Football: Justin Fields turns to vegan diet, results in improved game – OSU – The Lantern

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Justin Fields and Master Teague III stand waiting for the ball to be passed to Fields

Ohio State junior quarterback Justin Fields (1) prepares to catch a snap to hand the ball off to sophomore running back Master Teague III (33) during fall practice in the Ohio Stadium on Oct.3. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Assistant Photo Editor

It’s a new season and a new diet for Justin Fields. 

The junior quarterback has turned to an all-vegan diet in an attempt to become leaner and take better care of his body, he said. Fields said that the diet started out as a family activity, but it has transitioned to an everyday thing for him.

“My dad wanted to do it because he was kinda heavy, so I just tried it with him and then it kinda turned into a family thing. First it started off as a 28-day challenge, it was really a cleanse,” Fields said Friday in a Zoom call. “I just liked how I felt after that and I just kept going on from there. I’m doing it now and I feel great, my body feels great and I feel faster and stronger.” 

The new diet has created what Fields described as a “competition” in his family, as his dad was the first to try veganism out. His stepmother and sister joined afterward, prompting Fields to join in on the family diet. 

While Fields has brought the new diet with him to Columbus, he was met with some doubt by strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. However, Fields said he proved to him that he could follow the diet while also still improving his play. 

“Coach Mick was skeptical about it at first and so was our nutritionist,” Fields said. “I think I proved to them that I can do that and actually be able to perform even better than I was before. So I think after them seeing that with their own eyes and then they started to believe that, ‘Maybe this is working for him.’” 

Although Marotti had his initial doubts, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said that Fields has improved in multiple facets of his game since making the switch to veganism. 

“I think he just did it to be leaner, take care of himself, and be stronger and faster, and he looks that way. He’s a stronger and faster player,” Wilson said Sept. 25 on a Zoom call. 

The nutritional staff at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center has helped him along the way. Fields said that he wasn’t sure he would be able to stick with the diet without the help of the team’s cooks, who provide him with specially cooked vegan meals. 

Fields said he eats breakfast at home before practice and is then provided a vegan lunch at the WHAC, as well as a carryout dinner that he takes home. 

With the new diet, Fields said he has received a fair amount of flack from his teammates. However, he said he doesn’t mind missing out on certain meals because the diet has made his body feel better. 

“Some guys on the team always mess with me like, ‘How do you not eat steak?’ or something like that,” Fields said. “I feel good with what I’m eating, so I think the diet I’m on right now, as long as it’s helping me out, I don’t mind skipping a steak.” 

Despite the criticism, the diet has begun to spread around the team.

“I think I’m getting a lot of other guys to try it with me,” Fields said. “The more people that are trying it are saying that it’s not as bad as they thought it was.” 

Fields said that junior linebacker Teradja Mitchell has tried some vegan items and that head coach Ryan Day expressed interest in trying the diet out. 

Although Fields has turned away from eating meat, he says he doesn’t really have a craving for it since becoming vegan.

However, Fields said that he misses chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese the most out of any food he’s had to give up.

“[I] really just miss kids meals to be honest, I feel like I wasn’t a fancy guy,” Fields said. 

Despite just starting the diet, Fields said that he plans on doing it for the rest of his playing career.

Fields said that he hasn’t found a favorite option yet, but that he’s excited to keep trying new meals. 

“There’s way too many options to narrow it down and I don’t think I’ve experienced all of the vegan options,” Fields said. “But all the things I’ve tried so far have been great.”  

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