Even if you’re not a football fanatic, surely you’re familiar with the fact that NFL players need to eat a protein-rich diet in order to maintain their physique and perform well on the field. But what you may not know is that, despite what some may claim, it’s entirely possible for professional athletes to get all the protein and nutrients they need to play their best from a totally plant-based diet!
For concrete proof that plant-based foods are more than satisfactory at fueling even the most active individuals, look no further than the 15 Tennessee Titans players who have adopted a fully vegan diet. What could have possibly convinced these hefty guys to ditch meat in favor of plants? It all started last year when Derrick Morgan, the professional football team’s linebacker, decided to give alternative proteins a try.
As Derrick reportedly described his path to going plant-based in a recent interview with ESPN, “Overcoming the preconceived notions is the biggest part. I was a part of it. I used to believe athletes had to eat meat to maintain play, then I educated myself.”
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Derrick’s wife, Charity, is a Le Cordon Bleu-educated professional chef with 15 years of experience in serving up delicious food.
Calling on Charity to help him create interesting, well-balanced and yummy plant-based dishes, Derrick had little trouble making the switch from a traditional meat-centric diet to one consisting of 100 percent plants.
And once his teammates smelled and tasted the amazing plant-based meals that Derrick was chowing down on between practices, it didn’t take long for them to get in on the action!
As more and more Titans players began requesting that Charity cook them vegan meals, what started as Derrick’s personal dietary choice became a team-wide movement.
Charity explained to ESPN how 15 of the NFL players got hooked on her plant-based meal plan, stating, “When they realized that their production didn’t go down, their stats didn’t go down, they didn’t die on the field, they were like ‘sign me up’ because the food already looks and smells good.” She went on, “Last year was a test run for a lot of the guys to realize you can be plant-based and successful.”
Indeed, the Titans are certainly realizing the power of plant-based foods! The team’s Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was initially among the players who were most skeptical of the diet’s benefits, but once he tried it, Casey — along with several other Titans — actually found that the meal plan improves his performance by boosting his energy, decreasing inflammation, and speeding up his recovery time.
Furthermore, Wesley Woodyard, the Titans’ leading tackler in 2017, stated that he hasn’t once felt sluggish since switching to a plant-based diet, something that he often struggled with when he still ate meat.
In addition to ramping up their athletic prowess, the lifestyle change has also brought the Titans closer together than ever before, many team members have pointed out. Now that’s a real testament to how truly amazing plant-based foods are!
To learn more about how Chef Charity Morgan is changing the NFL for the better with her hearty, never-boring plant-based creations, check out the podcast episode she did with our very own Nil Zacharias!
In-Text Image Source: Chef Charity Morgan/Instagram
Lead image source: Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock