“Not all veggies are weaklings”

Reading striker Jason Roberts explains why he traded turkey for tofu

Why do you have a vegan diet?
It’s not an ethical thing – I like meat – but I’ve discovered that following a vegan regime is a good way of keeping weight off, so I do it during the season. I have a tendency to put on weight. With body fat index tests being taken I need to stay lean, and this does it. I know some boxers do it, and I read about it a couple of years ago and decided to give it a try.

What are the main advantages apart from weight loss?
It makes you feel really healthy, it’s great for your digestion and I feel that I’m light and slight around the pitch. I also actually enjoy eating the food – it can be very tasty.

More after the break

Is the image of a pasty, knackered-looking vegetarian a myth, then?
It’s a fallacy. I haven’t noticed any shortage of energy at all; in fact, I’d say it’s totally the opposite. A vegan diet is perfectly healthy as long as you’re getting all your main food groups. I feel strong.

What do your team-mates think?
They realise it’s a sacrifice I make to keep myself competitive as a footballer. I just think they’re lucky to have fast metabolisms and eat what they like.

So at the end of a long season, do you go meat-crazy?
Just a bit – I’ll have 26 steaks or something like that over the summer break! But once I’ve enjoyed myself for a couple of weeks, I will go back to a healthy eating regime. I incorporate good food all year round. I think this is very important, doing what we do.

Also see:
Be a meat-free footballer

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