David Carter is an NFL Football Player who has played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders. He's been vegan for 3 years.
Carter grew up like most other people, believing that meat was necessary and consuming animals at most meals without a second thought.
"Growing up, food was big in my family, and not just any food: barbecue to be exact. My grandfather Leo owned and operated a very successful barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles that churned out tons and tons of meat. Needless to say I consumed more than my fair share of chicken, beef, pork, and just about every other animal you can think of."
"Being a football player only furthered my “need” for meat and animal products. Very early on I was taught that if I wanted to be big and strong there was only one way to go about it. You guessed it—eat meat and the more the better. Every coach, trainer, nutritionist, and doctor all pointed me in the direction of animal products. From protein shakes to weight gainers there was no other alternative, so I did as I was told and followed the standard athlete’s diet regimen. Whey protein, raw eggs, gallons of milk, and casein were in just about every supplement I took."
Fortunately athletes like David Carter, Patrik Baboumian and David Haye are now helping to shift people's perceptions by going vegan and showing people the advantages of using purely plant-based proteins.
"When my wife decided to go vegan five years ago, while I admired her discipline and desire for a healthier lifestyle I knew I couldn’t possibly join her. In my mind there was no way I could compete at the highest level without meat in my diet. It was hard to for me to conceive that I could go against three hundred plus pound offensive linemen and come out on top on plants alone. But after being released from the Arizona Cardinals my world was beginning to shift. I didn’t know it yet but life was leading me through a series of events that would change me forever."
David became a vegan on Valentine’s Day in 2013 and stated in an interview with Plant Strong:
"My wife has been some form of vegetarian for 5 years. I have always seen the benefits of being vegan, but I never thought I could have a plant-based diet and keep weight on for football. One night my wife and I were watching Forks Over Knives and I realized that all the effort I was putting in to get big and strong for football was actually killing me. After being vegan for only two months I can honestly say that being vegan is not the only most efficient way to be full body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins."
And the 6ft 5inches (1.96m) 300lb (136kg) giant swears he feels more powerful and healthy than he has ever been:
"Converting to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle was the best decision I could have ever made for my body, mind, and spirit. The average life span of a professional football player is only fifty-six (due to extreme consumption of animal products which leads to heart disease, stroke, cancers, and other chronic illnesses), by making this one small change not only have I saved my own life but the countless lives of voiceless and defenseless animals everywhere. Not to mention veganism is great for our planet as well. Becoming vegan has given me a greater purpose, something bigger than myself to fight for, and fight I will."
Since going vegan, Carter eats a staggering 10,000 calories a day and more than 540g of protein!
A standard day includes five sit-down meals and another four 568ml shakes, made up of cannellini beans and sunflower seeds.
GQ lists his diet as:
Oatmeal with hemp protein, bananas and berries.
568ml smoothie made with cannellini beans, banana, strawberries, and spirulina.
Brown rice and black beans topped with avocado and cashew cheese.
Another 568ml smoothie.
More of the brown rice and black bean combo.
Another 568ml smoothie.
Couscous with onion and garlic, and spinach salad with bell peppers.
Another 568ml smoothie.
Many athletes say since going vegan their recovery time improved, Carter also found this and stated:
"Football is a rough sport that demands a lot from your body. They say that one practice is equivalent to a 60mph car accident. Small injuries always occur and never have the opportunity to heal. Before being vegan I suffered from tendonitis, arthritis, a dislocated finger from college that never healed correctly, nerve damage to my right hand and arm, muscle fatigue in my right arm (in football these are small injuries). "
"But since going vegan I found I have more energy, shorter recovery time, increased stamina, improved strength, and the peace of mind that no one had to die in order for me to live. Every one of my nagging injuries is gone. Tendonitis, inflammation, scar tissue, nerve damage, and chronic muscle fatigue all corrected themselves within months of adopting veganism."
So what caused these injuries to clear up? What's the science behind it? And why do animal products promote inflammation?
The anti-inflammatory effect of plant-based diets is about more than just the power of plants. It’s also the avoidance of animal foods.
We’ve known for 18 years that a single meal of meat, dairy, and eggs triggers an inflammatory reaction inside the body within hours of consumption. Amongst other problems, this results in a stiffening of our arteries. Within 5 or 6 hours, the inflammation starts to reduce, but then what happens?
Lunchtime! We then whack our arteries with another load of animal products for lunch. In this routine, we remain in a chronic low-grade inflammation danger zone for the majority of our lives. This can set us up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers one meal at a time.
So what is it about meat that causes the inflammation? Inflammation is an immune response to a perceived threat, but what’s the body attacking? At first, scientists thought it might be the animal protein, which is thought to be the culprit in certain types of arthritis. However, similar inflammatory reactions were triggered by whipped cream, which is mostly just animal fat. After digging deeper, investigators discovered that after a meal of animal products one’s bloodstream becomes soiled with bacterial toxins known as endotoxins.
These endotoxins are actually secreted by bacteria found in animal products such as meat and diary, and are 'dead' so aren't affected at all by cooking, boiling, freezing or from stomach acid. There's absolutely no way of removing them from animal products. The only way to avoid them is to avoid animal products.
Interestingly chocolate also contains endotoxins (because the first step of chocolate production is bacterial fermentation of the cacao beans) but don't worry:
Thankfully the phytonutrients far outweigh the effects of the bacteria and actually decrease inflammation overall. Phew!
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