GESUNDHEIT! What we all can learn from Tom Brady, 'St. GOAT'

Cal Samra, Editor, The Joyful Noiseletter

At age 43, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady befuddled many sportswriters when he threw three touchdown passes enroute to a record seventh NFL Super Bowl title. Brady then announced that he might play until he's 45 or 50.

Many sportswriters concluded that Brady was the "GOAT" – the Greatest Of All Time quarterback. But they seemed perplexed by Brady's great success and longevity in the violent sport of football, and how Brady managed to look, at the age of 43, like a 26-year-old.

The Joyful Noiseletter shed some light on Brady's lifestyle three years ago when JN's catalog offered his book The TB12 Method – How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance (Simon and Schuster).

The JN catalog noted that "to extend their careers, many enlightened professional athletes are now following the dietary and training advice recommended in this book by Tom Brady."

But The TB12 Method is a holistic regimen addressing body, mind, and spirit, and as Brady says, "you don't need to be an athlete to apply these methods to your life, forming positive daily habits."

Brady's book is a blueprint for improving the health of people besides football players.

Many non-athletes also can benefit from Brady's regimen. I have followed a similar regimen for many years, and at age 90, I still play tennis three times a week and work at my job full time.

Brady says: "Today, I look back and think: Thank God I did it differently. Thank God I had the courage to step outside the conventional wisdom. Thank God I followed what my heart, mind, and body were always telling me – that the things we were working on would allow me to do things that I always wanted to accomplish in my sport. Nothing would give me more joy than to pass on what I've learned during my life and career."

"You're not going to be bitten by a radioactive spider (like Spiderman), but you have a chance to be mentally, physically, and spiritually stronger than everyone else around you, " Brady says.

Here are the factors that Brady says have led to his health and longevity:

• Diet and nutrition

Brady introduces his chapter on diet with a quote from Hippocrates (377 B.C.), the Greek physician considered the father of modern medicine: "Let food be thy medicine."

Brady recommends following a mainly plant-based, natural diet of 80% fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and legumes, very similar to the Mediterranean diet, which many health authorities consider the world's healthiest diet.

"Eat as much real and organic and locally grown food as you can," Brady says. "I eat foods that are as fresh as possible, and most of the time I choose to eat organic foods (free of pesticides, additives, preservatives, and growth hormones.)"

Brady says he understands that local and organic foods often cost more, "but I'm making up those savings in decreased health-care costs in the long run, and, most important, I have performed better as I have eaten healthier. I've made it a priority to treat my body and life as respectfully as possible."

• Foods to avoid

Brady specifies some foods to limit or avoid: bread, processed frozen dinners and meats, sugary processed foods, snacks.

Brady says his days as a college kid at the University of Michigan living on pizza and fast food are long past.

• Drink a lot of water

Brady recommends drinking at least half your body weight in water daily.

• Healthful daily exercises

The book recommends a variety of exercises, designed by Brady's physical trainer and coach, Alex Guerrero, to build flexibility and strength. The recommended exercises in this hardcover are clearly illustrated.

Brady also has a highly disciplined work ethic, working out regularly with Guerrero.

• Rest and sleep

Brady stresses the importance of proper rest and sleep for the healing of injuries and ailments.

• The power of humor

In a sport renowned for its angry and menacing faces, Brady has a perpetual smile on his face and the playfulness of a young man.

Brady is a congenial team player who goes out of his way to help out his players, who knock themselves out for him.

• A positive mind and spirit

Brady's daily regimen "begins with the right positive mindset. Each day when I wake up, I can choose what I want my outlook to be. I keep a positive attitude. Things happen sometimes that I don't welcome or want, but I make the choice to remain positive."

He adds: "You can make life much harder on yourself by focusing on negative things in your past or making excuses for why things didn't go your way." Brady doesn't look backwards on his bad games or defeats.

"Don't ever forget that attitude and mind-set are within your control," he says. Brady has a certain tranquility about him, even under the intense pressure of the football field.

Brady and his wife, Gisele, whom he calls "the light of my life," both practice meditation.

Brady grew up in California in a Catholic home, and his wife says he is still a Catholic, but ecumenical in his respect for all faith-traditions.

Brady is not just a talker; he's a doer. "My training regiment has allowed me to perform well over many years of sports competition, and, equally important, to live a virile, active, and energetic life off the field, as well."

Brady might be surprised to learn that his health and longevity regimen features elements of the regimens of other health reformers down through the centuries: the Jewish prophet Daniel, the third-century Catholic "unmercenary physicians" St. Cosmas and St. Damian, John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist Church), Congregationalist Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ellen White (the founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church), Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, Mahatma Gandhi, Presbyterian Rachel Carson ("Silent Spring"), Catherine Doherty (the founder of a Catholic organic farming community), body builder Jack LaLanne, Patch Adams, M.D., and Dan Buettner's Blue Zones diet. Brady has a lot of influential allies from past centuries.

Brady's health regimen may well help people strengthen their immune systems against viruses. In all the endless COVID-19 press briefings, none of the news media ever asked Dr. Anthony Fauci how does anyone strengthen their immune system against viruses?

Tom Brady could answer that question very well, and maybe he should have been invited to the COVID-19 press briefings.

The Catholic Church in all its history has probably never canonized a football player, but Brady deserves consideration for his efforts to improve the health of people.

Many of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant saints worked to improve the health of common folks.

While on earth, Jesus devoted much of his time to a ministry of healing ordinary people and  teaching people basic health principles.

But when was the last time you heard a modern sermon on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle?

Tom Brady's TB12 Sports Therapy Center can be reached at 240 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035. Phone: 508-543-4900.

Tom Brady's book, The TB12 Method – How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance is available at a 25% discount ($22.46 plus $8.95 postage & handling) from www.joyfulnoiseletter.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-877-2757. No. 0736 Hardcover.)

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