Garden of Life Sponsored Athlete Derek Gelato is not your typical weight lifter. Unlike his fellow athletes and competitors who need to consume large amounts of animal proteins to maintain and build strength, Derek has been winning and placing in competitions for the past three years as a vegetarian.
Derek explained that most powerlifters who eat meat need to consume one gram of protein per pound. As a vegetarian he takes in only 120 grams of plant protein per day, or roughly two to three times less than his meat eating competitors.
"We are what we eat," he said. "When you eat something that you don't want to eat, it's kind of like being someone who you don't want to be."
Part of his diet consists of organic strawberries and blueberries, carrots, Garden of Life Raw Protein, bananas, pumpkin seeds, apples and dairy free coconut milk. He also eats rice, tofu and a combination of vegetables.
In 2011 Gelato made the change after sitting down to meals and thinking about where his food came from. He gradually stopped eating meat, then eggs and recently dropped dairy. Even his 3-pound Yorkshire pup maintains a vegetarian diet!
Gelato says he hasn’t been sick in years and has also noticed that the aches of training have been reduced since starting a vegetarian diet. "My mental clarity and acuity is profound. I can recall information much better than before. It was like looking through sunglasses, then taking them off."
Gelato holds the record holder of the U.S.A. Powerlifting Federation New York for his 198-pound division for dead lift and three lift combined total. He is also a personal trainer that can bench press 330-340lbs and squat 520lbs.
He hopes to dead lift 600 pounds or more this Friday July 18th at the annual Raw/Unequipped National Powerlifting Championships in Denver. Finalists will advance to the International Powerlifting Federation Classic World Championships. Join us in wishing Derek the best as he competes on Friday!