How to be a (Mostly) Plant-Based Athlete

How to be a (Mostly) Plant-Based Athlete by Ashley Joi

I’m a firm believer in listening to my body. It guides me in what is working and what isn’t, and it rarely steers me wrong. As an athlete, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by some very talented trainers, nutritionists and coaches who have helped me interpret what my body was saying and put it into practice. In my earliest days of training, I learned the importance of food choices to fuel our bodies—and over time, I discovered that

choosing a mostly plant-based diet brought out optimum performance for me.

The physical demands of collegiate track and field training elevated my awareness of what foods worked with my body and what didn’t. As I began eating a primarily plant-based diet, I noticed that my body recovered faster from tough training days. I discovered that body loves farmers’ market-fresh veggies and fruits. I was amazed at how legumes and complex carbohydrates like quinoa and brown rice sustained my performance energy. And I found that occasionally enjoying seafood and limited dairy products like Greek yogurt and whey protein products created a perfect balance for me.

Like anything in life, there was a learning curve to getting sufficient plant-based calories to sustain the level at which I train. But I’m all about living my best life, and over time I discovered exactly how eating a mostly plant-based diet can help get me there. And because I want to inspire you to live your best life too, here are some of my tips for active people looking for ways to eat mostly plants. Not everyone is the same, so listen to what your body is telling you, and always consult an expert for suggestions specific to your situation.

1. Stock up and be prepared!

There are a few things I always like to keep in my fridge or pantry to keep me going in a pinch.

  • Coffee. How I love java in the morning, and an afternoon cup and good convo with my JOI-tribe is just what I need most days
  • Whole-grain bread for toasting
  • Tons of green veggies like avocados (for use on toast), broccoli, Brussels sprouts (my fave!) and whatever is in season at the farmers’ market
  • Fresh fruit, especially bananas and strawberries
  • Hummus in various varieties
  • Protein-rich snacks like trail mix, almonds and (of course) ONE Bars—I’m so excited to be stocking my pantry with the new ONE Plant Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars!

2. Enjoy meals. Don’t dread them!

I’m occasionally asked “but what do you actually eat?” when I list out the content of my pantry. Don’t worry, I enjoy my meals quite a lot—and you can too! My mornings are super important to me—and being a personal trainer, some mornings can be unpredictable—but a typical day for me starts with my coffee and avo-toast. For lunch, you’ll usually find me with a hearty salad, most likely with fresh beets and other goodies that fill me up. For dinner, you’ll find me with either a tofu or seafood dish depending on my mood that day.

Too many people dread making mistakes with meals, but with a little planning you can overcome that fear and give your body what it wants.

If you’d like to try some or all of my go-to daily meals, I’ve provided links below to some of my favorite recipes from The Organic Kitchen.

3. Snacks are the best.

Do I snack between meals? You bet! It’s my FAVORITE part of the day. I wasn’t always near a restaurant or a kitchen as a college athlete, so I learned to keep on-the-go snacks on hand. My mid-morning snack is Greek yogurt, granola and fresh seasonal fruit. In the afternoon, I eat a chocolate bar—or these days, a Chocolate Peanut Butter ONE Plant Bar. Happy day! When I first became a ONE Blog guest author, I asked if were they ever going to come out with a plant-based protein bar. They do an amazing job with flavor, and having a plant-based option would totally elevate the experience. I am so excited it has finally arrived!

To this day, I train hard and am constantly loving pushing my body to the next level—and I do it all on a primarily plant-based diet. My body and performance have truly benefitted from this choice. That’s a big reason why I’m so excited that ONE Brands has released a bar that packs a Plant-protein punch!


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