Russell Martin tastes the benefits of the vegan option

Russell Martin
Russell Martin

"It's more fashionable than getting a tattoo," joked Russell Martin as he explained his decision five years ago to turn vegan.

The Dons defender scored the winner against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday - a club famed for it's eco-friendly approach, with zero carbon footprint, a robotic lawnmower and a wholly vegan menu.

While the FGR players are urged to eat vegan, Martin's decision to turn vegan came five years ago, and had nothing to do with the latest trends or fashions, but for his own health.

Suffering from ulcerative colitis, Martin made the decision to change his diet to avoid taking medication for the rest of his life.

"It has improved my health," he explained. "I was suffering with ulcerative colitis before that, and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life taking medication – it didn't make me feel good. It has made a huge difference to me.

"I did it five years ago, I had flirted with it, dipped in and out but when we found out I couldn't get away with it, diet-wise, I went that way. It works for me, but it doesn't work for everyone. A few of the lads tried the vegan options here (at Forest Green), and liked it.

Martin goes up for a header

Martin goes up for a header

"It took a while to get used to the change in diet. It's not for everyone and I wouldn't force it on everyone, but it has certainly helped me."

Vegans are often the brunt of jokes but vegan options on menus are becoming more and more prevalent - see Gregg's vegan sausage roll. Martin admitted it is the latest fad but says there are plenty of health and social benefits.

"It's fashionable isn't it!" he joked. "It's more fashionable than getting a tattoo - less permanent too!

"I think people are beginning to see the health benefits of it, I know people who do it a few days a week. It's whatever works for everyone. We could be here for hours talking about the social benefits of it, but in terms of health and performance, it is certainly helping me."