Venus Williams’ New Vegan Food Company Is Inspired By Her Diet

Grand Slam winning tennis champion Venus Williams has launched a vegan protein brand, called Happy Viking.

The first product is a vegan protein shake inspired by the post-workout recipe she’s been using for 10 years. It contains 20 grams of plant-based protein from peas and brown rice as well as all nine essential amino acids, which aid recovery, and prebiotic fiber to aid digestion. It comes in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla.

The decision to launch the new Happy Viking range was inspired by the prolific athlete’s diet.

In 2004, Williams found herself in a battle against her own body. She suffered from fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle and joint pain. Her symptoms continued to get progressively worse until she couldn’t take it anymore and in 2011 the highly decorated tennis player was forced to take time off to seek professional help.

It was then that Williams was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system and is identified by symptoms such as dry mouth and eyes, fatigue and joint pain. She walked away from the US Open for the rest of the year and as a result, she fell from the top 100 female tennis players for the first time since 1996.

Sjögren’s syndrome cannot be cured, but it can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. In addition to taking medication, Williams adopted a raw vegan diet to help manage her symptoms.

Happy Viking’s first vegan shake contains 20 grams of protein. | happy viking

Become vegan

According to the Cleveland Clinic, following an anti-inflammatory diet can help relieve symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome. This means eliminating common triggers, such as red meat, dairy, refined carbs and sugars, alcohol, and gluten. However, no two bodies are the same, so a change in diet can affect people in different ways.

“I learned so much about the food system and how it can affect your body and your health. As an athlete, if I’m not at peak performance, someone else will be,” Williams said fast business. The star athlete returned to tennis in 2012 and finished the season ranked 24th.

Now, nearly a decade later, Williams has applied its crop production experience to launch happy viking.

She no longer follows a strictly raw vegan diet, but she still keeps animal products off her plate. In a 2019 interview with Insider, the tennis player said she introduced cooked foods into her diet. Lentils are now one of his favorite post-workout meals.

“This way of eating was just hard to maintain for long periods of time,” she says. “Sometimes you just need something more substantial – rice, potatoes – after a workout.”

Happy Viking is available via the webshop or via Amazon.

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About the Author

Chief Editor | New York City, NY Kat writes about sustainable food, fashion and food technology. They have a BA in Film and Cultural Studies from Stony Brook University.

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Tanya S. Norvell