The tennis icon switched to a plant-based diet after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition back in 2011.
Tennis legend and entrepreneur Venus Williams has credited a vegan diet for transforming her health, performance, and skin.
The 7-time Grand Slam winner and 4-time Olympic gold medalist made the statement in a recent interview with Insider.
“Plant-based definitely changed my life, it made my skin amazing,” she told the news company.
Williams’ plant-based journey
The 40-year-old American athlete was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome – an autoimmune disease back in 2011 that ‘forced’ her to stop playing tennis, and left her in ‘constant’ pain.
She then switched to eating plant-based at the recommendation of her doctors, but also credits the transition to her sister, fellow tennis icon, Serena Williams.
“Living with an autoimmune disease, things can get a little tricky and you can be on loads of medicine, and that’s not something that I want to do,” she said in the interview.
“So to be able to control as much as I can — what’s happening in my body, my inflammation levels — through what I eat is a godsend.”
Williams has not looked back after transitioning to a vegan diet proved to be a ‘game-changer’. She has been plant-based for 10 years now and is an open advocate of the lifestyle.
While a vegan diet can consist of largely whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, there’s also lots of vegan ‘junk food’ that can derail health goals. However, Williams believes in striking a balance.
She told Insider that people must enjoy their ‘comfort foods’. She herself indulges in vegan junk food occasionally.
“I’ve never met a French fry that wasn’t vegan,” Williams said.
“I’m definitely not a robot. You can reward yourself and have fun eating as well. There are so many more athletes doing it and sometimes they ask me how to do it. So, I tell them, ‘Hey, sometimes you just have to have some pie.’”
In 2020, Williams partnered with beverage company Dyla Brands, makers of Stur Drink Mixes & FORTO Coffee, to develop her own vegan protein drink- Happy Viking.
The only plant-based protein shake powered by Complete Body Mind Macronutrients (CBMM) – a unique blend of ingredients for your body & mind. It packs in 20 grams of protein, including all nine essential amino acids. The drink is also good for the gut with prebiotic fiber. Plus, it has been fortified in plant-based sources of omega fatty acids such as DHA Omega 3 and Oleic Sunflower Oil for brain health.
Speaking of her launching her own vegan protein drink, Williams said: “I need to refuel and provide protein to my muscles quickly after I work out for recovery and to maintain muscle.
“So Happy Viking was created to fuel your inner fighter, your inner Viking, while feeling happy and satisfied about what you put in your body.”
The tennis legend Williams is also an investor in PlantX – a plant-based online grocery store vying to become the “vegan Amazon” – a one-stop-shop for all vegan needs in the US.