NHL player Zdeno Chara has credited his plant-based diet to his improved performance on the ice.

Chara made the switch to a primarily plant-based diet in September, and said that he has noticed a definite improvement since he started cutting out meat and eating more veggies.

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“I can tell I’m feeling better,” said the 40-year-old Bruins captain and tallest player in NHL history. “I know for a fact I’m playing with a lot more energy and I’m recovering faster.”

Chara said he eats quinoa, fruit, avocados, lentils, nuts, and beans, among other plant-based foods. He sometimes eats salmon or eggs, but has otherwise cut out dairy and meat from his diet.

“I thought it was going to be very hard for me as a hockey player to get into something like this,” said Chara.

“But then, over the course of time, you start reading more and gathering more information — more books, more stuff you can search on different websites,” He added. “You watch documentaries. Then it slowly starts making sense that this is not just strictly for people to lose weight.”

He even said that he feels like his new diet is helping him to be “a step ahead” as he gets older, saying that he’s looking to improve his well-being and his energy levels.

“I think I’m stronger than I was in September,” said the six-foot-nine player.

Chara opened up about his thoughts on the healing power of fruits and veggies on his Instagram page.

“I believe that for every human illness or state, there is a plant which is a cure. Plants and herbs have been used medicinally for thousands of years,” he wrote. “I also believe that nature has the answer to every question. The more we evolve, the more we can confirm that nature’s products are actually healing and the gateway to a better life.”

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Eat Like an Athlete!

Want to eat a protein-rich diet to keep up your energy for sports and exercise?

Here are some protein-packed recipes from the Food Monster App for you to try out!

Baked Falafel Salad and Two Creamy Dressings

Julie West’s Baked Falafel Salad and Two Creamy Dressings comes with protein-rich falafel and two delicious dressings. Try the decadent avocado-cucumber dressing or the tangy lemon-tahini dressing and see which you like best!

Breakfast Blueberry Chia Pudding

This Breakfast Blueberry Chia Pudding from Emily von Euw is the perfect way to start the day and get the energy you’ll need to exercise. Plus, blueberries are packed with antioxidants that are great for your body!

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Sweet Pea Hummus

Meghan Pearson’s Sweet Pea Hummus is a great idea for a post-workout snack that’s brimming with protein. Garlic, basil, and fresh mint bring out the complex flavors in this hummus.

Looking for more protein ideas like this Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie? Download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day.

Lead Image Source: Zdeno Chara / Instagram