Why This American Olympic Weightlifter Is Completely Vegan & A Breakdown of What He Eats

This article was originally published by our friends at Collective Evolution

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There is one question that makes every vegan cringe: “But where do you get your protein?!” Before diving right into that topic, let’s take a look at a certain vegan who definitely gets his protein – Kendrick Farris, the only American male weightlifter competing in the Rio Olympics.

Farris has been vegan since 2014 and can currently lift over 800 pounds! When asked in an interview with HuffPost where he gets his protein, he replied: “I just research the foods I’m eating, and try to be efficient. How much protein is in this avocado?”

Clearly cutting meat and animal products out of his diet hasn’t held him back one bit, as Farris has won the gold medal at the past two Pan American weightlifting championships.

Ferris explains that, after discovering his heritage, he wanted to learn more. He said, “Israelites from the lost tribes of Israel. I knew I needed to do more research to understand the ways of the ancient,” including their kosher diet.

Why The Change Of Diet?

He attributes his shift to a deep respect for animals. “I don’t necessarily trust the way the food is being processed,” he said. “I don’t agree with the way the animals are mass-slaughtered. So that’s one thing that kind of got me looking at what they call a vegan diet.”

Once his mind was made up, the switch happened instantly, as Farris’ wife, Katrina, who also happens to be the cook in the family, confirmed: “It was so random. I believe he sent me a text message ― when he’s at the gym, he always sends me these random things ― and I believe he said, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about going vegan,’ and so I was like LOL.”

According to Katrina, Kendrick loved all things meat before making the switch: “He loved burgers and all the things you think of when you think of Olympic athletes. Meat! So I didn’t think he was going to stick with it. But two years later, I think it’s made him better.”

The Olympian says he feels much lighter, cleaner, and more clear-headed these days. “My mind is extremely clear. I’m not easily flustered [now]. My attitude is totally different. I had a really bad temper growing up, something I worked on for years. And now I’m able to recognize different emotions and I’m not governed by them. Doesn’t mean I don’t have them. I’m human. But I’m not easily moved.”

Breakdown Of What Farris Eats In A Day

Katrina told Huffpost that she’ll cook two to three meals a day and provide snacks as well like guacamole or avocado quesadillas. “If he needs a snack, it’s something quick.

Here’s an example of what a typical day of meals looks like:

For breakfast, Kendrick will have oats or pancakes; for a midday snack, a vanilla or chocolate flavoured plant-based protein shake. For lunch, avocado quesadillas and then he’ll head to the gym. He’ll come back and eat another snack, this time of guacamole and black bean chips, and then a dinner of black bean quesadillas.

“I use black beans for everything,” his wife explained.

“I think a lot of people look at things as being restrictions, but that kind of shows me the way they view life. I don’t view it as restriction ― I look at what I can eat, what’s going to be the best source of energy for me,” Farris told HuffPost.

This is such a great statement to make. Many people simply don’t realize the variety of incredible foods available to you on a vegan diet. As Farris says, it’s not about what you can’t eat, it’s about what you can eat, and most of what you can eat offers a cleaner, more efficient way to fuel your body.

So, Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Clearly, you can eat a diet with minimal or even no animal products whatsoever and still get enough protein to be healthy (and even be an Olympian weightlifter). Who knew? The first thing that needs to be addressed here is the protein myth in general. While it is true that we need to have enough protein in our diets in order to be healthy, it isn’t true that we need as much as we have been led to believe. In fact, there are many studies that show that getting too much protein can cause adverse health effects.

Protein is actually in everything that you eat — it’s a structural component that holds the food together. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are NOT the only sources of protein or the only means of obtaining it. Many plant-based foods even have more protein than meat per serving.

Examples Of High Protein Plant-Based Foods

1. Quinoa

Protein: 8 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked

2. Buckwheat

Protein: 6 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked

3. Rice and Beans

Protein: 7 grams per 1 cup serving

4. Ezekiel Bread

Protein: 8 grams per 2 slice serving

5. Hummus and Pita

Protein: 7 grams per 1 whole-wheat pita and 2 tablespoons of hummus

6. Spirulina With Grains or Nuts

Protein: 4 grams per 1 tablespoon

7. Chia

Protein: 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

As you can see there are many plant-based alternatives that contain generous amounts of protein. One can efficiently obtain all the protein they need in a day without having to resort to animals and animal products. Below are some related CE articles if you feel like learning more about the subject.

Kendrick Farris serves as a great example of how you can get enough protein to maintain strength and muscle mass on a vegan diet. Now, hopefully this helps put an end to that dreaded question…


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