I am probably one of the worst people to represent vegans.

Even though I hate to use the expression, it’s the truth: I am skinny. I have been skinny all of my life. On top of that, I’m quite pasty-looking (even though I live in Spain!). I’ve been told that I need a steak and kidney pie more than once…  

As I’ve always been roughly the same size my entire adult life I didn’t realise that people would assume my body shape (or lack of) was related to my most-recent lifestyle choice: vegan. This was the case until I was chatting with my very good friend:

Very Good Friend: for meat, you kill the animal in one go (hopefully), and food is neccesary
Me: meat isn’t necessary though… i am proof of that
Very Good Friend: variety of food is neccesary
Me: i have variety of food
Very Good Friend: not diverse enough though
Me: what makes you say that?
Very Good Friend: your size

(Very good friend, please don’t hate me!)

For a while I sat silent… shocked. Then it occurred to me, if my friend (who takes a huge interest in my passion for animals) can make this mistake, then what about the people that aren’t half as informed as him?

The problem with veganism is the stigma attached to it. I thought the ‘skinny’ vegan was a very old, false-stereotype. Maybe to the meat-eaters I look like a stereotypical vegan but in that case, I must have looked like a stereotypical vegan even when I ate meat…

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There are a lot of false assumptions made by the general public about the vegan diet, one being that vegans are skinny because the diet is an unhealthy one (I will talk about this more at a later date). Although the vegan diet is an increasingly popular choice of lifestyle (rising by 360% in Britain over the last decade) it is still a very alternative choice. This may be due to false advertisement. 

A great example of this can be found regarding the Dietary Guidelines issued by the United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA) every five years. These guidelines are for everyone in the US, including hospitals, schools etc. In 2000 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) sued the USDA, as they found that 6 out of 11 board members had links with the meat, dairy and egg industries. The PCRM won their lawsuit and the Dietary Guidelines began to improve from then on, even praising plant-based diets.

History repeats itself. In 2015 the USDA issued their Dietary Guidelines but quite strangely, did not include the traditional cholesterol limit. Egg yolk is strongly linked with high cholesterol and it transpired that a member of the board had financial ties with the egg industry. In Jan 2016, PCRM filed a lawsuit against the USDA and they responded by publishing an updated version of the Dietary Guidelines which contained a stronger warning against cholesterol. The PCRM are still calling for an investigation to take place. For the full story please click here.  

A lot of wealthy people would stand to lose a lot of money if veganism became the norm.

Information is now widely available and we are beginning to see sportsmen and sportswomen opting for a vegan diet, for both health and ethical reasons. Professional athletes take their choice of diet very seriously and would be unable to continue with their sporting career if their diet had a detrimental effect on their performance.

People wonder where vegans get their protein from…
We get it from the same place that your protein gets their protein from.

I have chosen to show 24 professional athletes covering a range of sports requiring muscle, stamina, athletic ability and many more admiring attributes. Please take some time to look at these athletes, do they look like vegans? These athletes have taken it upon themselves to go against the grain and transition to a diet which they believe is healthier for them. I have taken extra care to only display photos of the athletes at the time they are vegan and not before. Descriptions and links can be found below.

I hope this dispels some of the misassumptions made about vegans.

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  1. Austin Aries Professional wrestler. Vegan since 2011.
  2. Mirco Bergamasco International rugby union player. Vegan since 2011.
  3. Alana Blanchard Professional surfer.
  4. Mac Danzig Former professional UFC fighter. Vegan since 2006.
  5. Steph Davis Rock climber, base jumper and wingsuit flyer. Vegan since 2008.
  6. Jason Gillespie Cricket coach and former international cricket player. Vegan since 2014.
  7. Meagan Duhamel World champion pro pair-skater. Vegan since 2008.
  8. David Haye Professional boxer. Vegan since 2014.
  9. Scott Jurek Ultra marathon runner. Vegan since 1999.
  10. Georges Laraque Ice hockey player. Vegan since 2009.
  11. Neil Robinson Retired Footballer. Vegan since 1980.
  12. Andy Lally Professional sports car racing driver. Vegan since 2009.
  13. Tim Shieff  Professional freerunner. Vegan since 2012.
  14. Neil Robertson Professional snooker player.
  15. Carl Lewis Olympic gold medallist. Vegan since 1990.
  16. Ladule Lako LoSarah Professional football player.
  17. Steve-O Stunt performer.
  18. Salim Stoudamire Professional basketball player. Vegan since 2006.
  19. Christine Vardaros Professional cyclist. Vegan since 2000.
  20. Ed Templeton Professional skateboarder. Vegan since 1991.
  21. Jim Morris Former body builder. Vegan since 2010.
  22. Venus Williams Professional tennis player. Vegan since 2012.
  23. James Wilks Former mixed martial artist. Vegan since 2011.
  24. Fiona Oakes World record marathon runner. Vegan from childhood.