(Updated January 25, 2020) | Lewis Hamilton started driving cars at the age of eight. When he was 10, he won the British Kart Championship. Now, at the age of 35, he’s a six-time Formula One champion and the highest-paid driver in Formula One history. So what’s the secret to his sustained success? A lot of passion, hard work, and a vegan diet, he says.
He recently told GQ, “ultimately, you want to feel great. You want to have energy, to be consistent, you don’t want to have the big oscillations and highs and lows in your energy levels. Veganism has eradicated that.”
He added, “when I was 22, it was raw talent. You’ve got an abundance of energy, you’re fit, there are no aches and pains.”
Hamilton ditched animal products in September 2017 after watching the plant-based documentary “What the Health.” By the next month, he was an avid supporter of his new diet, stating that he could “never go back” to eating meat.
‘A Free Advantage’
Hamilton’s not just in it for his own health, he cares about animals too. In the past, he has spoken out on social media against trophy hunting, poaching, the leather industry, and dolphin shows. He has also condemned animal agriculture and the impact it is having on the planet.
His activism isn’t limited to Instagram. He co-produced and appeared in 2018’s “The Game Changers.” The documentary features plant-based athletes and debunks the myth that meat is necessary for protein. In Hamilton’s view, his diet gives him an advantage over other athletes.
He told GQ, “we’re taught to drink milk and eat meat protein and I started looking into other areas of research around all this. The first thing was, what’s happening to the animals? Secondly, the impact it can have on your body. That’s a free advantage I’m going to take. If no one else wants it, well that’s their loss.”
What Does a Vegan Athlete Eat?
In 2018, Hamilton told Business Insider that he and other Formula One drivers typically enjoy porridge for breakfast but if he’s feeling more “adventurous,” he might go for baked beans on toast. Other meals include slow-cooked zucchini with toasted pine nuts with a salad consisting of couscous, pomegranate, raisin, and orange peel.
In November 2017, the athlete told CNN that he enjoys a stack of pancakes every weekend.
“It’s crazy. I’m not putting more weight on because, with this new plant-based diet, I can have more carbs which is contradictory of what you’d normally have thought diet-wise, but I’m not going to complain, I love pancakes so it’s great,” Hamilton said.