Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady — he’s athletic, successful and married to Gisele, one of the world’s most beautiful and celebrated supermodels. He’s seemingly got it all, so who wouldn’t want to take wellness and dietary advice from this professional athlete? Brady is well aware of his influence, and he’s going to cash in on it with his new book, “The TB12 Method.”
In his book, weighing in at a whopping 3 pounds, Brady details how he’s stayed in shape, avoided injuries and maintained a healthy diet. Throughout the chapters, Brady shares his thoughts on what he calls “muscle pliability,” along with his perceptions of modern agriculture.
He takes a stab at GMOs, soil health, sustainability and the need to eat a vegetable-based, organic diet. Yet, critics are saying his words aren’t based on sound science, or any science at all.
According to Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times, “The book’s sections on diet and nutrition lack supporting evidence, although not common sense. Brady writes that, like him, we should avoid sugary foods and other processed carbohydrates. The TB12 Method advocates for a plant-based, locally sourced, organic diet.
“It also, however, strays into the eccentric when it suggests that we eschew foods in the nightshade family, including tomatoes, strawberries, eggplants and potatoes, focus on foods high in alkalinity — such as artichokes, dandelion greens and escarole, and cut back on foods that supposedly raise acid levels in our blood, like beef, salmon, butter and cheese.”
His advice is based on his own personal experiences and the advice of Alex Guerrero, his close friend, business partner and self-proclaimed “body coach.” The kicker is, “Guerrero has twice been investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for making unsubstantiated health claims about products he developed, including a nutritional supplement that supposedly protected athletes against concussions. The book does not mention his past,” writes Reynolds.
In a blog post titled, “Invitation to Tom Brady: Visit my farm and learn food facts,” Maryland farmer Jennie Schmidt says she’s a big fan of Brady as a professional athlete but not as a sideline farmer with no real experience about where his food comes from.
Schmidt writes, “Who is Tom Brady to tell me how to farm? In his book, Brady offers a lot of opinions about farming and food production. He would do well to learn a few facts, which I would be glad to teach him. Tom, I want to personally invite you to visit my family farm so we can talk about your food and farming concerns”.
She mentions an excerpt of Brady’s book, where he writes, “Then of course there’s genetic engineering. Does that sound like something you’d want to eat? It sounds like a chemistry experiment to me.”
Schmidt’s response is, “Genetics have nothing to do with chemistry: They’re a feature of biology. They’re also essential to agriculture. On our farm, we grow two kinds of soybeans. One is a non-GMO variety that becomes tofu sold to Asian food processing companies. The other is a GMO crop—in other words, the kind that Brady condemns as a ‘chemistry experiment,’ even though it’s a safe and proven technology for farmers and consumers.
“Here’s the irony: Our GMO soybeans are high in oleic oil, which allows our customers to extract from them, an oil that is free of trans fat. Brady ought to cheer us on: ‘Basically, trans fats are the worst kind of fat out there,’ he writes in his book. He advises his readers to avoid them. We’re trying to help, using GMOs.”
Ultimately, I think Schmidt says it best when she writes, “Brady is as free to play armchair farmer as I am to play armchair quarterback—but if he wants to know the facts about today’s agriculture, he should come visit my farm and learn the facts.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.