In an Boston Globe interview today, chef Allen Campbell talks about his job as a private chef for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, the model Gisele Bundchen (and their children). In the interview, the Chelmsford, MA native reveals his deep knowledge of cooking and how completely he has bought into the pseudo-science of popular foodie-ism.
He starts by explaining that he cooks a lot of vegetables and grains as well as some meat for the Bradys, but within the first sentence or two gives away his lack of food science knowledge by explaining that he buys organic foods (because the Bradys have a lot of money to waste on overpriced food, which is not more nutritious) and avoids GMOs (because he has no idea what they are). Claiming that he is concerned with the future of the planet he somehow manages to ignore the fact that GMO crops have been found to reduce pesticide use by 37% and increase crop yields by 22%.
He note that he took an on-line nutrition course taught by T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, a book that has been severely criticized for confirmation bias and cherry-picking of data. The study makes great claims for a plant based diet, but his correlation of diet and diseases has been found wanting.
He claims that eating sugar and carbs makes your body more acidic, which is simply nonsense. The pH of your body is tightly regulated within a couple of tenths of a pH unit.
He claims that he uses no MSG, as if that were bad, neglecting the fact that MSG is naturally occurring in cheese, broccoli, tomatoes, and peas. And he uses Tamari instead of soy sauce, ignoring the fact that fermented soy contains a great deal of glutamate.
He claims not to use white sugar for some reason, perhaps under the misapprehension that there are a lot of minerals in brown sugar that would be important to the Bradys, because everyone needs to get the nutrition from sugar! He also uses only Himalayan sea salt for no particular reason, and avoids iodized salt because he isn’t worried about goiters.
He claims that he avoids tomatoes and potatoes (from the nightshade family) because he imagines they are inflammatory, but again this is just a myth. He also avoids dairy and mushrooms (why?).
You would not be surprised that he also cooks gluten free, despite the fact that gluten is a source of healthy protein unless someone in the household is a celiac disease sufferer. The idea of non-celiac gluten sensitivity is no longer given much credence.
He also claims to do a lot of his shopping at Whole Foods, because again, money is no object and he can rub shoulders with other trendy idiots who know as little about nutrition as he does.
If you read about Campbell’s cooking, he is obvious a gifted and imaginative chef, but he shouldn’t be getting his nutrition advice from Google University.