December 29, 2010

"The Gracie Diet" - Book Review

Diet is a popular topic amongst combat athletes on both the pro and amateur level.  Quite honestly it should be a popular topic with everyone and anyone as food is the fuel that drives this machine of a body.  Without decent fuel the machine is not only going to run inefficiently but it will also cause the machine to break and all together collapse.   So you can imagine my surprise opening a small package from Cali when I saw the new "Gracie Diet"book in the mail, autographed by the man himself Rorion Gracie no less!

A couple of caveat's before we delve into the meat of the book;
I do not follow the Gracie Diet, and I strongly urge you to consult your doctor prior to any dietary change! Rorion is quite honest throughout the text in that their is NOTHING scientifically proven that the Gracie Diet is a solid diet!  That said, Rorion relies on over 65 years of research and application with members of his family as well as thousands of others who have tried the diet developed by Carlos Gracie.

Also I am not a member of the Gracie organization at all, as this book was submitted unbiasedly for review here on the Ground Never Misses.  I have no affiliation with the authors nor the family though I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Prior to the book being published I had a vague idea of the Gracie diet and what it entailed.  In a nutshell Carlos Gracie discovered certain foods do not mix well in the digestive tract with other certain foods.  He categorized these via groups.  For example:
Group A - Vegetable and Greens / Meats & Seafood / Oily & Fatty Foods

Group B - Starches

Group D - Acidic Fruits

By ensuring that food groups are mixed only in certain orders the dieter limits starches and simple carbs, but without excluding foods from their diet.  A vegetarian can follow this diet as easily as a paleo practitioner can!  It is an inclusive diet, with "food" such as ice cream, candy bars, and refined sugars being the sole exception.  Across the board those are not good for you.

Here is the table of contents:

Foreword by Pedro Valente, M.Di 
Chapter 1: Your Diet IS Your Life
Origins of the Gracie Diet 3
Your Diet Determines the Quality of Your Life 4
Dietary Decisions 5
Chapter 2: The Key to Good Health – Proper Food Combinations
The Food Industry Isn’t Interested in Your Health 9
Stories of the Healing Powers of the Gracie Diet 9
You Have Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain 10
It’s not What You Eat, It’s What You Eat It With 11
Chapter 3: Where Are You Now?
Food is Everywhere! 14
Establish a Base Point 14
Chapter 4: The Hard Part – Changing Your Eating Habits
Make Healthy Eating a Habit 23
Changing Habits Requires a Plan 24
Current Weekly Food Routine 25
Chapter 5: Getting Started
Three Steps to a Newer, Healthier, and Happier You 29
Your First meal on the Gracie Diet 31
Chapter 6: A Family Affair
The Power of Personal Example 36
A Quick and Simple Way to Kick the Junk food Habit 37
What to Do When Kids Demand Junk Food 37
The Ultimate Halloween Trick 38
How to win the Kids Over, One Bite at a Time 38
How to Inspire Your Loved Ones 38
Chapter 7: Beyond the First Three Phases of the Gracie Diet
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for the Best 40
Your Guide to Food Combinations 41
The Gracie Diet Table 42
Fasting 45
Chapter 8: The Gracie Diet on the Go 
How to Eat Healthily When You’re on the Run 48
Learn the Gracie Diet Food Selection Process 49
How Well do You Know the Combinations? 50
Real Life Examples Drawn from the Menus of Popular Restaurants 52
Chapter 9: Tips for Losing Weight
How Dieting helps You to Acquire The Gracie “Iron Will” 59
Calorie Control 59
Play This game at Your Next meal 60
A Surefire Way to Burn Fat 60
Managing Your Carbohydrates 61
Protein Sources 61
Critical fat Facts 61
How to Lose Weight and Still Occasionally Enjoy Alcohol 62
Chapter 10: The Role of Exercise
Make it Fun 65
Start Simple 65
Keep Climbing 66
Chapter 11: The Final Round
Tips and Reminders 68
The Gracie Diet 14-Day Meal Plan 70
Entrees Menu Index 77

The 93 page guide is very simple to read and easy on the eyes. I finished it within a flight from Dallas to Seattle with time to spare.   Diet books can often be heavy with nutritional information and technical talk, but Rorion keeps his book easy to follow and light at heart.  Interjecting helpful tips and pointers throughout, as well as anecdotal stories of success and health via the diet.

Broken into two parts; 'The Diet' and 'Using the Diet' the practical text lays out the foundation of the diet and then helps the practitioner integrate it into their daily lives.  Offering practical advice on how to ease kids and family members into the diet, as well as offering a chapter on how to maintain the diet when eating out or at other peoples houses.  Food is a tricky entity in our culture and for those of us on certain regimes and diets we can often feel awkward eating at someoneelse's house where we do not want to go off diet, but also we do not wish to offend or be rude to our hosts.  Rorion offers solid advice for all these situations, and includes a breakdown of various entrees at nationally found chain restaurants such as California Pizza Kitchen, and Applebee's.

The time and energy put into this book shines through in these chapters as Rorion is offering not just a diet but a change of life including offering chapters on exercise, and tips for losing weight.  Rorion is no snake oil salesmen as he knows the process of losing weight and getting in better shape lies far beyond diet alone.  In reality the Gracie Diet is offering a better way of living and life!

To top the book off their is an index with a 14 day game plan meal guide as well as 16 pages of recipes for various dishes and entrees for the diet.  Both are awesome additions!  Rorion thought of everything with this guide including a handy refrigerator chart with a magnet.

Production and layout are top notch.  The Gracie's print in house (which a lot of people are going to in an effort to save money) which makes this text a bit more expensive at $24.95 MSRP.  I have not seen it on Amazon yet so I am not sure how available it will be unless you go through the Gracie's direct.  This could be limiting in the scope of how many people gain access to this book and diet.  The price is this critics only criticism, as for under 100 pages I am paying a quarter of hundred dollars!

Click here to link directly to the Gracie store and purchase "The Gracie Diet."

In the end what do I think of the diet... I think it is nothing but practical, applicable sense.  Avoid processed food and refined sugars.  Include lots of vegetables and fruits in your diet.  Do not eat in excess.  Exercise daily.  These are the pillars of any healthy lifestyle.  Where as many diets are "fads" the Gracie diet is simply a very healthy way to live.  Rorion makes the change and transition painless with an easy reference chart and guide if ever needed.  I highly suggest this diet book to anyone trying to lose weight and get in better shape.


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