What Tom Brady really eats
Tom Brady is a superstar quarterback with a fistful of Superbowl rings and an equally famous supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. And while you may think that Tom Brady’s super-sized success is due to his hitting the DNA jackpot, the truth is Tom follows a strict lifestyle regimen he’s developed with his controversial life and wellness coach Alex Guerrero.
Tom’s even got a book about his lifestyle. The TB12 Method details Tom’s lifestyle philosophy which he credits to his success on and off the football field. And it is chock full of details about Tom’s dietary beliefs, which are served to him and the entire Brady family daily with the aid of a personal chef.
Think you know what Tom Brady really eats? Read on to find out what it’s like to chow down in the Brady household.
Bring on the veggies
In addition to working in top restaurants and hotels in Boston and Miami, Tom’s private chef, Allen Campbell, studied plant-based nutrition at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Chef Campbell told Boston.com that he serves Tom and family an 80 percent plant-based diet, focused on vegetables, whole grains, and beans. The remaining 20 percent is rounded out with small portions of lean meats like grass-fed steak, duck, chicken, and wild-caught salmon.
Campbell said, “My philosophy is that a plant-based diet has the power to reverse and prevent disease,” adding, “it was just such a great match between what they wanted and my philosophy.”
Not just any old fruits, grains, and vegetables are going to do for the Brady clan. In addition to focusing on a plant-based diet for the Bradys, Chef Campbell also makes sure everything he purchases for the family at farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, and Boston’s The Butcher Shop, is organic and free of GMOs.
He told Boston.com, “I make conscious decisions to buy local and organic, and to stay away from GMOs, and to think about the future of the planet and the future of humans. … If it’s not organic, I don’t use it.”
What won't he eat?
As you might imagine with such a strict diet, there are lots of things Tom, Gisele, and the kids won’t eat. The first group on that long list is processed foods, particularly anything that’s full of added sugars. In 2015, Brady told WEEI radio that Coca-Cola was “poison for kids.”
Coke wasn’t the only brand name called out by Brady in the interview. He pointed out that people consider Frosted Flakes a real food, and noted that lots of junk food gets advertised at the Super Bowl because the companies have money to throw around to “brainwash” people into believing their products are good.
Say goodnight to these foods
It’s not just processed foods and added sugars that Tom avoids. In fact, there are a number of seemingly healthy vegetables that Tom won’t eat as well.
For Brady and family, veggies like eggplant, peppers, white potatoes, and even tomatoes are a no-go because they belong to the nightshade family of plants. He claims they cause inflammation in the body, although science doesn’t really agree with him.
Chef Campbell told Boston.com, “[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.” Good thing he isn’t trying this with an Italian athlete. He does have Irish roots, however, so potatoes (also in the nightshade family) would probably be out, too.
What about bread?
Adding to the list of foods that the Brady clan won’t eat? Any foods containing gluten. So traditional breads, pastas, and muffins are certainly off the table. But just when you start to think Tom and Gisele are living on nothing but green juice and algae, Chef Campbell let’s us in on what some typical meals in the Brady house do include.
Campbell told Boston.com he loves serving meals in bowls, and described a quinoa dish with wilted greens he’d served recently: “I use kale or Swiss chard or beet greens. I add garlic, toasted in coconut oil. And then some toasted almonds, or this cashew sauce with lime curry, lemongrass, and a little bit of ginger. That’s just comfort food for them.”
Also on the menu? Vegetable maki with brown rice, lentil and buckwheat “footballs,” and fruit and spirulina roll-ups for the kids.
Move over, milk
Another food group that makes the naughty list in the Brady household? Dairy products.
In his book, Brady writes that the milk industry relied on heavy advertising in the last few decades to push its way into American households, and he even helped: “Remember milk mustaches? I actually did that campaign back in 2002!” But he contends that dairy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: “Our belief at TB12 is that dairy products are high in calories and lower in nutritional value than other foods.” (More ice cream for the rest of us.)
What else does he avoid?
So we know that Tom and family avoid foods like sugar, dairy, and gluten… but that really only scratches the surface when it comes to the list of foods that Chef Campbell will never cook with when preparing their meals.
Chef Campbell steers away from MSG and olive oil, although he is okay with “raw olive oil” sometimes. He said he only cooks with coconut oil and chooses Himalayan pink salt over iodized salt, every time.
Tom acknowledges that his diet may seem particularly limiting to some folks. He writes in his book that it “feels unnatural to eat any other way,” and he points out that a lot of us are accustomed to “white or pale-looking foods — french fries, potato chips, white bread, chicken nuggets — that don’t exist in nature.” Very true, Tommy!
Tom’s strict dietary regimen isn’t just about eating one food and avoiding another. Equally important to his nutrition philosophy is the idea that certain foods should not be combined with others. In Tom’s world, meats and starchy carbs, like rice, should never be eaten together, but instead both eaten when combined with vegetables.
And when it comes to fruits, Tom believes it’s best to not combine them with anything at all. While he may sometimes blend some fruits with nuts or seeds in a pre-workout smoothie, he believes it’s best to eat fruits all by themselves.
“Eat fruits alone,” he writes in The TB12 Method. “They digest quickly. Other foods don’t.” (Science suggests there isn’t any risk associated with eating fruit combined with other foods, but he’s the world-class athlete here, so he can do what he likes.)
Tom Brady’s nutritional philosophy, and one of the major focuses of his book, champions the idea of eating a diet comprised of mostly “alkalizing” foods, which Tom believes will positively affect the pH balance of his body.
Tom writes in his book that an alkaline diet “helps the body thrive, whereas eating too many acidifying foods leads to a condition called acidosis, which makes us more prone to infections, colds, flu, low energy, fatigue, sore muscles, joint pain, hip fractures, bone spurs, poor concentration, and mood swings.”
So what foods would be included in a mostly alkaline diet? Most fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and veggies, which explains Tom’s preference for plant-based foods. The foods that are considered “acidic,” and should be eaten sparingly include meats, eggs, some grains, and alcohol. However, Healthline points out that the reason this diet is good for your body is because it avoids processed foods — the acidity doesn’t really make any difference.
His morning jolt
The Boston Globe gives us some more details from Tom’s book that discuss his morning routine. To hydrate, Tom starts at 6 a.m. with 20 ounces of water, which he always mixes with his own brand of TB12 electrolytes. “I add electrolytes to virtually everything I drink,” Brady said, noting that he drinks as many as 25 glasses of water per day. (Please note that water intoxication is real and deadly — Tom Brady hasn’t gotten there, but just … be careful, folks.)
He washes down his morning glass of electrolyte water with a smoothie. “Typically, it contains blueberries, bananas, seeds, and nuts,” Brady said. “It’s nutrient dense, high in fat, high in protein, and high in calories.” Sounds delicious!
With the long list of foods and drinks Tom and family avoid, you might assume desserts are completely off the menu, but that isn’t the case.
For the kiddos, Chef Campbell employs use of three dehydrators in the Brady kitchen to make dried fruit, and he also makes natural sweet treats like raw chocolate chip cookies and raw granola.
Boston.com reports it’s not just the kids enjoying the occasional treat. Tom’s book includes a recipe for his avocado ice cream, which created a lot of buzz when he served it to Patriots reporters for his 40th birthday. The “ice cream” is a blend of just six ingredients: avocado, raw cashews, coconut, dates, cocoa powder, and water.
He's never hangry
While Tom Brady’s diet may seem incredibly restrictive, one thing you can be sure of — he never goes hungry.
Tom believes in eating nutrient-dense food, and eating it often. He makes sure to eat within 20 minutes of finishing a workout, when he typically enjoys a smoothie packed with a few scoops of his own branded protein powder.
Throughout the day, in between lunch and dinner, which may include fish with veggies, Tom is also sure to get in some snacks. If he isn’t munching on fruit, his snacks may include guacamole, hummus, and raw veggies. If he gets a late-night hankering, he enjoys a cup of bone broth.
But what if he’s on the road? Tom has a plan for that, too — TB12-branded snacks and protein bars. Now for the next question: What did Tom eat before all this hullabaloo?