Head chef of German national team on benefits of plant-based eating, talks Leon Goretzka's unique diet
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Germany will have plant-based cuisines on the menu at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and it's down to Michelin star and head chef of the German national football team Anton Schmaus, who revealed the benefits of veganism and revealed why more and more footballers are reducing the consumption of meat.
The movement of veganism in Germany isn't a new subject following the pilot study conducted by the institute of Nutritional Medicine in Lübeck, SV Babelsberg and Oatly, where one group of players went completely plant-based while the other continued with a dairy and meat diet.
During the study, there was no impact on performances or athletic measurements for the plant-based group, with Schmaus incorporating more plant-based eating into the German national team.
He states that players are getting 'more and more' into veganism, reducing the amount of meat and fish they consume.
"The players are getting more and more into plant-based nutrition. A lot of them are working with nutritionists. The players are reducing meat and fish," he told SPORTbible.
Schmaus provided an insight into what the German national team will be eating in Qatar, revealing a buffet-style menu that includes pasta as well as a local influence.
"Normally I'm offering at least one completely plant-based dish. For breakfast, there are always vegan options. For lunch and dinner, there are also always vegan options," he said.
"Including the pasta which also can be vegan, then a lot of vegetables and chickpeas. Quite a broad offering for the players.
"In this region, [we will offer] lentils and chickpeas. There will be an influence of Mediterranean cuisine style so we'll definitely integrate this in our buffet."
Asked about the main benefits of a vegan diet, Schmaus wasted no time in bringing up the environmental gain. He also raised the benefits of player welfare, explaining that plant-based food is easier to handle for the body.
"First of all, it's much better for our whole environment. That's the baseline. At the end of the day, if we are reducing the consumption of meat and fish, then the environment will get better, and will be easier to live," he explained.
"Plant-based diet is much better to handle for the body. It's easier to digest. It's good for your well-being, and your comfort. That's a big plus."
Serge Gnabry, who turned to veganism in 2019, is one of the few stars turning to plant-based nutrition, with Schmaus revealing the German national team will split the week of their food consumption.
On Gnabry, he said: "He's a part-time vegan. He still eats meat and fish. That's what most of the players are doing. Three to four days they eat meat and fish and the rest of the week they are completely relying on plant-based foods."
Not to mention Leon Goretzka who has undergone a remarkable body transformation, having packed on a serious amount of muscle mass over the years.
And Schmaus shared an insight into his diet, explaining that the Bayern Munich star's whole nutrition is lactose and gluten-free.
"He doesn't eat any gluten. His whole nutrition is lactose and gluten-free. He's really into the food issues. "He's a big guy. He needs a lot of food," he said of the midfielder's diet.
The vegan culture isn't a new phenomenon, with Chris Smalling ditching meat and fish in favour of a plant-based diet and Schmaus believes that more players are thinking about the future while revealing the health benefits.
He also reckons Lionel Messi would perform at the same level as he does now if the 35-year-old switched to a plant-based diet.
"Everyone thinks about the future. The football players are role models for younger players and children," he added. "They have to think about the environment. It helps you, for some of the players it can help avoid injuries.
"Lionel Messi, if he starts to eat vegan from now on, he can perform at the same level as he does now."