Soccer Player Credits his Comeback from Career-ending Injury To a Vegan Diet! 

Last Sunday, 34-year-old Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe scored in England’s 2-0 win over Lithuania in a 2018 World Cup qualifier, adding yet another gem to his abundant highlight reel this year. Despite his advancing age, Defoe has maintained his edge for club and country, scoring 14 goals in the English Premier League to go with his most recent international golazo, NBC Sports reports.

Defoe hopes to prolong his career by keeping his body in peak condition, which involves various recovery and diet techniques, The Guardian reports. Among cryotherapy treatment, massages, and realizing the importance of rest days, Defoe has also transitioned to a vegan diet.

“That’s a funny one because, when I go to my mum’s, she’s got every kind of meat you can imagine out on the table,” he says.

After his girlfriend convinced him to give it a try, he feels that he’s adopted the lifestyle change successfully. “I don’t find anything hard to give up, as such, because I know the feeling scoring goals gives me,” he adds.

He has cut out the grilled salmon, eggs, and dairy that he used to chow down. He rarely drinks caffeine, except for game days. (Smart of him, since caffeine can enhance your workout, research suggests.)

“In terms of fitness and fatigue towards the end of games, I still feel good,” he said. “I’m trying. I still enjoy training, the buzz is still there and I just want to try to play as long as I can. So I do the stuff that will give me the best opportunity to perform and score goals.”

We know what you’re probably thinking: How the hell does that guy get enough protein on a vegan diet? We get where you’re coming from: Here at Men’s Health, we love a good steak and recommend filling up on lean meats when you can—but maintaining your athleticism on a vegan diet isn’t impossible.

While the diet does come with some risks, like protein, vitamin B12, and omega-3 deficiencies, most of those problems can be solved with the right supplements, according to Men’s Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D.

Loading up on the right foods helps, too. (Many of them are found in the best vegetarian protein sources.) Most vegans tend to stick to peanut butter, beans, lentils, and vegan protein powder—that’s how this vegan strength coach gets 194 grams of protein a day.

Plus, a majority of Americans don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Defoe’s diet is likely full of filling fiber, essential vitamins, and healthy carbs, which help fuel you up for endurance exercises, like running (you know, something soccer players tend to do a lot of).

That being said, a vegan diet is by no means better for everyone. It’s a tough transition that needs to be done the correct way, especially if you’re an athlete. From what we’ve seen, Defoe hasn’t had any trouble with it. If you want to give it a shot yourself, here’s what you need to know if you want to try a vegan diet.

Additional reporting by Kasey Panetta

Source: This World-Class Soccer Player Credits His Comeback To a Vegan Diet