After his rookie season, Deatrich Wise, defensive lineman for the New England Patriots, decided he was done with all meat products.
The defensive end of the fifth year was researching and tracking the studies of herbalists, dietitians, and the diets of bodybuilders and strongmen competitors who had transitioned to a vegan lifestyle. Not only did Wise want to make sure that he was always feeding his body clean, but he also wanted to make sure that he felt as good as possible every time he stepped on the field.
“In football you get all kinds of injuries,” said Wise. “I had a long list of injuries, but when I started changing my diet I found that a lot of the things I ate weren’t healing my body the way I wanted it to. I know that the foods we eat often lead to certain diseases and I really wanted to clean up my diet for my physical recovery, but also for my health. “
Having eliminated most, if not all, of the meats from his diet, Wise admits he can now feel the difference when it comes to recovering from a tough, hard hit game or intense workout.
“I still have general pain, but I recover faster and the pain doesn’t last that long and isn’t as intense,” he continued. “In college, after training, and after NFL games, my body was extremely sore, sometimes two days later [a game]. I could hardly get through a training session the next day. [Recovery] is much faster now. “
Make a ‘wise’ switch to vegan
After cutting red meat and pork in college, Wise ate only chicken in his freshman year as a professional. He admits that his decision to go vegan was received with some skepticism by both the team’s nutritionists and his teammates.
He was told stories of players who tried to play plant-based but lost muscle mass, weakened and sustained injuries as a result. Confident enough in his dietary choices, Wise made a wager with his nutritionists: if he was deficient in muscle mass and lost his strength, at least he would eat eggs again.
The result: Wise still has to crack an egg. Not only did he come back with extra muscle mass, but Wise says his bench press and squat numbers improved to personal bests and he continued to produce effectively on the defensive side of the field.
Courtesy of the New England Patriots / Eric J. Adler
He eats up to five meals a day, with a few smoothies in between, says Wise, that he consumes up to 5,000 calories every day. His diet consists of lots of beans, pasta, chickpeas, eggplant, mushrooms, and he’ll add a few Beyond Meat products every now and then to change things up.
Wise and his wife Chanel share the cooking chores and often search online for new and unique vegan recipes. Often times, the newly married couple will give non-vegan meals their own spoon by giving them a herbal remix.
Wise’s offseason routine is also a constant, in which he likes to keep his Strength and stamina at the same level that he does during the season. Wise’s weeks consist of his usual routine of squats, single leg raises, dumbbell and regular bench presses, mountain running, swimming, and cycling.
“I think it is a must to have a regimen,” said Wise. “You have to have a plan. My parents always told me that not planning is failure. If you don’t follow a routine that you do every day, it’s very easy for things to get out of hand.
“I make sure that I’m always fit during the offseason and that I train like during the season,” he adds. “I like to be strong all season. I am trying to follow the program that we have here. “
Courtesy of the New England Patriots / David Silverman
Will the Patriot Way return in 2021?
Speaking of the program, the Patriots want to recover after a 2020 season that was different from what the franchise was used to. The team’s season ended 7-9 at the end of the regular season for the first time since the 2008 season, while their former quarterback won his seventh Super Bowl title.
They finished 26th against the run and 27th in terms of touchdown percentage allowed in the red zone. Her 24 sacks were the fewest for any team led by Bill Belichick in his NFL coaching days. Wise’s persistence, versatility and presence in the dressing rooms made it an easy decision for New England to keep his services.
Despite the bad year, Wise enjoyed the best statistical season of his career. He played 565 career-high snaps and scored the first touchdown of his career after a fiddly rebound.
Losing Tom Brady in the free hand was a blow, but Wise said there was no gap in the lead as there were many voices in the locker room that inspire respect. “We have so many leaders, guys like Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Lawrence Guy,” says Wise. “When one leads, the others step up.”
There was also no shortage of lessons from last season, which is why the Patriots added some key additions to their off-season defensive unit that are much deeper and more talented on both sides of the ball than they were last season.
Many experts have them return to the postseason game. In the way he has gone about his business since joining the league, Wise draws on one of his favorite quotes and the philosophy of the Patriot Way.
“Don’t let anyone use their pen to write your story,” said Wise. “If we keep doing our work day after day, every day, we will get better and better and our goal is always to win. If we can continue to do our work, the rest will take care of itself. “