Arian Foster, star Running Back of the Houston Texans, caused a stir on Twitter Thursday when he announced that he is now a Vegan. “Officially a vegan now,” Foster posted. “We’ll see how this goes.”
Officially a vegan now. We’ll see how this goes. But week one down. So far, so good. Feels wonderful.
— Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) July 6, 2012
For those of you clambering to find a dictionary and find out what a Vegan is; it is a person who doesn’t eat animal products. So, Arian won’t be gorging on steaks, protein filled glasses of milk or drizzling honey on his morning waffles and bacon.
Will this affect his ability to continue as a Power Running Back in the NFL? Only time will tell. There is no doubt that any change in diet can affect an athlete’s performance drastically but with a huge franchise like the Houston Texans, I am sure he will have plenty of Nutritionists at hand to offer advice. The Texans will be anxious to see any change to Arian’s winning regimen however as he had the 5th Best Rushing Yards of the Regular 2011 season and rushed for more yards than anyone else in the Postseason. Arian’s stellar performance awarded him with a second invite to the Pro Bowl in two years.
Looking at the kind of man Arian is, I believe that this may be somewhat of a stunt. He is not your typical RB. It is well known among his NFL peers that Arian dabbles in poetry and according to Amobi Okoye of the Buccaneers, is somewhat of an aspiring rapper. He was a Philosophy Major at University of Tennessee and most interviews you will read from him, he will bring a philosophical debate into the frame. That said, Arian celebrates by performing a Hindu inspired bow and perhaps this new Vegan proclamation is a further extension of him being more in tune with a spiritual self.
Whether Foster is deliberately stirring controversy in the offseason to stave off the boredom or whether he really has become a treehugging, sandal wearing, peace sign flashing Vegan, we must ask ourselves if a modern day NFL player can perform at such a high level whilst adhering to the strict diet? An article in the NY Times last month by Gretchen Reynolds delved into the topic of Veganism in Sport. She found that the American College of Sports Medicine ruled that there is insufficient evidence to conclude if it helps or hinders an athlete. Foster, as an explosive Running Back, must have the essential nutrients to support short bursts of intense physical exercise and one area that the Vegan diet hinders this precise ability is regarding Creatine. Creatine is a key ingredient the body takes from meat allowing for this ability to sustain short bouts of exercise, such as Arian’s powerful runs through the lines of scrimmage. If Arian adheres to the strict Vegan diet, there is no doubt that he must supplement his diet with creatine, essential amino acids, protein and Vitamin B12.
I will be attending the London NFL conference with Steven Jackson and Nate Solder on Wednesday and will be sure to pose the question of diet to Jackson, one of the NFL’s premier Running Backs over the past 8 years. But, whether Arian will be swapping his Cleats for Sandals and his beloved breakfast burritos and chicken enchiladas for chickpea soup and celery sticks, we will just have to wait and see.
Follow Stephen on Twitter at @RantyBasterd