Being a vegan myself, the most common question I get asked is "Where do you get your protein?" Not only are people asking me, but they are also convinced that it is impossible, or at least extremely complicated, to get a sufficient amount of protein without eating any animal product. How strange is this phenomenon when science is telling a completely different story?
Here are 16 athletes who eat plant-based that prove we definitely get our protein.
1. Chris Smalling, soccer
"You're never going to be bulletproof, but if you're feeding yourself good food and making sure you're eating the right supplements, I think you reduce the chances of getting any niggling injuries."
2. Jehina Malik, bodybuilder
"I was a vegan in my mom's womb and she ate all the yummy nutritious vegan foods.. because of my parents, I am a vegan and would have it no other way!"
3. Wilson Chandler, basketball
"This is something I'm not really doing for, like, a 30-day challenge or my basketball career, I think this is a lifestyle thing. It's up and down — there's certain food you can't have, so it's up and down, but for the most part, I stick to it."
4. David Carter, football
"You might want to change the way that you eat because you want to be around longer and see your family and your daughter graduate."
5. Morgan Mitchell, sprinter
"My now ex-boyfriend had watched a few documentaries and showed me them and said we should go vegan. I dropped everything instantly and did it. It was this weird light bulb moment…I haven't looked back since."
6. Tom Brady, football
"80% of what they eat is vegetables...If it's not organic, I don't use it."
7. Venus Williams, tennis
"I started for health reasons. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and I wanted to maintain my performance on the court. Once I started I fell in love with the concept of fueling your body in the best way possible. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like I'm doing the right thing for me."
8. Austin Aries, professional wrestling
"For most people growing up, the criteria is, does it taste good, how fast can I get it and how cheap is it? What that shifted to, is it good for me, how much nutritional value am I getting from my dollar and where did it come from? With that, you look at food a whole different way."
9. Griff Whalen, football
"I felt so much lighter. My joints felt smoother, everything felt better. I could run and breathe easier."
10. Kyrie Irving, basketball
"..more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals and all that. I had to get away from that, so my energy is up. My body feels amazing."
11. Jermain Defoe, soccer
"Everyone wants to feel fresh in the game – there's no better feeling – so I just make sure I'm doing the right things and trying to tick every box: cryotherapy, massage, eating the right things...I'm trying to turn vegan."
12. Tia Blanco, surfing
"Then when I was 15, I watched the documentary Glass Walls and read The China Study, and then it became quite clear to me why I wanted to be vegetarian and why I wanted to adopt a vegan lifestyle. After doing my research, I chose to go vegan and have been dedicated to a vegan diet for four years now."
13. Yolanda Presswood, presslifter
"I was always meant to live compassionately. I've always loved animals. Cows have been a favorite of mine since I was a young girl. Never in my life did I expect them to be part of such a heinous industry that abuses and murders them daily so people can eat hamburgers, steak, and ice cream."
14. Steph Davis, rock-climber
"Ever since I was a kid, I've loved animals. And I think most kids love animals. It's always been a strange disconnect for me to see people grow from children who love animals to people who don't care that they are held in wretched living conditions and killed violently because "meat tastes good."
15. Patrik Baboumian, Strongest Man in Germany
"One day, I just thought, if you see a bird with a broken leg, you really have the urge to do something about it and help the bird. Then, at the same time, you go to a restaurant and eat a chicken or something. It doesn't make any sense."
16. Alex Morgan, soccer
"Went vegetarian first and then kind of transitioned into eating vegan. I just felt like that's kind of what my body wanted, so I went for it. And I have seen really positive effects from it. I'm really happy with the way my body has adjusted and the energy it's given me. And I feel like I'm able to recover a lot faster because I'm not having those inflammatory foods in my body anymore. I'm really happy with the way it's turned out."