A couple of weeks ago Nate Diaz rocked the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world by besting undefeated Conor McGregor with only 12 days to prepare. His surprise victory has made him a household name overnight and has forced those claiming the long-time vegan didn’t stand a chance against the steak-fuelled McGregor to eat their words.
In the lead-up, Ido Portal, movement practitioner and one of McGregor’s coaches, said in an interview that he believed vegans didn’t possess the same stamina and strength as meat eaters. “I can’t view vegan diets as something healthy. I’ve never met a vegan who was able to perform with the same energy levels as I see with someone with a more carnivore diet. I actually refuse to work with vegans.”
Despite the Diaz brothers being known for their insane cardio and ferocity in the ring (both vegan since teenagers) the Internet was rife with McGregor on Salads vs. McGregor on Steak memes (the latter image a more muscular, solid McGregor).
The myth that vegans are weak, pale and inferior to their carnivorous counterparts is still dominant in the sporting world. But machines like Nate Diaz — who actually credits his diet for giving him a competitive advantage in the ring — are beginning to shatter this misconception on a world stage.
There are MANY extraordinary plant-powered athletes kicking arse in the sporting world but here are five more to get you pumped for your training sessions this week.
NFL star, David Carter
The Arizona Cardinal Defensive Linemen is an animal rights activist and public speaker and has built a brand around his ethical lifestyle — The 300 Pound Vegan.
He says, “you don’t have to take a life to gain muscle.”
Pro surfer, Tia Blanco
Tia claims that since turning vegan three years ago, she is “more energised than ever before. I am rarely ever sore after my workouts. I also find myself reaching a higher athletic level.”
She won gold during the women’s final of the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) at Playa Popoyo, in Nicaragua.
Freerunner, Timothy Shieff
Sheiff is one of the highest profile and most successful freerunners in the world. He also finished ahead of all the others on TV’s toughest endurance obstacle course, Ninja Warrior UK.
Ultramarathoner, Scott Jurek
Jurek is an American ultramarathoner who has won many of the sport’s most famous races multiple times. Jurek is also an influential public speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller Eat & Run. In Chris McDougall’s book Born to Run, he calls Jurek “the top ultrarunner in the country, maybe in the world, arguably of all time.”
Tennis sisters, Venus and Serena Williams
In response to being diagnosed in 2011 with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease, Venus switched to a vegan diet. Serena soon followed suit and after publicly announcing their move to a plant-based diet the sisters smashed it in the doubles a few months later.