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Which Olympians Champion A Vegan Lifestyle

Which Olympians Champion A Vegan Lifestyle

Morgan Mitchell, the 21-year-old Australian sprinter who has been compared to Olympic gold- medalist Cathy Freeman, may not have run her best in Rio de Janeiro, but she has plenty to be proud about nevertheless. She won every race during the 2016 Australian domestic season—an accomplishment she credits largely to her healthy vegan lifestyle, saying that it has “really helped with everything: energy, health, the environment.” She’s beaten her personal best four times since she went vegan a year and a half ago, after watching a documentary about cruelty to animals.

Vegan foods have “performance-enhancing” qualities, but they’re completely legal. Studies show that they can help reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost athletic performance. Morgan knows that she can get all the nutrients she needs from plant-based foods, and she says that she now has “more lean muscle than puppy fat.”

Former Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier, the author of the Thrive book series and creator of the award-winning line of plant-based Vega nutritional products, feels that plant-based foods are “proactive health insurance.” An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that a plant-based diet is “compatible with successful athletic endeavor”—but that may be the understatement of the year.

Running on Plant-Based Meals
Morgan is following in some really successful footsteps. Carl Lewis, Sports Illustrated‘s “Olympian of the Century,” says that his best year of track competition was the first year that he went vegan. Vegan ultramarathoner Scott Jurek completed the 2,189-mile journey across the Appalachian Trail in a record 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes, and vegan Ironmen Jason Lester and Rich Roll completed five Ironman triathlons—each on a different Hawaiian Island—in one week.

Vegan runner Fiona Oakes has run marathons on all seven continents and the North Pole, where she set a course record by 44 minutes. Morgan and Fiona have different running styles, of course, but they share a deep compassion for animals. Fiona, who runs a sanctuary for rescued animals, has even run in cow costumes to call attention to her vegan lifestyle.

Powered by Plants
Runners aren’t the only athletes who…well, run on vegan foods. Kendrick Harris, the only male U.S. weightlifter at the Olympics in Rio, is powered by plant-based foods, as is boxer Cam F. Awesome, who is representing the U.S. in Brazil. Some of the strongest athletes in the world are fueled by fruit, vegetables, and other plant foods, including Patrik Baboumian, who broke the world record for the most weight ever carried by a human being, and all of the men and women on the PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team.

A number of other vegan athletes, from free-climber Steph Davis to Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel, have earned respect and admiration for their abilities as well as their kind food choices.

No matter what happens in their respective sports, every vegan athlete is a winner for helping to stop animal suffering, protect the planet, and promote healthy living.

The line up:

Fangirl, I did. ? #veganathlete

A photo posted by Morgan Mitchell (@morganmitch) on

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HOLY SH*T reality just punched me in the face. The lil Olympic escapade begins today. Adios Australia ???? #obamaout

A photo posted by Morgan Mitchell (@morganmitch) on

Heather Moore is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation.

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