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Kendrick Farris is a vegan Olympic weightlifter who competed on behalf of the United States in multiple Olympics. In 2014, Kendrick shocked his fans by moving to a completely vegan diet. The move paid off, as he set an American record lifting 831 pounds (in two lifts) at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2016. He went on to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he placed 11th in his weight class.
Making The Change
In 2014, Kendrick and his wife Katrina had a son. This experience prompted Kendrick to explore his family history, where he discovered that some of his ancestors were from Ancient Israel. In an effort to connect with his ancestry, he decided to adopt a plant-based diet similar to the kosher diet they would have eaten.
Eliminating meat from the diet also aligned with his ethics regarding treatment of animals. “I don’t necessarily trust the way the food is being processed,” said Farris about the change. “I don’t agree with the way the animals are mass-slaughtered. So that’s one thing that kind of got me looking at what they call a vegan diet.”
How does Kendrick feel about his decision to go vegan? He says he feels clear-headed, lighter, and cleaner than ever before. “My mind is extremely clear. I’m not easily flustered [now]. My attitude is totally different. I had a really bad temper growing up, something I worked on for years. And now I’m able to recognize different emotions and I’m not governed by them.”
“I transitioned to a vegan diet about a month ago, an (sic) I’m happy to report my life has changed for the better…”Facebook post by Kendrick Farris announcing his change to a vegan diet
Getting Even Stronger
Kendrick’s decision to switch up his diet resulted in improved performance on and off the stage. During the 2016 Olympic trials, Farris broke the U.S. weightlifting record with a 370 pound lift in the snatch and a 461 pound lift in the clean and jerk, a very impressive 831 pounds altogether. He went on to finish 11th in the 94 kg weight class at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, lifting a total of 787 pounds.
“I didn’t think he was going to stick with it. But two years later, I think it’s made him better.”Farris’s wife, Katrina, after he made the change to a vegan diet.
Initially, Kendrick’s wife Katrina was surprised by the sudden change in diet. Previously, he consumed a wide variety of meats, including one of his personal favorites: hamburgers. However, she’s seen the proof of how the diet has impacted him in a positive way. Katrina supports Kendrick in his choice as well, making an effort to not bring non-vegan products into their home.
A Vegan Weightlifter’s Diet
So, how does Farris maintain his muscle without eating any meat? He consumes protein-packed vegan versions of his favorite foods! “I use black beans for everything,” says his wife Katrina. Kendrick typically eats 3 full meals plus 2 snacks and a protein shake each day. He says he looks at what he can eat instead of what he can’t – things like vegan quesadillas made with avocado, or meatless lasagna made with plant-based cheese. His morning starts with pancakes or oats, followed by a mid-morning snack of a vegan protein shake. Lunch before the gym consists of a protein-filled meal such as avocado quesadillas. The rest of the day wraps up with another snack, often black bean chips with guacamole, another protein-heavy meal for dinner, and a protein shake before bed.
Want to make yourself stronger through a plant-based diet, just like Kendrick Farris? Check out our guide How To Fuel Your Workouts With A Plant-Based Diet – MylkMuscle!