Did you know the #11 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft is a vegan? Justin Fields, the former Ohio St. Buckeye standout, will now take snaps under center for the Chicago Bears as one of the league’s first vegan quarterbacks.
Cam Newton, the signal-caller for the New England Patriots has also dabbled in veganism. Newton is now an ovo-vegan, meaning he abstains from eating meat and dairy products but for eggs.
Tom Brady, of the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also turned to veganism in prior years. However, Fields will be the NFL’s first 100% vegan quarterback. It might not be long until the majority of premier players in pro sports become either vegan or vegetarian.
Why Fields Went Vegan
Fields’ transition to veganism stems from his father’s renewed focus on health and fitness. Fields’ father went vegan a couple of years ago to lose weight. The transition began with a 28-day challenge in which Fields strictly consumed fruits, veggies, meat alternatives, and other non-dairy items. The star in the making reported the clean eating improved his speed, strength, and overarching health.
Fields’ conversion to veganism spread like wildfire throughout his family, leading to his sister and his stepmother adopting the on-trend diet. Though Fields’ Ohio State strength and conditioning coach questioned the prudence of shifting away from protein-rich meats to vegan fare, Fields stuck with the new diet, insisting it improved his quality of play. In fact, Fields has even stated his personal nutritionist questioned whether shifting to veganism was a wise decision.
The proof turned out to be in the pudding, pun intended. Fields, the definition of a premier player, led his Buckeyes to the National Championship game this past year. If three other top-notch quarterbacks were not available in the recent NFL draft, Fields likely would have been drafted first overall. In fact, plenty of draft scouts insist Fields was worthy of a top-three selection.
Veganism is the new Wave
Fields is not the only athlete to shift to veganism. Though few know it, dozens of other premier players who compete at the highest level have also made the transition. Examples of other pro athletes who have shifted to veganism include MMA fighter James Wilks, Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton, pro cyclist Dotsie Bausch, figure skater Meagan Duhamel, ironman Rich Roll, and NBA superstar Kyrie Irving.
Venus Williams, arguably the best female tennis player of all time, ditched the meat and animal byproducts for veganism to reduce her joint pain and fatigue tied to an autoimmune disease known as Sjogren’s syndrome. Other premier players have taken the vegan plunge in an effort to reduce blood pressure, bounce back from injuries much quicker, feel more energized, and help our ever-fragile environment.
Veganism Will be Socially Normative in the Future
Though only 2% of those living in the United States are vegetarian and only one-half of one percent of the country’s population is vegan, those numbers are likely to change. The majority of those going vegetarian and vegan are millennials and members of the Generation Z age cohort. If the current trend continues, a considerable percentage of future premier players will be vegan.
Article by Patrick Ryan