By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the coach Pete Carroll dropped a bit of a dietary bombshell on Friday by proclaiming that Deuce Lutui had become a vegan.
You’ve probably also heard the skepticism that statement created. As in, “Really, a 340-pound vegan?” Mike Sando at ESPN.com was among those not biting.
“I followed up with Carroll twice in an effort to make sure the coach wasn’t joking,” Sando wrote on his NFC West blog. “He stuck with his story, but conceivably could have been kidding.”
Carroll was not kidding. How do we know? We went to the source today and got the word from Lutui’s vegan-consuming mouth.
“It’s true,” said Lutui, a veteran offensive lineman who signed with the Seahawks in free agency last month. “And coming into the offseason, this is the best shape I’ve ever been in. I credit that vegan diet.”
As proof, Lutui not only pointed to his weight, he pulled up his shirt and offered, “I can finally see a six-pack there.” Lutui said he’s already at his game weight (340 pounds), a process that usually takes him much longer.
How is it that a large lineman who obviously likes to eat – and needs to eat to maintain his size and strength – found his way to veganism?
“My whole family is vegan,” he said of his wife, Puanani, and their four children. Lutui then cracked the slightest of smiles before adding, “It’s a little different from the Tonga traditional cuisine. But it’s a lot of education, really, that has kind of opened that insight for me.
“If you were to go to my house and open up the fridge, you’d see all-vegan, all-natural products. I’m glad I’ve educated myself about what’s going in my mouth. I’ve educated myself, and that’s what’s causing my fitness and how I’ve really taken care of myself physically. And it’s also taken a toll on me mentally, just to really be disciplined.”
Carroll also coached Lutui at USC, before the Tongan-born lineman was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Cardinals.
“Deuce Lutui, he is a joy to have out here,” Carroll said. “He has got such a great spirit. He always did. We looked at opportunities to get him on this club just because of that. He looks good. His weight is down – I mean, way down from where he can be. He’s a vegan, too, now, so he has really made a big turn, if you can imagine, yes.”
Added Lutui, “It’s beautiful, and it’s true. I’ve gone vegan.”