by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Eats
Tags: .

gonzalez.jpgYou know there’s an odd attitude towards vegan diets when an article describes followers as “young rebels and aging nonconformists.” Thanks, however, to books like Skinny Bitch and The China Study, it’s hip to be a rebel.

Case in point: NFL star Tony Gonzalez. Afraid his diet of high protein and high fat was going to kill him — he decided to embark on a change in eating habits that ultimately led him to choosing a vegan lifestyle. This isn’t an easy option for an athlete that goes through thousands and thousands of calories per day. From the article,

Teammates nicknamed him China Study and razzed Mr. Gonzalez if he missed a block. But he wasn’t ready to give up his new diet completely. After a preseason practice, he accompanied Mr. Hinds to learn a skill he believed as important as blocking techniques: how to shop for groceries. Mr. Hinds showed him nutritious fish oils and how to pick out breads dense with whole grains, nuts and seeds. “The best bread for you,” says Mr. Hinds, “is if I hit you with it, it hurts.” Mr. Gonzalez also learned how to make the fruit and vegetable shake he drinks each morning. He stocked his pantry with tubs of soy protein powder and boxes of organic oatmeal; soy milk and Brazilian acai juice crowded the fridge. His favorite dessert became banana bread topped with soy whipped cream from the vegan cafe near his home in Orange County’s Huntington Beach.

This should put to rest any argument that vegan diets are not good for you. With the right balance of supplements and nutrition — staying meat and dairy free is a realistic lifestyle choice. Just ask a man who weighs 247lbs and broke records this year. Congrats Tony for taking a risk — and sharing the results. Check out a video of Tony showing how to make a high-protein vegan shake below.

via wall street journal

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
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  • Steven S

    It’s absolutely fantastic to see some positive news about being Vegan. The truth is you can be vegan and healthy.

    Breaking the misconceptions is key and this article is a testament to that.

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  • parrish


  • parrish

    and what I mean by that is: TO THE FRIGIN CLUB!

  • Vegasm

    will someone tell him that he doesn’t need fish oils? first off, it’s not vegan, second, much better sources of omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, walnuts, soy beans, and leafy green veggies. you can get great omega 3s and not be concerned about toxins in the fish.

  • Miami Vegan


    That is the same thing I thought. Fish oil! I still tip my hat to him. He should be ready for the backlash. Who knows, it may go the other way, other athletes may catch on. Wouldn’t that be a revolution?

  • Ryan

    I third Vegasm and Miami Vegan. Fish oil is, in fact, not vegan. And kinda gross to boot.

    Tony should grind up some flax seeds and toss ‘em in that oatmeal. He’d be good to go.

    Otherwise, it’s awesome to see such a high caliber athlete choose veganism and make his choice public. Kudos.

  • becky


    Though I’m not a vegan, I’m trying to get back to my vegetarian roots. If he can do it, anyone can.

  • keith

    not only is the fish oil not vegan, neither is the small portions of fish and chicken he started eating once a week

  • KS

    yeah, he’s not completely vegan, no doubt. But I am encouraged by him wanting to move in that direction. Him at 80% vegan is certainly better than him at 20% vegan. For someone in his position and the pressures he faces to even make such a drastic change in his diet is a great testament to the benefits of veganism.

    I’m a complete vegan, and though i would like more people to be vegan in order to reduce animal suffering. I am starting to recognize that it maybe more benieficial for 5 people to be 80% vegan than 1 person be 100% vegan.

  • fifi

    I understand vegetarianism but I just can’t fathom cutting out dairy, eggs, etc. These are by products of animals that actually have benefits for our consumption.
    I would guess its more political then health minded. Something like pro-choice/pro-life? My equation of course.
    I applaud people who can take the time and energy to be vegan but I really just don’t think its healthy.

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  • becky

    To you people who get bad because he is not fully vegan — at least he is moving in the right direction. Focus your frustration and anger on the people that aren’t moving in the right direction — you are much more useful that way.

  • Artemis

    The frustration would best be directed at the WSJ and Ecorazzi for using the word vegan at all when he’s not. It just adds to the confusion many people have about what it means to be a vegetarian or a vegan. Does he describe himself as a vegan? I think it’s good that Gonzalez is moving towards more plant-based foods… so I’m not going to criticize him. But journalists need to be more careful about the words they use.

  • Amanda

    Vegans cut out dairy and eggs because animals are raised in the same horrific conditions regardless of what they supply us. Hens spend their entire lives in confined areas unable to stand up. When they can no longer lay eggs, they are slaughtered. Milk cows are repeatedly impregnated in order for us the consume their milk. They do not continuosly give milk for our benefit. Like humans, they produce milk when they have offspring. However, calves do not get to nurse because they are taken away from their mothers soon after birth. And like hens, when dairy cows get too old (I think around 5 years of age) they are slaughtered.

  • Jenny

    Tony Gonzalez is not really vegan. He admits to eating fish and chicken every week.

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  • Christy

    Fifi- We are the only species that drinks the mammogram secretions of another animal after infancy. Drinking milk seems to be the most unnatural thing we do.

    And, veganism is proven to be healthy and save lives (human & animal). It’s the only way we are going to save ourselves and this planet. That being said, I applaud anyone who cuts out animal products by 80% because they are at least doing something.

  • Luis Mac

    Sounds like it is becoming more exceptable today. But I guess it would still be important to take health supplements with your diet to maintain optimal health.

    But what supplements should you take. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Also I am interested in credible sources for supplement reviews like



  • Aaron

    “Vegans cut out dairy and eggs because animals are raised in the same horrific conditions regardless of what they supply us. Hens spend their entire lives in confined areas unable to stand up. When they can no longer lay eggs, they are slaughtered. Milk cows are repeatedly impregnated in order for us the consume their milk. They do not continuosly give milk for our benefit. Like humans, they produce milk when they have offspring. However, calves do not get to nurse because they are taken away from their mothers soon after birth. And like hens, when dairy cows get too old (I think around 5 years of age) they are slaughtered.”

    Really? So you would eat eggs and beef from a local rancher that takes good care of their animals? My wife is taking our family toward a vegan lifestyle (a ranch girl no less). There is a lot to learn. The “Beef” I have is like a few of the comments above that have such a hard line. You would be better off encouraging others instead of ripping into people over the use of the word vegan. I guess the food bank will get a few more pounds of venison next year from me since we will not be eating it.

  • Amanda

    It is possible to get a good part of your nutrition from a diet that incorporates a variety of plant foods. One book you might want to read is Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting A Healthy Plant-Based Diet. It gives you more detail on what foods to eat and when it may be necessary to take supplements.

  • Val

    the recent outbreak of bird flu has caused indonesia to “destroy” millions of their chickens there. how is that not exactly like the holocaust? those chickens are smart enough to know their in the death march line. even my extra dumb dog can smell the dead bird on the trail and be totally freaked by it. can you imagine being in that death stenched mayhem? webster’s Collegiate dictionary defines an ‘animal’ as “a being capable of feeling”. these poor animals are being shuffled in lines to their heartless deaths soley for our extremely unhealthy consumption. -also, an unfertilized egg passing through my body is my menstruation cycle. your eating a chicken period when you eat eggs and every one is allergic to dairy -some more than others. thank you Tony & all the other hottie REAL men who aren’t pussy’s & are vegans!

  • AngelBabyTrio

    I think we can all come up with some extreme measures or examples where animals are treated poorly. Personally, I’m on an “organic trip” because of all the growth hormones and pesticides they put in regular food. But the thing is… who really knows. I think the best thing you can do is continue educating yourself and don’t assume anything or don’t be so quick to judge… I find “Veganism” interesting but I’m not ready to jump in head first. I do see major positives health-wise in addition to ethical responsibilities regarding animal treatment…what we have cultivated into as a world of meat-eaters (or unhealthy eating in general) has evolved over centuries… it’ll be a slow process before most people realize the detriment that occurs on most farms/ranches or processing plants… to each their own…Although, I do applaud anyone who takes the time to research and apply improved eating habits especially in an age where obesity, cancer, high blood pressure and other illnesses run rampant.

  • KIT

    Come on you guys, who cares! Most of you that have commented are just preaching to the choir, and you can’t get non-vegans to believe you when you get defensive, talk about vegans as “being apart of a club and make claims like “Vegans are the best!” etc. People are more open and accpeting when you keep things “neutral” In my opinion animals are animals. They are beneath humans. If you belive in creationism then you believe that. Somebody said “My dog could smell the chicken and was freaked.” All animals have sharper senses and better instints than humans because they don’t have minds like humans do. They don’t “think” they only “know”. Like dogs, If you home from work and you’ve had a bad day your dog won’t say “gosh man, you had a bad day, let me give you a hug to make you feel better.” It may sense that your in a bad mood but thats because its a dog. Dogs are pack animals and they have a leader in their pack who “has all the power”. When you own a dog you become its leader and you have the power. It might stay out of your way or try to comfort you because its pack instincts kick and well if your life is hell you can make their life hell to.

    And really think about this, What makes you different from animals? You have a written language and a soul. Animals don’t have those. You can think for yourself.
    You all thought for yourselfs in choosing to become vegans.
    And really there are so many ways to argue this. You could get scientific, the ecosystem, foodchain. Lions don’t stop to think about that poor gazelle they’re killing to eat. “I’m putting him in alot of pain only to eat him and serve my own needs, I shouldn’t do this any more.” They don’t do that. And humans are above everyone on the food chain.
    All I’m saying is don’t be so closed minded that you don’t listen to ALL arguements. I’m not saying I’m right because who the hell am I. And when you say your right youre saying you know everything and nobody knows everything.

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  • Jon

    KIT, first of all, I believe in evolution. Second of all, think about this: when you see a dead carcas of an animal, do you salivate and want to tear into it’s flesh? NO! When you see a cow, do you want to suck the milk from it’s utters? NO! When you see an apple on a tree, would it be nice to bite into it for a snack? OF COURSE! We are naturally adapted to eating plant based materials. I’m not a Vegan, in fact I ate steak today, but I think I will move into this direction… slowly but surely. But you have to think critically. We aren’t just above all animals, only our minds put us there. Hey if you can go chase down a gazelle and eat it’s raw flesh, I’ll label you a carnivore/omnivore. But you wouldn’t! We are herbivores.

  • Mikey Benny

    Just FYI: Tony Gonzales eats fish and poultry. He and his nutritionist decided the vegan diet wasn’t working. He only avoids red meat, but eats poultry and fish because it was deemed necessary to maintain athletic performance.

    • LOU

      How is eating chicken or fish helpful to his diet cmon? Eat more beans vegs
      dont get why its necessary for the athletic,help here

  • carlos valdez

    tony is da best!!!!!!!!!! look at those huge arms!!!!!!!!!!