Many prominent athletes have adopted vegan diets and lifestyles and have not only maintained their strength, but also promoted their inward health past a point they felt possible as a traditional eater.
One of the most infamous stories is, of course, Venus Williams. In 2011, Venus was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease, and this is what prompted her to adopt a raw vegan lifestyle. When her diagnosis took her out of the world of tennis, it was her adopting of this type of eating lifestyle that brought her back to the court despite her autoimmune condition. Ever since, she has trained harder, become more efficient, and has stood alongside her sister (who also adopted the vegan lifestyle in order to support her sister through this uncertain road) and has since stood toe-to-toe with her on the court.
Mike Tyson is another athlete who has not only stayed strong, but also kept his muscle mass even after he switched to a plant-based diet. When Tyson made the switch to clean living, he became an outspoken proponent of the vegan lifestyle. He dropped over 100 pounds after cutting meat and animal byproducts from his diet, and he proclaims that it has helped him with a variety of issues he began experiencing as he got older. He tells anyone who will listen that as his age started to creep up, he felt his physical condition beginning to slip. He was experiencing arthritis, sharp joint pain, and what tacking on weight at an enormous rate. Since switching to the plant-based eating and animal-free lifestyle, not only have those issues cleared up, but he has also gained the bulk of his energy back in the latter years of his life.
Mac Danzig is a prominent name in the world of MMA fighting, and he was criticized a great deal when he made the decision to adopt a plant-based diet. In the meat-eating world of MMA, he now stuck out like a sore thumb. While he cut dairy out quite some time before the full move because of allergies, he states that the primary reason he shifted to a full-on plant-based diet was because he felt his body was not at the peak physical condition it could have been in regards to his fighting.
Yes, a prominent MMA fighter adopted a plant-based eating regimen because he wanted more from his body.
Among his list of foods he eats on a regular basis, black beans, lentils, and seeds top the list.
Baseball superstar Hank Aaron is just another prominent athlete in the world of athletes that adopted a plant-based lifestyle in order to further their strength, agility, and energy stores for their career. He is a 25-time All Star in baseball and has never once argued or disputed his diet to the press. Simply the length of his illustrious and historical career tells us that not only is a plant-based lifestyle good for the body, it also shows that it has no bearing on an individual’s strength.
However, no list of vegan athletes is complete without the mention of Tony Gonzalez. Infamous tight end in the NFL, he has openly admitted that his dietary choices have caused many awkward eyebrow raises during his career. The catalyst for his decision was a chance meeting he had on an airplane with businessman David Pulaski. What happened during that encounter? Well, Pulaski kept refusing standard meat-and-cheese dishes that were being offered to first-class passengers on the plane they were both inhabiting, and Gonzalez got curious and asked why.
Pulaski introduced him to The China Study, which was an experiment performed where multiple scientists found that Chinese citizens who ate fewer animal products were less susceptible to many different illnesses. Pulaski talked with him about the theories behind many of the illnesses that plague Americans in regards to their diets, and the rest is history.
Gonzalez is the billboard example for both the dangers and the benefits of adopting a vegan diet. When he first began his diet, he dropped a substantial amount of weight because he was uninformed about the nutrition side of the eating lifestyle.
In essence? He cut out all animal products without replacing them with other protein, fruit, and vegetable sources.
Due to this weight loss, he lost his strength, and this is when he decided to begin educating himself. He spoke with several doctors and specialists, and read every type of material he could get his hands on, and he figured out where he had gone wrong and took every effort to change it. He quickly began incorporating more plant protein sources he didn’t know to exist, and it put him back in fighting shape within a few short months.
So, what has this plant-based diet done for his career? Well, since adopting the diet, he has not only become incredibly outspoken about his decisions because of the criticism many in the NFL gave him (which have led many individuals to adopt vegan eating habits of their own), he has also set several athletic records within his career, including a career reception record for his position in football.
The truth of the matter is that adopting a plant-based lifestyle, if done right and with the right amount of knowledge, can help your body heal. Not only that, but it can also help to strengthen your body in ways a traditional eating lifestyle cannot because the variety of foods you have to adopt will also come jampacked with macro-and-micronutrients your body is not getting otherwise.
So, with all of this in mind, what does a vegan eat? Do they take supplements anyway? What types of foods have those sources of protein and calcium that are so vital to bone and muscle health?
Trust me, there is more variety than you realize.