Vegan Bodybuilder Displays Superhuman Strength In Must See Video

Vegan bodybuilder Frank Medrano joins a growing number of athletes and bodybuilders whose phenomenal fitness and peak physical performance are powered exclusively by plants. As the general public is increasingly confronted with the inherent cruelty of all animal farming, and armed with the knowledge that we can live healthy lives without exploiting animals for food, more and more people are making the choice to stop consuming meat, milk and eggs. Accordingly, the list of title-winning, record-holding vegan athletes grows exponentially every year, showing it is possible not only to survive, but to thrive on a plant-based diet.

At the same time, government health experts worldwide are finally catching up with the large body of scientific evidence demonstrating that a vegan diet is not only a viable option for people of any age, but that eating plant foods instead of animal-based foods can confer significant health benefits, including reduction in incidence of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, and several types of cancer. In 2009, the American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the U.S.’s oldest, largest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition, recognized that humans have no biological requirement for animals products, stating: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” 

When we have access to plant-based foods, and understand that humans have no biological need to consume animal products, and once we recognize that non-human animals value their lives and want to live — then how can we justify denying them the mercy we ourselves would beg for if the roles were reversed? The only way for our values to mean anything — the only way for our values to actually be our values — is if they are reflected in the choices we freely make. And every day, we have the opportunity to live our values through our food choices. If we value kindness over violence, if we value being compassionate over causing unnecessary harm, then veganism is the only consistent expression of our values. When we can live healthy lives without deliberately hurting others, why wouldn’t we?

Learn more:

Learn more about the suffering of animals raised for food, even on small and so-called humane farms, here.

Curious about plant-based protein? Check out one of our most popular features, A Vegan Doctor Addresses The Protein Question. See also: Catching Up With Science: Burying the “Humans Need Meat” Argument.

Learn more about going vegan with our Guide To Going Dairy Free.

See tons more inspiring vegan fitness and athlete profiles at:

Vegan Bodybuilding
Great Vegan Athletes
Vegan Strength
Meat-Free Athlete
No Meat Athlete

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About Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems is Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she works as a writer, editor and researcher specializing in farmed animal welfare and vegan advocacy. Ashley has written for numerous animal rights organizations, and in addition to her ongoing work for Free from Harm, she is a writer and researcher at A Well-Fed World. For more information on her poetry or advocacy writing, please visit her website. She also runs the vegan facebook page Make Compassion Consistent.


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  6. I read some arguments here, and can say only one think;”EDUCATION”. People who say that Frank became vegan only 3 years ago, so he did not build his strength with vegan diet, should think again, because if his vegan diet did not give him enough nutrients, protein and was not sufficient, how is he able to perform like that now? Is it enough to get in shape once in your life and that’s it, it will stay for rest of your life? Also, there is way more to vegan diet then:” Porridge, nuts, apples, peanut & jam sandwiches”…get some EDUCATION:)

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  9. I really respect your views and dedication to this cause. I’m not an advocate of any unnecessary harm or death to any animal human or non-human. So anyone reading please don’t misconstrue my points as being an advocacy by any means. I was just really agitated by the comparisons of human rape, slavery, and Nazi genocide to make the argument as to why humans should not eat meat! So writers, please keep up the good work as I will truly analyze my own decisions and contemplate becoming vegan again. Thank You

    • Thank you. I agree with you that people should be deeply troubled with the comparisons to other violent and exploitative systems like Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia or the current genocide in Rhawanda. There is a common link in the arguments and justifications used to oppress all peoples of different stripes as well as non human animals. It is impossible to overlook the comparisons in the way the oppressors treat the oppressed. Part of the mission of this site is to make these connections clearer. As Tolstoy famously wrote over one hundred years ago, “Where there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”

  10. If you can make the argument that other humans eat animal proteins out of necessity, then why can’t you contemplate the scenario of your own child needing these same proteins to survive? So once more….. If in all certainty your own child would die if they did not consume some portion of animal proteins, would you personally let them perish? Or are your own personal beliefs strong enough to bury your own child? You know doctors aren’t “necessary”, but I’m sure you or someone you love has been to one for their own self preservation. And much of what we have learned in these doctoral sciences have derived from the exploitation and or harm of non human animals. So please answer the first question- Would you let your own child die if it was absolute necessity that they consume some portion of animal proteins. If you are honest in your response, then you could understand any contradictions to eating any or all of an animal.

    • Humans are not carnivores. My hypothetical child is no exception. Do you really doubt this, Jim? The evidence is overwhelming! In 2009, the American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the U.S.’s oldest, largest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition, also recognized that humans have no inherent biological or nutritional need for animals products: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

      While a well-balanced vegan diet can easily provide all of the nutrients we need to thrive, that doesn’t mean that all vegans are healthy. Just as people who eat meat, dairy and eggs often suffer from nutrient deficiencies, a poorly planned or junk-food vegan diet can also fail to meet nutritional needs, leading to health problems. Total raw food diets and diets composed of only very-low-fat foods can also make it harder for some people to get all the necessary nutrients. But with the rare exception of someone who suffers from multiple serious plant-food allergies, science now recognizes that a healthy vegan diet is a safe option for everyone.

      – See more at:

    • Jim, I never made the argument that humans MUST eat animal protein to survive. I merely stated that some culture such as the Inuits who live in arctic climates have access only to animal foods which is an exceptional case of course.

      The human body has the ability to digest both plants and animal flesh and obtain nutrients from both. The truth is that all the nutrients we need can be obtained from plant foods. Moreover, these plant-derived nutrients are often available in greater abundance and are more readily absorbed in the system than are nutrients obtained from animal products. Too, they have the advantage of being without the harmful health effects that nutritionists are now attributing to our consumption of animal products. For vegans with special dietary needs, fortified foods and supplements can further reinforce their needs.

      Our closest primate relatives, chimpanzees, are considered omnivores. Yet despite the fact that chimpanzees have huge, pointed canine teeth designed for tearing flesh, only a tiny percentage of their diet is the flesh of other animals and some insects. (2) Dale Peterson, one of the world’s leading chimpanzee researchers, once mentioned to me that he believes chimps given the opportunity to satisfy their hunger with plant sources may very well ponder the morality of eating other animals. Could they be evolving ethically, just as we humans are?

      Unlike biological carnivores, we will not die from malnutrition if we stop eating animal products. We will simply go vegan. On other hand, if we stop eating plants, we will die of malnutrition. Physiologically, we have the ability to be healthy and happy herbivores. Ethically, there is no good reason not to be vegan, and in so doing stop causing needless harm to animals.

      For a concise reference to plant-based nutrition, I always recommend Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina, both registered dieticians. Vegan for Life will answer all of your concerns and questions. It is backed up by the best peer-reviewed scientific research. It even has a chapter on how to evaluate nutritional claims in an age of confusing and conflicting information, much of which is directly funded or heavily influenced by the meat and dairy industries.

      So the next time you are confronted with an “omni” who insists that he or she will get deathly ill and die if they don’t eat meat or dairy or eggs at least once a week, stand your ground with confidence and point them to the overwhelming body of evidence that a plant-based diet is not just healthful but also complete. And you might also point out that there is no credible scientific evidence that the human body needs meat, dairy, and eggs to be healthy. If they insist, ask them for the evidence. I’d like to be the first one to review it!

      (1) Milton Mills MD, The Comparative Anatomy Of Eating,

      (2) Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians, Scientific American, 2011

      – See more at:

  11. If one studies the brain and how it is kept running, it feeds on glucose (a carbohydrate). Protein builds the muscles and repairs the damage and continuously replaces the expired cells. Not so, the brain. You damage it, its done. It can rewire elsewhere, if you’re young enough, but brain damage, unlike muscle or bone damage, is permanent.
    We did not develop bigger, keener brains from animal flesh ~ else lions, tigers and weasels would be the ones sending rockets into space. We developed our unique brains because we alone, COOKED our foods, thus releasing all manner of nutrients unavailable to the other animals.

  12. So once more…Would you let you own child die if it meant they had to consume some portion of animal proteins, or would you try and explain to them why it’s not “necessary”for them to consume it?

    • Jim, If you can raise animals, one must be able to grow plants to feed them. So there is no possible way that my starving child would not have access to plant foods if indeed animal foods are available also. Your hypothetical scenario makes no sense.

    • By focusing on your hypothetical scenario, you miss the big picture. You want to find the exceptional case, the needle in the haystack, rather than see the mountains. This is a good example of the denial and avoidance that blinds our culture to the suffering of others and our failure to focus on the real problems we’ve created for ourselves and others.

  13. So again would you make the choice to let your own child die if it meant eating meat? Because that’s literally all that animals are doing. And to say that third world countries don’t survive on animal proteins is absolutely a falicy. In fact many depend on animals as there sole factor for survival, not providing a western culture with gluteness palatable desires. And why is it always convenient to refer to humans as animals unless it does not support your current statements? And yes I have deficated and fornication in an outside environment, but not in public view! Just because we consider where we reside as a neighborhood does not mean that it’s not and wasn’t at some time where all animals including us once roamed, fornicated, and deficated in! Just because we pushed all of the other animals out doesn’t mean that it’s no longer nature.

    • The fact that most of us have a choice means that your hypothetical argument about the starving child is obsolete. Of course, there are tribes that still rely on hunting and gathering for survival. They eat animal products out of necessity which is vastly different from the overwhelming majority of us that eat animal products based on our fetish for products like bacon topped donuts. Harming animals for superfluous reasons is not the same as killing animals for survival? Is that not a distinction you can understand at this point? Do you understand that if I kick your dog because I get some sick pleasure out of it is the same as throwing a bratwurst on the grill, not because I NEED that sausage, just because I have a “taste” for it. You are completely desensitized to animal suffering and see no value in the lives of other non human animals, not even enough to defend them against the most trivial human interests.

  14. And by the way example 3 only supports my statements. Animals have been eating other animals for millions of years before human beings were even able to contemplate either side of this argument. So that would mean that every animal that has consumed another has only done it for one species… Their own! Hence evolution and the only reason we are able to contemplate this question.

    • So, again, Jim, your logic is “an eye for an eye.” If he does it, then so can I. If one animal kills, then I have a right to kill what I eat too. Follow your logic to its logical conclusion. Go defecate and fornicate in public. If you base your morality and actions on what other animals do, you have taken leave of your senses.

  15. child from a third world country that it’s not okay to eat meat because they have mental capacity to think otherwise or its not ethical? For that matter would you make the choice of not giving your own child a form of animal based protein if it meant their “survival”, or would you let them perish because you know better? I agree that the farming, hormone dosing, and mistreatment of animals for a profit is wrong… But not the consumption of meat in a real natural sense. So again I come back to my original question for you. Where is your campaign to stop lions from eating gazelles, fish from eating crustaceans, or hawks from eating rabbits? Since after all we are all animals who are just trying to live a happy fruitful life. What is their ethical dilemma? And please answer all of my questions if you will, not just the ones you choose from. I would also like you to know that I have lived as a vegan and also lived as an omnivore, so I am not biased. I just have my OPINION. Thank You

  16. child from a third world country that it’s not okay to eat meat because they have mental capacity to think otherwise or its not ethical? For that matter would you make the choice of not giving your own child a form of animal based protein if it meant their “survival”, or would you let them perish because you know better? I agree that the farming, hormone dosing, and mistreatment of animals for a profit is wrong… But not the consumption of meat in a real natural sense. So again I come back to my original question for you. Where is your campaign to stop lions from eating gazelles, fish from eating crustaceans, or hawks from eating rabbits? Since after all we are all animals who are just trying to live a happy fruitful life. What is their ethical dilemma? And please answer all of my questions if you will, not just the ones you choose from. I would also like you to know that I have been vegan also lived as an omnivore

    • Hi Jim, No one’s survival depends on eating animal products when there is an abundance of other options for the vast majority of us. Quite the contrary. Impoverished countries eat nutrient rich grains because they cannot afford the luxury of meat and dairy and eggs. The affluent eat animal products and take the grain from poorer countries to feed the animals they raise. There are huge political injustices being carried out against poorer countries who could easily feed their population if it were not for the gluttonous appetite of Western countries. And why are you so concerned about what you cannot control, that is, the behavior of carnivores in their natural habitat who must eat other animals for survival? I asked Dawn this and now I will ask you: Do you defecate and fornicate in public like other omnivorous animals do? I hope not! So why do think it is rational then to compare our behavior with those of other animals? We are the animals with the big brains remember? We can make choices that have the least impact on others, because we have moral reasoning. We don’t have to worry about the behavior of lions and tigers and bears in their natural habitat because that is their own business, not ours. What makes you think that vegans want to make nature completely nonviolent? We are not aspiring to play GOD or MOTHER NATURE. We cannot control nature, only our own actions.

  17. Thank you for reiterating my point about opinions, and not answering my question. Just because someone can try to rationalize the comparisons between Nazi regime and the killing and not consuming of human beings, and the killing of animals for cconsumption and their own existence makes it nothing more than an opinion and not science! We as humans decide what food we eat ie. it’s our decision and or opinion as to what we believe is good for our diet. Would you tell an extremely imaciated and dieing of starvation

    • Jim, Justice, not science, is what protects humans from murder, slavery and exploitation. We have conveniently fashioned a world in which justice applies without moral ambiguity only to human animals. This is called SPECIESISM. Yes, this is indeed ARBITRARY and a form of justice subject to opinion, one that benefits only ourselves. There you have it. Your arbitrary application of justice to those who you believe are worthy to the exclusion of all others. To which I quote Voltaire: “If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.”

      To follow your logic, the trivial palate pleasures of humans is more important than life and death itself. Totally absurd and morally indefensible.

    • I continually hear from people like JIM and DAWN that “choices” must be respected. “You eat what you want and I’ll eat what I want.” And don’t judge other’s for what they choose to eat.” This comes from both vegan and meat eaters alike. If eating animals is a choice, then we must believe in at least the following six absurdities:

      1. that we as humans have some sort of unspoken and inherited “right” to kill and eat animals no matter how trivial our reasons and just because we can;

      2. that humans are “superior” to all other species and that somehow that superiority translates into a justification for doing whatever we want to animals. In this way, human interests always “trump” animal interests, even when the human interest is trivial and the animal interest is a matter of life and death;

      3. that all animals conveniently exist only to serve one species — our own (even though most have existed in some form for millions of years before homo sapiens);

      4. that just being a member of another species somehow justifies exploiting someone;

      5. that we can turn animals into objects without making them victims;

      6. that the victim does not exist or does not care what happens to him or her.

      On the other hand, If you take the interests of animals at all seriously, then you recognize that eating animal products violates their most fundamental interest in living as free agents, staying alive and avoiding pain and suffering. A choice necessitates ownership over the options. While we may legally treat animals as property, no one has a moral “right” over the sovereignty of others who were designed by nature to be free agents as we are.

      “If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.” Voltaire’s famous words could not be more fitting here.

      – See more at:

      • 1: We DO actually have the right to kill and eat animals. We have since the Dawn of time <– see what I did there. Some of us choose NOT to and also not to eat them and that's okay. Like you and me.

        2: There's this tree of life thing or pyramid and right now we are at the top – until another species can learn to domesticate itself and build bridges and cities and shit.

        3: Animals are part of our planet and part of a food chain. If they aren't eaten by humans, another animal will eat them. We just happen to eat them, too.

        4: Who are we exploiting? Animals? I think Vegans like you use and interpret things to your own advantage to explain why everyone should live our lifestyle. Which is as wrong as forcing someone to afford something they can't.

        5: Animals are living beings and, as the Native Americans have said, should be respected and thanks be given for the nourishment they can provide us. Every bit of that animal is used – where do you think hot dogs come from? Or even turkey bacon? Or any other meat 'product?' Except maybe the head and vital organs although I hear in some countries even that is used.

        6: Go talk to any farmer, they are aware. Thank you.

        You want to take up an argument, go after the sporthunters who kill for no other reason than to mount a trophy. And this has NOTHING to do with religion which is what Voltaire is talking about. However, this is just another example of someone interpreting something to their advantage.

        • Dawn, same argument the Nazis used against Jews or Europeans and Americans made against Africans. There is no difference in my mind to the logic you are using to defend animal exploitation, animals that would otherwise not exist if it were not for artificial breeding. Hunting is about .5% of all animals harmed by humans. Animal agriculture accounts for about 99%. Profit and pleasure are not moral justifications for harming others, humans or nonhumans.

  18. Everyone here has a convincing and heartfelt opinion, but that’s all that they are is opinions. Hey non vegetarians/vegans, give a plant based diet a try…it definitely won’t hurt you and you may learn a lot from the benefits it can offer. And to responders of these posts, I think you are going way too far with the slavery comments and Nazi comparisons! Neither of which were ever “natural” by any means other than twisted rationalization by irrational humans. Agreed that we are all animals alike, so where is your campaign to stop lions from eating gazelles, or fish from eating crustaceans, or hawks from eating rabbits? They’ve been doing that for millions of years before either side of this argument was ever contemplated by human beings. If these animals really do have the emotions of living happy and free, then where is their empathy for the other animals that they consume? Obviously minus the herbivores. We’ve got love our fellow man first and foremost -Just another opinion 🙂

    • A matter of opinion, you say, Jim? the artificial breeding, exploitation, enslavement, killing and profiteering from the slaughtered corpses of some 60 billion land animals and another approximate 60 billion to 1 trillion marine animals every year globally is certainly not a personal matter for individual consumers. On the contrary, the animal industrial complex depends on a system of laws, standards, political power structures, institutionalized violence, economics and distribution. In sheer scale and degree of suffering, the ongoing atrocity against farmed animals dwarfs all human atrocities combined. The most contemptible aspect of this system is that it is unnecessary. Plant-based alternatives to animal products are growing in number and availability. The nutritional science on the health benefits and advantages of a vegan diet are overwhelming and will continue to permeate mainstream culture. For the vast majority of us who have other options, the only question left to answer is an ethical one: If we can live healthy lives without harming anyone, why wouldn’t we? – See more at:

    • Hi John, As for the comparisons to slavery and other oppressive regimes like Nazi Germany, the comparison to animal agriculture is, not only justifiable, it can be demonstrated in very specific ways. By the way, the same arguments made to defend slavery and other forms of oppression are also used to defend animal agriculture, including the one you just made about “going too far with comparisons.” Here are some salient example… A slaughterhouse operates on a former Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic. See The same poison gas INVENTED by Nazi scientists for mass extermination is now used on animals in the millions and called HUMANE! See Scholar John Sanbonmatsu has made a razor sharp comparison to the language and messaging invented during the Nazi propaganda program with that now used by the “happy” meat industry. Excellent piece. A must read at And Canadian David Sztybel, whose has family who were victims in the Holocaust, has developed an exhaustive point-by-point comparison of the methods used in the enslaving and mass extermination of Jews and other undesirables in his work at In “ETERNAL TREBLINKA: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust,” author Charles Patterson, Ph.D., describes disturbing parallels between how the Nazis treated their victims and how modern society treats animals. The title is taken from the Yiddish writer and Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, himself a vegetarian: “In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”

      I could go on and on and on by citing you more references John. If you seek out the connection, you shall find it in abundance.

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  21. Cool, agree on most points, I would be careful about saying things like “animals want to live” and “if roles were reverse”, do you think plants are not alive? Do you think a sunflower turns to the sun for sole purpose of being eaten? No that sunflower wants to live too. While I dont condone animal cruelty, its nature to consume (plant or animal) and there is nothing wrong with it. Raising headless chickens or making cow suffer in confinement for years on the other hand is not natural. My two cents 🙂

    • Yes Dimitri, and slavery too was “natural” according to thousands of years of human civilization. Not until very recently in our history have we condemned it universally. The Nazis thought exterminating 6 million Jews was upholding the “natural order” of civilization. What’s different about exploiting other non human animals in the billions each year, forcing them to suffer for food we don’t need, all because people believe it is “natural?” To whom? The exploiting human mind? I bet you don’t try to justify slavery today based on historical precedent, yet you defend animal slavery and murder? Makes zero sense. As for your plea for the ethics of eating plants, I bet if you went over to your friend’s house for dinner and sat on her cat and killed her, she would have a very different reaction than if you had sat on a head of lettuce. See if you or her would then so flippantly compare the value of an animal’s life with a vegetable. Do you really know the animals that you eat? Humans are animals. Nonhuman animals will fight for their lives as much as human animals would. You were apparently taught otherwise, by a culture that has a sustained and vested financial interest in exploiting animals. The problem is we’ve been indoctrinated, brainwashed, desensitized, and emotionally numbed. And as a result, we have a lot of waking up to do. That’s what the Free from Harm site is all about.

    • Plants are not “alive” in the same sense at all. They’re not conscious, they’re not sentient, they don’t experience pain or suffering. They have no brain or central nervous system.

  22. I looked at the video and he is impressive. I think vegetarianism has come along way since I began eating this way in 1977. I have to say that from a many years vegetarian perspective, that three years is not long enough to judge what is a healthy diet or lifestyle. Yes we now know that we need healthy organic fats, to build cell walls. I do think that if you want to talk sustainability, you probably aren’t talking this guys vegan diet (with optimal supplementation) any more than another guys, commercially fed diet. Not every one can do this type of strength training, no matter what diet they are on.
    I agree that commercial food production is not healthy, safe or sustainable. There are other ways of being radical than being vegan, such as know your cow, chickens, or farmer personally. Grow your own vegetables.
    Everybody consumes life, weather it’s a seed or an animal.

    • Vegan is not “radical” anymore. What is radical is that 95% of people today who consume animal products pay other people to violently murder baby and adolescent animals for them. They would never do this if they had to do it themselves. You are in deep denial and desensitized about animals if you really believe there is no moral difference between the value of the life of an animal and a head of cabbage. You and I are animals who value our lives. The animals we eat also value their lives in the same manner as we do. That is what distinguishes sentient beings, animals, from other non sentient life forms. Plants are not sentient. From a sustainability standpoint, vegans require a fraction of the land and water resources required to grow their food. In comparison, dairy, meat and egg farming are three of the heaviest polluting and wasteful industries on the planet. They are a miserable use of the planet’s scarce resources. “Knowing your cow or chicken” is not going to change this fact. And from a moral stanpoint, to “know your chicken” or any other animal, for that matter, is to respect and admire them, not to kill them gratuitously for palate pleasure and profit, when we have an abundance of other options.

  23. Awesome video, that is some serious strength on display. I have no doubt that a vegan diet can offer significant health benefits, however it’s slightly misleading to suggest Frank Medrano looks like this solely from a vegan diet. You only have to ask 2 questions here…

    1) When did he become a Vegan?
    a) 2010, i.e. he built his strength on the foundations of a high protein, carnivorous (meat eating) diet. Thus, he already had the strength and the muscles prior to adopting a vegan diet! SWITCHING to a vegan diet basically allowed him to take the fat out of the diet to slim down and tighten up.

    2) What is his current diet?
    a) Porridge, nuts, apples, peanut & jam sandwiches and TWO VEGAN WARRIOR BLEND HIGH PROTEIN MILKSHAKE and other supplements. That’s not a natural occurring diet. He didn’t get this way by eating lettuce and unflavored porridge everyday did he? And its foolhardy to believe it.

    Poor guy must be starving.

    • Hi James!

      Interesting that you essentially conclude that someone as successful as Medrano is a victim, a “poor guy” to use your expression. It strikes me as the reaction of someone who, beyond envy, seeks flaws in others to inversely boost their own ego up a bit more, to make them feel better about themselves. Poor guy, yes you James, if you actually think that vegans are limited to eating what you described here. It reveals a paltry understanding of the abundance of options we vegans indulge in every day. You pride yourself in eating a “naturally occurring diet” of artificially inseminated animal flesh, eggs and mammary gland secretions (the latter of which nature intended exclusively for their newborns, I might add), raised in completely unnatural manmade environments that deny these animals all of their natural behaviors. I hope you’ll explore that paradox built into your assumptions. This site is an excellent place to start that journey.

      • Mr. Staff Writer,

        I think you’re missing the point Mr. Pope was making in that Mr. Medrano did not become a Vegan until 2010, so it’s totally possible that he built his strength on a more rounded (carnivorous) diet. That’s not taking away from how impressive Medrano’s physique is or that he is maintaining it through a strict Vegan diet … except for the Protein Shakes he is supplementing his meals with. BUT the guy is obviously not starving and he’s in great shape. I think his girlfriend/wife does the same and she’s just as impressive.

        Thanks for a great read. I also looked up Mr. Medrano’s site for anyone interested in learning more about him, his diet and plan.

        • Hi Dawn,

          What do you mean by “except for the protein shakes?” Plants have protein! Do you think his shakes are not vegan because they are protein rich? Soy, hemp, chlorella, spirulina are just a few of the great protein sources that athletes often add to shakes. Vegans get plenty of protein from things like broccoli and kale and legumes and nuts and seeds and grains. Omnivores who think they are going directly to the source of nutrients by eating animals are actually not. Animals are fed a lot of supplements. Their feed is supplemented with calcium and vitmain D and even processed soy protein! Vegans instead can go directly to the source of these nutrients. Cows too that eat grass go directly to the source of the calcium and other nutrients. They have stronger bones and bigger muscle mass than we do.

          As for missing the point on James’ comment… James actually created a straw man argument based on a claim that we did not even make. We never claimed here that Medrano developed his current condition on a vegan diet. We simply pointed out that he is thriving on a vegan diet. This seems like an irrelevant distinction for most of us. What Medrano ate three years ago has little to do with his current state of health or conditioning. The characterizations of vegans being “starved” and “poor” or eating a unfulfilling diet is far too common not to recognize here in James’ comments. If we want to debunk these mischaracterizations and move on to a more realistic depiction of vegans able to thrive, then we shouldn’t be pandering to the old and denigrating stereotypes of vegans.

          • I’m only going to say this: I respect our Vegan lifestyle. But I respect the right for others to eat as they choose as well. Just because WE don’t approve, doesn’t mean we should make everyone conform. That’s big gov’t stuff right there.

            And I don’t consider protein shakes Vegan – even if they have plant extracts in the ingredients. Unless I’m drinking a powdered blend of broccoli, sunflowers and grass. Medrano is not getting enough protein from a regular Vegan diet, so he’s supplementing, therefore making your argument and the ADA’s invalid. Obviously, we should be consuming a diet rich in proteins … and it seems plants aren’t doing it all for us.

          • Dawn, Sure. Respect people for supporting sexual assault, bodily mutilations and murder of other animals that are not human, that is, for paying someone else to do what they would never do to animals, not because they MUST, but just because they CAN. That’s a really RESPECTFUL position to uphold if you’re intention is to completely exclude animals from any moral consideration. What a cop out. I would hate to be an animal that depended on you to protect me from others who just regarded me as a slab of meat. As for proteins, proteins ORIGINATE in plants: legumes, grains, vegetables. THE ANIMALS WE EAT GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM PLANTS! MANY OF THE BIGGEST AND STRONGEST ANIMALS ON THE PLANET ARE VEGANS! What a myth you are perpetuating, Dawn. ALL PLANT FOODS, INCLUDING PLANT BASED PROTEIN SHAKES, ARE VEGAN. LET’S NOT GET THIS TWISTED.

          • I’m not perpetuating any myth. And you getting bent out of shape over a solid argument won’t really help your point, either. Here’s an article that might enlighten you from a science standpoint. It doesn’t promote eating meat, however, it explains how it was integral to the growth and development of humans and the brain – and that yes, while there are animals who thrive on a total plant diet, they are not getting enough protein to develop the brain humans have. So, yes, Vegan is a healthy lifestyle, but I’m not going to tell someone else to do something because I do it. And I do it for health reasons, not because I dislike meat or trying to make a statement.

            START HERE: Vegetarian, vegan and raw diets can be healthy — likely far healthier than the typical American diet. But to continue to call these diets “natural” for humans, in terms of evolution, is a bit of a stretch, according to two recent, independent studies.

            Eating meat and cooking food made us human, the studies suggest, enabling the brains of our prehuman ancestors to grow dramatically over a period of a few million years.

            Although this isn’t the first such assertion from archaeologists and evolutionary biologists, the new studies demonstrate, respectively, that it would have been biologically implausible for humans to evolve such a large brain on a raw, vegan diet and that meat-eating was a crucial element of human evolution at least 1 million years before the dawn of humankind.
            Shhh, don’t tell the gorillas

            At the core of this research is the understanding that the modern human brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy at rest, twice that of other primates. Meat and cooked foods were needed to provide the necessary calorie boost to feed a growing brain.

            One study, published last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the brain sizes of several primates. For the most part, larger bodies have larger brains across species. Yet humans have exceptionally large, neuron-rich brains for our body size, while gorillas — three times more massive than humans — have smaller brains and three times fewer neurons. Why?

            The answer, it seems, is the gorillas’ raw, vegan diet (devoid of animal protein), which requires hours upon hours of eating only plants to provide enough calories to support their mass.

            Researchers from Brazil, led by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, calculated that adding neurons to the primate brain comes at a fixed cost of approximately six calories per billion neurons.

            For gorillas to evolve a humanlike brain, they would need an additional 733 calories a day, which would require another two hours of feeding, the authors wrote. A gorilla already spends as much as 80 percent of the tropic’s 12 hours of daylight eating.
            Similarly, early humans eating only raw vegetation would have needed to munch for more than nine hours a day to consume enough calories, the researchers calculated. Thus, a raw, vegan diet would have been unlikely given the danger and other difficulties of gathering so much food.

            Cooking makes more foods edible year-round and releases more nutrients and calories from both vegetables and meat, Herculano-Houzel said.

            “The bottom line is, it is certainly possible to survive on an exclusively raw diet in our modern day, but it was most likely impossible to survive on an exclusively raw diet when our species appeared,” Herculano-Houzel told LiveScience.

            The study puts an upper limit on how big a brain is able to grow while on a premodern raw, vegan diet. But the researchers could not determine when daily cooking began. Was it about 250,000 years ago, when humans were nearly fully evolved with big brains, which is supported by archaeological findings; or was it about 800,000 years ago, when prehumans began their most dramatic brain-growth spurt, an era for which there is little archaeological evidence of controlled fires for cooking?

            If cooking wasn’t routine in the years before the dawn of modern humans, eating meat certainly was.
            The second study, published in October the journal PLoS ONE, examined the remains of a prehuman toddler who died from malnutrition about 1.5 million years ago. Shards of a skull found in modern-day Tanzania reveal that the child had porotic hyperostosis, a type of spongy bone growth associated with low levels of dietary iron and vitamins B9 and B12, the result of diet lacking animal products in a species that requires them.

            The child was around the weaning age. So, either the child’s mother’s breast milk lacked key nutrients, or the child himself did not consume enough nutrients directly from meat or eggs.

            Either way, the finding implies that meat must have been an integral, and not sporadic, element of the prehuman diet more than 1 million years ago, said the study’s lead author, Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, an archaeologist at Complutense University in Madrid.

            This supports the theory that meat fueled human brain evolution because meat — from arachnids to zebras — was plentiful on the African savanna, where humans evolved, and is the best package of calories, proteins, fats and vitamin B12 needed for brain growth and maintenance.

            “Carnivore animals, whether terrestrial or aquatic, are bigger brained than herbivores,” Domínguez-Rodrigo told LiveScience. And he added that “there is no [traditional] society that live as vegans,” essentially because it wouldn’t be possible to get vitamin B12, which is only available in animal products.

            Both sets of researchers said their conclusion — that cooked food and meat were necessary for human brain development — is not a statement of how the human diet must have been, but rather how it likely was in order to make humans “human.”

            With supermarkets and refrigeration, humans today can and increasingly do eat a vegetarian or vegan diet year-round. And given the amount of heart-stopping saturated fats in factory-produced animal products, a plant-based diet can be healthier.

            Yet both “extreme sides” of the meat argument — the unapologetic meat eater and the raw vegan — should remember that few so-called natural foods today were around as little as a few hundred years ago, from the modern invention called corn-fed beef to genetically altered strains of Queen Anne’s lace called the carrot.

            From health to the environment, there are many reasons to go vegetarian, go vegan and even go raw, but evolution isn’t one of them.

            Christopher Wanjek is the author of a new novel, ” Hey, Einstein! “, a comical nature-versus-nurture tale about raising clones of Albert Einstein in less-than-ideal settings. His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.

            Free From Harm Staff Writers on December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am said:
            Dawn, Sure. Respect people for supporting sexual assault, bodily mutilations and murder of other animals that are not human, that is, for paying someone else to do what they would never do to animals, not because they MUST, but just because they CAN. That’s a really RESPECTFUL position to uphold. Protein comes from plants: legumes, grains, vegetables. THE ANIMALS WE EAT GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM PLANTS! MANY OF THE BIGGEST AND STRONGEST ANIMALS ON THE PLANET ARE VEGANS! What a myth you are perpetuating, Dawn.

            – See more at:

          • Dawn, Arguably the biggest advance in evolution and in the brain of humans is our capacity for moral reasoning, our ability to discern right from wrong. All of these elaborate arguments for brain size and development are interesting yet really irrelevant to the fact that we have an abundance of plant based options to choose from today and we can live healthy lives without harming others. I know, Dawn, that you think you are taking a morally “neutral” position, one that leaves the question of whether it is right to force animals to suffer and die to satisfy our trivial palate pleasures, up to the individual’s preference. But if you believe in your theories of how the human brain has evolved, then take that to its logical conclusion. Our advanced brains should tells us that this is speciesism, another variation on racism or sexism, that basically assumes, at its core, that being a member of another species is reason enough to exploit and treat others like an inferior, just as racism was used as an argument for slavery for thousands of years of human civilization. There are over 600 million vegetarians on this planet that have brains that compare favorably with those of omnivores which makes these theories suggesting that humans or non human animals must consume animal products to have the “better” brains all the more absurd. It reminds me of the brain theories of the Nazis who attempted to show how the Aryan brain was superior to non Aryans.

            The study of the brains of birds dispels all of the myths about BRAIN SIZE. Birds have tiny brains in comparison to primates, yet they have cognitive abilities that sometimes exceed those of primates.

          • Dawm, why are you focusing on a RAW diet???? Vegans don’t have to eat a raw diet at all. I think you are mischaracterizing what vegans eat.

          • Dawn, B!2 does not ORIGINATE in animals. It is a bacterial agent that is found in the soil. Did you know that animal agriculture today supplements B12 in animal feed? Did you know that they feed animals feed that is based on a protein-rich soy diet and that is often supplemented with calcium and other nutrients that actually comes from plant sources and the earth (like minerals)? The meat and dairy industries would have us believe that we need calcium from cow’s milk, for example, all the while they are supplementing the cows with calcium! The notion that the “best” source of these nutrients comes from animals, when they are readily available in plants or in plant-based supplement form (as in the case of B12) is not only inaccurate. It is a miserably inefficient way to produce food. Raising animal products requires many times more the resources of water and land than growing plant crops that are produced into comparable nutrient rich foods.

          • This isn’t a win or lose argument. Ultimately, no one is going to stop the production of animals for food. There is too much money in it, too many people whose livelihood depends on it. You’re correct, we can survive on a Vegan diet. And those of us who choose, to, do. And don’t try to explain away the argument of our evolution and how our omnivorous diet, which included meat, shaped the growth of our brain. You’re comparing birds to humans and you’re losing … but regardless, what of the animals who are killing each other for food? Or is that okay because it’s their natural food pyramid? No, not every animal is a plant eater. And our pets, which we domesticate and feed processed foods, will eat meat and each other if left to their own devices, I’ve seen it happen. Should we make it our earthly mission to capture and teach those animals that killing each other is wrong and they can survive on a Vegan diet in the wild as well?

            And out of those 600 million people who are Vegan, how many of us have been Vegan since birth? I understand what you are trying to say, but I find it insanely wrong to force our moral preference on someone else – especially since the only people who think it’s wrong to eat meat are animal rights activists. To reiterate, I became a Vegan because it’s healthy. Not because I don’t like meat or dairy. And I’m not on a RAW vegan diet.

            And you are really dramatic in your arguments. I hope you’re a girl.
            “Respect people for supporting sexual assault, bodily mutilations and murder of other animals that are not human, that is, for paying someone else to do what they would never do to animals, not because they MUST, but just because they CAN.”

            C’mon, really? And I know people who raise and grow their own food on their own farms. They don’t rape their animals.

          • Hi Dawn, Carnivorous animals that eat other animals do so out of NECESSITY AND SURVIVAL. There is a big moral difference between harming others for survival in comparison to doing it because one claims to have a “personal” preference for bacon (which is a position that you have actually been defending). If you don’t see the distinction here, as a vegan, I am deeply troubled. Why do you care so much about comparing human behavior with other animals who must kill for survival? Do you defecate and fornicate, as some omnivores do, in public? I hope not. By comparing our pets and other animals with us, you seem to suggest that our eating of other animals is justifiable. That is cherry picking behaviors to suit the desires of our dominant meat eating culture which, by the way, would never do to animals themselves, what they are paying others to do.

            As for “rape,” how do you think the 60 billion animals today who are artificially bred into this world come into being? Do you think they mate naturally? Come on, Dawn, how naive you are to believe that the sexual manipulation of animals by humans isn’t necessary for breeding 60 BILLION LAND ANIMALS EVERY YEAR? Have you explored this website? Do a keyword search for “artificial insemination” which is the meat industry euphemism for what we call rape OR SEXUAL ASSAULT in human animals, and see what you find. We have researched and written extensively on the subject here. The fact that you don’t perceive this as sexual assault when it is performed on non human animals reveals, once again, your speciesism, that other species don’t count morally and humans can therefore do whatever they want with them. That is part of the cultural indoctrination that we were all raised with but need to question if we are to have any intelligent conversation about this.

            Now tell me, Dawn, as someone so willing to defend the consumption of animal products, would you stick your arm up a cow’s rectum to your forearm and then insert a semen gun into the vagina of the same cow with your other arm, so you could get her pregnant and then consume the mammary gland secretions that nature intended for her offspring, and then claim that this is a perfectly natural and morally acceptable practice, when, if performed on humans it would constitute rape?

            I’ll overlook your completely SEXIST comment about my own comments being “feminine.” You apparently accept without examination our dominant patriarchal culture which dictates rigid roles for weak females and strong men who eat meat. LOL

          • An article in Science Daily, July 17, 2013 , says that birds possess a range of skills including “a capacity for complex social reasoning” and problem solving. A researcher explains that “Birds have been evolving separately from mammals for around 300 million years,” yet they are “remarkably intelligent in a similar way to mammals such as humans and monkeys.”

            – See more at:

      • I’m defending the right for people to choose to eat how they want to eat and as they have had the right to eat for longer than we decided we wanted to change our lifestyle.

        You’re also missing my point. So, I think I’m going to stop debating with you, sir or ma’am. You are entitled to your opinion and I still respect it. And comparing me to a Nazi for posting a scientific article about eating meat that I didn’t write, but I happen to agree with the points presented … unnecessary and out of line.

        • Dawn, What you are defending is what feminist author Carol Adams refers to as the “absent referent.” You defend a person’s arbitrary choice to eat animal products over the life and death of sentient animal beings who value their lives in the same manner we do. You defend the oppression of animals and their use as commodities. In the end, nothing else matters to the victims. None of your points mean anything to them. And if you were instead the victim, your cold logic would be as useless to yourself as it is for theirs.

        • Dawn, one of the things you’re forgetting that it’s not a matter of “personal choice” when a person decides to eat animal flesh and/or secretions. You’re forgetting the animal’s personal choice.

          I don’t agree with the tone of the staff writer’s responses here, but I fully agree with the points and the message.

          Marcelo-Fernandes, I don’t see one point where Dawn was misinterpreted.

  24. Would like to see a follow-up piece here on his typical diet. Would be a lot easier for people to begin to make the switch with a simple plan shared by a knowledgeable and successful athlete like this.

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  27. This is the most impressive degree of body control I’ve ever seen. For more on how nutritious a vegan diet can be, I highly recommend Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free. It will help guide you in exactly what you should eat, complete with recipes.

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  31. This is the most awesome video on body building that i have seen. Thrashes the misconception that Non Veg is a great food.

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