Tom Brady’s proactive lifestyle keeps him on top of his game.
Whether you like Tom Brady or not there is no denying he has had a successful career as a quarterback in the NFL and is showing no signs of slowing down.
For the record, I am not a football fan, and I am not one of the many ladies attracted to Tom Brady. However, I can’t help but be familiar with the name because of his celebrity status on and off the football field.
Brady has been scrutinized for his “extreme” diet and lifestyle; which as he states is “football centric.”
When I first heard that he was on an extreme diet I thought, he needed to learn about Chinese medicine, which teaches balance. As I read about what his diet and lifestyle consisted of, I was surprised that I agreed with much of what he does. He has been under the care of a natural healthcare practitioner since he had a knee injury early in his career. What most are baffled by is that he eats an anti-inflammatory diet, which doesn’t allow for caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and meats are limited. Most Americans balk at the idea of a big tough NFL player limiting the substances that almost defines the culture. However, this diet makes a lot of sense for keeping an athlete going stronger and longer. It also supports brain health, which is always a concern for NFL players.
Inflammation, which can be great in small doses to heal the body, damages tissue when it is prolonged and/or excessive. The key is that Brady has taken the advice of his physician (who has training in Chinese medicine) and made it an integral part of his lifestyle. One article I came across mentioned that Brady and his family eat according to an anti-inflammatory diet even while on vacation. I thought, maybe he likes the food his diet allows.
What most surprised me about Tom Brady’s regimen was the lack of discussion on some of his proactive lifestyle practices that keep him on the top of his game. He has done brain training to help him unwind and get to sleep more efficiently. The importance of sleep for the body to repair is crucial, and it is such a struggle for many people.
In Chinese medicine, we talk about the nighttime as being restorative for the deepest levels of the body. His brain training also gives him a competitive edge, to stay poised in the most intense game situations. In my experience, working with neurofeedback therapists, sleep is the first thing to improve. These very gentle, noninvasive therapies take time and they require the patient put in the work—not a problem for Brady.
Tom Brady was actually overlooked in the NFL draft because he was not the strongest, fastest or the best quarterback based on any of the Combine assessments. He was that quick-witted, clutch guy that made plays happen when others crumbled. With his success against the odds and all of the concern over concussions leading to degenerative brain diseases, I was surprised this didn’t get more attention. I find his brain training both protective for his future health and key for his athletic performance today. His diet compliments his brain training as well. Treating inflammation is the root of addressing degenerative brain conditions that affect so many NFL players.
Clearly I agree with what Tom Brady is doing, but is it right for everyone? No, absolutely not! Chinese medicine is all about balance and the conditions his body faces are far beyond the norm. For example, in someone with weak thyroid function whether they are diagnosed as hypothyroid or not, would feel sluggish and potentially gain weight on the excessive amounts of raw vegetables prescribed to Mr. Brady.
Not everyone makes their living by driving their body to the extremes on a regular basis. In fact, Chinese medicine, and I think a lot of people would agree that the rigorous schedules placed on professional athletes is WAY out of balance. As an athlete myself I understand the desire to compete, but there has to be ample time for the body to rebuild after the intense breakdown that happens in a game. Physical activity is classified as yang in Chinese medicine and it takes the nourishment of yin to maintain a healthy balance. Balance is key for longevity and vitality.
With the longevity and vitality he’s showing in his career, perhaps we should all take a look at our own lifestyles and ask are they really working for us? We all may not hire chefs to prepare our healthy meals, but there are ways to create healthy habits that fit our lifestyle, one change at a time.
One dietary addition that I recommend to almost all of my patients, including athletes is bone broth. Essentially bone broth is soup made from bones, like making turkey soup from a Thanksgiving turkey. Following a few steps transform this common food into a medicinal superfood. Soup is easy to prepare and reheat, in addition, it’s incredibly inexpensive to make. The nourishment from bone broth supplies the body with collagen and elastin, which are deeply nourishing to tendons. There are many other nutrients derived from bone broth, but collagen and elastin is crucial athlete and anyone concerned with the effects of aging!
When I think of an ideal patient, Tom Brady definitely comes to mind. As a natural healthcare practitioner, one of the biggest challenges is developing a treatment plan that a patient can comply with. Patients see the best results when they integrate the healthy practices you teach them into their daily life. A healthy diet can make a profound difference in one’s health. However, people often say that time, money and convenience prevent them from incorporating their dietary recommendations.
The key to formulating a treatment that suits the unique needs of your body is to get an assessment from a healthcare practitioner that focuses on optimal vitality. I wish I could say that there’s only one physician that could suit the needs of everyone, but that’s simply not the case. There are acupuncturists who focus on wellness, and others that master the landscape of complex internal diseases. There are medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, osteopaths, and so on that do the same. The key is finding a physician that understands and works with you on living the life you want to live. Whether or not you like Tom Brady, and agree with the lifestyle he has chosen—it’s working for him.
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