Today, tennis legend and entrepreneur Venus Williams—a seven-time Grand Slam Champion and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist—launched vegan protein company Happy Viking. Created in partnership with multi-brand beverage company Dyla Brands, the first product to launch under the Happy Viking brand is a plant-based protein shake formulated to nourish brain and body health. The shake is available in Vanilla Bean and Triple Chocolate flavors and features an innovative combination of Complete Body Mind Macronutrients (CBMM) designed to deliver optimal nutrition and promote post-workout recovery.
Williams told VegNews that the inspiration behind the Happy Viking name comes from her own warrior mentality, on and off the court, and about helping others to “find their inner viking” through plant-based nutrition. In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that caused her to suffer extreme fatigue and joint pain, which forced her to pull out of the 2011 US Open. With the help of doctors and her sister, fellow tennis champion Serena Williams, the athlete transitioned to a plant-based diet to alleviate symptoms of the chronic illness which helped her return to the court within one year to win multiple titles. “When I first started eating plant-based, it was for health reasons. I couldn’t play tennis. I was thrown in the lifestyle by my wonderful sister Serena,” Williams said. “I learned a lot about it. A plant-based lifestyle is what you need for optimal health and aging well.”
Over the course of the last decade, the athlete has worked with top nutritionists and dieticians to create a plant-based nutrition solution that fits into her busy, demanding lifestyle, something that Happy Viking’s flagship product delivers. “There’s so many myths out there you need to learn about,” Williams advised people looking to transition to a plant-based diet. “Vegans get lots of protein. There’s so many ways to do it.” To that end, her shake delivers 20 grams of protein per serving, all nine essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids, all five macronutrients, and brain-boosting ingredients such as DHA-Omega 3 and sunflower oil.
While Williams previously followed a raw plant-based diet, she now refers to herself as a “cheegan”—which means that she will sometimes consume non-vegan and cooked items—explaining that “perfect doesn’t exist in life.” Williams sees the Happy Viking brand as having “endless possibilities” in terms of future product launches. For now, Happy Viking’s plant-based shakes are available on the company’s website and through Amazon, and will launch at Kroger stores nationwide in the spring of 2021.