Tom Brady’s book “The TB12 Method” is out this week which is a rare moment when the national news media debates nutrition and Americans pay attention. The Patriots quarterback studiously describes the ‘strict’ diet and lifestyle habits that allow him to maintain peak physical performance as he approaches 40.
What is the “Tom Brady Diet”? In short:
- Mediterranean Diet-focus on organic, non-GMO, locally sourced foods
- Acid Base Balance-focus on alkalizing foods, hydration and electrolytes
Mr. Brady has taken the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and updated it for the modern era by recognizing that local, organic, and non-GMO are not buzzwords but necessary steps to take to protect you and your family’s health. His focus on hydration, minimal caffeine and alcohol intake and avoiding refined sugars is admirable but not earth shattering.
Tom’s book is bringing positive attention to diets that focus on maintaining an ideal Acid-Base balance in the body and frequently replacing electrolytes and trace minerals. Human physiology demands that the pH of our bodies falls within a very narrow range on the pH scale in order for us to survive. Like all chemical reactions, there is a sweet spot where the ideal pH will facilitate peak human performance such as chemical reactions that mediate reflexes, muscle twitch response and recovery time from stress.
The Mediterranean diet, by its focus on plant based foods, is naturally an ‘alkalizing’ diet in contrast to the SAD (Standard American Diet) whose focus on refined carbohydrates and abundant animal protein facilitates a more acidic human ph. We now are learning how human pH affects the gut microbes that are primarily responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption, like us, they too have an ideal pH where they will thrive.
A little more controversial is Tom’s belief in avoiding nightshade vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes). Naturopathic Doctors have long known that certain patients, such as those with auto-immune conditions, should avoid nightshades, and for good reason. Nightshades in the Solanaceae family of plants contain toxic alkaloids and non-food plants, like belladonna, are not surprisingly found in this family. Avoiding nightshades makes good sense for those expressly on an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation in the GI tract is a key indicator of improper digestion, poor nutrient absorption and chronic GI distress.
So, what is the media talking about? Here are some headlines…
“Tom Brady’s Insane Health Regimen” Real Clear Life
“This is how Tom Brady eats every day, and Its actually insane” Men’s Health
“I ate exactly like Tom Brady for a week and it made me feel better” Business Insider
Well, if eating a plant based Mediterranean diet is insane then please call me crazy. The Tom Brady diet may be better renamed the common-sense diet. Any time the national media debates nutrition and the current scientific research into maintaining peak human performance at any age, then it is a positive step toward more healthful eating.
Dr. Coleen Murphy ND, LAc.