The Tennessee Titans took one step closer to earning their first playoff appearance since 2008 by improving to 8-4 with a Week 13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Some of their players have credited a vegan diet to better results.
As detailed by ESPN.com's Cameron Wolfe, linebacker Derrick Morgan and his chef wife, Charity, converted some of his teammates. Charity cooks lunches regularly for several players. DeMarco Murray, Rishard Matthews, Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Wesley Woodyard and Brian Orapko all hopped on board.
Woodyard called his teammates "crazy with this vegan thing" back in training camp before joining them in August. The 31-year-old linebacker has compiled 99 tackles, his highest tally since 2012.
"If you want them to play like warriors, we must feed them like it," Charity told Wolfe. "To hear Wesley tell me he feels like a 20-year-old on the field and he's 30, it's amazing."
Charity replaced the protein absorbed from meat by packing the meals with kale, spinach, nuts, beans, lentils, seitan and hemp seeds. Jones, who has lost 10 pounds with a predominantly vegan diet—aside from one weekly chicken cheat meal—said the chef does not sacrifice taste when cooking clean.
"How Morgan's wife prepares the food you really can't tell it's vegan," Jones said. "It tastes just like what you ate before."
Veganism is a growing trend among athletes. Last month, Bleacher Report's Tom Haberstroh covered its rise in the NBA. One of its most notable endorsers is Kyrie Irving, who has led the Boston Celtics to an NBA-best 20-4 record.
Casey, a major cog in Tennessee's No. 3-ranked rushing defense, noted a considerable improvement in how his body felt after he adopted a vegan lifestyle.
"I saw how fluid my body was moving around; my body wasn't aching anymore. I knew it was the right decision," Casey said to Wolfe. "My body heals 10 times faster."
[Chef Charity Morgan]