We keep hearing about pro athletes going vegan. And our reaction is always: Um, how? So we asked Rastafarian bodybuilder Torre Washington to explain
As a kid in Jamaica, Torre Washington ate his grandparents’ island cooking: fish, jerk chicken, curried goat. But as he grew up and started making his own decisions, he latched onto the Rasta concept of “ital,” which means eating of the earth. Now a fitness coach in South Florida, he’s part of a growing trend of jocks (like Serena Williams and 300-pound Chicago Bears lineman David Carter) who avoid animal products. Mike Tyson is now vegan. Even the definitive muscleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, says we should eat less meat. Need convincing? Try Washington’s eco-friendly, critter-free diet plan.
“Carbohydrates give you the energy you need,” Washington says. “Without them you actually suppress your metabolism. I’m seeing more people finally realize that they need carbs in order to fuel their bodies.” Washington’s carb of choice is the Japanese sweet potato, the kind with purple skin and pale gold flesh, like a tuber in a Lakers jersey. “The Japanese sweet potato has the texture of a white potato,” he says. “And baked, it tastes like candy.”
“We live in the age of ‘How much protein are you getting?’ I’ve never, ever tracked my protein,” Washington says. He doesn’t sprinkle creatine on his oatmeal. Doesn’t take supplements, period. And he says we don’t need to down steaks and eggs to put on muscle—or to stay healthy: “We only need about 35 percent of our calories from protein. When we take in more, we’re eating it just because we feel like we need it.”
Ideally, Washington says, you’d have a salad at every meal—not only because the greens themselves are beneficial but also because you can put so much other good stuff (beans, fruit, nuts) on top. “I even do a salad sometimes in the morning with my breakfast,” he says. But a man can only chew so much escarole. Plan B: Blend a fruit-and-veg smoothie. Unlike juice, smoothies keep the fibre, which means you’ll get more nutrients—and actually feel full.
You know those faux meats that you pass by at the supermarket? They’re better than you think—and they’re how to avoid giving into carnivorous cravings. “For example, seitan looks like and mimics the taste of meat,” Washington says. Your first recipe: “beef” stew over rice, with carrots, celery, herbs, and spices. “In a beef stew, the seasonings give you the flavour, anyway.” So there you have it: Vegans actually do like flavour.
Article and image sourced from GQ.