Make Yourself the Ultimate Veggie Man or Woman

Are you a happy herbivore or just contemplating making the switch? STACK expert Chris Hitchko is taking a 30-day challenge. Here are his guidelines.

Are you ready for this? I'm making myself the ultimate Veggie Man, going vegetarian with a diet of vegetables, eggs and no grains. For 30 days, I'll technically be called an herbivore.

Although I'm a newcomer to the fruitarian fold, I know a major hurdle facing most vegetarian athletes is sufficient protein intake. (Here are some vegetarian sources of protein.)

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Vegetable Face

Are you ready for this? I'm making myself the ultimate Veggie Man, going vegetarian with a diet of vegetables, eggs and no grains. For 30 days, I'll technically be called an herbivore.

Although I'm a newcomer to the fruitarian fold, I know a major hurdle facing most vegetarian athletes is sufficient protein intake. (Here are some vegetarian sources of protein.)

First, calculate your total protein need with the following formula: body weight in pounds x percentage of body fat = total pounds of body fat. Subtract that from your total weight to get your lean body weight in pounds. Now divide that number by 2.2 to get your lean body weight in kilograms. Finally, depending on your level of activity, multiply that number by 1.5, 1.6 or 1.7 (1.5 for low activity, 1.7 for extreme workouts) to derive your daily protein need in grams.

Here is my personal example: 190 pounds x .08 (percentage of body fat) = 15.2 pounds of fat. Subtract that from 190 = 174.8 pounds of lean mass, divided by 2.2 = 79.5 kgs. Then 79.5 kgs x 1.7 = approximately 135 grams of protein per day.

Craving more? Here are a few tasty recipes for the Athlete Vegetarian Diet that deliver protein:

Stir fry (32 grams of protein)

Ingredients: one stem of kale, one chopped onion, one chopped yellow bell pepper, half-cup of black beans, with Sriracha. Add an avocado and three egg whites, garlic and salt for taste.

Smoothie (28 grams of protein)

One banana, one cup of blueberries, two kiwis, one red bell pepper, 1/3 cup egg whites, two tbsp. peanut butter, half cup non-fat Greek yogurt, two tbsp. local honey and a splash of any type of juice.

Additional Snacks

  • Hard-boiled eggs (6g per egg)
  • Cottage cheese (1/2 cup = 15g)
  • Pumpkin seeds (9g)
  • Hummus (2g per serving)
  • Asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower (3g)

For more recipes and to track my 30-day vegetarian experiment, read my blog.

STACK has a number of articles and videos for vegetarian athletes. Here are guides to some pre-activity and post-activity meal options.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: PROTEIN | DIET | TRACK | CHEESE | VEGETABLES | GREEK YOGURT | SNACKS | VEGETARIAN | YOGURT | PEANUT BUTTER | AVOCADO | CAULIFLOWER | HUMMUS | RECIPES