Creatine for Vegetarians

As some of us will already know, there has been extensive research showing how creatine improves strength and power performance by supplying energy for muscular contraction. However, ask anyone what a good source of naturally occurring creatine is and they will probably give you the same answer:
 
‘steak’.
 
So how about vegetarians? A meat free diet is an admirable lifestyle choice, although you might want to clue yourself up on how you can meet all of your needs, not just to keep up your exercise performance, but to excel at it.
Creatine as a supplement is synthetic and suitable for vegetarians, unless a gelatine capsule has been used (always check). Most of us don’t want to be popping multiple tabs a day though, especially if you’re already supplementing things like B12. As for the powder, creatine is notoriously difficult to mix in water and the unflavoured versions aren’t the nicest.
 
Here are some suggestions to get more creatine in your diet effortlessly:
 
1. Choose a pre-workout containing creatine
This will save you money and simplify your supplement routine. While creatine is not necessarily a ‘pre-workout’ specific supplement like caffeine, it simply has to be available in your body, this is a great way to be able to get it in several times a week. You can purchase this vegetarian-friendly pre-workout her
 
 
2. Choose food products with added creatine
Some supplement companies have picked up on the demand for creatine and some ‘mass and size’ style protein bars have it added. A unique product which I have come across recently is the Feel Free Nutrition Pre Workout Porridge which you can purchase here (4250mg creatine per serving):
 
 
3. Consume a varied diet
Creatine is produced naturally by our body from three amino acids; arginine, glycine and methionine. All of these can be obtained from a plant based diet.
 
Foods rich in arginine:
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Spirulina
  • Spinach
 
Foods rich in glycine:
  • Soy products
  • Seaweed
  • Red and green peppers
  • Pumpkin seeds
 
Foods rich in methionine:
  • Brazil nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Zucchini
  • Kale
 
(there are some overlaps with lists but a variety of sources have been suggested).
 
Consuming excessive amounts of creatine can cause problems with major organs if creatinine levels become elevated, although this is very unlikely following a vegetarian diet. Always be sensible with your dosages!

About the Author

Savannah Westerby, BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition. IG:@savannahwesterby
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