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To be a vegan or not to be... It’s one of the most important questions that you must have asked yourself. There are many people who turned vegans/vegetarians including many celebrities. These people have bid farewell to animal products and have adopted plant-based diets and are now purveyors of veganism. The reason can be any- putting a halt to animal cruelty, saving the environment, or improving health in general.
You are a hardcore fitness buff and gymming is just next to breathing in your life. You are an aspiring sports person or athlete or might be one already and now you are confused about switching your diet.
A common myth associated with plant-based or vegan diets is that they cannot help you build muscles or provide you the strength to perform rigorous physical activities. Protein is definitely required to build muscles and strength, but, if you’re thinking that only animal protein can save you, you can have a change of mind when you read this article.
Plant-based protein is complete in every sense and helps you with your bodybuilding and sports. Plant protein is complete because there are various plant-based food sources that offer you all 9 essential amino acids. Many athletes and bodybuilders consume plant-based protein powder.
If you’re still in doubt, have a look at these 10 famous athletes who happily adopted plant-based diets and are absolutely nailing it in their respective fields.
10 great athletes who live-off plant-based protein source
1. Serena & Venus Williams
There might not be a single person who doesn’t know these tennis sensations. The William sisters follow a plant-based diet. Shocked? The star American tennis player Venus was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease known as Sjogren’s Syndrome in the year 2011. The immune system of a person affected by this syndrome starters to attack its own saliva and tears producing cells. Venus was advised by her doctor to go all vegan and Serena, being a good sibling switched her diet to support her sister. And, we all know that in 2012 this terrific duo qualified for The Olympic games and went on to win their third gold medal in the doubles category.
2. Virat Kohli aka King Kohli
The man of records, the Indian Cricket Team captain eats a vegan diet. Yes, you read it right. The idol of many aspiring young cricketers and the man with an average of 50+ in all 3 formats of the game switched to a plant-based diet though it was very difficult for him to do so. Being born in a Punjabi family, it was hard for him to quit his favorite Butter Chicken, but your dreams come at a price, and for him changing his diet was that price. But the Indian Cricket team skipper feels that it has done him a lot of good and has not only improved his game but has positively affected his mood and behavior as well. He claims to enjoy a better digestive power now. And guess what! He owns a vegan restaurant too!
3. Tom Brady
The American Football legend is a 6-time winner of Super Bowl and a 4-time Super Bowl MVP. Both of these are records. He is also a 3-time NFL MVP. But do you know he is also a vegan? This 43-year ace player is regarded as the greatest quarterback the sport has ever produced. He follows a restrictive plant-based diet that steers clear of bread, gluten, various fruits, and even potatoes. Tough guy, isn’t he?
4. Sunil Chhetri
Indian football sensation Sunil Chhetri switched to a plant-based diet. He claims to have better digestion and faster recovery ever since he adopted this diet and focused on plant protein. Years have passed and the Indian football captain has shown no signs of slowing down in the game and stands second in the list of players who have scored the maximum number of goals in international football. This man truly has made a plant-based diet a way to reverse his age!
5. Novak Djokovic
The Serbian tennis star, known for his super game skills and a great sense of humor on-field and off-field, has a very interesting story. He suffers from gluten allergy and also has trouble with dairy products and refined sugar. All this was impacting his game and then he decided to turn the tables in his favor. He switched to a strictly plant-based diet and it has been more than a decade since he has been following it. Everything from his strength to endurance has improved and he believes that this change in the diet has worked wonders for him. In no time he’ll become one of the greatest players that Tennis has ever produced.
Trivia: Do you know what’s common between Virat Kohli & Novak Djokovic? They both own a vegan restaurant.
6. Ryan Reed
The young and good looking American who’s making waves in the world of Formula One racing follows a plant-based diet. When he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2011, he was told by his doctors that he won’t be able to race again in his life, but he never gave up and installed a blood sugar monitor on the dashboard of his car and also a drink system. He handled his situation well by shifting to a plant-based diet. He believes that it has helped him a lot with his health and game.
7. Alex Morgan
Alex is the star of the US women soccer team and played a great role in the 2019 World Cup in which her country went on to lift the cup. And not to mention, this soccer sensation is vegan and relies on plant-based protein to meet her needs as a sportsperson. She is one of the highest-paid women athletes in the United States. She states that her quick recovery is fueled by plant protein.
8. Chris Smalling
The classy English football player who is best known for his impeccable performance in the Premier League under the club Manchester United follows a plant-based diet. He made a loan move to the club AS Roma and played the season 2019/20 from this club and looked like a resurrected player. He gives this credit to his vegan diet and believes that his fitness today is due to the plant-based diet that he follows now on the recommendation of his wife. P.S.- A man should always listen to his wife!
9. Hulda. B. Waage
This leading female powerlifter and a mother of two daughters is an all-vegan lifter who started competing in 2011 and has set 32 national records since then. This ‘Vegan Viking’ from Iceland went on to become the National champion and a cup holder in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She claims that all her strength comes from plant protein and encourages other female powerlifters to switch to a plant-based diet.
10. Morgan Mitchell
When many runners are obsessed with non-vegetarian diets in order to build strength and endurance, this Olympic Sprinter believes in breaking the stereotypes and has adopted a plant-based diet. Runners need to increase their carb intake so that they can get enough energy to run on the track and increase their endurance. But Mitchell believes that plant-based foods and plant protein have helped her to improve her performance on the track and it is the secret behind her fast recovery and good health. She also states that it’s easy for her to maintain weight while following this diet.
Some honorable mentions- Barny Du Plessis (Bodybuilder), Rocky Luedeker (63-Year-Old powerlifter), Steph Davis (Rock climber), Meagan Duhamel (Figure skater), Sarah Stewart (Wheelchair Basketball player), Lewis Hamilton (Formula One racer).
We hope you’re clear in your head now that a vegan diet or plant-based diet can be highly effective when you’re involved in sports or bodybuilding. All these top performers in their respective games are a great example of how plant-based foods are a rich source of nutrients and are helpful in improving recovery and performance. So it’s time to go vegan and switch to plant-based diets.
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