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CrossFit Games Competitor James Newbury Is Fully Vegan

Take a look at what inspired James Newbury to acquire an animal free diet.

James Newbury, who finished 5th in the 2019 CrossFit Games, has been sharing a lot of posts about his meals on his Instagram page recently, foods rich in cruciferous vegetables like purple cabbage, fruits like mango, sprouts like alfalfa, protein like tofu… it didn’t take long until people started asking him where the darn meat was.

He admitted this week that he’s been “plant-based” for four months now.

[Related: Watch our documentary about James Newbury‘s advanced training methods]

Four months! Although Newbury posted many times about plant based supplements, it was not until this past week that he posted actual plant based meals. With all the interest surrounding top CrossFit athletes’ diets and training programs, why would Newbury resist sharing his choice to go vegan for four months?

Well, his latest Instagram post gives clear insight to his mindset around his lifestyle change. (The bolding is our own, for emphasis.)

View this post on Instagram

Ok so a few questions have been coming through about the plant based meals I’ve been posting so this post should nail them for you guys, here goes. Turning more plant 🌱 based has been on my mind since about 2013. I even did a couple of months of it. To say I was prepared at the time would be a lie. I didn’t educate myself and didn’t take the time to make good eating habits, so I stopped. Back then it was looking at performance benefits rather than ethical reasons. I guess since then I’ve almost turned a blind eye to a lot of what you see on YouTube with how animals are treated, and I avoided videos like that like the plague because it made me so sad. Then I started to think to myself by not watching the video because it makes me sad, this doesn’t actually contribute to a solution, yet it actually supports it. No matter the size of the contribution, it’s still a contribution, so I made the choice to do it properly. Not only for the animals but the environment too. Before the @crossfitgames open started in the beginning of October I stopped eating 99% of animal products. I did however keep a collagen protein in my diet as I wanted to ease my way into it. 3 weeks later I fell off my bike and broke my back, ribs and punctured a lung. I continued eating 99% animal free through this period. 2.5 weeks later I went in for follow up xrays. I then received a call later that arvo from the cardio thoracic doctor saying there was no fractures left to be seen. Not to say the way I was eating is the cause of this because I’m sure the shape I was in played a role and my ATT to recovery is almost obsessive. As of the 12th of November I quit 100% of animal products. December 1st I completed my ever full distance Ironman and then finished a 7 day fast in Bali. I’m now back in the gym and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey of getting back to CrossFit weight from here. My collagen of choice now is @atpscience vegan aminos 🌱- At no point am I going to push this choice upon anyone else but hopefully it allows everyone to keep an open mind just like anything in life regardless of the stigma attached. #livekindly however looks for you ✌️

A post shared by James Newbury • Adelaide (@jamesnewbury) on

Turning more plant based has been on my mind since about 2013. I even did a couple of months of it. To say I was prepared at the time would be a lie. I didn’t educate myself and didn’t take the time to make good eating habits, so I stopped. Back then it was looking at performance benefits rather than ethical reasons. I guess since then I’ve almost turned a blind eye to a lot of what you see on YouTube with how animals are treated, and I avoided videos like that like the plague because it made me so sad. Then I started to think to myself by not watching the video because it makes me sad, this doesn’t actually contribute to a solution, yet it actually supports it.

No matter the size of the contribution, it’s still a contribution, so I made the choice to do it properly. Not only for the animals but the environment too. Before the [CrossFit Games] Open started in the beginning of October I stopped eating 99% of animal products

I did however keep a collagen protein in my diet as I wanted to ease my way into it. 

Here we should emphasize that collagen protein is made from animal bones, so it’s not vegan or vegetarian. But eventually, he went completely plant-based after an accident changed his life.

[Related: The complete guide to a vegan athlete diet]

View this post on Instagram

Not the most ideal place to spend your 29th. I’ve been holding out the last couple days mentioning anything but figured I might as well “break” the news and I’ll preface it with “I am fine” 😊 Over the weekend I had a freak accident coming off a mountain Bike awkwardly head first into a tree, yes not the fastest way down the mountain that’s for sure. I’ve come away lucky with only a handful of breaks through T-Spine 2 & 3 processes and 7+8th rib. I also coped a gash in the left lung leaving it a little worse for wear leaking some air. This is NOT he end of the world nor is it the end of my season, it’s just a minor inconvenience that will need some attention. The doctor said “If you are going to break you back you’ve done it the best way possible for a speedy recovery” so this gives me confidence. How it happened I’m sure is the big question and the basic answer is I just fell awkwardly. I came around a corner not at a crazy speed and washed out the front wheel on some loose rocks, locked onto the breaks and went over the handle bars hitting the base of the tree with my head. Then I flipped and my mid back jarred a protruding branch. Luckily I was wearing a darn good helmet because the docs said it 100% saved me. Now I know I’ll get asked why did I put myself if a situation where I could get hurt with the season upon us? My answer is I don’t regret anything. If I wrap myself in cotton wool and deprive myself of things I enjoy then none of it is worth it for me. I need to be happy and I need to be sharing exciting experiences with loved ones for me to stay focused in other areas of my life and that’s exactly what I was doing. This is life! I’ll now be “working IN” as much as possible to allow the bones to heal well so I can get back to another thing I love which is training and competing (yes for the 2020 season). Thanks to my mates for helping me get back down the mountain and the docs and nurses for looking after me (even when you make me use the slide board to change beds 😩) and @kaylabanfield for sticking by my bed the last days! I’ll keep you guys updated PS I will NOT be redoing 20.3 #shellberight

A post shared by James Newbury • Adelaide (@jamesnewbury) on

Newbury spent his 29th birthday in the hospital following a freak mountain biking accident that left him with severe, but recoverable, injuries to his back, ribs, and lung.

Newbury maintained his plant based diet throughout his recovery and it seemed to have some psychological benefits for him.

I continued eating 99% animal free through this period. 2.5 weeks later I went in for follow up x-rays. I then received a call later from the cardiothoracic doctor saying there was no fractures left to be seen. Not to say the way I was eating is the cause of this because I’m sure the shape I was in played a role (…) As of the 12th of November I quit 100% of animal products.

Note that Newbury is using the term “plant-based” and not “vegan,” which aren’t technically the same. Plant-based diets are free from any animal products and they are indeed what a vegan would follow, but a person who identifies themselves as vegan also avoids wearing leather, using cosmetics made with animal products, and so on. The philosophy extends beyond their diet, in other words.

Newbury recently completed a seven day fast in Bali and plans to get back into the gym and return to CrossFit competition. We’ll see if his adoption of an entirely plant based diet will pay off on the leaderboard.

FAQs

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet abstains from the use of any animal products, including dairy, eggs, and honey.

Who is James Newbury?

James Newbury is an accomplished CrossFit competitor from Australia. His best finish is 5th place at the 2019 CrossFit Games.