The Great Master Carlos Gracie developed the Gracie Diet, a feeding method that is still having success decades after its creation.
Today in our “Eating Well is Jiu-Jitsu” we will tell you a little story of how the Gracie Diet began and share our food groups table for those who want to follow it.
“Let the food be your medicine.” Undoubtedly, Great Master Carlos Gracie should already have had this phrase in his mind when he decided to devote himself to developing the Gracie Diet. Carlos Gracie genuinely believed in the power of food to protect the body, enhance immunity, and prevent diseases.
A good piece of evidence for that is the curious story of Carlos Gracie with his first wife, Carmen. Carmen contracted tuberculosis (which was a fatal disease at that time). Patients with tuberculosis should be isolated and not receive visitors (or at least see them from very far.) Carlos decided to take Carmen to treat herself in Campos do Jordão (a mountainous city in Brazil) and spend the last days of her life in a sanitarium. And, to everyone’s surprise, Carlos used to kiss Carmen’s lips, which was considered a suicide in those years. When questioned, he would answer: “I’m immune to the Koch’s bacillus.” Within one day, Carlos Gracie became the hero of that sanitarium.
The year was 1996 and Carlos Gracie Jr. was starting to write an article as follows: “Nowadays much is being said about diets. There are the most diverse ones, some prescribed to combat diseases, obesity and even to improve the body performance in physical activities.”
Many years later, the scenario is not that different, and the inhabitants of this planet seem to be increasingly conscious about what they are putting inside their bodies. But it was not always this way.
It was after suffering from severe migraines – capable of leaving him locked in a room for hours – pleura and even gout, that Great Master Carlos Gracie realized that something had to change. And from the philosopher Hippocrates’ words came the tip: “Let thy food be thy medicine.”
Hungry for knowledge, Carlos began reading more and more about that and for years he was compiling all this learning to develop what would be famously known as the Gracie Diet. Health problems were left behind and that once disabled young guy became an athletic man.
The next step then was to prove his method’s efficiency, and for that task, nothing would be better than testing that with his own “brood.” Carlos Gracie instilled in his children, nephews and grandchildren the necessity to listen to the body and give it only foods that will serve to its benefit.
Gradually, the biotype of the family was being changed and Master Carlos’ descendants grew far beyond his 5’3” and 139lbs. Indeed, as Carlinhos Gracie said “The healthy diet changed an entire family.”
But after all, what is the Gracie Diet about? It is about not to poison the body, not make you sick and a building a proper combination of foods. The main objective is to maintain the meal’s pH as neutral as possible, balancing substances through the right combination.
The balance imagined by the Great Master is comprehensive and meets everyone’s needs. This is mainly based on not mixing: cereal together, fat with sugars and acid foods with any other type. Making meals at intervals of at least four hours, eating again only when the stomach is empty.
But that’s not all. In addition to his concern with solid foods, Gracie would also look for a supplement based on teas so that he could use what is offered by nature to cure the ills of men. “Our body is a machine whose oil is blood. If blood is pure, that machine will work well,” says Carlos Gracie Jr. “My father’s goal was to keep the family fighters well, i.e. free of any disease that might appear by any chance and hinder a possible fight.”
The inclusion of fruits as an essential part of the diet may also be credited to the Great Master. “About 30 years ago people would come into my house and see that pantry full of fruits and vegetables. That seemed strange to everyone, because at that time fruits were not more than a dessert, while for our family they represented 50% of our nutritional diet.”
Father of 21 children and grandfather of over 50 grandchildren, the patriarch of the Gracies had, curiously, in his brother Helio the best defender for his thesis. A staunch supporter of that diet, Grand Master Helio always had impressive health. “Before anyone started speaking about nutrition my father already realized the importance of cutting red meat before uncle Helio’s fights,” recalls Reila Gracie.
The proof that he was right did not take too long to happen: in 1955, Helio fought against Waldemar Santana for 3h40m, nonstop. It’s worth mentioning that in 1955, Helio Gracie was already 42 years old, while Waldemar was not even 24.
Therefore, summarizing the whole, calling Great Master Carlos’ science a simple diet is to greatly reduce the significance of his work.
“He anticipated many of today’s so propagated scientific discoveries, such as the beneficial role of carotene – a substance found in papaya and carrot – the concept of free radicals and the orthomolecular medicine. Not to mention its pioneering position in the habit of consuming açaí berry, watermelon juice, coconut water and vitamin shakes,” says Reila. Carlinhos complements: “Everyone should balance work with food. We used to bring up that feeling in our students and they would then influence other people. And now we can see the emerging of natural restaurants, juice stores and a whole trend of natural food triggered by us. I see my father as a major precursor of the natural nutrition in Brazil,” says Carlinhos.
Who wants to prove those theories, just follow the Gracie diet, shown in the tables below:
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This article has only an informative purpose and is not intended to replace professional guidance. The use of vitamins and supplements can offer you great results, but before using any product, we strongly recommend that you visit a Nutritionist, Doctor, or another specialist for an analysis and follow-up.