To train and compete at an elite marathon level requires an optimal functioning of the body and overall musculoskeletal system. Until a few years ago, little was known about the dietary intake of Kenyan runners despite them having been a dominating force in international marathon running. Kenyan runners, consume a relatively high-quality diet based on vegetable sources with kidney beans and ugali as the main food. The diet is high in carbohydrate and total protein, but low to borderline in a few essential amino acids.
What Is The Secret?
The astonishing success of Kenyan runners in world athletics, especially in the marathon elite race events, has astounded scientists who have tried to explain the reasons for this phenomenon. Explanations have included genetic predisposition as they are born, raised and trained at high altitude environmental conditions and distinctive dietary regime. There is much evidence in the literature regarding the advantages of optimal nutrition in endurance events.
The science behind the scenes
One of those proofs according to the study from Dr Dirk Lund Christensen From the Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, runners from Kenya consume a diet based on a small range of food items primarily of vegetable origin that has been shown to provide sufficient carbohydrate and total protein intake for endurance athletes. In addition to this research is the report of the Euromonitor International which refers to the lifestyle and habits of the consumers in Kenya. The report is from 2017 and it also confirms that Kenyans eat less meat in general. The myth is finally broken and the secret of the success of these extraordinary athletes is revealed. It is the food, and the food is 95 percent plant based and vegan.
Are these athlete celebrities creating changes in lifestyle and food habits in Kenya among young athletes?
To secure the vegan athletic future based on facts and science, the elite athletes together with the governments from all around the world must push together for more based studies on the dietary intake like this, not only for Kenyan runners but as well for runners from all over the world.
The research project from the University of Nairobi is concluding that the fame and glory of the now world celebrities Kenyan athletes is affecting and empower the youth.
The research showed that the majority of the youth are willing to participate in athletic since is well paying and more so they are willing to be engaged in athletics as a profession.
Marathon has long been a mainstream, has become a way of life, a way of expressing itself. Marathon is self-transcendence; veganism and plant-based diet are also a kind of self-transcendence. If we combine both as a philosophy of living, we will have a new running vegan era.
The conclusion of this article would be that only with the help of science and new technologies for vegan foods, we can provide a rapid increase in awareness of the value and importance of the plant-based diet that nourishes our body.