If you are into Jiu-Jitsu, you have most certainly already heard about the famous Gracie Diet. The nutrition method developed by Grandmaster Carlos Gracie has been passed on through the generations within and outside the Gracie family.
Those who follow its teachings quickly become passionate advocates of the diet, so impressed they get with the results it provides in terms of health and well-being. Every day we get questions regarding the Gracie Diet, so here are 10 facts you need to know before you even think of adopting it.
1. Foods are divided into 6 main groups
It’s basic, but it’s also fundamental. Food in the Gracie Diet is divided into: 1) protein and vegetables; 2) sweet fruits; 3) starches; 4) acidic fruits; 5) milk; 6) milk cream.
2. How you mix the foods in each group is one of the keys to success
Grandmaster Carlos’s goal was to keep the body in equilibrium. And what better way to do that than by how you consume your food? So he came up with a way to mix the groups and also how to mix the foods within the groups. It can be summed up in these simple rules:
A) Foods in group 1 mix with themselves and also with group 2.
B) Foods in group 2 do not mix with each other.
C) Foods in group 3 combine with each other and with one item of group 2 at a time, as long they are not cooked with fat.
D) Foods in group 4 do not combine with each other or any other group.
E) Milk can be combined with foods in group 2 and a few others.
F) Milk cream can be combined with foods in group 2 and a few others.
3. Cooked meals or fruit-based meals — take your pick
One of the paradigm shifts of the Gracie Diet is that fruits are not a desert or a side dish to the main meal. Those who follow the method have to choose between a cooked meal or a fruit-based meal, meaning that if they go for the fruit, they consume enough of it to be satiated. So, if you are going for some melon for lunch, eat three of them so you don’t have to add a sandwich to the mix.
4. When to eat is as important as what to eat
Contrary to other popular nutrition methods, the Gracie Diet advocates longer intervals between meals. GM Carlos used to say that 5 hours is the ideal time between meals. The idea is to allow enough time for you body to fully process the previous meal before a new one comes, so the foods don’t mix, ruining the combinations. For example, if you ate rice for lunch and only two hours later you eat some potatoes, you’ll be mixing two starches, which is bad according to the Gracie Diet. If five hours is too long for you, those who follow the diet recommend smaller meals and shorter intervals (but at least 3 hours), so the body has time to process one meal before it’s time for the next one.
5. Know your fruits
The Gracie Diet divides fruits into two categories — sweet and acidic, — but it’s not that easy to know which fruit belongs to each group. You may think that mango, strawberry and peach are examples of sweet fruits, but they are actually acidic according to GM Carlos. As the goal of the diet is to keep the blood PH from becoming acidic, you cannot mix acidic fruits with other acidic fruits. So, if you feel like some mangoes, eat as many as you need to feel full and not have to add anything else.
6. Water is not just H2O
When preparing some fruit juice, you’ll notice that adding water to the mix makes it watery and tasteless, and thus in need of sugar (and that’s a big “no”). So GM Carlos came up with the concept of different kinds of “waters.” His waters were juices made of sweet juices that will help you to have a tasty meal without adding sugar to it. Centrifuged apple, watermelon or melon juices, and also coconut water and sweet lemon juice make great “waters” to use as the base for your juice. You can mix any one of them with guava, figs, papaya or pears, for example.
7. No tomatoes?
Tomatoes are not really banned, but the thing is they are in the acidic fruit group, so they need to be consumed alone. As you are hardly going to make a whole meal out of tomatoes, it’s better to avoid them. By the way, vinegar, mustard and lime are also not recommended, due to their acidity.