Dr Manoj’s Diet Plan

Our grand parents generation were people, who were 90% outdoors. We as a generation, have shifted from being outdoors, to 90% indoors, yet we continue to eat the same amount of food that our grand parents used to eat. No one ever told us that there has been a shift from being outdoors, to indoors; that we cannot eat so much food. Instead our parents forced us to eat, even when we said we are not hungry, and today we do the same to our kids. Basically we are all overeating! Unfortunately the present generation is the most messed up one ever! Have you ever seen so many health related problems like cancer, kidney diseases, diabetes, and so many other deadly diseases? This means that we are doing something wrong, and yet we continue to teach the next generation to do the same?

Our stomach is the size of a fist. A fistful is all what one is supposed to eat, a fistful is all what is needed for the body's energy, a fistful is all that the stomach is capable of digesting. If we feed our stomach just about how much it can digest, no matter what you eat will get digested. Its only when we eat beyond our digestive capacity, it is harmful. Basically most of us eat two or three times the capacity of our stomach, and this generation is not burning the food due to lack of physical work. Due to the excess food intake the stomach expands like a balloon, and over a period of time becomes huge. It is not equipped with digestive juices to digest so much quantity, it can digest only a fistful! Then what do you think happens to the rest of the food? Well, it gets partially digested and is absorbed into the body. It is like putting adulterated petrol into your car! This partially digested food is the root cause of all the diseases in the body!

The energy that is produced by the body is distributed to the whole body. Who does that job? It's the brain! The brain decides which part of the body needs energy, there is a lot of energy required to digest food in the stomach. Hence when we eat way more than the capacity of the stomach, the brain senses that the stomach needs more energy, and all the energy that is necessary for the functioning of the entire body is sent only to the stomach! The rest of the body is deprived of energy, that is why we feel like laying down or lethargy after we eat. The rest of the body does not get the required energy for it's immunity and then we fall sick.

Now you will ask me, 'if we eat only a fistful, where is all the nutrition going to come from?'

Have you ever found out what your maid, gardener, driver, the construction worker/labourer, or 70% of the Indian population who are under the poverty line eat? They have rice/dal/pickle three times a day;they don't care about fruits, vegetables, carbohydrate or proteins like you and me! They are the ones who do way more work than you and I do physically.

Whatever nutrition is needed for the body will surely come from the fistful of food that you eat. Food that we eat is for our energy, each of us have to calculate the amount we need to eat every day and each meal. If you feel lethargic and heavy after a meal, you are obviously over eating. One should always feel light and energetic after food.

A bariatric surgery, as you might know, is basically done for obese patients;they reduce the size of the stomach and people lose 20-30kgs, and most get rid of their diabetes/bp etc. We are trying to do the same bariatric procedure here by denying your stomach the amount of food that it was always used to. As you eat lesser and lesser each day, your stomach over a period of time will shrink back to its original size. This is just a natural way of doing it without the surgery.

Now let me explain how to follow this simple diet.

I want you to take a bowl that fits on to your palm, with the outer edges not going over your fingers.

The size of the bowl indicates how much of food you should eat at one point of time. Don't look so perplexed! It would seem very less when you look at it initially; in fact you don't have to stick to that in the beginning, start slow. You can plan and reach the size of the bowl by slowly decreasing the size of your bowl to fit the palm [like shown in the image above] over a week to 10 days. Fill that bowl with whatever you want;in the mornings it could be cornflakes, poha, upma, bacon, sausages, fruits, egg, or whatever your heart desires. You fill it in that bowl, but you must eat only that much.

Food usually takes 4 hours to digest in the stomach, depending on the kind of food you are eating. You go on to the next meal only when the stomach has been emptied.

I think we are all like alcoholics, we are 'foodaholics'! Don't you agree? We are addicted to food. We are used to stuffing our bellies so much for the past so many years of our life, its not easy to cut down on the quantity of food. It will take a while, maybe a week or so, for the stomach to get used to the small quantity of food that we have started to consume. The first 1or 2 hours you'll feel very dissatisfied with what you're eating. Initial 2-3 days, you might feel uncomfortable in your stomach, get crazy hunger pangs, may be a little stomach ache, change in bowel habits, etc, but just ignore all these. Your stomach is calling out for all the excess food that it's been used to for the past so many years. Do not give in to that!

Do something to keep yourself busy. Go out, do some retail therapy, watch a movie, meet up with friends, garden; do whatever it takes to keep you from giving in to the tempting food call. Trust me, the first 2-3 days are crucial, that's all; after that, your stomach will get used to it.

Once you get used to this kind of eating, don't eat every 4-5 hours only because you are supposed to eat. Eat 'only' when you feel that you need to eat for energy. It can be 4 hours for somebody, 5 for somebody or even 6 hours; it's entirely up to you. Don't worry about what you have read and heard on leaving your stomach empty for too long. Have you heard of autophagy by intermittent fasting for 12+ to 24+ hours, by the Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, which has won the nobel prize? You must read about it.

Those who have acidity must eat every 4 hours till their acidity settles down, later the minimum gap is 4 hours and maximum can be however long. In between, if you wish, you can have water, buttermilk, coconut water, green tea, but liquids only, no fruit juices or milk shakes!

I am not stopping you from eating anything your heart desires, nor am I telling you what to eat. Continue to eat whatever you have been eating, but only a fistful.

Why does it make sense to eat a fistful- why can't you eat more?

When we eat a biryani or an ice cream, you always remember the first 3 bites and the last bite right? What happens in between is called 'unconscious eating' which we all do all the time!

Take the biryani or whatever you wish to in the prescribed bowl spread it out on a plate, now you know how much is there for you to consume; eat very slowly, bite by bite, chew as much as you can, trust me you will enjoy each and every bite of what you are eating! Each bite needs to be tasted and enjoyed. When you smell good food, saliva is produced, when you taste the good food, more digestive juices are produced; these juices are very essential for digestion process to happen. It is important to eat tasty food; if you eat food you don't like, it won't get digested well. When tasty food is something that everyone loves to eat, why deny the pleasure especially when you can eat whatever you want. The only catch here is the quantity you consume.

Three days into the diet you will feel a surge in your energy levels because all the energy used for digestion previously is at your disposal. Initially this energy is used up to give you the energy, and then to heal whichever part of the body has an issue and requires it, so people with bp and diabetes are advised to check their readings every week and adjust their medicines accordingly; once in 3 months check your thyroid too. Once the health is settled then weight loss will happen, initially in inches then the weight. We had people below 40 years of age losing around 3-5 kgs a month, and those above 40 years losing 2-3 kgs a month.

Does one feel tired while on this diet

Have you seen a labourer, or a farmer working? Do we even do 5% of what he does physically? You and I cannot get physically tired, unless we run a marathon or something else that requires a lot of physical energy. What we feel is mental tiredness. So tell me, what do you do when your phone slows down? Don't you shut all the windows? Similarly when we feel tired, we need to shut our thoughts, sit down with our eyes closed and focus on our breathing for 15-20 minutes; your thoughts will disappear till you reach a 'no thought' zone. Stay there fro 10,-15 min and your body will be re boot.

Once the healing required is complete, the body starts to loose weight you continue the diet till the desired weight is achieved; then you adjust the quantity of food to your comfort level. Those who exercise and who are physically active can eat a little more than a bowl. Always listen to your body, it will speak to you, it will tell you how much is the need; the key is to listen!

-Dr.Manoj Kuriakose