Unless you spent last week under a rock, you probably heard about Tom Brady, the enormously successful quarterback of the New England Patriots. For about the tenth time, he led his team to the AFC Championship Game, just one game short of the Super Bowl. Yes, his team lost and he had kind of a sloppy game, but he is still one of the best of the best. Whether you love him or despise him, you can’t argue with his track record of winning.
Incidentally, I can almost always tell who the “good guys” are in sports by how badly they are vilified by the press. For all of Tom’s controversy, I keep finding good things about him, his family, and his contribution to the community.
Tom Takes A Controversial Stand
Last fall, he made some shocking, controversial statements about soft drinks and sugary cereals in an interview. I say “shocking” and “controversial” because the mainstream media gets paid to protect the pharmaceutical and processed food industries, and he called them all out for poisoning kids and lying about it. It’s dangerous to tell that kind of truth and it got my attention. I encourage you to read that article.
More recently, Brady’s personal chef exposed how the family eats, and it caused even more controversy. It shouldn’t be surprising that a professional athlete at the top of his game protects his body by choosing healthy, life-giving foods, but somehow, this kind of thing makes people say crazy things.
Does Tom Brady Know Our Little Secret?
So, let’s take a look at how the Brady family eats and see how it stacks up against the things we’ve been talking about here. I found this detailed article in the Health and Fitness section of Men’s Journal. Here’s what they said, and my reaction to it:
“Since Brady’s personal chef, Allen Campbell, dished on the anti-inflammatory diet he feeds the golden couple, many are wondering what the deal is with this Dr. Andrew Weil–created, Mediterranean-based diet.”
So far, so good. Actually, when I found this article, I realized that this is the perfect way to wrap up our month-long discussion of the Mediterranean Diet. There’s nothing like seeing it in action. It’s also nice when someone everybody knows validates what I’ve been saying. It’s almost like they’ve been reading my blog. 😉
“In the name of reducing or preventing inflammation — a chronic condition linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis — the diet calls for a variety of fruits and vegetables including lots of dark leafy greens and antioxidant berries, lean organic meats, whole grains, and fatty fish such as salmon rich in omega-3 fatty acids.”
Boom! That’s it!
“Red wine is the only type of alcohol for which Dr. Weil gives a somewhat reluctant thumbs up.”
Blue Zones gives wine a more enthusiastic thumb’s up, but the principle here is that alcohol in general is counter-productive. I don’t mind people having a little wine from time to time, but it floors me to see how much alcohol so many pro athletes consume, even if their body mass affords them a little more tolerance. I think alcohol does more harm than good.
“On the “avoid” list: margarine, vegetable shortening, partially hydrogenated oils, white flour, white rice, white bread, coffee (green tea is recommended instead). So obviously, no processed or fast food. Ever. Dairy products are permissible but they should be organic and sparing.”
This is a dream paragraph for me!! Read it again and let it soak in. If people would obey this paragraph alone, the medial industry would shrivel up from lack of business.
“In his interview with, Campbell said the Brady-Bundchen clan doesn’t eat dairy, whereas Dr. Weil allows organic yogurt, high-quality cheese, and omega-3 enriched eggs.”
This is a mixed bag. You can live without cheese, and I’m OK with free-range eggs, but there’s so much benefit to be found in yogurt. Organic yogurt may qualify as a dairy product, but in my book, the dairy part is less important than the live bacterial culture it contains that makes it so powerful for a healthy gut.
“Brady’s chef doesn’t serve mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, or tomatoes, claiming that this “nightshade” group of vegetables are inflammatory; Dr. Weil’s diet permits them.”
I haven’t addressed nightshades on the blog yet and I apologize for that, because it’s important to understand how they work. Some of my colleagues avoid them at all costs because of the risk of brain swelling and other inflammation. We’ll talk more about that soon.
“Dr. Weil recommends green tea, which has half the caffeine of coffee, while Campbell says Brady and Bundchen don’t consume caffeine.”
There’s boxloads of research on both sides of the caffeine debate, so I handle this one on a patient-by-patient basis. As a rule of thumb, I think most people get too much caffeine in their diet and could benefit from reducing it, but I’m not 100% against it.
The article goes on to list some of the benefits of this diet:
- It’s low in saturated fat but high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts so you won’t feel deprived.
- The diet is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which help you stay energized, alert, and lowers your risk for inflammation-related illnesses.
- Even Campbell’s version provides enough variety that you’re not likely to get bored, and eating in restaurants isn’t difficult.
- Anyone with access to organic produce and whole grains can follow it, and as long as you don’t go nuts buying lots of organic, grass-fed meat, it’s not an expensive way to eat.
I’m not sure why the writer took the time to make a negative comment about grass-fed beef here. The Mediterranean Diet doesn’t allow for much red meat, so this really isn’t an issue. Maybe he’s afraid if he doesn’t use his platform to vilify grass-fed beef at least once, he won’t get invited to write for other media outlets. Anyway, the media is becoming a dark wasteland of misinformation.
So, Tom Brady’s diet gets a passing grade from us. I’m glad it’s getting some positive press. He has such a huge platform to impact so many people’s thinking, and this is a good impact. Maybe more people will start to see the benefits of healthy eating with the Mediterranean Diet.
What About You?
Now that we’ve been talking about the Mediterranean Diet for a whole month of Wednesdays, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you. If you’ve begun to make some changes in this direction with your food, take a few seconds to share in the comments on Facebook how the change is making you feel. What results are you seeing? Do you feel like you could lead an NFL team to the championship?
We may not have Tom Brady’s public platform, but we could make a difference in the life of someone we know. It’s so worth it.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas