Can vegetarians play cricket? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Can vegetarians play cricket?

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Did you know that Greg Chappell is a strict vegan? I didn't until today when I read that he has also decided the Indian national side will stay off meat for the Champions Trophy.

Is it a good idea, or is at another crackpot scheme in the Buchanan boot camp mold?

For India it makes sense if, as reported, the quality of meat cannot be trusted in hot weather. But Chappell has been a vegan for years and in a variety of conditions, would it make a difference to his game?

It seems the man himself is convinced.

In an interview he said:

"From a fitness point of view I always struggled with long-distance running and fitness work, I was always tired and usually hungry. Within 24 hours of giving up dairy products my post-nasal drip had stopped, my energy levels rose and my ability to run and to train generally increased around 100%."

I'm not expert on veggie diets myself (although I did go vegan for a couple of weeks once to see how it went) but that sounds like a great thing to me.

However, Greg's experience alone is not enough to prove vegetarianism and cricket can go together. After all, there are some reservations that go with a veggie diet:

  • Nutritional shortages. Meat and dairy are great sources of protein, calcium and vitamin B12. It's harder to get these as a vegan so you are more likely to get a deficiency.
  • Convenience. We live in a meat and dairy world. Being vegan makes life much less convenient.
  • Expense. A veggie diet tends to be more expensive to maintain.

The latter two of these are lifestyle based, which means the only issue that is a cricketing concern is not getting enough protein, calcium or vitamin B12. A deficiency in the diet leads to a reduction in cricket performance.

This is not reason alone to forget about playing cricket as a vegetarian. You can get plenty of protein from soy, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Calcium can come from green, leafy vegetables and a one-a-day b12 tablet will cover your vitamin needs.

So can vegetarians play cricket? Of course they can: Many vegans are healthier than meat eaters purely because they have to plan their diets more.

Should you switch to a non-meat diet? That's a choice you have to make based on your own lifestyle, health needs, morals and budget. It won't make any difference to your cricket if you are careful about what you eat.

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I lived with a vegan for 8 years and lived *as* a vegan for about 5 of those years. I'd like to offer some insight into the vegan lifestyle if I could.

Regarding the shortages in the vegan diet you pointed out: It is true that protein, calcium, iron and B12 (Cyanocobalamin) are not immediately found in vegetable products. However soy products do contain large amounts of protein and in particular soy milk products are available that are fortified with Calcium and extra protein. I continue to use soy milk products as I'm lactose intolerant and in particular their "Active Formulation" which contains extra protein and calcium for those that engage in power sports. B12 supplementation is also available in soy milk products but simple B supplementation in tablet form can suffice and is hardly a nuisance in this day and age. Iron deficiencies are controversial as vegetarian diets are generally fairly high in iron anyway, however this is the non-haem iron variety which is usually considered to have a low bioavailability. However it has been discovered that the consumption of dairy products interrupts the absorption of all types of iron so therefore it can be claimed that vegan diets actually improves the absorption of non-haem iron.

As for the convenience factor I too once thought that this was the case. If you rely on home shopping for your diet you can easily get away with a vegan diet with little or no inconvenience. It only becomes and issue when you eat out, however here in Perth Western Australia most resturaunts are happy to provide a vegan meal if its not already on the menu and there are a number of vegetarian eateries that offer vegan menus in any case (Annalakshmi by the river is great!). In addition after living the vegan lifestyle over the course of many years I've discovered that vegan living is actually cheaper. Even here in Australia good quality lean meat is relatively expensive compared to in-season vegetables and soy products (admittedly soy milk may be marginally more expensive than fresh milk). My fornightly shopping bills went from AU0 to around AU-80 once I found the varieties that were to my taste.

In any case I hope this comment helps shed some light on the much maligned world of veganism.

for the record I am no longer a strict vegan. Instead I eat vegan at home and eat whatever I feel like when I'm out of the house.

That's a very interesting approach Jason.

When I tried being a vegan (albeit for a short period) I was put off by the expense of soy replacements, but if shopping bills generally work out cheaper if you put some thought in, a semi-vegan diet may be a good comprimise.

I don't suppose you have any links to the evidence that dairy interrupts the absorption of iron? I had heard that before, but have never investigated further.

In any case, I the important thing in cricket (and life) nutrition is 'healthy eating': Whether that includes meat and dairy or not is a lifestyle/moral decision.

absolutely.. balance is everything. You can obviously do all diets badly just as any diet if balanced can do your body the world of good. I'll have a search through my university files to see if i can find the articles. In the mean time check out Ovid or Medline through your local university library. Also, vitamin C enhances iron absorption. You can find references to this sort of thing fairly consistently.

The balance I've found at the moment is quite good. Eating vegan at home is pretty easy. Instead of chicken in a stir fry I'll have a packet of marinated tofu (the type with the darker "skin"). Soy milk actually tastes better than normal milk in my opinion, especially with breakfast cereal. As for things like pasta, there's a world of pasta sauce varieties if you do a bit of investigating and also some products that do a fairly good imitation of mince meat. Check out Zoglos products as they're the best I've had people convinced that their "hamburger" patties are actually meat. If you actually like cheese there's options there. An American company called Tofutti do great slice cheese and also a bunch of cream alternatives that I would challenge people to reject.

In short though, its all about balance as you rightly point out. If you still like meat, oily fish varieties make your mind sharper (great for concentration) and improve your cardiovascular system as well. Lean meat is perhaps the best source of highly bioavailable iron and protein, however getting true lean meat and knowing how to prepare it is also very difficult.

Fantastic stuff. We still only ever have veggie mince in the house. The taste is better and it's lower in saturated fat.

I'm interested, what do you do at tea in your games? Do you bring your own?

yeah eating out is, as I mentioned, frought with non-vegan danger Sticking out tongue These days I tend to eat whatever is around when I'm out of the house but still gravitate to the non-meat varieties and steer clear of anything with lots of cream. We bring our own teas for home games and I usually bring some low-GI juice, these great seasame see slice pieces that include nuts and seeds and are packed with energy and taste great.

I can see how being semi-vegen would make life a heck of a lot easier. And inspired by this post I'm having a day without dairy today just to see if it helps my cold go away!

Jason said, “It is true that protein, calcium, iron and B12 (Cyanocobalamin) are not immediately found in vegetable products.It is true that protein, calcium, iron and B12 (Cyanocobalamin) are not immediately found in vegetable products” Not so; all of those but B12 can be found in vegetable products. A cup of collard greens, which grows wild in fields hereabouts (East Tennessee) contains more calcium than a cup of milk. B12 cannot be found in plants but it can be found on them; if you’ve ever picked wild blackberries and eatten them on the spot, you probably have discovered it’s all but impossible to pick off all the tiny bugs. Our B12 requirements are miniscule, and we can store it for up to 4 years, so that was probably all the B12 our ancestors needed.

John, as appealling as eating bugs for B12 is, I'm not sure it's a solution for most people!

[...] Can vegetarians play cricket? [...]

Nice post I like it, thanks Smiling

Greg Chappell is NOT a strict VEGAN. He eats SEA FOOD but does not eat red meat and chicken.

Hello David, That link to the interview also has URI GELLER as a vegan, the man is a fraud and was exposed by James Randi on TV . Look it up on youtube. Vegetarians can play cricket but they will never be strong and powerful as a person eating meat. Humans are hunter gatherers and have evolved eating meat. And since then humans have domesticated animals to meet these needs. Please look it up! Greg Chappell is hardly an expert on nutrition for performance. His diet is one for geriatrics. The man was a successful batsman but not an expert on diet for sure. And he eats sea food anyway these days.

I stand corrected on the veganism, although I still think vegetarians can be as strong as meat eaters.

Sorry david, you are not making any sense when you say vegetarians can be as strong as meat eaters. You obviously do not know much about diet and strength. How many vegetarian power lifters do you know? There is no way that a veggie can be as strong as some one who eats animal protein.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree there my anonymous friend. You are welcome to prove me wrong. If you would like to write an article showing me the error of my ways I will be happy to post it on the site.

@ guest 09: If the colon cancer clears up, go to youtube and type in "Vegan" and "Bodybuilding" or "Athlete" sometime..

He/she never did write that article. That's a shame, I'm happy to stand corrected when proven wrong.

Greg Chappell mentioned that he was sick all the time when he was on red meat and was drinking heaps of milk, etc. he mentioned this in his most recent cricket book.

@guest who posted in 9th July, if you search on the net, you would find that many bodybuilders are on a strict vegetarian diet. also Greg Chappell was much healthier after he stopped eating meat and dairy products. he played much better.

Also chappell always worked on his game, and researched every aspect, from the way the brain works to the best diet. read cricket: the making of champions, by greg chappell. In fact, many of the training, fitness and nutrition tips on this website are very similar to the book's information

Maybe you should check out veganbodybuilding on google.

Go Google Patrik Baboumian - he doesn't seem to struggle on a vegan diet...

While you're at it, go tell those elephants to eat some meat - they are so weak just eating plants.

What's up colleagues, how is everything, and what you
want to say about this article, in my view its in fact amazing in support of me.

he i am 15 years old .i am an all rounder but i am veg.what can i do to improve my nutrition