Virat Kohli is at present one of the fittest athletes in the world, and guess what is the secret behind the powerhouse of energy? A plant-based diet! In an interview with YouTuber Kamiya Jani of Curly Tales, he sat down for brunch and spoke in detail about his diet and fitness.
That veganism is gaining traction around the world is a fact well known. The ‘vegan movement’ has been gaining steam on the heels of celebrities gushing about the health benefits of the diet that completely rejects all animal food products. A handful of celebrities have switched to a vegan diet in the recent times, and two who created a wave in India this month were Bollywood actress Tamannaah Bhatia and Indian national cricketer Virat Kohli. Kohli’s change of diet made a big splash of late, when popular English daily reported that the sportsman had switched to veganism.
Kohli said that he’s been following the vegetarian way for two years, and that his diet is 90% free from animal protein and dairy. So what keeps him going? Superfood salads! He said that it’s one of the best ways to get in nutrition while keeping things light.
Kohli made the switch for health reasons – he was a heavy meat eater which made his body acidic, to the extent that his stomach started pulling calcium from his bones, making him weak. After switching to his largely plant-based diet, he says he’s never felt better and that he has more energy.
He’s not the only athlete leaning towards a plant-based diet: Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri followed in his footsteps and adopted a vegan diet, and he claims it has upped his energy levels and made him lighter without losing muscle mass. Initially, Chhetri thought age was catching up with him, which is why he was tiring on the pitch. But a doctor advised him to give up meat and dairy to see a real change – and he did. In an interview to Mint Lounge, he said “After eight weeks, I realized I should have started this a long time back. The concept of global warming, killing animals, etc., came later. I started this because I wanted to be healthier on the pitch. This is one of the best things I have done in my life.”
Hundreds of international athletes have also made the switch, from Lewis Hamilton and Novak Djokovic to weightlifter Patrick Baboumian and cyclist Dotsie Bausch. All of them have been featured in the documentary The Game Changers, an eye-opening film about plant-based nutrition and elite athletes. The film has created massive buzz globally, and Kohli himself tweeted about it, adding that it busts many of the myths we’ve been fed about meat.
One of the most telling moments of the film is where athletes blood samples are compared after a vegan meal and after a meat-based meal. The plasma runs clear for the vegan sample, as opposed to a cloudy plasma extracted after a meat heavy meal.
Of course, there are some concerns, with regards to protein, Vitamin B12 and calcium. But the film highlights how there are enough sources for all of them in the plant world, from legumes to grains to leafy greens. All that stuff about meat and eggs being the only way to get fit and build muscle? It’s just marketing, says the film.