One of the most prominent names in the world of BJJ, the Gracie family are the reason that this sport has risen to such a large scale. They are the largest family of athletes on this planet and have been revolutionary when it comes to developing a system to MMA during its advent in the 90s. Not only have they contributed to physical techniques, but a big part of their lifestyle was also how they got the energy; this is where the Gracie diet comes in.
According to Rorion Gracie, the co-founder of UFC, the diet was established by his uncle, Carlos Gracie, during a period of 65 years. He did this because of a certain tradition in their family called the “Gracie Challenge”, in which martial artists of various disciplines were invited to compete and test their skills against the Gracie Jiu-jitsu. Members of the Gracie family had to be ready at any time to defend their clan’s honor so realizing how important it was for them to be healthy; Carlos Gracie laid great emphasis on the link between nutrition and physical performance.
Although he wasn’t a nutritionist, he understood that a poor diet leads to a poor performance. The Gracie diet is based on eating organic or natural food in a specific combination which allows for a more effective digestion. Carlos did a lot of research on the works of food experts and experimented during his 65 year period. He understood that different items caused different reactions within our body so he aimed for the chemical reactions that would be healthy as opposed to unhealthy ones like fermentation and acidity. The whole idea behind the Gracie diet is to have a good digestive system as it is the most power consuming operation of the body.
The Gracie Diet Fundamentals
According to Rorion Gracie, the Gracie diet is not a weight-loss program, it shouldn’t even be called a diet as it does not prohibit you from eating anything. However, weight loss can occur if you follow this scheme as healthy eating can lead to a lower ratio of body fats. The purpose is to reprogram eating habits, it is a lifestyle.
The core aspect is the combination of different foods that are present in the same food groups. There are three meals you can have in a day with a 4.5-hour break in-between. It also encourages that you should eat until you are 80% full. The hunger we feel incentivizes that we need to replenish our body resources, not to stuff ourselves till we are filled to the brim.
A principle of the Gracie diet is to keep blood pH level neutral by consuming appropriate or compatible nutrients at each meal with the help of combination. The diet is flexible to an extent but it prohibits consumption of pork, its derivatives, alcohol and tobacco.
Other than food combinations and consumption, the Gracie diet also states to fast one day a month as it allows for a cleansing of your body. However, it is recommended for people above 40 but shouldn’t be done by pregnant women.
Foods are separated into six groups:
Group A – Vegetables – greens, meat, seafood, fats, and oily foods
Group B – Starches
Group C – Sweet fruits and foods, fresh and creamy cheeses
Group D – Acidic fruits
Group E – Raw bananas
Group F– Milk
It is worth mentioning that there is no scientific proof that this way of eating works other than what came about from reading various texts on the effect of foods on yourself and the experimentation done within the Gracie Family. Regardless, the majority of practitioners did find themselves losing weight and having better levels of energy.
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