Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March of the Hot Vegan Army - Day #28 - Mac Danzig

Mac Danzig

Know him from: Danzig is an UFC fighter and mixed martial artist. According to Muscle Works Magazine, Danzig has held the following titles during his career: MMA national amateur MMA champion, Gladiator Challenge lightweight champion, IFC lightweight champion, 5 time King of the Cage world lightweight champion, and The Ultimate Fighter season six winner. Now, I'll admit, pacifist as I am, I'm not really into blood sports. But one of the points of my March posts is to prove that you can be anyone you want to be and still be a vegan. Even if that person you want to be happens to be in a ring pounding the, let's say Jujubees, out of another consenting adult...

Why he's vegan: Despite the fact that Danzig makes a living fighting human beings, he refuses to contribute to animal suffering. He believes that animals should not be subjected to cruel and inhumane practices because they don't have a choice in the matter. As he sees it, people do have a choice. Danzig says that one of the most profound moments he remembers in his childhood was the day he saw a truck full of pigs headed for the slaughterhouse. Danzig was 13 years old at this time. He remembers making eye contact with one of the pigs in the truck, an intelligent creature destined for a cruel end, and it made him really sad. But Danzig grew up in a family without much money to go around, so they ate what they could get their hands on. Danzig cut dairy products out of his diet back in 1999 though, due to a series of debilitating chronic sinus problems he traced to his dairy intake. While his situation is not typical, dairy allergies are no joke.

Mac tried veganism for a year in his early 20s, but he believed what others told him when he started training in mixed martial arts in 2000, that animal protein is necessary for success in sports training. However, with support from MMA trainer Mark Mahler, Danzig learned he could train for the sport he loves without taxing his conscience. Danzig became vegan in 2004, and has upheld this diet and lifestyle ever since.

Why he's awesome: It seems hard to believe, but Danzig's last job before he started fighting was working in an animal sanctuary in Pennsylvania called Ooh-Mah-Nee Farm. It is at this farm that he first met a committed group of passionate vegans, and began his first foray into this lifestyle. I think this is awesome because it is a unique story, and because Danzig has followed his dreams and his heart both inside and outside of the Octagon. As atypical as the combination might be, Danzig loves fighting professionally, and is passionate about animal welfare. Also, did I mention Mac's a pretty accomplished photographer? Check out his website above. And, while I typically prefer non-violent means of exercise, just look at the guy. His abs have abs.

To get that intense physique, Danzig says that he chows down on brown rice, tempeh, quinoa, legumes like beans and lentils, portobello mushrooms, veggies (particularly leafy greens like collard greens, spinach, and kale), fruit, nuts and seeds, alternative milks, Brendan Brazier's Vega Protein Powder, and a supplement called Ultimate Meal. When he's not in training, Mac hits the thai food, soy ice cream, seitan, and other imitation meats pretty hard. But the less processed food he puts in his body the better when he's training.

Another great thing about Mac Danzig is that he proves veganism and testosterone do mix. I don't think anyone could call this guy a wuss just for being a vegan and live to tell about it. Although, Danzig urges vegetarians not to try to change people by force. Non-vegetarians aren't "evil," he said in a PETA article, they may just not know the information that convinced vegetarians to try the lifestyle. Danzig urges vegetarians to take the opportunity to discuss animal issues in a non-confrontational way when someone asks a question. Danzig also says, if you're passionate, get involved, either politically, or through volunteering. You can help your cause, he says, and life's too short to put it off. Now that is a pretty manly thing to say if you ask me.

So Mac, I think you'll be in charge of Hot Vegan Army Boot Camp. You seem to know how to defend yourself pretty well, and how to train hard to meet rigorous physical goals. I'm also pretty sure you have that certain air of authority. If you yell at me to drop and give you 20, I'm sure gonna do it...

Welcome to the Army Mac. Keep kickin' it new school. We're right behind you.

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