Apr 7, 2013, 11:28 AM EDT
St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart already has as many points (30) and one more goal (15) in this lockout-shortened season than he did in 79 games in 2011-12. An interesting NHL.com article reveals that diet – particularly cutting out one of his favorite foods, brown rice – helped him get in great shape.
The 25-year-old forward had some trouble with his weight last season, and eventually, it was determined that a severe food allergy was a big reason why.
“Matt Nichol set it all up,” Stewart said. “He had the people come to my house, had the people take a couple vials of blood. It was weird because it was in this little cooler thing and I had to ship it off to Florida. I got the results in a couple weeks. They tested it for everything and it came back that in fact it was severe allergy to rice, which is weird. You’ve never seen anything like that.
“It’s pretty bizarre, and growing up with a family full of seven kids, it’s a lot of rice, especially from my Jamaican descent … a lot of rice and peas. It’s a very popular dish. It kind of sucks now, but now we know and we’re on top of it and I never felt better.”
Naturally, dropping one random allergenic food element wasn’t the only part of the process, but it was a surprising one.
Stewart said that after a summer of hard work, he began to notice the difference late in games while playing overseas during the lockout.
“I especially noticed over there … last year come third period, I was a little tired,” Stewart said. “This year when I was over there, the third period … that’s when I started to get going.”
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock definitely notices a big difference, too.
“I think that’s what all the top skill players in the league figure out,” Hitchcock said. “Some guys naturally, guys like [Sidney] Crosby, [Zach] Parise … they figured it out earlier in their lives. But some guys, when they come to the NHL and they’ve lived on their skill to get here, after a while, you can’t live on your skill. You’ve got to live on your work. I think he’s starting to figure out the harder he competes, the more he works, the more scoring chances he gets and the more success he has. I think he’s really starting to figure it out.”
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