Kris “Hi-Lite” Bruton, 47, has been on a grueling European tour with the legendary exhibition team the Harlem Globetrotters. He has played in more than 100 games in more than 17 countries. But he says he’s doing just fine. In fact, he says, he feels better than he has in years. His secret, he says? Going vegan.
Known for his wiry strength, above-the-rim style and humorous exchanges with fans like this one in Barcelona, Bruton is the oldest active player and the longest-running, having played 17 seasons with the Globetrotters team. He started his career playing with the Chicago Bulls in 1994. As a Globetrotter, Bruton plays an average of 150 games around the world every year. He has top-notch endurance and athleticism that match his hoop skills. He is also great at entertaining the audiences.
At 47, Bruton shows no signs of slowing down, which he credits to switching to a plant-based diet last year.
I was never lacking for energy. Never was I not strong enough to perform anything that I had to do, and I didn’t have any injuries,” said Bruton. Since adopting a plant-based diet, however, “I feel great, I think I look good physically, and I just hope people give [veganism] a chance to see what it could do for them,” he added.
Bruton’s switch to veganism was prompted by the passing of his mother, who died of leukemia in August 2017. When his brother was later diagnosed with leukemia (he is now cancer-free), Bruton, believing he could be genetically susceptible to the disease, started researching the subject at length. He found a handful of studies suggesting that adopting a plant-based diet could lower his cancer risk. He learned that limiting consumption of red and processed meat and eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans can reduce cancer risk.
A typical day for Bruton starts with a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, wheat toast without butter, and a fruit (a banana, apple, or orange). For lunch or dinner, he’ll have roasted potatoes, beans, brown rice, asparagus and romaine lettuce, which he says provide “more than enough” fuel for the court. As a snack, he’ll have peanuts or cashews, a piece of fruit, or a cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice. His favorite cheat meal? A vegan burger at LTO Burger Bar in his native South Carolina, which he says “tastes better than a regular cheeseburger.”
While on tour, Bruton bolsters his diets with a calisthenics-focused fitness routine, which include crunches, planks, body-weight squats and pull-ups, each to three sets of 10 reps, in addition to 100 pushups a day. His go-to exercises at home? The bench press and squats (each to 135 pounds), also for three sets of 10 reps.
Since going green last fall, Bruton says he’s lost almost 15 pounds. He says going vegan has made him a better finisher.
“People are watching me dunk on guys. I’m moving, I’m quick, I’m not tired … it’s almost like I turned back the clock,” says Bruton. “People are like, ‘Is he 20 or is he 40?’”
Bruton’s lifestyle change is noticed by his younger teammates, who have tried dabbling in veganism like Corey “Thunder” Law, 28. “When he first told me about this, I said, ‘Kris, you’re going too far, man,” Kris is somebody I look up to because at his age, to be able to do what he’s still doing is just phenomenal.“
Be inspired to eat a healthy diet and keep fit so that you too can defy age.#Rewordit