With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, it seems like all the attention is back on the world's most genetically blessed couple, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady. Besides being perfect in every way, the couple is known for their extremely strict diet. In an interview, their personal chef revealed that the couple are very careful about what they put into their body. Their diet is based on 80% vegetables and whole grains, with 20% lean meats like chicken and fish. On the "don't" list are the usuals: no white sugar, no white flour, no dairy no caffeine, no olive oil, no iodized salt. On top of those, the couple also avoids "nightshade vegetables," like tomatoes, mushrooms, and potatoes, which are thought to cause inflammation. Sounds, um, simple...
Partly out of curiosity and partly out of boredom, I decided to try their diet out for myself. For 5 days, I loaded up on veggies (non-nightshade only!) and avoided sugar like the plague. And I lived to tell the tale! Keep reading to learn how I survived this rigorous, no-fun diet and kinda, sorta, maybe even enjoyed it.
6:30AM: I wake up late and feeling extremely tired. Since Gisele and Tom don't consume any caffeine, my hot beverage was a cup of hot water with lemon (a Gisele go-to). The night before, I made a smoothie filled with spinach, banana, almond butter, and cinnamon, which someone on Google told me I should make. After tasting it this morning, I realized that almond butter in smoothies is definitely not my thing and also that a smoothie is not a meal.
8AM: Once I get to my office, I'm so exhausted I nearly fall asleep at my desk. Still, I manage to force myself to stay away from coffee because that's what Gisele would do. I'm also STARVING because my #healthspo smoothie was more like drinking juice. Luckily, I brought some Tom & Gisele approved almonds (unsalted, of course) to keep me going until lunch.
12PM: At lunch time, I order a salad with chicken. Because Gisele and Tom don't allow any olive oil, I swap my usual dressing for coconut oil. Yum...
7PM: Since I'm not very inventive and their diet is impossible, I make an uninspired dinner off chicken with brown rice and broccoli. Not amazing, but at least it's filling. I'm starting to wonder why I signed up for this in the first place??
6:30AM: I. Want. Coffee. Instead I have the stupid lemon water and the rest of my stupid smoothie.
9AM: Snack on almonds and a clementine. I start to develop a headache which I blame on Gisele.
12PM: For lunch, I eat leftovers from last night's dinner. I start to eye the candy jar in our office kitchen with a mixture of anger and desperation. Why am I doing this?
5PM: I fall asleep for an hour and a half by accident. Proof that I need my caffeine!
7PM: My mom starts to pity me, so she agrees to join me on my quest for health. For dinner, she makes salmon, quinoa and veggies. Perks of living at home, ppl!
9PM: I need dessert! Most nights, I don't find myself needing a sweet treat after dinner but for some reason, I can't stop thinking about it right now. I make a mental note to buy a bag of candy right after this challenge.
6:30AM: I still have a massive headache. I start my day with hot lemon water again. Although I was (very) skeptical, I'm starting to like Gisele's go to drink. While coffee tends to make me feel gittery and on edge, I'm starting to enjoy the refreshing feeling I get from the hot water with lemon, and I'm definitely finding that it helps to wake up my digestive tract. My breakfast is two scrambled eggs with kale, which takes way longer to make and almost makes me late for work.
12PM: The eggs fill me up more than the smoothies have, so I don't need a mid morning snack. For lunch, I eat leftovers from last night's salmon dish from the night.
5PM: I'm hungry as soon as I get home from work, so I snack on some almonds and blueberries. I take to Google to try to discover the source of my headache. Turns out, it's probably either caffeine or sugar withdrawal. Or both. Gisele, why are you doing this to me??
7PM: Once again, my mom saves the day with a Tom and Gisele inspired dinner that she found online. Similar to Pho, it's a chicken broth soup filled with veggies (non-nightshade, of course) and a small portion of buckwheat noodles. Not bad at all!
8PM: Give me sugar!!!!
9PM: I meet my friends for drinks at a friend's apartment even though I'm a bit tired because I want to be social. Tom doesn't drink at all but Gisele drinks in moderation, so I use this as an excuse to drink half a bottle of white wine. Oops.
10PM: My friend reveals her secret candy stash and I can't resist. I end up eating M&Ms and a bunch of gummies. I'm so sorry for letting you down Gisele!!!!
6:30AM: The head ache is *slowly* starting to go away. I start the day with my new go-to. Dear hot water with lemon, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you! For breakfast, I make a smoothie made of kale, almond milk, bananas and avocado and actually enjoy it. Who am I?!
9AM: I snack on a clementine. I'm finally starting to feel pretty good on this diet.
12PM: Lunch is leftovers from last night. I'm beginning to realize that Gisele probably doesn't eat leftovers as much as I have this week, but she also has a personal chef, so she doesn't understand my struggles.
5PM: I go to a coffee shop with a friend and have a Gisele-approved herbal tea. When I see a gluten, dairy and sugar free cookie I pounce on it and it's actually not bad!
6:30PM: On the way home, I grab a bag of organic popcorn tossed in himalayan salt, which gives me a salt fix that I've been missing.
8PM: Because I ate a family sized bag of popcorn by myself (very unlike Gisele), dinner is a simple salad with strawberries, cucumber, and steamed sugar snap peas. I am literally a health goddess!
6:30AM: The end is almost here! My headache is gone but I still am admittedly more tired than usual. I start the day with my hot water with lemon, but because I woke up late, I only have time for a banana.
10:30AM: Because I'm already hungry, I let myself eat my lunch of leftovers at 10:30. I definitely get judged for eating salad at 10:30 in the morning, a problem I'm sure Gisele never has because she is perfect.
1PM: I decide to go for a second lunch because I'm still hungry. I choose the healthiest sounding thing on the menu: curried cauliflower with quinoa. I'm pretty sure curry has dairy in it but I don't ask because I would rather live in denial
7PM: The cauliflower keeps me full until dinner, which is buckwheat noodles tossed with carrots, spinach, and crushed almonds (thanks, Mom!)
8PM: I'm still getting those sugar cravings, so I eat a clementine and try to pretend it's a sour cherry blaster.
And I'm done! Did I magically transform into a Victoria's Secret model? No. Will this experience alter my diet forever? Definitely not. I have to admit that I went back to coffee immediately afterwards, but I am drinking it less frequently. I still try to start my day with hot water with lemon, which has honestly done wonders for my digestion. I still think the nightshade vegetable fear is a bit ridiculous and I definitely won't follow it going forward.
Maybe the most important lesson I learned was that eating less gluten, dairy, and sugar isn't that impossible. Most of the meals I had were actually tasty and filling, and I rarely felt that something was missing from them. Even though their diet is strict, it was pretty straightforward to follow. That said, a diet based on all organic foods is easier to do when you're millionaires and have a personal chef to make all of your food for you.
So thank you, Gisele and Tom. You taught me a lot. But I'm going to stick with my coffee, the occasional junk food indulgence, and even *gasp* the dreaded nightshade vegetables.
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