TORONTO– Another hockey season is fast approaching and while the old school mentality of hockey meant using training camp to get back into playing shape, these days players are spending their summers working out so that, when they show up to camp, they’re already prepared for whatever comes their way.
For their development, most players typically place their focus on fundamental skills but some stretch beyond the regular and find alternative methods to help them succeed.
And that is exactly what Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Mike Zigomanis is doing.
“I’ve gone full vegan this year and haven’t really had much meat the last four years,” said the former Stanley Cup Champion. “I had some seafood, cheese and eggs but cut that out this year too.”
Becoming a vegan excludes the 30 year old from ingesting any meats, eggs, dairy products and any other form of animal based ingredients.
“I did a cleanse four years ago and It’s kind of how it started,” Zigomanis said when reflecting back on when he first thought about changing his lifestyle. “It wasn’t like one day I woke up and said that’s it. It’s been a four year process.”
While admitting the everyday life of a vegan isn’t the easiest alteration to make for one’s self, the Scarborough, Ontario native hasn’t been singled out in his journey of becoming a healthier human being.
“I’ve had a lot of support from my family. My mother and sister aren’t vegan yet but they’re close. They’ve had a lot of influence.”
It may seem odd for a hockey player to choose this sort of lifestyle considering how active they are and how important nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and vitamins are to the athletes body, but Zigomanis believes he has found a method that works to keep him nourished and game ready.
“You can find protein in seeds, nuts, vegetable, legumes, beans, leafy greens and grains. You have to mix all of those together. It’s a lot of work; kind of a part time job but considering all the other stuff you use your time on why not use it for your health”
Even if the 10 year veteran can be successful this season, fact is the list of athletes who are vegans is still very small.
But it is growing.
“I’m surprised at how many vegan athletes there are out there and it was something I wanted to do but didn’t think it was possible, but after a couple years I do believe it’s possible.”
Former NHLer Georges Laraque, WWE entertainer Daniel Bryan, mixed martial artist Mac Danzig, and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis are just a few other athletes who have switched to veganism over the years.
While it isn’t a lifestyle change meant for everyone, Zigomanis is skating this week with the Leafs at the MasterCard Centre and to sum up his choice for veganism,
“Made the full transition and I feel great so far.”
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