You may already know a little bit about Veganism, that it is good for the environment, saves animals from abuse and suffering, and is great for our health. But did you know that a surprising number of professional athletes have taken the diet on?
In fact, it was recently revealed via Tennessee Titan linebacker Derrick Morgan, that a good number of players on their team were eating a complete plant-based diet!
In case you’re a bit foggy on what exactly constitutes a vegan diet, it means that you consume no animal products.
This means no meat of any kind, no eggs, and no dairy. Also, foods that aren’t typically thought of as being “meat” or containing animal products, such as certain breads, pastries, and gummy candies that include gelatin, are also off the table.
At first glance one might assume this is a very limiting kind of diet, but in fact it is the opposite. New vegans find themselves often starstruck with the myriad varieties of delicious meat and dairy substitutes, healthy takes on already loved foods, and new plants to taste-test entirely. The vegan diet often expands choices instead of limiting them.
Thus, a purely plant-based diet turbo charges human health, speeds metabolism, aids in losing weight, and even reverses many diseases. In this sense, veganism is less a diet than it is a way of life.
So what’s going on with the Tennessee Titans?
Seen as an underdog that recently rocked the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday in a surprising upset victory on Wild Card Weekend, the national spotlight has turned to them, and the fact that over a quarter of their team has gone vegan, according to sources close to the team. This should come as no surprise, since veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement “ever,” and is set to completely transform our way of life heading into the next few years.
Plant Power and High Level Performance
A ton of professional athletes and other sports figures have adopted the vegan lifestyle. Theo Riddick, Brandon Mebane, Trent Williams, and Demaryius Thomasare just some of the NFL players who have transformed their lives with veganism, let alone stars in other sports. Even Venus and Serena Williams, the professional Tennis mega-stars, eat a mostly raw plant-based diet.
This kind of star attention is only going to increase as more and better meat and dairy substitutes grace our shelves, and as the health benefits of veganism become known to a wider audience. As it is, we know veganism has the power to cure a wide range of illnesses, especially those linked to heart disease, liver failure, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. It is without a doubt one of the best ways to cure auto-immune disorders, skin conditions, digestive issues, and obesity as well.
Literally no medicine or treatment from the medical industry comes remotely close. Again, this is because veganism, as it stands, is basically our optimal diet. Barring “vegan junk food”, the plant-based diet is capable of transforming anyone’s life, even if you already believe yourself to be healthy.
It’s also a misnomer to believe that by going vegan, you’re giving something up. Vegan meats or foods that are prepared to mimic the taste of meats, are getting better and healthier all the time (gone are the days of limp, bland soy burgers!) – as Derrick Morgan said, “It’s not a real sacrifice as far as flavor goes.”
In many instances, once you’ve had a good vegan meat you may never want to go back anyway. If you take your typical hamburger and compare it to a well made vegan black-bean burger with avocado, the winner is unquestionably the latter.
The Beyond Meat line of burgers are so good, that they are even getting featured in publications dedicated to meat itself. The substitute is literally becoming better than the “real” thing. When you factor in that humans were never designed to consume meat at all, and that these “vegan meats” are actually healthy for you in that they don’t clog your arteries or have any chance of making you fat, well then we can see which is the clear winner.
Here’s the power of plants unleashed:
As we learn more about phytonutrients and other compounds that are found only in plants, athletes are going to be relying more and more on fruits and vegetables for their gains. Building muscle on a diet that clogs your arteries and makes your heart, liver, and intestines work overtime is in no way a healthy diet.
There’s truly a vegan revolution going on – in the coming years we’re going to be seeing more instances of teams like the Tennessee Titans who are unabashedly going vegan. It’s one of the biggest worldwide lifestyle trends for a reason. People are sick of being sick, and are really starting to take their health seriously.
What About the Protein?
It seems like people only care about how much protein you are getting until you go vegan. It’s as if they don’t realize some of the biggest, most muscular animals on the planet live on nothing but leaves and grass. The gorilla and elephant are just two examples of animals that are built like tanks, yet thrive off of nothing but the greens of the Earth. So where do they get their protein from?
Well, this might come as a shock to some, but all fruits and vegetables have protein, including common lawn grass. While we are primarily fruit-eaters who have trouble digesting the adult leaves of plants like trees and shrubs, we are more than suited to extract the protein from fruits and the tender shoots of young leaves. And forget the notion that plant proteins are somehow “incomplete.” The whole concept of “incomplete” and “complete” proteins are mostly a myth. As long as you eat protein-rich plants, you will get more than enough of all the protein you need.
Keep in mind, whatever protein that may be inside of meat is useless to us anyway. Animal protein, though usable, is dangerous for our bodies. To even make use of animal protein, our bodies have to go to great lengths to neutralize its acidity and keep our bodily pH balanced. Even then, there is very little “attached” to animal proteins, making them a chore for our cells to assimilate.
Plant-based protein, on the other hand, comes equipped with all of the right compounds and phytonutrients that aid in its assimilation in our body, and it is already alkaline to begin with, which means that it feeds our body instead of destroying it. No part of the plant can clog our arteries or lead to the degeneration of our bones or organs. It is the protein we evolved to consume and assimilate. Animal protein just can’t compete with that.
And yes, even fruit has protein. Put it this way: if you eat food, it’s almost impossible to have a protein deficiency. Such a thing is absurd, and is generally something spoken of by people who have no idea about nutrition and want to scare people into eating meat. Protein deficiency is technically what we call “starvation.” Have you ever met someone who was eating on a regular basis but was somehow protein deficient? I thought so. It’s nigh impossible. As long as you’re eating a balanced diet, you’re likely getting more protein than your body can even use in one day.
For athletes who are looking for big gains or performance boosts, pure pea-plant protein is one option to incorporate into smoothies and other foods for all the added protein anyone could ever need. The best part is, since it’s plant protein, our bodies can easily absorb it, which makes muscle recovery even easier.
To be sure, the Tennessee Titans are getting enough protein.
Is Veganism Really More Than a Diet?
There’s many good reasons why veganism is a lot more than just the new dietary trend. Let’s take a look at the 3 big ones:
- It’s the Optimal Human Diet: As we’ve already touched on, we have the physiology of fruit-eating apes. We were clearly designed to eat primarily fruits, vegetation, some seeds and nuts, and the occasional root or tuber. Meat and dairy breaks down our bodies over time, while plants build us up. Our closest animal cousins, the bonobo, are docile plant-eaters. Even chimpanzees, our other closest relatives in nature who occasionally indulge in termites or small birds, still eat over 97% fruits and vegetation.
- It Saves Animal Lives: There are unspeakable horrors going on inside the meat and dairy industries right now. Billions upon billions of animals just as smart and lovable as your average Golden Retriever and tortured, raped, and slaughtered every year just so we can have steaks and bacon. Not only is it insane, this comes at great cost to human life as well. Rates of suicide and sociopathy are extremely high in the animal agriculture industry. The suffering we inflict on animals also has had the unpleasant result of forming unnatural “super diseases” like Mad Cow Disease, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is because the unnatural, unclean living conditions these animals are forced to exist in require over 50% of the worlds antibiotics to be used on livestock just so they stay alive, while also breeding all kinds of dangerous new bugs that infect the animals and in turn infect us. It’s horrible for the animals who have to suffer through it, but it isn’t good for us, either. No one wins in the animal agriculture industry.
- It Saves the Planet: You may not be aware, but animal agriculture is the number one leading cause of climate change. Yes, even more so than the entire automotive industry. By some counts, by a long shot. This is for a myriad of reasons. First of all just the raw amount of resources it takes to breed and raise hundreds of billions of animals every year on the planet is beyond massive. We’re talking gallons of water and tons of feed with astronomical numbers, which if turned toward us, would solve world hunger and thirst overnight. Then there is the issue of animal feces. This many land animals is unnatural, especially in such confined spaces. These animals produce a ton of waste, which is not nearly as regulated and treated as human waste is. Instead of going to treatment plants, much of the animal waste produced on factory farms ends up in the ground, where its kept in massive septic pools. These pools leech into groundwater and also create deadzones in the environment. Parts of the Gulf of Mexico, where the Missippippi empties, are completely and utterly dead because of all the waste water that leaks into it. There are dozens of smaller sites like this around the planet and it grows every day, all because of animal agriculture. There are plenty of other issues too: the land that is cleared to make room for cattle (especially in the Amazon), the methane gas that the animals release which contributes to the greenhouse effect, the socio-economic cost of cancer and other epidemics on the human population, over-fishing which is responsible for utterly destroying the oceanic ecosystem further contributing to climate deterioration, and even raw water use, which is one of the foremost reasons why water tables get lower around the world every year. It takes far more water to make 1 pound of beef than it does 1 pound of grain, and you can feed more people with the latter.
This three-pronged wake up call is why veganism is taking on like wildfire all over the planet right now. People realize that the environment is more important than our taste buds, and human health means more than cultural convictions. There’s definitely open resistance to veganism for some people: it’s hard to not only accept that what you like to eat is harming you, but that it is also harming other people and the environment itself, but it’s important to self-reflect and embrace this empowering lifestyle.
I say, if it’s good enough for NFL playoff teams, it’s good enough for anyone!
Don’t doubt or knock veganism if you haven’t tried it. Organizations like the Tennessee Titans are really only the beginning: keep a look out all through 2018 as veganism goes from hot topic to mainstream before our very eyes, all with good reason.
If you’re thinking of dipping your toes in the plant-based world, realize that you’re in good company, and once you get the hang of shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, you’ll realize that you’re not going to have to give up much of your favorite foods. There’s vegan mac-and-cheese, vegan coffee creamer, vegan tuna sushi, vegan chicken nuggets, and even vegan BBQ pulled pork. If you can think it, some awesome vegan chef has probably made it somewhere.
Just remember, veganism is more than a diet.
The power of a plant-based lifestyle is that you actually take control of your own health and the well-being of the planet you live on, which is far more than any mere diet can do!
Have any questions about jumping into veganism? Feel free to drop us a comment below!