Chris Paul, a.k.a. “CP3,” an NBA star, attributes his increased energy and ability to manage muscular pain both on and off the court to his plant-based diet. The Phoenix Suns point guard has been a vegan since 2019 and made his 12th appearance on the NBA All-Star squad in February. The 37-year-old great experienced basketball player first wanted to switch to a plant-based diet temporarily, but after experiencing several advantages, he chose to continue with it.
“When I first went plant-based, it was for performance purposes but once I saw how my body changed and how I felt—it was for life… Years ago, I probably wouldn’t have even gone outside to run around with my kids and all the other activities because my body would be aching. Now, with the constant lifting and making sure that my body is always ready, it’s been a good lifestyle change for me,” Paul said in an interview with GQ.
Paul will lead the Phoenix Suns into his 18th season of professional basketball in October 2022, an accomplishment that only a select handful have accomplished. “I’m not saying going plant-based is for everybody but for me, that was one of the first things I focused on… To play the amount of games and minutes that I’ve played and still feel good is a win for me,” Paul said.
Chris Paul’s Diet
The North Carolina-born athlete’s favorite pre-game eats before being vegan at age 34 included fried chicken and hamburgers, but his dedication to a plant-based diet has caused him to reevaluate several items. His favorites, such pancakes and chocolate chip cookies, are still available; the only distinction is that they are now vegan. Paul added, “There are so many different foods that you’re able to eat… I have pancakes all the time. A lot of people don’t realize that the only difference between plant-based pancakes and regular ones are eggs,” Paul said.
Paul has long been a supporter of JUST Egg and recently signed on as an athlete ambassador for the mung bean-based vegan egg substitute. He also enjoys Beyond Meat sausage, fruit, and JUST Egg scrambles with veggies as staple breakfast foods. A salad, veggie bowl, and protein drink are often served for lunch, and a chef-prepared meal with lots of beans, grains, and vegetables is served for evening. The largest benefit of switching to a plant-based diet, in his opinion, was that it made him more aware of the variety of foods available.
Paul is also involving his family in the transition to a plant-based diet in addition to feeding himself. Paul appointed Charles Paul to serve as the first dad ambassador for JUST Egg on Father’s Day last month. Since switching to JUST Egg from animal-derived eggs, Charles Paul has also observed improvements in his health, such as decreased cholesterol.
“When it comes to health and wellness, the one thing we can’t purchase is health. You can buy cars, houses, clothes, and jewelry but not health… The only way to get more educated on health and wellness is by communicating with one another and finding out things that you’re not necessarily taught in school, and a lot of times aren’t taught in the Black and Brown communities. I was blessed to be able to find this information out at 34 and I’m still learning,” Paul said.
Veganism in Sports
Paul belongs to a growing group of athletes who have changed their endorsement agreements to reflect their morals and philosophies. In addition to his contract with JUST Egg, Paul also works with the plant-based nutrition company Koia. Through a vending machine effort, Paul has assisted in getting the brand into the hands of students at HBCUs.
A dozen sportsmen, including Olympic skier Lyndsay Vonn, NFL player Derrick Morgan, and NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, invested in Beyond Meat in 2019 and became brand ambassadors for the vegan company’s “Go Beyond” campaign.
Additionally, future NBA players, like first-round selection Cade Cunningham in 2021, are collaborating with plant-based businesses and drawing inspiration from more experienced athletes. The rising talent, who has been vegan since high school, teamed up with Eat Just as an ambassador for JUST Egg before moving on to play for the Detroit Pistons. Cunningham served as the idea for the “Cade Stack,” a temporary vegan egg sandwich offered at Detroit’s well-known FOLK Cafe.
Cunningham, who is now a standout player for the Pistons, wants to see his favorite Detroit club reach the NBA Finals in 2023. Who is it that he wants to compete with? Paul, a fellow vegan athlete, is his ideal opponent, the 20-year-old said in an interview he just gave at the NBA 2K23 tournament in Las Vegas.
“Favorite guy to match up with? Chris Paul was really fun to play against… Just because he is always making the right read. I feel like watching him, and being on the opposite side of it, I feel like I learned a lot in those games, I’d say Chris Paul,” Cunningham said.
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