The Real Reason Cade Cunningham Went Vegan

During the NBA draft, all eyes have been on Cade Cunningham, who was recently selected to play for the Detroit Pistons (via The New York Times). However, what many of his fans might not know about him is that he is vegan. There is usually a negative stigma towards vegan athletes, stemming from the greater misconception that vegans are protein deficient because they don't consume animal products. But according to LIVEKINDLEY, there are plenty of successful athletes crushing that false belief — including Serena and Venus Williams, and Olympian Alex Morgan.

Cunningham identified as a vegetarian for a period of time, according to an interview with SC Student Media. He told the publication that he played at his best while he was vegan, but had to temporarily make the switch back when he came back to Montverde Academy, due to the lack of options. The basketball player states that his commitment to being plant-based began after an experience abroad.

Cade Cunningham's life-changing Greece Trip

Cunningham explained that he was two weeks into being vegan before heading off to Greece, according to Sportscasting. Due to not being accustomed to a lot of the food options there, he had to take a break from being vegan, and ate lots of burgers on that trip. "I think, bigger than anything, I just wanted to try something new for my body and see how my body reacted to it," he explained. "So, once I tried it, I did it for two weeks, and we had to go to Team USA, we had to go out to Greece, where we're eating McDonald's and stuff – McDonald's is a lot better out in Greece – but we weren't accustomed to the food that we had out there. So, I started back eating burgers and things, and on that trip, I told myself, 'I'm back vegan, and I'm sticking to it."

Plant-based diets are seen to have a variety of different health benefits, including being very nutrient-dense and supportive of heart health, according to Eat This, Not That!. According to Twitter, the athlete also enjoys a nice plate of spaghetti, which is also an easy plant-based meal. Furthermore, a vegan diet is easily delicious, with plenty of recipes for a dairy-free risotto and meatless Hungarian goulash existing on the internet.