Animal Protein—Professional athletes don’t need it either.

The “Protein Myth” that won’t go away

Lately, I have been hearing questions from readers and in lectures about the special “protein” needs of highly-trained athletes. Here is one of those questions—followed by a response by my son, Jason and two short videos from world-class athletes.

Dear Mr Hicks, I am a student at Holy Cross and a member of the varsity swim team. A big topic of discussion and concern for and from athletes, both amateur and professional, is that a plant-based diet does not provide enough nutrients, protein, and energy source that an athlete needs to perform in his or her sport.

I was advised to read into the work of vegan Iron-Man tri-athlete Brendan Brazier who is the creator of the Vega diet and author of the book Thrive. I have read most of the book and I find it to be very interesting and convincing in his argument for not only why a plant-based diet is sufficient for athletes, but superior and perhaps necessary for those looking to perform at their maximum potential. Please let me know your thoughts on this topic. Best, Richard

Here’s Jason and Lisa heading out for a 50-mile bike ride.

Jason’s response: Dear Richard, Congrats in finding a huge competitive advantage by heading in the 4Leaf  (plant-based) direction—indeed the superior diet for athletes with decreased recovery time and increased energy/focus. My wife and I are also quite active (skiing, hiking, biking, , adventure races, tris, etc…) and Brazier’s book was a huge help to us as well. Also see “The All Pro Diet” by Tony Gonzalez (long time all pro TE on the Falcons).

In addition to 4Leaf, we also take plant protein supplements like the Brazier’s Vega. We make plant protein smoothies daily and consume them immediately after our workouts. It is also less expensive than the Vega, can be easily ordered via amazon and substituted within Brazier’s smoothie recipes. Click here for the one on Amazon that we use. Best, Jason

Two short 3-minute videos by Martina Navratilova and Brendan Brazier

Most professional tennis players retire in their mid-30’s; Martina won a U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title just shy of her 50th birthday. Her video is an excellent “big picture” look at how to eat a superior diet. Sounds to me like she’s high in the 4Leaf range.

Notice that neither one of these great athletes even mentioned the possible “need” for eating ANY animal protein. As far as they are concerned, there is no “protein myth.”

Still not convinced? Take 2 minutes to see what Dr. McDougall has to say about meat and dairy sources of protein and the risks that go along with them.


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Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen. Got a question? Let me hear from you at

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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J. Morris Hicks — Member of the Board of Directors — Click image to visit the foundation website.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Animal Protein—Professional athletes don’t need it either.

  1. Vincent Curcio says:

    We are ALL lucky to have you around, J. Morris Hicks. I’ve thrived on a whole-food plant-based diet for the last 31 yrs (I’m now 72 yrs old)~~ the last dozen yrs of which being 90-95% organic as well.
    (The Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth Is, Unstoppable) . Take Care, John

  2. Leo S. says:

    Here is more to read on athletes and meat.

  3. Leo S. says:

    Dr. Ruth Heidrich shows the strength she has on a whole-plant food based diet and how it allows her to recover more quickly after competitions. She is 70 in the following video.

    See Health and Happiness link below. At the 6:00 minute mark endurance is discussed. This whole lecture and the other four by Dr. Veith will give many people information they might find useful.

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