On Bipeds & Brutes

National Museum of Animals & Society Blog

Vegetarian Athletes Go Pro

Prince Fielder. Click for source.

Prince Fielder. Click for source.

Though there are no conclusive studies as of yet which show that a vegetarian diet improves athletic performance, neither are there studies which prove that a diet including meat does so. You don’t have to be an animal-lover to realize from the following examples that a meatless diet can be the best decision an athlete or just a physically active person can make.

With the major league baseball playoffs now in full swing, the Milwaukee Brewers are relying on their hulking all-star first baseman Prince Fielder to smash homeruns. Weighing in at 275lbs. on a frame that is under six feet tall, at first glance Fielder looks like your stereotypical massive steak consumer. But Fielder is actually more introspective than this image portrays. Never much of a carnivore, he gave up meat entirely after conversations with his wife Chanel, who gave him the diet book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Since beginning his animal-friendly diet, Fielder’s homerun production has seen no major drop off, while his overall performance and durability during the grind of a 162-game season have improved, making him even more valuable to his team as they vie for a spot in the 2011 World Series.

In 2007, NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. After reading T. Colin Campbell’s nutrition exposé The China Study and taking advice from outside medical personnel, Gonzalez switched over to a vegan diet. The elimination of animal products from the diet is believed by some to help alleviate the symptoms of Bell’s palsy. Gonzalez is a sure-fire hall-of-famer who, at 6 feet 5 inches and 245lbs., can still dunk a basketball with ease while being weighted down with all of his football gear. He says he initially lost some of his strength and endurance, as well 10lbs. So he did what many athletes do: he started juicing. But this is not juicing in the steroid sense, but juicing as in the Jack La Lanne infomercial sense. He was quickly back up to his preferred playing weight and is currently catching passes and scoring touchdowns as well as he ever has. Even in a contact sport such as football, it would seem a meat-based diet is not necessary for success.

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2 responses to “Vegetarian Athletes Go Pro

  1. Marji October 26, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Not to mention Gonzalez is arguably one of the greatest TE of all time and going almost-vegan has not diminished his athletic abilities at all. I don’t think he is completely vegan (fish oils and probably still wears animal products) which is just me being nit-picky. It’s amazing that, despite the great lack of support from his own team and coaches (I don’t know about the Falcons, but the Chiefs mocked him mercilessly), he has been able to show that a person can be a big athlete and not rely on animal products.

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