The concept of diet being important to athletes and entertainers is certainly not a new one. Food has long been seen as a key determinant when it comes to health, fitness and -- yes -- appearance, for those who are in the public eye because of what their bodies are able to accomplish.
But over the last few years, the importance of nutrition and the science of food has reached new heights in the public consciousness. From the benefits of eating organically to the importance of a diet that's high in anti-inflammatories, there's no stone left unturned in the quest for smart, purposeful eating. And naturally, those who get paid for performing physically are going to pay more attention to this "food intelligence" than nearly anyone else.
Knowing as much, Modus Nutrition sat down with a panel of pro athletes and entertainers to talk about all things food and how to hack your diet. We spoke with Chicago Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston, former NFL star Ahman Green, and WWE stars Tenile "Emma" Dashwood and Danielle "Summer Rae" Moinet about everything from protein intakes to stances on dairy foods. Here's what they shared with us.
Do you have an overarching dietary philosophy?
Lamarr Houston: "I just try to stay as clean as possible. Really work around eating more anti-inflammatory vegetables and things. Incorporating raw juices and stuff like that in my diet, so that I can get a good anti-inflammatory base in it. I make sure that I keep everything proportional."
Ahman Green: "I really like the book, 'The Nine Steps to Keep the Doctor Away.' It's written by Dr. Rashid A. Buttar. It's a phenomenal book. It's kind of an all-around book, but it's a health-conscious book that tells you what foods to eat, what not to eat, and why you really shouldn't eat this type of food, or foods. How much water you drink for your body, what are antioxidants, he explains all of that."
Tenile Dashwood: "Yeah, I use IIFYM.com, or 'If It Fits Your Macros.' Macros being proteins, fats and carbs. I also track my fiber, usually. Basically, each day, you can look at your numbers online -- there's online calculators -- but every day I try to hit a certain number of fats, carbs and proteins. And I find that after a while you can use apps to track the numbers or scan barcodes, look up restaurants, and after a while it becomes a second nature. Like, I can look at a plate of food and go, 'OK, it's probably around this much fat, around this much protein,' and kind of guesstimate when it's impossible to actually know the exact nutrition. So I use macros.
"It's all about a balanced lifestyle, basically. I don't cut carbs out, I don't cut fats out. I eat a good amount of protein, but I also eat foods that I enjoy. I don't just eat brocolli and chicken and say, 'I hate my life.' I eat foods that I enjoy, and I like to cook and I like to eat out, and I have a variety, so I never get sick of what I'm eating. It never gets hard."
Do you focus on your protein intake?
Tenile Dashwood: "I always try to get a gram of protein per pound I weigh, or more. At least that way, I can keep up with the same amount of muscle, basically, and continue to improve on those goals."
Danielle Moinet: "I definitely have to have a good protein intake. I think, both Emma and I try to eat our bodyweight in protein, so if I weigh 135 pounds, I have 135 grams of protein, which is hard. I definitely have to eat a good amount, but I try to eat five times a day -- three big meals and two small snacks, and then have a shake as well to reach that."
Do you eat much dairy?
Houston: "Dairy's not too high in my diet. I just usually try to keep my intake pretty clean and organic."
Moinet: "I don't mean to not have dairy in my diet, but I don't really have it. I do Greek yogurt for the cultures, but I don't really do a lot of dairy."
Do you drink protein shakes?
Moinet: "Yes, and I love almond milk. So I do my protein shakes with almond milk."
Dashwood: "Yes, I drink protein shakes after a workout. And sometimes if I haven't eaten a lot that day, or I've been really busy, it's the easy alternative. And other times, I prefer to get a piece of meat as my protein rather than a shake if it's a long day and I want to feel full. But I tend to use fruit as much as I can in my protein shakes."