I have never really been into celebrity gossip, but Tom and Gisele’s diet and the criticism it is receiving hits close to home and so I really wanted to weigh in here.
I initially heard about the power couple’s diet from a lady who is taking part in an American Heart Association Go Red for Women 12-Week “BetterU Challenge” I am helping coach where I live in Palm Beach, Florida. I didn’t hear all of the details of the diet at first other than the lady said it sounded like Tom and Gisele’s diet appear to be exactly what we promote on Clean Cuisine.
And so of course, I had to Google the matter….
From what I have read and from the Good Morning America segment I heard, it really does appear Tom and Gisele’s diet is almost exactly aligned with Clean Cuisine, which has never fit into any of the most popular diet categories. Clean Cuisine is not low-carb, low-fat, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, raw or Mediterranean and it is not a way of eating that can be summed up in one word. Tom and Gisele’s diet cannot be summed up into one word either, which is why it is causing so much confusion with the media and with people in general.
Tom and Gisele’s diet and Clean Cuisine can best be summed up as an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, whole foods diet with a heavy emphasis on unrefined plant food. Not only is describing Clean Cuisine a bit of a mouthful, its also not the type of trendy or fad diet you typically associate with Hollywood types.
But then again, Tom and Gisele are not Hollywood actors; he is a star NFL quarterback with the New England Patriots and she is one of the highest paid working models in the world. They both have highly demanding jobs and they aren’t exactly 20-years old either. Gisele is in her mid-thirties and has had two children and Tom, like me, is almost 40-years old. One thing is for sure, nobody can be at their A-game past 35 years old without doing something….
So it was surprising to me that Tom and Gisele’s diet has stirred up quite a debate online and that a number of critics are claiming it is too extreme.
Is Tom and Gisele’s Diet Too Extreme?
I realize everyone has a different idea of what constitutes extremism, especially when it comes to food. But if you know my personal story, then you know I have been eating clean and following an anti-inflammatory diet for over 17-years now, ever since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at 22-years old. So to me, at this point in my life, I personally do not think Tom and Gisele’s diet is too extreme. But that wasn’t at all my frame of mind when I initially cleaned up my diet in my early twenties; the truth is, it was overwhelming at the time. The thing is though, over the years I have learned that good food—and I mean really good food—does not come in a brightly colored package. And it’s not sold at a restaurant that can serve a “full meal” in less than 2 minutes either.
Eating clean or eating the way Tom and Gisele do DOES take effort, pre-planning and time, but I wouldn’t say it takes sacrifice. I never go hungry. I never have food cravings. In fact! I just did an article last week discussing how terrible my sugar cravings were before I cleaned up my diet (along with how adding one food group eliminated them completely.) The food I eat now is considerably tastier than the packaged and overly processed junk foods I ate before I cleaned up my diet. At this point, even if I were to all of a sudden hear tomorrow morning that cutting-edge new research has revealed the absolute healthiest diet on the planet is one based on pro-inflammatory, packaged foods, I would have an incredibly difficult time giving up the clean foods I have come to thoroughly love and enjoy. I don’t personally know Tom and Gisele, but I have a feeling they might feel the same way.
So, What Exactly Does Tom and Gisele’s Diet Consist Of?
How is Tom and Gisele’s Diet Similar to Clean Cuisine? From what I can gather, here are the similarities between Clean Cuisine and the way our family eats and Tom and Gisele’s Diet:
- Plant-rich (supposedly 80% of Tom and Gisele’s Diet is based on unrefined plant-foods in the form of vegetables, beans, raw nuts, raw seeds, whole grains, etc. Although I am not certain about why Tom and Gisele are not vegan, here’s why I am not vegan)
- LOTS of Vegetables.
- Modest amount of high-quality animal-foods (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, wild fish, etc.)
- Nothing refined
- Whole food based
- Careful use of oils and awareness of heat-sensitivity / oxidation issues (read more about Clean Cuisine Oil Rules)
- No fried foods/ No trans fats
- No GMOs
- No refined sugar
- No refined grains (no white sugar)–Only Whole Grains (There is a lot of confusion about whether grains are inflammatory, but this article helps explain why whole grains do not promote inflammation.)
- No MSG
- No iodized salt (apparently Tom and Gisele prefer unrefined Himalayan pink salt)
- No dairy (the only exception for me is that I still allow myself a smidgen of high-quality, organic cheese from pasture-raised cows—but NOT because I think cheese is healthy. I still eat a very small amount of real cheese only for taste and I prefer to buy unrefined nut cheeses such, as Dr. Cow, as much as possible.)
***The Clean Cuisine food pyramid below appears on page 11 of our book, Clean Cuisine: An 8-Week Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Program that Will Change the Way You Age, Look & Feel (Penguin, 2013).
How is Tom and Gisele’s Diet Different than Clean Cuisine? There do not appear to be a great deal of dissimilarities between Tom and Gisele’s diet and Clean Cuisine, but here are the three main differences I could decipher:
- 100% Organic (according to what private chef Allen Campbell told the Boston Globe, he only uses 100% organic ingredients in the meals he prepares for Tom and Gisele’s diet. I think this is amazing, I just can’t seem to do it the world I live in. But I WISH I could!)
- No Coffee/ No Caffeine (YIKES!! This one I could not do. Besides, if you take a close look at the scientific literature on coffee, that cup of joe seems to offer more perks than drawbacks. But clearly Tom and Gisele seem to have plenty of energy without it. Whatever they are doing, it’s working for them!)
- No Nightshades—such as Eggplants, Tomatoes, Peppers, etc. (In recent years, there seems to be a lot of speculation surrounding nightshade plants and whether or not a chemical in them, solanum, increases inflammation. However, I have not seen solid evidence in human studies to back this up. In fact, there is actually research showing that solanum in nightshades might actually reduce inflammation. Besides, the antioxidants in nightshades should, if anything else, reduce inflammation in and of themselves. I suppose eliminating nightshades won’t cause harm, but it just seems to be an unnecessary dietary restriction)
Does Following Tom and Gisele’s Diet Require Having a Private Chef?
As mentioned above, yes, apparently Tom and Gisele do have a private chef. But if you know my personal story, you know I have been eating almost the exact same way for over 17-years and doing so does not require having a personal chef.
Is Tom and Gisele’s Diet too Extreme for Kids?
Apparently Tom and Gisele are raising their two children to eat the same way they do, which is stirring up a bit of controversy online. However, I don’t see how in the world anyone could argue against raising kids to eat an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, whole foods diet with a heavy emphasis on unrefined plant food (with lots of fruits and vegetables!)
Tom and Gisele’s diet is absolutely healthy for kids! And just like Tom and Gisele, we too have raised our own son Blake (in the photo above) to eat clean and to eat the same foods we do. In fact, I just recently did an article about how to get kids to eat healthy from the start.
In addition to making it easier on me (our family’s cook!), raising Blake to eat clean has had tremendous “side benefits”: he has only been on antibiotics once in his life (he is almost 15 years old now!), he doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, he has never had a cavity, he doesn’t need braces (there is even research showing how children who eat an unrefined whole foods diet have straight teeth), he has only had one ear infection in his whole life, he doesn’t have asthma or allergies, he isn’t overweight, and he is rarely sick. His good health is radically different than mine was growing up and it is definitely different than the other kids he goes to school with.
The only drawback to kids eating clean is that it will probably slow their growth. In the long run, this is NOT a bad thing though because the slower a child enters puberty, the slower they age in general. They might not be too happy about the slowed growth at 15 years old, but they will thank you when they hit 40.
Speaking of 40 and Aging…
Just like me, Tom Brady will be turning 40 very soon. There are not too many star football players who are in their late 30’s, much less 40’s. I have no doubt that Tom and Gisele’s diet is helping to extend his demanding sports career. And clearly, she still looks amazing. I think anyone would agree Tom and Gisele are aging well. Very, very well I might add.
As for me, and how eating clean has impacted my life, I can’t say with absolute certainty that the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle I follow is the reason my MS has been suppressed for all these years, but one thing is for sure, it hasn’t hurt. I have not yet (knock on wood!!) needed to take the disease-modifying MS medications. And like our son, Blake, I too have enjoyed some pretty amazing “side benefits”. Of course I’ll never look like Gisele Bunchen in a million years no matter how clean I eat, but at almost 40 years old I don’t have to worry about my weight and my blood pressure, cholesterol ratio, C-reactive protein (a marker for whole-body inflammation), triglycerides, blood sugar, resting heart rate, bone density, etc. are all in tip top shape. Is it all from eating clean? I guess I will never know for sure, but what I do know is that eating this way isn’t hurting. And it does taste good!
More information on Clean Cuisine is available on the website or in our book.