American professional soccer defender – and ethical vegan – Toni Pressley says a plant-based diet ‘helped [her] become a better athlete’.
The 27-year-old sportswoman, who currently plays for Canberra United in the Australian women’s league, became a vegan earlier this year – and claims she will stay animal-free even after her career ‘for the animal side of things’.
Talking to industry outlet Canberra Times, Pressley said: “I used to eat everything under the sun, but I was always pretty curious about it and I love to cook and would try new recipes and restaurants around town and just realised it all tasted really good.
“Then I noticed it was helping me feel better, I lost weight and felt more energized, and it helped me run more and feel better in games.
“I was training better and sleeping better and from a dietary perspective it has definitely shaped my game and helped me become a better athlete.”
The athlete went on to say that she then started researching animal issues, which prompted her to be ‘grossed out’ when she sees animal products.
Pressley has also spoken out about her love for animals, which made her want to be a veterinarian when she was younger.
The sportswoman now volunteers with animal rights charity Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [RSCPA].
She said: “I reached out to the RSPCA and asked about volunteer opportunities, and they have been very accommodating with my schedule.
“I’ve been through training so far and they’ve just got seven new puppies, so I’m learning how to socialize them and hopefully get them ready for adoption.”