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How Going Vegan has Benefitted NBA Star Chris Paul

Chris Paul is feeling fitter than ever after going vegan in 2019 (Image via Instagram)
Chris Paul is feeling fitter than ever after going vegan in 2019 (Image via Instagram)

Chris Paul, an NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, went plant-based in 2019 to improve his health. He realized at the time that his diet, which primarily consisted of processed snacks and fried chicken, was not sustainable for his health or NBA career.

The pro athlete recently shared his journey of going vegan as well as how avoiding meat and dairy has impacted his performance. On and off the court, Paul credits his plant-based diet for helping him gain energy and manage muscle aches. The Phoenix Suns point guard made his 12th NBA All-Star appearance in February.

While he planned to transition to a plant-based diet for a while, the 37-year-old star decided to stick with it after experiencing numerous benefits.

Paul has said that going vegan has helped him reduce muscle soreness and made him more energetic. He described the benefits of plant-based eating as 'dramatic' and 'crazy', claiming that even after 12 pick-up games with his team, he doesn't feel any aches, pains, inflammation, or soreness. Paul refers to his plant-based diet as a 'cheat code'.


Chris Paul's Vegan Diet

Before becoming a vegan at the age of 34, the North Carolina native's favorite pre-game foods included fried chicken and burgers. His commitment to a plant-based diet has caused him to reconsider a variety of foods.

Chris Paul's favorite foods, like chocolate chip cookies and pancakes, remain on the menu — the only difference is that they are now vegan.

"There are so many different foods you can eat," Paul has said. "I'm always having pancakes. Many people are unaware that the only difference between plant-based and regular pancakes is the absence of eggs."

Paul, who has long been a fan of JUST Egg, recently became an athlete ambassador for the mung bean-based vegan egg replacer. He considers JUST Egg scrambles with vegetables to be a staple breakfast item, alongside Beyond Meat sausage and fruit.

Lunch for Chris Paul usually consists of a salad, vegetable bowl, and a protein drink, while dinner is a chef-prepared meal with plenty of beans, grains, and vegetables.

"The biggest thing that happened when I went plant-based was that it opened my eyes to the variety of foods that you can have," he said.

Paul is not only fueling himself with plant-based food, but he's also bringing his family on board. Last month, on Father's Day, Paul appointed his father, Charles Paul, as JUST Egg's first dad ambassador. Charles has also noticed health benefits, such as lower cholesterol, since switching to JUST Egg from animal-derived eggs.

Chris Paul says that the one thing you can't buy when it comes to health and wellness is health itself. You can buy cars, houses, clothes, and jewelry, but you can't buy health. The only way to become more educated on health and wellness is to communicate with one another and learn things that aren't necessarily taught in school, and aren't always taught in black and brown communities, he says.

Paul considers himself fortunate to have realized that at the age of 34, and he's still learning.


Takeaway

Chris Paul often gets asked for advice by other players on going plant-based. When Paul's assistant coach from school texted him once to get some advice for a young player who was interested in going plant-based, Paul was very proactive in jumping on a call with both of them. He helped them out as much as he could, as he understood how difficult things can be for a newbie.

Going plant-based involves a significant amount of planning ahead, especially when one is traveling or on the road often, like Paul.

"I started this for athletic purposes, but as I dug deeper into the information, it became about health and reducing inflammation, and I wanted my family to be healthier," Paul said.

Chris Paul advises athletes not to go completely cold turkey like he did, but at the very least try to introduce healthier options. It would, in all likeliness, change their life and improve their athletic performance.

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Edited by Bhargav
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