It goes without saying that food is incredibly important to NFL players. Whether they’re demonstrating next-level burger-grilling techniques or detailing what it takes to stay so massive, these professional athletes are no strangers to the proper ways to stuffing one’s face with calorie-rich foods.
Then what happens when one of these mammoth players decides to ditch burgers and ice cream (two notable player-cosigned foods to stay bulky) for veganism? GQ caught up with the self-proclaimed “300-Pound Vegan” David Carter to find out. Carter, who currently plays as a defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, made the dietary switch in 2014 when his tendonitis got so bad he could barely lift himself from the bathtub. As he tells the publication, his come-to-Jesus moment for ditching meat and dairy was fairly easy. It came after he watched a documentary on veganism that says some milk and dairy can cause tendonitis:
But the question remains: How can he keep his 300-pound frame—one that’s absolutely necessary on the defensive line—while maintaining his strict dietary restrictions? Carter mentions that after initially losing 40 pounds, he figured out a way to consume 10,000 calories per day through a mix of greens, rice, quinoa, nuts, and beans—but mainly beans.
[pullquote]It takes extra effort to maintain that kind of weight with a vegan diet[…]which works out to five meals a day plus four 20-ounce shakes between them. It means that Carter is eating every two hours, and eating hard. Those smoothies aren’t even a break. Instead of dairy, Carter uses cannellini beans and sunflower seeds to give them protein and body—even brightened up with fruit it’s a feat to choke them down. He starts each morning with a huge batch of the bean smoothies in his Vitamix blender (enough to total 100 grams of protein) which he divvies up for the course of the day.[/pullquote]
If you’re into those items, it sounds like an easier diet for the regular person to emulate than former University of Miami football player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s.