Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 tennis player and reigning Wimbledon champion, hosted a cooking masterclass alongside celebrity chef Lisa Faulkner on Thursday evening, and HELLO! Online went along to ask the tennis great how going gluten-free changed his life, about his gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free diet and his favourite healthy foods.
Speaking and cooking at London's Wimbledon All England Tennis Club to celebrate the UK launch of the Jacob's Creek Made By film series – films that reveal the story behind the tennis star – Novak explained that he went gluten-free after an experience with a holistic medicine doctor made him realise he was intolerant.
Novak Djokovic has been gluten and dairy-free since 2010
"One of the tests he does is basically a resistance test on certain foods," he says, going on to explain that the alternative medicine doctor held bread against his chest and tested teh resistance of his arm.
How did it change his eating habits? "I like to explore new things and learn about new fruits and vegetables that I've never heard about," says Novak. He is also clearly delighted at the dramatic change that took place as soon as he stopped eating gluten, no longer suffering from respiratory problems or recurring illnesses.
The Number 1 tennis player took part in a cooking mastercall with Lisa Faulkner
What is the sportsman's food heaven? "Chocolate which is made of raw cacao, cashew nuts and avocado," he says, explaining that his first year of going gluten-free he "had a lot of temptations which I had to resist".
He does have cheat days, though, when he treats himself to a pizza and a nice dessert. The only downfall is that he "doesn’t feel that great after".
When it comes to making healthy desserts at home, the 28-year-old makes sweet treats with the likes of "hydrated fruits, coconut oil, dates".
As for dining out, Novak says that he selects restaurants according to his diet. One of his favourites is Novikov on Berkeley Street for the Asian cuisine: "they have fresh vegetables and fish so I'll have that".
Novak cooked gluten-free pasta with kale and prawns
What are the foods he steers clear of? "Sauces or spices, deep fried stuff, fast unhealthy food, especially the packaged stuff, the food with additives, refined."