Healthy and Humane Vegan Athletes on the Rise

Success stories of vegan athletes seeking optimal nutrition or to align their values with their diets are becoming ever more common. From world-class professional boxers to mixed martial artists to ultramarathoners, the sports world shines with examples of the benefits of plant-based living.

A recent feature on ABC News in Los Angeles highlighted the growing trend of high-performing athletes-gone-vegan, spotlighting the experiences of three very different pro athletes: Jacksonville Jaguars football player Montell Owens, mixed martial artist Mac Danzig, and Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier.

Amare400.jpgOwens recognized health problems in his family and community and upon research determined that these diseases were preventable. "Culturally, there needs to be a change, and why not start with myself?" "

Believe it or not, the game is slowly but surely transitioning over into a clean eating, conscious lifestyle," Owens told Jacksonville's local Fox news. Of the growing popularity of healthier eating in the NFL, Owens stated: "Football's a game of inches, and if you're one inch in front of somebody that's the difference between a win or a loss." According to an article titled "Going Vegan in the NFL" in Men's Journal, "In the past few years, teams have added salad bars, juicers, and plant-based superfoods like kale, quinoa, almond butter, and whole-wheat pasta to their cafeterias."

venus-williams-news-400x400.jpgThe impressive list of diverse, elite athletes who have adopted a vegan or mostly vegan diet continues to grow: star football players Arian Foster and Tony Gonzalez; former NBA star John Salley and current pros Amar'e Stoudemire and Glen "Big Baby" Davis; mixed martial artists Mac Danzig, Jon Fitch, and Jake Shields; tennis champion Venus Williams; undefeated pro boxer Timothy Bradley; boxing legend Mike Tyson; ultramarathon champion Scott Jurek; the "toughest woman on the planet" Juliana Sproles; Germany's "Strongest Man 2011" Patrik Baboumian; arm wrestler Big Bald Mike; professional race car driver Leilani Munter; and even record-setting, 91-year-old marathoner Mike Fremont and 100-year-old marathoner Fauja Singh, who set the record for the oldest person ever to complete a marathon.

Danzig400.jpg"The evidence is there that this is healthy," future surefire Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez said. "I have more energy right through the fourth. It can be a matter of seconds if you catch the ball or miss it. The guy who's eating the steak is sluggish in the fourth quarter. I want to be 100 percent."

Whether you're an elite athlete or just a diehard fan, you can learn more about healthy and humane vegetarian eating by visiting or ordering your free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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