When I look at an NFL lineman, I think “steak.” I think “heaping portions of potatoes.” I also think “pudding,” but I think that one may be due to some weird Pavlovian response, because who doesn’t like pudding? But now, when I look at Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy—all 315 pounds of him—I’ll think “cauliflower.” In an interview with GQ, Guy explained that he’s been vegan for 10 years.
Per GQ, the 31-year-old lineman gradually started cutting out animal products 10 years ago at the beginning of his NFL career. In doing so, he joined other plant-based athletes like Venus Williams and Chris Paul in relying on plant power to fuel intense workouts. Guy told GQ that he started by eliminating “heavy red meat products,” eventually cutting out dairy when his “body and joints felt better.”
Now, he says the diet helps him recover faster and perform better. “You get beat up on this field every day,” Guy told ESPN. “Your body needs nutrition more than ever to recover. What’s the best way to do that? I think it’s plant-based.”
As you might expect, Guy’s meals are pretty carb-heavy. He told GQ that his breakfast usually involves revolves around dairy-free pancakes and cauliflower hash browns, followed by snacks like green juices, smoothies, and avocados. For dinner, he usually heads to the potato zone, although he does say he was on a “cauliflower craze” during the height of the pandemic. GQ writes that Guy’s wife, Andrea Aparicio, served everything from cauliflower rice and hash browns to cauliflower-based pizza and lasagna.
Guy does mention that he has to focus on maintaining his weight during the height of the season. “Losing weight was never an issue for me, maintaining and gaining weight was more of an issue,” he says. “The more sweet potatoes I eat, the better I am at maintaining my weight. So all this ramps up during the season. More pancakes in the morning, oatmeal rice, stuff like that.”
He also says that he’s not alone; he has teammates that are also vegan, so he’s able to talk to others about what to eat, like discussions regarding their favorite types of pancake mixes. In the end, Guy is further proof that a high-performance diet doesn’t have to revolve around a near-constant intake of grilled chicken and eggs, and can be fully plant-based. Which is pretty awesome.