Vegan wrestler fights for the future of food
Pro wrestler Austin Aries has released a book detailing his veganism, success in sport and desires to see a food revolution.
Austin turned vegan in 2011 has twice been TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He’s also won the World Tag Team title and is a six time winner of the Divisional Championship. More recently Austin moved to WWE and is currently expected to wrestle for the WWE World Crusierweiht title. He’s known as ‘The Vascular Vegetarian’, and ‘The MV3 – Most Valuable Vascular Vegetarian’.
Great Vegan Athletes was honoured to be invited to speak with Austin as part of his book launch. During a Skype interview, Austin told us about his journey to veganism, the demands of his sport ad his concerns about the food industry. Recordings from the interview are available here (part one, part two and part three).
Austin grew up eating animal products regularly. As a young adult one of the crucial moments in his transition was a chance conversation.
“This guy said to me ‘you really shouldn’t eat red meat and pork, it’s not good for you’. I had no idea. It became this journey. They make it easy for us to keep our head in the sand. I’m someone who once his head out of the sand, I couldn’t put my head back into the sand.”
“There are so many reasons to give it a try. Whether you’re doing it for your own health or whether you’re doing it for the environment. Our factory farming industry causes more damage than the entire automobile industry but we don’t look at that.”
Since then Austin has embraced veganism enthusiastically. We discussed the varying reasons that people are drawn to eliminating animal products, and he felt that they all applied to him.
“There’s also the humanity of what we do to other creatures. In most industrialised countries you have options, you have choices. We’ve been misguided to live in the other extreme where every time you sit down you eat animal products.”
A large part of the motivation to write the book was Austin’s growing understanding of the food industry and concerns about how unhealthily many people’s diets are.
“I go around the country and meet lots of young fans. I notice how many kids are unhealthy at such a young age, they’re already set up for disease which is all preventable. It’s awful. Our parents aren’t educated, it’s not part of the curriculum. Our doctors are not educated at all.”
He is enthusiastic about new film ’What the health’, which considers the negative impact of the meat and dairy industries on western health.
“I felt I was a part of it, it was the things I’ve been talking about. I’d encourage everyone to watch this. You realise the level of corruptness. The people who are supposed to protect us and making us healthy are driving it all for profit.”
“In one cool point they made in WTH all proteins come from plants. Some of the strongest animal on earth are vegetarian."
“To me this message is so important to use my platform” Austin told us. He’s looked up to by young fans who see his amazing fitness and strength and known that he lives an incredibly demanding lifestyle.
“What I do is one of the most demanding roles from a physical standpoint…we are on the road five times a night, we do pay per views once a month. In so many sports you may have a boxing match twice a year, footballer, basketball players play once a week. It so demanding. We go out there live, there’s no stunt doubles, there’s no protective gear. You don’t fake gravity. The other aspect is the travel. We’re constantly in aeroplanes, hotels, rental cars. Being in the seats takes its toll on the body but also the options for eating on the road are really bad.”
“A plant based diet is very low in inflammatory levels. Every time you eat you’re either feeing or fighting illness. I feel that over the last seventeen years I’ve been fighting not feeding illness.”
Will things change?
Austin hopes that the truth will come out, and is keen to play his part.
“We had that moment when the tobacco industry put their head in their hands and said ‘OK you caught us’. We’re getting close to that with the corporate food system. When they finally admit they haven’t been truthful, then people will start looking at food differently. If people stop buying the food that’s poisoning them, then the big corporations will clean up their act. It going to be bad for the meat and dairy industries.”
Perhaps the key to change lies in making the changes to our views of food that Austin has made.
“I was raised to look at food in three ways. Do I like the way it tastes, how much does it cost, how fast can I get it. That’s how society views it. At a certain point I started thinking ‘how good is it for me, how much nutritional value do I get for my dollar, and where did it come from’. When people start looking at things that way you’re going to see more veganism.”
Thankyou to Austin and his team for giving us an opportunity to speak to Austin about his book. To see more about the book click here. For more information, visit: www.AustinAriesBook.com.