This Pro Footballer Healed Her Sports Injury With a Plant-Based Diet
Vicky Losada, a professional soccer midfielder for Manchester City and also Spain's national team, injured her ankle back in 2019 and it forced her to miss the first few months of the 2019-2020 season. When news of the injury first broke, fans were saddened, as Losada is an extraordinary player having led teams to victory, often as captain, including the Cyprus Cup in 2018, Algarve Cup in 2019, and the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019.
So when her ankle benched her, the soccer star, now 31 years old, took the advice from other athletes who sprained ankles, broke wrists and arms, and ate plant-based to reduce inflammation and ankle pain for a speedy recovery. Losada was able to get back on the field at an unprecedented time.
When Losada loaded up on "clean" plant-based foods, her inflammation subsided and her ankle pain started to heal naturally and the midfielder quickly made her come back against Deportivo de La Coruña, subbing for Alexia Putellas and playing back at her pre-injury levels, just a few months after the injury. Her doctors had originally predicted her time on the bench would be much longer.
The Beet spoke to Vicky Losada about her entire plant-based journey, including what she eats in a day and how she prepares for some of her toughest career games.
The Beet: Why and when did you go plant-based?
Vicky Losada: I changed my diet about three years ago. I had a big injury and I saw some male players make a change with their diet and it helped them, so I thought it was the moment for me to do the same. It did help and I started feeling better: less pain, less inflammation, and quicker recovery.
The Beet: Tell me about your plant-based journey and how it started.
Vicky Losada: I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to do it because it’s a massive change. The first thing I stopped eating was red meat and I introduced plant-based milk and yogurts. Now, there are a lot of high-quality plant-based protein options on the market and it’s easier to stick to a plant-based diet. The most important for me is to make sure I am eating what my body needs to perform and recover, and that’s why I also have my own nutritionist who helps me every day.
The Beet: How has going plant-based affected your performance?
Vicky Losada: I feel much better. I thought I was not gonna be able to get enough energy and strength from plant-based food but it’s been great since I changed my diet. Feeling lighter, recovering quicker, less inflammation, and full of energy.
The Beet: What do you eat in a day?
Vicky Losada: If I need more [calories] because training is hard I can always add protein powder to recover and perform at my best level.
- Breakfast: Soy milk and yogurt, oats, fruit, seeds, nuts like pistachios
- Snack: Nut butter
- Lunch: Legumes, vegetables, tofu, chia, edamame,
- Dinner: Spinach, plant-based “meat” made from chickpeas, soy protein, lentils.
The Beet: What's your favorite vegan recipe?
Vicky Losada: Really like a combo of hummus, green leaves veggies, seeds, edamame, nuts, and blueberries.
The Beet: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to go plant-based?
Vicky Losada: My advice is to find the best for you. Now, there are plenty of options on the market. It’s also good to have help from a specialist in nutrition at the start. I’ve learned so much during the process and it’s something that I really enjoyed it’s changed my way of thinking about food, it was very limited before and now I feel way more prepared to make my own choices.
The Beet: Any advice for athletes who want to try a plant-based diet?
Vicky Losada: If you are an athlete you have to be very careful with your diet because every single meal you have is gonna affect your performance and recovery. You want to make sure your body gets all the nutrients needed. Also, supplementation is very important. Vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12.
The Beet: What is your mantra? Words you live by.
Vicky Losada: Everything happens for a reason.
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