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UC Berkeley's 280-pound vegetarian living large

sfgate.com | 10/05/10

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Read More: Richard Fisher, Tony Robbins, Vegetarianism

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As a big, burly lineman on the Cal football team, Richard Fisher can be fairly characterized as a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, hold the meat. Please, hold the meat.

Fisher, 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, is a rarity in college football: an offensive lineman who is also a vegetarian. Put him and his fellow O-line veggies around the country in the same room and it wouldn't take long to call roll.

"People ask if I'll ever eat meat. Someday, maybe," Fisher said. "But I worry about what might happen to my intestines the day after. I'm not sure it would be a good experience."

When fellow guard Brian Schwenke was asked if he could function as a vegetarian, he recoiled in horror. "I'd die," he said.

As for Fisher, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, he's living quite nicely on a diet of milk, cheese, eggs, pasta, beans, fruit, pizza (remember, hold the meat), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, protein shakes, ice cream and, of course, vegetables. Stir-fry dishes with eggs is a favorite, as is pizza, particularly from the Cheeseboard in Berkeley.

Fisher, a senior from the Santa Cruz Mountains hamlet of Ben Lomond, has been a vegetarian longer than he can remember. A line in Fisher's bio in the media guide is startling: "has been a vegetarian since he was a toddler."

For that he can thank his progressive parents, Eric and Brett Fisher. They embraced a vegetarian lifestyle years ago and raised three no-meat children. "My parents originally ate meat," Fisher said. "They went to a Tony Robbins seminar and got the global food perspective. They were into working out and being healthy. They actually started out vegan, so I was a vegan for a couple years. That was really hard to get protein, especially growing up, so they said, OK, we can eat dairy."

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