Black athletes win on a vegan diet
Many Black athletes have discovered the benefits of a vegan diet, and are happy to talk about it. We’ve written before about Wilson Chandler, an NBA champion now with the Brooklyn Nets. Wilson Chandler is recognized as a great player, and a big factor in his team’s performance. Looking for a way to reduce his number of injuries, he switched to a vegan diet in 2016. About his diet, he says:
“I sleep better, I wake up in a better mood, I recover faster, I’m not so inflamed, not so achy. I feel better overall, in everything that I do. I can take in more information easier. My mind is just open.”
Tennis champion Venus Williams had a rare autoimmune condition and found that eating a mostly raw vegan diet made a huge difference. “Knowing how important a role my diet plays keeps me on track,” she says. Now 39, she still has plenty of energy to perform at the elite level, while also developing an activewear clothing line. Her sister Serena Williams, also a tennis champion, went vegan with Venus, and together they learned to eat lots of raw foods and smoothies. They do admit to consuming the occasional chicken or fish, so they call their diet a “chegan” diet!
Lewis Hamilton, a British race car driver, is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, with six world championship titles. Hamilton has been credited with furthering Formula One’s global following by appealing to a broader audience outside the sport, in part due to his high-profile lifestyle and other ventures, including his environmental activism and exploits in music and fashion. Lewis changed to a plant-based diet at the beginning of the 2018 season and said this about his diet:
“I think it’s about educating yourself and being open to it. It’s something I really wanted to do. For sure, it hasn’t been easy to learn new things and new ways, but I’ve felt so good for the last year and a half. It’s been such a great decision.”
And of course, one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, Carl Lewis, won 9 gold and a silver medal at the Olympics in sprinting, long jump and relays. He first achieved a world ranking in 1979, and maintained his emphatic grip on world athletics until 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired. Carl went vegan for health reasons as he was eager to obtain nutrients while minimizing excessive calories. In the following season he improved his performances. He is quoted as saying:
“I’ve found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) I enjoy eating more, and I feel great.”
These are just a few of the many Black athletes who’ve discovered the power of a plant-based diet. We’re confident that more will make the switch and new champions will emerge as a result.