Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton said in his latest interview for The Edge magazine that switching to a plant-based diet two years ago has only had a positive effect on his health and training. Hamilton explained the reasons behind his decision to follow a vegan lifestyle and what a great effect it had on his performance on the track.
"I cannot put into words how much better I feel.”, he said.
Hamilton told the magazine that in the past he used to feel sick after eating meat and dairy: "I used to eat all that stuff and enjoy it, like most people do, but I would wake up feeling groggy, have mood swings and my energy level would go up and down through the day. I always had stomach problems and a swollen belly and I thought it was normal.”
What does the six-time world champion eat every day?
His breakfast consists of protein smoothie, avocado, baked beans, fruit, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. For lunch, he has another smoothie or two with a salad. His dinner is usually a stir-fried vegetable dish, truffle mash and sweet potato fries.
Hamilton says that the best way to switch a diet is to take it slowly and get close to a friend who is already vegan or trying to go vegan so you could support each other.
“It is like going to the gym. When you have a friend, you can experience new exercises together. Ask your friend if they want to try out a new vegan restaurant with you or eliminate certain foods for a period of time and see if you notice a difference in the appearance of your skin and how you are feeling.”
Slowly changing his eating habits and eliminating meat and dairy from his diet he enjoyed many health benefits. He started feeling better, had higher energy levels, and noticed his skin was clearer.
Asked about the meat culture in sports nutrition, he replied: “Meat being the only source of protein is absolutely rubbish. I can train just as much and do just as many reps, if not more, and I get through races with a much cleaner state of mind.”
He admitted he has gained 5 kilograms since he started eating plant-based foods.
He also opened up and shared the reasons why he became vegan:
“I grew up like everyone else thinking dairy and meat was good for you,” he says. “I thought I was living healthily and was doing right. Then I met a few new people who were vegans, and they started showing me some of the things happening in our world that I was completely oblivious to. It freaked me out. I started to read about it and realised that what I was taught to believe was healthy, was not. So, I decided to try and gradually move in that direction, slowly getting rid of red meat, then chicken, then fish until I was ready to fully commit. I wanted to feel for myself how big of a difference it would make.”
Hamilton is concerned about the planet and the environment and he supports climate emergency movement.
“We are in a really bad time in society and have this massive crisis of climate change,” he says. “It kills me to see the stuff that is happening and I just do not understand how people can turn a blind eye. People do not always like the stuff I post, but it is fine. Even if they unfollow me, I want them to see it. A lot of this is not part of the news. There are corporations and businesses that are just money-hungry.”
Hamilton is currently working on several ethical business projects. He has launched his own vegan business - a fast-food chain Neat Burger. He has plans to cooperate with Mercedes and Formula One on sustainability initiatives. One of them is convincing the auto-makers to use more sustainable materials in the car industry.
“I am trying to push for sustainability with my team. I am trying to get more involved in Formula 1 and be more conscious.” - he says.