He’s a retired 13-time NBA All-Star who played for the Miami Heat during most of his 16-year career. He led his team to victory many times and he has become Miami’s all-time leader in points, games, assists, steals, shots made, and shots taken. But is Dwyane Wade vegan?
No, Dwyane Wade is not vegan. He transitioned to a healthier diet with more fruit and vegetables during his career, but he didn’t stop eating animal products. He is also a restaurant owner, and he has personally added dishes with animal products to the menu.
Dwyane loves dogs
Before discussing the animals Dwyane eats and serves to customers, it should be noted that Dwyane enjoys the company of animals in his personal life. He and his wife, Gabrielle Union-Wade, have many dogs. In 2015, Gabrielle posted a picture of the four dogs they had at the time, but at least one dog has been added to the family since.
We don’t know if the dogs were adopted or bought from breeders. Hopefully, they were adopted.
Dwyane’s diet during his basketball career
Dwyane didn’t always pay attention to his diet. When he was younger, he could eat all the junk food he wanted and still perform at a high level, so he didn’t see the need to focus on it. But by the time he was 29, he realized that he needed to eat healthier. He spoke about this in a 2012 FOX Sports interview titled “Miami Heat Dwyane Wade sees benefits of changing diet.”
”When it comes to food, I understand the things that I need now,” he said at the time. ”The protein, the drinks, the carbohydrates, I know all the things I need. … The biggest thing is that I’ve talked with a nutritionist, who’s working with the team, who understands what we need, how much we practice, what weight I need to be at, what body fat, this, this and this. Put them together, come up with a master plan and I reap the benefits.”
He went from eating bacon and egg whites on toast to eating pasta and fruit. And Richard Ingraham, his personal chef, also mentioned juices: “He does a juice now that I make out of beets, chlorophyll, ginger. I’m giving him a nature-made Red Bull. It’s all about giving him energy and keeping him as healthy as possible.”
Richard also helped Dwyane learn to appreciate vegetables: “He doesn’t really like vegetables. When I put the salad down, I know that’s something he really doesn’t want to do, but he knows it can help him. It’s not like I’m putting down asparagus. We’re taking baby steps. But it works.”
Dwyane acknowledged that as well: “It’s working for me. It’s not bad. It’s better than I thought. Just trying to give my body an edge. I’m just trying to do whatever I can within my limitations of doing it. Most of my salad consists of fruit. It’s helping me out. I’m just trying to figure out ways that I can make sure I at least give my body a chance to be as healthy as it can be.”
But, although Dwyane significantly increased the amount of healthy, plant-based food in his diet, he didn’t adopt a completely plant-based diet. Richard mentioned that he often cooked chicken breast or turkey breast for Dwyane after a game.
The misconception about animal products
While many athletes believe they need animal products for protein, that’s actually incorrect. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that “vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” They also state that “vegan diets typically meet or exceed recommended protein intakes, when caloric intakes are adequate.” And they specifically mention that all of this applies to athletes as well.
So, there was no nutritional necessity for Dwyane to eat meat or any other animal products. But he may not have been aware of that at the time.
Dwyane’s diet after retirement
Dwyane didn’t consider retirement a reason to cut down on fruit and vegetables. In July 2019, a few months after his last game, he announced that he was doing a “detox” and recorded a video to let people know exactly what he was eating and drinking. The diet was almost entirely plant-based. He even mentioned that the milk he used was almond milk. But, unfortunately, he did add fish to his dinner plate, even though he told viewers that it wasn’t an essential part of the diet.
He doesn’t always eat like that, though, as he proved the next month when fast food chain Popeyes released a fried chicken breast sandwich. Dwyane wanted to try it, but his local Popeyes had run out, which he mentioned on social media. So, the next day, Popeyes sent him a large box filled with the sandwiches. Dwyane immediately made a video in which he described receiving the box as “one of the top five coolest moments ever of being well-known.” And then he made another video in which he and Gabrielle were dancing to the song “Never Knew Love Like This Before” while eating the sandwiches.
The animals in the industries
So, Dwyane is not purely sticking to health food, but his day to day diet is probably relatively healthy. The problem, however, is not health-related. The problem is that he completely overlooks the cruelty behind animal products.
Given that we have no nutritional need for animal products, we have no justification to kill animals. If someone bred dogs into existence just to kill them at only 2 percent of their natural lifespans and put their meat on sandwiches, Dwyane would have a problem with that. But when people do the exact same thing to chickens, he dances and eats the sandwiches.
We’ve all grown up in a society that normalizes completely unnecessary violence against chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, and fish. So, it’s understandable that Dwyane overlooks it. Like many other people, he has probably never stopped to think about it. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t make it less of a problem.
Dwyane the restaurant owner
Years before Dwyane retired, he started thinking about what he wanted to do after retirement. That led him to launch his own wine label, Wade Cellars, in 2015. But he also wanted to open a restaurant. So, he teamed up with the chef and founder of 800 Degrees Pizzeria in Los Angeles and with friend and teammate Udonis Haslem. Together they set up 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen in Miami in 2018, with plans to open up more locations over time.
Animal products were on the menu from the start, but Dwyane personally added more dishes with animal products. He explained it as follows:
“The menu started with pizza and then we were like, okay, we want to do something different. Then we went and added the UD wings and DWade burger. And it just kept going and going. And we realized that because of the family environment we wanted to have something for everyone and I think we accomplished that. I think we have collabed very well and we always got our ear to what is needed. Like chicken fingers wasn’t on our menu, right? We started having families bringing in younger kids and they were like, listen pizza is great, but kids like chicken fingers and fries. Let’s throw that on the menu.”
So, Dwyane’s menu is far from vegan. But Dwyane has shown that he’s able to adapt to new information and changing circumstances. So, hopefully, he will continue to evolve by learning about the animal industries and eliminating animal products from his life and business. There’s a lot of food he can offer his customers that tastes just as good but doesn’t involve the needless exploitation and killing of animals.
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