Once upon a time, it seemed unheard of for athletes to follow a plant-based diet and talk about it. But before it became more common, there was NFL lineman David Carter. Formerly the lineman for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, Carter was one of the first football players to promote and emphasize a completely vegan diet.

Today, David Carter is 30 and spends his post-football life discussing nutrition around the country and giving special attention to communities of color that don’t have the same access to healthy, fresh foods. He joins the ever growing community of people of color becoming vegans and speaking up about it.

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He told Cleveland.com, “It’s getting more popular, even in the big-man positions. My brother, Chris, said the whole offensive line of the Washington Redskins is vegan, and 14 of the Tennessee Titans are.” That comes as no surprise. More and more athletes, from bodybuilders to runners and tennis players, are embracing the vegan life. As more and more announce their lifestyles, the myths of vegan athletes ‘not getting enough protein’ are debunked.

At one point, Carter thought he was allergic to vegetables because of his intense dislike for them. “I used to tell people I was allergic to vegetables,” he said. But now, after watching his teammates struggle with their diets and realizing his family members were sick because of what they ate, he decided to change. After watching Forks Over Knives he had a realization.

DAVID CARTER VEGAN

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“It was easy,” said Carter. “I realized the quality of my life was more important than the pleasure of my taste buds.” He also saw the changes in his body instantly. “The tendonitis went away the first month,” he said. “My bench press went up to 465 pounds, a huge jump from 315. My legs got stronger. My blood pressure went down and I no longer needed medicine for that. And it was a lot easier to do things mentally, the brain being part of your body.”

He enjoys cashew cheese, oatmeal with hemp protein, brown rice, and black beans, giant smoothies and spinach salads, just to name a few.

“I want to be an example by doing, not talking. The NFL gives you only five years of health coverage after you retire. I want to live as long as I can.” And what an example he is.

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Want to eat and fuel-up like David?

Everything that he enjoys eating, is high protein and high carb and full of flavor. Try some of our recipes from our Food Monster App!

Jujube, Raspberry, and Hemp Seed OatmealJujube, Raspberry, and Hemp Seed Oatmeal

This bowl of Jujube, Raspberry, and Hemp Seed Oatmeal is perfect for early mornings and busy days. Plus, jujube’s have all these awesome benefits; they are said to alleviate stress, help with tummy aches, cleanse the blood and liver, prevent a sore throat, insomnia, and premature aging, and even act as a diuretic!

Superfood Protein ShakeSuperfood Protein Shake

For a quick power-fueled lunch, try this Superfood Protein Shake. This shake is packed with essential vitamins and minerals thanks to the addition of several superfoods.

Black Bean CurryBlack Bean Curry

And for dinner, go for this Black Bean Curry. Simply sauté onions in some oil, season it with spices and herbs, and add some coconut milk for a creamy base before folding in canned black beans. It’s also packed with tons of protein!

If you enjoy recipes like this, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, it’s available for both Android and iPhone and has free and paid versions. The app is loaded with thousands of allergy-friendly & vegan recipes/cooking tips, has hundreds of search filters and features like bookmarking, meal plans and more! The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions!

Lead image source: Shutterstock