Kara Lang, vegan footballer
Football on the world stage
Kara Lang is a former member of the Canadian women’s football team who has played successfully at club and national level.
Kara started playing at the highest levels at a very young age, and aged 15 years and 132 days she took the world record for the youngest player to score a full international goal – a record which still stands. Two days later she set the record for a the youngest Canadian senior women’s appearance.
Still aged 15 she was a crucial member of the Canadian under 19 world cup bid, scoring three goals in six games, not including a penalty which helped them the Canadians beat Brazil in the semi final. Canada lost to America in the final.
She played in all of the team’s six games in the Women’s World Cup (2003) aged 16 and scored two goals. The following year she played in central defence as Canada won the under 19 World Championships.
In 2008 she played in the Olympics and scored. In 2010 she played in the team that won the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament. Shortly afterwards she retired due to knee injuries, and went on to pursue a career in commentating and sport broadcasting.
Kara also holds the record for the fastest goal after scoring in the U-20 CONCACAF tournament in four seconds.
Kara has been a vegan since she was a teenager.
“I made the decision to adopt a vegan diet when I learned about the cruelty and suffering involved in raising animals for food. As an elite athlete I knew I had a responsibility to find a balance between a diet that aligned with my values and beliefs and still allowed me to train and compete at an optimal level.”
This decision led to research into nutrition, which reassured her that it was the right move to make, particularly as it was likely to improve recovery times. She is currently (2012) writing a book on veganism together with former team mate Amy Walsh. They aim to provide information about turning vegan, particularly from an athlete’s perspective. They also want to draw on Amy’s experience of a vegan pregnancy.
“Being vegan is not about deprivation for me. I never feel like I’m missing out on anything and I’m definitely not starving! It’s not like a weight-loss diet where you’re denying yourself of all of your favourite things. I don’t look at a steak and wish I could have just one bite - in fact, I don’t really look at steak and other animal products as food at all anymore. It’s not hard to turn down ice-cream or chicken wings when your reasons for doing so are based on beliefs as opposed to being motivated by something like weight-loss.”
“What many people don’t realize is that animal protein is not the only source of protein out there. Nuts, seeds, grains, hemp, beans, legumes and even greens all contain significant amounts of protein. There are a number of different vegan protein powders on the market and I usually make at least one or two shakes a day...Vegetable proteins also don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol and are much more easily digested than animal proteins.”
“Ignorance is NOT bliss - especially when your health and the health of the planet are on the line. Seek out information. Question authority. Make informed decisions that serve you so that you can better serve the world.”