The Chinese Women’s Volleyball team has decided to eliminate meat from its training diet, due to concerns of consuming meat products contains chemicals that would make them test positive for doping.
The main ingredient of concern is clenbuterol, a drug given to livestock animals that results in leaner meat, but is banned by Olympic committees.
The athletes say the vegetarian diet they’ve been following as an alternative is causing poor performance.
“They have showed significant decline in their strength and fitness,” coach Yu Juemin said.
“We are wary of meat tainted by lean-meat powder, and we didn’t eat any during the game period,” Yu told the Shanghai Daily newspaper.
There’s no shortage of examples of athletes who perform well on a vegetarian and even vegan diet. But if you’re an athlete who’s used to eating meat and make the sudden switch without doing research, problems like a decline in strength are bound to happen. This mainly occurs because athletes aren’t aware of the good sources of muscle-building plant-proteins and how to incorporate them into their diets.
No Meat Athlete has a discussion of foods a vegetarian athlete should always keep in the fridge, pantry and on the road. Rich sources of proteins like beans, legumes, nuts and soy are best complemented with grains like brown rice or quinoa. Good sources of carbohydrates that help sustain energy include pastas, whole-wheat breads like pitas and bagels and starchy vegetables.
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- Jason Mraz In “EatingWell” January/February 2015