Colorado Avalanche: Could You Diet Like Nathan MacKinnon?

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche addresses the media during Media Day for the 2018 NHL All-Star at Grand Hyatt Hotel on January 27, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche addresses the media during Media Day for the 2018 NHL All-Star at Grand Hyatt Hotel on January 27, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Colorado Avalanche superstar center Nathan MacKinnon is careful about what he puts in his body for nutrition’s sake. Could you follow his diet?

Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon is a machine. Recently he’s been outspoken about how he takes care of his body. It’s not just the workouts. He’s fastidious in his nutrition, too.

In fact, in a recent Athletic article, Andre Burakovsky said MacKinnon’s also hyped up about what his teammates eat:

"“When he sees you eat something that he doesn’t like, he lets you know it’s better to not have that. He’s definitely on a couple guys about diets and what’s the right thing to eat before games.”"

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He just wants 100 percent from himself and everyone on his team to give them the best chance possible for success.

Even more recently, MacKinnon spoke to GQ about what he’s doing during the pause. He’s at his house up in Nova Scotia, and it sounds like from the interview he’s alone.

Anyway, the GQ article is part of a series in which the author talks to athletes about their real-life diets. MacKinnon shared that three years ago he decided to go gluten-free and dairy-free. He says he’s not intolerant, but he prefers to keep those substances out of his body for health reasons. He had his bloodwork analyzed to see what does and doesn’t work for him.

So, what does a gluten-free diet look like? I had a friend who has celiac disease, and there is gluten in some really surprising places. For example, many chefs use it as a thickener for broth. And food processing plants use it to keep raisins separate.

Apparently gluten-free bread is one of the toughest dishes to get right.  The gluten is what holds traditional bread together and traps the gas bubbles during fermentation to make bread airy. Gluten-free bread tends to be denser and may fall apart more easily.

Nonetheless, MacKinnon shares that up in Nova Scotia, since he’s on his own, his go-to breakfast has been gluten-free toast with eggs and granola.

Now, traditional granola isn’t gluten-free because the main component are oats, which have gluten proteins. Gluten-free granola usually incorporates more nuts and dried fruits. You can also use gluten-free rolled oats.

How are we doing so far? Could you eat a breakfast like MacKinnon’s? Personally, I like fewer carbohydrates and more produce with my breakfast. And cheese. But then, MacKinnon is also dairy-free.

In describing his daily habits in isolation, it sounds like MacKinnon is only eating two meals a day. His dinner consists of chicken, salmon, or steak with vegetables such as  asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato.

Now that’s more my speed. Some nice lean chicken with asparagus is a great mea.? I prefer to eat steak in a restaurant because it’s not the best dish I make. How about you — any broccoli fans out there?

It sounds like MacKinnon, who once couldn’t cook at all and ate all his meals at restaurants, has learned how to cook. He says he works with a chef when he’s in Denver who designs meals for him. But it sounds like the chef himself or herself (no gender given) cooks the meals.

I could live with having a chef — I bet you could, too!

Now, MacKinnon is a focused and intense young man. However, he’s not really a machine. During his time up in Nova Scotia, he does have a cheat meal snack. Two actually — chips and guacamole. And ice cream. Corn chips are gluten-free, but ice cream obviously isn’t dairy-free.

MacKinnon credits his diet to the improvement of his sleep and even his performance. He points out, “When I started this diet is when I kind of broke out.” Wow, that’s lofty.

Nathan MacKinnon isn’t the only Colorado Avalanche player who had his body analyzed for nutritional needs. Off the top of my head, I remember that Matt Nieto and Tyson Jost did, too. I’m guessing MacKinnon was the inspiration.

Now, who do you think MacKinnon has to “get on” about their diets? I would have said Jost except he got the analysis, too. I’d say old-timers like Ian Cole and Matt Calvert, although it would be outrageous for MacKinnon to talk to vets about their diets.

Nikita Zadorov? He did eat some of his daughter’s absolutely decadent birthday cake but, hey, it’s a special occasion. I’d say Andre Burakovsky himself might be a candidate.

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Well, Nathan MacKinnon is also working out in his personal gym with routines designed by his personal trainer, Andy O’Brien. It sounds like he aims to be ready inside and out if the Colorado Avalanche season is able to resume.