After four seasons with the Steelers and one year in New York with the Giants, safety Ryan Mundy is going to Chicago to play for the Bears. And he’s taking his tart cherry juice with him. “I find it to be very effective for recovery,” Mundy says of the sour-tasting nutritional supplement. “It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I got a few guys on the Giants to try it last year.”
This year, the 29-year-old Mundy says he wants to get the guys on the Bears to try a stronger line of defense. “This is a team and a city that prides itself on its defense, so I’m excited to help get the team where it needs to be,” he says. Whether the 6-1, 215-pound player will be starting safety is still yet to be determined, but when the season rolls around, Mundy says his diet will have him ready to take the hits. “I’m never been one to eat a lot fast or greasy food. I’ve always eaten healthy,” he says.
Still, Mundy says he’ll make two changes to his fridge routine in-season: 1) He’ll up the amount of food he eats, and 2) he’ll drop the number of cigars he keeps on his kitchen counter. “I just started smoking them in January,” he says. “I won’t do it during the season, but I definitely enjoy a cigar on my front porch after a long day.” For more on Mundy’s daily diet, keep reading.
: Cigar-smoking wasn’t the only habit Mundy picked up this past winter: He also started drinking coconut water. “I’m not sure about the exact science, but it’s supposed to help hydrate you better than regular water,” the former West Virginia player says. “Now that I’m older, I’ve started to be more mindful of the nutrition I put in my body so I can be the best day in, day out.” For this reason, Mundy says he drinks up to three bottles of Vita Coco coconut water per day. “Once I start working out in the field or weight room, I sweat a ton, so I definitely have to try to stay hydrated,” he says.
His wife’s steak: Mundy doesn’t have an at-home chef like some other NFL players do, but that’s because there’s somebody already in his kitchen who cares far more about his football career. “My wife is definitely my personal chef, but that’s just because it’s something she enjoys doing,” Mundy says. “I don’t tell her to make this or that—it just works out pretty well.” The home-cooked meal he likes the best is steak with asparagus and macaroni and cheese. “We started getting our steaks from Whole Foods three years ago, and they’re just really, really good,” Mundy says. “And I love how my wife cooks—it ’s amazing.”
Pastries: Do people still use the word “pastry”? Mundy apparently does—and he eats them, too. “We’ll always have some sort of pastry in the house, whether it’s cupcakes, cakes, or cookies,” he says. While these treats aren’t a daily fixture for Mundy, he says he would usually stop on his way home from MetLife Stadium for something sweet. “A lot of guys gain weight with that, but it doesn’t affect me,” says the safety, who, incidentally, has less than 6 percent body fat. “My metabolism is very fast, so everything I eat I burn off.”
: Mundy didn’t get to the NFL by puffing on stogies, but a vacation in the Dominican Republic with his wife last winter exposed him to the habit. “My father-in-law is a big-time cigar smoker and asked me to bring some back for him,” he says. “But after I saw how expensive they were, I decided to try some for myself.” So Mundy brought back his own premium stash, which he says he keeps on his kitchen counter. “I won’t do it during the season, but I definitely enjoy a cigar on my front porch after a long day,” he says. “It’s relaxing, and you’re not really inhaling the smoke.” Sure, that’s what Bill said, too.
Cereal: “I’m a breakfast guy, so any breakfast food I love, but if I’m on the go or in a rush, I make sure I still definitely get my cereal, because I don’t want to miss breakfast,” Mundy says. Despite the various obligations of a football player, Mundy says there’s always time to sit down to two bowls of his favorite brands, which include Raisin Bran Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Fruit Loops. “Then I’ll have a cinnamon-raisin English muffin,” Mundy says. “And I have to have strawberry jelly with that—no grape jelly.” Duly noted.
Tart cherry juice: Don’t mistake this supplement with the sweet-tasting stuff sold at supermarkets. Tart cherry juice is manufactured primarily to help combat inflammation, especially the kind a football safety is likely to develop tackle after tackle. “I find it to be very effective for recovery,” says Mundy, who was introduced to the juice in college and has been drinking it ever since. “It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I got a few guys on the Giants to try it last year.”