Football Players Go Vegan, Never Felt Better

Seattle Seahawks guard Deuce Lutui. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. Kansas City Chief tight-end Tony Gonzalez. Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams. Dallas Cowboys fullback Tony Fiammetta. These football players have something in common: they are all entirely or nearly vegan.

That means no animal products: no meat (including fish), dairy or eggs. Instead, vegans eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains. That is a smart move for athletes: “Vegan foods, which are usually high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, provide the power and energy that athletes need, without the artery-clogging fat and cholesterol they don’t.”

For Lutui, the impetus for changing what he ate was failing a physical with the Cincinnati Bengals, reports the Mother Nature Network. A  nutritionist recommended a vegan diet last spring, and his excess weight started to come off. Lutui says he is in the best shape of his life. Impressed with the results, his whole family is now going vegan.

Pro Bowler Foster may have faced the most criticism for his new diet. “Everybody cares what I eat now,” Foster told Yahoo! Sports.”They didn’t care before, but they do now. Everybody is a nutritionist now and they’re an expert on protein. Every day, every single day somebody knows something new to do. I just smile and say, ‘OK.’ ”

“Foster believes he’s creating a healthier, stronger body that will make him a better player,” despite all the warnings and discouragement he hears. For him the bottom line is that he doesn’t feel good when he eats meat.

He is philosophical about the reason people are so resistant to his new diet. “We’re emotionally attached to food, bad food. Think about every big event in America, it’s attached to food. Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, holidays … it’s with food. That’s why people feel so strongly about it; they’re emotionally attached to it.”

Gonzalez is not entirely vegan, but, inspired by The China Study, he worked hard to create a diet as free of animal products as possible that makes him feel and perform at his peak.

Jon Hinds, a vegan and former strength coach for a pro basketball team, helped Gonzalez when he feared he was losing his strength. Hinds took Gonzalez grocery shopping and taught him what to look for and how to incorporate different foods into his diet, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pro Bowler Willliams “had five relatively successful seasons, including 1,121 yards in 2009, after becoming a vegetarian.” He was vegan except for Greek yogurt. Williams pointed out to ESPN that veganism is a much more efficient way to consume energy than eating animals. He says that we get our energy from the sun, which plants convert through photosynthesis into nutrition that people can thrive on. Eating animals just inserts an unnecessary and unhealthful intermediary into that process.

Fiammetta said it took him only a week to make the change from omnivore to vegan after he read some books that persuaded him to try the diet. “I’ve actually felt better on the field and off the field” since making the dietary change, he told ESPN. At 6 feet and 242 pounds, some might be skeptical that he could maintain his size and strength without meat. Those people have some educational reading to do.

Football players aren’t the only ones catching on to the benefits of veganism. To read some inspirational stories from other sports, visit Great Vegan Athletes.

Check out some awesome Super Bowl recipes!


Related Stories:

Ironman Triathlete Says Veganism is Diet Best for Athletes

The Rise of Vegan Bodybuilding

Vegans DO Have Endurance! Scott Jurek Runs 24-Hour Race



Jim Ven
Jim Ven21 days ago

thanks for sharing.

.2 months ago

Hey buddies, such a marvelous blog you have made I’m surprised to read such informative stuf


Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

I realize, Stephen, that your snark was a week ago, but seriously? "Nothing you say will satisfy Diane. Don't even try."............I am easily "satisfied" by reading facts and the truth. I've read none of that, or even granting a HUGE amount of "leeway" with this article, very little. The vegans who have chosen to attack ME for pointing out the inaccuracies don't "satisfy" me in the least, since they seem incapable of having any logic or reading comprehension. When an article lists 7 so-called NFL vegan football players to show as role models and examples, and the first TWO are false, then let's see, is there some logic in saying well, the other five may be factual? Personally, I prefer tighter odds when it comes to my health choices. If I go to a doctor and he says I have a 40% chance of having bad reactions to something, but let's see, 60% chance of NOT having any, I would choose a different approach.

IF even being an NFL player was reason to use as a "vegan" role model, then use names that really ARE NFL players that are vegan.........use examples that were vegan WHILE playing and those that actually made the team. Oh, and another person brought up the fact that the footballs are made of leather. In other words, they make their bucks by playing a kids' game with the hide of a formerly living animal. Hardly endorsing an animal product FREE lifestyle.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Still catching up..........almost there! Susan, "Diane L - you have said human beings aren't identical in their needs re: some need to eat meat. Well, some thrive on a vegan diet. There are many highly competitive vegan athletes.".............yes, I stand by what I said. We're all different. I would be amongst those who say that many can and DO thrive on a vegan diet. It's just not for everyone, nor should everyone even attempt it. Sure, many competitive vegan athletes, never said there weren't, but amongst those mentioned are some very despicable individuals and 2 of the first 3 mentioned in this article were listed FALSELY.

"Char L - it's ridiculous to link veganism to pancreatic issues. Correlation doesn't = causation. Both Steve Jobs & Ashton Kutcher used Apple products. Does that mean Apple products cause pancreatic issues?" missed the point. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer, and Kutcher went on the same nutritional approach as Jobs in order to PLAY the character of Jobs in a role. Kutcher became extremely ill doing that. Kutcher also endorses Nikon cameras. Maybe taking photos made him sick? Kutcher was smart enough to end his "diet" before he got even sicker.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Still catching up to being offline for almost a week. On Feb. 3rd, Dale posted a link to Ahsimsa Dairy in the U.K. as an example of a producing farm that keeps livestock as we would wish all farms did. Then L and P came in on Feb. 4th and POO POO'd that and said it was THE only one of it's kind and it was not successful. Well, L and P is clueless, as usual. If L and P was for humane agricultural habits, he'd endorse such an enterprise. Facts are that this farm is NOT the only one of it's kind. It's just gotten publicity in Care.2 about how it operates. I live in not what is considered a MAJOR agricultural state, not a leader in the "Dairy" industry such as Wisconsin (aren't they supposedly the leader in the U.S., followed by California's "Contented/Happy" cows? All I know is that most of the dairies near where I live operate much as Ahimsa does, and I've posted links to them before. Always were ignored. Seems some vegans don't WANT to be educated on how things can be, just focus on what they don't agree with. If they're shown how things CAN be, that blows holes in their agenda.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

You may have something there, Colleen! I have a print (very famous one) that my Mom passed down, of a bunch of dogs sitting around a huge table, playing poker. I bet with all those roosters and no "hens" or chicks to fuss about, they'd spend their time playing cards, drinking J.D. & smoking cigars, whaddya' think?

Sheri D.
Sheri D.3 years ago

Keep it up, football players, and spread the word!

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen3 years ago

I don't know gallus gallus well, but I guess having hundreds of roosters and no hens will not have a reason for them to want to fight over the girls.

it will be one big bro-fest?

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

L and P, we've all read your stories about the 125 happily co=existing roosters before, and we're still laughing about it. Good luck with that one. You also continuously say such stuff as "Even backyard egg producers don't want more than a rooster or two. So when their hens (whose brothers are dead) hatch out a clutch".........but what you continously ignore is that backyard egg producers do is have hens only, and without a rooster, NO chicks are produced to provide those 50% male chicks. Yes, some have a rooster (or possibly two) and have an occasional batch of chicks to sell for a few bucks to pay for chicken scratch in addition to the eggs. They also need to replace "spent" hens in their brood. The chicks that are sold may include males, obviously. When sold to a feedstore, the males don't get crushed or ground up. You're still confusing backyard operations with factory farms. Maybe you aren't confused, and just ignore facts to try to continue your A/R propaganda, only you know for sure. Many backyard chicken "breeder" raise males to the point where they can be used for food, while their sisters stay on to be layers. That also is the case for many livestock species. I don't see the problem with that. Each "sex" has a purpose, then. What is yours (purpose, not sex)?