As a post menopausal, small boned, petite woman in my early 60’s, the battle of the bulge continues. When people see me they don’t think I’m overweight but we all know where we need to be to feel comfortable. My clothing sizes (especially pants) have been creeping up and I don’t like it. I haven’t been following any specific diets lately, just trying to eat as good as possible. My downfall is snacking – going from sweet to salty, back and forth, mindless eating.
I’m down in the basement the other day trying to get rid of junk and better organize our storage room. I’m going through the plastic bins and found a book called The Shangri-La Diet. I don’t remember reading this book and can’t figure out what the diet was about. So when I’m finished with that box I go upstairs and start reading it. Then the memory kicked in. It’s the “oil diet!”
The Oil Diet?
I remember going on a Girl’s Weekend Away one year to Arizona with 10 women total many years ago. I was on the Shangri-La Diet at the time and a couple of my friends were making fun of my oil drinking and the timing involved. I tried reminding them of it recently and they can’t remember – probably drunk most of that trip.
The gist of the diet is that you take anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons of oil a day (depends on your weight). You have to take the oil a minimum of one hour after a meal and at least one hour before a meal, so it’s a two hour window of not eating anything but the oil. This is used as an appetite suppressant (AS is what it is referred to).
What kind of oil do you take?
Personally, the only oils I’m interested in are light virgin olive oil (EVOO), flax oil, fish oil or coconut oil. Others have used walnut oil & canola. I’m allergic to Walnuts and I don’t think canola is healthy at all. However, you want an oil that is flavorless, as having “flavorless calories” during this 2 hour time period is part of how the diet supposedly works. I’m also using heavy whipping cream but use this at your own risk. Not all of the oils I listed are flavorless so read the next paragraph.
How do you take the oil?
The easiest way to take most of the liquid oils is by using a shot glass or medicine measuring cup. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in and fill it up with water. Throw it down the back of your throat like a shot. If you’re detecting flavor you really need to hold your nose or find some swimmer noseclips (I found mine at Meijer in the pool section, but in IL that’s a summer aisle). You can find them at sporting goods stores. Funny thing is, I recently found really good noseclips from my previous try at The Sangri-La Diet but I stored them someplace and can’t find them.
Some people simply down the oil right from the tablespoon. Others have been mixing it in with something else fatty like a little cottage cheese or plain high fat yogurt but you’ll need to use a noseclip as those have flavor, which you don’t want. Flax oil has a definite flavor as do fish & coconut oils, so you’ll have to hold your nose or use a nose clip.
Yep, one of the theories of the diet is the taste/calorie association. By using a nose clip you get rid of that taste. I’m finding I’m not getting flavor from ELOO so am not using the nose clip for that. However, if you only have extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – it does have flavor and you’ll need to hold your nose or use the clip.
There’s a trick to the clip (or nose holding). You don’t want flavor, which the clip will help with. However, you’ll need to keep it on for a bit after taking your oil, as flavors will linger on your tongue and in your nose. Most people will rinse their mouths with water after taking the oil. I’ve learned to rinse my mouth well and after removing the nose clip I breath in through my nose and out through my mouth at least three times. That usually clears any taste out.
You Can Also Use Sugar Water
Sugar on a diet? Some successful Shangri-La Diet users found sugar water to give them more of an appetite suppressant (AS) than the oil. The author, Seth Roberts, settled on 5 tablespoons of sugar water a day. He mainly used fructose, and I think it’s probably easier to get locally than in the past. However, fructose is still sugar and not very healthy. Also, you need to drink it slowly so you don’t get a big sugar spike, as another facet of the diet is the insulin reaction. I can see that working better with oil than sugar, but some of the dieters showed a small spike in their blood sugar that went down within one and a half hours, so nothing worse than eating a sweet treat.
But sugar isn’t flavorless
That is confusing for many of the readers of Seth Roberts’ book. He explains it that sugar is an “invisible flavor” that your body really doesn’t associate with calories. Doesn’t make sense to most but I’ve read about multiple people stating they got their highest AS using the sugar water and drinking it slow – taking at least 30 minutes to finish it. Put in your 75-150 calories of water in some water and continue adding water until you can handle it and sip on that over the next half hour or so. Once you’re finished you can set your hour timer.
- Some people couldn’t stand the pure sugar flavor.
- Some start out liking it and quickly get tired of it.
- Some started getting hungry/cravings within 20 minutes or more after drinking the sugar water – no AS at all
- Some people just don’t want to be drinking sugar water for the health reasons
About the Diet Author, Seth Roberts, Ph.D.
Seth Roberts was a young doctor who liked to experiment. He used his own body as his guinea pig. If you purchase the book, which I’m sure you can find cheap on Amazon, you’ll find out how he discovered The Shangri-La Diet. Seth used his discovery to get down to 150 pounds, which his friends told him was low enough and not to lose more. So he cut his sugar water intake to keep from losing.
I read that he started eating butter towards the end. Some people are finding butter and heavy whipping cream to be more palatable than oil, and I’ll get into my experiences in separate posts. Supposedly, Seth’s father died of a heart attack at the age of 72. Seth had some improvements in his coronary artery occlusion test after eating the butter.
Unfortunately, Seth passed away in April 2014 while hiking. He wasn’t overweight but they feel he had hereditary heart disease. Of course, the naysayers are saying the butter killed him. Of course I have questions, but I honestly don’t think good oils are bad for anyone.
The Shangri-La Diet in a Nutshell
Again, I recommend getting the book so you can get the history and all the details on the diet, but here’s how I explain it:
- You drink oil or sugar water daily per the rules to get appetite suppressant, called AS.
- You cannot eat anything 1 hour before or 1 hour after whatever you use for AS. (This alone curbs my binge/mindless snacking during the day).
- The oil should be flavorless, or you need to pinch your nose or use a nose clip.
- Sugar water is considered flavorless for some reason.
- By doing the above, you should have enough appetite suppressant to not want to overeat.
- Some people have to force themselves to eat.
- Many people claim it stops their urge for sweets and junk food – they only want to eat real and healthy foods.
- It makes sense that insulin is managed better with the oils. Not sure about the sugar water, but some people find that works the best for AS.
- This can easily be combined with other diet programs like Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. It falls in well with the Mediteranean Diet.
- There are other AS concoctions that can be used, and I’ll go into those in separate posts. Some of these ideas have been named Platinum Calories.
Seth was an active participant in the boards he created for The Shangri-La Diet, but they were closed down after his death. Now they are available in Read Only, and I’m not sure how long they’ll be kept up. I learned a lot on these boards – things that weren’t mentioned in the book I have. Try them out here. You will not be allowed to join or post – just read. I spent days reading through posts, and still am.
I’m going to be very active with my posts about this diet as I’m actually following it and it’s been going well. I’m experimenting with different oils and other AS things. I’ll be posting about them so keep looking. I’ll also be working on getting a new, mobile responsive template for this site, so things are going to be looking different pretty soon.