Professional NFL player Arian Foster just can’t catch a break when it comes to his eating habits. When the Houston Texans running back announced he was turning vegan, some were happy, while others responded negatively.
It seems his cruelty-free lifestyle isn’t sitting well and he is still receiving backlash. So, Foster is once again defending himself.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports Foster said, “Everybody cares what I eat now. They didn’t care before, but they do now. Everybody is a nutritionist now and they’re an expert on protein. Every day, every single day somebody knows something new to do. I just smile and say, ‘OK.’”
Even his teammates aren’t 100 percent supportive. According to Foster’s teammate Brian Cushing, “I had a long conversation with him about that. I told him, ‘If this doesn’t work, I’m going to kick your ass.’ I told him that because he’s going too far. He thinks he knows more than me, but he doesn’t, especially about nutrition. We have a good relationship, but I told him this better be right. We have a lot riding this year.”
Foster is one of the best running backs in the league, Jason Cole from Yahoo! Sports said. People are concerned Foster’s meat-free diet will make him weak and not perform to the best of his ability. Well, the running back disagrees.
For those who think he did this on his own or went cold turkey, that’s far from the truth. He made sure to educate himself, before drastically changing his body and transforming his health. Foster consulted doctors, nutritionists and got down to eating red meat once every six months.
“I didn’t just blindly stop eating meat. I know what I’m doing,” Foster said. “I saw a documentary in high school that really turned me on to getting aware of it. It didn’t change my diet then, but it made me think about the myths about protein.
“I said a while ago that when I quit playing football, I would probably become a vegetarian and I thought I needed the protein. Then I did some research with doctors who in their world are considered kind of radical. To me, it’s radical we have heart disease and 12-year-old kids with diabetes.”
General manager Rick Smith, who Foster made sure to talk with about going vegan, also doesn’t eat red meat on a regular basis and is showing support for his player. “We want to support him and make sure that he has the guidance and help to get through the things he has to deal with in the season.”
Is Foster’s vegan diet so controversial because he’s a macho man who plays a “beefy” sport? Is it because football players should only eat meat? Is it because he’s playing for Texas, a state proud of its barbeque?
Who knows, but if you ask me, I say leave the guy alone. He can eat what he wants, when he wants and for those of you who don’t know there are many successful vegan athletes out there. For example, mixed martial arts fighter Aaron Simpson (who has defended Foster in the past), tennis player Venus Williams and boxer Mike Tyson are all vegans or vegetarians.
Why do you think Foster is getting so much advice and criticism? Well, Foster thinks he has the answer.
“You start to understand why people are like that. We’re emotionally attached to food, bad food. Think about every big event in America, it’s attached to food. Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, holidays … it’s with food. That’s why people feel so strongly about it; they’re emotionally attached to it.
“I know that’s why so many people are interested. They’re speaking from their heart … [but] I’m concerned with what I’m putting in my body. That bad stuff we eat, it goes into your body and it stays there. It stays in your heart. Trust me, I love that kind of food. I see a hamburger and I know it’s delicious. But now I can think it through and know that hamburger is not necessarily good for me.”