Go ahead and add Seattle Seahawks guard Deuce Lutui to the growing list of National Football League players embracing an animal-free diet for both health and performance.
The 29-year-old, who has struggled with health and weight issues, decided to adopt a vegan diet after failing a physical after signing with the Cincinnati Bengals. (He then resigned with the Arizona Cardinals, where had played for years, but he was demoted to a backup position. He signed with Seattle just last week.)
"He wanted to commit to himself and to his family that he would do everything to take care of himself and take care of them and be the best player he could be," Lutui's agent Ken Harris told ESPN. "As part of that, he met a nutritionist who suggested a vegan diet to him."
After weighing in at 396 pounds in 2010, Seattle announced that Lutui's weight was down to 338 pounds. "He started to see real changes he had not seen previously," Harris said. "Before he knew it, he was slim and trim like a ballerina."
In an interview with Seahawks.com, Lutui said he's not only in the best shape of his life, but that his entire family has also decided to go vegan.
“If you were to go to my house and open up the fridge, you’d see all-vegan, all-natural products," he says. "I’m glad I’ve educated myself about what’s going in my mouth. I’ve educated myself, and that’s what’s causing my fitness and how I’ve really taken care of myself physically. And it’s also taken a toll on me mentally, just to really be disciplined.”
Lutui joins other former and current vegan/vegetarian NFL players like Ricky Williams, Tony Fiammetta, and Tony Gonzalez. To learn more about the protein myth - and how a plant-based diet works well for performance in professional sports, jump here.