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Entries in Steve Nash (2)

Sunday
Apr112010

No Sugar Diet (cont.) - Grant Hill & Jared Dudley

As time goes on, I'm learning of more famous people who have discovered both the health and performance benefits of a diet focused on natural foods and restricting (or eliminating) sugars and processed foods.

First we reviewed Steve Nash, then Ellen DeGeneres, now Nash's Phoenix Suns teammate Grant Hill.

Without reviewing Grant Hill's entire career resume, he basically saw his career plunge from multiple-time NBA All-Star with the Detroit Pistons, to plagued by ankle and foot injuries that kept him out of action for years.  After sporatic playing time with the Orlando Magic, he ended up in Phoenix (with Nash) and at age 37 has seen a career resurrection and is somewhat of a medical marvel. 

He interviews about his new-found dedication towards food intake here, I was particularly drawn to his tales of negligent eating as a young athlete which sound familiar to my own poor habits:

Q: What have you cut out?

A: My first year in the NBA I ate nothing but fast food. There was a street in Michigan near my home that had seven or eight fast-food places. I went eeny-meeny-miney-moe. I got a chef my second year, but I still kept two or three pitchers of Kool-Aid in the refrigerator. And of course we had to have Sprite (which Hill endorsed commercially). And we made lot of cakes. So I would go to bed with a quarter of a cake and a Big Gulp-sized container of Kool-Aid. I’d take that to bed with me.

Q: When did you change?

A: It was gradual. At one point, I cut out all drinks except water. That’s when I started getting away from some of that. I was still eating red meat, less pasta. As I’ve gotten older and become more educated about it, I’ve slowly changed. My wife (Tamia) and I practice a macrobiotic diet. (A macrobiotic diet eliminates processed foods and emphasizes water, vegetables, fruits and organically grown grains, such as brown rice. It typically does not include red meat, dairy or eggs.)

It’s hard to eat like that on the road, but you want to try to make healthy decisions. When we get on the plane after the game and the options are turkey with mashed potatoes and yams, or a Cobb salad with chicken, I’ll get the salad. I drink a lot of water. It’s just understanding what you put in your body and how it will affect your energy level.

 Here's another anedcote where Grant Hill talks about a typical day's eating and meals:

Q: In order to reach your maximum performance level for games, what meals do you eat pre-game? Post-game?


A: It’s easier at home to control what you’re eating. At home I eat an oatmeal batter made into a waffle and use agave nectar as a syrup. Agave is a natural sweetner that doesn’t have the rise in sugar levels that syrup or honey has. I tend to eat that in the morning for breakfast and usually a salad and some sort of fish, a sea bass or salmon. I may have that once or twice before a game, and then usually an hour or two before the game and in the locker room we have a fruit platter or tray of some sort. That’s what works for me.

Since I’ve become really particular in the last few years about what I eat, my energy level and my recovery level post-work out are so much better. I try to eat afterwards a salad and try to get some protein in my body, but keeping it simple, staying away from heavy pastas, sauces, butters, all those types of things I feel great. I feel better now than I did 5 years ago. My body feels better as I go through the season. I’m not as tired and sluggish and I sleep better. I’m not sore. A lot of that has to do with what I eat.


Not only has Nash's disciplined approach to his nutrition helped Hill, but teammate (and former Charlotte Bobcat) Jared Dudley has also seen benefits from taking food intake more seriously.

Those habits are what caught the eye of Suns swingman Jared Dudley. Whenever the team was flying on the franchise’s charter plane, Nash would almost always pass on the food prepared and order a salad. In addition, Dudley would overhear Hill and Nash discussing different nutritional strategies and he figured he’d seek out some pointers from the two co-captains. After losing 10 pounds, the third-year man officially became a convert.

“You ask them for hints and you try to use those tips because you see the ways your body reacts after you junk food,” Dudley said. “Those guys have played 13, 14 years and a lot of that has to do with God-given ability, but you see Steve and somehow his body is in shape and you know that if he just ate junk every day, I bet you he wouldn’t be the player he is now.”

The Suns already play an exciting brand of basketball, but for health-conscious people there's one more reason to pull for Phoenix in the NBA Playoffs later this month.

Tuesday
Feb162010

Steve Nash's No-Sugar Diet

This may be the first entry so far that is completely self-explanatory, thanks to the title.

 Odds are I don't need to explain to you who Steve Nash is, so instead of repeating his bio, I'll save some time.  I was blown away earlier today when I found out how seriously Steve Nash takes his nutrition and how closely he monitors what foods he eats.  His diet is pretty simple and as "idiot-proof" as it gets:

No sugar.

That's it.  Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, no calculations, or balancing of macronutrients each day. 

Nash guest-wrote a column for Men's Journal back in December 2009 where he outlined his discovery of what eliminating sugars from his diet could do for his health and NBA career:

"Refined sugars, Dr. Jain told me, impair your immune system. In fact, one teaspoon of refined sugar suppresses our white blood cells for up to six hours, making it a lot easier to catch a cold. I really can’t afford colds during the season, so that’s all I needed to hear: I cut out refined sugars cold turkey. No M&M’s at the movies, no energy bars, no Gatorade — I even had to be more careful when going to Jamba Juice, because sometimes they use sugar-filled juice from concentrate. After a few months, I stopped craving sugar entirely."

"The difference was instantaneous: I slept better, I recovered from workouts more easily, and I had more energy. When we started training camp in September, we were doing two-a-days — four or five hours on the court — and I never got sore. Even more telling is the fact that this summer I traveled all over the world for my foundation, bringing team sports to war-ravaged countries. I was missing out on sleep and still training the whole time, but I never got sick. I’ve got to think it’s because sugar wasn’t wearing me down."

        

Steve Nash is also a big fan of green tea, one of my personal favorites.  His meals in an average day (aside from a fiber breakfast cereal) generally follow Paleo qualities (lean chicken, fish, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds).  He even replaces the dairy milk at breakfast with rice milk or almond milk.

There's even a site dedicated to anecdotes around Nash's great nutritional habits and the effects they've had on NBA teammates like Shaq (now with the Cavs) and Jared Dudley.

Aside from being a two-time MVP,  one of my favorite pro athletes, and generally all-around cool guy, Steve Nash is yet another athlete who proves that you can compete at a high level, well into your thirties when you take command of what goes into your body.  More times than not, the better foods that go into your system, the better performances and overall health that will result.

Here's a Nike video where Steve Nash shows off his multi-sport skills: