Let’s get this part over with:
I know enough about football to state that, if Tom Brady – a.k.a. in these parts as “Our Tom” - isn’t the GOAT (Great of All Time quarterback), I’d like to know who is. (And, no, Peyton Manning need not apply.) He’s also a tremendous leader on the field, beloved of his teammates, and, in the most recent Super Bowl, demonstrated off-the-charts mental toughness by engineering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Brady’s odd-ish (and odd-ishly tepid) support for Trump aside, he seems to be a pretty good guy. He’s involved with the requisite good works. He seems devoted to his extended family – not just the wife and kids, but his parents, and sisters and their kids as well. Plus he’s plenty good looking.
All this said, I’m not a colossal fan of the TB12-is-perfect order.
On the field, he may be a flipping genius, but I just can’t get into off the field Brady worship. His public personality is just too anodyne, his public pronouncements banal in the extreme. He may well be fascinating in person, but what us non-insiders get is pretty dull. He may just be a dull person, with few interests beyond football. He may just have nothing to say. But there’s always the possibility that the dull personality that he projects may well be deliberately projected on his part. The man owes “us” (the fans who pays his wages by supporting the Patriots) nothing beyond what he does when he’s got a football in his hand. If I were a celebrity-athlete, I might well want to keep my private persona private, too.
Anyway, Our Tom is about to become a best-selling author.
We are not, of course, talking Joyce Carol Oates or Colson Whitehead territory here. This ain’t literary fiction. (Not with that size of an advance!). And it’s not memoir, either. (Amy Schumer – who’s only 36 – scored a $9M advance for hers, by the way.)
No, Our Tom has secured a $5M+ deal from Simon & Schuster to write about something he knows about: “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance.”
The publisher said that the 320-page book, that is scheduled to hit shelves in September, will be "a gorgeously illustrated and deeply practical 'athlete's bible' that reveals Brady's revolutionary approach to sustained peak performance for athletes of all kinds and of all ages." (Source: ESPN)
Well, if anyone knows something about sustained peak performance, it would have to be a fellow who’s about to turn 40 who’s still playing peak performance football. So I can see a lot of folks buying the book: wannabe athletes and TB12 fans are already lining up to pre-purchase on Amazon.
But who’s actually going to follow the advice? Because, however banal Brady tends to appear, he does have a pretty unorthodox approach to nutrition, which is presumably one of the best-seller-in-the-making’s prime topics.
I’m all for nutrition. And if I had Tom’s money, I’d pay for a personal chef, too. But are most folks gong to follow the Tom Brady way of eating? Here’s how it was described by Alan Campbell, his private chef, in a boston.com interview from last winter:
My philosophy is that a plant-based diet has the power to reverse and prevent disease.
How does that philosophy translate in terms of what you cook for Tom, Gisele, and the kids?
Campbell: So, 80 percent of what they eat is vegetables. [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.
So far, I’m pretty much with them.
It’s very different than a traditional American diet. But if you just eat sugar and carbs—which a lot of people do—your body is so acidic, and that causes disease. Tom recently outed Frosted Flakes and Coca-Cola on WEEI. I love that he did that. Sugar is the death of people.
Personally, I don’t like Frosted Flakes. And I wouldn’t advocate anyone “just” eating sugar and carbs. But, let’s face it, a diet without sugar and carbs is just not worth eating.
What ingredients don’t you use?
Campbell: 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.
Raw olive oil? Is that like the olive oil I use? Or is it something better? And why wouldn’t you cook with it? As for Himalayan pink salt. Whatever.
[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.
One of summer’s great pleasures is standing there at the kitchen counter with a almost-just-picked tomato in one hand, and a shaker of iodized salt in the other, eating a tomato sprinkled with salt. And one of winter’s great pleasures is pasta with red sauce. Cautious about tomatoes? Sheesh…
What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.
No coffee? What about an iced from Dunk’s? No fungus? You never get a hankering for mushrooms in butter? Oh, no dairy, so no butter. But no dairy means no ice cream. Hiss boo.
The kids eat fruit. Tom, not so much. He will eat bananas in a smoothie. But otherwise, he prefers not to eat fruits.
Here we really part company. Not much by way of fruits? Huh? Isn’t fruit what summer is all about? Right now, in my fridge, I have watermelon, cherries, and plums. I just ate the last peach. During football season, there are all those wonderful apples. And clementines. Who prefers not to eat fruits?
Brady’s diet obviously works for him, and in large part – other than the no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no nightshades, and no fruit parts – it sounds pretty good. But living as I do in the epicenter of Brady-related merchandise, I can pretty much guarantee that, while a lot of those guys I see out there sporting number 12 Patriots jerseys may well buy the book, ain’t many of them going to follow Our Tom’s diet.