Image courtesy of Purple Carrot

I hear an awful lot about Tom Brady. I live in New England (Vermont, by way of Boston) and I'm married to a die-hard Patriots fan. And while I don't like Brady when he's beating my team on the field, I love that he acknowledges the importance of nutrition in athletic performance. Yes, you need to train right, but you also need to eat right (and I'm sure there is a little more magic in his secret sauce like genetics, recovery, being married to Gisele, etc.).

If you want to eat like TB12, it just got a lot easier. Earlier this week, he announced on Instagram the launch of a new meal-delivery kit, in partnership with Purple Carrot. And the real kicker: it's all plant based. Meaning no dairy, no eggs, no meat and no fish. The meals will also be free of gluten and highly processed ingredients and only use refined sugars and soy in limited amounts. Meals start shipping in April, but are available now for pre-order.


Image courtesy of Purple Carrot

So what will you get to eat? A sample menu includes White Lentil Risotto with Winter Roasted Vegetable, Meyer Lemon & Cashew Gremolata, with lentils replacing the regular risotto rice. A Ramen Bowl with Charred Broccolini and Gingered Amaranth Greens uses whole-grain brown rice noodles and is topped with veggies. The third meal of the week is Crispy Turnip Cakes with Quinoa Tabbouleh and Za'atar Yogurt, which gets protein from quinoa and uses a vegan yogurt. All the meals are high in protein as well. But, are they actually good for you?


Image courtesy of Purple Carrot

Don't Miss: High-Protein Vegan Recipes to Make at HomeThe nutrition science behind these meals may not be 100 percent sound-for example, there's no need to avoid gluten or soy unless you have an allergy. In fact, despite the hype around gluten-free diets for athletes, removing it from your diet isn't likely to make you a better athlete (read more about that below). My favorite thing about these meals? Eating less meat and more plants can be a tough sell for some people (like my husband, who loves Tom Brady). But if anyone can make eating vegan sexy and appealing, it's the quintuple Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Eating a vegan diet can help you lose weight, keep your heart healthy, reduce your risk of cancer and help you live longer. The sample menu includes lots of vegetables and whole grains-staples in a healthy diet. Compared to Brady's $200 nutrition manual, these meals also seem reasonably priced at $13/plate or $78 for 3 dinners for two. But you can certainly make your own healthy and delicious plant-based dinners at home with EatingWell's vegan dinner recipes.

Should Athletes Eat Gluten-Free for Better Performance?

A small study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that among people who don't have celiac disease-an immune reaction to eating gluten-a gluten-free diet showed no improvement in performance or health. In the study, cyclists followed almost the same healthy diet for two different 7-day periods. But one week, without them being aware, their twice-daily cereal bars had gluten. At the end of each week, researchers evaluated the athletes' cycling. Eating gluten-free did not have benefits in athletic performance, abdominal pain (think cramps and diarrhea) or perceived well-being. So why are athletes convinced gluten-free diets help? One hypothesis is the placebo effect. Another possible explanation: "When going gluten-free, people make better food choices," says sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D. "They stop eating as many processed foods."

Some original reporting from EatingWell Magazine.