Bears’ David Carter: 300 lbs of veganism

SHARE Bears’ David Carter: 300 lbs of veganism
SHARE Bears’ David Carter: 300 lbs of veganism

BOURBONNAIS — David Carter’s grandparents owned a barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles. Meat was in his blood, and on his body; at 6-5, 300 pounds, the Bears defensive lineman’s paycheck depended on his girth.

He wanted to try something different, though, after being cut by the Cowboys two seasons ago. On Valentine’s Day, 2014, he relented to his wife Paige’s pleas, and practice, for years.

He became a vegan.

He lost 40 pounds in the first two months, something akin to career suicide. His agent called him crazy. The UCLA alum eventually figured out he needed to force himself to eat every few hours to keep his football figure. He studied the nutritional value of food and got back to 300 pounds.

Carter doesn’t eat meat, dairy, honey or butter. After signing with the Bears on July 28, he met with sports science coordinator Jen Gibson to customize an eating plan. Gibson had worked with vegans when training Olympic hopefuls.

Olivet Nazarene University chefs prepare his off-menu items. Last week, he walked out of Ludwig Dining Hall with to-go boxes of beans for protein and pasta for carbs.

“I don’t have the soreness I used to have before,” said Carter, who thinks the diet is good for the environment and will extend his lifespan. “I’m not sluggish. I recover a lot faster. If I get a little bump or bruise, it hurts for a second and then it goes away. I’m a lot stronger.

“I was shocked. When I first started, I was, ‘What the hell? I have more energy. I’m a lot stronger than I was before.’”

Bears defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, who trained with Carter before the draft, joked he might try the diet after football.

“It’s definitely working for him,” Jenkins. “He’s looked very good.”

Carter has a good opportunity. He and Jenkins are the only two Bears to play ever 3-4 defense end in the NFL. Carter started four games on the Cardinals defensive line from 2011-12, and appeared in 28 more. He suited up three times for the 2013 Cowboys.

“Opportunity is everywhere,” he said. “I just have to come in here and do my job. There’s not a lot of depth at this position.”

He won’t be recruiting any players to join his diet —unless they ask.

“I let people do what they’re gonna do,” he said. “This is people’s’ jobs here. “

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com


The Latest
“That’s where you build fandom, grow revenue, and that’s where all the players will benefit versus adding a roster spot here and there.”
Reflecting on one of the most iconic photos of his presidency, former President Obama said, “I think this picture embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office.”
Four cities bid for the 2024 Democratic convention by the Friday deadline: Chicago, New York, Houston and Atlanta.
The Alpha and Delta variant waves left 342 Chicagoans dead in less vaccinated parts of the city. That toll could have been 75% lower if more people had been inoculated, University of Chicago Medicine researchers found.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn was authorized by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to open talks with Democrats to “negotiate the possibility of gun legislation that will spare us the tragedies we’ve seen,” Sen. Dick Durbin said.