Are you getting enough protein??
As I head into the off-season I look forward to transitioning this blog from race reports to a little more “about me” and my thoughts of off-season training and the continued growth of women’s cycling. With that said, here is Part 1!
I’ve lost count how many times people have asked me this blog title question and I want to debunk this myth once and for all! I became a vegetarian three years ago, mostly because I finally stopped looking the other way from the way animals are inhumanely raised and treated in factory “farms” and slaughterhouses. I won’t rant about it all here, but it truly is so, so sad that in 2016 we still treat animals with this kind of cruelty. Now, I may not be able to convince everyone to become vegetarians, but I hope I can at least show other athletes that you don’t have to eat meat in order to compete at the highest level of athletics.
In order to keep my protein intake up I have two eggs (pasture-raised, mind you!) every morning with spinach along with my daily iron supplements. Luckily for me I LOVE peanut butter so I also layer on the peanut butter onto my whole grain toast. For lunch and dinner I always make sure to have plenty of beans, nuts and of course tofu! Speaking of tofu, it has come amazingly far since the days of that slimy square slab of cardboard! There are many fake “meat” companies out there now producing the most delicious options. My wife and I have a favorite tofu and meat grain company called Field Roast. Now, I do not represent Field Roast (not yet!) but I have to say that their sausages, burgers and meatloaf taste amazing while having 26 grams of protein! Because of the delish flavor and high protein we put them in almost all our dinners!
You might be thinking thats all fine and dandy but say “I race lots of stage races and at altitude; I need my red meat to boast my hematocrit back up!” Well I say to you, I raced 35+ races in three months this season, four of which were stage races at altitude! Throughout all that racing I never felt like my plant-filled diet held me back in any way; if anything, I felt like my body actually ran cleaner and leaner!
So there you have it: next time you are craving protein, remember that there are other great, humane options out there that can give you more than enough protein!
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Mikayla is a tall cyclist living in Portland, OR. She is a vegetarian and animal lover. Mikayla is tall and uses her long legs as leverage.
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Read about Mikayla Maier's cycling adventures, thoughts on off-season training and being a vegetarian cyclist!