Mitchell Allgood, a professional rugby player for Australia’s national league, is now vegan, despite establishing a chicken schnitzel-eating record in 2012—commemorated by a photo that hangs on the wall at Australian chain Austrian Schnitzelhaus in Sydney. In a recent interview with (the media arm of the National Rugby League), Allgood explained that his transition to veganism in 2015 was inspired by health and animal-rights concerns. “The ethical side is what drives it because if it was just a diet then, like most diets, you would slip up from time to time,” Allgood said. “All the health benefits that come from eating plant-based food has made it even easier to maintain. I have found that it has increased my stamina and I can play longer minutes.” Allgood revealed that he has inspired many of his teammates to consider eschewing animal products, who he said have increased their athletic performances as a result. “I don’t think that we are meant to be eating animals. I feel like our bodies are designed to be eating predominantly plant-based and fruits and vegetables and things that we can get naturally without having to source it from eating another life,” Allgood said. “If I can become vegan, anyone can.”

Photo credit: Nathan Hopkins/NRL

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