Spencer Strider pitching on a baseball field The 23-year-old vegan is rising quickly in the baseball world - Media Credit: Spencer Strider

Pro Baseballer Spencer Strider: ‘I Feel Better Every Day’ Since Going Vegan

Atlanta Braves pitcher Spencer Strider has been plant-based for three years, but intends to remain that way "for the entirety of his life"

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3 Minutes Read

American baseball player Spencer Strider says part of his success is owed to his plant-based diet.

Strider, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB), first ditched animal products in 2019. That’s according to sports publication The Athletic, which recently spoke to Strider about his career so far.

The 23-year-old pitcher, who has a 100 mph fastball, took on a plant-based diet whilst recovering from his ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, colloquially known as Tommy John surgery.

Blood pressure concerns also motivated the change. Strider was diagnosed with high blood pressure at just 18; the condition runs in his family too.

“I had high blood pressure, and I was medicated for it,” he told The Athletic, later adding that “it just didn’t seem right for me to be dependent on medication at 19.”

“So I wanted to pursue other methods of getting that down. Within two weeks of starting a plant-based diet, I had normal blood pressure levels without medication and haven’t had any problems since,” Strider said.

It took him 11 months to rehabilitate from the surgery, “with no setbacks,” he added. (In some cases, athletes require up to two years to recover from Tommy John surgery).

Strider continued: “I don’t think it’s entirely because of a plant-based diet; I mean, there’s a lot that goes into any reconstructive process like that. But yeah, since then I’ve recovered well and I haven’t had any problems, knock on wood.

“It’s definitely something I expect to continue doing for the entirety of my life.”

‘I definitely feel better’

Despite the growing ubiquity of veganism, going without meat and other animal-derived foods can raise eyebrows, especially in the sports sector. Amid masses of misinformation surrounding plant-based foods and protein, some athletes shudder at the thought of making their diet animal-free.

“As athletes, we’re so protein-focused. And that’s how I was. And as a result, I was vicariously eating way too much fat and not getting enough carbs, which are really your fuel source,” Strider explained.

“So I was missing out on some vitamins and central minerals and things that the plant-based diet was making up for. It was a quick change and I definitely feel better every day.”

It isn’t just health concerns that keep Strider committed to his vegan lifestyle. Environmental reasons also play a part.

“We’re growing more food to feed the animals that we’re ultimately eating than we’re eating ourselves, and it’s not sustainable,” he explained.

Indeed, just half (55 percent) of calories from all crops grown in the world go directly to feeding people. For beef, it takes 100 calories of plants to produce just three calories of meat.

“I can’t solve that problem individually,” Strider said. “But at the very least, I can do my part to help out.”

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The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

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Sharon Miller
Sharon Miller
20 days ago

How inspiring this young man is! He has wisdom beyond his years. Thank you, Spencer, for caring for every living thing on this earth! I wish him the very best in his career and life.

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