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Vegan Athletes

But Where Do They Get Their Protein-

You may have seen earlier on in the week on My Facebook Page I posted about the Conor McGregor fight and how it was interesting that while Conor was boasting about being able to have a diet rich in animals meats such as steak leading up to his fight, his winning opponent, Nate Diaz, has been vegan for over 12 years and Raw vegan for close to two years.

Diaz is one of a growing list of elite meat-free athletes who understand that plant-based foods provide all the protein, complex carbohydrates and other nutrients our bodies need to get stronger and faster, minus the saturated fats and cholesterol found in animal products.

So for those who ask "Where do you get your protein?" probably the most asked question to any vegan. Nate is one of a growing trend of high-performance athletes who are a perfect example that you do not need animal proteins to build a strong, healthy body.

I thought I would make a list of some of the athletes you may be surprised are plant based;


Martina Navratilova



The Czech-born tennis legend followed a vegetarian diet throughout most of her playing career and also carried out lots of campaigning for animal welfare causes.

Additionally, she won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and ten major mixed doubles titles. Navratilova also reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times and won the women's singles title at Wimbledon a record nine times.

Navratilova credits her plant-based diet for extending her career and improving her performance.

In the video below “Plant-based diet is the best”, by the animal welfare organisation Free From Harm, she stated that, “Most professional athletes retire in their early to mid 30s. I won a US Open Mixed Doubles title six months before my 50th birthday.


 Venus Williams


Venus Williams Vegan

In response to being diagnosed in 2011 with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease, Venus Williams switched to a raw vegan diet (though she has referred to herself as a ‘cheagan,’ admitting that she sometimes falls off the vegan wagon). She is also a proponent of juicing and wheatgrass shots. She claims her diet has not only not affected her athletic ability, but has in fact improved her health immensely and she credits her diet change with helping manage Sjogren’s symptoms – and her impressive comeback after her diagnosis certainly confirms this. Williams says raw, organic foods are the key to maintaining her body at its optimum health, although she acknowledges the reality of how many calories athletes need, and admits that she eats pasta, bread, and rice before matches due to the often low caloric value of raw vegan foods.

What about sister Serena? The two have been incredibly supportive of one another throughout their long tennis careers, and dietary changes seem no different: in order to support Venus, Serena has also switched to a plant based diet.

Mike Tyson


Mike Tyson Vegan

Mike Tyson’s dietary changes and switch to plant-based clean eating obviously went hand in hand with his move to clean living. However, he has spoken quite forthrightly about the benefits his vegan diet have given him and his body. The most obvious is his incredible weight loss – since cutting meat out of his diet, he 150 pounds. Just check out the difference in the pictures below;

mike tyson vegan

Mike has confessed to an extremely carnivorous diet during his fighting years (not an ear joke, I swear…). When his age started creeping up, he began feeling like he was in less than peak physical condition, suffering from arthritis, joint problems, and several extra pounds. While he’s no longer in the ring, he’s expressed that his new diet has made him feel powerful and explosively energetic.

Hear what Mike had to say about becoming vegan in this revealing interview with Oprah;

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis Vegan


Olympic-medal winning track star Carl Lewis famously claimed his best year of track competition was the first year he ate a vegan diet. Sports Illustrated named Lewis “Olympian of the Century.” He won 10 Olympic medals and 10 World Championship medals in his career and has been an outspoken advocate for his diet, writing in the introduction to Jannequin Bennett’s book Very Vegetarian, “I’ve found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete.”

David Haye




David Haye (UK heavyweight boxer, two-time world champions) went vegan at the beginning of 2014 and was immediately open about his reasons for doing so. "I watched a TV documentary and how animals are farmed, killed and prepared for us to eat. I saw all those cows and pigs and realised I couldn't be part of it anymore. It was horrible. I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight and, one satisfied I could, I stopped. I'll never go back."

On Saturday 16th of January 2016 David Haye returned to the ring and a three and a half year absence at the heaviest weight ever 227lb and beat his opponent in just 124 seconds!


Patrik Baboumian


Patrik Baboumian Vegan

Patrik famously won Germany’s strongest man in 2011 for the 105 KG weighting, becoming the first vegan to do so. Realising his previous diet contradicted his values for welfare and ethical treatment of animals, Patrik became vegan to remove himself from the whole animal industry. “Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day."

On September 20, 2015, Patrik officially beat his own world record by completing the yoke walk in Kitzcher with 560kg!

Baboumian had originally set the Guinness world record two years ago by lifting 555kg. However, the German-Armenian competitor increased the weight by 5kg and completed it in the much quicker time of 28 seconds. Since making the decision to become completely vegan, this becomes Baboumian's fourth world record break. Baboumian stated:

"Whoever still thinks that with a cruelty-free diet you aren't able to perform as well as any other athlete, in any sports, can now at last start to open his/her eyes and face reality. Four years after going vegan I’m athletically back to 100 percent again, and this will not be the last thing you are going to hear from me. VEGAN POWER FOR LIFE!"

Baboumian also became the new face of a PETA campaign advocating for veganism. He had publicly declared his vegetarianism in 2005 and eventually veganism in 2011, and is adamant about his vegan lifestyle contributing to his many successes as an athlete. He famously stated in 2013:

“This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day."

"There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go vegan and feel the power!”


With Patriks many accomplishments as a strongman if anyone can put an end to the question "Where do you get your protein from?" its this guy!

As for the protein; here is a great infographic showing you some of the many the great sources of plant proteins out there.


If you want to try a great plant based protein powder read all about the Nuzest range available  HERE or read my blog about the benefits of plant-based protein powders as well as the dangers of Whey or Casein HERE


One thought on “Vegan Athletes”

  • david

    What an eye-opening article. I never knew all these top sports guys followed a plant-based diet.
    And yet, when you tell people this, they always think it is impossible as Bernadette says to get enough protein from such a diet without meat.

    Utter nonsense.

    Another great source of raw protein is Spirulina, a blue-green algae. In fact, there is more complete protein in that than in a large greasy steak!

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