Vegan diet has surely been gaining massive popularity of late, and one of the biggest ambassadors of this aliment is the Manchester United defender, Chris Smalling. The 29-year-old, who is the only player on a vegan diet in United’s squad, has been reaping blissful results and believes that this is helping him in becoming stronger and fitter.
Chris was converted into vegan by his wife Sam and it has almost been a year that the defender has stopped eating meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. While turning vegan remains a debatable topic for many, the athletes who have switched their alliance have been reaping fruits and how. Take Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero or even the five-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton for instance.
The athletes who have switched their routine to the plant-based diet have observed a massive change when it comes to fitness and recovery. And Chris, on his part, is one of them. Apportioning his experience with Sky Sports, the 29-year-old said that his vegan food remains an attraction for some of his Manchester United teammates in the canteen at Carrington.
“A couple of the options are for me and sometimes they’ll be like, “ooh, that looks nice”,’ said Smalling. “It might be Thai red curry or something like that. Sometimes half of it is gone.
“In football, you’re used to everyone eating together off the buffet. I spoke with Mark (Ellison) the nutritionist and the chef (Mike Donnelly). Mike hadn’t cooked much vegan food so there’s a bit of influence from my wife, in terms of her recipes. It became quite easy.”
Adding further, the former Fulham defender said that he is observing positive results.“I’m the exact same weight as I was three years ago. We do a lot of testing on our hamstrings and on the bike in the gym, and I’m constantly hitting a lot of personal bests. I know I’m getting stronger and fitter.”
“I had quite a few symptoms, but since I went fully vegan I don’t feel it at all anymore.
“The second day after a game is often when I feel most fatigued, but my fatigue levels have gone down and, on the second day, I’ve felt a lot more recovered than previously.
“At home, we try to plan what we cook in the week. When we go to the supermarket I’m often the one pushing the trolley and Sam’s chucking stuff in. I like Thai food, Jamaican stews with yam, pumpkin and sweet potato.”
As mentioned, there still remains a majority who are yet to accept the positives of this plant-based diet and Smalling shared one such instance where he encountered one from that section. “I was ordering soy milk in a hotel and he looked at me and said ‘how are you gonna run on Saturday?’
“Just a silly question! It made me laugh at the time.”