It’s Official: 2017 Was The Biggest Year For NBA & NFL Players Going Vegan

Wilson Chandler was 30 years old and being told by doctors that he’d miss the entire 2015-2016 NBA season. I the 2011-2012 season he played fewer than 20 games and 43 games in the 2012-2013 season due to injuries.

With an interest in getting healthier, Chandler started to follow a pescatarian diet (which is similar to a vegetarian diet but allows for fish). But after doing more and more research, he came to the conclusion that it was a vegan diet—no animal products—would be best-suited for him to get to optimal health.

Fast forward through the season and Chandler posted career highs in points per games and rebounds. After seeing great results both on the court and life, Chandler explained that this was a lifestyle shift:

“This is something I’m not really doing for like a 30-day challenge or my basketball career,” He recently told Business Insider. “I think this is a lifestyle thing.”

In an interview with Sentient Fitness he explained that he might eat a dish that contains dairy and every “once in a blue moon” he’ll eat fish but really tries to “stick to it as much as possible. (I’ll) use different apps like Postmates or UberEATS to find different healthy spots or vegan sports.”

While Chandler was one of the first NBA athletes to make the move he certainly wasn’t the last. Here’s an interview where he breaks down some of the things that led him to making the move:

Now if I was to ask you:

What do Damian Lillard, Wilson Chandler, Kyrie Irving, and Enes Kanter have in common?

You might say:

They’re NBA stars.

But what else?

They’ve all made the move to eating plant based diets.

Here’s an interview with Kyrie Irving talking about his move to a plant based diet:

And here’s one from Damian Lillard talking about how it’s impacted his joints & vegan diet:

What NFL Players Have Started Going Vegan (Plant Based)?

It’s not just NBA players making this move either. The rise of veganism has hit the NFL just as hard as it hit the NBA and being adopted by some of the biggest names in the game.

David Johnson is considered by experts as one of the top 5 running backs in the NFL and while he’s been sidelined this year with a brutal injury in 2017, he recently announced that he’d be going vegan.

Theo Riddick, another running back in the NFL expressed that he had higher energy levels after adopting a plant-based diet during the summer after watching What The Health. In an interview Riddick said: 

“Watching things like that is alarming on a lot of levels because of a lot of things you don’t know … such as [eating] chicken and drinking milk has no nutritional value.. You have to be conscientious of what you’re putting in your body.”

That’s two running backs but it’s not the only two. Adrian Peterson a shoe in for the NFL Hall of Fame and currently having a great bounce back season, recently announced that he was on an 80-20 vegan diet. While he’s admitted that he didn’t make the full transition, the fact that he’s identified that a plant based lifestyle is a better move is a great win for the entire plant based movement.

But it’s not just running backs…

David Carter is a 300-pound NFL defensive lineman who back in 2014 weighed 285 pounds and was working his way back up to 300. He had just signed with the Oakland Raiders, and was relying on ice cream shakes and entire gallons of milk to get up to the weight he was striving for….

But he was suffering big time. He was suffering from an injured shoulder, a battle with tendonitis, three numb fingers and an overall bad time. As an NFL player who gets hit often, he assumed it was solely linked to that but after watching a documentary on veganism and learning that dairy contributes to some forms of tendonitis he had to make a change. In an interview with GQ he stated:

“I realized I was making everything worse. I was feeding the tendinitis, the muscle fatigue, everything. So the next day I went vegan.”

One of the other NFL Players who made a move to plants which helped cement the importance of it in sports was Tom Brady. Considered by many as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), according to Tom Brady’s personal chef, 80 percent of what Brady eats is vegetables & plant based meals.

With all of these athletes recognizing the importance of plant based meals for their health… There’s no question that 2017 has been a great year for seeing more awareness around the benefits of eating plants.

If you’re an athlete and are interested in eating more plants, the most logical place to start is with your protein. Once you know how to get plant protein, all other meat-free meals come easy. Download our FREE recipe guide today to get started: