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Plant-based diets in the sports industry are rising in popularity and vegan athletes can now be found in almost every sport, from F1 to tennis, MMA to powerlifting.
A plethora of sporting champions have debunked the myths that you need animal proteins to support a healthy diet and progress in sports.
As another year of Grand Slam tournaments begins at Melbourne Park, meal-delivery company HelloFresh has revealed a list of surprising sports stars you probably didn’t know were plant-based, including some Australian tennis heavyweights.
Hannah Gilbert, Director of Culinary Innovation & Operations at HelloFresh has also shared some expert insight into the benefits of a plant-based diet.
1. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is one of the most successful plant-based tennis players of all time. He has won 16 Grand Slam singles titles and after winning Wimbledon in 2019, he told journalists his plant-based lifestyle was one of the reasons he recovers well.
“Eating vegan makes me more aware of my body on the court… more alert. I removed toxins from my body, and with them went all the inflammation and other things that were messing with my energy levels,” he told Forbes.
2. Venus Williams
Former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles, Williams has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and is widely regarded as one of the all-time greats of the sport. When Williams was diagnosed with Sjorgren’s syndrome in 2011, she had to make some major lifestyle changes in order to prioritise her health.
“I’ve stuck to a plant-based diet for over a decade now and have never felt better. It gives me the energy to perform my best throughout the day and keeps me feeling at the top of my game because I make healthier choices all around,” she told the Beet.
3. Lewis Hamilton
Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton ditched meat and dairy in 2017 after watching the vegan documentary, “What the Health.”
He describes this as one of the factors behind his success on the race track.
4. Morgan Mitchell
Australian sprinter Morgan Mitchell became an Olympian in 2016 at the age of 21. She became vegan in 2014 after watching a documentary about animal cruelty.
She told LIVEKINDLY she’s noticed many health improvements after making the switch, such as improved energy.
“I recover a lot quicker than I used to. It’s easier to keep my weight down and I haven’t been sick at all!”
5. Nick Kyrgios
Professional tennis player Nick Kyrgios has won seven ATP Tour singles titles. In an Athlete’s Voice blog, Kyrgios wrote that his passion for animals is what made him go vegan.
“I don’t eat meat or dairy anymore. That’s not for my health, I just don’t believe in eating animals,” he said.
“Seeing the footage of these animals suffering from the fires only reinforces why I’ve chosen this diet. When I see these terrible photos, I can’t comprehend eating meat.”
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