Venus Williams on Her 'Plants First' Lifestyle and the One Food Splurge She Can't Live Without

Venus Williams calls her partnership with Silk for its "Do Plants" campaign a "wonderful synergy"

Photo: lan Barry Photography

As Venus Williams settles into her 18th US Open tournament, there’s one thing that will definitely keep her fueled: plants!

Williams, 36, has teamed up with Silk for its Do Plants campaign to promote healthy, plant-based eating. And it’s a partnership the tennis great calls “a wonderful synergy.”

‘We are really believe in the same things, of a plant-based lifestyle and having a lot of natural foods in your diet,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve had a lot of fun working with them and [I’ve] been able to spread the message of plant-based living.”

The athlete spoke about her path to healthy-eating in an advertisement for the campaign, crediting her family for the lifestyle change.

“They saw me having health difficulties and they suggested, ‘Why don’t you try a plant-based lifestyle,’ ” she said in the video.

However, Williams tells PEOPLE she’s “not completely” vegan.

“I think plant-based is how you define it. Plants first, so that’s what it’s about. Mostly plants and there are some things I haven’t been able to get completely out of my diet,” she says.

“It becomes more challenging because I travel so much. You know, if you find yourself in the middle of somewhere – in China – it’s harder. So always, usually plants are my first go-to.”

She may be all about healthy eating, but there’s one savory treat she just can’t resist.

“I don’t ever skimp on my butter. I love butter,” Williams says. “Some things I’ve struggled to let go. But it’s all about leading a healthy lifestyle that works for you.”

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