“The Game of Eating Smart: Nourishing Recipes for Peak Performance Inspired by MLB Superstars”
The author: Julia Loria and Allen Campbell
The publishing info: Rodale Books,/Crown Publishing $25.99, 240 pages, released March 26
The review in 90 feet or less
Breaking bread these days with a big-leaguer comes with a warning label. Is it gluten-free? Can I put avocado and egg on it after it’s toasted? Can it be made with oat flour, almond flour and garbanzo flour?
“Big League Bread,” serving six and requiring 45 minutes of cooking time, is right there on page 34. The key is using coconut nectar, a “low-glycemic natural sweetener and an excellent alternative to the sugary sweeteners found in many store-bought breads.”
No matter how you slice it, MLB players are as health conscious as any athlete who has endure at least a seventh-month season of late-game endings, arrivals at the park by 2 p.m. without thinking about breakfast yet, and trying to figure out what kind of fuel makes the most efficient.
Loria, who in 2001 put together the book “Diamond Dishes: From the Kitchens of Baseball’s Biggest Stars” that focused on the dietary needs of players such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Ethier and Chase Utley, returns to find a renewed approach in how to create what is a very organic biographical profile of 21 current major-league stars, finding out what really feeds their egos and ethos.
As a result, more than 100 recipes have been created to suit their needs. This time, Loria recruits super chef Allen Campbell, who co-authored the Tom Brady book, “TB12 Nutrition Manual,” since he became the New England Patriots’ personal chef.
Well isn’t he a smart cookie.
For a taste at what to look for in a baseball cookbook, consider what makes Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Giocarlo Stanton – three guys with local ties who you may someday never run into at Whole Foods.
* Kershaw, who could use a few more productive years as his body seems to be fighting off various ailments lately, says his go-to lunch is a broiled or grilled chicken along with a complex carb like brown rice. He’s also happy that Dodger Stadium clubhouse offers grass-fed beef as an option. And he’s “recently discovered” a liking to salmon sushi, “but I eat it without the white rice so it’s healthier.” Then how is that sushi?
(Wait, what about those commercials he used to do for Subway sandwiches? Was that just a bunch of empty calories to pad the wallet?)
For him, the authors have concocted recipes for a blue cinnamon smoothie that only takes five minutes to prep, and salmon nori roll with julienned zucchini and carrots, plus shaved cabbage.
* Trout admits he eats a lunch for his breakfast and “as a chicken-and-beef guy,” he doesn’t mind a beet salad to supplement it. Also, for a guy who says “I love seafood – crab, lobster and tuna – and I just started to like sushi,” we’re not surprised he is doesn’t go seeking trout. But he always seems to be craving pickles.
(Yeah, pickles on his Subway tuna salad sandwich.)
For him, they’ve got a coconut water with aloe, lemon and ginger concoction, a skirt steak salad with picked radishes and a warm roasted beet salad topped off with two tablespoons of pistachios.
* Stanton, the former Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks High star, he fills his 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame with as much pineapple and watermelon as he can consume, then heads for some hot yoga to work it off.
So for him, they’ve suggested a khichadi/yogi bowl of lentils and brown rice (called the “ultimate wellness bowl”), a Mediterranean salmon salad and pickled jalapenos.
If one wants to go off the meun of the local favorites, check out the concoctions that make up seared avocado with chili powder and ground cumin, turkey and zucchini enchiladas, a Cuban black bean bowl with jicama rice or a tamari citrus noodle stir-fry.
Hold the Himalayan salt and Sergeant pepper.
How it goes down in the scorebook
Once upon a time, get got a copy of “The Big Hurt’s Guide to BBQ and Grilling,” by Frank Thomas.
It still hurts to look at it. All that meat, dripping on the grill.
Frankly, we’ve not opened it in a long while.
If the L.A. Times can revive its food section, it’s reason enough to know the importance of what we put into our bodies and how much fun it can be in the same gulp.
These guys don’t make the big leagues wolfing down Dodger Dogs and angel food cake. If eating right and feeling better even means following the suggestion made for a Dodgers or Angels opponent, one shouldn’t be opposed to it. Just hold the big-league onions.
One last thought: Unless you’ve committed to the physical regime these guys have, then loading up on some healthy fats and transfats could simply add weight. Work out before you attempt the “Kitchen Sink Smoothie” (page 141): Adam Jones endorses this with a small sweet potato, hulled strawberries, pomegranate seeds, a handful of spinach and “whatever else you can find that will blend” like leftover cooked quinoa, brown rice, massaged kale or blueberries.