Health & Fitness | September 7, 2021 5:17 pm

Why Does Noah Syndergaard Eat Raw Animal Products for Breakfast?

The New York Mets pitcher is a big man with an extremely bizarre diet

noah syndergaard mets pitchers has an odd diet
Noah Syndergaard is very good at throwing fastballs. But that doesn't make him a wellness expert.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

At the start of spring training, it seemed like New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was ready to pitch 200 innings this year. The man they call “Thor” underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2020, then spent the next 12 months in high-tech recovery; he cobbled together a cold plunge pool, infrared sauna and hyperbaric chamber, started practicing blood-flown restriction training, and even had visions of building a float tank.

They’re the sort of amenities that have become ubiquitous in professional locker rooms across America — which athletes lost access to during the peak of quarantine. Syndergaard deserves credit for recreating a recovery studio at his home in Florida, while picking up other healthy micro-habits, like starting a book club, walking to the beach every day and keeping technology out of his bedroom. It all helps.

Some of Syndergaard’s other practices, though — and adjacent wellness takes — aren’t so straightforward. The pitcher is a self-professed “earther” (a term for people who believe standing barefoot on grass sends beneficial electrical impulses into the body), contends that 5G and wifi interfere with “how mitochondria recover and react,” and regularly consumes raw animal products. Just this week he posted a photo to his Instagram story labelled “breakfast of striving champions,” which included raw bison liver, bone broth and raw milk.

noah syndergaard diet
Body by bison liver? Syndergaard believes that modern society “shuns red meat too much.”
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Image

For those unaware, Syndergaard has not pitched an inning this year. The Mets are in a race for the National League’s second wild card slot and could really use their iconic flamethrower, but he’s had multiple setbacks in his journey back from Tommy John. Syndergaard only started facing live batters in mid-August of this year, and had a recent rehab start canceled after he tested positive for COVID-19.

(While team officials claim Syndergaard is vaccinated, it should be noted that he is a fan of podcast lords Joe Rogan and Ben Greenfield, who are both anti-vaxxers. In a since-deleted Instagram, Syndergaard posted a meme that compared the “get the shot, get a donut” marketing ploy to obedient dogs being fed treats.)

Why is any of this relevant? And where the hell do raw cattle hearts fit in? Like many celebrities before him, it seems Syndergaard has started to confuse how much he cares about wellness with how much he actually knows about wellness. In the internet age, the slope from trying to stay fit to adopting outlandish practices (or, just as bad, rejecting agreed-upon effective ones) is slipperier than ever.

With nearly 300,000 Instagram followers, Syndergaard clearly has influence. Plus, he has the big-shouldered, show-muscley figure that most men are after at at least one point in their lives. But it’s fair to ask whether some of his more recent lifestyle proclivities have come at the expense of a speedy return to the mound. Consider: while animals organs are an underrepresented ingredient in modern American fare (we delve into the topic here), Syndergaard doesn’t seem to be employing them as part of broader balanced diet.

Syndergaard told GQ earlier this year that people these days “are soft” and “shun red meat too much.” He also explained that he doesn’t do “like … normal, ‘healthy eating,’” specifically turning up his nose at Tom Brady’s infamous TB12 diet, which is specifically designed (however anecdotally/unscientifically, in its own right) to limit inflammation and preempt potential injury. Well — the reality is, Tom Brady is 15 years older than Syndergaard, playing a more physically demanding sport, and practically never misses games.

On top of Syndergaard’s trend-bucking reliance on meat, consuming raw animal products is simply not a good idea. Is his personal chef grilling up that bison liver? Hopefully. But chugging raw milk isn’t a recipe for longevity; the federal government banned the sale of unpasteurized milk across states lines 30 years ago because it’s a public health risk. It can carry bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter, which are all capable of giving food poisoning. On the flip side, there are no known health benefits.

There’s a little more to be said for drinking bone broth — it contains minerals that aid in joint function — but in order to maximize results you need to drink it consistently (three times per day, every day). All told, it’s just another bizarre blend of lifestyle maximalism and Paleolithic worship: Eat flesh, drink bones. Anyone who doesn’t get it is soft. Or doesn’t win championships. Until Syndergaard himself wins a championship, though, it will prove difficult to take seriously his entire menu for success.