54: NBA star John Salley on sex, spirituality, & veganism


“This one looks and smells different.  You’ve gotta have a smell.  Smell that,” John Salley says, extending two different tomatoes to me, one organic, and the other farmed with pesticides. The difference is unmistakable.  The organic produce smells rich and earthy while the other one smells like nothing at all.

John Salley takes Allison Melody shopping at Whole Foods.

Shopping at Whole Foods with NBA star John Salley

The six foot eleven inch tall former Detroit Piston, and vegan, is giving me a tour of his local Whole Foods Market in Tarzana, California, and showing me how he shops for his family, including his wife and his children “who are growing like wildebeests.”

I wore my absolute highest heels to meet with the actor and NBA star, but he still towered over me.  John has quite a commanding presence, but as we toured the aisles of Whole Foods, I realized how down to earth he really was, even though I had to crane my neck to make eye contact with him.

John Salley takes Allison Melody shopping at Whole Foods.

Shopping at Whole Foods with NBA star John Salley

John Salley’s saga is pretty incredible. He spent 15 years in the NBA and became the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams, which he says can be attributed to his healthy diet. He is also well-known for his 7 years co-hosting the Emmy nominated show, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” as well as acting in numerous films and TV shows.

John is hardly the mental image most people have when they hear the word “vegan,” but he chose to adopt a plant-based diet many years ago as a result of the health issues he was having.  “A vegan diet changed my life,” the former Detroit Piston and Chicago Bull says.  At a young age, John had been suffering from a compacted colon and high cholesterol.  After his doctor told him his eating habits were killing him, John chose to forgo their cholesterol lowering medications and instead adopted a plant-based diet. This life changing decision was all it took to completely transform his body, heal his colon, lower his cholesterol and allow him to have a highly successful career.

“My message I want everybody to know is: Eat a plant-based diet, or don’t. A plant-based diet keeps you alive, the other diet keeps you in the hospital.”  Salley saw first hand the impact of a poor diet after he lost his father to cancer.  It was something I learned we both had in common.  This close and painful loss had motivated us both to reevaluate and overhaul our diets.  “I didnt want to see anybody else go through that,” says Salley.

In addition to changing his own lifestyle, Salley has used his visibility to increase awareness about the advantages of a plant-based diet.  In 2009 and 2010, he spoke to Congress about the Child Nutrition Act, asking members to support legislation that would increase vegetarian options in meals served in public schools.

Even though his standards of nutrition may seems rigid, John doesn’t take any of it too seriously. He even enjoys an occasional glass of wine from The Vegan Vine, the vegan winery he has partnered with.  He also loves to laugh and make jokes.  “You know how smart Bugs Bunny was,” he remarks persuasively as he lifts up some organic carrots. And then it’s on to the greens, “Celery- great for your breath.  Hint, everyone!”

You can see the full shopping trip in the upcoming documentary, Food Heals! Until then check out latest our podcast episode with John!

John joins Allison and Suzy in West Hollywood to discuss the sexual and spiritual benefits of the vegan lifestyle on this episode of the The Food Heals Podcast.

Things get a little “dirty” with John in Part 1 of this 2-part episode. Suffering from high cholesterol and a compacted colon, John shares how he healed his body through a vegan diet and colonics so he could continue to play basketball. Get ready to laugh with us as we cover sex, spirituality, and green tea!

Warning: Explicit! http://bit.ly/JohnSalley-Part1


About John:

Most can achieve a goal and be pleasantly satisfied with their results but to continually create new tasks to accomplish and to reinvent yourself is the mark of a versatile and motivated individual.  It is the definition of father, athlete, actor, entrepreneur, talk show host, philanthropist, wellness advocate, vegan and champion: John Salley.  A proud native of Brooklyn, New York, John found a love for basketball at an early age.  He accepted a Basketball Scholarship to Georgia Tech to play for legendary head coach Bobby Cremins. From there Salley went on to become a 15-year NBA veteran and was the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams.  During the 80’s, Salley was a member of the Detroit Piston “Bad Boys” squad.  Salley went on to Chicago playing with Michael Jordan as part of the Bulls 1996 championship team.  In 1999, Phil Jackson invited Salley to come to Los Angeles to provide experience and leadership to the 1999-2000 Lakers’ championship team.

After his retirement from the NBA in 2000, Salley explored several opportunities in both television and film.  John’s film credits include Bad Boys 1 & 2, Eddie and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Confession of a Shopaholic. John has served as host for numerous award shows and was also the host of The John Salley Block Party on 100.3 The Beat Morning Show in Los Angeles.  John recently hosted the Reunion Shows of VH-1’s #1 rated show, Basketball Wives.

John spent 7 years serving as the co-host of the Emmy nominated, critically acclaimed “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” on Fox Sports Net.  He was also the host of the sports talk show “Ballers” on BET.  John is also the head of his own production company, John Salley Presents, Inc., where John uses his uncanny ability to find unique and interesting people and projects for television, film and Internet. In April 2011 until recently, John hosted his own talk show Game On! airing on The Reelz Channel. In addition, John was also a co-host on The Car Show, which aired on Speed Channel.


John Salley’s Links

Websites: johnsalley.com , z420.tv





Our Favorite 3 Moments:

@ 8:40   What life is about

@ 21:30  Glass half full…

@ 30:45  “one night stand…”


Listen NOW on iTunes!



(Click to tweet)
Tweet: Thanks John for a hilarious bellyfull of laughter about sex and veganism @thejohnsalley http://bit.ly/JohnSalley-Part1 #FoodHealsPodcast

Tweet: John Salley enlightens us on the myth of eating animal protein to gain muscle mass. #vegan http://foodhealsnation.com/54/ @FoodHealsPodcast #diet

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About Us:

Being hailed as “Sex and the City for Food,” The Food Heals Podcast brings together experts in the field of nutrition, health and healing to teach you the best-kept natural secrets to being a hotter, healthier, happier YOU!

The Food Heals Podcast is hosted by Allison Melody and Suzy Hardy – two self-proclaimed natural chicks who will rock your world and change your beliefs about health! This sexy, savvy duo provides eco-friendly advice on a variety of issues including the healing power of nutrition, living authentically, turning your passion into your career, choosing the best natural health and beauty products, the benefits of a plant-based diet and so much more!

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