Steve Nash Diet Challenge: A successful week eating healthy like the MVP

Posted by on September 24th, 1:17 am

Seven days ago I set out to eat like Steve Nash for one week.

In that time I have attempted to eat Nash’s prescribed diet of chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and brown rice, and I have cut out personal favorites like bread, red meat and pasta while also saying no to sugar, processed food and anything else that would be considered crap.

Without having Nash by my side during this process, it’s hard to say if I followed the diet exactly to a T, but I did my best and certainly followed the spirit of the diet.

In this time I have also tried to get more sleep than usual, another Nash key, and although I have not exactly gotten the eight hours a night I was shooting for, it’s certainly been better than my average week.

Without question you need more than seven days to measure the effects of such a diet, but even in this small sample size I have felt a difference.

This week has been the best I’ve felt at my day job in my 16-plus months with Vertical Measures. I have felt energized throughout the day with no dragging at the end of a long day as has sometimes been the case in the past. I would hypothesize getting better sleep is a major reason for that, but the diet likely has played a part as well.

Henry Abbott wrote about the energizing effect of Nash’s diet on TrueHoop last week, and I certainly experienced that as well. My body practically dragged me out to the basketball courts Sunday night, and I also played a little tennis on Wednesday and some more ball tonight.

Energy is one of my few athletic strengths to begin with, but I felt more energized than usual this week. I would have loved to have tested myself in a fullcourt setting, but playing halfcourt I was the most active guy out there. However, this diet didn’t exactly help my jump shot (but who am I kidding, I wasn’t going to transform into a 50-40-90 shooter just by eating a few veggies).

Some of the initial complaints I got about this experiment is that a week won’t do me any good, that it’s got to be a lifestyle change to see a real difference. The genesis of this project was just to get a better sense of the kind of dietary sacrifice Nash makes to keep himself as arguably the healthiest athlete in the NBA. It was only a week, but I certainly have a feel for what Nash is going through and the kind of will power it must take to ignore any teammates eating junk food and stick to the kale.

This wasn’t a temporary diet so much as an experiment to understand Nash better, but I completely agree that this is more a lifestyle than a diet for Nash. Through all the Facebook video posts I made of particular meals, many people commented on the simplicity of the diet or that it’s a diet that they eat themselves. Other friends texted me about whether it would work for them and seemed to seriously ponder trying it. No, Nash isn’t going to become the next Atkins, but eating like him clearly is one of the most healthy ways one can eat.

I have mixed feelings on the difficulty of the diet. On one hand, you get to eat delicious chicken and fish and some of the vegetables I devoured weren’t as bad as I thought.

However, it was tough to go to a favorite restaurant and not order a favorite meat dish, and it wasn’t easy to watch communal sandwiches be brought into the office and have to take a pass, especially when some of the meals did not leave me as full as I usually would be (although perhaps that’s a good thing). It must be much easier to eat this healthy on Nash’s salary, but mentally it still must be tough for him to pass up some of the delicious food in the Suns’ postgame spread.

Personally, this week was great for me to expand my eating horizons and discover some healthy eateries I wasn’t familiar with so I don’t have to eat at Chipotle every other day. Nourish in Old Town and True Food Kitchen in Biltmore Fashion Park were two of my favorites.

At True Food I had a chance to catch up with manager Danny Evans, and he told me that Grant Hill eats there all the time and Nash has dined there twice (should the Grant Hill diet be on the agenda for next week?). He explains why this place appeals to NBA players and common people alike and what exactly the Nash favorite kale is in the video below.

The Nash Diet really is only known thusly because Shaq coined it so, as really it’s not a diet so much as a healthy way to live.

I think I would feel amazing and be incredibly energetic (my colleagues at work would probably argue I don’t need to be more energetic than usual) if I made this my lifestyle, but I plan on integrating red meat and pasta back into my diet immediately.

However, I expect this experience to make me more cognizant of the things I eat. Sure, have some ice cream once in a while, but sugar really should only be eaten in moderation. Also, it’s OK to consume a salad every so often, and there are more healthy eateries in my neighborhood than I might think with just a bit of research.

I have also gained a greater appreciation for Nash’s devotion to his diet, and I understand why eating like Nash is becoming so popular in the Suns’ locker room .

Is Steve Nash a two-time MVP because of his diet? Of course not. But it’s certainly one of the reasons he’s continued to play at a high level into his mid-30s, and even in a one-week sample size I could see that it’s a key to a healthier life.

Here are a couple of the videos from the week eating like Nash:

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns Analysis · Steve Nash

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dan // Sep 24, 2010 at 4:39 am

    How would you compare the cost of how you normally eat vs being on the Nash diet? Was the Nash diet much more expensive?

  • 2 Michael Schwartz // Sep 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    The Nash Diet was definitely more expensive, particularly some of the fish dishes that I ate in a restaurant. Let’s be honest, real good healthy food is expensive. Three of the meals were probably in the $15-25 range, which is certainly more than I would spend on an average dinner and that’s not even counting a salad. Also, you can’t have a cheap In-and-Out burger type meal to balance it out.

  • 3 Dan // Sep 26, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Thanks Michael…

  • 4 Nash ready as ever, Dudley slims down and Suns ready to chase title again | Valley of the Suns // Sep 28, 2010 at 12:21 am

    [...] Valley of the Suns editor Michael Schwartz must not be the only one giving the Steve Nash diet a try… [...]

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