Tom Brady has said that he wants to play well into his 40s, and who’s to say he can’t? At age 38, and in his 16th NFL season, the Patriots quarterback led the league in touchdown passes (36) and interception percentage (1.1), and his 102.2 passer rating was the fourth highest of his arguably best-ever career.
The key to Brady’s continued success — apart from having been born with abundant talent and physical attributes — is his intense preparation. And a big part of that preparation is his diet, one to which he continually adheres as part of his lifestyle.
We got a peek into that eating regimen recently via Allen Campbell, the personal chef for Brady and his wife, model Gisele Bundchen. Campbell made it clear that the quarterback is very choosy about what he eats, even within the context of a diet that eschews what many people would consider to be staples foods.
Brady does eat meat, but not very much, and certainly nothing like hamburgers or pork chops. From an interview with Campbell by Boston.com:
“80 percent of what they eat is vegetables,” Campbell said. “[I buy] the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon. …
“No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.
“[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.
“What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.
“The kids eat fruit. Tom, not so much. He will eat bananas in a smoothie. But otherwise, he prefers not to eat fruits.”
Man, no eggplants or tomatoes, that’s hardcore. Those are major parts of a lot of vegan diets, never mind vegetarian. Of course, it helps to have an expert chef buying and preparing all this food; otherwise it might be pretty difficult to stick to a regimen such as this.
However, Brady is more disciplined than the average person, and he has literally internalized a philosophy connecting what he eats to how his body reacts. A lengthy profile in Sports Illustrated last year shed some more light on the quarterback’s near-ascetic lifestyle, and it contained this passage:
Take that diet. It’s seasonal, which means he eats certain things in the winter that are considered “hot property” foods, like red meat. In the summer, when it’s time for “cold property” foods, his diet is mostly raw. He subscribes to the 80-20 theory — but it’s not 80 percent healthy food, 20 percent unhealthy. It’s 80 percent alkaline, 20 percent acidic. The idea, he says, is “to maintain balance and harmony through my metabolic system.” That’s why teammates always see him with hummus, raw snack bars packed with nutrients and what one teammate calls “that birdseed s—.” This is the same guy who once ate Christmas breakfast with the [Heath] Evans family and quietly picked all the sausage out from his omelet.
Hey, who can argue with the results? At an age when most athletes are forced to hang ’em up, he’s hanging huge numbers on opponents.
It’s not that there have never been questions about how Brady has been able to do it, with some this past fall focusing on Alex Guerrero, a close business partner and personal adviser who is alleged to have pretended to be a medical doctor and to have peddled a product that turned out to be little more than snake oil. However, there can be little doubt that the quarterback is extremely particular about what he puts into his body in terms of food.