Vegan Athletes Flex Their Muscles

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The OrganicAthlete Conference will highlight examples of successful vegan athletes.

In a recent interview Olympic track star Carl Lewis, who was a vegan during his best years, says he believes that “most athletes have the worst diet in the world, and they compete in spite of it.”

Members of OrganicAthlete’s “Vegan Pro-Activist” team are out to prove that a plant-based diet is the best diet for optimal health and performance, and that they can succeed at high levels in sports because they are vegan.

Many people are resistant about becoming vegan because of dietary myths like not getting enough protein, but elite vegan athletes and health professionals are participating in the 2005 OrganicAthlete Conference to dispel these myths. Scheduled for September 24th, the goal of the conference is to share information about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

“At first other athletes told me I should really start eating meat,” says Brendan Brazier, a professional tri-athlete and vegan for six years. According to Brazier, those same friends now realize, based on his outstanding athletic example, that a vegan diet is optimal for high performance athletes.

The conference schedule includes talks from endurance athletes like Brazier and Christine Vardaros, a world class cyclo-cross racer, who has risen to the top of her sport as a vegan. But even in the protein-crazed sport of bodybuilding vegans are finding success. Kenneth G. Williams, a bodybuilder who placed 3rd at the 2004 Natural Olympia, and Charlie Abel, a raw vegan muscleman and personal trainer, will both speak at the event.

Leading nutritionists Dr. Doug Graham, Rozalind Gruben, Dr. Ruth Heidrich and Dr. Rick Dina will join the athletes in explaining the science of vegan nutrition. Dr. Graham, who has trained many Olympic caliber athletes, explains: “Every nutrient known to be essential for human health is available, in proper concentration, in plant foods. This is not so with animal-based foods, as there are many essential nutrients totally absent in them.”

The conference will be held at Sports Basement’s Presidio store. The $65 fee includes all educational seminars, food demos, training sessions, lunch and a gift certificate to Sports Basement. The World Vegetarian Day Celebration will be held the following day in Golden Gate Park. For more information about the OrganicAthlete conference, visit http://www.organicathlete.org/conference or call 707-360-8511.

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Bradley Saul
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