We know Wheaties is the breakfast of champions. But is matzo ball soup the lunch of Pro Bowlers?

Maybe so.

The beloved Jewish dish is just one small part of a transformation that has vaulted Jags tight end Marcedes Lewis to the top of his game.

After Week 3 last season, the former UCLA star realized he wasn't getting any younger. So he decided it was time to take better care of his body by changing his diet.

"For the first five years, I just ate what I wanted to eat," he says. "I started to notice that it wasn't really healthy and I didn't have any energy."

Lewis, 27, reassessed what he had to do to stay one step ahead of his opponents, and he noticed tremendous gains with the new diet. The result was a career high in receptions, yards and touchdowns -- not to mention a trip to his first Pro Bowl. He went a step further this season by hiring his own private chef.

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"I can cook," Lewis says, "but it's not always going to be healthy."

Lewis started cooking when he was seven or eight years old. His mother, who had him when she was 15, trained him to be the man of the house, and that started in the kitchen. He made eggs, and owing to his southern California roots, graduated to tacos and enchiladas.

But now Lewis doesn't have the time to cook proper, nutritious meals.

"On weekends when we have home games, I might dabble a little," he says. "But having the chef is really paying dividends."

That would be Chef Iain Broadbent. He's been working with Lewis for about a month now and comes every Tuesday. Broadbent prepares two meals a day for the entire week, leaving heating instructions for the days he's not around. Besides being able to provide healthful meals, the chef is also opening his client up to new foods, like matzo ball soup.

"I'd never had it before and I loved it," Lewis says. "It was a big ol' bowl of it and by the end of four days it was gone."

Lewis says the food at the Jaguars facility is only "decent" and that was another reason he hired Broadbent.

"It's not great," Lewis says. "This is one of the biggest reasons I got a chef too. I'm sure it could be worse. I'm not complaining. But this way I can control what goes into my body."

Lewis still eats with his teammates on practice days, though, and can't stress enough the importance of those meals.

"I think breaking bread together is one of the best ways to bring people closer as a family, not just a team," he says.

And one of the best ways to stay on the field is to take care of your body, something Lewis is finally doing. He may not get the enchiladas or chicken and dumplings of his childhood very often anymore, but don't call the new regiment a diet.

"It's a lifestyle," he says. "This is going to put years on my career and I can appreciate that."

So can Jaguars fans.

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