Venus Williams Follows a (Mostly) Vegan Diet, And Here is Exactly What She Eats
Tennis star, businesswoman and all-around American icon Venus Williams says she eats a mostly vegan diet. It's something that she started back in 2011 when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjogren's Syndrome; she realized that drastically changing her diet could help alleviate her symptoms.
Now 39, Williams says that being mostly plant-based or vegan helps her dial back the symptoms of debilitating joint pain and fatigue. "I started eating raw and vegan for health reasons," Venus told Women's Health in a recent interview. "I needed to fuel my body in the best way possible."
Venus’ champion sister Serena Williams, and her husband Alexis Ohanian, both embrace a plant-based lifestyle as well. Ohanian said he does it to be a better father to their daughter Olympia, and he even joined an all-star lineup as executive producer of The Game Changers documentary about athletes who perform better on a plant-based diet.
Serena told Bon Appetit that she cleaned up her diet and started eating vegan when her sister Venus was diagnosed with Sjogren. She said that together, they learned to eat lots of raw foods and smoothies. While they do eat mostly plant-based foods, they both say they do cheat one in a while, calling themselves “chegans” recognizing they are not perfect and it’s ok to allow some room to be imperfect. "I try to make the majority of my meals raw and vegan, but I’m only human and am known to cheat a little bit,” says Serena.
So what does a day in the life of Venus vegan eating look like? We’ve pulled out some of her go-to meals and snacks and created a short meal guide that will help you eat just like Venus.
Eat Like Her: Here is What Venus Williams Eats in a Day
Venus says she is not a morning person but keeps it light with a protein shake or smoothie. Especially since she trains in the morning, she doesn't want to eat a big meal. Serena also puts this into practice. Her husband Ohanian told GQ that his wife taught him the benefits of working out on an empty stomach to burn more fat and get more afterburn; he now follows his wife's lead and waits to refuel after.
- Power Smoothie: Try this vegan power smoothie made with Silk Almond Milk that Micheal Phelp’s—another elite athlete—drinks to fuel up. Or, try any one of these immunity-boosting smoothies from The Beet’s Smoothie of the Day guide.
Venus says she is often busy between training and business meetings and often needs something quick or that she can eat quickly. "Depending on how much time I have for lunch and what my schedule looks like, lunch can vary from sweet potatoes and rice to a green smoothie," she says.
- Macro-plate from Souen: Lauren “Lo” Bosworth gave The Beet the skinny on how to replicate one of her go-to under 10-minute means. This plate includes broccoli, kale, squash, a little rice and other nutrient-dense veggies. Good ‘ole whole-food clean eating at its best.
"I’m often running from multiple practices to meetings for EleVen or calls with my design company, V Starr, so I am always looking for little things that are easy to bring on-the-go," she explained to Women’s Health. She says she grabs a bar from CLIF when super busy for a small-but-mighty quick fill-up. Venus also opts for snacks loaded with greens and veggies like kale chips, green juices and smoothies.
- CLIF Whole Lotta Bar: This soft-baked CLIF bar is vegan made with pea-protein and organic plant-based ingredients.
- Kale Chips: You can make your own kale chips if feeling ambitious, or grab a bag from award-winning Brad’s, maker of air-baked kale and veggie chips
At night, Venus goes for a salad or something that is easy to whip up. Her go-to is a homemade vegan caesar salad. She also tries to keep it light on the sweets, especially when training but keeps it real admitting that “sometimes a girl just needs a donut!" We second that Venus!
- Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing: Channel your inner Venus with this vegan caesar salad that will surely impress your dinner guests...and their taste buds. And, for a killer topper, finish your ceaser—or any salad—with Kelly’s Croutons (or their Just Crumbs); these are hands down the best croutons around.
- Easy and Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup: While store-bought soups can be loaded with sodium and other additives, this vegan broccoli soup gives you a dose of nutrients and veggies whipped into a perfect meal accompaniment, or to be eaten on its own.
- Raw, Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake: We know Venus is a fan of raw vegan eats, so here is the perfect raw vegan delight to hit that sweet tooth in the healthiest way possible.
For more plant-based recipes, and to start your plant-based eating plan, check out the Beginner's Guide to Plant-Based Eating here.