David Carter

Like most athletes, David grew up eating tons of meat, fully adhering to the conventional mythology that in order to become muscle you must consume muscle – the more the better.

But as his career matured, David became plagued by a variety of persistent, chronic injuries including arthritis, tendonitis, nerve damage and chronic muscle fatigue. Not surprising given the nature of his job, but nonetheless devastating — ailments he simply could not overcome that left him sidelined despite the best sports medicine and rehabilitative resources of the NFL at his disposal.

David soon realized that in order to continue playing, something had to change. He began researching the cause of his conditions, as well as alternative remedies to resolve them at the source. Heavily influenced by a series of documentaries that included Forks Over Knives and the holistic lifestyle habits practiced by his wife Paige, David arrived at a rather counter-intuitive conclusion for an athlete whose professional career relies entirely upon physical prowess and sheer brute force:

all the nutrition he had been relying on to maximize his size and strength was actually killing him.

Therefore, in February 2014, David made a rather radical and quite controversial decision: he adopted a 100% plant-based diet and a battery of unexpected positive results came and came quickly. Eating entirely plant-based, David experienced more energy. His recovery time was profoundly accelerated. His stamina went through the roof. To the great surprise of his coaches, trainers and teammates, every single one of those nagging, persistent injuries mysteriously corrected themselves and ultimately vanished altogether. All his numbers in the weight room actually went up – this is a guy who can bench 470 and squat 660. Amazingly, he found himself quicker, more agile and responsive than ever. And perhaps most important to David, no living thing had to die in order for him to thrive.

* The content for this page was excerpted from Rich Roll Podcast #160 transcript.