Professional vegan athletes are continuously earning our fandom—from soccer star Alex Morgan to six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, we have developed a new appreciation for sports. However, it’s not just the pros we’re impressed with. DZ Vegan Kid Athletes—a sister trio of gymnasts and dancers—have caught our attention via Instagram. Their incredible poise, grace, and strength are demonstrated through gravity-defying acro yoga poses—sending a clear message to parents and kids alike that a vegan diet is certainly working for them. Danaé (15), Danya (9), and Danielle (5) took a moment away from their perfectly synchronized posing to answer our questions on what it’s like to be a vegan kid athlete and their goals for the future (we see a few Olympic hopefuls on the horizon). 

 
 
 
 
 
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VegNews: Your Instagram shows off beautiful acro poses, but what other sports do you all play?
DZ Vegan Kids: Danya does artistic gymnastics, Danielle does dance and gymnastics, and Danaé dances but has also done gymnastics and cheer in the past. And yes, we also love to do acro together! 

VN: Briefly describe your vegan journey as a family. 
DZ: Danaé was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 12 and she was prescribed five different medications. Our mom also had several medical conditions so she suggested that we all try a vegan diet—she had actually been fully vegan during her pregnancy with Danya [the middle child]. We also watched documentaries like “What the Health” and “Earthlings.” Those made a huge impact on our decision to go fully vegan. Danaé no longer takes daily medications and rarely has bad flare-ups anymore. Danya also trains 30 hours a week for gymnastics and learned from other vegan professional athletes that eating a healthy vegan diet can help her get stronger. As the youngest, Danielle has been fully vegan her whole life! Going fully vegan was a great choice for all of us, because we have all noticed a big difference in our strength and overall well being. 

VN: What kinds of foods make you feel strong?
DZ: We have fruit at the beginning of each day as it powers us up for school and training. For breakfast, we love raw collard green wraps spread with vegan mayonnaise and filled with homemade nut “meat” (made with pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, green onion, cilantro, mint, and nutritional yeast), mango, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts. Our mom usually makes us delicious protein shakes to take with us for training made with walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, psyllium husk, sea moss, and fruit. We also love jicama tacos filled with oyster mushrooms, cilantro, mint, avocado, mango, and alfalfa sprouts. When we have a treat we love the vegan fried chicken from Atlas Monroe. We also enjoy the cornbread from Compton Vegan—it’s the best! 

 
 
 
 
 
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VN: Why did you decide to create a collective Instagram and focus on athletics?
DZ: We all begged our mom to start our own Instagram page, because we wanted to share with the world how growing up vegan rocks! We also wanted to showcase how we live a healthy vegan lifestyle and are also great athletes. We love that acro yoga has been the one thing we can all do together and it’s like our sister bonding time. We’ve actually met lots of vegan kids and families through our account. Parents have also reached out to us via DM to ask about helping their children maintain a healthy vegan diet. We love that Instagram helps us lead by example. 

VN: What are your proudest accomplishments?
DZ: Danaé’s proudest accomplishment is maintaining a healthy diet and being able to get off all her regular daily medications that she was on before going vegan. Danya’s biggest accomplishment is placing first all-around and first on vault at her gymnastics competition. She is also proud of herself for getting stronger and sticking to a healthy vegan diet for almost three years. Danielle’s greatest accomplishment is surviving her premature birth and life support—despite the odds she has thrived!

VN: What have others thought of your vegan diet?
DZ: Our friends and teammates are surprised when we tell them we eat lots of raw nuts, seeds, lentils, and chickpeas, and they’re blown away when we tell them that some of these foods actually have more protein meat. Our coaches and teachers used to be concerned, but not anymore, because they see how strong we are! 

 
 
 
 
 
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VN: For mom, what makes you confident in your girl’s health? What advice would you give to other parents?
DZ: I am a pediatric nurse so I am confident in my knowledge about children’s health. The girls get their labs checked every 6 months and this appeases their pediatrician as their levels have consistently been in the normal range. I’d advise other parents to monitor their children’s health in this manner as well. It will help you know if any adjustments in nutrition are needed, or if they’re right on track. 

 

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: DZ Vegan Kids

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