The answer is: YES! Vegans know that already, but many people doubt the ability of a vegan diet to support the nutritional needs of an athlete, especially and elite athlete. I think Venus Williams certainly qualifies as an elite athlete and she is going vegan. Venus is adopting a raw vegan diet for health reasons. She was recently diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder called sjogren’s (show-grins) syndrome. According to http://www.sjogrens.org, the hallmark symptoms of this disorder are dry eyes and mouth. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain. Other symptoms may show up in the lungs, liver, GI system or CNS. Venus is eliminating meat and dairy from her diet to help manage her symptoms. And in a show of sisterly support, Serena is going vegan as well. Other vegan or vegetarian athletes? Well, the list includes:
- Mike Tyson
- Prince Fielder (MLB)
- Martina Navratilova
- Hannah Teter (U.S. snowboarder)
- Ruth Heidrich (triathlete)
If you want the read more, the New York Times offers a piece on vegan bodybuilders.