TB12 Diet Diary: What it’s like to eat like Tom Brady for a week


As a Patriots fan, it’s going to be a weird, uncomfortable and somewhat bitter experience watching Tom Brady compete in his 10th Super Bowl — the first not in a New England uniform. I’ll forever be grateful for Brady’s contributions to a dynasty that spanned nearly my entire childhood. Still, it’s always hard to see an ex thriving after a separation, you know?

But since Brady is Super Bowl bound and one of my strongest personality traits is an ability to punish myself at any given opportunity, my bosses here at CBS Sports thought it would be a good idea for me to embrace this personal crisis. What better way to prepare for the uncomfortable experience of watching Brady in Super Bowl LV than by living the TB12 lifestyle for a week leading up to the game?

For those unaware, TB12 is Brady’s lifestyle brand built around his method of living that has allowed him to find an unparalleled level of sustained success at the NFL level. Exercise, nutrition, expensive pajamas … it’s all part of the Brady method. For this experiment, we’re going to focus on the diet and pliability aspects of the TB12 method, and I’ll be documenting my experiences along the way. 

And for the record: I used to live a somewhat respectable lifestyle of my own before the world shut down last March. I used to work out frequently, attempt to eat well and at least make a casual effort to pretend that I take care of myself. However, over the last year or so, my brand has essentially become cigarettes, cheap beer, frozen pizza, marathon video game sessions and deteriorating hygiene. This project from my bosses may very well be an intervention masked as a “work assignment,” so let’s see how it goes.

The guidelines

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard about Tom Brady’s absurd diet. The checklist of things he can’t/won’t eat is seemingly longer than the things he can/will. Here’s a glimpse at the insanity from Brady’s personal chef:

“No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.

[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.

What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.

The kids eat fruit. Tom, not so much. He will eat bananas in a smoothie. But otherwise, he prefers not to eat fruits.”

Yeah, so it’s safe to say I won’t be following Brady’s diet exactly as the quarterback does — I’d rather decline the assignment and be unemployed. However, I’ll be following the loose outline provided by the TB12 website. Here’s a basic outline of the rules:

  • 80% fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes
  • 20% protein (chicken, red meat, seafood)
  • Eat until you’re 75% full
  • No dairy or nightshades
  • Halve your body weight in pounds and drink that many ounces of water (70 ounces for me daily)
  • Max 2 cups of coffee / No caffeine after noon
  • No food within 3 hours of going to bed

Day 1


Pete Blackburn

As I mentioned off the jump, this a drastic change from my natural way of living, so I had to knock out a quick food shopping trip in order to prepare. I figured my local Trader Joe’s would be the best play for a lot of the organic meats and vegetables, and then I filled in some of the blanks with a trip to Stop & Shop. 

We’ve hit an annoying road block already, as I figured yogurt & granola would be a good way to make the nuts and seeds bearable. Turns out I’m an idiot who forgot that yogurt is dairy, and also an idiot who didn’t realize that granola has a ton of sugar in it? God, this sucks already. I also decided to try some “green juice” simply because it looked healthy and seemed like something I’d be involved in while on this diet. It tastes like rain water collected in a yard waste bag and I will not be doing that ever again.

I had a palm-sized portion of chicken (cooked in coconut oil) for dinner along with some spinach, carrots and cucumbers for dinner. Not exciting but, honestly, it was solid. The bigger issue is that I got hungry again and sort of broke the rules on the first day already, as you’re not supposed to eat anything within three hours of going to bed. I had celery and almonds as a late night “treat” to settle the hunger. You know your life is in a pretty lame place when you have to feel guilty about eating celery and almonds. 

Also, this is so much water to drink. I can’t stop peeing.

Day 2

Okay, I’m not going to lie … I had a banana for breakfast and then I completely skipped lunch because I simply didn’t want to eat any of this healthy crap. That’s how diets work, right? It seems like I’m on the way to losing weight one way or another. 

The water thing is still absolutely killing me. I always knew that I never drank enough water throughout the course of a day, but I feel like I’m drowning myself by drinking this much water. I’m bloated and I feel like I could legitimately be popped like a water balloon. 

I finally got hungry enough to make another one of these meals for dinner, and I definitely overcompensated. I once again had some seasoned chicken and an absolute boatload of vegetables. Like, way too many vegetables. Look at how stupid this looks: 


Pete Blackburn

Yeah, about that whole “eating until you’re 75% full” thing … may have overshot the landing a little bit.  I also dropped a bunch of carrots on the floor while taking them out of the fridge. And, yes, I did cheat by eating two pieces of chocolate late last night (OK, fine … it was four pieces of chocolate.) This is completely going off the rails already.

And, for the sake of full transparency, I am farting. A lot. Still trying to figure out if that’s the diet’s fault, but it is rather concerning.  

Day 3

My bodily functions at least seem to be somewhat under control today, which is a nice little surprise! The foods are still greatly boring me — I had a banana and an avocado for lunch, then chicken, green beans and corn for dinner. Also, I tried the green juice again just to see if my body might be better equipped to handle it after two days … and nope. Still tastes like swamp soup.


Pete Blackburn

Three days in and I’ve officially hit the point where I might turn a family member in to the police if it meant a cheeseburger and beer was waiting for me on the other side. Throw in a side of fries and I might admit to crimes I didn’t commit. 

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of this thing is not being able to keep my hands busy and snack/drink while anxiously watching sports at night. Last night I had to settle for chewing on ice cubes just to keep me from cracking into a late night stash.

Overall, though, I feel pretty decent outside of the irritability that comes with not being able to do whatever the hell I want, when the hell I want. I feel somewhat accomplished for getting through a day without breaking any rules. But I’m already daydreaming about the absolute havoc I’m going to unleash on my body once this experiment is over.





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