At first glance it may not seem like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and I have much in common. I’ve never thrown a touchdown, let alone over 400 of them, and I’m even less likely to convince a supermodel to fall in love with me (David Gandy, where you at?). That said, I do own multiple pairs of Uggs and I love Boston. See, me and him, we’re not so different.
And that's not where the similarities ended. It turns out we have a thing or two in common when it comes to diet. A few months ago, the Brady family’s rather stringent dietary regime was unleashed on the world to a flurry of criticism and questioning. On a basic level, the diet, created by Tom’s personal chef Allen Campbell, is a standard sugar- and gluten-free, low-carb blend of organic proteins and vegetables. According to Campbell, the diet is 80 percent organic vegetables and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and beans, and 20 percent lean meats like grass-fed organic steak and chicken. That’s essentially the diet I follow now, minus a whole bunch of other things I regularly stress eat, so in honor of the return of football season and this superhuman sportsman, I committed to eat like Tom Brady for one week.
To prepare for my week as an elite somebody, I stocked up on organic chicken breasts, quinoa, and beans. I did not go near any nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant) as Tom avoids them because they aren’t anti-inflammatory and I needed to avoid inflammation by even remote association.
Tom Brady does not drink coffee. In fact, he’s never even sipped the life-giving elixir. And, to make matters worse, Tom Brady does not eat sugar. Of any kind. In fact, he rarely eats fruit, save for occasionally adding a banana to a smoothie. So, as the sane coffee-drinking, sugar-needing general population might imagine, I spent most of day one in a glass case of mind fog, exhaustion, and emotion.
Tom Brady still does not drink coffee and I was still struggling. And I was hungry. I’m cool with eating healthy and strictly cooking with coconut oil, but this was already proving to be a reality check to what clean eating really means. Tom is as clean as they come, a challenge that he meets head on and takes in stride as he believes it will bring him an everlasting career as football’s number one quarterback (it actually probably will). Mental fog aside, I felt great, eating almost strictly proteins and vegetables.
Days Three and Four
This diet, as you may have assumed is a little bland. And by now I was fiending for something starchy. Have you ever noticed that when you remove even the small amount of salt, sugar, and fats that you normally consume the first thing you crave is the messiest, hottest, cheesiest Domino’s pizza you can imagine? That was me for every single minute of days three and four. I read that the Bradys, in attempts to jazz up mealtimes, will create unhealthy foods out of healthy ones. For example, according to Joanne Gerrard Young, raw food chef, nutritionist, and personal chef to the Bradys for a few years, they’ll eat a creamy coconut noodles dish made entirely out of julienned vegetables. Starch was a thing of my past.
I quickly decided that, without coffee, this dietary exploration would only last for a full work week. I was shutting this down. I had non-stop lasagna thoughts and I could only avoid the M&M dispenser in the office kitchen for another full day. I ate my organic chicken and vegetables happily knowing this too would pass and sooner than I originally planned. Am I weak? Sure. But at least I would soon be weak and caffeinated. Another dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, tomato-, iodized salt-, and caffeine-free day under my belt, I settled in behind a pizza-size plate of nachos at my favorite mexican restaurant, happy to not have to lead one of the best teams in the NFL to victory or strut my hardest down a couture runway any time soon.