Professional athletes, including golfers, are experimenting with varying dietary lifestyles. But which one is right for you—if any? Let’s explore three of the top on-trend dietary lifestyles to see if we can figure out if any of them could help improve your golf game.
Vegan diets present many health benefits: a cleaner diet with increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can assist in weight management, enhanced digestion, restful sleep, and reduce the risk of heart disease, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers.
But going completely animal free in your diet isn’t always the healthiest choice if not done correctly. Many mistakenly swap out animal protein for carbs, empty calories, and vegan junk food such as frozen and prepackaged foods. And though many vegan restaurants have opened recently, many places, including, golf course restaurants, haven’t all caught up with the times, making sticking to a vegan diet a little hard. Luckily, it is easy to keep a vegan diet and enjoy a full day of golf with the girls.
How to be Vegan on the Golf Course:
Before heading out for your round, stock up on healthy carbs and fats with some sprouted grain vegan toast and some slices of avocado with a banana. The natural sugars in the produce will set you up for an amazing round.
During your round, while your foursome gives in to the questionable boiled hotdogs from the snack shack, you can refuel with an energizing pack of dried fruit, granola, and a squeeze pack of nut butter if you want an extra boost of protein.
When lunch rolls around, ask if the restaurant has some vegan options on their menu. If you’re lucky, they may have a plant-based burger patty on hand, but they may not have vegan buns or sides due to cross contamination with meat products. Usually a good compromise would be to make a burger bowl by incorporating a plant-based burger patty on top of some fresh mixed greens.
Does a vegan diet on the golf course actually help your game? Well, LPGA player So Yeun Ryu, in a recent interview with Golfworld, said:
“I don’t eat chicken, pork and beef during tournaments because it makes my body feel really heavy. It’s normally seafood and mushrooms. . . . I did a vegan diet for two weeks to see how it’d go. I really liked it. I’m such a foodie, so I don’t think I can be completely vegan. But I want to do it once every few months.”
So, if you’re in the market to be a little lighter on the golf course—physically and ethically—give veganism a try.
If you are one of the estimated 1-2% of the population living with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, then you already know that steering clear of gluten has gotten easier in the last couple years. Those without gluten sensitivities but who avoid eating wheat products anyway report experiencing better digestive health, more energy, and improved cholesterol levels.
Gluten is hidden in a lot of unexpected places, but a diet rich in proteins, fruits, and vegetables will never do you wrong.
How to be Gluten Free on the Golf Course:
While packing snacks for your round, be sure to check labels on prepackaged foods for wheat and any of its derivatives. Also, make sure it was not processed alongside wheat products. Try instead to snack on sliced vegetables or seasonal fruit with a handful of natural sunflower seeds.
Even a salad at the clubhouse restaurant can have hidden glutens. Croutons aside, many salad dressings use flour as a thickening agent. And your gluten free burger bun won’t do much good if your ketchup isn’t gluten free as well. Before your meal, inform your server that you do not want to come into contact with gluten and avoid any condiments until you confirm that they are gluten free.
If your playing group wants to meet up for beers after your round, you don’t have to be saddled with water. See if the bar has gluten free beers, switch to hard ciders, or try a cocktail.
Quite a few LPGA players are gluten free. Michelle Wie has an allergy to gluten and said in an interview with Golf.com:
“It’s amazing what eating right and working out does to you. Even if I didn’t play golf—even in my off-season, [being gluten free and exercising is] so important to me. I feel so much better when I wake up, when I do yoga, when I eat healthy and eat lean protein. I just feel so much better.”
Keto is a low carb, high fat diet that works wonders for weight loss but is extreme on the body and should only be done in short stints rather than as a lifestyle change such as becoming vegan or vegetarian. Being keto can be hard on a golfer’s body as the goal of the diet is to force your body into a state of metabolic ketosis that can be called the Keto Flu where you can experience short-term nausea, lethargy, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness.
Though this diet hasn’t taken over the golf course just yet, it has taken Hollywood by storm. So, if you’re looking to shed the pounds, here are some tips to be Keto on the golf course.
How to be Keto on the Golf Course:
First and foremost, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking enough water (and no, the water in beer doesn’t count) during your round is always important, but especially on a Keto diet. Drink at least 64 ounces a day, and even more if you’re sweating. If you can, drink electrolyte-infused water to replenish your energy after a round.
Also, high-fat, low sugar meals like burgers are totally keto-friendly, but make sure the beef is from healthy sources (grass-fed, free-range if possibly) and skip the ketchup and buns that can contain hidden sugars and opt for some buttered veggies on the side instead of fries.
Being keto could be beneficial to your golf game, but maybe in an unexpected way. Once the discomfort of the Keto Flu works through your system, you may find yourself having more sustained endurance, which can be key for hours and hours of golf. So if you want more energy and maybe lose a little weight, the keto diet could be for you.
No matter which diet you choose this year, it’s important to learn about your body and what’s best for your game. There are varying components of different diet programs that can be effective in enhancing your performance in golf, but before you choose the best diet for you, make sure you consult a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist for advice.