Here’s one, here’s one…what do you call a 190-pound professional football player who eats approximately 6000 calories and 200 grams of protein per day? A vegan!

If you’re not cracking up it’s because a) you know that vegan athletes are nothing new and, in fact, those that achieve high levels of success in their various sports credit their plant based meal plans for it and b) you’ve probably already heard about Griff Whalen, seeing as how he’s the go-to guy for punt and kick returns this season. In fact, he’s not just the top guy on his team for that, he’s one of the best in the NFL, ranking 9th overall with 282 career return yards and he’s not even finished with his second season in the league!



Powered by plants.

Indy Star

Whalen decided to go plant based after his high school sweetheart watched documentaries like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which inspired her to make the switch. He took the time to study up on what his specific dietary needs would be, reading books like Suzanna McGee’s “The Athlete’s Simple Guide to a Plant-Based Lifestyle,” Brendan Brazier’s, “Thrive” and Rich Roll’s “Finding Ultra.”  Since then, he has eliminated all animal products from his diet as well as processed foods, oils and sugars.

“I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field,” He told the Indianapolis Star of the diet’s effect on his performance, something that naysayers often scrutinize heavily in the NFL when a player begins to eschew meat. “There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat.”


“So, Mr. Whalen, it appears as though you’re not wasting away without meat. Can you explain why you stubbornly refuse to uphold the sickly stereotype, sir?”


He hasn’t been shy about his diet, taking to Twitter with pictures of his meals and talking openly with his team mates about the plant based meals the team chef whips up just for him.

Griff Whalen/Twitter

He’s even inspired two of his team mates to give it a try as well. While not vegan themselves, punter Pat Mcafee and kicker Adam Vinatieri have started requesting the same meals as Whalen while at practice in a literal display of the, “I’ll have what he’s having” practice people employ when observing someone who performs at an optimal level.


No matter where your allegiance lies when it comes to the gridiron, we can safely say that we’re firmly on Team Whalen!


Lead Image Credit: The Discerning Brute