Tim Shieff the 31 year old American born Englishman has been best known as an international ‘Free Runner’ champion and a champion in British TV’s Ninja Warrior. But his profile is probably more widely known as a follower and advocate for Veganism, so much so he was branded as Prince Vegan: And with 82.2 million followers on Instagram, the converted and not so converted, hung on to most of what he said even if they didn’t become 100% vegan. His prowess as a runner and athlete was proof that a Vegan diet is as healthy as you can get.
But is it? This year Tim gave up being Vegan, after six years of veganism and has gone back to a omnivorous diet. Having said that, he went on a 35 day water fast in a search for healing, which included drinking his own urine.
Did he feel that he had let so many of his followers down by betraying the ideology of Veganism?
He felt he had to be honest with people even if it went against what he previously had advocated. It just wasn’t working out for him. Everyone is free to make their choice but for him it had started to make him feel ill. He feels it is now his duty to impart that new found knowledge and experience to his followers to make their own decisions. He has always said that the killing of animals when it is not a necessity is wrong, but he now understands that his poor health makes it necessary to return to a normal diet. He feels the next stage in the journey of balanced and humane diet is to source foods locally, still eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits but incorporating local produce.
Does that mean he now accepts that the killing of animals is acceptable for survival?
He thinks that he was in denial and he now accepts that the farming of plant based products does kill rodents, insects and birds and is a natural bi product of a Vegan/Vegetarian diet. His belief of animals dying was based on the ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ scenario rather than the ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’ He was aware of the bugs on his lettuce or the slugs that get killed in the farming procedure but felt that this was a secondary thing rather than the primary reasons that he became Vegan. Once he realised that he was ill, he realised also that he was being cruel to himself and that was not good either. He even plans now to hunt and fish for his own food, naturally sourced.
So what about the animals?
Tim thinks that no matter what we eat, animals are going to die; be it cow or bugs. Take Ben & Jerry’s Vegan ice cream. On the back of the pack there is a list of 20 Vegan ingredients that required the levelling of forestation, the planting in ploughed fields and the harvesting. Have we not killed creatures to get to that point? ‘We just have to accept that in order to live we will end up killing creatures but should concentrate on limiting the suffering to the bare minimum. Every action we take has its consequences’ and in his case when he became ill he had to face the facts.
So what about the people that say “you are an athlete, competitive and at the height of your physicality, so Veganism must be good for you.”
He thinks that his determination has more to do with his success. His body is his life and keeping healthy was the most important. The first thing he noticed was with Ninja Warrior when he found he couldn’t pull himself up on the bars like he used to, his muscles were like brittle elastic bands. He then found himself with minor injuries even when doing yoga. Eating raw and plant based food made him more spiritually aware and allowed him to concentrate and communicate, but his body was empty, airy he had no chi or power. He even noticed calcification of his spine, a bleeding itchy anus and foot fungi and he realised he had to change. Although a lot of these symptoms disappeared when he went on the water fast, they came back when he returned to his Vegan diet.
So the fasting made him realise that he had to renounce veganism?
He felt that his body was not whole and he was attached to so many things that he didn’t need and in order to be one with himself he got rid of the things that he felt were bringing him down —which included a Vegan diet. The diet is not for everyone but Tim believes that if it’s good for you, then no problem but if your body starts to reject it then listen to it. Once it’s no longer a conscious choice, stop. He also found that he constantly wanted to eat and there was this voice in the back of his mind telling him that he needed to eat more. But when he went back to animal protein his desire to eat every hour disappeared and he felt satiated for the first time. His depression lifted and his body felt warm again.
Will he ever be a Vegan again?
He says he will continue to eat plant based and raw food along with animal protein diet: Everything in moderation. We all have a relationship with food it’s just that some of us make the wrong decisions and for the wrong reasons. The most important thing in your life is your body and your health.
He says, he’s now got his body back and his health.