Nutrition secrets from New England Patriots quarterback Tom BradyBy Maria Allen
Healthy living is hip. From fitness videos that pop up on social media newsfeeds to the abundance of gluten-free products found on grocery store shelves, it seems like everyone in America is aiming to exercise more and eat healthier. So when the GOAT (greatest of all time) New England Patriots player Tom Brady started recommending recipes and wellness tips earlier this year, people really started to take notice.
Back in March, Brady partnered with Purple Carrot, a Boston-based meal subscription service to launch a 100 percent plant-based meal program. TB12 Performance Meals are packed with protein, low in refined sugar and gluten-free.
Perfectly portioned raw ingredients and step-by-step instructions are delivered to the customer’s door, so there’s no room for excuses. The recipes are designed to help athletes and active individuals stay at their peak while adhering to the TB12 nutritional philosophy. Brady also recently released a hardcover book that explains his wellness philosophy in great detail.
TB12 Performance Meals cost $78 per week and contain the components of three meals, which are each designed to feed two people. While it may not fit into everyone’s budget, it certainly makes meal planning a breeze. If you’re curious how these healthy dishes would taste, try out one of these sample recipes.
Rotini Aglio Olio with Kale and Toasted Hazelnuts
1 box Banza rotini
8 ounces curly kale
8 ounces of carrot, peeled into ribbons
4 garlic cloves
⅓ cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup Follow Your Heart vegan parmesan
Salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Banza rotini, stir, and cook until al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander.
2. Destem the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Peel the carrot and then continue to peel lengthwise to create “noodles.” Mince the garlic. Finely chop the parsley leaves.
3. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the hazelnuts. Cook until fragrant and toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer nuts to a cutting board, let cool and roughly chop.
4. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the coconut oil. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped kale and carrot ribbons and cook until kale is bright green and slightly softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
5. Add the reserved cooking water and rotini to the skillet. Bring pasta to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add the hazelnuts, parsley, and half of the Follow Your Heart vegan parmesan.
Season rotini with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Lemongrass Curry with Brazil Nuts and Roasted Sweets
1 sweet potato
¾ cup white quinoa
1 stalk lemongrass
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup Brazil nuts
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 ounces broccoli florets
3 ounces Lacinato kale
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse and dry the produce. Cut the sweet potato into large wedges. Add the wedges to a baking sheet and toss with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Roast until browned in places, about 25 to 30 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the white quinoa, 1½ cups of water and a pinch of salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 12 to 14 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered until it’s time to plate.
3. Bend the lemongrass in your hands to release some of the flavor. Add the lemongrass, cashews, brazil nuts and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and discard. Add the water and nuts to a blender with the juice of the lime, rice vinegar and curry powder. Blend until smooth and season with salt.
4. Thinly slice the broccoli florets. Destem the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and mince the garlic.
5. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the broccoli and cook until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and 2 tablespoons of water to create a bit of steam. Cook until kale is slightly wilted, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.
6. Divide the cooked quinoa between your bowls. Top with sweet potato wedges, broccoli and kale. Drizzle with lemongrass curry sauce and serve any extra sauce on the side.
9 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE TB12 METHOD
The first book by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance” (Simon & Schuster, September 2017) is an in-depth guide to fitness and health. Arguably the most respected professional football player of his generation, Brady explains the wellness philosophy that he and TB12 cofounder Alex Guerrero developed together and he talks candidly about the steps that he takes to ensure that he feels at the top of his game. The book advocates for a more natural and holistic lifestyle and is filled with glossy photographs depicting exercises and pliability techniques that Brady uses as well as nutritious recipes made with wholesome ingredients. Brady even discusses the importance of sleep, proper hydration and brain games that keep his memory sharp.
“The keyword of the TB12 Method is balance. At TB12, balance is as much about creating the right mixture of strength, conditioning and pliability as it is about lifestyle choices—what we eat, how much rest and recovery we get and the daily activities we engage in. The more balanced we are, the better,” says Brady.
1) Think of Food as Fuel
When your fitness trainer tells you “abs are made in the kitchen,” this is what they’re talking about. Your body is like a machine and you need to put good things in to feel your best.
Brady’s diet consists of mostly plant-based organic foods and his book includes a TB12-approved grocery list, plus some of his favorite recipes. If that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, you can start by cutting out the processed foods, sugars and fats.
2) Remember to Hydrate
Drinking water helps our bodies function better in a range of ways, from digestion to the maintenance of healthy, pliable muscles. Staying hydrated keeps joints lubricated and improves your mental and emotional wellbeing.
3) Practice Pliability
A complement to traditional strength and conditioning, pliability training consists of targeted, deep-force muscle work that lengthens and softens muscles at the same time that they are contracted and relaxed. Tom Brady credits pliability with reducing his injuries. The book includes step-by-step instructions and photos showing how to work different muscle groups.
4) Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Don’t overdo it when you’re lifting weights. An emphasis on heavier weights, greater reps and longer workouts can wear on your body and make your muscles tight, dense and stiff. Brady recommends resistance bands over traditional weights because they allow for a more fluid range of motion and build strength and power without overloading muscles. The book includes a variety of simple workouts that target the upper body, core and lower body.
5) Supplement if Needed
It can’t take the place of proper nutrition, but supplements can fill in the vitamins and minerals where your nutrition may be lacking. Brady occasionally likes to add electrolytes to the water he drinks. The mineral concentrates turn normal H2O into a hydrating sports drink.
6) Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Have no fear, you can still have your morning cup of coffee. But drinking too much coffee or alcohol can increase dehydration.
7) Exercise Your Brain
No matter your age or fitness level, keeping your brain challenged with cognitive exercises can help you stay sharp. The book talks about computer and mobile app software programs designed to enhance reaction time, attention and memory. To learn more, visit tb12.brainhq.com.
8) Get Some Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is important for many reasons. Create a routine and try to stick to it. Brady’s head usually hits the pillow at 9 p.m. and he wakes at 6 a.m. feeling rested and regenerated.
9) Seek Out Balance
When it comes to fitness, it’s best to combine strength training with conditioning and pliability. Just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t mean you should neglect the other. Balance is also essential when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle choices.
To learn more about the TB12 Sports Therapy Center located at Patriot Place in Foxborough or to order a copy of “The TB12 Method,” visit tb12sports.com.