Vegan sport stars: Lewis Hamilton, Hector Bellerin, Tom Brady and others who have adopted a plant-based diet

England fast bowler James Anderson has revealed he is considering going vegan in a bid to prolong his international career, after missing all but a few hours of this Ashes series through injury.

Anderson, 37, says he wants to keep on playing until he is 40, and is weighing up whether switching to a plant-based diet might help keep him at the top of his game.

How a vegan diet can help athletes

A report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found several potential benefits for sportsmen taking up a vegan diet.

These include low saturated fats and cholesterol, which improves blood thickness and subsequently helps more oxygen reach the muscles, positively affecting athletic performance.

James Anderson
James Anderson is considering switching to veganism (Photo: Getty)

Other potential benefits were lower body fat, increased arterial flexibility – meaning better blood flow – and more antioxidants leading to faster recovery times.

Anderson would be far from the first sportsman to jump on the bandwagon, with everyone from footballers to boxers and Formula 1 drivers ditching meat and dairy in the name of hitting their physical peak. Here are other big names who have bad the switch.

Lewis Hamilton – F1

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Five-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is one of sport’s most prominent vegans, having adopted the lifestyle in 2017. He is so committed to veganism that he has even helped launch a vegan fast food restaurant, Neat Burger, which will exist across the UK by next year.

Speaking to the BBC in the past about his choice, Hamilton said: “As the human race, what we are doing to the world… the pollution coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible. They say it is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The cruelty is horrible and I don’t necessarily want to support that.”

Hector Bellerin – football

Bellerin
Hector Bellerin has been vegan for around a year (Photo: Getty)

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is one of many prominent Premier League players who have decided to go vegan. Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has also made the switch, as well as former Tottenham and Bournemouth forward Jermain Defoe, who now plays for Rangers.

Even Lionel Messi, five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, has adopted a mostly vegan diet.

Bellerin announced in a Veganuary video last year: “I realised that there were athletes out there that were not just vegetarian, but actually vegan. So I started researching and found out that a vegan diet wasn’t just suitable for me, it was actually better for my body. So I switched.”

Venus and Serena Williams – tennis

Williams sisters
Serena Williams went vegan to support her sister (Photo: Getty)

Venus Williams has been vegan since 2011, switching to purely raw foods after being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome. Doctors told her cutting out meat and dairy could help her with some of the symptoms, which include fatigue and joint pain. In solidarity, her sister Serena, winner of 23 grand slam titles, also switched to a vegan diet.

Men’s No 1 Novak Djokovic is another adopter. “My diet hasn’t just changed my game, it’s changed my life – my wellbeing,” he told Forbes.

Tom Brady – American football

Tom Brady
Tom Brady lives on a strict vegan diet (Photo: Getty)

Brady has long been famous for the strict vegan diet he swears by to keep his body in prime condition – as well as the six Super Bowl titles of course.

At 42, Brady is still one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL, and his lifestyle is catching on. Fellow quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers recently made the switch, while 15 members of the Tennessee Titans have also sent meat and dairy to the end zone.

David Haye – boxing

David Haye
David Haye has been vegan for around four years (Photo: Getty)

“Apes are 20 times stronger than humans and they don’t rely on a meat-based diet. They eat plants all day long. It’s a myth that you need meat for strength,” said former world heavyweight champion Haye when asked about his vegan diet.

Australian Mark de Mori mocked Haye for his decision to ditch meat before their 2016 fight. Haye’s response? To knock him out in the first round in front of a full crowd at the O2 arena.

Peter Siddle – cricket

Peter Siddle
Peter Siddle famously eats up to 20 bananas a day (Photo: Getty)

Anderson has company in the world of cricket in the form of Ashes rival Peter Siddle, who claims to eat up to 20 bananas a day.

“It is working. I am feeling fit and strong. It can vary anything between 15-20 bananas a day,” he told The Telegraph in 2013. “Obviously it is a fruit-based diet and a lot of vegetables. It keeps me healthy, it keeps me strong and that is what is working at the moment.”

Barny du Plessis – bodybuilding

Barny du Plessis believes he is proof that anyone can go vegan, no matter the requirements of their sport. He won the Mr Universe title in 2014, a year after adopting a plant-based diet, and claims his body feels all the better for it.

“These days I train half as much, do half as much but get better results. Why? Only one answer, going vegan, GMO free, and organic. My body is running perfectly,” he said.

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James Anderson: ‘Flat, Australia-friendly pitches cost England the Ashes’

THE OVAL — James Anderson has criticised the flat pitches during this summer’s Ashes series, insisting they have played into Australia’s hands and prompting him to ask: “Why don’t we use home advantage?”

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker bowled just four overs of the opening Test in this summer’s Ashes after being struck down with a calf injury. Australia, who won the last series Down Under, have gone on to retain the urn after taking a 2-1 lead ahead of this week’s final Test at the Oval.

But Anderson, 37, insists that unlike the 2015 home Ashes, when England were assisted by green, seam-friendly surfaces and won 3-2, Joe Root’s team have been let down by the groundsmen this summer.

‘It doesn’t seem right’

Asked if he thought the pitches had given enough assistance to ­England during the series, Anderson replied: “Not really if we’re being brutally honest. I think they’ve probably suited Australia more than us. I would have liked to have seen a bit more grass but that’s the nature of the game here.

“When you’re selling out – like Lancashire selling out five days of Test cricket – it’s hard not to produce a flat deck but that’s one of the frustrations from a player’s point of view. We go to Australia and get pitches that suit them. They come over here and get pitches that suit them. It doesn’t seem quite right.

“We as a country or cricket team, cricket board, don’t use home advantage enough. As I said when you go to Australia, go to India, Sri Lanka, they prepare pitches that suit them. I feel like we could just be a little bit more biased towards our own team.”

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James Anderson considers going vegan to prolong his England career to 40

James Anderson has admitted he will consider going vegan in an attempt to extend his England career into his late thirties.

Anderson, 37, has missed almost all of the current Ashes series with the calf injury he sustained in the opening Test against Australia at Edgbaston last month.

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker this week insisted he wants to carry on playing until the age of 40.

And he is investigating a number of ways of keeping his body in shape to do just that – including moving to an exclusively plant-based diet.

Siddle’s banana inspiration

Australia bowler Peter Siddle, who famously eats up to 20 bananas a day, is cricket’s most prominent vegan.

But a number of other sports stars have attributed a plant-based diet to higher levels of performance, including American football quarter-back Tom Brady, who is still playing for New England Patriots at the age of 42.

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton and Tennessee Titans NFL team also swear by a vegan diet and both are featured in a new documentary – The Game Changers – that chronicles the rise in popularity of plant-based eating among athletes.

‘My wife’s not keen#

Now Anderson, once described as having “the worst diet of any professional athlete I know” by former team-mate Graeme Swann, is considering following the trend.

“I actually have chatted it through with my wife –she’s not keen,” he said. “There’s a documentary coming out, The Game Changers. You might be interested in this, it’s about Lewis Hamilton. I’m open-minded. I’ll give anything a go if it prolongs my career.

“I’m going to try and investigate every possible avenue of what I need to do at my age to keep myself in good shape. I feel as fit as I ever have. It’s just the calf keeps twanging. I’ll look at how other sportspeople have done it throughout their careers to keep going into their late 30s.

“I’ll see whether there’s anything specific I can do – diet, gym programme, supplements, whatever it might be – because I’ve still got a real hunger and desire to play cricket.

“I still feel like I can be the best bowler in the world. As long as I’ve got that mentality I’m going to try to find every possible thing to help me stay fit.”

‘Ashes a big disappointment’

Anderson is refusing to put a time-frame on his return but the tour of New Zealand, which ends with two Tests in late November, is on his radar. “Yes, that would be great if I’m fit for that,” he said. “If not, then South Africa would be next on the list. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

As for how he has felt watching England, 2-1 down ahead of this week’s final Test at The Oval, fail to regain the Ashes in his absence, Anderson said: “It’s just a big disappointment, the whole thing for me. You can beat yourself up – if I was playing it might have been a different outcome? But if you dwell on that, you send yourself crazy, so I’m going to try and look to the future.”

James Anderson was speaking on behalf of ‘The Test Experts’ Specsavers, Official Test Partner of the England cricket team

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Ashes 2019: Steve Smith’s quality told in the end and made Australia worthy winners against England

After another amazing Test match, Australia can finally relax having crept over the line in another game that’s gone down to the last hour. How much of this can we take?

I thought prior to the fifth day that England pulling off another unlikely result was a real long shot, but they gave it a fair shake. Every player that came in on day five put a high price on their wicket, but ultimately they couldn’t compete with the class of the Australian bowling attack.

On balance, Australia deserve their win. Few would deny that they’ve played the better cricket overall over the course of the series. Tim Paine deserves a lot of credit for getting this team over the line in England for the first time since 2001, with some of the more recent tours having been tough rides for the Aussies.

It’s hard to look past the impact of one man when it comes to the difference between the two sides, as much as that doesn’t tell the whole story. Batsmen on both sides have struggled throughout the series, yet Steve Smith’s been on a different plane entirely.

Titanic contribution from Smith

Steve’s averaged 134 and looked increasingly determined and unflustered as the series has gone on. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve have been the standouts in that Aussie line-up, making an almost lone stand against England’s ever-impressive bowlers.

The comparisons between Smith and the likes of Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden are entirely fair. Steve has already cemented his place as a great of Australian cricket, but I must admit I have had fears for the longevity of his success in the past. I keep thinking to myself: “This bloke has to have a lull in form soon!” It just hasn’t come.

Like Ponting and Hayden, Steve does things his own way. I heard Ricky joking on TV about how much shadow batting Steve does in the field and in his hotel room – the guy lives for batting. It’s that dedication to his task and his art which enables him to keep on going and going. I loved batting and loved the game – but I wouldn’t put myself in the same bracket as those three.

England’s task has been made so much harder by Steve’s ability to manipulate the field. I don’t think they’ve bowled badly at him at all, but he’s dealt with their best balls so effectively they’ve had to move to other plans. He was ruffled up at Lord’s, but other than that he’s been unflappable.

His batting aside, it’s also been a landmark series for the Australian quicks. Our change bowlers have been able to create more sustained pressure in comparison to England’s. The home side have often looked a Stuart Broad or a Jimmy Anderson short, giving the batsmen that slight release of pressure that Australia simply haven’t afforded England.

The Aussies have been relentless with the ball, rotating their quicks throughout the series and building their plans around drying the England batsmen up. This is the best depth of quality Australia have enjoyed in terms of their fast bowlers in quite some time. To think that Josh Hazlewood didn’t play at Edgbaston and Mitchell Starc didn’t play for the first three Tests is pretty staggering.

Read more: Jason Roy’s Test career is surely on the line at the Oval

With the age these guys are, this battery of fast bowlers looks likely to terrify a few more teams in the years to come. Where’s the respite? I look on as a spectator now and wonder where I’d be looking to score against these blokes.

In the context of this series, I can’t help but think that Anderson would have made a tangible difference to this series for the home side. Injuries happen, that’s cricket and it’s impossible for someone to stay fit for their entire career. If Anderson had played, however, would England have discovered Jofra Archer when they did? Would they have been brave enough to drop a senior bowler for Archer to come in?

England need to look after Archer

Jofra Archer bowls as Smith looks on in the background
Jofra Archer bowls as Smith looks on in the background (Getty Images)

Jofra’s an infant when it comes to Test cricket, but he’s shown everyone why he’s a player worth investing in from England’s point of view. Much as Australia have had to do with Pat Cummins since his debut in 2011, England will need to look after Jofra to ensure he flourishes as Cummins is doing now.

Cummins’ success and that of some Australian quicks in general is far from being an accident.

Read more: Joe Root insists he is right man to lead England as Ashes defeat raises questions over captaincy

Preparation for this tour has been so thorough from Australia’s perspective. I read one of Mitchell Johnson’s columns for i before coming over where he spoke about the learning curve between his first and second tours to England. You have to crack the lengths to bowl and work out how to apply pressure to batsmen for long periods of time over here, something the Aussie quicks have managed slightly better than England in this series.

They have strangled the life out of England’s aggressive middle order. There was so much focus on the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali prior to the series, and I feared the worst if those guys could get in against a tiring attack with the chance to score quickly.

Burns is a diamond in the rough

I’ve been disappointed that they haven’t been able to stand up more often for their team, with all three making a minimal impact on a series which was crying out for another English hero besides Ben Stokes. On the flip side, Rory Burns has been something of a surprise package for me. In a series where opening batsmen have endured a torrid time, he’s stood up to the scrutiny about his technique and the new ball barrage from Australia. He’s looked more and more assured in his own methods as the series has worn on and I think England have found a real diamond in the rough.

Burns looks like a player that England can invest in when it comes to the next few years of Test cricket. They desperately need to find some identity as a Test team, picking players with the character and desire to succeed in that format.

Read more: Batting, bowling and Steve Smith: Why Australia retained the Ashes

Being a successful team across all formats is incredibly tough in the modern era. England have put so much into their white-ball cricket, which has paid off for them in a big way. They can also take solace in the cyclical nature of the issues they face now. After 2006, Australia lost three of their truly great players just as I entered the fold which sparked a tough period for us.

Being one of the players tasked with rebuilding that team and pushing on in the game really fuelled my desire to improve myself as an individual. England will hope that the loss of the likes of Alastair Cook and the likelihood of losing James Anderson and Stuart Broad before too long will have the same kind of galvanising effect on their next generation.

Mike Hussey was speaking to freelance cricket journalist James Alder

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Ashes 2019: England bowlers sleepwalk through demoralising second day as James Anderson sorely missed

So heartbroken was James Anderson at missing the final two matches of this Ashes series through injury that he went on holiday to the Mediterranean rather than have to watch this fourth Test at his home ground.

Anderson’s crushing feeling of disappointment was no doubt shared by his England teammates as they sleepwalked through a demoralising and error-strewn afternoon session on this second day that appears to have decisively tipped the balance of this match – and the series – in Australia’s favour.

By now you probably know the details of that wicket-less and soul-destroying session for England that saw Steve Smith reprieved after being caught off a Jack Leach no-ball and Tim Paine, up to this point Australia’s non-scoring wicketkeeper-batsman and captain, dropped twice before reaching 50.

Overton underwhelms

In a parallel universe Anderson would have been fully recovered from the calf injury that has dogged him this summer and tearing in from the end at Old Trafford that bears his name. Instead we were forced to endure the underwhelming figure of Craig Overton taking his mark from the James Anderson End.

Overton may have finagled the wicket of Paine eventually. Yet the Somerset yeoman’s limitations were cast in even starker perspective by the absence of England’s all-time record wicket-taker in Manchester.

Speaking before this Test, Stuart Broad, a man who has stepped up impressively in his close friend and bowling partner’s absence, admitted: “I had in my mind the idea that it was almost written in the stars that he would be back and open the bowling at the James Anderson End and bowl us to victory. But that’s not going to happen.”

Replacing Anderson with Overton, who has played just three Tests and wasn’t even on the selection radar this summer before last week, is akin to taking your Porsche into the dealership for repairs and being handed the keys to a Reliant Robin as your courtesy car.

Read more: Ashes 2019: Australia make early inroads at Ice Station Old Trafford as Steve Smith digs in once again

That’s not being overly critical of Overton. After all, the 25-year-old’s effort can never be faulted and he may yet make a decisive contribution for England in this Test with the bat.

But the quality gap between him and Anderson is stark and that was perfectly illustrated during this demoralising day.

Unlucky injuries

Up until now, England had managed to stumble their way through this series without the leader of their attack and still emerge level at 1-1 after three Tests.

Yet they have badly missed a man with 575 wickets over the first two days of this match and the possible alternative scenarios, where Anderson didn’t break down four overs into the series opener at Edgbaston, make things all the more painful for both the man himself and England. No wonder he decided to leave the country.

As well as Broad has bowled in this series and the fact a new star in Jofra Archer has been unearthed, England have been incredibly unlucky with injury to bowlers this summer.

As well as Anderson, the absence of Mark Wood – working at Old Trafford for BBC radio – has also been a bad loss for England. Like Archer, Wood is capable of bowling above 90mph on a regular basis. In fact, he was even quicker than Archer during the World Cup.

Wood, though, is even more experienced and would have been a valuable weapon for captain Joe Root against the Australians in this series.

Yet Wood, who bar for the first match was an ever-present figure during England’s World Cup win, succumbed to knee and side injuries after the tournament. Wood’s history of injury problems are extensive. Yet that makes his absence no less damaging.

Read more: Ashes 2019: Advantage Australia as Jofra Archer seems to run out of gas against Steve Smith

Olly Stone, the young Warwickshire pace bowler struck down by back injuries since being called up by England last winter, is another genuine quick who may have figured this summer.

However, the more subtle skills of Anderson – arguably the greatest swing bowler in history – have far and away been the most significant loss from this series for England.

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The Ashes 2019: Stuart Broad expects to play alongside James Anderson again despite bowling partner’s latest injury woes

Stuart Broad says he expects to play alongside James Anderson for England again this winter despite the latest injury that has ruled his bowling partner out of the Ashes and raised fears that, at the age of 37, he could retire.

Anderson’s troublesome right calf, an injury that flared up four overs into the first match of the series at Edgbaston, will see him miss the final two Tests against Australia at Old Trafford and The Oval.

With the series locked at 1-1 ahead of the start of the fourth Test in Manchester on Wednesday, Anderson’s injury is a blow to England’s chances of regaining the Ashes and Broad admitted: “I had in my mind the idea that it was almost written in the stars he would be back and open the bowling at the James Anderson End [at Old Trafford] and bowl us to victory. But that’s not going to happen.”

Yet Broad is certain he will play alongside England’s all-time leading wicket-taker again this winter, when Joe Root’s team contest series in New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

“He’s got a lot of cricket left in him,” said Broad. “He’s having a bit of a break now to give the calf a bit of time because he’s tried everything. I’ve seen him running, bowling, doing absolutely everything he should to play an Ashes Test and then the calf doesn’t pull up well enough. I think he’s realistic.

“At 37 your body takes longer to heal. He’s got a period of time now that he can let it rest. I know, well I don’t know for certain, but from the conversations I’ve had, he’s looking at the winter and getting fit and wanting to be part of that.”

Grand finale in Anderson’s sights?

Read more: The end for James Anderson? Don’t write that stubborn so and so off just yet

This Ashes is the first series that counts towards the new World Test Championship, with every future series – bar England’s two Tests in New Zealand in November – counting towards the standings. The top two will then contest the inaugural final, expected to be at Lord’s, in the summer of 2021. Broad thinks that’s a target Anderson has in mind.

“It’s quite exciting with this World Test Championship,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like the Ashes series is the new cycle anymore, it feels like that World Test Championship Final is the new cycle. I know a few of the older players are looking more towards that than an Ashes series.”

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Ashes 2019: Jason Roy and Joe Denly to swap places as James Anderson is ruled out of series

England’s Ashes hopes have been hit by the news that James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, has been ruled out of the final two Tests against Australia.

The 37-year-old had been expected to return from a calf injury for the fourth Test at his home ground of Old Trafford having played for Lancashire’s Second XI this week.

But Anderson pulled up with pain in his problematic right calf in the 29th over he bowled during that four-day friendly against Durham and will now sit out the rest of a series that is delicately poised at 1-1 heading into the final two Tests.

Anderson, who had originally injured his calf playing for Lancashire at the start of July, broke down just four overs into the opening match of this Ashes series at Edgbaston.

In his absence Craig Overton was called into an otherwise unchanged 13-man squad for the fourth Test, which starts on Wednesday.

Batting reshuffle

One change England will make to their batting line-up, though, will come when opener Jason Roy and No4 batsman Joe Denly swap places in the order at Old Trafford.

Roy has established himself as one of the best one-day openers in the world but has struggled to translate that form into the Test arena. Denly’s gritty 50 in the second innings of England’s miraculous one-wicket win in Leeds also convinced the selectors he could do a job at the top of the order.

Jos Buttler, averaging just 9.16 in this series, can also count himself lucky to stay in the squad. The selectors, under pressure after England were bowled out for 67 on day two in Leeds, considered dropping either Roy or Buttler for Ollie Pope.

However, the Surrey youngster will have to wait for his chance of a recall after England decided to keep faith with the current batting personnel.

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The end for James Anderson? Don’t write that stubborn so and so off just yet

Don’t write the career obituaries just yet because if there’s one thing you need to know about James Anderson it is that he is a stubborn so and so.

How else do you keep going at the age of 37 when you already have 575 Test wickets to your name and have won the Ashes four times?

The most memorable of those victories for Anderson against Australia came in the winter of 2010-11, when his 24 wickets at 26.04 helped England claim their first away Ashes win for 24 years.

However, it is not being premature to say he has now played his final Ashes Test after being ruled out of the remainder of this current series with the calf injury that struck him down four overs into the opening Test at Edgbaston.

The fact he cannot return at his home ground of Old Trafford next week following weeks of rehab will be a body blow not just to Anderson but to England as well.

Yet with the next tour of Australia more than two years away in the winter of 2021-22 – when Anderson will be in his 40th year – it’s hard to see how he will play in the Ashes again.

Getting better with age

Whether or not this is the end of Anderson’s career completely remains to be seen. But although his body is failing him right now, there’s enough left for Anderson to achieve to think he won’t be calling it quits just yet.

It’s hard to fathom but the past three years have been the most productive of Anderson’s career – at home at least, with the Lancashire bowler averaging 17.07 with the ball over the past three summers.

Already England’s most prolific bowler in history and the leading seamer of all-time having overtaken Australian great Glenn McGrath with the final ball of last summer against India at The Oval, Anderson will have been eyeing up the 600-wicket mark at the start of this summer.

Kumble’s target in mind?

With just 25 to go – and another 20 after that to leapfrog former India spinner Anil Kumble into third on the all-time list – Anderson would surely be reluctant to call time on his career just yet.

This winter there are series in seam-friendly New Zealand and South Africa, a contest that always excites, to come.

Then next summer six Tests against West Indies and Pakistan present, fitness permitting, a great opportunity for Anderson to go well past 600 wickets and finish on the high his career deserves.

Yet if over the coming days he decides to call time on an England career that has so far spanned more than 16 years, nobody would begrudge Anderson. He has already done enough to claim his place among the greats of English sport.

Over 149 Tests and 194 ODIs so far, Anderson can look back on a magnificent career with pride. However, let’s not write him off just yet. After all, he has enough credit in the bank to also be afforded the chance of one last, glorious hurrah.

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