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Vegan Professional Race Car Driver

Did you choose to start eating a plant-based diet for health reasons, ethics, or concern about the environment, or all of these considerations?

I started for health reasons for sure but as I have become more aware I can say that both the animal rights concern and the health issues are strong enough arguments alone to go vegan. I think when someone asks me about it I sometimes change my explanation based on what I think he or she will respond to, but all of these considerations are important. I am trying hard to get a leather-free fireproof racing shoe approved by the organizers so there is a lot of concern for animals as well as my racing performance. I think anyone with a sense of justice would have to conclude the status quo needs to be changed when animals are concerned.

Are people in your profession surprised when they find out you don’t eat meat?

Yes, but it is becoming less and less each day. I think “vegan” used to conjure up images of counter-culture types but recently there has been a big change in the number of athletes who are choosing to go plant-based and with that comes more acceptance. Most people don’t understand how physically demanding driving a race car can be but my heart rate can get higher than it does when I run and it stays there for up to a 3 hour stint in the car. The heat is extreme and the mental stress is equally draining. The other racers understand why I am looking for an edge and there are a few others who are or are considering eating plants.

What foods do you take with you when you are traveling?

I take Cliff bars for long plane trips but not much else. We have a great staff on our team that provides meals for the drivers and crew. At the bigger races like last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona we can have 5 cars entered with 4-5 drivers in each car. We had 125 team members so the hospitality team has to be great and they take good care of my food needs at the track.

Were there any particular books, websites or movies that influenced your decision to follow this diet?

I am always finding inspiration from different places. I made this choice based on lots of informational sources and I appreciate all the people who fight for health and compassion with everything they do. I am a big fan of Forks Over Knives and I first heard about Farm Sanctuary through that movie. Farm Sanctuary happens to be 10 minutes from one of the tracks we race on twice a year so I was able to visit them and see the great work they are doing. Mercy for Animals really does a good job of exposing cruelty and I get a lot of good info from PETA and ADAPTT online. I also have read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and recommend that to anyone interested in learning more about what they are eating.

Are there any plant-based cookbooks you use currently?

My wife and I are currently going through Sarah Kramer’s cookbook La Dolce Vegan! Vegan Livin’ Made Easy and so far everything has been excellent. The veggie loaf has been our favorite so far. We cook at home when we can but with lots of great options in our area we eat out a good bit too.

Image Credit: Jeffrey Keeton from Birmingham, USA

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

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27 comments

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1:22AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

thanks for sharing

3:25PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

thanks for the article

12:27AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Eddie, I think you and Sharon have gotten a bit distracted from the so-called "topic", but just an FYI, many cultures don't even bother burying their dead..........they leave the corpse out to yes,"rot" and provide substinance for many other creatures. In India, they leave them alongside river banks, where it is thought the fish there are consuming them and that accounts for their huge size. In Tibetan cultures, they take remains to mountain tops and leave them for birds and other scavengers. Many other species consume everything, including bones.

5:42PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Noted!

9:46AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Well Sharon, I think the bones normally get used for several things, Pet foods, fertilizers, which turn around and poison the streams. You are right, vegetation does give back to the earth, and flesh and blood does not. A rotting corpse will poison the area around it and nothing will grow there.
As we have seen, there is horrific amounts of waste products from the slaughter houses. There is no other option but to poison the world with that.
I am glad that you are a vegan too! And thanks to Care2 the numbers of people becoming aware of how livestock production is devastating the earth and humanity, and people are inspired by seeing how their heros have taken the path of caring, and are hoping that other people will follow so that their children will not be forced to live in a world of death and disease.

4:43AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Eddie... glad I am already a vegan then... and here is a question for you.. with a billion cattle being eaten every year just where are they putting the bones? Veggies go back into the earth and give back..but bones? Is the earth now just a giant grave yard.. I wonder about these things..

11:47PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

This is worthy of a Care.2 article just WHY? Is it news that a vegan can drive a car? Yeah, what's next...........Vegan carpenter, or vegan roofer, or I know, a vegan POLITICIAN! Oh wait, there already is one.........Bill Clinton........whoops, he eats fish a couple of times a week, so he's not vegan, just says he is.

8:54PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Wow! I am so impressed that there is a Vegan/Vegetarian that makes his living as a professional air polluter burning fossil fuels most likely driving in circles making nothing but left turns while sucking in car exhaust. All for the entertainment of a bunch of red neck rubes that are quite willing to freaking "BOOO!" the First Lady of the United States of America and the wife of the Vice- President. Now that is what I would call a great role model for any ones child.

8:08PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Waiting for vegan ballerina article...

5:17PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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