Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Julio Franco Diet

Sports - September 17, 2007

Julio Franco played in the majors for 25 years, and its odd not to see him in the lineup or on the bench this year. Playing for productively 25 years and being the oldest player in the league is quite an accomplishment and if he played just two more years, he would have ben one of the few players to ever play at the age of 50. The key to Franco's is a strong work ethic and a healthy diet that consists of more eggs than I can eat in a year:

A few minutes before 7 a.m. Tuesday, Julio Franco greeted a visitor to his apartment with the news that he had eaten 14 egg whites for breakfast.

But he was still hungry. A plate loaded with oatmeal awaited him, as did a banana and a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and still Franco wanted more egg whites. Franco's wife, Rosa, normally cooks him breakfast, but she wasn't there; so, in Spanish, he asked a friend to cook him six egg whites.

"It's O.K., six more's not going to hurt," Franco said. "It's good protein."

Franco's day always begins like this. He eats the first of five, sometimes six, meals before the sun has finished blazing over the horizon. Sometimes he adds vegetables, like bell peppers or spinach, to his egg whites or he substitutes a scooped-out bagel (he prefers cinnamon raisin) for the oatmeal.

If, as Franco wishes, he plays until he is 50, he will not diverge from a regimen that includes ingesting about 5,000 calories daily; lifting weights six days a week; and attending weekly sessions with his chiropractor and massage therapists to align his spine and restore his balance.

Franco is a walking anachronism and he knows it. He belongs in another era, when fast food, soda, preservatives and additives did not exist. Why else, he said, would he drink a liquid concoction made from beets, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, garlic, onions and an apple (to mask the unsavory tang)?

"It tastes nasty, but it's so good for you and 100 percent natural," Franco said. "That's all that I care about."

[ via New York Times ]

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