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Tony Gonzalez - Kansas City Chiefs 

He was featured in the Wall Street Journal piece about the 247 pound vegan. Here--s a quote from him, from ESPN:

Tony Gonzalez: "About a month and a half before the season started, I stopped eating meat and dairy products completely, and I lost about 10 pounds because I wasn't doing it the right way. But once I figured out how it worked--how to get my protein from plant sources--everything pretty much got back to normal, and -- I saw the benefits of it right away. I had more energy on the field. I could last longer. After the game, I could recover a lot quicker. Once you learn how to do it, I think you'll see the benefits -- you'll see that you can eat well too. I'm disciplined enough -- I know the benefits of it, though. Eating this way and being healthy like that -- I probably had my best season ever, and I think there's a reason for that."

You 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.

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