Going All-In on a the Benefits Vegan Diet

Gone are the days when being vegan meant eating nothing but kale and lentils with every meal.

Nor is the vegan diet something you can only do with a large amount of disposable income anymore. Every year it gets easier to be vegan, which is why we are seeing more celebrities make the choice to adopt a plant-based diet.

Daniel Negreanu might not be a household name to some people, but if you follow professional poker with any interest then you’ll be familiar with him. He has won six World Series of Poker tournaments, has the third most all-time cash winnings in live tournaments, and won countless other accolades across his more than 20 years in the game. Negreanu is one of the greatest poker players of all time and he’s also a committed vegan, having made the choice back in 2000 to switch to a plant-based diet.

Though he originally went vegan for health reasons, such as lowering his cholesterol and preventing inflammation, Negreanu has since said that it has become about committing to the environment and preventing animal cruelty. In an interview with PETA, he said, “The way animals are treated and the conditions are atrocious. They’re force-fed steroids, the chickens are de-beaked. You end up eating sick, diseased chickens.”

When he first went vegetarian in 2000 before going full vegan in 2006, Negreanu got a lot of stick from the other poker pros on the casino floors. Now, however, he says that they are a lot more accepting and are more willing to partake in vegan food. Negreanu credits the switch to a plant-based diet with helping him get into the best shape of his life and to up his energy levels, which has helped him perform on at the table. It also helps that veganism is no longer considered a fringe movement or an extreme version of vegetarianism but is much more common than it was 15 years ago.

“I try not to push veganism specifically,” Daniel Negreanu says. “If I’m asked for my advice, I say just eat healthily.”

Negreanu certainly isn’t alone among celebrities who swear by a vegan diet. James Cameron, who has directed hits like The Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar, has worked with the poker player in his new documentary on veganism and the benefits of it. In it, they hope to dispel the “real men eat meat” myth and highlight the other benefits of veganism.

Some of Negreanu’s favorite meals are simple ones that fit in with any diet, whether someone is fully vegan or is simply trying to reduce the amount of meat they eat. Despite his wild success on the poker tour, none of the meals he has claimed as his daily favorites are likely to break the bank.

According to his Instagram, for breakfast, he switches between simple oatmeal and berries or a classic tofu scramble to help him start his day. Lunch is often a high-protein and fiber salad, with lots of fruit and avocado to help him stay full for longer.

At 45, Daniel Negreanu is enjoying being in the best shape of his life, thanks to a combination of a vegan diet and steady exercise. Though it might not be the most physically taxing of sports, poker does rely on being mentally active for long periods of time, which is directly influenced by one’s physical health. With more than two decades of poker success under his belt and likely several more years to enjoy being at the top of the game, Negreanu’s vegan lifestyle looks like it has been a big factor in helping him win big at the table and in health.

About Carissa Taylor

Carissa is the founder and creator of the Gliving. With an emphasis on healthy eating and living, Carissa's recipes and food photography have been featured in various publications including the Food Network Blog, Huffington Post, TODAY Food, and more.