Bertans palate has evolved. Now, the Washington Wizards three-point specialist is a gluten-free and dairy-free Pescatarian, who only added fish to his diet this season after years as a vegan.
Although Bertans, 27, grew up in the ice cream capital of Latvia and delighted with pork and potatoes as a child with swollen cheeks, he now recognizes that his reformed diet improves endurance and strength. He needed only 26 games to reach 100 triples, the fastest in the team’s history. Bertans also ranks among the league’s leaders as a percentage of three-point field goals (.434).
Initially, his diet change caused concern in his family. Some NBA staff members also expressed reservations. But Bertans attributes one of the best shooting seasons in the history of the Wizards franchise to eating red snappers seared in grapeseed oil and almond butter and banana sandwiches in gluten-free bread.
“After cutting it,” Bertans said about eliminating animal products and processed foods, “my body felt much better.”
Gone are the days of living in a fast food wasteland: “Yes, it was pretty bad. I’m not proud of that time in my life, “Bertans admitted, chuckling. Now, most mornings, Bertans wakes up and he and his wife, Anna, make vegan avocado and tomato toast, heavy in avocado. On game days, with the menu created by team nutritionist Sue Saunders-Bouvier and food prepared by chef Stephen Korda, Bertans dishes consist of a combination of lightly seasoned fish, clean vegetables and simple grains.
The day Bertans returned after an absence of nine games due to a quadruple injury, he ate his usual meal before the game: his sandwich, a side of roasted beets and a cold pressed beet juice.
“[Bertans is] great about it. He has found things that work for him and that he likes. It has made it really easy, “said Saunders-Bouvier, who also works with all teams under the umbrella of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, as well as with Washington Capitals.” He likes fried rice with shrimp or, basically, things that are quite easy to get and not so difficult to prepare and do well for chefs. ”
Although Bertans now has experts to assist him, he gives credit to Anna, who played basketball in Latvia, as her nutritionist in recent years. In 2014, Bertans moved to Spain and Anna lived with him. She ate healthy foods and slowly, he also turned around, especially after a particularly bad experience when he became ill from consuming dairy before a game.
At that time, Bertans decided to leave the dairy. It was ironic considering that his small hometown, Rūjiena, located in the northern pocket of Latvia, is widely known for its ice cream factory.
“We were so used to it that we are not sorry,” Dairis said, explaining how the brothers could constantly consume the sugary candy, known as saldejums in Latvian
Dairy was the first to leave. Then, after Bertans tore his right anterior cruciate ligament for the second time in his career in March 2015, he decided to make a more drastic transition.
“That’s when I started thinking,” I have to change something. I can’t keep doing the same thing again and maybe return to the same result, “said Bertans.
Motivated even more after watching food documentaries, Davis and Anna Bertans became vegan.
“[My family] I did not understand when I said I was not eating any animal products. My dad said, “You’re crazy. You’ll probably be back in a month,” Bertans said.
When Bertans joined the San Antonio Spurs in 2016, he said his new NBA team also expressed concern that he was not getting enough protein.
“There were definitely doubts about it,” said Bertans.
Bertans doubled his lifestyle after a late regular season game in his rookie season. Bertans, who had received only scattered minutes during the season, started and played almost 39 minutes and then felt great after the April 2017 game.
In Washington, Bertans plays the most important role in his professional career, leaving the bench and firing the offensive. He has an average of 8.6 triples per game, which has helped him lead the league with 3.2 triples in attempts to catch and shoot.
“I am faster, faster than everyone else in my position and that is what I try to use,” Bertans said. “I can run from side to side. I am probably covering more ground this way, sideways on the court, than up and down. It is hard on defense. I heard the defenders complain to me in the game, “Can you stop for a second?”
Last summer, before joining the Wizards, Bertans added fish to his diet, in part because the NBA’s travel lifestyle can be difficult for a vegan. Use an application, Happy Cow, to find hidden vegan places in places like Oklahoma City.
Bertans has become one of the best snipers in the league, he believes by staying alert about his diet.
“Maybe when I was 18, 17, it didn’t matter,” Bertans said, “but once you get older and the games get harder sometimes, I realized that food is one of the most important things.” Food and sleep