Eating Free - Manuel Villacorta

Released May 2012

Manuel Villacorte

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Let me start by saying that I've been caught up in many of these diet crazes. I successfully used South Beach Diet to lose 25 pounds, only to discover that the maintenance diet didn't work for me at all. I tried Atkins and it just wasn't for me. I even tried an organic diet I can across that ended up tripling our grocery bill and therefore was futile. Eating Free is one of the first diet books that starts out with the author sharing his own struggles in vivid detail.

Manuel Villacorta grew up in Peru and never had a problem with weight until he moved to the U.S. As he studied to become a dietitian, he also taught himself to cook. Unlike many of the fads that have Americans skipping carbs, he ate the foods of his childhood. What resulted from both his experiences and the experiences of his clients, showed that strict calorie counting, extreme fitness regimens and skipping carbs is futile. He shares both his story and that of his clients. One of the first stories he shares involves a lawyer who counted calories, avoided sugars and carbs, exercised daily and despite that gained weight. He also talks about a couple who moved to Italy and ended up losing weight despite eating pasta every day.

Using these, and other stories, he came up with a diet based on two principles:
  • "The body needs fuel to survive."
  • "Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures."
With that in mind, he created a diet that works, doesn't restrict the foods you eat and, most importantly, allows you to enjoy your meal in a stress-free manner. This occurs by having you eat breakfast an hour after getting up, never skipping a meal, mixing carbs and proteins, eating 70 percent of your daily calories before dinner and then 30 percent during and after dinner, drinking plenty of water and eating as late as you want, as long as your last meal is 90 minutes before bed time. It also follows a 45-30-25 ratio that dictates how much of your meal should be fats, proteins and carbs.

Unlike many self-help diet books, this one contains a helpful guide on a reasonable portion size and the best choices available. He discusses how a medium piece of fruit is the equivalent of 1 cup of berries or 1/2 cup chopped fruit. Best of all, desserts are not excluded. Instead, he shows how to incorporate desserts into your new meal plan. What you end up with is a chart that lists how many servings of grains, starches, meats, vegetables, fruits, milk and fat should be eaten per day given your target daily calorie intake. This chart, along with the portion size diagrams makes it easy to decide what you want to eat during the day.

As you work through the book, you'll find sample weekly meal plans, recipes and a Free Q questionnaire that helps you keep track of how well you are Eating Free.

If you want to lose weight and are tired of diets that ban certain foods, you really need to buy a copy of Manuel Villacorta's Eating Free. It's a great resource and full of information that helps without preaching.


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