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Mo's munching every three hours Friday, February 14, 2003

Staff Writer

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Mo Vaughn eats once every three hours, inhaling most of his favorite foods. Still, he's in better shape than he was last spring.

It's all part of the plan designed by Monica Lynn, the Westchester-based nutritionist who altered Vaughn's diet this winter.

"It isn't a diet," Lynn said by phone from White Plains. "It's a lifestyle change."

As the owner/operator of 5 Squares, Lynn is watching Vaughn's waistline as closely as any Mets official. Vaughn's loss is her gain.

Vaughn will have his meals prepared in south Florida and shipped to him daily by a distributor for 5 Squares, which serves about 120 clients - mostly in the Metropolitan area.

Wheat and sugar have virtually been eliminated from Vaughn's diet. "They're empty calories," Lynn said.

Instead, Vaughn is allowed five balanced meals a day. Donuts and pizza are not on the menu, though Lynn declined to say what vittles Vaughn favors.

Still, Lynn consulted Vaughn about what foods he likes, and incorporated them into the plan. When he arrives in New York, Vaughn will have meals sent to him from 5 Squares (at $39.97 per day).

Vaughn spent the winter in Columbus, Ohio, working with personal trainer Ben Velazquez. Vaughn also has a personal nutritionist, who prepared meals to 5 Square's specifications.

Velazquez knew of Lynn's work with other pro athletes, and got Vaughn involved last June. However, Vaughn was living out of hotel much of last year and had trouble sticking to the plan until this past October.

Now, "we take care of all his dietary needs," said Lynn, whose 18-month-old company employs 13 people. "He's just doing phenomenal."

Lynn's plan calls for Vaughn to eat at three-hour intervals for stamina.

Lynn would not divulge how much weight Vaughn has lost, not his daily caloric consumption. Vaughn, 35, also declined to give that information to reporters two weeks ago.

But Vaughn feels he's achieved his goal of being more mobile and flexible through proper diet and reflex-oriented exercises.

"Mo works out like an animal. He's very focused now," Lynn said. "My money's on him."

Said manager Art Howe: "He is focused. I think that's probably the best word. Focused and determined."

Howe said people have ignored Vaughn's second-half improvement last year, and the fact he missed 2001 because of a ruptured biceps tendon.

"We need him," Howe said. "I don't think he's even close to being on the downside."






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