As Daniel Bryan explained in an interview with PETA U.S., "[M]y energy levels have been great …. I'm stronger right now than I've ever been …. I'm dead-lifting more than I ever have before." Maureen Shea agrees, stating in her PETA U.S. campaign, "I need to keep my body in top physical shape. Since I've stopped eating meat, I'm stronger, faster, and … happier!" Mac Danzig experienced a similar revelation, telling PETA U.S., "You don't need any kind of animal products to be an athlete in this day and age."
Why else are vegan meals the food of champions? Athletes who switch to plant-based protein consistently report a substantial increase in energy and a dramatic decrease in recovery time. Unlike animal protein, plant-based protein sources are easily absorbed by the body and contain healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates—so vegan athletes stay lean and build muscle without slowing themselves down with cholesterol and saturated fat. But vegan meals are good for everyone's health, not just professional athletes: Vegans are less prone to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity than meat-eaters are, and a naturally low-fat, meat-free diet has even been shown to reverse the effects of heart disease—one of the Philippines' top killers—in many patients. What's more, 90 percent of Filipinos are lactose-intolerant. In addition, when people avoid dairy products, their bodies work more efficiently.
Meat production is a leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions, water pollution, and land degradation. The best way to fight the cruelty and pollution of factory farms and slaughterhouses is to kick the meat habit.
Other vegetarian athletes—many of whom have worked with PETA Asia and its overseas affiliates to promote healthy, meat-free meals—include hockey's Georges Laraque, basketball great John Salley, Ultraman Rich Roll, Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier, football star Ricky Williams, "Olympian of the Century" Carl Lewis, Home Run Derby winner Prince Fielder, snowboarding champion Hannah Teter, and marathon runner Scott Jurek, who just published a book for athletes on the benefits of a vegan diet.