Did Amar’e Stoudemire go vegan?

Amar'e Stoudemire Vegan

Editor’s Note: This is a corrected version of this article. The original article incorrectly attributed the quote about eating a steak to Stoudemire. Thanks to commenter Jesse for pointing out this error!

A common misconception about veganism is that it’s hard enough to get adequate nutrition for an active lifestyle, but as more and more athletes eat vegan for their health, that perception is slowly changing. The latest athlete to go vegan for health? New York Knicks player Amar’e Stoudemire.

Related Reading: Eating Vegan: Where do you get your protein?

Stoudemire began eating vegan three months ago while he was rehabbing an knee injury, and he says that he went vegan as part of a holistic approach to his overall health, telling The New York Times:

โ€œI wanted to really give myself the best opportunity to remain healthy. And if something did happen and an injury did occur, I could say that I gave 100 percent from nutrition to cardio to lifting weights.โ€

On top of ditching animal products during his recovery, Stoudemire cut refined sugars from his diet, and he attributes his quick recovery to this whole foods vegan diet.

The Times article also talked about Stoudemire’s teammate, Carmelo Anthony, who tried out a vegan diet for health, but it sounds like Anthony isn’t treating veganism as a lifestyle, more like a fast. After a recent game, Anthony reportedly headed out afterwords for “the biggest steak [he] can find.”

Veganism: Fast or Lifestyle?

I’ve seen this in other places – people “fasting” by temporarily cutting out animal products – and I think it’s really interesting. Does that mean that vegans like me are constantly fasting? Can you even say that you’ve gone vegan if your veganism has a predetermined endpoint?

I’m all for folks giving a vegan diet a go. Experiments like The Weekend Vegan Challenge seem like a cool chance for folks to dip their toes into eating vegan without committing to a lifetime of plant-based food.

When celebrities like Anthony “go vegan” and then celebrate with a slab of dead cow, though, part of me wonders whether that’s good for the vegan movement overall or not. I’m torn. You’ve got an athlete who talks about a vegan diet improving his health and speeding injury recovery, but then people see him turn around and zealously eschew that diet. I worry that it makes eating vegan look difficult or inadequate, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Diet is a very personal choice, and a vegan diet is no exception. For many of us, though, veganism is about more than saying no to steak or the numbers on the scale. It’s about compassion and living every day in line with our ethical beliefs.

Or maybe it’s totally OK that veganism is a fast for some people and a lifelong commitment for others. At least for those 15 days Anthony was eating compassionately, and maybe his experience will inspire other people to give it a go.

I can kind of see both sides here. Of course, I’d love to see more celebrities embrace veganism not as a fad diet but a lifestyle, but who am I to judge another person’s lifestyle choices, right? I’m sure I make decisions that don’t jive with other folks’ ideas about what’s ethical.

What do you guys think about all of this?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by SportsAngle.com

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5 thoughts on “Did Amar’e Stoudemire go vegan?”

  1. I think it is likely that more people drop meat and dairy products from their diet in an attempt to improve their own well being rather than due to any ethical, environmental or moral concerns. If anyone is so moved, it has beneficial “side effects” for animals and our planet no matter what the motivation, eh? So let’s celebrate it.

    As for “fast” versus “lifelong commitment”… there are an awful lot of great things that would never be done if one was required to make a “lifetime commitment” before doing them! As they say, Good is the enemy of Perfect. Let those of us unsure whether we are Vegans For Life give it a try without swearing out a lifetime commitment. Every day without consuming animals or their products is a win for the animal kingdom, and for ourselves.

    Reading your post, I get the impression that you would like to see a distinction made between those who are compassionate vegans vs those who drop animal products for the sake of their own individual health needs. Should “vegan” be used only to describe those eating an animal free diet for moral, ethical, environmental reasons? With some new word to describe those who dropped animal products from their diet to improve their own health?

    Kind of like the distinction between “plant-strong” vegans and vegans who continue to eat refined grains, extracted oils, sugar, highly processed meat substitutes, etc. Neither eats animals, but their diets (and presumably their motivations and outcomes) are vastly different. Still, it is a good outcome for animals, even when done with no thought of compassion, eh?

    Thought provoking post!

    1. Yes! I think you are totally hitting on what’s making me feel conflicted, and you make some really great points. In the end, it’s about what’s best for animals and for the environment, so if a meat-eater takes a few months off, maybe it’s still a win! :)

  2. It’s a process for many people. For someone whose physical conditioning pays their multi-million dollar salary, any change is a risk, so it’s pretty cool to see all these high level athletes embracing veganism. As for Melo, he may at some point go back and realize that he felt really great during those 2 weeks. He may do a meatless day or several days. Any decrease is a win, as you said.

    In addition, these guys, like it or not, influence way more people than we do, so it’s awesome to see A’mare going big and committing to it. Other athletes who want to extend their careers may just see the light.

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