Chalk Talk

The blueprint for Arian Foster's vegan journey: It's been NFL done before — with little worry

The blueprint for Arian Foster's vegan journey: It's been NFL done before — with little worry

Arian Foster Texans camp
Arian Foster looks pretty good as a vegan. Like what he looked like as a Houston Texans;' meat eater. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Gary Kubiak upset
Gary Kubiak doesn't care what Arian Foster eats as long as he performs. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Arian Foster Texans camp
Gary Kubiak upset

The Houston Texans 2012 training camp is officially underway. Thousands of fans lined the practice field early Saturday morning to get the first look at their hometown team and another big crowd greeted the squad Sunday.

Texans fans have high hopes for this season . . . nothing short of a run at the Super Bowl will suffice. Good news: It’s early and at this point in the season everyone is a contender.

Day one was a typical Texas summer day . . . hot and muggy . . . and that’s exactly what we expect in this part of the world. So the players lined up and went through drills for about 75 minutes on the outside practice field. They finished the last 45 minutes of the morning session inside the bubble.

 Foster might be charting new waters on the Texans, but he’s not the only vegan in the NFL. 

We saw quarterback Matt Schaub back on the field for the first time since last year’s season-ending injury and subsequent surgery. All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson said he was so excited about starting camp he could hardly sleep Friday night. Running back Arian Foster is in camp with not only a fat new contract, but a new title as well.

“Officially a vegan now. We'll see how this goes. But week one down. So far, so good. Feels wonderful,” Foster tweeted on July 5. That’s right, the All-Pro running back who is no stranger to picking up the Texans and carrying them on his back is giving up meat and animal products, including dairy and eggs. While discussions about plant-based lifestyles are growing in the United States, they are definitely not the norm in the NFL.

Foster might be charting new waters on the Texans, but he’s not the only vegan in the NFL.

The most notable NFL player that has tried the vegan lifestyle is probably tight end Tony Gonzalez. After following a very strict regiment, Gonzalez now sometimes adds fish and free-range chicken. Not much . . . but remember this is his journey and his performance hasn’t suffered at all.

I know we’re talking football here, but there are other world-class athletes who are successfully competing at a very high level with little or no meat in their diet.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak admitted he knows nothing about veganism, but doesn’t have a problem with Foster’s decision.

"If that’s the route Arian wants to go, he’s got to handle it and keep playing great football like he’s always done for our team,” Kubiak said. "He’s had a great off-season he looks really good today and we’ve got people in place to help him.

"But the key is to get out here and do your job and that’s what we all expect him to do."

Foster said he’s been thinking about making this change since high school.

“If you improve your health, you improve your performance,” Foster added. He went to say that no one asked him what he ate last year. This is Texas, a state with a lot of beef and even more carnivores.

If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about Foster’s new diet . . . or lifestyle, as I’d rather call it. He’s a smart competitive athlete and no one wants him to stay healthy and be the tenacious successful back he was last year more than he does.

He said he hasn’t lost any weight. Only about a month into being vegan, he says so far so good. There are countless studies and scientific information that tout the advantages of a plant-based diet. If you want to find out more about what the likes of Foster, Gonzalez, Venus Williams and Desmond Howard are doing . . .  just Google it. It’s what we all do with just about anything else.

Who knows? It might be something you’d like to try this football season.

One thing we can count on is Foster doing whatever it takes to be the best he can be. The sheer fact that he’s being intentional about his diet says he is being intentional about his diet. The pounding and demands of an NFL season will tell just how this vegan thing works out.

Remember the statement: “You are what you eat?” Well the documentary Forks Over Knives, along with books like the China Study, take a closer look at just what that statement means. They really examine whether most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by adopting a vegan diet and eliminating processed foods.

It certainly puts a new spin on tailgating doesn’t it?

Kim Davis is a seasoned journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering sports, news and politics in television, radio and print. She’s a talk show host, keynote speaker, media coach, entrepreneur and health and fitness enthusiast. If you have questions or comments for Kim or about “Chalk Talk”, you can reach her at kim@thekdcompany.com.