Vegan Athletes

When you announce to the world that you're switching to a vegan diet, often you're met with derision. Personally, I think it's because people feel threatened in some way. But whatever the reason for their reactions, at some point the people you are talking with will express concern that you will be doing yourself harm. As if eating animal flesh is the only legitimate way to nourish yourself!

To support their argument, they'll often mention that you don't see many professional vegan athletes. Well, there may be a reason for that. Depending on the statistics you choose to refer to, vegans represent anywhere from 0.8% to 5% of the US population. If that's the case, how many professional athletes would you really expect to be vegan? And how many of those are going to be willing to put their diet up to the scrutiny of the public. Just think how you feel when you're eating with omnivores... Do they question everything you put in your mouth? Do they challenge you, pointing out ways in which you are not vegan?

We all know that Prince Fielder has gone vegetarian. Anyway, here's a short list of vegan athletes (and it's by no means comprehensive) with links to some of their sites:

  • Jennifer Argenti, Surfer
  • Rob Bell, Inline Skater
  • Brendan Brazier, Pro Triathlete
  • Molly Cameron, Cyclist
  • Katie Coryell, Pro Surfer
  • Robert Cheeke, Bodybuilder
  • Wendy Gabbe, Basketballer & Duathlete
  • Catherine Johnson, Elite Cyclist
  • Scott Jurek, Ultramarathoner
  • Tonya Kay, Dancer
  • Schulyer Love, Boxer
  • Adam Myerson, Cyclist
  • Kelly Lynn Nauyokas, Fitness Professional
  • Erica O'Connor, Inline Skater
  • Brent Poulsen, Triathlete
  • Jason Sager, Mountain Biker
  • Duncan Seko, Runner and Cyclist
  • James Southwood, Martial Artist
  • Tim VanOrden, Mountain Runner
  • Christine Vardaros, Cyclist
  • Maria Vlasak, Elite Duathlete
  • Kenneth Williams, Bodybuilder

Source: Organic Athletes.

The Vegan Bodybuilding site also offers valuable information on nutrition, supplements, and training, they even offer a recipe for an after-exercise drink. So if you're a newer vegan athlete, this site might be of help to you.

– If you haven’t signed our petition to Oprah asking her to do a piece on factory farming, please consider doing so. We can all work together to make a difference.

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Comments

  1. Usually when people on the cycling team figure out I’m a vegan they’re pretty shocked. I’m not very fast, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt healthier out exercising than I do now (I ran marathons as a omnivore and a vegetarian).

  2. This is a wonderful list of vegan atheletes and so many great sites to visit. Thanks for posting this info.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  3. I also wrote a post discussing this topic here:

    http://www.not-quiteright.net/tvg/2008/04/carl-lewis-is-one-of.html

    Thanks for the links…they are informative.

  4. Thanks, this is a useful list and quick rejoinder to a common “challenge question.”

    If “You don’t see many…” is a guideline for one’s behavior, perhaps a more relevant observation is that you don’t see many vegans in the cardiac and cancer wards.

    My view, these days, is that most health arguments against veganism usually stem from two types of fear:

    1 – Fear of leaving a comfort zone and venturing into unknown territory. (“What would happen if I gave up meat, dairy and eggs? Would I be tired? Hungry? Unsatisfied? )

    2 – Fear of the awful, self-incriminating truth: If you can convince yourself that a vegan diet is unhealthy, then you can superficially justify killing animals.

  5. Hi Benjamin. That’s wonderful, glad to hear it!

    Natalie – we figured it would be good to provide that information. And really, it’s information we were easily able to compile. I’m sure there are many more veg*n athletes out there.

    Alex — Excellent – and we don’t have much overlap!

    Gary – I will definitely add the “you don’t see any vegans in the cardiac /cancer wards” rejoinder to my repertoire!
    As for the health arguments against veganism. I think #1 is the primary concern of most people. I also believe that we are so brainwashed by the meat and dairy industries, that unless we make a concerted effort to do our own research, we probably think we know enough. After all, we’ve been eating for our entire lives and most of us don’t appear to be malnourished.

  6. Thanks for mentioning me in your (raw) vegan athletes list. It can be done and I’m under the opinion that it SHOULD be done.

    I know that a lot of vegetarian athletes are looking for community: other people who are doing it, like them. Some people are also looking for scientific information to answer their sports nutrition questions. I want to share with you a publication I released this year – the first ever “Raw Nutritional Analysis” at http://kayosmarket.com. It is the first nutritional research on the raw vegan diet (mine!) to be made available to the public.

    As your article stated, I am a professional athlete and long term raw vegan. The protein count speaks for itself in this publication. When someone asks where you get your protein, now you can tell them facts instead of philosophy!

  7. I enjoyed this article. Lot of great points. In addition you may want to check out the Athletes portion of this site below.

    Raw-Food-Repair.com

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