Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic just claimed his eighth men’s singles title at the Australian Open, fuelled by a plant-based diet. With his plant-based lifestyle clearly working in his favour,…
Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic just claimed his eighth men’s singles title at the Australian Open, fuelled by a plant-based diet.
With his plant-based lifestyle clearly working in his favour, here’s what Djokovic’s diet looks like, and why he, along with two other tennis pros, transitioned to the plant-based life.
Following his transition to a gluten and dairy-free diet with guidance from his nutritionist, Djokovic took his diet on the plant-based path four and a half years ago. “I’m very pleased to be plant-based and play at this level…people around me didn’t really think that I could do that,” he said at a press conference at the third round of the 2020 Australian Open.
“It is a lifestyle more than just a diet, because you have ethical reasons as well, being conscious of what is happening in the animal world…and [there’s the] huge impact on climate change as well,” he said.
“It’s more than a performance reason for me. It’s a lifestyle, an approach I’m really proud of. Hopefully, that community grows even more. Hopefully, I can inspire other athletes [and show them] that it is possible to be plant-based and recover well, to have strength, to have muscles. I’m not a weightlifter, of course, but I do have an optimal balance between strength, power, and speed. Nothing seems to be missing at least from my experience, so I’ll keep on enjoying that.”
In 2011, Venus Williams transitioned to a plant-based diet “for health reasons”. She had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome – an autoimmune disease that presents with symptoms like fatigue, joint point, a dry mouth, and dry eyes and skin – which resulted in her pulling out of the US Open.
Williams credited her comeback on the court to the significant changes she made to her diet. In a 2017 interview with Health, she said that before going plant-based, she “literally couldn’t play tennis anymore,” and that the decision to become plant-based had been life-changing. “Once I started I fell in love with the concept of fuelling your body in the best way possible. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like I’m doing the right thing for me…Thankfully, I was able to find something that helped me get back to doing what I loved.”
Tennis ace Nick Kygrios, who has made his way back to the top 20 in the ATP’s men’s tennis rankings (sitting at No. 20), recently shared on his blog that he no longer eats meat or dairy, purely for ethical reasons. “I’ve been passionate about animal welfare for some time now,” he said.
Novac Djokovic’s plant-based day on a plate
According to his book, Serve to Win.
Breakfast: Either homemade muesli (with rolled oats, cranberries, sultanas, seeds, and almonds), a banana with cashew butter, or rolled oats with banana and cashew butter; followed by fresh fruit.
Morning snack: Gluten-free toast or crackers with almond butter or avo, or homemade hummus with apple slices or veggie crudites.
Lunch: A veggie-filled pasta salad – either rice pasta primavera or spicy soba noodles, served with a big mixed greens salad.
Afternoon snack: A plant-based protein drink, melon, an apple with cashew butter, or a fruit and nut bar.
Dinner: Djokovic loves his soup, and will rotate between minestrone, tomato, and carrot and ginger soup, before digging into a hearty salad, often a kale caesar bulked up with protein and mineral-rich quinoa.
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