As more information becomes available about the food athletes are putting in their bodies, a lifestyle trend appears to be taking the NBA by storm: veganism.
That’s right, players are throwing out the beef and picking up the beets, putting down the chicken and picking up the chickpeas. According to most of them, the change in diet has both helped them cut weight and increased their energy levels.
Someone who identifies as vegan does not eat animals or animal products. That includes all meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy products. This is different from vegetarians, who also don’t eat meat or fish, but will animal products.
Here’s a running list of NBA players who have made the transition to vegan or vegetarian diets:
After forcing a trade out of Cleveland, Irving adopted a vegan diet and said his energy is up and his body feels amazing:
“This season I’ve been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from all the animals and all that. I had to get away from that,” Irving told ESPN’s Chauncey Billups. “So my energy is up, my body feels amazing. Just understanding what the diet is like for me and what’s beneficial for me for having the highest energy out here and being able to sustain it at a very high level.”
Lillard entered the summer with the goal of shedding some weight, and according to The Oregonian’s Mike Richman, he was able to cut 10 pounds by switching to a vegan diet.
He also said he wanted to play lighter to alleviate some of the pressure on his joints and his feet.
“[I’ve been] wanting to eat cleaner,” Lillard said in an interview with OregonLive Sports’ Jessica Greif and Sean Meagher. “Also I was trying to play lighter this year, be easier on my joints and on my feet. … Getting older and you don’t want to let that age sneak up on you where you just get in the habit of eating whatever you want to eat because I know I’m gonna burn it off when it’s time to play. So just creating better habits.
“I feel much better. I thought it was all hype. I thought people just said it just because it was a healthier food but I can feel it. I can definitely feel it.”