Body Machine: Heavyweight David Haye’s Plant-Powered Return

When heavyweight boxer David Hay had to consider retirement due to a shoulder that was nearly destroyed, he faced two options: quit or get reconstructive surgery with months of recovery. In a lengthy piece for The Telegraph, Haye describes his ordeal, his choice to go vegan, and his formidable resurrection at an age the presents problems for most boxers. On going vegan in 2014, Haye said of animal products that “cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever…Everyone should try it.”

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Haye fights Arnold “The Cobra” Gjergjaj in London on May 21, 2016. Watch it on Dave. #HayeDay

More Vegan Athletes Rise to the Top


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When Flex Magazine did a March 2016 feature article Meatless Meat-Heads, they were talking about guys like twenty-nine-year-old Kendrick Farris, an Olympic weightlifter, coach and Olympian who went vegan in late 2014. He broke the American lifting record for clean-and-jerk with three lifts totaling 377 kg (743 lbs) in May of 2016. 

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You can watch Farris’ record-breaking lift (209 kg / 461 lbs), which is also his all-time personal best, here:

Farris is not the only vegan Olympian in the news lately. Heavyweight boxer Cam F. Awesome, an outspoken vegan, will be returning to the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro. He’s also a stand-up comic. How’s that for a 1-2 punch to moronic stereotypes that vegans are strong or funny?

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It seems like attitudes about plant-powered athletes are finally changing in the mainstream. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, might think twice before telling Mr. Awesome he hits like a vegetarian, and in fact, Arnold recently told the world to eat less meat. Arnold’s call for less meat was part of the environmental summit COP21, where he was quoted responding to some angry meat-pious true-believers with, “luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways, you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian…I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.”

Many people might not know that ten-time gold-medalist and legendary track star Carl Lewis credits his successes to a plant-based diet. And he’s not the only legendary athlete who has advocated the performance maximizing benefits of plant-fuel.

Despite the growing proof that one can thrive as a plant-powered strength athlete (let’s not forget the world-record holding strongman, Patrik Baboumian or the entire Plantbuilt team) there are those who still cling to the mythology that we must eat muscle to become muscle – at least in the long term.

Ed Baur, owner of NewEthic Strength & Conditioning, has been a strict vegan for over 20 years. He’s a Crossfit and powerlifting coach, and he recently got two personal records, one for front squat and another for deadlift. This goes to show that even after 20 years of veganism, competitive athletes can still build strength and make gains. When he posted the image below on his Instagram feed he said, “I will get …bigger and better than before and I am going to take a lot of you with me.”

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Shop the Brave GentleMan vegan Crossfit grip:

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Culinary World Travels: Vegan Chef Justin P. Moore

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When he first visited Berlin in the late 90s, vegan cookbook author and artist Justin P. Moore felt like he was “finally home”. But what does “home” mean to someone who was born in the American South, raised between the Marshall Islands and New Jersey suburbs, and traveled to 50 countries? Justin ditched a career in Boston, chased his dreams, and built an worldwide audience for his international series of crowdfunded, travel-inspired cookbooks – in Germany and beyond. With his third cookbook recently published and a fourth in the making, we sat down with Justin in his Kiez (German for ‘hood) Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin to talk about inspiration, challenging traditions, and “adventurous Germans”.

Hi Justin. Please introduce yourself, give us the details.
Hi, I’m Justin, an artist, designer, world traveller and the author of the international vegan cookbook series The Lotus and the Artichoke which features recipes, artwork, photography and stories inspired by my travels in nearly 50 countries. Since I was a kid I’ve always been into art, travel, photography, and cooking. I became a vegetarian when I was 15 and two years later evolved to vegan. Back then being vegan was a pretty weird and unconventional thing! This was way before the media and mainstream approved of and acknowledged plant-based nutrition, but for me it was always a very natural thing that fit with my ideas of non-violence and consciously reducing the impact of our life choices on other living things, the environment, and our own health and happiness.
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You just published your third cookbook. What’s it about?
In 2012 I self-published my first cookbook, The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Recipes from World Adventures, with over 120 recipes inspired by my travels. I self-published and financed the first edition of the book in English with a very successful Kickstarter crowdfunding project. That edition was sold out in a few months and a German publisher contacted me for a partnership. Shortly after that the cookbook was reprinted in English and the German edition has since been reprinted twice. It was one of my adolescent dreams to write a cookbook, but I never imagined it would be so popular! I went on to make the second cookbook focusing entirely on 3 months of travels in Mexico. This year my third cookbook was published, based on 10 weeks of exploring Sri Lanka. I originally thought my third book would focus on Indian food, my favorite cuisine, but after a week in Sri Lanka I was so blown away by the food that I knew the book would be all about Sri Lankan traditions – which are heavily influenced by the South Indian cooking traditions in the north.

What’s the concept behind these cookbooks you do?
I explore countries and cultures, cook with the locals, eat in restaurants, homes and at street food carts all over the world, and collect ideas for recipes. I do as much video, photography, travel writing and artwork as possible. I take notes everywhere about the cooking methods, ingredients and dishes I’m introduced to. When I come home, I spend several months refining the recipes, cooking and photographing everything, making the artwork and design, and working with my recipe testers and professional translator to get everything set to publish the books simultaneously in German and English. The project is financed entirely from book sales and crowdfunding campaigns. When I’m not traveling or in intense cookbook production mode, I’m usually setting up promotional and culinary events including cooking shows, dinner parties, and cooking classes to share my passion and pleasures with others.

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Is everything you find already vegan or are you veganizing things a lot after you get back home?
I focus on cultures and countries that have a rich and diverse tradition of vegan and vegetarian food, so there’s not always a lot of work to adapt things if necessary to be all vegan. With my first cookbook, which features a lot of European cuisine, I did change things up quite a bit. Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular required some creativity. I also have several French, Austrian, and German recipes where the traditional dish is almost entirely animal-based, so that takes some experimentation. Many recipes and cookbooks rely heavily on processed substitutes for meat and dairy – They don’t really re-evaluate the core recipe and cooking method. I prefer whole foods and vegetable-based ingredients, but I’m not afraid to have fun with tofu and seitan here and there. Again, many of the cuisines I’m into are already on my wavelength: for example, Mexican, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai and Sri Lankan cuisines are very vegan / vegetarian friendly. I seek to create new recipes. Some are more based on traditional recipes; others are a tribute to celebrated ingredients and methods of a particular culture.

How important is travel to you and why?
It’s hard for me imagine a life without travel, variety and new flavors! I’ve always been fascinated by languages, different ways of life, transportation, nature, art, philosophy… and adventure. I like to challenge myself and expand my horizons. I dedicate several months of every year to really diving into other cultures. This means seeing at least one new country a year and learning the basics of at least one new language. My brothers and I grew up constantly on the move, going to exotic places, living unconventionally, and I’ve always been hungry for changes and challenges. The most magical and rewarding things in life happen when I take risks, confront fears, and indulge my curiosity. I also have a son who’s now 2 1/2 and my partner and I do our best to introduce him to other cultures and countries. He’s been to over a dozen countries, speaks two languages, and has a good time pretty much wherever he is. We have the opportunity and privilege to live a full, exciting and rewarding life, and it’s something that we appreciate and enjoy taking advantage of. These are our priorities and our passions, and they are constantly evolving. I like to encourage others to follow their dreams and explore the world, but as with my dietary choices, I try not to judge others for their choices. I respect and in some ways envy those that are very rooted and established where they live. The world is made up of so many beliefs and opinions. I follow mine, but I’m very intrigued by how others seek their bliss and find meaning and purpose.

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You’ve been traveling to some remote places – what’s the strangest story you have when it comes to getting something vegan to eat?
When I travel anywhere, and when I meet new people, I almost never immediately introduce myself as a vegan, nor do I just focus on me, my eating restrictions and requirements. Instead, I try to make a personal connection and express respect and interest in the culture. A few words of greeting, in the local language, and basic friendliness open doors like nothing else. If you travel the world expecting to find difficulty, you’ll definitely find it. I prefer to believe I’ll always find something to eat, and it almost always works out for me.

I have two stories I love to tell, one from rural China, the other from rural Germany. I was out in the middle of nowhere in an industrial town a day’s ride from Beijing, on my way to visit Buddhist caves in the countryside. I hadn’t seen any other foreigners, and everything, everywhere was in Mandarin (Chinese). I went to the restaurant in my hotel and started trying to decipher the menu with my phrase book. The waiter came over and it was clear he wanted to take my order, so I smiled and greeted him and started trying to order some familiar vegetable dishes. It was going absolutely nowhere. This poor guy was just nodding and smiling, but then looking around nervously. My attempts with broken Chinese phrases and simplified English weren’t working. He holds up his hands and then runs into the kitchen. I was utterly confused. Two minutes later the doors to the kitchen fly open and what appeared to be the entire kitchen crew, almost a dozen cooks, come waltzing out and form a line in front of me. They’re all holding different foods for me to inspect and select, I gather. So I’m like, okay, yes, broccoli, tofu, carrots, yes, yes, yes, egg, no thanks, noodles, yes, rice, yes, and so on. By this point everyone in the restaurant is smiling and looking at us and there’s a lot of laughter. Then the cooks return to the kitchen. Ten minutes later they start bringing out one dish after another. In total I got probably five or six dishes and it was all super delicious. Amazing things happen when you just do your best to respectfully communicate your desires and then let go and let the cooks do their creative magic!

I’ve had experiences similar to this in many parts of the world. The same principle functions in rural Germany. I arrived with my partner at some inn totally out in the countryside. First we asked if they had a room for us, then I pointed out how interesting the menu for the restaurant looked, “Oh look, so many vegetable dishes. And a whole page of vegetarian stuff. Great, this will work!” They mananger is telling me how the kitchen loves creative challenges and they can just put something together for us with all kinds of salads, vegetable, grains, etc. Without mentioning the V word, I answer her questions as to what we like: sautéed vegetables, cous cous, all kinds of fresh herbs and spices, but no butter or cream, etc. And again, we get this amazing meal, we eat every crumb off of the plates. The manager comes back over and asks how it was. We, of course, tell her how happy we are and how it was delicious and we are so grateful for their generosity and flexibility. And then she says, seriously, “Oh, we love cooking up special stuff. And that was totally easy! Thank god you’re nothing like all of those totally impossible vegans!” And we just laughed… she really had no idea their kitchen just made a vegan feast and that reasonable, modest vegans actually exist!

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You settled down in Berlin – why Berlin?
I visited Germany for the first time in the late 90’s primarily to go to art museums, but also because I was intrigued by the language, and my favorite authors were German – most notably Hermann Hesse. I fell in love with the city. I was riding a bus on the second night here and a powerful wave of emotion hit me. I felt like I was really home for the first time in my life. I never really thought I belonged in the U.S. – I always felt like a visitor, or like America was just my early schooling. I got a degree in painting and printmaking and worked in interactive design and advertising for several years in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City before moving to Berlin. That makes it sounds so simple and straight-forward, but it took me a while to collect the courage to break from my career and move so far away from my family, with whom I’m quite close. I backpacked around Asia for six months before making the transatlantic leap. In 2001, I bought a one way flight and booked an intensive German class. The art scene — and the vegetarian / vegan scene — were still very much in their early years, and it’s amazing to see how both have flourished. In my travels, especially in India, I met so many wild and adventurous Germans, and I love the German approach to travel: the answer to “Have you been to…?” is never simply “No”, but rather “Not Yet” or “Yes, but *only* for 6 weeks”. This mentality, and the geographical proximity to the East were driving factors for my decision to relocate to Berlin. The cost of living here is also extremely reasonable, and I love the fantastic variety of culinary and cultural activities and places.

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What’s next on your bucket list? Where to go next?
Tomorrow I’m leaving for a 5 week adventure in Malaysia! We plan to travel all around the country and also visit Singapore and Borneo. I’m still not sure how many different places I’ll visit, and how it will influence my next cookbook project — I’ll decide a lot of that along the way and let things flow and take form. I do have a list of places I’ve read and heard about. I’m really looking forward to the food and getting to know people there; cooking with locals, learning some of the language, getting a feel for life in other places is more interesting to me than just seeing all the tourist sights and staying in a posh hotel. There’s a very rich history of culinary fusion in this part of South East Asia. I’m especially excited for all of the Indian and Chinese neighborhoods, restaurants, and street food. While there, I’m meeting up with a few other travelers and backpackers, some of which I’ve been writing with for years but haven’t met yet, and others I do already know in real life. Crossing paths on the other side of the world is always great fun!

Alright, thanks a lot for the interview.
Thanks very much, too!

click here for Justin’s website

ROMBAUT 2016

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ROMBAUT envisions a future where man and machine form symbiotic hybrids – where exoskeletons enhance human physical performance. This is the concept for the spring 2016 collection of footwear; technical man-made materials combine with innovative organic materials to form an athletic, modern and experimental collection.

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“OUR PERFORMANCE AND OUR IMPACT ON OUR SURROUNDINGS WILL BE EVER GREATER – THE FULL CONVERGENCE BETWEEN BODY, TECHNOLOGY AND FASHION WILL CHALLENGE OUR NOTIONS OF WHERE OUR BODY BEGINS AND ENDS. THERE IS NO LONGER ANY SEPARATION BETWEEN OUR SELVES, WHAT WE WEAR AND OUR ENVIRONMENT.”

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The future-scaping, Parisian shoe company does not disappoint with their autumn 2016 collection, either. Slick blacks, arctic whites and otherworldly metallics with pops of blue and tufts of fuzz come together in perfect balance.

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Vegan Sets the New World Record for Knuckle-Pushups

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K.J. Joseph, a 45 year old South Indian, did 82 knuckle pushups in one minute to beat Ron Cooper‘s standing world record of 79. Joseph, who is vegan, joins the ranks of many elite vegan athletes who, despite popular myths that stigmatize plant-based diets, continue to push boundaries and prove that one can thrive, build strength and enhance competitive performance as a vegan.

The notion that strength and endurance athletes can be vegan typically sends the mainstream athletic communities into a defensive frenzy because it challenges a core and sacred ideology of our civilization: that harming animals is an unavoidable necessity for survival, and therefore, while unfortunate, the cruelties inflicted in something like animal farming are justified. Because it flatters masculine aspirations of power, many people cling to the notion that one must eat muscle to become muscular. While aesthetically poetic, this performance of power against already powerless animals is proven to be simply unnecessary.