The Los Angeles Times just interviewed John Salley, the former NBA player (who played with the Lakers) about his vegan diet. They asked some obvious questions about his transition from vegetarianism to becoming a vegan athlete, but one of their questions was one that’s common for non-meat-eaters, whether you’re a basketball player or a first-grader: “How do you get enough protein?” Salley’s perfect answer blew us away.
As an athlete, how do you get enough protein on a vegan diet to be able to stay in such good shape?
I get it from the same place the cows get it from: green, leafy vegetables. No one asks the cow or the chicken where it gets its protein. I eat about 4,000 or 5,000 calories a day, and I cook for myself. I also have a line of cooks that work with me — some raw, some vegan.
He also provides some practical answers–he says a typical day involves foods like grits, tons of kale and water, pizza with almond cheese and vegetables, and nutrition boosters like turmeric and coconut oil–but in just two sentences, he basically provided the perfect response to skeptics who still think you can’t get enough protein from a vegetarian or vegan diet.
John Salley’s diet is probaby different from your average person’s–most of us don’t need nearly so many calories (or have a line of cooks to help with our daily diet). But clearly, it doesn’t make him immune to the myths that people still have about being vegan–and especially being a vegan athlete.
We think John Salley might have a new career coaching people on how to explain their vegan diet–without forcing people into watching Forks Over Knifes or reciting complicated data from The China Study.
Photo: John Salley Facebook