Huge Platforms & Game Changers
Due to the popularity of sport in general and famous athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo having huge platforms (Ronaldo Hits 300 million followers), sport can be used as a vehicle of change. If you have watched Game Changers by James Wilkes on Netflix, you will understand why various athletes are switching to a plant based diet. Game Changers is a documentary full of empirical evidence and real life examples, that demonstrates how a plant based diet can help athletes recover quicker, enhance performance and reduce the chance of injury. As more athletes or potentially teams switch to eating plant based, the awareness around veganism increases.
More awareness results in more activism, more vegan products and an increasing boycott of the animal agriculture industry. Sport stars have huge platforms which can help facilitate this change and combat ignorance. We see this with stars such as Raheem Sterling combatting racism or the FA promoting inclusion of LGBTQ. Stars such as Lewis Hamilton, Venus Williams and others have already been promoting a shift to veganism, which has already made a huge difference. However, people like Lewis Hamilton made the change for ethical reasons, which is highly commendable. Ideally, we need more athletes like Lewis Hamilton to take a stance against animal cruelty, and go vegan purely for this reason.
Minor Differences, Huge Impacts
We would love for all sport stars to have the type of empathy like Lewis Hamilton. But providing the athlete switches to a plant based diet, the reasons for doing so are irrelevant. The main driver for athletes to adopt a plant based diet will ultimately be based around performance. At the very top of any sport, a slight difference can have a huge impact. Nutrition in particular in top level sport plays a huge role in the success for individual athletes and / or teams. It’s something that can be easily managed and adopted, therefore having a high priority for nutrition coaches.
If the literature surrounding a plant based diet continues to increase, and continues to show a benefit over a meat based diet, teams and individuals will be forced to adapt to ensure they can remain competitive at the very top. Change will come from high profile teams and individuals rather than the sport bodies themselves. Individuals like The King Carl Lewis demonstrated the power of a vegan lifestyle when he won 10 Olympic medals, with 9 of them being gold. This was during a time when large smoking and alcohol companies were the primary sponsors of huge events, and were marketed as healthy. It seems the sport industry associations across the world always lagg behind when it comes to real change and justice.
What Could Happen
If more athletes become vegan, consumer behaviour of the highly watched industry will start to shift. We will begin to see followers change their lifestyle, advertising bodies will begin marketing vegan products and overtime a plant based diet becomes the new healthy norm. Additionally, this new awareness and health shift will hopefully cause people to look more into a plant based diet in terms of ethics, morals and the environment. This is when real change will begin, and social momentum will take its course as we drive to make the world a better place for all sentient-beings.