Justin Fields, the Vegan Bears’ rookie quarterback, ate his way to a sort of MVP award.
“Justin Fields is living proof that peak performance on the field can start with vegan meals in the kitchen,” PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg said. “PETA is celebrating this animal-friendly athlete for setting a compassionate example for football fans in Chicago and beyond.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
“You rarely see famous Chicago pizza restaurants that have vegan cheese on it,” Fields told reporter Jackson Thomas.
“During the middle of the pandemic, I went back home to Georgia, and my family wanted to try a plant-based 28-day detox,” Fields told Insider. “After the 28-day period, I liked the results that it gave me physically but also internally and how it felt inside.”
“I hope so one day [to open my own vegan pizza shop]. That would be awesome. We would definitely create more knowledge to other people that think vegan stuff is nasty. So if I were able to do that, we could get the word out, and people would try it, and more people would think about going vegan or plant-based.”
Fields also plans to share his new eating habits with others by partnering with PlantX, an online plant-based food marketplace that will soon introduce a new section where Fields can share his favorite foods.
“I see a lot of value in PlantX being a one-stop shop for everything plant-based,” Fields said. “A lot of people think being vegan is much harder than it actually is, but PlantX makes it easy for everyone to access healthy alternatives (and some of my personal favorites).”
In August 2020, Fields began his final college football season at Ohio State University, where he gave the team’s nutritionist Kaila Olson a brand new shopping list.
“plant-based burgers are the most common for me at different restaurants,” Fields said. “Every now and then, I’ll have some falafel or vegan chicken nuggets.”
“I usually go to smoothie king and get a vegan smoothie there with angel fruit and plant-based protein,” he continued.
Fields broke multiple ribs and partially tore his iliacus muscle during a College Football Playoff game against Clemson University in January, but he played through the pain and was ready for the championship game against Alabama two weeks later.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, plant-based diets contribute to several factors that contribute to injury prevention, including improved blood flow and glycogen storage while reducing inflammation. It’s also been shown to have cardiovascular benefits and lead to a healthier BMI.