Continuing on the theme of vegan athletes from last week, I was excited to see this article about Arian Foster, one of the best running backs in the NFL who has decided to go vegan. As part of the most red-meat sport in the country, on a team from the most meat-eating state and in the face of criticism from his teammates, this man is following his intuition and listening to what his body wants. Even though I don’t normally follow football, I’ll be watching this one player with great interest and cheering him on.
HOUSTON – Over the past month, Arian Foster has met more nutritionists than you’ll see at the Olympics. Foster, the Houston Texans running back and avant-garde thinker, has been getting advice and disagreement from seemingly everyone he encounters, all because he has become a vegan.
If it wasn’t bad enough that a Pro Bowl player is going meatless in the ultimate carnivore sport, there’s an associated problem with Foster’s diet. This is Texas, the land of beef and barbeque. Not eating meat in this state is about as close as it gets to original sin. Put that together with the team’s Super Bowl aspirations and you have some strong feelings.
“I had a long conversation with him about that. I told him, ‘If this doesn’t work, I’m going to kick your ass,’” teammate Brian Cushing said. “I told him that because he’s going too far. He thinks he knows more than me, but he doesn’t, especially about nutrition. We have a good relationship, but I told him this better be right. We have a lot riding this year.”
Foster hears that comment, nods slowly and smiles. He also has had a detailed discussion with general manager Rick Smith about the dietary choice. In the one month since he announced his departure from an appetite for flesh, he has seen an absurd amount of interest.
“Everybody cares what I eat now,” Foster said. “They didn’t care before, but they do now. Everybody is a nutritionist now and they’re an expert on protein. Every day, every single day somebody knows something new to do. I just smile and say, ‘OK.’”
Foster believes he’s creating a healthier, stronger body that will make him a better player. He consulted doctors before choosing this path, which is more restrictive than a vegetarian diet. As it was, he had gotten down to eating red meat roughly once every six months. His logic was simple: He didn’t feel that good when he ate a big meal that featured meat.
“I didn’t just blindly stop eating meat. I know what I’m doing,” Foster said.
“I saw a documentary [we at AG like Forks Over Knives] in high school that really turned me on to getting aware of it. It didn’t change my diet then, but it made me think about the myths about protein. I said a while ago that when I quit playing football, I would probably become a vegetarian and I thought I needed the protein. Then I did some research with doctors who in their world are considered kind of radical. To me, it’s radical we have heart disease and 12-year-old kids with diabetes. ”