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With the advent of Football Super Bowl this Sunday, I think Piper
Hoffman's post on Care2 re vegan football players is quite timely.
Though the 5 vegan football players she profiles here are not playing
this Sunday, in my view - they are already winners for adopting
a vegan lifestyle diet.
If you are not a Care2 member, you won't know how many of us get
a kick out of getting green stars of appreciation from readers for
our comments there.
A s a teacher way back when, I sometimes would paste blue, green, or
red stars on some of my elementary school pupil's good papers. So
now the tables have turned. I am the one who is pleased as punch
when someone gives me a green star -though I think all of us on Care2
appreciate them as well. And yes, of course, I award them too.
So what was the comment I made on "Football Players Go Vegan, Never
Felt Better?" John C's comment got my hackles up. Here it is:
"I think that the single most important benefit of being vegan, is
the aura of smug moral superiority that surrounds them. As for me,
I'm still unapologetically, on the Jimmy Buffett program. "Good God
almighty, which way do I steer, for my Cheeseburger in paradise,
French fried potatoes & a cold draft beer, heaven on earth with an
Debbie W. sent me a green star for my reply:
"Wrong John. Maybe your statement about some of us vegans feeling
morally superior is true for SOME of us SOME of the time, but people
like me feel happy that we are not causing animal suffering. What a
blessing. Try it-you'll like it. Even God blest a vegan diet in
Genesis before sin came into the world. Not religious? That's okay.
Just think that if half the world would become vegan, the doors of
the horrible cafos would fling open and the poor incarcerated animals
would pour out because there would no longer be a need to keep so many
billions of them in cages, crates, and factory farms. They deserve
to enjoy fresh air, the sun's rays, movement, and being with their
family like the rest of us. CAFOs prevent these needs. They need
to be gotten rid of." (Thank you Debbie for the green star of
Now to some observations on Piper Hoffman's excellent post on the
subject of five football players going vegan. The "big game" is
Sunday and everyone will admit that players have to be strong and
healthy to play professional football. Well these five players feel
that a vegan diet does just that for them.
These 5 players are entirely vegan or nearly vegan:
Seattle Seahawks guard Deuce Lutui
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster
Kansas City Chief tightend Tony Gonzalez
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams
Dallas Cowboy's fullback Tony Fiammetta
There are different reasons for becoming vegan, but Hoffman observes
that not eating meat, fish, dairy or eggs and instead eating fruits,
vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grain is a smart move for athletes.
Vegan foods are usually rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins,
and minerals. These foods provide the power and energy that athletes
need and they are able to avoid the artery-clogging fat and cholesterol
they don't need.
All these players were motivated primarily for health reasons. F or DEUCE
LUTUI- failing a physical with the Cincinnati Bengals was the impetus
for him to follow a nutritionist's recommendation he follow a vegan diet
last spring. His excess weight started to come off, and he now says he is
in the best shape of his life. Impressed by this change in him, his whole
family is now going vegan.
However, some people just don't get it. They are still wed to the notion
that meat has to be a primary component of a healthy diet. Ask ARIAN
FOSTER about this. He has faced criticism for his new diet. Yes, I also
remember when years back I became vegan - family and friends cautioned
me that I was jeopardizing my health, and I needed meat protein. Turns
out that they were wrong, and I was right. Today they are the ones on
the wrong diet of meat, dairy, and eggs.
I understood where they were coming from because as a teacher long ago,
I had unknowingly promoted meat and dairy because of the "free"
literature that the meat and dairy industries had flooded our schools-
with the blessing of government.
Foster, a pro bowler, now also faces criticizm for his diet. He notes
"Everybody cares what I eat now. They didn't care before, but they do
now. Everybody is a nutritionist now and they're an expert on protein.
Every day, every single day somebody knows something new to do. I just
smile and say, 'OK.'" Smart man - he follows his better instincts which
tell him that he doesn't feel good when he eats meat.
He also thinks he knows why people are so concerned about his diet, and
I believe his reasoning has merit: "We're emotionally attached to food,
BAD FOOD (Caps -mine). Think about every big event in America, it's
attached to food. Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, holidays...it's
with food. That's why people feel so strongly about it; they're
emotionally attached to it."
The only criticism I would make to his thoughts here is that there is
nothing wrong with being emotionally attached to food on these special
days. The problem is that we are emotionally attached to the WRONG
foods, and these foods not only cause us to be unwell, but they cause
much suffering to our poor farm animals. Vegan food can be and is
delicious. We have to learn to make new scrumptious vegan meals which
will replace the meat centerpieces of the past. Let's do it!
I was happy to read that TONY GONZALEZ was impressed by Professor
Colin Campbell's CHINA STUDY and his conclusions that a vegan diet
will even lesson the incidences of heart problems, stroke, cancer, and
diabetes. Even though Gonzalez is not completely vegan, he is trying
hard to create a diet as free of animal products as possible.
Gonzalez was also lucky to know JON HINDS, a vegan and former strength
coach for a pro basketball team. Jon helped him when he complained
about losing his strength. Hinds took him grocery shopping and showed
him what to buy and how to incorporate different foods into his diet.
Another success story -Pro Bowler RICKY WILLIAMS enjoyed "five relatively
successful seasons, including 1,121 yards in 2009, after becoming a
vegetarian." He does support the vegan lifestyle though he likes to also
include Greek Yogurt in it.
I like what Williams told ESPN re veganism "....(it) is a much more efficient
way to consume energy than eating animals...that we get our energy from
the sun, which plants convert through photosynthesis into nutrition that
people can thrive on. Eating animals just inserts an unnecessary and
unhealthful intermediary into that process." New approach - I like it!
TONY FIAMMETTA said he was persuaded to change to a vegan diet after
reading some books on the subject. To ESPN he notes: "I've actually felt
better on the field and off the field since making the dietary change. He
is 6 feet tall and weighs 242 pounds, and he questions skeptics who say he
won't be able to maintain his size and strength without meat. He believes
that such people need to do more educational reading.
In the past, I have read about other athletes who also thrive on a vegan
diet, and Hoffman mentions this as well. If interested, she suggests
looking up "Great Vegan Athletes" on the internet.
And for the Super Bowl events, she reminds us that there are some great
recipes to try on the internet. However, I would caution anyone so brave
as to try to " spring" this on everyone. However, I would try serving
something "safe" like a vegan Boca Burger with regular fixings or a Boca
Chik'n veggie patty on a bun with some vegan mayo and jalapeno slices for
people who like it hot.
At least I hope they won't react like the handyman I had years ago. I
gave him a piece of my cream cheese tofu pie. He was fine with it
until I told him it was made with tofu cream cheese. He then promptly
and unceremoniously put down his fork and stopped eating it. You would
think I was serving him some type of poison. He rather have a pie made
from cow's milk than from a plant! So much for his ignorance and bad