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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.