If you feel you could have more energy for practicing Jiu-Jitsu or even doing your job or spending time with your family, we recommend you drop by a bookstore on your way to the supermarket.
I started reading “The Gracie Diet”, a book written by Rorion Gracie in honor of his uncle Carlos, while standing in line on the night of its launch, last Thursday at a bookstore in a Rio de Janeiro shopping mall.
It was a typical Gracie event, with at least a dozen family members standing around, plenty of good yarns to tune in to and informal discussion of health and Jiu-Jitsu. Between autograph signings and flashes of the camera, the questions Rorion answered were about UFC, UFC, UFC. “Why are there eight sides to the cage?” “Do you still watch the UFC?” “Do you regret having sold it?”
The founder of the event didn’t leave a soul without a good response, replying with the dexterity and patience of someone who skins 18 oranges for his breakfast each week.
While awaiting my turn to weigh in, I was relishing the lessons Rorion compiled over decades living with Carlos and his father, Helio, two grandmasters who never compromised on what they put in their mouths.
Perhaps the greatest treasure the book has to offer is the plan for the first 14 days of the diet, with mouthwatering dishes (one of them: salad, salmon with rosemary, and crème of spinach). Or perhaps the 17 detailed recipes, spanning from an avocado sandwich to the unexpected Gracie meat roast.
There’s plenty more incentive for anyone looking to avoid injury and illness while enjoying a greater abundance of energy and health—and not just to get slim and svelte for the mirror—, though:
“When you enter a supermarket, it’s like stepping into the ring—your inner enemy is there waiting for you. That adversary boasts a full arsenal of kicks, punches and low blows, and he’s all set to use them against you. (…) He has a right hook called ‘Just a small bag of cookies can put an end to this agony’”.
“The food industry isn’t interested in your health. And the pharmaceutical one is rooting for you to get sick.”
“Phase 1 of the Gracie Diet: space your meals out by four and a half hours. (…) Drop the snacks and only drink water or coconut water between meals.”
“By example isn’t just the best way to educate your children—it’s the only way!”
By the end of 175 pages smooth as digesting fruit, you’re convinced the challenge is worthwhile. If just because there’s practically nothing that’s out of bounds. It’s all about using good sense when combining your meals, never mixing your starches. (You have to choose whether you’ll be eating potato, rice, beans, pasta or bread; never including two in the same meal.)
The only things off limits are soft drinks, fried food, desserts (following meals, no sweets or even fruits), vinegar and pork. “Originally pork was shunned because it contained the leprosy virus. I continue the tradition,” clarified Rorion, once my turn to chime in had come.
“What’s important isn’t what you eat, but how you mix the foods in each meal. What’s important isn’t to eat something because it’s tasty, but to learn to like things that are good because they’re healthy,” elaborated the 60-year-old Gracie, who looks to be at least 10 years younger than he is.
(Rorion’s energy levels are such that just three days later the Jiu-Jitsu professor, whose home is now Torrance, California, would be in São Paulo for a banquet to launch the book. What was on the menu? Corn soup, green salad with olive oil and salt, heart of palm pie, broccoli risotto, and grilled salmon. No dessert, but who’d complain after eating all that?)
In Rio, after around four hours signing books, the author, famished, headed off for pizza—as always, with wholesome ingredients combined according to Gracie Diet guidelines. Or were you not aware that the Gracies consider cheese and Italian dough to be a suitable combination?
* Skeptical? Drop by the Gracie Diet Facebook page to check out the list of testimony from satisfied followers that’s growing with every day.