by Meaghan Kavanagh
It is no surprise that quality nutrition is essential in the world of athletics. Doubters of veganism and plant-based diets may assume the diet does not provide adequate nutrients for the human body. However, the following athletes have demonstrated to the world that a plant-based diet will not only provide adequate nutrition but allow humans to achieve exceptional athletic performance.
The NBA star has consumed a plant-based diet since the 2017 season. Since then he has lead the Boston Celtics in both points per game and assists per game. His performance on the court led the team to the 2017-18 NBA playoffs, and they are currently on pace to reach the postseason for the second straight year. Irving was voted to play in the all-star game of the 2017-18 season. When asked about his diet, Irving claims it provides him with more energy, and less recovery time between games.
Recently converted to a plant-based diet, Zdeno Chara is hoping his higher energy levels will keep him playing in the NHL for years to come. Despite a knee injury taking him out of play for four weeks of the 2018-19 season he continues to be a leader on the team in ice time. At 41 years old, the veteran has no intention of retiring, and hopes his new plant-based diet will allow him to achieve a new level of athletic performance.
The Tennessee Titans
Not the entire team unfortunately, but 15 players reportedly converted to a plant-based diet as of August 2018. The conversion was definitely assisted by player Derrick Morgan’s wife, who is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, and prepares meals for the players. With the chance of chef-prepared meals, it would be hard to resist the call. The players have not noticed any decline in performance since making the switch. Despite going 9-7 on the season, the Titans missed the postseason this year in a week 17 loss to division rival’s the Indianapolis Colts in a game that decided the last playoff spot.
Honorable mention: Tom Brady
The GOAT is a vegan? Not quite, but according to his personal chef, the superstar quarterback says at least 80% of his diet consists of vegetables and grains. Although he has what some describe as an unorthodox diet, you cannot argue with results. Tom has been the most outstanding player on the most successful team of the last decade. At 41 he has been voted to appear at his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl, and has led his team to an unbelievable 6th Super Bowl win.
These plant-based newcomers are on a growing list of vegan athletes, which include:
- Long-term vegan and Germany’s Strongest Man, Patrik Baboumian
- Four-time gold medallist tennis player, Venus Williams
- Two-time world champion and 2018 Olympic gold medallist pair skater, Meagan Duhamel
- Chris Smalling of Manchester United Football Club
- Hector Bellerin of Arsenal Football Club
- Lewis Hamilton, F1 Driver
- David Haye, world heavyweight boxer
- Kendrick Farris, Olympic weightlifter
- Rebecca Soni, Olympic swimmer
- Tio Blanco, champion surfer
Image via Kyrie Irving on Instagram