Canadian pairs figure skater Meagan Duhamel is certainly no stranger to high-stakes competitions. Having won silver in the 2014 Winter Olympics and having acquired two World Figure Skating Championships — as well as seven Canadian National Championships — Duhamel is now slated to compete in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games (set to commence in February) alongside her partner, Eric Radford.
But one thing that sets Duhamel apart from many other Olympic athletes is that she is vegan. Having made the transition to a vegan diet in 2008 after reading the dieting book Skinny Bitch, Duhamel credits her clear skin and increased energy levels to her change in diet: “Many people see me today as fit, energetic, strong, active, and healthy, and would be surprised to learn that this wasn’t always the case,” Duhamel says. She explains that prior to going vegan she was considered “out of shape” according to elite figure skater standards and was actually quite unhealthy.
Meagan Duhamel sporting a “Drink Soy Lattes, Save Animals, Take Naps” PETA fitted t-shirt.
With her Canadian National Team’s nutritionist advising her to eat a diet rich in cheese and meat, she knew something wasn’t right and so she began doing her own research — diving into the world of veganism headfirst. Fast-forward to today and Duhamel, along with being a well-renowned athlete, is also an experienced yogi and holistic nutritionist — having studied for two years at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She also enjoys sharing her newfound nutritional expertise on her personal blog, Lutz of Greens, where you can find countless mouthwatering recipes and a plethora of wellness tips.
Thankfully, Meagan Duhamel isn’t the only vegan competitor proving it is possible to be a world-class athlete and a vegan at the same time. Here are three other phenomenal vegan Olympians who are living proof you don’t need meat to compete!
At only twenty-one years of age, Australian sprinter Morgan Mitchell competed in the Women’s 400m and Women’s 4 x 400m relay at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where her team finished in eighth place. In an interview with PETA, the Melbourne native — who went vegan in 2014 after watching a documentary about animal cruelty — said the diet is so beneficial because it gives her more energy, has put her in better health, and because it doesn’t hurt the environment. A typical dinner for her includes a vegan pizza (like this mouthwatering vegan ratatouille pizza!) with the works.
Morgan Mitchell enjoys a slice of vegan pizza at Port Melbourne Beach.
The only weightlifting athlete to represent the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics, Kendrick Farris is definitely as seasoned an Olympian as they come. Previously, he competed in the 2012 London Olympics where he placed tenth, and before that, he placed eighth in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Farris has also been vegan since 2014, but has no problem getting his daily source of protein. His protein go-tos? Avocados and veggie burgers. (Like this delicious vegan stuffed portobello burger with black beans and quinoa!) Farris told Men’s Fitness his vegan diet has made him leaner, stronger, and allowed him to focus better. It’s also been a major stress and inflammation reducer and has even helped his body recover faster after training or competitions.
Weightlifter Kendrick Farris pays some serious homage to the Olympics.
It’s no secret Venus Williams is a beast both on and off the court. To date, she’s competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games where she took home an astounding total of four gold medals and has also won seven Grand Slam singles titles! In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s syndrome, which resulted in dry eyes, fatigue, and excruciating joint pain. Instead of letting the disease get the best of her, she turned to a raw vegan diet to better manage her symptoms. Although she does have her occasional cheat days, Williams has since fallen in love with her vegan diet and doesn’t think it has interfered with her ability to enjoy different foods. Her favorites include healthy sweets (like fruit smoothies) and celery-root soup. Try juicing like an Olympian with this tasty low sugar super green smoothie!
Venus Williams enjoys a nutritional smoothie packed with raw greens and fresh fruits.
Are you a vegan athlete? How has veganism enhanced your performance?
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Photos: Meagan Duhamel via Instagram, Morgan Mitchell via Instagram, Kendrick J. Farris via Instagram, Venus Williams via Instagram,