Shangri-La at Diet-Blog
Posted: 26 August 2006 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Thanks for starting this topic!

On another thread Larry Hobbs posted a link to a terrific post about Shangri-La at Diet-Blog

If you’re curious about Shangri-La, I would also read the freakonomics article in the New York Times that launched the book. (That should be a free link, I hope.)

I also like this summary from Marginal Revolution:

[T]he Shangri-La Diet isn’t really a diet, it’s a method of suppressing appetite. Roberts argues that the body follows a simple heuristic - when calories are tasty they must be plentiful so turn up the appetite and stock up when the fruit is on the tree. But if calories taste like cardboard then times must be bad (why else would you be eating cardboard?) so turn the appetite down and use up those fat stores.

Seth Roberts’ website is here

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Posted: 26 August 2006 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Catherine,

Thanks for the info.

The idea behind the Shangri La Diet does not make sense to me, but, again, I am for whatever works and it seems easy and inexpensive enough for anyone to try.

Several years ago, Robin Quivers on the Howard Stern Show, said that she had lost 70 pounds by going on a type of fast where all she consumed was water flavored with honey and lemon.

She said it was called “The Master Cleanser”.

She said it worked great for her.

I have not heard anyone else talk about it, but since Robin Quivers was on television as well as radio, I could see the results.

I don’t know if there is anything magical about this lemonaide for helping people lose weight beyond just eating no other foods—fasting, basically.

But, again, I am for whatever helps people lose weight and is safe.

Here is information I copied into my address book several years ago about “The Master Cleanser” when she talked about it.

I wish I could tell you where I copied this information from, but I did not write down the URL(s). This is a summary of the information that I copied.

—————————————

The Master Cleanser

Comment from Larry Hobbs: This is the Diet that helped Robin Quivers of the Howard Stern Show lose 70 pounds.

- 2 Tablespoons of lemon or lime juice (1/2 lemon)
- 2 Tablespoons of pure grade B maple syrup (grade C recommended)
- 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (red) or to taste
- 12 oz of purified water (very warm)

“Combine ingredients and drink.

“You many double the recipe and fill a large thermos bottle and drink all day long.

“The Master Cleanser or Lemonade Diet is our favorite all-purpose healing tool.

“Starwomyn had the honor of studying with Stanley Burroughs some years ago and she has passed his teaching on to me.

“The Lemonade is easy to make, cheap, and vitalizes the body like nothing else. It cleanses every part of the bodily system removing waste and toxins that may have been causing problems.

“It is also a blood builder helping to maintain a healthy blood stream.

“Starwomyn used the Lemonade Diet to help rebuild her bones, muscles and digestive system when the M.D.s had told her that nothing would help her and she could expect nothing but further deterioration of her system. It is indicated for any chronic or acute condition ( people with diabetes please obtain “Healing for the age of Enlightenment”  or “The Master Cleanser” for special instructions) and has been successful in treating many conditions otherwise considered untreatable .

Always use pure maple syrup!

Always use fresh lemons or limes!

“The maple syrup contains all the minerals that the body needs and the lemon or lime all the vitamins. Maple syrup is a balanced form of positive and negative sugar. Insure that the syrup that you use is organic and without contaminants that some operators use in the sugaring process.

Follow for at least 10 days or more

“The diet can be used for a minimum of ten days or more when following the full regimen.

Some Have Followed the Diet for 100 days without problems

“It is safe for much longer periods in serious cases. I have heard of people who have followed the regimen for up to 100 days without ill effect.

“In most cases you will want to use it for a much shorter period.

Do Not Eat Anything Else While On This Diet

“NO OTHER FOOD SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN FOLLOWING THE FULL REGIMEN.”

“The lemonade provides everything that the body needs and other foods will interfere with the process.

“Drink from six to twelve glasses daily during your waking hours. When hunger strikes have another glass of lemonade.

“The Master Cleanser cleanses waste and toxins from the system so if your system feels upset it is because you are not efficiently eliminating your waste products. An herbal laxative tea is a good helper in producing efficient elimination. Some folks take it right from the beginning—- once first thing in the morning and once the last thing in the evening. Drinking plenty of water during use of the diet helps a great deal as well. Give your system all the tools it needs to cleanse itself and you will be the beneficiary.

“Lemonade can also be taken as a system cleansing aid without doing the full regimen. It is not as effective when used this way but still does a lot in terms of assisting the system to cleanse and detoxify. We usually take three to four glasses per day and drink lots of extra water when using it this way.

“The information here is just an outline of what is available in either “Healing for the Age of Enlightenment” or “The Master Cleanser” both by Stanley Burroughs. They are in print and should be available at your nearest ‘alternative’ bookstore either on the shelf or by special order. I highly recommend that you obtain one of them before attempting the full regimen.”

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Posted: 26 August 2006 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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good grief!

master cleanser

yikes

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Posted: 26 August 2006 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I think I’m reaching the point at which I can explain the premise of Shangri-La in a way that makes sense to most or many folks who’ve been around the diet world for awhile.

For you, given the nature of this site, the way to think of it is as a “natural” appetite suppressant. Shangri-la works, if and when it works, the same way Strattera or phen-fen works, by suppressing appetite. The rest is up to you. Some people lose weight naturally once their appetite is down, which is what happened to Roberts himself.

Others probably follow more formal calorie-reducing diets, which the Shangri-La regimen should make possible over the longterm because of the appetite suppression. Shangri-La isn’t a diet itself; it’s the supplement that makes a diet possible to follow.

Neither of my kids is on a formal, calorie-reducing diet at present. I’ve removed sugary drinks from their diets altogether (a move reinforced by information on fatnews), and I’m limiting junk food. But that’s all.

Both of my boys have lost weight steadily over the past 6 weeks through the appetite suppressant effects of Shangri-La alone.

I should add that in fact no one knows whether Shangri-La works, or, if it does work, why it works.

We believe we’re experiencing appetite suppressant effects, and our behavior & weight loss is evidence that we are. On the other hand, there are at least 3 other factors at work:

1. With Shangri-La you can’t eat anything at all for the two hours flanking your consumption of sugar or flavorless oil (1 hour before & 1 hour after). That’s two hours a day during which you can eat nothing at all. If you took two “doses” of ELOO or sugar water a day you’d have 4 hours a day during which you can’t eat. These hours add up as the weeks go by.

2. Shangri-La creates a daily structure that tends to force you into doing what you ought to be doing, which is eating meals regularly throughout the day.

3. The structure of Shangri-La is organizing and motivating in and of itself. Our whole household is “doing Shangri-La”; we all know we’re doing Shangri-La; we all think it’s working, etc.

So it’s possible that Shangri-La works for reasons other than those Roberts has gleaned from weight loss literature.

I don’t think that’s the case; I think Shangri-La genuinely suppresses appetite for the 3 of us. But the structure and regimen it provides are tremendously helpful.

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Posted: 26 August 2006 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Roberts’ theory is a variant of set point theory. He begins with a set of familiar premises:

1. Our bodies have a set point weight.

2. If we drop below our set points, our bodies will strive mightily to regain lost weight.

3. If we gain above our set points, our bodies will shed that weight easily.


Based in his own experience of unexpected weight loss during a vacation trip to Paris, in evolutionary biology, and in research on weight gain in animals, he then reasons that the following propositions are possibly true:

4. Set points evolved to help us survive during times when food is scarce.

5. When food is plentiful our set points rise, driving us to eat more and store fat.

6. When food is scare our set points fall, driving us to stop looking for food and burn the fat we’ve stored.

an aside: Number 6 was a new idea for me. Of course I’d always assumed that our bodies use hunger to drive us to eat food and store fat.

It had never occurred to me that our bodies would also have a form of “anti-hunger” to compel us NOT to eat (as much) and instead to burn fat.

But when you think about it, we’d almost have to have such a mechanism. Hunting for food is “expensive”; you have to burn calories to find and/or kill more calories. When food is plentiful, it makes sense to “invest” calories in hunting and gathering. But when food is scarce, you’d be wasting precious calories on the hunt that you may not be able to replace. It makes sense that evolution we have given us a natural biological signal to stop hunting and gathering when food is scarce.

7. Our body’s “signalling mechanism” is hunger. When our bodies want us to eat more, set point rises & hunger increases. When our bodies want us to eat less, set point drops and hunger decreases (or “anti-hunger” sets in?) [Roberts doesn’t talk about “anti-hunger,” btw. He talks about increases and decreases in hunger.]

8. Our bodies “decide” that food is plentiful or scarce based on flavor. When food tastes good, our bodies conclude that food is plentiful. Hunger goes up, we eat more, we gain weight. When food tastes bad our bodies conclude that food is scarce. Hunger goes down, we eat less, and we burn the fat we’ve stored. We lose weight.

from there, several novel hypotheses follow:

9. Most importantly, it’s possible to game the system.

10. Roberts himself originally “gamed” his own system by drinking sugar water twice a day. He doesn’t know why this should work; he stumbled onto it during a trip to Paris when he drank a lot of French soda & lost his appetite. When he searched the weight loss literature to discover what might account for this, he found obscure studies that pointed to the novelty of the French sodas. Because he wasn’t used to the flavors, his body had reacted to French sodas as a signal that food was scarce. His set point and hunger decreased and he lost weight. The point is that your body has to learn what tastes good. More specifically, your body, over time, learns that certain flavors are associated with calories. This is how “acquired tastes” work. Roberts points out that if you remember back to your childhood, to the first time you ever drank Coca Cola, say, you may recall thinking it tasted like medicine. Then over time you came to think it tasted really good. Any flavor that is repeatedly associated with calories will come to taste good.

11. If Coca Cola didn’t have any calories, it would still taste like medicine today.

12. Because sugar is our one inborn taste, it’s possible that straight sugar doesn’t “read” as food. Once sugar has been associated with a learned flavor, we gain weight from the food or drink containing the sugar. This may be why Roberts lost his appetite drinking unfamiliar French soda pop. If he’d been drinking familiar American sodas he would have gained weight. This is his theory, at any rate. He really doesn’t know—and says he doesn’t know—why “straight” sugar should suppress appetite.

13. It was a friend of Roberts’ who suggested that “ELOO” - extra-light olive oil - might work on the same principal. Our bodies seem to “read” straight sugar as flavorless, and ELOO is almost flavorless, too. (Extra-virgin olive oil should not work to suppress appetite, because extra-virgin olive oil is highly flavorful.) Roberts tried ELOO and it worked. Various friends, relatives, and acquaintainces also tried the regimen, using either sugar and/or ELOO, and succeeded in losing weight.

14. The Shangri-La hypothesis explains why we can become addicted to junk food. Junk foods and processed foods are engineered to contain the maximum number of calories with maximum uniformity. Every time you eat a processed food you reinforce your body’s association of calories with the food’s flavor, which never, ever, varies. That’s why junk foods just keep tasting better and better over the years—and why people with food addictions are never addicted to homemade food. Homemade food always varies a bit in flavor or texture.

15. Shangri-La can also explain why set point might keep increasing over a lifespan. The longer we’ve been eating a processed food the stronger our learned association of calories and food. The message that “food is plentiful, eat more of it” may get stronger over a lifetime.

[pause]

I see that I’ve managed to write a mere 1700 words explaining Shangri-La.

The take-home points are:

Shangri-La works, when it works, by suppressing appetite.

Shangri-La isn’t a diet; it’s analogous to an appetite suppressing medication or supplement.

Shangri-La works—assuming it does work—by gaming the system, by convincing our bodies that food is scarce even though it most assuredly is not.

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Posted: 26 August 2006 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Much simpler: Roberts’ book is terrific. Short and sweet, with has references to all the research. Only $13 in hardback.

oops

I mean “only $13 at Amazon.”

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Posted: 17 September 2006 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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follow-up: I’ve written a post about Jimmy’s weight loss today.

He was in the low 220s when we began Shangri-La on July 14; this morning he’s 205.5 lbs.

Pretty amazing.

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Posted: 04 October 2006 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Keeping people updated: both of my kids have “un-plateaued,” & each has lost one pound more. Description here: Shangri-La progress 10-4-2006

I also learned yesterday that my internist has 10 patients on an “olive oil diet” of her own design. She’d never heard of Seth Roberts. All 10 patients have lost “lots” of weight.

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Posted: 04 October 2006 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Catherine,

Thanks for the update.

Regarding your doctors “olive oil” diet—whatever works and is not harmful is fine with me.

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Posted: 04 October 2006 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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She’s great - and (did I already said this?) has followed a regimen of consuming 1 Tbsp of olive oil a day herself for years. (I think it’s 1 Tbsp.)

As I mentioned in my ktm post, she’d never heard of Seth Roberts or Shangri-La, and I’m positive she’s not telling her patients to drink flavorless olive oil.

She’s just having them drink olive oil at the midpoint between each meal to keep them from getting hungry and eating junk.

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Posted: 04 October 2006 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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One more thing.

We’ve been using Shangri-La since July 14, 2006 & it’s now early October.

That’s quite a long time to keep 2 kids and 1 adult on a diet regimen.

We’ve fallen off the wagon at least twice, once during an August vacation, and then more recently, in the past two weeks.

In both cases it’s been quite easy to get back in the groove. Because you’re not denying yourself food, the “start-up costs” of resuming the regimen are low.

This time around both my husband and I saw that when we became less disciplined about giving our older son his ELOO he immediately began to binge at night. (This is the 19 year old autistic son taking weight-gain inducing meds.)

When we got him back on the oil, he stopped bingeing.

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Posted: 26 October 2006 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Jimmy (19 yr old w/autism, taking Depakote) seems to have returned to nighttime eating. Two nights ago at 9pm he was starving and demanding food; same thing again last night.

Jimmy’s highest weight was 222; his lowest weight, on 10-16-06, was 201. He is 5’11” and should weigh 170.

After a bowl of high-salt Progresso soup last night, he bounced up to 205 this morning.

Tonight I’ll give him a Tbsp of table sugar in warm water 1 hour after dinner in addition to the 1 Tbsp of ELOO he’s been taking after school.

______________

I’ve lost 5 lbs since early July, though I can’t necessarily attribute this to Shangri-La (med change, 4-week cancer scare now resolved - normal life stresses raised to the point of way-too-much normal life stress…) I’m only about 5 lbs heavier than I was in college.

______________

I hadn’t planned to post Christopher’s weights, because it might embarrass him if his friends happened to see this site (not that they would, but still…)

However, he’s now lost so much weight that I’ll give the figures.

Christopher, age 12, 5’ 2.5”:
7-20-2006: 137.5 lbs
10-16-2006 129.5 lbs

Christopher now has a BMI at the 93rd percentile, which is considered “at risk” of becoming overweight. 95th percentile is overweight. His height is 90th percentile.

No one at school calls him “fat.” Kids are the harshest critics, so if he’s not hearing the word “fat” at school that tells me he no longer looks fat.

By the charts, he still has weight to lose; he would need to weigh 118 to have a BMI of 90%, the point at which a child is no longer considered “at risk” for weight gain. My own goal for him, assuming no growth at all, is 120 lbs. Obviously if he has a growth spurt the goal will change.

However, at this point there’s no urgency. His clothes fit well; it’s easy to buy new clothes that fit; no one is teasing him. We’ll carry on with the Shangri-La regimen permanently because it’s healthy, it’s easy, and it’s almost certainly good for weight-gain prevention - or will be for a fairly active 12-year old boy. If he loses more weight - I expect he will - great. If not, that’s fine, too, and might even be healthier. We’ll hold his current weight steady and he can grow into it.

Christopher takes one Tbsp of ELOO a day.

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Posted: 24 January 2007 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Here are a couple of posts about my son Jimmy’s weight loss:

Jimmy Berenson on the Shangri-La Diet

Jimmy’s weight over time

Both Jimmy and his 12-year old brother have stopped losing weight due to winter blahs on the part of my husband and me (lower motivation, lower energy, lower organization) and to the stepped-up hunger we all feel during these months.

Both have also regained a few pounds.

The pattern is that we forget to give the kids their ELOO; we notice that one or the other of the boys is starting to look heavier; then we get scared straight for a couple of weeks and everyone (including me) gets back on the ELOO.

Then we repeat the cycle.

The good news: the Shangri-La regimen is so simple that you can “limp along” even when your motivation is nil. I’m confident we’ll all get through winter without catastrophic weight regain. Then we’ll get serious about Shangri-La again in the spring.

I’m guessing Jimmy will weigh something like 205, tops, in April. I’m also predicting that April will mark the month in which both my husband and I will have the “oomph” to pick up where we left off.

So….I’m going to predict that we’ll be able to whittle another 20 pounds off of Jimmy by the time next winter rolls around, which means he’ll be down to 180 (unless his weight loss slows appreciably at some point, which I suspect it will as he gets closer to his ideal weight).

At this rate it will take 3 years of stop-and-go Shangri-La to take him from his high of 222 down to 170 or 175. Which is fine. He continues to look good. He’s a “big guy”; he can “carry” the extra weight he has now; it’s easy to buy clothes that fit.

We’ll take care of the next 20 pounds this spring and summer.

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