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Confessions of a Lean, Mean, Vegan Cheerleading Machine

The following article was written by PETA intern Simone Wolf, who is also a cheer coach at Rhythm ‘n Cheer Allstars in Mannheim, Germany.

There are plenty of vegan athletes who show that they are stronger and healthier than their meat-eating competitors. I am a coach to more than 50 cheerleaders in Germany, and my vegan diet gives me the energy that I need to stay active in the world of competitive sports. After all, a normal cheer practice for my team consists of a combination of weight training, tumbling, stunting, and dance cardio for four hours a day, five days a week.

Besides being the head coach of five teams, I am also an active member of the senior team. Because of my strength, I am a “base,” which means that I have to balance, throw, and catch the top flyers during complicated—and sometimes dangerous—stunts.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding being a vegan athlete is voiced by the always-annoying question “Where do you get your protein?” For me—and for many vegan athletes—getting enough protein is never a problem. My favorite sources are soy milk, tofu, beans, and sprouts. Unlike some of my team members, I am not tired after training—another advantage of my vegan diet. And there are more: I feel better and my body is healthier, I help save more than 100 animals each year, and I do something great for the environment by reducing my carbon footprint.

To encourage my team members to eat less meat, I organized a vegan dinner last summer. They all loved my meatless lasagne and egg- and dairy-free desserts, including vegan cookies. I plan to continue this tradition by organizing a vegan barbecue, and I’ll invite all 58 of my team members to attend!

Are you a vegan athlete who proves that vegans are strong, powerful, and healthy? Share your story in the comments below.

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  • Ashley-P says:

    J: Hey, now you are telling me what to do! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but freedom of thought does not always imply freedom of action. You are free to believe whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt others. You may believe that animals should be killed, that black people should be enslaved, or that women should be beaten, but you don’t always have the right to put your beliefs into practice. As for telling people what to do, society exists because there are rules governing people’s behavior.

    The very nature of reform movements is to “tell others what to do”—don’t use humans as slaves, don’t sexually harass women, etc.—and all movements initially encounter opposition from people who want to go on doing the criticized behavior.

  • J says:

    Eating vegetables is good for you, but going totally vegetarian is a personal choice. Don’t look down me or harass me just because I may choose to eat meat. Some of you take your fanatic anti-meat rants too far. Just remember that some of are hunters and yes we have loaded guns. If your not careful, you might attack the wrong person one day and find out that we shoot things other than deer and yes I mean people. Because if you check a legal dictionary, I have the right to defend myself from personal harm and loss of life.

  • tess says:

    I have been vegan for 5 years and I have played basketball since I was 5. My freshman year of high school I made the varsity team and was apart of the starting 5. I also played lacrosse and volleyball and ran cross country. I received awards for basketball and lacrosse including first team all league two years for basketball and second team all league for lacrosse. At the end of the year at our Senior Awards Assembly I received the Eric Griffin Award, which is given to one boy and one girl every year, for excelling in multiple sports and for sportsmanship. I was so proud that I received the award because it showed others that vegans, and even teenage vegans can excel in sports! I would always bring my own croutons and salad dressing to team diners (and if my teammates didn’t eat their meals I would pack them up and find homeless people to give them to),and my own pasta to pasta feeds, as well as a large bag of delicious vegan snacks to share with teammates.

  • franny says:

    Ryan… get some quinoa in your life! Use it like rice, or you can buy pasta made with it.

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

  • Ryan says:

    My girlfriend is concerned that my veg diet (of 35 yrs)is too carb-heavy, so she has taken to eating meat again. She wants to cut out the pasta and rice that I tend to eat a lot with veggies and tofu/tempeh, and says she “can’t” just cut out the whole grain pasta or rice in my dinners and eat just veggies and soy. Any suggestions how to convince her? thanks
    Ryan

  • ingrid says:

    that stunt in the picture looks absolutely horrible. good story, though!

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