Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley paid a visit to El Segundo based Beyond Meat headquarters earlier this week. The vegan protein company is revolutionizing the meat industry with its burgers and sausages that look, cook, and taste like animal-based versions.
In an Instagram post that featured company founder Ethan Brown along with the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Beyond Meat said it was “pretty inspiring” that Gurley came by to “learn more about the future of protein.”
Beyond Meat has been making waves with its plant-forward take on protein. The company uses non-GMO beans and peas for most of its formulations; the Beyond Burgers and Beyond Sausages are also wheat and soy-free. Compared to other sources of protein — like beef or pork — Beyond Meat says its products stack up. Ounce for ounce they contain just as much protein as animal versions, if not more so. They also offer heart-healthy fiber and contain zero cholesterol. Another advantage of the vegan products is they’re void of antibiotics, growth hormones, and dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly found in meat. The issue of antibiotic resistance has become so critical that the World Health Organization has warned that without steps to reduce exposure, we’re heading toward a “post-antibiotic era” where something as minor as a scraped knee could prove fatal.
Gurley joins other NFL stars with an interest in vegan protein. Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan, adopted a plant-based diet last year and has even influenced a number of fellow teammates to reduce their meat intake, including linebacker Brian Orakpo, defensive end Jurrell Casey, defensive end DaQuan Jones, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and now free agent Colin Kaepernick takes his social justice commitment to the plate; he’s been vegan since 2016. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster went vegan in 2012, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers went vegan in 2015, and former Arizona Cardinals defensive end David Carter, best known as the 300 pound vegan, has been an outspoken advocate for the vegan diet since making the switch in 2014. But perhaps most notably is four-time Super Bowl Winner, the New England quarterback Tom Brady, who reportedly eats a mostly vegan diet. He’s even got a vegan protein-rich meal track at vegan meal kit company, Purple Carrot.
A growing number of athletes in all disciplines, not just football, are shifting toward clean vegan protein. The highly-acclaimed forthcoming film“The Game Changers” directed by Academy Award winner Louis Psihoyos (2009’s “The Cove”) follows elite athlete James Wilks as he travels the world interviewing vegan athletes and exploring the protein myth.