This article was republished with permission from Medical Daily.
Imagine, in your head, what a vegan looks like. Chances are you’d think of someone scrawny; perhaps you’d say that they were wiry or lean. When it comes to NFL lineman David Carter, you’d be wrong.
Carter is a 310-pound lineman for the Chicago Bears. He’s played football all his life, and with each step of the competitive ladder, he’s had to up his weight to “fight” in the trenches with the “big boys.”
That means eating copious amounts of food, like milkshakes and ice cream, chicken, beef, fries — literally anything that could be eaten for calories, Carter ate. But it was wreaking havoc on his body.
At 285 pounds, Carter had tendonitis so bad, he couldn’t lift himself out of the bathtub. Some of his fingers were numb and his shoulders hurt. Then, he watched a documentary on veganism and a light bulb went off in his head. The documentary stated that dairy had a profound effect on tendonitis.
“I realized I was making everything worse,” he told GQ. “I was feeding the tendonitis, the muscle fatigue, everything.” After watching the documentary and learning where his pain was coming from, he became a vegan.
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Why NFL lineman David Carter Became a Vegan
If you’ve ever seen an NFL lineman up close, they’re monstrous. Most are well over six feet tall and weigh 250 pounds or more. They need the extra bulk to push around the men they line up against.
But that vegan you pictured in your head, he definitely wasn’t an NFL lineman; he probably wasn’t even a professional football player. So, how was David Carter, whose sole occupation in life is to play football, supposed to bulk up enough to meet the NFL lineman’s weight standards as a vegan?
When Carter first switched, he dropped 40 pounds. But he realized that his decision worked. He was faster, stronger, had more endurance, and most importantly, no pain. It takes an entire produce section at your local grocery store to maintain his current 3300-pound frame.
“I try to eat 1.2 grams of protein per pound per day,” he said, “otherwise it’s really hard to gain weight.” Carter said he eats 10,000 calories per day, split up into five regular meals and four “snacks.” He is constantly eating — at least every two hours — and his intake isn’t small. Those four snacks are each 20-ounce smoothies made of cannellini beans, sunflower seeds and fruit.
Here’s what his daily intake might look like, according to GQ:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with hemp protein, bananas, and berries
- Snack: 20-ounce smoothie made with cannellini beans, banana, strawberries, and spirulina
- Lunch: Brown rice and black beans topped with avocado and cashew cheese
- Snack: Another 20-ounce smoothie
- Another lunch: More of the brown rice and black bean combo
- Snack: Another 20-ounce smoothie
- Dinner: Couscous with onion and garlic, and spinach salad with bell peppers
- Snack: Another 20 ounce smoothie
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