Eating for endurance: Meet CJ Wilson's personal chef

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by MEAGAN HARRIS

WFAA

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 11:03 PM

DALLAS — Baseball players aren't necessarily known for being healthy, but that's not the case for Texas Rangers starting pitcher CJ Wilson.

His approach is much like his lifestyle — clean.

Wilson started 34 games during the regular season, and temperatures topped 100 degrees for many of those games.

It's been a long grueling season for the entire team. And for Wilson, an important part of his endurance comes from what he eats. His strength comes from a balance of three things: Exercise, sleep and diet.

His longtime friend Aaron Elliott helps with one-third of that equation. Elliott has been Wilson's personal chef since April.

He's a vegan, drummer, and all-around health nut. Their approach to food goes back to a simple saying: "You are what you eat."

Elliot is a self-taught chef. Much of his healthy lifestyle comes from his mom who owned a restaurant in California.

He met Wilson years ago. Elliott was a drummer with CJ's brother in the band Take the Crown. He says he never thought he would be a chef.

"When he asked me to come be his chef, I said, 'I'm not really a chef."

Elliott quickly learned to cook meat and began work on a delicate diet for the All-Star pitcher. The two live in a rented North Dallas home with one other roommate, CJ's personal assistant.

Meeting the group is like taking a walk into a scene from "Entourage" (minus the booze). The three friends call themselves "straight-edge," a term that defines their lifestyle without alcohol and drugs.

It could easily define the way they eat, too.

Elliott uses all organic products. He cooks with coconut oil instead of olive oil. In fact, the group even drinks coconut oil — not the kind you buy in the store, but taken straight from the coconut.

Everything is made fresh, and that includes Wilson's game day meals.

On days that Wilson pitches, he eats an omelet and English muffin in the morning; fish is for lunch.

Elliott calls Wilson's superstitions "gnarly." The pitcher "eats the same thing for breakfast. Then he takes about an hour nap. He eats the same lunch. Then he goes to the field and drives the same car to the field every game day that he pitches," Elliott said.

The game day omelet consists of three eggs with spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion. The vegetables are sauteed in coconut oil before the eggs are added.

The finished product is then baked in the oven for five minutes.

Game day meals are kept bland. This season Wilson took dairy completely out of his diet to ensure better digestion, and it's worked.

It was a simple switch for Wilson's vegan chef, who says it "helps him a lot."

Elliott learned quickly what else to keep out — pepper.

"One day we were eating and he was eating eggs and said, 'Is there pepper in the eggs? No pepper on game days!" Elliott laughed as he added, "you don't make that mistake twice."

It's still undecided where Wilson will end up next season. He's a sought-after free agent. But one thing is for sure: Elliott and his organic cooking will follow him.

"It's the best job I've ever had," Elliott said.

E-mail mharris@wfaa.com

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