One of the most common misconceptions about a vegan diet is that it lacks protein. As a result, it’s easy to think that vegans can’t be athletes—and vice versa. Many major sports events around the world, however, do feature vegan athletes. Here are some of the world’s top vegan athletes who prove that you can thrive on a plant-based diet!
Only a year after Team USA lost the 2016 Olympics in the quarter-finals to Sweden, Alex Morgan, a world-renowned soccer player and two-time Olympic medalist, made the decision to switch to veganism as a stand against factory farming. She recently won gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After becoming a vegan, Morgan explains that her new diet allows for her to recover faster from training, helping her get back on the field faster, and has found new strength and stamina in her body. On a day-to-day basis, she enjoys oatmeal, fresh produce, and Mexican-inspired vegan dishes packed with the nutrients she needs to succeed each day.
Born with a degenerative visual condition, Elena Congost has represented Spain in four Paralympics—both on and off the track and field, including gold in the T12 marathon at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Congost began to explore her nutrition through veganism as a way to improve her health through the recommendations of a naturopathic doctor. She first removed milk from her diet in 2008, then gradually began to reduce her intake of meat over the years.
While not openly describing himself as a vegan, Novak Djokovic, the current number one tennis player, adheres to a plant-based diet after being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance that led to the reduction and removal of gluten and dairy from his diet. As of 2021, Djokovic holds the number one title and has recently won his 19th grand slam—just behind renowned tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
In 2016, Djokovic opened “Eqvita” in Monte Carlo, a plant-based restaurant famously visited by fellow tennis players Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Fabio Fognini, and Grigor Dimitrov.
After losing her leg in 1993, Heather Mills, an Alpine ski racer, turned to veganism as a way to heal her body. Mills suffered from a severe infection as the result of road traffic amputation and was advised to adhere to a vegan diet as a way to battle the infection. Within two weeks, the infection cleared. Mills later became more involved with veganism as a form of activism against animal cruelty and factory farming and founded her own line of vegan food products, known as Vbites.
Fiona Oaks became a vegetarian at the young age of three years old, and only three years later, she removed all animal products from her diet. As she grew up, Oakes trained hard and became a four-time world record-breaking ultramarathon runner. Her purely vegan diet has allowed her to thrive through more than just tough competitions, however. She always trains by running up 100 miles a week—at an average of 14.2 miles each day!
James Southwood, four-time World/European Vice-Champion, became vegan at 16 years old. Though he had always adhered to a vegetarian diet, he became a vegan as a teenager as a way to “respect animal rights”. In order to maintain a nutrient-rich diet to meet his daily needs, Southwood’s meals greatly feature kale, sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
At 32 years old, Pat Reeves was diagnosed with severe genetic cancer. This led to her adopting a wholefood vegan diet, which now fuels her passion as a powerlifter. Prior to her success as a powerlifter, though, Reeves was a competitive runner and completed nine marathons, five of which she won.
Visit Beyond Sushi Today
Veganism and athleticism don’t have to be exclusive—a fact proven by many professional vegan athletes around the world. Veganism and deliciousness don’t have to be exclusive either!
Here at Beyond Sushi, we offer a wide selection of globally-inspired vegan cuisine with upscale presentation. You can enjoy a dinner out at one of our several locations in NYC, or indulge with pickup and delivery orders. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!