Whether you’re interested in going plant based or simply looking to feel better, adding more anti-inflammatory recipes to the mix can go a long way!
Many years ago I dabbled with learning how to become a vegan runner. What came out of that was a better understanding for the ways to incorporate more vegetables in to every meal. And how to take advantage of wide range of super beneficial foods I’d been ignoring like lentils.
What are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
The anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating that will include mostly plant based foods like vegetables, fruits, foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, beans, nuts healthy fats and herbs that help with recovery.
Some inflammation is a good thing, after a workout it’s what tells the body to repair and build back stronger. What we are concerned with is chronic inflammation.
It’s this low level that just stays with the body all the time and is often see in runners with arthritis, asthma, eczema or simply a super high stress life.
Anti-inflammatory recipes will limit the use of things that could cause more systemic inflammation:
- Processed foods
- Fried foods
- Red meat
Additionally, this is going to include any food sensitivities that you might have. In my case, eggs trigger my gut to get very unhappy which then leads to more inflammation and slows down my workout recovery.
It’s extremely important to know if you have any foods like that. Checkout the article linked above for tips to figure this out.
Benefits to Anti-Inflammatory Diet
We’ve often heard that food is medicine and this exactly how you might think of this way of eating. The goal is truly to help lower your inflammation levels and speed up recovery, healing and health.
In fact, the Mediterranean diet is often sited by Registered Dietitians as a great example of an anti-inflammatory way of eating!
- Can help those with a Chronic Illness
- Reduces high blood pressure and Type 1 Diabetes
- Assist in lessening bowel inflammation
- Help with fatigue, bloating, headaches or getting sick frequently
Need a little more motivation to up your plant game? How about these amazing reasons from runner Rich Roll:
“I truly believe that eating plant-based is a secret weapon for maximizing athletic performance, primarily because it optimizes immune system functionality and significantly expedites physiological recovery from exercise induced stress.
For the non-athletic, maximizing athletic recovery is the holy grail of actualizing performance potential. If I could do what I’ve done athletically on nothing but plants in my mid and late 40’s, imagine your own untapped capabilities.”
39 Anti-Inflammatory Recipes
If you’re still dipping your toe in the plant filled water and maybe just need to incorporate more plant-based meals, I’ve got you covered!
Here are some ideas to help make the transition to meat free, dairy free, egg free foods that will support your training.
Dinner and Lunch Ideas
The easiest way to make the switch is to find foods that feel hearty and if you can use spices all the better! Your new foods aren’t going to taste like meat, so you need to find flavors that still delight.
I’m starting with dinner ideas because that’s where most often the concern of protein shows up. Luckily, it’s not the issue you might assume, as noted by One Green Planet
“Plant-based nutrition is a great way to enhance your muscle mass by giving the body beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and complex carbs that meet the body’s needs on a number of levels.”
First up, an easy favorite Lentil Taco meat.
Lentil Taco Meat
- 1 cup soaked and cooked lentils
- 1 cup red beans
- 1/2 cup pureed carrots a la sneaky chef
- chili pepper
- garlic salt
- black pepper
- Adjust total qty of beans for how large you want the batch to be
- Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse
- I like it really spicy, so start with 1/2 tsp each and adjust…I used a lot more ?
- Serve it up with a bed of greens, sliced peppers, salsa and avocado
Soak your lentils before cooking. TIP: Just dump them in a bowl with water before heading to work or bed.
Some other ideas for a hearty anti-inflammatory dinner:
- Hearty Vegan Chili from RunToTheFinish
- Chickpea Tofu Eggplant Curry from Endless Meal
- Coconut Butternut Squash Soup from RunToTheFinish
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai from Natural Girl Modern World
- Easy Chickpea Falafels from RunToTheFinish
- Vegan Jalapeno Mac and Cheese from Cotter Crunch (pictured above)
- Beet Falafel Sliders from Shaw Simple Swaps
- Vegan Sloppy Joes from Dietitian Debbie
- Stuffed Peppers from Plant Based Cooking
- Vegan Enchiladas Verdes from Carve Your Craving (Pictured Above)
- Veggie Burger in a Bowl from Hey Nutrition Lady
- Butternut Squash Noodles with Spinach and Mushrooms from Tasting Page
- Vegan Tuscan Gnocchi from Nora Cooks
Side Dish Ideas
We’ve covered the main dishes and meals, but sometimes what you need is just that little extra on the side. A few more ideas that you can use with any meal to get some awesome health benefits from your food.
- Sweet Potatoes with Swiss Chard from Plant Based Cooking
- Anti-Inflammatory Creamy Coconut Rice from Gathered Nutrition
- 3 Vegan Dipping Sauces from This Savory Vegan
- Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower from A Cedar Spoon
- The Best Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts from The Big Man’s World
Breakfast Time Ideas
Of course you could always enjoy a fabulous overnight oats recipe with almond milk or even a green smoothie, but I’m all about getting in great protein at breakfast to help me feel satisfied all day long.
They’ve proven that can help reduce sugar cravings and I know if I can get in a couple veggies it puts me on the right track.
- Tofu Scramble with Veggies from RunToTheFinish
- Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts from Oh My Veggies (pictured above)
- Vegan Pumpkin Bake from RunToTheFinish
- Anti-Inflammatory Blueberry Smoothie from Lemon and Zest
- Savory Oatmeal with Tempeh Bacon from Emile Eats
- Chickpea Flour Mini Veggie Frittatas from The Mostly Vegan
- Broccoli and Quinoa Breakfast Patties from Neurotic Mommy
- Vegan Cashew Cream Mushroom Tart from RunToTheFnish
- Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars from Joy Food Sunshine
- High Protein Overnight Oats from RTTF
Dessert Time Ideas
Have no fear, you can still enjoy sweet treats and even chocolate! You have to read labels a little more carefully to avoid the dairy, but it’s worth it for the bliss sans the bloat.
- Cookies and Cream Recovery Smoothie from RunToTheFnish
- Raspberry Swirl Banana Ice Cream from Well and Full
- No Bake Power Cookies from Go Dairy Free
- Whole Foods Vegan Cookie Copycat Recipe from RunToTheFinish
- Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins from Two Raspberries
- Vegan Vanilla Cupcake from RunToTheFinish
- Gluten Free Cookie Cake from Fooduzzi (pictured above)
- Flourless Apple Pie Blondies from The Big Man’s World
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Meme Inge
- Easy Paleo Peach Cobbler from Fitviews
Incorporating just one or two plant-based meals each week, can help you to think differently about food. It opens up tons of new meal ideas and makes the focus on vegetables more prevalent in every meal.
For anyone who wants to recover faster, there are huge benefits to mixing up the foods you eat and incorporating more plant based meals!
These ideas are healthy with a focus on one’s that are easiest for the palate to adjust from a meat eaters diet.
A few more resources to help with your plant-based sports nutrition:
- Thrive by Brendan Brazier (have read all his books and enjoyed)
- No Meat Athlete (tons of great information)
- Oh She Glows (fabulous healthy recipes, but many above my expertise in the kitchen)
- Rich Roll (great cookbook and podcast)
How often do you have plant-based meals?
What’s your favorite vegan recipe?
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