When you think of players in the NFL, “vegan” may not be the first word that comes to mind. Many people think of muscular players, Chunky soup commercials, and a whole lot of testosterone. While some of those may ring true, defensive lineman David Carter is proving that you don’t need meat to be an NFL player.
What spawned this 300-pound lineman to make the switch to plant-based foods? It’s no secret that football can take its toll on the body. After getting picked up by the Oakland Raiders at the end of 2013 (Carter now players for the Chicago Bears), Carter’s tendonitis in his shoulder was crippling him. Several fingers on his hand were numb and it pained him to get out of the bathtub.
At the time, Carter was trying to work his way up to 300lbs from 285lbs, so he started adding a lot of dairy to his diet. This included ice cream shakes and gallons of milk. What he didn’t know, but would learn soon, is that dairy actually contributes and can worsen forms of tendonitis. Because of chemicals, pasteurization, and what cows are fed, dairy products can be very harmful to the body. Carter found this out after watching several documentaries about veganism. Once he realized the link between dairy and his tendonitis, he made the plant-based switch the next day.
In the initial stage of going vegan, he lost 40lbs. A defensive lineman looks tiny at 250lbs, but he noticed that he felt better, ran faster, and could lift heavier weight. On top of all that, the pain in his shoulder disappeared after a couple months. As he learned about different sources of protein, which is an integral aspect of his diet, Carter was able to work his way back up to his original 300lbs.
His dairy alternatives now include sunflower seeds, cannellini beans, spirulina, hemp protein, millet, quinoa, and many other legumes. He also added homemade sauerkraut, which is an excellent probiotic, to his vegan diet. Carter truly embraces being a vegan, as it completely changed his life for the better, and enjoys educating people about the many food options that are available to vegans.