Special report: How food consciousness is revolutionizing sports

A new food consciousness is revolutionizing sports on every level, and it’s not just about gaining or losing weight. It’s about performance targets, wellness and recovery—all part of a process of eating to win that is producing healthier athletes. Among the trends that SI’s food package explores are:

  • Gluten-free diets: Blood needed in the extremities and the brain gets diverted to the stomach to assist in the digestion of this protein, sapping energy and performance. Eliminating gluten can give athletes across all sports a substantial energy boost.
  • Food-sensitivity testing: Steve Nash discovered he was sensitive to gluten, dairy, tomatoes and onions after working with a naturopath who tested Nash’s blood to see how his body chemistry was affected by certain foods. Sensitivity testing is sweeping through sports.
  • Money invested in healthy eating: Stanford’s new $20.3 million Arrillaga Family Dining Commons has dishes coded for Sports Performance, Brain Performance, Anti-Inflammatory and Enhanced Immunity. On the pro level the Pirates’ early season success in 2011 may be due to the $250,000 “performance kitchen” at PNC Park.

Derrick Rose is proof that this food evolution isn’t complete. The MVP point guard eats candy, pineapple and syrup but “never really eats food,” according to Memphis teammate Robert Dozier. Says Bulls team chef Steve Jackson, of his ongoing quest to improve Rose’s diet: “Derrick Rose is a fine young man. He just doesn’t know how to eat.”

On the Tablets: Video of swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale — who swam the second leg of the U.S.’s gold medal-winning performance in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics — cooking a gourmet meal in his Austin home.


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