I should have posted this right after the Super Bowl, when (sigh) Tom Brady pulled it out yet again. At least everybody said it was the most boring SB ever. I don’t care much for Tom Brady—can you tell? Of course, one might ask, “Who asked you, Debi?” And I give him full, full props for his total unflappability and steel under fire. Hey, arrogance has its upside.
Anyway, though, I hadn’t realized that Mr. Brady, just like every other celebrity on the planet, has his own very special Diet plan with his own very special science. Well, it’s actually his guru who has all this special stuff: a guy named Alex Guerrero who has been investigated twice by the Federal Trade Commission for selling quackery in a bottle—the first time for something called “Supreme Greens” which claimed to cure “ailments such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease,” and the second for “NeuroSafe,” which “represents the only preventative measure available to athletes to protect their brain. When used consistently, NeuroSafe helps to dramatically improve recovery from head trauma by providing the brain the nutrients it needs to repair itself.” (Both quotations from “Report: Tom Brady’s guru lied that he was an MD, was investigated by feds,” CBS Sports.)
Guerrero has made a number of claims about his ability to train and safeguard athletes along with helping them recover from injuries, but probably his biggest claim to fame comes with his diet diatribes. The title of this article from Vox says it all: “Tom Brady’s diet book makes some strange claims about body chemistry. The Super Bowl champ’s diet is healthy — just not for the reasons he claims.” It’s the same old thing as I keep pounding on about: Some very basic ideas on eating well, especially cutting way down or out on processed junk, but then, since nobody makes any money that way, adding in what I call crazy talk, usually calling for you to spend money, often on supplements.
I’m going to focus on what is probably the most laughable aspect of Guerrero’s diet plan: getting your body into an alkaline state by avoiding certain foods and (sigh) drinking alkaline water. Of course, you can buy that stuff online. Actually, you could just drink water with some baking soda added, I guess. Anyway, here’s a good quotation from the Vox article cited above:
For example, let’s first address his claims about acidic and alkaline foods. Brady suggests that by avoiding certain acidifying foods, like meat, refined grains, or ketchup, you can control your body’s pH balance and improve your health and athletic performance. The problem here is that pH balance, like the body’s temperature, is very tightly regulated, and diet has little to no impact on it. Instead, your lungs and kidneys keep the body’s pH in check automatically.
Now let me ask you: Is it a good idea to avoid refined grains? Yes. Ketchup? Well, maybe if you drown everything you eat in it (a là Richard Nixon with his ketchup-topped cottage cheese for lunch), but not because of the acidic nature of the tomatoes in it (part of the “deadly nightshade” family—oh my!) but because it has a ton of sugar in it. Like, four grams per tablespoon, or 25-30% of the total volume. And meat . . . well, it’s a good idea to eat meat you cook yourself and to avoid too many fast-food burgers, but how it’s “acidifying” is kind of a mystery to me.
In fact, one could say that all foods become acidic the second they hit the stomach’s gastric juices, which are composed mainly of hydrochloric acid, a substance much stronger than anything you can eat or drink. So that’s sort of that on the alkaline front, folks.
The thought occurred to me that the whole idea of having to somehow “re-program” the way our bodies work is profoundly mistrustful of the way God has created us in the first place. I’ve said repeatedly, “I’ll keep my body functioning the way God made it, thank you very much,” but I haven’t made this further point. What makes us think that we know best in this regard? It’s pretty arrogant.
Brady is a superb athlete because he trains relentlessly, eats a healthy diet even though it’s ridiculously restricted, and—let’s be realistic here—has to have inherited great abilities. That last point doesn’t diminish his accomplishments at all, as you have to do the work. But I can assure you that he started out with a solid foundation. And an interesting statistic: The Washington Post ran a recent article analyzing how many hits Brady takes versus other quarterbacks and found that he gets sacked about half as much. The Patriots are simply very, very good at pass protection. His low injury rate is due in large part to that protection.
Well, this was supposed to be short, so I’ll quit there. Later on this week I’ll be reviewing the book by Tommy Tomlinson that does indeed have something worthwhile to say about how we should eat. So that will be a relief!
Link to the Tomlinson book is an Amazon Affiliate link. If you click on it and purchase the book, or indeed any other item(s) during that session, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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