Cam Newton, star QB for the New England Patriots, just unveled a powerful new ad with PETA to tell the world: You don't have to eat animal products to be built like a NFL superstar. The tagline: Built Like a Vegan, shows Newton in a heroic pose, looking like a super hero. In the video, he is even wearing a cape, so if you mistook him for Superman that's the point.

For a long time, there was a common belief that athletes needed animal protein to build strong muscles, but Cam Newton is changing that myth, one scrimmage at a time. The star QB, now at the Patriots, is actually the second world-class quarterback to play at Gilette Stadium on a meat-free diet, since Tom Brady is well known to have followed a mostly plant-based approach to nutrition.


"I've seen such a remarkable change in the way my body responds to the way I eat," Newton said yesterday when he announced that he has a new ad campaign with PETA: "Built Like a Vegan." The ad proves you don't have to eat animal products to be an elite athlete.

Newton, Brady and Tyrann Matthew of the Chiefs are only a few of the most well-known NFL stars who either define themselves as plant-based or vegan. The Tennessee Titans have been featured in the documentary The Game Changers as having a vegan training table hosted by Chef Charity Morgan, who as the wife of Derrick Morgan, served up vegan food to players regularly. Other world-class or elite athletes to be outspoken about giving up meat and dairy include Novak Djokovic and Lewis Hamilton, who share their experiences about how eating plant-based and avoiding animal products has improved performance and recovery time by reducing inflammation in the body.

Newton recently teamed up with PETA to spread the word about his vegan diet. He is the latest in a parade of celebrities to work with PETA, including Alex Morgan the soccer star, Colin Kaepernick, Kyrie Irving, plus Joaquin Phoenix, Miley Cirus, Jeraine Dupris the music mogul, Sir Paul McCartney, and many others.


In the exclusive behind the scenes interview with PETA, Newton says giving up animal products back in 2019 was the best thing for his injury recovery after two shoulder injuries ended his season early that year, and ultimately it helped him put his career back on track: “I’ve seen such a remarkable change in the way my body responds to the way that I eat." He adds: "People often ask, 'How do you get your protein?' I just say, 'I get it in the same way you do, but it's fresher and cleaner.' "

On the video, Newton shares how he likes to make a "saucy" vegan burger with lettuce, tomato, "more pickles," guacamole, and load the whole thing onto a pretzel bun, which he shares with his children Chosen and Camidas. After a bite, they nod their heads up and down and Chosen says, "That's a good burger!"

For anyone who wants to start their own plant-based journey, Newton explains: "My advice to a person who wants to become vegan is to eat on schedule. If you can eat on a schedule, you won't miss [a meal or crave meat] or think anything different, and you'll be alright."

This is good news for the Patriots since former NE quarterback Tom Brady eats a mostly plant-based healthy diet that helped the team win nine Superbowls. Brady now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and continues to promote his TB12 Diet, which is made up mostly of plant-based food and post-workout protein shakes that are vegan protein, as well as a line of supplements–all vegan–designed to provide energy and stronger athletic performance.

These two future Hall of Famers are not the only athletes who swear by a vegan or plant-based diet for enhanced performance. In fact, Djokovic credits eating a strictly plant-based diet with helping his cure his allergies and go from the third-ranked player in the world to the number one tennis player on the planet. And, athletes like Lewis Hamilton, Morgan Mitchell, Patrik Baboumian (aka the strongest man alive), were all featured in the documentary The Game Changers about the fact that a plant-based diet can improve performance and recovery time. Newton is just the latest superhero athlete to show us that "Built by Plants" means we don't need animal protein to be strong, fit and healthy.


More From The Beet