Is it possible for an NFL star to go meatless?
Grist recently published my interview with Rory Freedman, one of the authors of vegan diet book Skinny Bitch. The finished piece is just a selection of the topics from our conversation (we had quite a long lunch), and one of the questions that didn’t make the cut was about responding to critics who say veganism is unhealthy.
Freedman said it’s a "non-argument" and referenced the work of a number of scientific organizations (the American Dietetic Association, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, etc.) saying that a well-planned vegan diet can be very healthy.
Sure, if you’re a young writer living a normal life …
But what if you’re a 247-lb. professional football player whose daily life requires that you be able to push around equally huge (and huger) dudes in full-body armor?
The Wall Street Journal makes a pass at answering that very question with a profile of sorta-vegan Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6-foot-5-inch tight end was turned on to veganism after reading The China Study, and promptly replaced the usual footballer diet (steaks, pizza, burgers, beer) with fruits, veggies, and nuts. He felt better, but realized after a few weeks that he had lost 10 lbs. … and some of his much-needed strength.
Now Gonzalez plans his diet with the help of several nutritionists and has added in small bits of fish or chicken. But there are professional athletes out there who are able to stay vegan and strong as ever. Ultimate fighter Mac Danzig and Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Salim Stoudamire both had successful (vegan) seasons this year.
Sports nutritionist Lisa Dorfman has tips on how to score with a vegan diet.