Kendrick Farris is Team USA’s only male weightlifter at the Rio Olympics – he’s also one of the team of 555’s three vegan athletes.
The 30-year-old from Shreveport, Louisiana became a vegan in 2014, six years into his professional weightlifting career. Since making the change, Farris has moved up a weight class and set an American weightlifting record by lifting 800 pounds at the 2016 Olympic Trials, according to Barbend.
The change to a plant-based diet, Farris explained to KTBS, wasn’t solely about fueling his training.
“My son was born almost two years ago, he was born in September 2014 and something happened where I was like I’m just seeing the whole thing,” he told the news station. “So I’m like I need to do something different. Like how do you get back to what is the most purest form of our life, our being and it started with the food.”
Farris’s wife, Katrina Farris, told The Huffington Post that she was skeptical of his dietary epiphany at first, but “two years later, I think it’s made him better.”
As the family’s main cook, Katrina shared her husband’s go-to meals and some tips for making a vegan lifestyle work with the news site.
For breakfast, Farris usually has oats of (vegan) pancakes followed by a protein shake as a mid-day snack. For lunch, Farris will often have avocado quesadillas and then guacamole and black bean chips for a post-workout snack. More black beans are served at dinner in the form of black bean quesadillas. “I use black beans for everything,” she said.
Katrina adds that she doesn’t spend her days scouring vegan blogs or recipe books, she just adapts the meat based recipes she knows and loves to include beans or plant-based cheese substitutes.
Farris will make his third Olympic appearance the men’s 94kg weightlifting on Saturday, August 13.