It comes up time and time again. Vegans are pale. Vegans are weak. Where do they get their calcium if they don’t eat dairy? And of course: what about the protein… can’t get that from plants…
But in our post-millenial times attitudes are changing. More and more athletes are becoming interested in a vegan diet and plant based athletics is on the rise. It’s not just the ethical side that is making them switch – they are interested in performance. So that pre-marathon pasta breakfast high-carbohydrate binge is being gradually extrapolated into a constant life paradigm for competitive sporting success.
Here we explore a few of the recent Vegan Athletes – especially those with a social media presence.
NON-VEGAN: “But where do you get your protein from!?”
VEGAN: “Good question! I really haven’t thought about that one! Why don’t you ask Patrik Baboumian?”
Baboumian is a great ambassador for the vegan movement, speaking out for animal rights and explaining how he can attain such strength on a vegan diet. He is originally from Iran but has been in Germany since childhood. He switched from vegetarianism to veganism in 2011. There seem to be more and more English language interviews and speeches from him which can only help spread the vegan message and dispel some of those “protein deficiency” myths once and for all. Patrik Baboumian discusses his switch to veganism (Youtube).
More information about Rich Roll is available on his website.
3. Harley Johnstone – aka “Durianrider” the banana boy cyclist
Durianrider cycles a lot and posts hundreds of videos to Youtube and elsewhere. There are few records of him ever competing in any sporting competitions and coming anywhere near winning. In 2017 he took his bamboo-frame bicycle down to Freemantle (near Perth, Western Australia) to attempt the 5500km single stage India Pacific Wheel Race over to Sydney on the east coast. But he dropped out after just a couple of hundred kilometres due to injuries sustained before the race having been run over by a car. He will be attempting the race again in 2018.
Durianrider has a huge fan base. And he attracts an army of rabid “haters” – clearly a measure of his success. Strava, the social media portal of the cycling world records impressive distances and times for him. So yes, it is quite legitimate to list him as an athlete.
There are so many controversial aspects to Durianrider. However, it is perhaps best to stick to the positive side. He is massively influential amongst all age groups, promoting both sport, the rejection of alcohol and he promotes a vegan lifestyle. However, tipping refined sugar into his breakfast cereal or into a smoothie is not really what Dr. John McDougall meant when he lectures on sugar not being the cause of diabetes. But it does make for videos that make people think. The tongue-in cheek reverse-psychology irony he often chooses is entertaining… here is one example, Durianrider returning to meat-eating after 16 years… mixing cycling with the vegan message. What Happened When I Started Eating Meat Again After Being Vegan For 16 Years