Vegan Gladiators?

We all have our prejudices and judgments that we make based on what we know and have experienced before. When I say, “United States”, or “banana cream pie”, or “vegan”, your mind automatically starts placing all these different things in your mind based on what you know about them. Or at least think you know about them.

Would it surprise you to learn that many Roman gladiators actually ate an entirely plant-based diet, and did so in good health? They didn’t call them, “Barley Men” for nothing.

Check out this video today where Dr. John McDougall describes how these soldiers lived and ate, and how it affected their health and physical performance.

You’ll learn:

  • Why they actually called the gladiators, “Barley Men”, and how their diet supported them in being the most efficient warriors possible.
  • Why many people’s belief that you need lots of protein or meat to build strong muscles didn’t apply to the gladiators, and likely doesn’t to you either.
  • How the gladiators vegan diet was able to build and maintain their powerful skeletal structure without any dairy products.
  • Exactly why the gladiators specifically requested that their pre-fighting meals be free of meat and filled with starch.


I think it’s pretty interesting to learn that some of the strongest warriors in recorded history ate a plant-based diet. The idea that you need to eat incredible amounts of protein or invest in expensive protein powders to build a strong body doesn’t seem to add up in many people’s case.

Whether or not you eat an entirely vegan diet, almost everybody could benefit from eating more fresh whole plant foods. And I’m also willing to bet that all of the jocks pumping iron in the gym eating 15 raw eggs a day could stand to eat a little less protein and a little more fruits and vegetables.

What have been your experiences with the amounts of protein in your own diet? Let us know in the comments below!

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