“But how will you get enough protein?” many ask when faced with someone who is choosing to follow a vegan diet.
However, it isn’t something that seems to worry many of the world’s top athletes, as we see famous names switch to a plant-based diet. Not only have studies shown healthy decreases in cholesterol, heart disease risk, blood pressure, and body fat but veganism seems increasingly fashionable.
So, which elite athletes have made the switch from meat-eater to beet eater?
Alex Morgan (football)
The football star is one of the best female players ever, earning 169 caps and 107 goals for the US women’s national team. Morgan has won an incredible amount during her illustrious career, including an Olympic Gold Medal, two World Cup trophies, and a Women’s Champions League.
On being injury-free since becoming vegan: “I credit that to my diet. I feel better all around, I feel like I have great energy, I feel like I’m sleeping really well, I feel like I’m just more clear-minded and not as reliant on caffeine as before.” She has also reportedly experienced a drop in her bad cholesterol and found she recovers more quickly.
At 31 years old, Morgan continues to play like a superstar, and her former side Lyon are still favourites in the football betting to win the Women’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Man City and Bayern Munich both have odds of 4.33 in winning the Champions League in football betting, although they are set to face each other before the final as they are in the same half of the draw. Regardless of what happens, football fans will be looking forward to seeing which team lifts the trophy when play resumes in August.
Patrik Baboumian (strongman)
Need meat to be strong? Think again. The Iran born strongman now lives in Germany and is healthier than ever before.
Baboumian is a world record breaker in three strongman events and broke the record for a log lift in under 105kg athletes. He can bench 210kg, squat 360kg, and deadlift 360kg. Not bad for someone that hasn’t eaten meat since 2005.
In 2014, the strongman published a book on nutrition in sport and marked his return to competition by beating his own yoke world record.
On smashing records while observing a vegan diet he said: “This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day.”
Scott Jurek (ultramarathon)
Few stars have made such an impact on their sport as American ultramarathon man, Jurek.
He holds a personal record of covering 165.7 miles in 24 hours. That is a whopping 8 minutes 42 seconds per mile, fuelled by plants and plants only. Jurek was an early adopter of a vegan diet and made the transition when in college, seeing the diet as a way of avoiding his family’s history of chronic illness – according to an interview with GQ magazine.
On his change in diet, he said: “It was definitely a long-term decision rather than one made for short-term performance gains.” A superstar in the world of endurance sports, Jurek promotes the benefits of veganism and his entirely plant-based diet. He puts his extraordinary stamina and longevity in the sport down to diet and lifestyle.
It’s clear that with the right determination, training, and diets athletes can still dominate while being on a plant-based diet. For some, switching to a non-meat diet may be a marathon itself, but the benefits and ethics are clear and will not stop you from competing against meat-eaters.