GQ The Real-Life Diet Of a Pro BMX Rider (Who Survived Cancer Three Times)

Josh Perry has a lot of reasons to not be here. In 2010, shortly after becoming a pro BMX rider, he received the first of his three brain tumor diagnoses. That one was a meningioma, a large mass on his brain that was benign but only removable via open craniotomy. The next one, two years later, called for an evocatively named procedure called gamma knife radiation, which beamed radiation into his brain.

“It sounded pretty scary, just because of the name, but the more I researched it the more comfortable I became,” Perry says today. “It seemed painless, and it was.” He was back on his bike six days later.

Perry, now 27, says it took going through surgery to get him thinking about nutrition. These days, when he’s not riding up to six hours a day, he’s touting a holistic post-cancer lifestyle. That means a diet benefitting both his body and his brain, including these two super-simple, instant-fresh meals—which he can assemble in about 10 minutes.

Mornings

“I never get tired of this: Sautee organic coconut oil, organic butter, minced garlic, onions, purple cabbage, and broccoli. Add pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, turmeric, ginger root and maybe some curry. Sautee until the veggies are soft, and then crack an egg over the top. When that’s about done, add sliced avocado, a little sriracha sauce, and organic olive oil.” While that’s happening, he’ll whip up fresh oats, with chopped apple, cinnamon, and peanut butter.

The secret, he says, is advance prep. Chop veggies in advance (make it a Sunday night project) and store them in glass Tupperware. Buy spices in bulk, and store them in glass jars as well. Then it’s just a matter of grabbing what you need and throwing it in a skillet; it’s a mix of good-quality fats, proteins, and carbs.

Afternoons and Evenings

Perry takes the ready-made approach for lunch and dinner as well: “Sautee spinach or kale, chopped-up chicken, avocado, BBQ sauce, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas. I can put that Tupperware and take it to the park or the gym. If I’m late, I’ll whip up a smoothie with banana, peanut butter, avocado, cinnamon, salt, and ice. It’s too easy.”

He’s also big on sweet potatoes, which he toasts in their skins at 400 degrees for an hour. “Take them out, slice them open and they fall right out of the skin,” he says. “And they work for any meal.”

Finally, Perry has joined the growing group of athletes and chefs focusing on GI health. “I never thought I’d eat sauerkraut, but there are so many different variations. I’m into ginger beet sauerkraut, which is great for your gut.” He’s also known to knock back kombucha, which has its own probiotic benefits. “Everything we put in our body goes to our gut, and fermented foods are amazing for that. At the end of the day, everything I do is for my brain—which is for my body.”

-Josh P.

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