Venus Williams, the seven time Grand Slam winner known for her colorful appearance both on and off the tennis courts, has decided to go vegan. Specifically, she has begun a raw foods vegan diet in a quest to manage her recent diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease which has no cure in which the body attacks itself.
Williams has taken up her new dietary regimen to try to get a handle on her disease. She hopes that by swearing off of all animal products she can manage the symptoms of her disease, which include dry mouth, joint pain and often crushing fatigue. Sjogren’s presents in a similar fashion to fibromyalgia, and studies have shown that those who suffer from fibromyalgia have found some relief by choosing a vegan diet. In some cases, people who suffer from Sjogren’s have experienced kidney disease.
Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s a month before the U.S. Open began. She attempted to compete, although she was forced to pull out just before her second match. She’s visited multiple doctors to try to determine why she’s suffered from so much pain and a lack of energy over the years, reporting that at times, it’s been difficult to even lift her tennis racket.
To support her sister, Serena Williams has decided to join her in avoiding animal products. The Williams’ sisters have decided to not only go vegan but to add a twist to their diets by eating raw. Adding the raw stipulation means that none of their foods can be cooked above 116 degrees.
Many people use dietary changes to try to transform their health when they are diagnosed with disease. It’s often thought that choosing a vegetarian diet can help with weight loss, control diabetes or improve health overall. Proponents of vegan diets contend that by removing meat and dairy products, they enjoy increased energy and cardiovascular health.