February 7

Synchronicity again

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Last Friday I was having lunch with our oldest son Ted at a restaurant in Dallas when a well built, nice looking guy got up from a table across the way and made his way out, stopping by several tables to shake hands along the way. Ted asked me if I knew who the guy was. I said I didn’t. He told me it was Mike Modano, the all-star captain of the Dallas Stars hockey team.
I craned my neck to get a look at what he had for lunch because I’m always curious as to what elite athletes eat, but the staff had already cleared his table.
I didn’t think much more about it and finished my own meal (for inquiring minds, I had a prime rib sandwich without the bread along with some sautéed zucchini and a light beer).
Two days later I opened up my Sunday New York Times only to find a special section about athletics with an article entitled “Skate or Diet” about the diet of non other than Mike Modano.
Seems that Mr. Modano had been slowing down over the past couple of years (he’s 35) and sought the advice of a sports nutritionist. The nutritionist, one Paul Chek, used a questionnaire to evaluate Mr. Modano and pronounced him a “protein” metabolic type. in my opnion Mr. Chek has bizarre ideas about how metabolism works. He identifies his clients as having

one of three “metabolic types”: protein, carbohydrate or mixed. Because people metabolize food differently, he says, diets should be optimized to provide foods that aid digestion and boost energy. Chek has found that most athletes — especially those in what he calls “explosive sports,” like hockey — are protein types and should get about 45 percent of their calories from protein sources (a carb type, like a typical marathoner, should get 70 percent of his calories from carbohydrates).

Which is all nonsense, of course. Humans have human metabolism just as horses have horse metabolism and cats have cat metabolism. There is no “metabolic type.” We have evolved to do best on a diet that is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrate. Some people can tolerate more carbohydrate than others just as some people tolerate alcohol better than others. That doesn’t mean that those that tolerate alcohol better are “alcohol” metabolic types.
At any rate, fortunately for Mr. Modano, he was deemed a “protein” type and put on a high-protein diet, which apparently hasn’t hurt him. Since switching over he

feels stronger and recovers faster. He also has a new five-year contract and was recently named to his third United States Olympic hockey team.

Late yesterday afternoon my kid called from work (he’s a lawyer with a giant law firm) telling me that he had been given a couple of tickets to a Stars game and wondered if I wanted to go. Although I played hockey some as a teenager I have never been to a pro hockey match so I said “Sure.” Off we went last night and I got to see Mike Modano score a goal as the Stars pounded the Nashville Predators 4-2.
I went from not knowing Mike Modano existed to seeing him at a restaurant to learning about his diet to watching him play all in the space of three days. What a world we live in.
Mike Modano’s Diet

BREAKFAST

3 to 4 eggs, flash-cooked in the pan or poached,
4 strips bacon or 4 sausage links,
8 oz. of apple juice,
1 liter of water (about 34 oz.)

SNACK

1 apple or a few coconut slices

LUNCH

1 small salmon fillet,
1 cup of brown rice,
1 cup of cauliflower,
16 oz. of kombucha gingerade,
1 liter of water

DINNER

Organic T-bone steak, grilled rare
½ baked potato with a lot of butter,
1 serving of spinach salad,
1 serving of asparagus,
1 slice of cheesecake (about two or three times a month),
1 liter of water 1 glass of wine (occasionally)


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