Endurance athletes are known to be voracious eaters—especially during their peak training months (look no further than Michael Phelps’ 12,000-calorie-per-day diet ahead of the London Games). So you might be surprised to learn that Kate Ziegler, a two-time Olympian and four-time World Champion swimmer, powers her performance with fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes. The 25-year-old Ziegler says her vegetarian diet gives her more energy while speeding recovery between meets and practices. STACK spoke with Ziegler to find out why she became a vegetarian and just how much quinoa it takes to power all of those laps in the pool.
Ziegler: For the longest time, I ate meat and I didn’t really pay attention to my diet. When I was about 20, I started to focus more on my diet. I wasn’t removing snack foods from my diet then, but I was adding in more fruits and vegetables. I then started focusing on a fruit, vegetable and plant-based diet, and I just felt so much better. After that, I started reading about the nutritional aspect of it, the environmental aspect, and that sold me on it, I suppose. So about a year and a half ago, I went vegetarian.