After being diagnosed with the autoimmune condition known as Sjögrens Syndrome (pronounced “shoh-grinz”) in the summer of 2011, Venus decided to adopt a vegan/raw foods diet in order to help decrease inflammation in her body and reduce the energy sapping symptoms of the disease. By not overloading her body with excess calories, pesticides, or sugars, her system has more strength to combat Sjögrens.
A self-described “cheagan” (“cheating vegan”) Venus enlisted the aid of renowned chef and vegan/raw food expert Lauren Von der Pool to help her undertake this massive life change. Von der Pool, a classically trained chef who has spoken at the White House about food and the green movement as well as on the child obesity epidemic, has been a vegan/raw food chef for almost 12 years.
“Venus had already made the decision to eat a vegan/raw food diet, I just made it easier for her to stick to it,” says Von der Pool.
Cooking for Venus presents a complex set of challenges, even for someone with Von der Pool’s experience. For one, Venus eschews all sugars, even the natural ones found in fruits This makes an already restrictive diet that much more narrow. Secondly, when feeding a world-class athlete, it’s not just the quality of the fuel that is important, it’s also the timing.
“The food an athlete eats really determines their energy, so I have to make sure everything is seamless and on time!” say Von der Pool.
“Food is your best medicine,” is the motto that Von der Pool tries to pass on to her clients. But medicine never tasted this good.
Come back often as Chef Von der Pool will share many more of her delicious and healthy creations!