Health is a top priority for NBA star Jrue Holiday, who pivoted from eating honey buns to dairy-free alternatives after he realized how much better he felt once he dropped the dairy. This year marks Jrue's 12th year in the big leagues, and even at this late point in his career, staying in peak shape is as automatic as a layup in the paint, thanks to his diet.

The basketball star was first introduced to dairy alternatives when he and his wife Lauren Holiday, a professional soccer player, found out their four-year-old daughter, Jrue Tyler Holiday is lactose intolerant. Jrue said his daughter often had ear infections when she ate dairy so together he and his wife set out to find the perfect alternative that not only tasted good but was also full of plant-based protein to fuel a family of athletes.

Jrue and Lauren's daughter naturally gravitated to the pea protein-based Ripple Foods' Kids products when they shopped around at the grocery store, seeking out plant-based options. Soon enough, the refrigerator at their home in Milwaukee was stocked with all kinds of Ripple Foods products, including protein shakes Jrue drinks every day and swears they are the secret to all-star performance on game day. "Vanilla is my favorite flavor," Jrue told The Beet in an exclusive interview. He described the drink as smooth and delicious, explaining that it doesn't have a "chalky" texture which is common in most protein drinks. After playing several games fueled by Ripple Foods protein shakes, Jrue wanted to become part of the company's team, it was a "no brainer" to join forces with a product he loved.

Today, May 19th, Jrue Holiday announced his partnership with Ripple Foods, aligning the brand's mission, "Dairy-Free Done Right," with his own experiences. After continuously drinking these protein shakes before and after game day, he's noticed a difference in his sleep schedule, saying, "I sleep better, which is huge since I have young kids," said Jrue. He also pointed out that his recovery time is better which helps boost performance and noted he doesn't have as much mucus build-up anymore, an important part of any pro athlete's ability to exert energy for long periods of time.

We recently spoke with Jrue Holiday as he's preparing his body and mind to help lead the Bucks to victory during playoff season. In the interview, find out Jrue's exercise routine, favorite cheat meal, and if he plans on leaning more towards a fully plant-based diet.

The Beet: What does your game day exercise routine look like?

Jrue Holiday: Before game day, I wake up and shoot hoops for the most part of the morning, then I walk through the plays to remind myself what the team and I will do in the game, then I lift in the gym and I always bring a vanilla Ripple protein drink with me when I workout because it gives me more energy and I like to know exactly what I put in my body, especially on game day. After that, I go over the plays for the game again and have another Ripple protein drink before it's time to get on the court.

I love drinking Ripple because it gives me energy and I think this is a great substitute for anyone looking for a plant-based, dairy-free alternative because this isn't chalky, it tastes just like a regular shake and you wouldn't be able to tell the dairy-free difference.

The Beet: Why do you prefer a dairy-free diet?

Jrue Holiday: I'm always on a mission to put better things in my body since it's my 12th year in the NBA. I used to eat honey buns all the time without thinking if they would affect my health or performance. So, I have a four-year-old who's lactose intolerant and she gets ear infections all the time so I had to find dairy alternatives for my daughter and she loved Ripple Kids products, so this product was really the best choice for me and my family - it was a no brainer. Everyone in my family loves the product and since my wife and I are athletes, it's critical for us to get protein and Ripple has 20 grams per bottle, which is huge.

The Beet: Do you noticed a difference in your performance when you eat dairy-free?

Jrue Holiday: When I don't eat dairy, I notice a difference in my sleep. I sleep easier and that's been huge especially since I have young kids. Also, sometimes when I drink dairy I get a lot of mucus build up and since I've been off dairy it's been gone. I feel better, lighter, and I have more energy. When I have four games in one week, it's not always easy to recover completely but when I have dairy-free products like Ripple, I recover much easier and better. Sometimes I feel old in age, but a dairy-free diet keeps me feeling young.

The Beet: Does your family eat plant-based?

Jrue Holiday: Health is a big thing for me and my family. My wife is training for a marathon and we don't eat completely plant-based but we do watch what we put in our bodies. Even after she workouts, she also drinks Ripple.

Personally, I try my best not to eat cheese and sometimes I eat alternatives for meats, but I'm still looking for alternative products that I like to eat. Right now, I eat a lot of penne pasta with pesto and I like to adventure and try new foods but I'm a simple guy. My guiltiest pleasure is orange chicken from Trader Joe's but it also has rice and broccoli.

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