Most Successful Vegan Athletes That Played For Chicago Teams featured img

Until just a few years ago people throughout western civilization considered meat an essential part of their diet and Veganism was a dreamt-up fad unable to sustain a human in full health over an extended period. Scientific research done on archeological discoveries deposed this belief when findings revealed that quite a few tribes have led vegetarian lifestyles for extended periods in mankind’s history. Remarkably, according to evidence societies that followed plant-based lifestyles have proven to contain the healthiest populations with the longest life expectancies.

Chicago – A US Vegan Hub

In the US, Chicago, Illinois is already renowned for its thriving, fast-growing vegan community. The city is now recognized as one of the primary hubs of veganism in North America. Highly positive critique from well-known plant-based dietary and lifestyle experts, environmental activists, and knowledgeable vegan food critics covering a wide variety of vegan lifestyle topics focused the media’s attention on Chicago’s impressive commitment to promoting veganism. The city received extensive media coverage focused on its huge number of vegan restaurants and retailers.

This city-wide committed involvement also contributes significantly to the success of reaching its animal-friendly, plant-based goals. Chicago’s forward-thinking focus provides its people with a much wider range of options should they choose to live a healthier lifestyle.

Chicago’s Vegan Sports Heroes

Sportsmen & women are always on the lookout for areas of improvement that would provide them with a potential edge over other competitors. With the field of sports science already in an advanced stage of development athletes who spend any length of time competing at the top of their game need to investigate new avenues such as plant-based diets or lifestyles that would give them that much-desired edge. In addition, ever more athletes are starting to consider life and health beyond the end of their career.

A significant number of sports stars in Chicago and other areas in the US discovered adopting a vegan lifestyle yielded positive results in several areas. Performance-wise, most report none or negligible improvements in performance which they could attribute to their vegan lifestyle. However, many testify to the disappearance of chronic pains which they suffered from for years due to old injuries. Most noticed a significant improvement or complete recuperation from chronic non-sports-related illnesses such as diabetes, aching joints, inflammation, and a lengthy string of other maladies.

Another common positive all sports vegans report is a considerable reduction in the amount of time their bodies require to recuperate after tough games or competitions. This in turn allows them to resume training sooner without suffering the anticipated drop-off in performance. Vegan sportspeople also report a general overall improvement in health and well-being.

One would expect huge resistance to the concept of veganism from hulking sportsmen who traditionally grew up on various sports diets comprising mainly of steak, poultry, and fish combined with regular bouts of carb-loading rounded off with vegetables and salads. However, the word is spreading fast about the potential gains and positive side effects offered by a strictly plant-based diet. Today the names of an ever-growing number of well-known sports stars crop up in the media announcing they are going vegan. A few years ago NFL MVP Tom Brady even launched his own brand of vegan products.

The streets of Chicago also generated tons of famous sports stars most of them were discovered on the fields and tracks of its schools, colleges, and sports centers. The “Windy City” is home to numerous Hall of Famers and GOAT legends, its history stretches back to the very beginning of professional sports in the US. Before finding national fame many first became household names while playing for the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, White Sox, and Blackhawks. This combined with the significant vegan influence found in the city made Chicago hugely influential in changing the landscape of national sports.

Compared to other US cities Chicago’s professional sports teams show a larger contingent of players who already made the leap to living vegan. One could possibly attribute this to the city’s trending vegan social life and atmosphere. It larger than average number of people following vegan lifestyles makes sports stars more aware and open to the concept.

This year a vegan, Justin Fields 11 overall pick in the NFL draft, signed as quarterback for the Chicago Bears. David Carter defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears regularly joked about being allergic to vegetables, before earning himself the nickname The 300 Pound Vegan. Vegan activist, John Salley was part of the 1995/96 Chicago Bulls team that achieved a record-breaking 72 game winning streak for the season. He won his third NBA championship that same June. Currently considered the best pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, right-hander Adbert Alzolay attributes his newfound potency to proper vegan nutrition.

Justin Fields – Chicago Bulls

Justin Fields is the league’s first vegan quarterback, he transitioned to a vegan lifestyle following his father’s revitalized effort to improve his health and fitness. Field’s dietary turn came about influenced by his father who adopted a vegan lifestyle a few years prior as part of a personal weight-loss drive. Fields is also this year’s number eleven overall pick in the NFL and the league’s first quarterback to turn 100% vegan.

His transition got underway with a strict 28-day dietary and lifestyle cleansing challenge wherein vegetables, fruits, non-dairy products, and meat were Fields’ sole source of sustenance. Having successfully completed his challenge Fields reported improvements in strength, speed, reduced recovery time, as well as overall health and wellbeing. His conversion and results quickly convinced the greater part of his family to follow suit.

His family members became embroiled in a friendly rivalry while Justin simply decided to stick with his newfound lifestyle. At the time the Ohio State coach responsible for Justin’s strength and conditioning questioned the wisdom of the decision to shift away from protein-rich meats to plant-based nutrition. However, Fields decided to stick to his newly adopted lifestyle and diet, insisting it improved his on-field performance.

Fields revealed even his personal sports dietician questioned the wisdom of his transition to veganism. Turns out, the proof of the pudding is in the eating because Fields has since led the Buckeyes to a National Championship. Now, most draft scouts agree Fields certainly proved himself worthy of inclusion in a top-three selection. In a recent comparison Fields was rated stronger, faster version of Dak Prescott.

David Carter – Chicago Bears

Carter kicked his pro-career off with the Cardinals in 2011, during his two seasons in Arizona he turned out to be a very busy boy having racked up 17 tackles plus one sack in four games. In 2013, he made a move to the Dallas Cowboys who needed him to fix their fragile defensive line.

After playing three games for the Cowboys he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars before moving on to the Chicago Bears in 2013. His health issues started earlier in his NFL career, but during the 2013/14 season, the Bears defensive lineman was suffering from a particularly acute case of tendonitis that was further exacerbated by chronic fatigue.

Up to this stage of his career Carter maintained his 300-pound frame on a steady diet of red meat combined with other high-calorie foodstuffs. At the time a diet was commonly believed to keep athletes ready to perform at the levels required for a successful NFL career. According to an article, David later wrote, his unhealthy dietary habits combined with the additional stress placed on his physique by a career in the NFL plus unique physical issues left him feeling the types of aches and pains commonly associated with old age.

Davis was shocked when he discovered the average age at which NFL players died was just 56. To boot, their cause of death was generally unrelated to football. The main diagnosis for death being cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or stroke. Shortly after he watched the “Forks over Knives” documentary on Netflix which prompted him to immediately switch to veganism. Previously he regularly joked about being allergic to vegetables as he guzzled milkshakes and stuffed up to six double burgers down his gullet with each sitting.

Before his switch to veganism he says lifting himself from a bathtub was nearly impossible due to the excruciating pain. Aside from his blood pressure being off the charts he also suffered from tendonitis which meant painkillers and anti-inflammatories became essential elements of his daily regimen.

Carter immediately eliminated all processed foodstuffs and animal-based products from his diet. In a few short weeks, he lost 40 pounds which endangered his position with the team. He was fortunate enough to find help and advice from bodybuilders who were experienced vegans.

Following a vegan lifestyle while maintaining the mental and physical attributes that made Carter successful in his NFL career meant eating six meals a day with smoothie boosters between meals. He basically needed to eat every two hours – gaining weight required waking up in the middle of the night for a meal. Since his retirement from professional sports David became a vegan activist and he believes it could help prolong athletes’ lives.

Adbert Alzolay – Chicago Cubs

Cubs right-hander Alzolay attributes the success of his progress into the majors on health just as much as on raw natural talent. He battled through the minors riddled with enough injuries to cast doubt on his future durability. In his first game for the Cubs Adbert pitched four-plus innings in relief, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters. Over the past two years, the team worked with him to achieve significant improvements in strength to prevent premature failure under stress in problem areas.

At the age of 26 Alzolay is finally making the most of his opportunity to display his skill and prove his worth in the big leagues. During this season he’s starting to prove that he might be one answer to the numerous concerns about the lack of homegrown pitching talent within the Cubs camp. The leap in Adzolay’s performance required nearly just as much work and dedication away from the mound.

Newfound solutions and dedication saw Adbert entering this season in the best shape of his career. Close-knit couples share a common interest or interests that brought them even closer to each other, for Adbert and his wife Diana Inzunza that commonality was food. It was also the final ingredient Adbert required to achieve his 4enewfound level of fitness and performance.

Adbert says Diana taught him how to eat, which was the gamechanger he needed and according to him she is well acquainted with vegan diets for athletes. Diana is a certified nutritionist that gained experience after previously working with vegan athletes and now she’s keeping a close eye on him and his dietary regimen. She says many athletes have a mindset that makes them believe they can eat whatever they want to.

However, with Diana in control of the kitchen, it was never a sit-down conversation which meant Adbert simply must eat whatever she decides to make. They have lots of fun creating and trying out tasty new plant-based recipes. She’d gone vegan the year before but went back to eating white meats since cooking two meals was too much to handle.

After Adbert watched a documentary called “The Game Changers” that highlighted the benefits of a purely plant-based diet he was on board with trying it out and never looked back since. They do admit to having a cheat meal every now and again, but Adbert says since going vegan his body is feeling much better and you can see it on the field.

Vegan Living & The Future Face of Sports

Although not all from Chicago a significant number of retired sports stars have also converted to veganism and the numbers show a continual rise amongst the current crop of athletes while they are at the top of their game. Veganism received a very positive nod from each sportsperson that tried living the life. Professional sports management was quick to recognize the benefits and got on board by accommodating vegan athletes with items like plant-based foods and snacks during field breaks and training camps. Veganism is hopefully not only here to stay but to thrive and help our athletes improve their performance, extend careers, live healthier, and retire in a much better condition.

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