Watch The Assist | How Dwyane Wade’s Chef Created His NBA Diet | GQ Video

Watch The Assist | How Dwyane Wade’s Chef Created His NBA Diet | GQ Video

00:01

In 2005 that was really that turning point for us.

00:05

I explained to Dwayne it’s gonna come a time

00:08

you’re gonna see that your body

00:10

is not gonna respond the way that you want it to

00:12

because of the deficiency of vegetables

00:15

that you’re not willing to consume.

00:18

When Dwayne got hurt he came to me

00:19

and he said, Chef, I think I may want to try a salad,

00:27

My name is Richard Ingraham.

00:29

I am the CEO of ChefRLI and I have been

00:34

the personal chef for Dwayne Wade

00:36

and Gabrielle Union for the past 17 years.

00:39

I would describe Dwayne’s tastes

00:41

as he loves comfort food.

00:46

The things that Dwayne was eating when I first started,

00:49

he would eat Little Debbie’s snack cakes,

00:52

the oatmeal cream pies.

00:54

One of his favorite dishes was fettuccine alfredo

00:57

with fried chicken on top.

01:00

He could eat whatever he want basically

01:01

because he was losing about five pounds

01:03

or so during each game and he would just run

01:06

up and down the court so he would burn that stuff off.

01:09

My main thing with him was if you want to eat

01:12

some of this stuff let me know and I’ll make it myself.

01:16

So instead of eating the processed oatmeal cream pies,

01:20

I would make the oatmeal cookies myself,

01:23

I would make the cream myself.

01:25

Alfredo sauce never out of the jar.

01:29

I found that a lot of NBA players

01:31

including Dwayne their mentality at the time was

01:36

listen I was eating fried chicken,

01:39

hot dogs, brownies, cakes, I grew up

01:42

on all of this stuff.

01:43

This is the diet that got me these contracts

01:46

and got me to where I am.

01:48

They weren’t really understanding

01:50

that because of their great genes

01:52

and the fact that they were young, youthful

01:55

that that was what was really carrying them.

02:01

There’s so much more required from your body

02:04

in being an athlete a lot of brain,

02:07

a lot of sweat, just the stamina that it takes

02:10

in order to perform at such a high level

02:13

the body loses so many nutrients

02:15

throughout that process and it’s up to the personal chef

02:19

to put all of those nutrients back inside the body.

02:22

When I first started working with Dwayne

02:25

he absolutely hated vegetables.

02:28

Anything green, no parts of it whatsoever, nothing.

02:33

The ball club would give him powders

02:35

and vitamins and things like that

02:38

that would replace the natural vitamins

02:41

that you would get from raw vegetables.

02:44

Supplements are great if you’re on the road

02:47

or if you just can’t sit down to eat certain things.

02:50

You can say you know what I know I need

02:52

a little bit of vitamin A or vitamin D

02:55

or vitamin C, but it’s nothing like

02:57

getting vitamin C from a fresh orange.

03:01

I had to kind explain to Dwayne

03:03

that listen as you get older unfortunately

03:05

there will be times that you get injured

03:08

and because you don’t have the necessary vitamins

03:10

that come from raw vegetables your body’s not going to heal

03:13

as quickly as you would want it to.

03:15

Not only does it effect your body,

03:17

but it effects your psyche as well.

03:19

It takes a whole lot longer for you

03:21

to get your head back into the game

03:24

because you’re so worried about your body.

03:27

Whereas if you’re taking care of your body

03:28

as they say, if you stay ready

03:30

you never have to get ready.

03:32

Whatever you put inside your body

03:33

that’s the fuel that’s all that you have.

03:35

So you have to make sure that you put

03:38

the best products inside of your body

03:40

so that you can get the best output on the court.

03:44

2005 that was really that turning point for us.

03:48

When Dwayne got hurt the next thing you know

03:51

Dwayne came to me and he said,

03:52

Chef, I think I may want to try a salad, here or there.

03:56

Instead of me saying you know I told you so,

03:58

I was excited about it.

04:00

In order for me to keep him performing

04:03

I had to go and look on the computer,

04:06

I had to read, I had to ask other chefs

04:09

who worked for other athletes who I really admired

04:12

what was it that they were doing?

04:15

What should I do to cut down on inflammation?

04:18

What should I do to help with migraines?

04:21

With the migraines we basically

04:23

tried to keep his body hydrated.

04:26

We drank a lot more water.

04:28

We took every type of other drink out of his diet.

04:31

We took all sugars out of his diet.

04:33

We added in some nice teas with turmeric

04:36

and some ginger and kept his stress level

04:39

as low as possible.

04:41

That’s where I came in just to provide

04:44

a very holistic environment for him

04:47

so that his migraines wouldn’t kick in.

04:50

I started learning all of this information

04:53

and I started implementing them slowly into his diet

04:57

and one thing that I would always do is

04:59

communicate with Dwayne what it was I was doing.

05:02

I wanted to have him included

05:05

and Dwayne being the leader that he was

05:07

he would take some of that information

05:09

into the locker room and tell some of the other players

05:13

exactly what he was doing because he wanted everybody

05:16

to kind of be on the same page,

05:18

not just mentally but as far as their bodies

05:21

were concerned as well.

05:24

When I first started with Dwayne

05:27

I wanted to get all of the information

05:29

and I wanted to do it all myself.

05:31

But then I had to understand that

05:33

there are different people that help to make one team

05:38

and the purpose of that team was to make sure

05:40

that the athlete performs at the highest level.

05:43

At some point I had to come to grips with myself

05:46

and say listen, you have to take the ego

05:48

out of the equation and understand

05:50

that it’s not about you.

05:52

What you do is just one portion

05:54

of what it takes for Dwayne to be

05:56

the best he can possibly be.

05:58

So instead of it just being me out on the island,

06:02

now I was actually getting on the phone

06:04

and calling people like Tim Rover,

06:06

David Alexander, the team trainers

06:09

to make sure that I was doing exactly what I needed

06:13

that my particular part fit into the puzzle just right

06:17

and if I needed to make certain adjustments

06:19

I was able to do that.

06:21

I remember one game it was the fourth quarter

06:24

Dwayne was running down the court,

06:25

he’s been playing pretty well the whole night

06:28

and the next thing you know he goes out

06:30

because he has cramps in his legs.

06:32

So I’m wondering you know what is it?

06:35

That was the first thing that I always thought about.

06:39

There were times where David Alexander,

06:41

one of his trainer’s would give me a call

06:43

and say, Listen Chef, we need D to be

06:46

as strong as possible.

06:48

So what we want to do now is to

06:50

up his protein intake because we want to put on

06:53

just a little bit more muscle so that

06:56

he can withstand not only the bumps that he takes

06:59

when driving to the whole, but also

07:02

if you ever watch Dwayne’s game

07:05

he’s on the ground maybe 80% of the time

07:08

because he’s falling down from taking

07:10

these fade away jump shots and maybe getting bumped

07:13

on the way down so he needs to be able to have that muscle

07:16

so that when he hits the ground he’s strong enough

07:19

to be able to withstand all the rigorous bumps

07:22

and bruises that he would get.

07:23

So now what I would do was go out

07:25

and get more lean fish, you know maybe sea bass.

07:28

We would do some nice shrimp.

07:30

I would do maybe a little grouper, some snapper.

07:34

Then on the meat side maybe a pork tenderloin,

07:39

All of these things were very, very flavorful meat parts,

07:43

but they were very lean as well.

07:47

Later on in Dwayne’s career he suffered

07:49

a couple of different injuries; a should injury,

07:52

then of course his knee.

07:54

I would go in and I would talk to the trainers.

07:57

I would talk to certain nutritionists

07:59

and find out what foods should I take out of his diet?

08:05

And a lot of my pasta dishes that we would do

08:07

for pre-game I would take out dairy;

08:10

cheeses, heavy creams, butter.

08:13

Implement more legumes, more beans,

08:16

so that it would help him with his inflammation problem.

08:20

I definitely feel that you can always continue to learn.

08:23

I look and I watch and I study

08:25

every single thing about what people do,

08:28

what people cook and just because your a chef

08:31

that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something

08:34

You know from my mother.

08:35

I watch my wife cook certain things

08:37

and I may ask, listen how did you get that to do that?

08:40

Even when I go out to eat I continuously

08:43

try to learn different methods.

08:45

People they want the shine, but they don’t want the grind

08:48

and every single day is a grind.

08:50

And that grind means to continue to educate yourself.

08:58

We’ve never monitored calories.

09:00

Through my communication I knew how he was feeling,

09:03

so I would make necessary adjustments there.

09:06

Probably look at his body.

09:07

I would look at his obliques.

09:09

Look at him as a whole to see if I need

09:12

to taper off on this,

09:14

maybe check his portion sizes with this.

09:17

And then he would come to me sometimes

09:19

and give me suggestions on you know

09:21

maybe we need to try to do a cleanse.

09:23

Or we would do special smoothies

09:26

with kale, cucumber, lemon, things to kind of

09:30

flush his system out, speed his metabolism up

09:33

so he can start burning a little bit faster.

09:36

My philosophy is to continuously

09:38

throughout the season, throughout the off season

09:41

kinda keep the same regiment to eat clean,

09:44

to eat flavorful and then periodically

09:48

we would have a day where we may have short ribs

09:50

or we may have a hamburger with fries.

09:53

But once again, whatever it was

09:55

that we were indulging in we made sure

09:57

that it was made from the freshest products.

10:00

During the off season I kinda looked at it

10:02

like a workout, whereas you’re working out

10:05

throughout the season and then you take time off

10:08

and you don’t workout.

10:10

The hardest thing is to start again.

10:13

That’s the hardest thing to ever do.

10:15

Your muscles are sore, so you may take a day off

10:19

to get your muscles back and you have to go

10:21

through such a process to start that all over again.

10:25

So we really didn’t over indulge.

10:27

We didn’t over indulge in our sweets.

10:29

We didn’t over indulge in rice or pastas.

10:33

Once the season started then we started to implement

10:37

a little bit more carbs into his diet

10:39

because now he’s training, especially during the pre-season

10:43

he needed that energy boost.

10:45

But we didn’t just add any type of carbs in.

10:48

We wanted to make sure that we implemented

10:51

carbohydrates that would sustain his energy level.

10:54

In the morning a breakfast sandwich

10:57

or we may do some oatmeal which is a great carbohydrate

11:00

that sustains that energy level throughout the day.

11:04

And then for lunch we may do a nice orzo pasta

11:08

with some turkey and spinach meatballs

11:11

or something like that.

11:12

He may have a nice peanut butter

11:14

and jelly sandwich with some green grapes

11:17

that I would send him off with.

11:18

And then for dinner he would come home

11:20

we may have a veal chop with some farro

11:23

and broccoli stir fry.

11:26

When he, Chris Bosh and LeBron James

11:29

got together during the time of the big three.

11:32

Those were some very, very long seasons.

11:37

They played a whole season.

11:39

They played through the play-offs.

11:43

Then the championship series.

11:46

His body got really, really beat up

11:48

very, very tired, very exhausting.

11:51

So I had to make sure that each

11:53

and every meal meant something.

12:01

I think Dwayne has changed in a way

12:03

of just be a little bit more open,

12:05

probably trying different things

12:07

and I think the reason for that is because of trust.

12:10

That comes with time.

12:13

For the past 17 years I’ve become part of the family.

12:17

When he’s away I’ve taken on the role

12:20

of being the protector of his family.

12:23

I stay a little bit later at night

12:25

to make sure everybody’s safe.

12:27

They have food there in case they want

12:29

to come down and snack.

12:30

They don’t have to order food out.

12:33

It alleviates the pressure from him wondering

12:36

if his family is safe while he’s on the road.

12:39

The only thing that he has to concentrate on

12:42

is his job which is making sure

12:44

that ball goes into that hoop.

12:47

Dwayne as you know he switched teams a couple of times.

12:51

We got the call that we needed

12:52

to go to Chicago, so my wife and my children

12:55

and I we packed everything up and we moved off to Chicago.

12:59

And then we went from Chicago to Cleveland

13:02

and then the next thing you know

13:04

we were boom, right back in Miami once again.

13:06

And then here we are now in L.A.

13:09

It was all about finding the grocery stores

13:12

and some farms in order to make sure

13:14

that we kept the quality of service,

13:17

the quality of food the same because that’s the reason

13:20

that you know I was asked to come along.

13:23

D wanted to keep the same way of life

13:26

that he had in Miami.

13:28

When the talk of retirement came

13:30

you didn’t really want it to happen.

13:33

You know you love being a part of

13:35

what he was doing out there on the court.

13:37

You loved to see him dunk that ball

13:40

or to make this amazing play.

13:42

As the Lord would have it

13:44

and as Dwayne’s needs would have it

13:46

he wanted to continue to keep me on

13:48

because he wanted to still be as fit as he wanted to be.

13:52

Our diet isn’t as strenuous as it was

13:56

when he was playing, but I still try to keep it

13:59

as clean as possible.

14:00

He still needs the energy to be a winner

14:03

on camera, in these interviews

14:05

and doing the things that he’s doing.

14:07

We still have that same philosophy of

14:10

if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.

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