The TB12 diet, nap time, and other pro-athlete anomalies

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Mike Ehrmann

BOSTON.COM'S HILARY Sargent recently interviewed Allen Campbell, Tom Brady's personal chef. Tom is on a pretty short leash — no sweets for our star quarterback! "Sugar is the death of people," Campbell believes.

Whatever. More amusing is Campbell's revelation that Brady doesn't eat tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants, "because they're not anti-inflammatory," Campbell reports. "I'm very cautious about tomatoes."

Yes, that could be the next peril awaiting TB12: The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

I first twigged to the prissification of the modern athlete five years ago, when The New York Times revealed that many marquee pro basketball players, such as Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, and also pro hockey players, nap before games. "Everyone in the league office knows not to call players at 3 p.m.," Adam Silver, then the NBA's deputy commissioner, told the newspaper. "It's the player nap."


That article featured Brigham and Women's Hospital sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler, the man who famously advised the Boston Bruins to sleep through their morning practice before game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver. The dehibernated Bruins won, 4-0.

Czeisler told me he convinced the Red Sox to install a napping room at Fenway Park in 2013, the year they won their last World Series. Now it's time to put an alarm clock in there. Hey fellas — gotta wake up!

So pro athletes are getting their beauty rest. What's next? A gentlemen's book club?

Precisely. Stanford-educated quarterback Andrew Luck is the team librarian for the Indianapolis Colts. Luck told the Indianapolis Star a few years ago that his favorite book is "Papillon," Henri Charrière's classic memoir about his escape from Devil's Island.

Luck's favorite writer? Chatham's own Bernard Cornwell, best known as the creator of Richard Sharpe ("Sharpe's Sword;" "Sharpe's Gold"), a British swashbuckler of the Napoleonic era. "[Cornwell] has written several books about King Arthur and the Holy Grail, the Saxons, the Viking invasion," Luck told the Indianapolis paper. "They're about real events with made-up protagonists."


The Colts' backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told The Wall Street Journal last month that Luck has "recommended books on concrete architecture, Rob Lowe's autobiography or 'Mountains Beyond Mountains,' " Tracy Kidder's famous account of Dr. Paul Farmer's medical activism in Haiti and elsewhere.

The bibliophilic, playoff-eliminated Colts can put in plenty of library time during the coming weeks, as their rivals claw their way to the Super Bowl.

It's been known for years that pro athletes do yoga. Famous adepts include the notoriously blissed out former Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett and the equally serene former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But . . . wine clubs?

Indeed, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Terence Newman is a serious wine connoisseur. "I was married to Cabs for a while," Newman told The Wall Street Journal recently. "But then I had some Pinot Noir, and that's when I said: 'Wow, this is where I'm going to settle down.' "

His teammates in the Vikings secondary think red wine might be the secret to Newman's longevity: "Newman [has] been in the league so long, and young guys are sitting there saying: 'He's been in the league this long because of the red wine,' " safety Robert Blanton told the Journal. "Now everyone's drinking it."

What is it about the defensive backfield? Legendary Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson, who just retired at 39, has his own Napa Valley wine label, "Twentyfour," which is also his jersey number. The Wine Spectator called one of Woodson's vintages "sleek and refined, with supple cherry and herb notes, ready to enjoy."


Hey Devin McCourty — I hear the 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo is ready for drinking. Just saying.

Alex Beam's column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at alexbeam@hotmail.com.