Vegan Lifestyle ArticlesWinning With a Vegan Diet - John Salley
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John Salley, Interview from Veganpalooza2013
August 2013

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John Salley, basketball champion, was the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams. An outspoken advocate for vegan living, John spent seven years serving as the co-host of the Emmy nominated, critically acclaimed The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net.

STEVE PRUSSACK: Hello and welcome to Veganpalooza 2013. I’m your co-host Steve Prussack, and we’re so happy to have you with us. This is our kick-off session, and what better guest than celebrity guest, superstar athlete champion John Salley. Dr. Will Tuttle, I’m going to bring you on the call right now.

DR. WILL TUTTLE: Hi, I’m here, and I’m delighted to have basketball champion John Salley with us here on Veganpalooza 2013. He was the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams. He is an outspoken advocate for vegan living. He spent seven years serving as the co-host of the Emmy-nominated critically acclaimed show “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” on the Fox Sports Network. He’s a frequent speaker at veg fests across the United States and has been involved with PCRM, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, working with them to help persuade Congress to create legislation creating vegan options in public schools. I have had the opportunity myself to hear John Salley speak several times, and I am really glad to have John with us. It’s really an honor. John, are you with us?

JOHN SALLEY: Yes, I am. Hello.

DR. TUTTLE: Great, hi. Thanks so much for joining us here on Veganpalooza.

JOHN: How are you doing? Thanks for the wonderful introduction.

DR. TUTTLE: You’re welcome. Let’s go ahead and jump right in here. John, can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself as a vegan? We all know you’re an amazing basketball star, of course, but this is Veganpalooza and we’re especially interested in not only that but how you became a vegan, if you could talk a little bit about your journey and what you’ve learned through your journey of becoming a vegan and spreading the message.

JOHN: I literally did the path, I would say. I worked really hard at changing the way I thought, and in that process of changing the way I thought, I literally got smarter. So in getting smarter, I realized that I didn’t want my body to be a coffin for dead animal flesh. I went and looked around at my daughter. She’s young, she was only seven at that time, she’s ten now. Somebody said, “You don’t eat chicken?” She said, “It’s a bird.” She goes, “No, everyone eats chicken.” She goes, “It’s a bird.” The little girl looked at her, and she goes, “It is a bird.” I’d never said it that way. So it literally convinced me, and I went, “Oh, you can do this. It’s an animal. I love animals.”

You asked me when did I get to this point, how did I get to this point? One day I went that show called “Bodies” that travels around the country with cadavers, and you look at them, and you learn different things about your body. I started paying attention to once your body chewed it and it went to your stomach, how it breaks it down. I started thinking there’s no way that chunk of steak that people are putting in their mouths at these different steakhouses is going to benefit my body. And I was right.

I’m in Chicago right now, and I ate at a great place last night, vegan place, the Chicago Diner. The guys who own Teese, which is the option – I don’t like to call it alternative any longer, but option, the other option from having the pus lactating from a cow, you can have Teese, which tastes and smells like the way we’re addicted to it to be tasting and smelling. They also make Dandies marshmallows. I sat in there last night and had what seemed to be a regular Chicago meal, which was barbecue ribs and poutine, but it wasn’t. It was this whey, seitan/soy they put together with the grape seasoning. And every time you look at it, everybody looked at it and said, “Oh my god, if you would have had that really in Montreal...” It had gravy, it had potatoes, it had Teese instead of lactating cheese, it had jalapeńo, pico de gallo, it was great.

It would have all these different calories. But when you have it vegan, you have a lot of calories, but those calories go out. I tell people, someone will just say, “Fat.” When you eat, fat is not the enemy. Sugar is. So we’ve got to pay attention to it.

So you asked me how long I’ve been doing it, which way I’ve gone about it and why, those are the reasons. I just got smarter and realized I’m supposed to only eat food that nourishes my body, not that sits on the backside of my thighs or that comes out as fat on my jaw or the back of my arms. If I eat, it should go in, nourish my body, and go out. At least that’s what I pray for every time I go to eat. I pray to God that this food nourishes my body. A lot of food that they have out there, ladies and gentlemen, does not nourish your body. You’re going against your prayers.

DR. TUTTLE: So you were able to understand this. Why do you think so few people come to that understanding? What makes it so difficult?

JOHN: I think it’s the cattle mentality. I think since this is the way it’s always been done, that this is the way it must be. I think that’s what sticks in their brain. I had the same health problems. One day I just realized that everybody in my family was dying of cancer. Then I just realized how I was going to change that was, like I always tell people, I was going to be smarter about it. I wasn’t going to aid and abet in the murder of myself. I wasn’t going to do that. I just used to think my mother’s recipes were the greatest, and they are, so the cookbook I’m coming out with is I’m going to take her recipes and make them vegetarian. That was in 1998. Then I stopped. I was away for a while; I didn’t move on the book. I had soul food recipes the way my mother made; on the other side of the page where it was vegetarian. Then I became a vegan about six years ago, and I changed the book again. Then last year, I met with my friend Chef AJ, and I stopped using oil, salt, and sugar after reading her book Unprocessed.

So I did the Kris Jenner show. You guys can check it out on YouTube with Harvey Levin as the co-host. I was there, and I literally sat there on stage. He goes, “You’re just going to put this food in the pan?” And I go, “Yeah.” It’s not a non-stick pan, so I don’t want that, but I put the onions in and let the onions bleed a little bit of water. Then I put in whatever I was going to put in. There’s no reason for oil. I tell people, they go, “What about a little olive oil?” I go, “Well, olive oil doesn’t burn at a high temperature. So once you get olive oil past 120 degrees, you destroy all the different attributes of the DNA of that oil.” The only other oil that could hold the weight is red palm oil from Africa, the good stuff. This girl named Juka makes it. I’ll never forget that. I looked at all the rest of them, and I saw this pretty African Juka, and red palm oil and then coconut oil. Then I just started realizing I do use coconut oil for other things.

But I started seeing a little bit of a feeling in my body when I was flying. I started feeling like my foot and ankle would swell up if I was working out. So I just realized that my body’s feeling it in different ways. So I removed the salt. Sugar’s addictive. If I can stay away from sugar, I do. I tell everybody I’m a vegan, but really a raw vegan, so the more raw food I eat the better it is for me. Then all three of those are addictive on their own, so when they put them all together, a la I’m not going to say the name of the company, but they have these French fries that are the best French fries you ever can eat with the salt that’s not too much. But I found out that that potato has 1100 grams more sugar than the rest of the potatoes. I understand they cook in oil, and then they pour salt on it. You can go into that fast food place if you choose, because they serve over 20 billion people, so they say, and they’re giving you three addictions, and they’re holding you to those three addictions. So I used to think, “Yeah, I’m going to go there and just get French fries. I’m not going to eat the hamburger. I’m not going to eat this. Just the French fries.” Then I realized that was probably worse than eating the hamburger in that place.

So I learned a lot, and that’s why my cookbook hasn’t come out because I don’t want to say something and then have to retract it. I wanted to know as much as I can. So doing a raw cookbook, it’s silly. The stuff is raw, then it’s not a cook-book. So it’s a raw preparation book. So I decided to figure out if I was going to cook vegan style, I was going to find out the most efficient, the healthiest way, with the best products, and then I’ll put the book out.

DR. TUTTLE: That’s really interesting. It seems like you’re continuing to learn more and to purify more, and you’ve been mainly focusing a lot on the health aspects. I’ve heard you, and spoken to you, on the cruise. I know you have a big heart for animals as well. You’re not just doing this for health. Do you want to talk a little bit about your motivation for veganism?

JOHN: Part of it, I’m an animal advocate. The reason I say that, and not activist, because I am an activist, but I don’t like being on people’s lists. I just don’t like being on their lists. I’m not saying I’m an alpha dog and I can’t go with anybody, but what I can do is I can save 7500 land animals with my thoughts, and so can anybody out there listening. Everybody that becomes a vegan saves 7500 land animals from murder, what they call slaughter.

In the same process, this weekend, I don’t know if you guys have ever met my good friend Richard Greene, which Greene is an unbelievable guy. On Earth Day two years ago, we showed Avatar inside of the Nokia Theater. James Cameron, his wife, and a couple of the cast came to the show. We had 5000 inner-city kids watching the movie, hungry, and then at the end of it we gave them raw food in boxes. Of course, they were all, “What’s this? What’s this?” Then after the people were chewing and chewing it, I said, “Hey, do you guys like your food?” “This is good. I’ve never had a purple carrot.” And then I explained to them, I said, “You just watch this movie. It talks about wonderful things and how you can be one with the Earth.” Even though they did kill an animal in that movie, there are just some things that stick in people’s minds. I was able to look at that and tell kids that in order to be on a higher level, you have to be connected, especially with all living things and the things that nourish your body, not things that are trying to breathe and survive as much as you are.

This year Richard Greene is taking me to Africa, and we are flying to Johannesburg and then flying over to Kenya to some of the reserves that save these endangered animals. Of course, in certain parts of the world, like in China, the ivory tusk is a thing. They have to have the ivory tusk. It’s crazy on how their thought process is. You can’t have a piece of the ivory tusk. Let’s say we found a dead elephant, an elephant that has been mutilated by or murdered by a cat, because that’s what they have to deal with living in the Serengeti. They have to live with cats coming in, lions, and trying to attack them. So say we found that and somebody took the bone or took the tusk. Well, they want the tusk all the way from the root of the animal. They want it not chipped off. That’s ridiculous. And that’s just people thinking it’s a high quality thing and it’s a thing of honor. So we’re bringing awareness in China that that’s not cool. If you think that you have to kill an animal and go out at that point just to make you look good or a status symbol, we need to change that thought process of what status is.

Same with fur. Some people say it looks good. Yeah, it looks great on the animal. It looks fabulous on the animal. God did a good job giving it its coat to protect it. I let my daughter at 13 watch Earthlings, and we both were crying when we watched literally a fox lose its coat while it was still alive. They just pulled it off and threw it on a bed while it was still alive. I never thought that that fox, when I see it on somebody’s coat or that mink or chinchilla, I’ve never looked at that and gone, “Man, you’re sexy in that coat.” In 1991, I remember, I bought my wife – she was my girlfriend then – a fur coat. I’m so ashamed of that. I took it down. I can’t even believe that I was aiding and abetting all that kind of murder to look like that. And it’s funny, I tell people, I say it’s not like the fur makes you look good. It makes you look fat. Let’s be honest. It makes you look like a big fat bear. Why buy it? It doesn’t really keep you warm. It has the silk lining in it. So it’s just a status symbol that we need to change.

DR. TUTTLE: Thanks for telling those stories about Africa, about the elephants, and about furs and ivory. It’s really important. I also want to clarify that Earthlings, John, you mentioned. For people who don’t know, that’s a movie really showing what human beings do to animals for food, clothing, entertainment, and research. It’s online for free, also, if you want to go and watch it at some point. But it’s pretty graphic. It shows what we do, but I think it’s very helpful to understand what’s going on. John, I have one other question for you. You work a lot also with kids, and as you mentioned, we got a little taste of that with the showing you just talked about of the film there. I’d like to hear a little bit about your thoughts of what the meat industry, the government policies and so forth, how they harm children, the school lunches, and especially in the Black community where, to me, it’s very unjust, feeding kids dairy products that are lactose-intolerant. How can we turn that around? What are your thoughts about this?

JOHN: I work with the L.A. Unified School District. David Binkle, great guy, runs marathons in Canada, he’s played football up there, he got appointed by our new administration with the wonderful Mrs. Obama, who one of the first things she talked about was move, getting the kids to move in the inner city. So working with PCRM, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, I got up on Capitol Hill and spoke about making sure we maintain free lunch. People had no idea that the free lunch and free breakfast were on the chopping block. So we first spoke about keeping that. It’s the only meal that some of these kids are ever going to have is the breakfast and the lunch and the afternoon snack. This is America, and this is the best land in the world, but there is a poverty level which anyone who says there shouldn’t be any poverty in America, well, I understand the balance, but it shouldn’t be like it is.
Not only did I go there and we talked with Dr. Neal Barnard and Dennis Kucinich and his wife, we literally went up and said, “Hey, we need options. We need vegetarian, vegan options.” Not only are they feeding the kids surplus food, which you see, when it came out about the pink slime, I heard that company that made the pink slime, that filler, went out of business in 48 hours. In 48 hours they were out of business, and their warehouse was cleaned up, and they were working on changing what they were doing. I was working on giving those options and talking to kids, because we did it, talking to kids about what they thought.

Then I went in last week and I had a conversation with all the managers of the schools, 430 managers and workers in the cafeteria, and I explained about the human intent when you touch the food, when you touch things, the great feeling. I said, “I’ve got to ask all of you in here. I’ve been into the kitchen. I’ve been into the cafeterias. How many of you would eat the food in the cafeteria? Raise your hand.” And no one raised their hand. I said, “That’s where the problem is. The problem is you wouldn’t eat it, so why do you think these kids should eat it?” And especially, I remember when kids, one of the first things is, “Oh, it’s a baby, it’s this, it’s that,” and if it’s not sucking on its mother, you go, “Oh, we’ve got to feed the baby,” and you go and you get the Gerbers and you get the vegetables, you get the split pea, you got the carrot, you have the pumpkin. No one thought that that was crazy. No one thought, “We’re just going to feed them these vegetables, and that’ll be enough.” No one thought that.

Then somebody said, “Hey, they have bottom teeth and two little top teeth. We can now give them meat.” I said why would you do that to that human when you knew that the human should only have human milk from its mother? Or from a human female, because back in the day during slavery, even all the way until I think still, there were times where Black women were suckling other babies. So it wasn’t that it was white, black, purple, or green, it was human milk makes strong babies. In a sense, the slaves were so strong, why not let them drink from another slave? It’s going to make them strong. Smart thinking. Slavery wasn’t, but the mentality was that humans drink human milk. Period. End of discussion. There’s nothing else to talk about. There’s no reason that I should be drinking cow milk or anybody should drink cow milk. Those are for cows.

Then I looked around, and I should do comedy, so I saw some people, and I said, “Just remember, if you drink cow milk, which is made for a calf to become 250 pounds, and then once the calf gets to becoming a certain size, will not drink milk anymore. That’s a cow supposed to drink cow milk. A human is supposed to drink human milk. If a cow were to drink human milk, it would look like a human, which it doesn’t want to, which it would probably die because it’s not going to get all the things it needs to get. It needs to get that from a cow. If a human, as a baby, drinks cow milk, it will destroy the baby’s stomach. So cows drink cow milk; humans human milk. If you are an adult and you drink cow milk, you will look like a cow.”

Two out of every three kids are obese. Two out of every three kids in America will have diabetes, childhood diabetes, Black and Brown. So they’re destroying the ‘hood from the inside out, when they send in that government cheese that the rats wouldn’t even eat. I remember when we got that government cheese, my mother made me go out there, wait in that line. I’d go, “Ma, the government should be giving us some real cheese that we can spend.” She’d be like, “Stop being like that and go get that cheese.” So I went and got that cheese, and we took it downstairs. I lived in a project in Brooklyn called the Bay View Projects, and we would put it on a mousetrap and leave it out for the mice. That cheese stayed there for four months, not a nibble on it. I told my mom, I said, “We can’t eat this. This is not real.” “Oh, there you go.” I said, “Ma, I put a little bit downstairs for the rat. The rats don’t touch it.” She said, “What? Well, it melts good in macaroni and cheese, and it’s pretty good on your grilled cheese sandwich.” I said, “But it ain’t cheese.” Now later, I said, “Remember I told you that when I was 14 years old?” She said, “You were on it.” I didn’t know I was going to be in the position I am today, but I would see things. If it’s not real, we shouldn’t eat it.

So as I said, back with these kids in the inner city, Black and Brown, they are destroying them. They’re using them as test tubes. They’re trying every kind of thing on it. It hasn’t changed. They got mad at Paula Deen for saying the n-word in 1987 right after she got robbed. They got mad at this White kid Cooper for saying the n-word when he was drunk and it just slipped off his tongue. They just fined another Black guy, for real, for saying the n-word in an argument with another Black guy at ESPN because they heard a Black guy say the word. Let me tell you, they are really overemphasizing and oversensitive, and they’re taking your mind away from what really is at hand. We are destroying our country with all kinds of diseases that we cause from foods, or things that are not foods that we consider to be foods, going into our mouths.

DR. TUTTLE: Well said. Those are great stories. The rats wouldn’t even eat the cheese. Steve, do you have a question, anything you’d like to ask John?

STEVE: It’s true, all these diversions and tactics to keep away from the core issues. What was it like as a basketball player and being around the guys and being so different from everyone? I’m sure you got a lot of teasing. Or did they embrace this? What were some of the tactics you used?

JOHN: They did embrace it. I remember I was getting acupuncture. My lower back was hurting. This guy came, this photographer, and he said, “What are you doing to get back on the court?” He came and let me see me with his acupuncturist, and my chiropractor and my massage therapist. And they were like, “Yeah, Salley, you better watch out. Better not sit down. You’ve probably still got a pin in your butt,” laughing and laughing. The owner of the team, Mr. Davison, said, “Man, I get acupuncture every Wednesday. I’m going to try yoga.” And the room went quiet. Mr. Davison was a billionaire. He never came around. He was one of the owners, stayed out of the way. They liked to joke about it, but you have respect for Mr. D. He said that, and no one said anything.

At that point, I couldn’t get my back right, and this lady said, “I know what it is. You need a colonic.” I was like, “What’s that?” She sent me to this room with this woman, and I said, “I’ve been through a lot of things, lady, but wow!” But I tried it, and I no longer had a compacted colon. I ran straight to those guys, I was like, “Listen. I know it sounds crazy, and I know you guys think I’m full of it, but you were right. If you go and get this out of your body, that’s how you have a compacted colon, literally causes back spasms because your body’s trying to move it out. But when it was dehydrated, drinking and eating all kinds of bad things, it hurts your body.” They used to look at me like, oh, mad scientist Salley.

This is the crazy thing. Rony Seikaly played with me in Miami, and he would say, “Sal, my neck is like this, my lower back is like this.” I would turn around, I would say, “Walk, let me see you walk. Okay, your leg is longer than the other one. You need to go to a doctor.” I was acting like the chiropractor was with me. Dr. Joe Picone, great guy, he’s working in Atlanta now. I would see what it was, and then I would start taking massage classes, and I would work on myself. Because I was working on myself. As a professional athlete, I think guys should go around, they shouldn’t have the entourage to walk around so they can go buy drinks and pick up women. They should bring their entourage to keep their body well-tuned.

I remember Jerry Rice, football player for the San Francisco 49ers, probably the greatest wide receiver of all time, he showed up to the Super Bowl with his dietitian, his nutritionist, his chiropractor. He gave them all tickets, and they worked on him before the game. I think he got MVP that year, that game. He brought the people there who can maintain that Indy 500 car that he’s driving or playing in. I think that if players start thinking that way, the way they treat inanimate objects is way better than the way they treat the human body. So they used to pick and say things. I went on Dr. Oz with my ex-teammate Rick Mahorn, and Rick Mahorn had gained a lot of weight after, and I hadn’t gained any weight. Once I became a vegan, I learned how to eat. He was like, “Wow, we didn’t know you were that smart,” I said, “Yeah, because you just thought I was weird.” But that’s cool. You learn what you learn. I’m helping people now, so that’s the important thing.

STEVE: You’re involved in so many entrepreneurial efforts in the vegan community, so many different projects. Do you want to mention some of the things you’re up to now?

JOHN: One of the things I’m doing is I just hooked up with my friend Victoria, Gunnar Peterson, Jennifer Johnson, these are two trainers, great trainers in Los Angeles, a couple of dietitians, and we’re starting my foundation, which is called Raising Healthy Kids. I’m meeting with all the different corporate companies first as opposed to launching it the way everybody else does and then asking for money. We ask for you to give us the greatest resource in the world, which is human resource. Raising Healthy Kids is going to bring awareness in a cool way so kids will understand why we’re doing it.

For these new mothers who believe that you have to rush and get food to your kid, they say, “Oh, I had to hurry up home, we had to throw something in the microwave, hurry up and give them something to eat.” Then I started thinking. I said maybe we should watch something on lions. I love lions and cheetahs. Let’s see. They don’t rush to get their kids food. They get their kids food when they get them food. When they get them to that point, when there’s something, and they’re hungry, and they have to feed them, they go and they hunt, and they come back.

My mother used to say, I’d say, “Ma, I’m hungry.” She’d go, “Dinner will be ready at 5:30, like it is every day.” I used to have to deal with that. “You’re too hungry?” “Yeah,” because I was growing. She would skin a cucumber, throw apple cider vinegar on it with a dash of salt, pepper, and she would squeeze a lemon. I was like, “What?” I had no idea I was having a cucumber salad. Now they sell it for $5.99. My mother used to make it for me. “Go ahead and have your cucumber salad. You need that anyway.” I would eat a cucumber salad, wouldn’t say anything. She’d say, “You can slice a couple of tomatoes.”

My mother was a kosher caterer, too, so I was blessed to have somebody who, we grew our own vegetables in this garden. Even though we lived in Brooklyn, she was from south Atlanta. She figured out how to plot land and grow okra, collard greens, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers. We didn’t have kale. I would have to go down there and pick it. I got told, I said, “You put me on this path without me realizing it with this organic food,” because she didn’t use pesticides. She would talk about the dirt needed to be treated different. She was so way ahead of her time. I learned it that way. So that’s when Raising Healthy Kids, that’s what I go back to. The foundation will start pretty soon.
I’m doing with a couple of friends, we’re doing Unpretentious Retreats. The funny thing is we’re doing them at the top of the line hotels. God will, the Trump Plaza in certain places, and it’s staycations, it’s right in town. The Four Seasons, the Wilshire Tower, the Peninsula, we have all these people who we sent leads out to to find out the right pricing. It’s a good thing. It starts at $4000 for four days. Somebody was like, “That’s a lot of money.” I was like, well, I walked into the Louis Vuitton store with my friend who’s a manager there, and she said, “We just got this bag, and we’ve only got 14 of them, and we only have two left.” I said, “How much is that bag?” She said, “$4500.” I said, “Did the women who bought the bag for $4500 have $4500 to put back in the bag?” And they all laughed, they said, “No, they probably didn’t have any money to put in the bag, but they got the bag.” And I thought if certain people are thinking the status to send the symbol of looking good is better than feeling good, we have to change that mentality.
I figured out when I was in Costa Rica doing “I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!” that I disconnected from the matrix for 28 days, and I’m a better person for it. So I’m giving a place of totally disconnecting, food is all included, everything is pampered to you. Every single thing. These people stay on the path, and they stay on the path for four days, and it jumpstarts you. You lose weight, you feel better, you sleep, you get massage, chiropractic, you do yoga, you do this unbelievable breathing technique I teach people all the time. It’s about breath. You work out if you want to. We hike. And all the foods are raw/vegan, and they’re all day. There’s no three meals a day. It’s all of a sudden after two hours I’m asking you if you want something. Giving you high alkaline water. I’m explaining to these people exactly how their bodies can kick in. So there’s a four-day and there’s a seven-day. It’s very similar to what We Care was doing, but I realized I can do it in better hotels with a better surrounding that already has the infrastructure. So we’re working on that. It’s called UR, Unpretentious Retreats, and it should be up and going by October.

What else am I doing? The Vegan Vine Wine, everybody should know about the Vegan Vine Wine in case you don’t find it in your store, which should be a sin that it’s not in every store. It’s cabernet sauvignon, cabernet sauvignon blanc, there’s a red, and there’s a chardonnay. They are really, really good. I worked with Mercy for Animals. That’s my charity of choice that I like working around or working with. They buy it all the time. I had some openings at Karyn’s on the Green here in Chicago. We just now got picked up at Crossroads in Los Angeles, a great restaurant owned by Tal Ronnen the chef and Travis Barker and all these people who are vegans in Hollywood. It’s served at Plum up in Seattle, great chef Makini, who I’m thinking about being in business with. It’s sold at Nader Foods, where I’m going to as soon as I finish this. Actually I’m going to one here in Chicago. So the Vegan Vine Wine, and I really push that. We just explain, a lot of people didn’t know that in the making of wine, they use animal products. We decided not to do it the old fashioned way and use bentonite, which is a clay that they use in France and in Italy, so we have 150 acres of this sustainable vineyard.

Then I have VirMax, which you can get a Walgreens, Rite Aids. It’s an all natural male testosterone pill and prostate maintain. Soon we’re coming out with a female libido pill to back out with the male enhancement pill, VirMax. And the big of all is finally, Jolie and myself we’re coming out with better eating today tomorrow and always. These are my enzymes and the herbs and the lotions and the potions and the pills. What I told people, I said, “I’m going to show you how to be organic, how to save the planet, and how to feel better,” meaning body wash that whenever you wash your body, it nourishes your skin, it’s vitamin food. It’s high in density in vitamins in the stuff you’re putting on your body. It cleans your body. It nourishes your skin. It doesn’t destroy the water when it goes down into the drain. It doesn’t go out and destroy the oceans because it’s all natural products. The enzymes go in and help you stay young and help you digest your food, and the herbs go in and they also maintain all your organs. I’m literally waiting, we just did the deal, I’m making the first order, the enzymes order, a couple different enzymes, digestive enzymes and great herbs.

So I’m literally, my whole target and everything in my brain is health, wellness, and subconsciousness. Everyone says, “What about basketball?” I say, well, I did that since 1970, I started playing basketball, and I retired in 2000. So I think that’s good enough. I’m going to only focus on making sure we can be as healthy as possible.

DR. TUTTLE: That’s fascinating, all those different undertakings you have. Steve, do you have anything else?

STEVE: The website is to find out what John’s up to. But we’d like to open up the call to you. We’re going to actually take some questions here. Hello, you’re with us.

CALLER: Hi, John. Hi, everyone. My question is I’m a vegan and I have been for the past two years, and I’ve just through my own, the way I’ve been acting, the way I’ve been eating, I’ve been trying to convince both my brothers, one of them is a basketball player, to kind of switch over and start eating healthier. They’re having issues. They keep saying they’re not going to get enough protein. I did go online, and I try to find other protein alternatives, and I try to use you and other vegan athletes as examples, but they don’t understand. Is there anything that you can let me know that I can take to them and try to convince them?

JOHN: Thank you for calling in. Let your brothers know they’re already stuck when they start talking about protein. This is the first thing you should ask them. You should say to them, “How does the protein work in your body?” They’ll say, “What?” So say, “If you’re eating animal flesh, how does that protein make you stronger?” That’s what you should ask them. They’re going to go, “I don’t know. It just makes you stronger. It makes your muscle stronger. Everyone knows it makes your muscles stronger.” Say, “Right, but how does the animal protein make you stronger.” The reason I tell you to keep asking them that question is because they don’t know the answer. They only know what they were told, and they think whoever told them that, or all the years that that’s been brainwashed into their brains, that that is correct.

The first thing to say is that, “If there is some human rib right next to a cow rib, and you cooked both of them, and you ate the human rib, would that give you strength?” They’ll be like, “No, you don’t eat humans. That’s stupid. That’s cannibalism.” But they’re made up the same, exactly way. They both are red meat. So if eating humans doesn’t make you stronger or give you protein, why do you think eating a cow will? And if it’s so nasty to eat a human, why is it not nasty to eat a cow? At least they stand up all the time, they walk in a pasture, they poop right where they are, how could you consider that to be food? Every time you see a cow, do you go, “Mmm, filet mignon”? No, you don’t. You don’t. Just like if you saw a diamond, you probably wouldn’t know it was a diamond because it’s just a rock. So they have to manipulate it and get to it.

Then tell them this. Go to my website,, look at the videos because that’s what I did. I decided not to be the one who’s going around telling anybody they’re wrong. Don’t tell them they’re wrong. Just make them explain their logic. When it’s not logical, especially when you say men, men usually deal in logic. So if it’s not logical, why do it? It makes no sense. Like if you eat it, and then you
10 Veganpalooza: 2013 Vegan World Summit Hosted by Dr. Will Tuttle and Steve Prussack have to go to sleep, how is that giving you energy? That’s making you sleepy. When I was in college, they made us eat steak and string beans at two o’clock in the afternoon. I’m surprised I even made it to the pros with the way they were feeding me in college.
So once I tell them, I say you just pay attention to what real athletes, and what’s the first thing they do. You see Pat Riley, the basketball player. There’s no meat in the locker room before you play. Just fruit. Just tons of fruit. He goes, he said, “Well, it has natural sugar. It has water so it hydrates you. And the more bananas you eat, you get full of it, and I don’t have these cramp problems with these guys.” LeBron wound up having cramps in his first championship. I tweeted right away, “LeBron, I need you to drink a gallon of coconut water by tomorrow. I do not need you to lose.” Since then, there’s coconut water in the locker room, there’s fruit in the locker room, there’s only thing that there’s these health bars, these fruit bars that have nuts seeds legumes. It’s funny because there’s one guy on a team, and he wears my number, #22, a lot of guys try to do what he’s doing. They go, “You never get hurt.” He says, “Yeah, I don’t put things in my body that don’t nourish my body.” So they’re starting to learn it, and they’re starting to see it. The more they see it, the more it becomes in style, that’s when they’ll do it. That’s just the way it is. So we have to change the culture and the style of what people consider to be food.

DR. TUTTLE: That’s a great answer. Changing the culture and the style because that’s it, what you said, they’re brainwashed, aren’t they? And that’s the only reason they’re saying that.

JOHN: Yeah, I used to be brainwashed. I was brainwashed too. I couldn’t believe they had me believing that. My mom wouldn’t let me eat pork, though. She kept saying, “That is a filthy animal.” I was like, “Okay, Ma.” “Don’t eat it.” I wasn’t listening, but man, thank god she wouldn’t let me eat pork. One, it’s the smartest animal. That’s why they call it a nasty animal. That pig is a smart, smart animal. It knows better. It’s a smart animal. So they didn’t like that the animal was smart and would go and they called it a disgusting animal because it was smart.

DR. TUTTLE: Interesting. I think we are getting to the limit of the time that we have schedule for this session because we have to get ready for the next one. I’m going to kind of wrap it up here. For the last couple minutes, do you want to wrap up our session? It’s been really interesting to hear everything, your stories, and it’s so great to know that you’re in the world working not only to help animals but to help children be healthier and to try to break through the brainwashing that’s forcing us to be so violent towards animals and each other and the Earth. Any last words? You’re a real inspiration for everyone.

JOHN: One thing I’m going to tell you is I’m really proud of you guys for putting on Veganpalooza. I really, as you can see, my chief of staff Sandra Robbins was so adamant. She’s like, “This is a great thing. You’re going to love it.” Then when I read and saw what was happening, I was ecstatic. Then Dr. Tuttle being on the cruise, and listening to me speak, thanks Dr. Tuttle, I really appreciate that people come and hear me speak. Because whenever they say, “What are you going to speak about? “ I speak from my heart. I go from my heart, and I digest as much as I possibly can. I was born in the ‘60s, so reading is a very important thing. What they were doing was constantly pushing Black people to read when I was growing up. Read, go to college, get your degree, get your education, be successful, be respectful, uplift the ‘hood. That was the mentality. That was the mantra that I was coming out of. Then crack kicked in, and we had to deal with the crack situation in the ‘hood. But since then, people have been becoming, getting back into it and being smart and understanding. We now have to realize that the food that was being served in the inner city was surplus food. It was the last of the last of the last. We shouldn’t want to feed our Americans that kind of food. We shouldn’t want to feed anybody, especially Americans.

September 11 happened in 2001, and I remember as if I’m watching it right now when all the dust was coming down and they showed this Black man and this White woman, they were running. You could tell, I don’t know if they knew each other then, but they were just running to safety, and they were both completely covered in ash. There was no color. They were two Americans helping each other to survive. That was the mentality. That was the one week prejudice in this country was gone. That was the one week where the focus was on what’s happening. I realized what that one week did. It made everything still. No flights, no trains, nothing. Everybody was still. Everybody was sitting still not knowing what was going to happen. The consciousness, the thought process, and the ability to help one another had risen to unbelievable heights.

I think we need to get to that point. We need to sit still. We need to go to more places and teach, but we don’t need to be... I went from being a preacher to a teacher. I’m now working on being a sage. Before, I was a preacher. He has his feeling, his mental feeling, his god, his belief. A teacher reads something, figures out how to manipulate it in their words to get it out, and then they test you back to see how much you retain. I’d rather be a sage. I’m going to lay it all out there like it is, I’m going to lay it out in a language you can understand, I’m going to put it logically, and then I’m going to walk away. God willing, you eat from that plate. If not, you had your opportunity.

I tell people everything is a consequence. Everything. My consequence and what I do is I eat and do as many things to keep myself as healthy as possible. What I’m going to die from, I have no idea. But I do know I’m going to die. But in that meantime, I’m going to do as much as I possibly can to stop aiding and abetting in the murder of 56 billion land animals a day. I’m going to tell people exactly what they’re putting in their body and how it is literally destroying our ability to have children and keep our race going strong. I’m going to drink as much clean water as possible and red, great vegan wine as possible, and I want you guys to check it out, and I want you to learn how to do it. But I really thank you guys very much.

DR. TUTTLE: Thanks so much, John. It’s great, what you’re saying, what you’re doing, and I encourage everyone, right, Steve? Just go to All those things you were talking about, your retreats sound very interesting, the BETTA program and the other things to help people eat better and live better. We all have an angle to come from, and it’s great to see it. Do you have any last thoughts, Steve?

STEVE: Just a big thank you to John. John, thanks so much for being part of this event, kicking it off in style. We really, really appreciate it.

JOHN: My pleasure. Peace.

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