HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This weekend, Houston will host a vegan food festival downtown.
It's a first for Houston, where we are known for our love of burgers, barbecue, and steak.
But more and more Houstonians are embracing the vegan food trend, and local restaurants are answering the call.
Former University of St. Thomas basketball player Kevin Williams is getting ready to play in China, and he says changing his diet changed his game.
"I'm stronger, faster, leaner, ready to push my body to the max," Williams explains.
Inspired by a growing number of sports stars going vegan, such as the Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving, Williams took the plunge just seven months ago, and he's gotten results.
"I used to have tendonitis in my knee. It still flares up a little bit, but not as much. I'm lighter. I'm 182 now, about six percent body fat," Williams said.
Williams adopted a vegan diet for personal health, but others may be motivated by environmental, moral or religious reasons. Vegans stick to a plant-based diet that avoids any kind of animal product. That means no meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, not even honey since it comes from bees.
"Mentally, I prepared myself to push myself to that challenge to go vegan," Williams explained.
Part of the challenge is dining out on a vegan diet. But more and more Houston restaurants, like Local Foods, are feeding the growing appetite for vegan cuisine.
"Maybe ten years ago you said vegan, and someone was thinking a bowl of lettuce with some veggies on top, but vegan food can actually be delicious," Daniel Nossa, general manager of Local Foods in Rice Village, said.
Vegan items on the menu include a vegan taco salad, non-dairy vegan desserts, even a vegan burger. Protein comes from sustainable sources like beans and nuts, and Williams says that's enough to fuel him and take his game to the next level.
"Testing your mental strength will help you in the long run on the court," Williams said.