Novak Djokovic is one of a growing number of athletes to endorse the benefits of a plant-based diet. Due to his decision to avoid animal products in his regime, many people have been left wondering if he’s vegan.
The famed Serbian tennis player is currently ranked number two in singles by the Association of Tennis Players. He has won a total of 23 Grand Slam titles, and is one of the most well known sportspeople in the world.
As he returns to Wimbledon, London, for the 2023 tournament – here’s everything you need to know about his diet and lifestyle.
Is Djokovic vegan?
It’s true that Djokovic is thought to follow a mostly plant-based diet. But that doesn’t mean that the tennis player is vegan.
Veganism is an all-encompassing philosophy against animal use and exploitation that extends to every aspect of your lifestyle. People practicing veganism will not, for example, wear wool or silk, and avoid toiletries and household cleaning products tested on animals.
Djokovic has stated that he avoids animal foods, but he has previously distanced himself from the term vegan. After beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019, Djokovic opened up about his diet to the press in an interview with US journalist Graham Bensinger. He said that he doesn’t use the label because of “misinterpretation of the word vegan.” He added: “I do eat plant-based, and it’s been for many years.”
In a YouTube clip that has one million views, Djokovic stated that he cut out animal products after suffering from allergies since he was a child. A medical test found that these allergies were predominantly to gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. After eliminating these foods from his diet, he says that he immediately felt better. “I don’t have allergies that I used to have any more. And I like it,” he said.
Djokovic cuts out meat
Soon after, he says that he cut out red meat (including lamb, pig meat, and cow meat). He claimed that animal flesh slowed him down, stating: “Eating meat was hard on my digestion and that took a lot of essential energy that I need for my focus, for recovery, for the next training session, and for the next match.”
Djokovic’s continued endorsement of animal-free diets meant led him to get involved with 2018 documentary The Game Changers. He was listed as an executive producer on the vegan film, which espoused the benefits of plant-based eating for men and athletes. The film also features the likes of James Cameron, Jackie Chan, and Lewis Hamilton.
What Djokovic eats in a day
The athlete has stated he doesn’t eat foods that take too long to digest, and has said that he “prefers to keep things light.” He usually starts his day with three liquids – hot water with lemon, celery juice, as well as a green smoothie. He packs the smoothie full of “superfoods,” including fruit, algae, and supplements. The sports pro claims that this gives him “mental clarity.”
For lunch, he will generally eat a salad packed with whole grains (such as quinao or wild rice), sweet potato, and regular potato. Dinner will follow a similar pattern.
Following a plant-based diet as an athlete
It’s often thought that being a successful athlete requires you to eat a diet high in animal products. Djokovic is just one of a number of sportspeople to be challenging this stereotype.
A plant-based strength team named PlantBuilt competed at last year’s Mr. America, with many crediting their diets as their key to success. Well-known strongman Patrik Baboumian, who appeared on The Game Changers, is also vegan. Back in May, vegan athlete Lisa Gawthorne won the Duathlon World Champion title – just weeks after taking home gold at the European Championship.