World Kick Boxing Federation Champion Claire Baxter was recently interviewed on women’s sports blog Real Girl Sport, in which she discussed her meal regimen, philosophy on food, and what it was like transitioning to veganism while already an established athlete. The 34-year-old Australian, previously a professional cyclist and runner in her 20s, was inspired by Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation to stop eating meat. “As a 400m track runner then, I was worried I’d be doing myself damage,” Baxter said. “I kept watching for signs of diminishing strength and power, for atrophying muscles. It never happened. In fact, a month after become vegetarian, I bench pressed and power-cleaned PBs in the gym. That really confused me! I laugh now when I remember it, but it goes to show how deep beliefs really are.” By 2012, Baxter was completely plant-based and happily sustaining her fighter physique on grains, legumes, nuts, fruit, and vegetables, having shed the idea that athletes need animal protein to keep their systems functioning at a high levels. The only problem Baxter’s vegan diet has caused her? Her paltry options for the fast-food “victory meals” groups of fighters will consume together after an event. “If you’ve ever sat in a McDonald’s restaurant late on a Saturday night alongside euphoric fighters with their post-fight puffy faces and straight left legs, and eaten a garden salad while they demolish multi-story burgers with bacon, then you’ll know what it is like to be the joke,” Baxter said, before admitting the best course of action when met with these jabs is to just take it on the chin. “I suppose I meet humor with humor. With only a limp, garden salad to back my claims, I haven’t got much else!”
Photo courtesy of Sharon Richards
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