Have you heard about the Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady diet?
It made waves a few weeks ago when the gorgeous couple's personal chef, Allen Campbell, told Boston.com about what they eat — and more importantly, what they don't eat.
Since I'll try anything once — see: Sakara Life — I view myself as a human science experiment, and I generally aspire to not treat my body like a garbage disposal, I figured it would be worth it to try to see if I could at least attempt to eat like the world's highest-paid model.
After all, I eat pretty healthily on a day-to-day basis, so how hard could this be?
A primer: These are the rules of eating like this beautiful couple.
The list of what not to have is pretty lengthy, according to what Campbell told Boston.com:
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 iodised salt.
[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not [sic] anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms [mushrooms are not nightshades], or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.
What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.
The kids eat fruit. Tom, not so much. He will eat bananas in a smoothie. But otherwise, he prefers not to eat fruits.
I can do without white flour — I don't eat it anyway — and dairy isn't a problem since I'm cripplingly lactose intolerant. I'm pretty sure I can live without fungus. But nightshades? That comprises a bunch of vegetables. Iodised salt? Isn't that in everything? No cooking with olive oil? Caffeine? This seems difficult.
I ultimately concede and decide that one rule I will break is the no-caffeine rule because I still have to get work done and I don't want my coworkers to hate me.
I went to my grocery store down the street. Unfortunately, this store is not a luxe place — the kind I would imagine where these two get their food — although it does the job for me on a regular basis.
I came into the experiment with the knowledge that, unlike Bundchen, I don't have a personal chef or access to my own organic, farm-raised, expensive everything. I knew this would make my challenge a little more difficult from the get-go.
Here's my sad breakfast.
For breakfast, I have pomegranate seeds with cashew butter. Disclosure: The pomegranate seeds came in a to-go back from Pom, which may or may not have preservatives. But, since I don't have a personal chef and I'm frequently on the go, this is what works. I'm trying, Gisele, I'm trying!
For lunch, I had steamed spinach and grilled chicken. Equally sad.
The chicken is prepackaged and there might be some elements of forbidden seasonings on it, and I confess — I steamed the spinach in the microwave. Alas, I am human.
I did not, however, use pepper, table salt, or even sea salt to flavor my food — since salt is forbidden, unless it's Pink Himalayan salt, which I do not keep in my cabinet since I am not too particular about my salts.
I tweet my feelings:
doing the gisele/tom brady diet for work right now, and i'm wondering if i can flavor my food with the salt of my tears— Mallory Schlossberg (@malloryschloss) January 20, 2016
are tears organic— Mallory Schlossberg (@malloryschloss) January 20, 2016
For a post-lunch snack, it's a sweet potato. Unlike its potato friend, it's not a nightshade.
I heat up a sweet potato in the microwave at work, concerned that I have made the entire office reek of the remnants of fall. Fun fact: Sweet potatoes are not nightshades, but regular potatoes are.
I'm learning so much about nightshades.
I spend time wondering if it's OK for me to have a seltzer. I'm omitting my daily Diet Coke — which I know is probably a great thing — but I ask myself, “WWGD?” (“What would Gisele do?”) and I abstain.
I'm hungry and craving something sweet, and I'm definitely feeling a little groggy. Fortuitously, I'm sent raw chocolates.
Campbell said the following to Boston.com:
For snacks, I make fruit rolls from bananas, pineapple, and spirulina. Spirulina is an algae. It’s a super fruit. I dehydrate it. I dehydrate a lot of things. I have three dehydrators in their kitchen. I also make raw granola and raw chocolate chip cookies.
Technically, he was referring to their kids ... but I figured raw chocolate-chip cookies meant raw chocolate is OK. I concede: I'm a failure. But I wasn't eating fully organic or the freshest foods on Earth anyway, so technically, this is already a losing game.
That said, raw chocolate is devoid of the processed stuff I'm trying to avoid, so I assume it's not terrible. Over the course of the whole day, I have three. This, I assume, is what shame tastes like.
I realise how sad my meals have been, so I go to Whole Foods to pick up better food — and then I make dinner. Here's what I came up with.
It's a serving of quinoa with steamed butternut squash, steamed kale, onions, and about a spoonful of avocado. Campbell claimed he doesn't cook with olive oil, but I drizzled a tiny bit on top of it, assuming it was fine because I didn't cook the vegetables in it, per se. I also drizzle some turmeric vinegar on it.
Most importantly, it's in a bowl, and Campbell talked about how the two of them love to eat comforting meals out of bowls. “I'm all about serving meals in bowls,” he said to Boston.com. I eat it while watching “The Bachelor” to drive home the point that this is a “comfort food.”
I'm surprisingly full and satiated — even after doing an Insanity workout earlier that evening — and I see that eating the Gisele way isn't so hard if you have decent food, or entertainingly bad television to distract you from it.
For dessert, I have a bowl of frozen blueberries with a spoonful of cashew butter.
Brady doesn't eat fruit save for the occasional banana in his smoothie, but that doesn't mean Bundchen doesn't ... right?
I go to bed feeling moderately satiated, feeling more enthusiastic about the coming day.
But the morning doesn't go as planned.
I feel miserable and nauseous. Figuring it will go away and that it's acid reflux or something, I go to my morning barre class — and I suddenly feel lightheaded. I work out every day, and rotate high-intensity with low-impact workouts, and barre has never done this to me.
I leave the class, and the studio kindly offers me an apple juice, since it seems easy to chalk it up to low blood sugar. I'm nervous — I'm breaking the Gisele diet! I go home feeling worse — I'm exhausted, faint, nauseous, and weak.
Was it my Insanity workout last night? I've done those before, and I've never had a problem. Am I dehydrated? I didn't drink any less water than I normally do, and I didn't have a stealthy party for one with a bottle of wine.
I try to think of what I minimised from my diet most obviously — and that was salt.
But then I wake up feeling terrible.
A cursory Google search shows that salt deprivation is a very real thing, and that the demonising of salt can be dangerous. Having too much sodium is dangerous, but for people who work out, like myself, it's necessary. WebMD has an article titled “Salt: Don't Ban It Entirely.”
“Healthy adults should consume salt and water to replace the amount lost daily through sweat and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients,” the WebMD post reads.
The long-term effects of avoiding salt entirely can be detrimental, according to WebMD.
That said, it could have been any number of things, and I realise that I can't directly pin the blame on the diet.
I also know that Campbell does use salt, only Pink Himalayan salt — so might that be the problem? He also cooks with coconut oil, and I didn't use any of that. My malaise could be caused by a multitude of things, but I do know that eating like a model is less important to me than functioning. I have words to write in the morning!
So rather than going according to my initial plan, I go with something I know works for me. I have oatmeal — which is gluten-free — blueberries, a spoonful of cashew butter with stevia to sweeten it, and a sprinkling of sea salt ... because I do not judge my salts.
That's not to say the diet is bad ...
The idea of eating primarily vegetables is a sound one. The notion of eliminating nightshades is, well, debatable.
If you have Pink Himalayan rock salt, then who knows, maybe this will work.
Eliminating sugar is a wise move, as is cutting out processed foods, but strict elimination is no way to live.
I come to the conclusion that I can eat healthily and take some cues from Chef Adam Campbell, Tom Brady, and Gisele Bundchen, but that I don't think I need to punish myself on a daily basis.
So what did I get from this whole experience?
The real moral, of course, is that celebrities have personal chefs who make sure that they're well fed and getting the best nutrients out there. I am not rich, so I do not have a personal chef to ensure that I'm eating well. Instead, I had the wrong amount of nutrients and zero guidance and ended up feeling terrible.
I'd love to say I had an unlimited budget to buy the finest ingredients, the time to cook elaborate healthy meals every day, and a personal chef, but alas, I do not. I also prefer to eat intuitively and not rule out foods entirely. I try to eat healthy, but I'm a human.
Then again, maybe Gisele and Tom are not humans ...