Lewis Hamilton has presented a robust defence of his plant-based diet, saying that critics of his choice to go fully vegan simply don't know or understand the facts.
"My health has just got better and better over the last couple of years as I’ve gone to the plant-based diet,” he told the Daily Express newspaper in Melbourne last weekend.
"I’ve definitely felt the benefits from that on the health side of things and physically," he insisted.
Hamilton made no secret that his decision to radically change his approach to diet and nutrition is based as much on his deepening interest in conservation and the ecology as it is for health reasons.
"I do feel a large part of the reason I have gone that way is because of the environment and for the animals," he agreed.
But he also conceded that it hasn't been an easy transition, and that it had taken a lot of work to get to the sweet spot that also enabled him to be at peak fitness for his day job in Formula 1.
“It is not the easiest thing to straight away go to. You’re constantly learning about the foods and discovering more foods," he admitted. "Things that I would have never really eaten before, to give you some variability.
"People do think you’re going to lose muscle if you don’t have your protein," he continued. "A lot of the time people say 'I need my protein', but it’s absolute rubbish. You just need to do some reading online.
"Last year I bulked up, I put a lot more weight on," he pointed out. "This winter I trimmed down: like, cut but have more muscle.
"I’m able to lift more weight than I’ve ever done before, and I have been able to run further than I’ve ever been able to run before. That’s just enabled me to train better."
While he's a trail blazer on the issue of vegan nutrition in Formula 1, other leading sports people including tennis greats Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are certainly on the same wavelength.
"You’ve got a bunch of people out there that are doing it," Hamilton said. "You’ve seen it in other sports, other sportsmen and women around the world are trying these things. Serena has been working on it, and Djokovic."
Last year Hamilton and Djokovic appeared with Hollywood A-list star Arnold Schwarzenegger in the documentary "The Game Changers" presented by director James Cameron, which advocated plant-based eating, protein, and strength plans.
“I think it’s a positive and important way to go for us all," Hamilton insisted. "Not just in food, but there’s a lot of things that we all need to do better moving forward - but one step at a time."