With the Canadian Football League officially on the sidelines for the remainder of 2020, hundreds of CFL players now have several months off work.
John Rush is using that time to combine two of his favourite passions; fostering rescue dogs, and whipping up vegan recipes.
“This is the first summer I’ve ever had off basically since I was nine years old,” says the fourth-year Blue Bombers fullback.
In his first full year of calling Winnipeg his off-season home, the Guelph, Ont., native is trading his football jersey in for an apron.
“I’m vegan and a lot of people don’t know how to cook vegan so I started getting a lot of people asking me. So I’m like, why don’t I start a food blog,”
Dog Rescue Kitchen features several vegan recipes from Easy Peazy Vegan Crispy Tofu to Beefless Beef Bro-Nachos, all while being geared towards raising money for animal shelters.
“There are a lot of really amazing dogs that sit in shelters that don’t have a home that deserve a home, so they kind of instilled that in me at a very age and then from there it’s just kind of blossomed into all of this,”
Adopting his first dog at the early age of nine, Rush currently owns two adopted Great Pyrenees-St. Bernard crosses, who can get up to 150 pounds when fully grown.
The older of the two, Bone, 2, was days away from being euthanized when Rush found him on a pet listing site while back in Ontario during the 2018 off-season.
His eight-month-old younger puppy, Bailey, was adopted in Winnipeg earlier this year after being abandoned by her previous owners.
While involving his dogs in the content he shares through his food blog, he continues inspiring some to try their hand at cooking vegan recipes.
“People are telling me how much these recipes are helping them talk to their spouses or talk to their family about going vegan and helping them realize that vegan food is delicious. That makes me feel really good that I’m actually helping people kind of live this lifestyle as well.”
He says what started as an off-season diet experiment, has now turned into a full-on lifestyle.
“The first week, my body felt significantly better and I started learning more about it, started learning about animals, making that connection, learning how much better it is for the environment.”
“This kind of all makes a lot of sense to me and what I value so I continue to do it and now I’m on my fourth year,”