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Global Training Report

From Brasil, Thailand, Japan, and Korea

Est. 2000




Book Review

Carlos Gracie: O Criador de uma Dinastia

 Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2008

By Reila Gracie

Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira  

Posted  July 26, 2013


Chapter 22 

Dieta Gracie

Social relations and behavior in Ceará were determined by a hierarchy during the time that Carlos was there. He didn't care. He did what he thought was the right thing to do which is to say he did what he wanted to do. His ideas and actions struck many people as odd. Combining foods according to their chemical composition, wearing only white pants, avoiding talking to the first person he met, and only living in houses whose numbers were associated with positive vibrations were a few of his eccentricities.

He was very concerned with avoiding his brothers to get sick, because they were fighters. He became a vegetarian at the end of the 1920's. He read books on anatomy and physiology and nutrition to discover which foods had the necessary composition required by humans. In Fortaleza he began formulating methods for treating diseases using herbal medicine and foods.

His occult studies permeated all of his activities.  He was like a sorcerer or shaman in his quest for the secret knowledge of health. His mystical beliefs didn't follow a scientific path. His dream, common to the natural medicine advocates of his time, was to find a way to extend the human life span to 150 years. After all, some species of tortoise lived 200 years. Therefore, he reasoned, people could too. Carlos and his natural medicine contemporaries saw humans holistically.  

The central idea of Carlos' theory was that when foods are ingested, their chemical components come into physical contact and provoke an acidic or alkalinic reaction in the blood. Too much acidity was bad, he thought. Also, bad fermentation provoked by incorrectly combined foods could compromise the digestive process, giving rise to substances which would leave the organism vulnerable to various diseases and disorders. His ideas were inspired by those of the Argentine author Juan Esteve Dulin, whose book Filosofia a Prática do Naturismo, published in 1914, played an important role in the defense of vegetarianism in the quest for longevity. Combining the right foods in the right way was the key to health and a long life, Carlos believed. He needed to find out what were the right foods, and then, what were the correct combinations. He spent a good part of his life on this project.

It was difficult to actually practice the "Gracie Diet" out in society. Other people didn't care for his theories. They liked foods that were cheap, convenient, and tasty. Carlos had to be content with imposing his theories on his family, or at least those who he could dominate, such as his children, his wives, and Helio, and of course his spiritual brother Oscar Santa Maria. He banished pork, alcohol, pepper and spices, and vinegar, but everything else was permitted if combined in the correct way. Fruit juice, tea, and milk were ok, but only without sugar added. Cakes were ok too, but only if they were made with fruit juices and not with fat added.  Chocolate never entered Carlos' house. 

Carlos was self-taught. He learned from books. He also talked with Oscar Santa Maria, who had a medical education. Oscar, Helio, and Margarida followed Carlos' dietary recommendations. Carlos adopted the role of the doctor of the family and when anyone came down with a symptom of strange digestion, he would analyze the problem and prescribe a dietary solution. In the case of more serious problem, he didn't hesitate to call on the latest discoveries of traditional medical science, such as penicillin. Carlos thought that penicillin was a miracle but he never relinquished his dream of finding natural cures (foods and herbs) for every malady.

Carlos believed in the power of food, especially vegetables. "Os animais carnivoros são violentos, nervosos, mas não têm resistência nenhuma" he used to say [carnivorous animals are violent and nervous but don't have any endurance]. To prove his point, he adduced the example of the lion, who can't run 500 meters, while herbivorous animals can run kilometers. 

Carlos was also influenced by Alexis Carrel, the French man who won a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1912. His book O Homem, esse Desconhecido was very popular when Carlos was conducting his research. Carrel warned of the dangers of moderinzation that removed man from nature. Carrel foresaw the obesity epidemic that would come to characterize mass consumer societies, the United States being the foremost example. 



Chapter 23. A Difusão do Jiu-Jitsu no Ceará



(c), 2013, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.

















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