for thicker consistency and more concentrated flavors).
6. Remove from heat and stir in the two cups of spinach until tender.
7. Divide between bowls and top with optional cilantro and green onion. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Read Nichole’s article here on the 13 Benefits of Plant-Based Diet for Athletes.
Nichole Dandrea-Russert, MS, RDN, has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for more than 25 years, specializing in heart disease, diabetes, sports nutrition and women’s health. For more than a decade, she has focused on plant-based lifestyles through inspiring and educating people about plant-based eating to optimize their health and the health of the planet. Nichole has been featured in Eating Well, Business Insider and Atlanta Journal Constitution. She is also a media spokesperson for The Weather Channel and local Atlanta television networks. A former triathlete and current yoga instructor, she shares her passion through her website Purely Planted. Nichole is the author of The Fiber Effect and The Vegan Athlete’s Nutrition Handbook. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband.