Episode 22: Charity Morgan
The US chef turning NFL athletes ‘plegan’
#HealthHackers Ep 22 with plegan chef Charity Morgan
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In this episode of #HealthHackers, you’ll hear:
what eating ‘plegan’ means
why Charity says she came up with a term that’s different to vegan
the changes she saw in her husband after he went plegan
why his teammates wanted to join in
how she decides what to cook for her NFL athletes
what happened to the Tennessee Titans’ performance after 15 players went plegan
how many calories an NFL player burns in a day
what she makes Derrick for breakfast on a match day
how she adapts the diet for player preferences, including low-carb
the impact she feels the diet has had on her own body
The US chef turning NFL athletes ‘plegan’
When Charity Morgan’s husband - the Tennessee Titans linebacker, Derrick Morgan - told her he wanted to try eating a plant-based vegan diet, the professional chef decided to dive deep into research so she could support him.
It meant giving up meat, dairy and all other animal products.
“He did it and loved the way he felt,“ she told me in HealthHackers episode 22.
“I jumped on with him and said, ‘Hey, if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me and if it’s good enough for me after my research - it’s good enough for my children as well, so we did it as a family”.
Charity says she named their new lifestyle ‘plegan’ because it didn’t come with “the pressure of saying you’re vegan” or the “scrutiny” that could be levelled at NFL players for non-vegan practises like wearing leather shoes, for example.
The changes to Derrick’s health following his switch to pleganism included increased energy, better sleep and less inflammation, according to Charity.
There were benefits for her too: “Weirdly enough it cured my digestion issues”.
It wasn’t long before Derrick’s teammates started to take notice of his new way of eating.
Charity told me that in the early days, the Titans star cut one of his meals into eight portions so he could share it with fellow players who wanted a taste.
“They were like, ‘Oh my god that’s so good, like, ‘Could your wife make me one too?” she said.
The plegan trend grew from one player, to three, to five, and kept going to the point where Charity now cooks for 15 of the Tennessee Titans and she’s convinced by it’s benefits.
“The strongest animals of the world are elephants, rhinos and gorillas.
“What are they? They’re vegan, they’re plant-based” Charity said.
Has the diet affected the team?
“We did pretty well last season” she told me.
The Titans celebrated their first playoff win in nearly 15 years.
It was while a number of the players were fuelled by Charity’s plegan meals.
“I’m not saying they went to the playoffs because of me.
“But my whole objective is to show people I did not hurt them.
“Who knows, did it make them better? No one can say”.
What do you cook for an NFL athlete?
“It is done by creativity first,” she explained.
“Then I add in various amounts of protein”.
The meals are calorie dense too, with healthy fats, as Charity explained to me that NFL athletes burn up to 8,000 calories a day training in all weathers.
She does her cooking at home and drops off freshly made lunches to the team at their training facility.
On a typical match day, she told me she’ll make Derrick something to eat at about 9am ahead of the game at 12pm.
The meal could be scrambled tofu eggs with tacos or a breakfast burrito with chickpea eggs (made with chickpea flour), beans, hummus and greens.
The new lifestyle has meant she does a lot of culinary experimenting; making cheese out of pureed nuts or scrambled eggs with pressed tofu.
Charity’s got her heart set on releasing a cookbook.
She also says rival teams have been in touch.
I’ve had people reach out to me and ask me; ‘Is there another you in Los Angeles?” and "How can I find another you in New York?”
“It’s just so sad because it’s only one of me”.
This one-woman business has her work cut out, and somehow she finds time to be a mother too.
Get a look at what Charity serves her NFL players on her website here.
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