Tennis star Venus Williams is fitter and healthier than ever after having switched to a raw vegan diet over two years ago. While Venus admits she sometimes cheats on her diet, her overall health has improved dramatically since she went vegan.
"I think it's pretty well known I'm a cheagan [a vegan who occasionally cheats], "Willams told the Associated Press. "I'm not perfect, but I try.
"If it's on your plate, I might get to cheat. If you're sitting next to me, good luck. You turn your head once and your food might be gone."
The seven-time Grand Slam winner transitioned to a raw vegan diet in 2011 after being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an immune system illness that had caused her to suffer shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and muscle pain.
Venus, who's competing at the 2013 Australian Open this week, says switching to a plant-based diet has relieved many of her worst symptoms.
"Changing my diet has made a big difference," said Williams, 32. "I'm not perfect, so I forgive myself when I make mistakes [with my vegan diet]. I do a lot of juicing as well, a lot of wheat grass shots, lots of fresh juices and things like that."
Williams, who makes sure she gets enough rest, says eating natural and organic foods is key to maintaining optimal health.
"I don’t always eat raw, especially before matches," she says. "When you eat raw it is not always enough calories for athletics so I will eat some pasta and bread and rice for energy. I try to eat all natural and organic. That is mostly my focus."