I have to admit I almost always approach diet or weight loss books with great caution because most of them tell you to deprive yourself of substantial nutrition (by avoiding carbs) or limiting food intake. What upsets me the most is that the majority of these books are even written by doctors, nutritionists or dieticians to claim their credibility. The problem? Most of these proposed diets work short-term (and some should only be followed for a brief period not to have harmful consequences to your health) and they don’t teach you about nutrition, how to healthfully lose weight, or how to maintain a healthy lifestyle after you lose the undesired weight.
I’m pleased to say Manuel Villacorta’s new book The Carb-Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger, and Keep the Weight Off for Good is refreshingly different from most weight loss books. He focuses on weight loss and weight management in a simple way by incorporating basic nutritional elements and teaches you to follow healthy lifestyle principles anyone can adhere to.
Who is Manuel Villacorta
Manuel Villacorta, RD, MS, CSSD is a leading nutrition expert, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a health contributor for The Huffington Post, and a contributor for Univision television network and Fox News Latino. His practice, MV Nutrition has received three consecutive “Best Bay Area Dietitian” awards from the San Francisco Chronicle and Citysearch.
My connection with this book
Manuel’s relationship with food is very similar to mine; his upbringing taught him how to eat and appreciate food from a nutritional, cultural and family perspective. I have always been grateful for having grown up in Brazil, where food is seen as nourishment as well as a celebration of family and culture. Some of my fondest childhood memories and growing up is in the kitchen or centered around the family table. Both sides of my family always placed a great importance on food as celebration and a reason to get together. In Brazil, people eat whole foods and well-balanced meals and its customary to sit down with the family for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and if possible, to sit and eat again in the afternoon for coffee or tea time.
Because of our similar cultural backgrounds, it didn’t surprise me to see that Manuel and I think alike in terms of what food represents and that it’s not just about counting calories. Food is three-dimensional and engages the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and above all taste. We need to learn to appreciate food and enjoy it through all our senses. Most people deprive themselves of foods they enjoy (or worse, skip meals) because they think it’s the only way to lose weight.
About this book
Manuel’s book is easy to follow, has a lot of information on nutrition and clearly explains the role of exercise, sleep, and stress and their effect on weight loss. The book provides a simple weight loss plan and gives you the tools and knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how to keep the weight off. The book also includes simple and nutritious recipes- I will be posting one of his recipes next week!
Interview with Manuel
Q1: What is the principle behind the Eating Free program? What is unique about the program?
Eating Free is a plan that starts with a basic truth: our bodies need fuel to survive and function optimally. Besides that, eating is one of life’s great pleasures. With these two ideas in mind, I created Eating Free to educate everyone about how to eat wisely for weight loss while enjoying every bite. At the most basic level, Eating Free is a wake-up call. It’s a program designed to wipe the slate clean of all the myths, rumors and fad solutions we hear time and time again. Eating Free means eating what you like, when you like, where you like.
- Eat what you like
- Eat more not less
- Eat free from guilt, emotional eating, boring meals and hunger pangs
- It’s okay to miss the gym; while it’s great for health, it’s not the key to weight loss.
- Free to take time for yourself
My clients have done extremely well on the Eating Free program. They often express gratitude and credit the program with changing their relationship with food as well as their life. 84 percent of my clients—2,000 men and women, and counting—not only lose weight, safely and steadily, often two or three pounds per week, but sustain their weight loss.
Q2: What motivated you to write this book?
While growing up in Peru my relationship with food was much different than when I moved to the US. In Peru daily life revolved around meals, which were eaten hot and with family and friends. Cooking smells filled our home and stimulated our appetite. Lunch was the largest meal of the day, and Sunday meals were made and enjoyed together.
When I moved to the US 25 years ago my diet changed, and I gained 25 pounds. I tried to adapt the American way of eating; resulting in protein bars, cold sandwiches, and processed foods. I quickly learned that eating was not seen as a priority in the American culture. I began skipping meals, eating standing up, and eating on the go. Also, many of the foods I grew up eating were “not allowed” or seen as “forbidden” in the US. It wasn’t until I returned to my native eating habits that I lost the weight. Planning, cooking, and preparing my meals were key elements of my weight loss. Returning to the foods I grew up with also helped. Once I brought potatoes and rice back into my diet I was much healthier and happier.
Q3: How is this book different from other books on weight loss?
Eating Free sheds light on a little-known hormone, ghrelin, which controls our hunger (the need to eat), drives our appetite (the desire to eat), and works to manage our metabolism and ability to burn fat only when it is fed, regularly and well. To keep ghrelin and its power to provoke cravings in check, I advocate eating–beginning with breakfast, within an hour after waking, and then every three to four hours. Eating Free also calls attention to the role of sleep in weight loss. Based on studies, ghrelin (and appetite) increases when sleep is reduced to four or five hours a night, from the ideal six to eight hours.
Eating Free urges dieters to welcome back carbs, a macronutrient needed to control ghrelin spikes. The average brain needs 130 grams of carbs per day to function optimally. Eating Free also presents a “newtrition” combination for optimal fuel and quality weight loss: 45 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 25 percent fats. Eating Free refutes the focus on grueling, daily exercise for weight loss. Research shows that losing weight is 80 percent nutrition, self-care, and lifestyle. Plus, rigorous workouts cause ghrelin to spike, particularly in women. Eating Free demonstrates that weight loss is about a whole balance of factors, including our stress levels. Cortisol production, due to everyday stress, can be a huge barrier for weight loss. Stress is toxic to our well-being, so self-care isn’t just a nice idea; it’s essential to effective weight loss.
Q4: What are the biggest obstacles people face in losing weight and keeping it off?
People are not prioritizing themselves and there is a great lack of practicing self-care. Self-care to me is time that people need to take to prioritize their food shopping, meal planning, eating time, and record keeping. Many people focus solely on exercise, but there is more to it. In addition to self-care people need to work on reducing stress and getting enough sleep.
Q5: How does your book address these obstacles to help people lose weight and keep it off?
Eating Free offers a new tool, FreeQ, for weight loss. Losing weight is not just about counting calories. Recent research shows us that there is a holistic component of self-care that involves every aspect of your wellbeing: physical, emotional, psychological—it all adds up to healthy eating for weight loss. One of the things that make my Eating Free plan unique is that I’ve developed a tool that helps you track—at any given time—how well you are “eating free.”
Disclaimer: Food Cookture did not receive monetary compensation for this book review.
Book Giveaway & Free Gift with Purchase
Manuel is offering a free book to one of Food Cookture’s readers!
To enter the BOOK GIVEAWAY:
- Via Twitter: Tweet a message with a link to this post (copy and paste this link in your tweet: wp.me/p1WnuU-cN) and include @foodcookture and @eatingfree in your tweet. Twitter entries may be entered more than once.
- Via Facebook: “Like” Food Cookture’s post on Facebook and or share the link to this post on Food Cookture’s Facebook page with your friends. Each “share” will count as one entry. Facebook entries may be entered more than once.
- Via Email: Send email@example.com a message about the giveaway. Limit one email entry per participant.
Book Giveaway closes on June 24, 2012. Winner will be selected upon random drawing and contacted on June 25, 2012. If winner does not respond by June 30, 2012, another winner will be drawn. Book will only be mailed to a United States postal address.
GIFT WITH PURCHASE:
Manuel is giving an “Eating Free Book Gift Package” (valued at $69.80) to Food Cookture readers who purchase his book. You can order the book at Amazon.com and email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be given a promo code to download the following free gift package:
- A vast collection of over 100 meal ideas (breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner)
- Two learning and informative 30-minute videos “Outsmart Your Hunger Hormone” and “De-Stress to Weigh Less”, a great supplement for the book
- A holiday cheat sheet including most foods eaten through the holidays that can help you navigate the holiday season.
- Eating Free Recipes Booklet. Twenty delicious recipes from soups, entrees to desserts, vegetarian and gluten-free options for everyone by Chef Traci Higgins named “Top 5 Personal Chefs” by San Francisco Magazine.
For more nutrition & healthy cooking information visit Food Cookture’s page “Healthy Cookture“