Book notes: The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler

The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler book summary review.

The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse for High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body by Ori Hofmekler

Synopsis:

In The Warrior Diet, Ori Hofmekler looks not forward but backward for a solution – to the primal habits of early cultures such as nomads and hunter-gatherers, the Greeks, and the Romans. Based on survival science, this book proposes not ordinary dietary changes but rather a radical yet surprisingly simple lifestyle overhaul.

Drawing on both scientific studies and historical data, Hofmekler argues that robust health and a lean, strong body can best be achieved by mimicking the classical warrior mode of cycling-working and eating sparingly (undereating) during the day and filling up at night. Specific elements from the Warrior Diet Nutritional Program (finding ideal fuel foods and food combinations to reduce body fat) to the Controlled Fatigue Training Program (promoting strength, speed, and resilience to fatigue through special drills), literally reshape body and mind. Individual chapters cover warrior meals and recipes; sex drive, potency, and animal magnetism; and personalizing the diet for women.

The Warrior Diet shows listeners who are weary of fad diets how to attain enduring vigor, explosive strength, a better appearance, and increased vitality and health.

 

Opening thoughts:

I picked up this book after hearing about the warrior diet for one of my coworkers. He is a really fit guy in his 40s and still manages to prioritize his health. He looks super young and after talking about diet, I found out he does a more extreme form of intermittent fasting call the war your diet, which is essentially just a smaller eating window. He found that it worked for him after experimenting for many years, so I thought I would pick up a book and learn about it as well.

Key notes:

  • The warrior diet is essentially eating one meal a day and restricting calories and macronutrients
    • If you want to nibble on snacks during the day, you can do so with fruits, vegetables, and a little protein
    • This doesn’t include carbohydrates like bread and grains
  • Exercising on an empty stomach supports our sympathetic nervous system and promotes more weight loss
    • This diet guarantees several hours a day of fat burning hormones percolating through your body
    • During this period, your body is at a peak capacity to remove toxins and generate energy while staying alert, resisting fatigue and stress
    • Long periods of undereating increase protein efficiency
      • Your body will become more efficient at recycling proteins and will be utilized more efficiently when you do eat them
  • Not eating for long periods also improves insulin sensitivity so that when you do eat, your blood sugar doesn’t fluctuate wildly and your body won’t store the carbohydrate calories as fat
  • The trick is to re-train your body and teach it to become more instinctive
    • You can do this by avoiding most foods during the day though he recommends eating vegetables and fruits, and a little protein during the day like eggs, cheese, yogurt, and high-quality whey
  • He refers to “Warrior” as an instinct deep within us all
  • Stubborn fat is the fat that’s hard to get rid of and is caused by an excess of the female hormone estrogen
  • The Warrior Diet Principle:
    • The warrior diet is based on the daily cycle of under-eating and overeating
  • The warrior diet goals:
    1. Trigger the warrior instinct
    2. Burn fat
    3. Gain strength
    4. Accelerate metabolism
    5. Boost virility
    6. Detoxify
    7. Slow the aging process
    8. Attain a sense of freedom
    9. Reach satisfaction
    10. Live instinctively

Chapter 1: The Warrior Instinct

  •  The warrior instinct manifests itself through 3 other human instincts:
    1. The instinct to survive and multiply
    2. The hunter predator instinct
    3. The scavenger instinct
  • Falcons are trained well keeping their edge by keeping them underfed which allows their vitality and sharpness to maintain
    • While hunters eat only one hungry, scavengers eat all the time

Chapter 2: The Warrior Cycle

  • The distinguishing aspects of the warrior cycle are:
    • The energy cycle
    • The cycle of materialism and de-materialism
    • The healing process of the cycle
  • When you eat several meals throughout the day, you don’t give your body a chance to go through the process of detoxification and healing, or deprivation and satisfaction

Chapter 3: The Undereating Phase

  • Controlled fasting is easier to follow than water or coffee fasts, and it accelerates detoxification and overall well-being
  • When you fast, insulin drops and the hormone glucagon increases
    • When it dominates, most of the bodies energy comes from glycogen reserves and fat stores
    • Also, the drop in insulin allows the growth hormone GH to peak
      • This increases the body’s capacity to rejuvenate, repair tissues, and burn fat
      • A natural elevation of GH should help slow the aging process
  • The fear of hunger
    • Many people today have an irrational almost phobic fear of hunger
      • We live in a society that teaches us that it isn’t ever good to be hungry
    • Learning to deal with hunger was practiced intentionally to make people tougher and stronger, thereby more resilient to life’s hardships
    • Fasting hunger pains only last a few minutes but your body adapts
      • You can eat fresh veggies or fruits and fresh juices, or light protein like yogurt or eggs
      • But always break your fast with fresh, raw foods
  • The principle of fasting is based on not eating a full meal during the day
    • You can consume certain live foods and drink a lot of water
    • Naturally stimulating beverages like coffee and tea are allowed and a few nutritional supplements are suggested
    • You must minimize to mostly live, raw food in the form of fruit, veggies, and natural juices, and small portions of light fresh protein foods like yogurt, boiled eggs, or whey protein shake
    • Processed carbs and sugar should be avoided during the undereating phase as to not burst your insulin levels
  • Fasting vs. starvation
    • Fasting is the art of manipulating the metabolic system
      • It is controlled and for a limited time
      • When you reach this peak time period and eat a large meal, your body will compensate and your metabolism will be boosted higher than it was before
    • Conversely, with starvation, the fasting is not controlled and the body is forced to slow down its metabolic rate and start to cannibalize muscle and lean tissue
  • Fasting to heal
    • Throughout history, people have incorporated fast as a natural therapeutic method
    • Overall, mind-body energy is increased with fasting
    • This healing force throws off accumulated toxins, clears dead cells, and rebalances and rejuvenates the body
    • The accumulation of material in your body, especially undigested food and toxins, makes you sick
    • To begin with, avoiding toxins is very important
      • But it is at least as important to give the body a chance to detoxify itself
      • When you eat the traditional 3 to 6 meals and other diets, you don’t give your body the chance to detoxify and get rid of all the waste material
  • Detoxification is literally the neutralizing, breaking down, and elimination of waste and toxins from the body
    • Every organism and cell has anabolic and catabolic processes
      • The anabolic process deposits material into the tissues
      • The catabolic process destroys and takes material away from the body whether through burning fat, eliminating waste, or removing toxins
      • This cycle of depositing and removing material should be done on a daily basis
    • The Warrior Diet is the only one he’s aware of that’s based on daily detoxification
  • Elimination is integral to detoxification
    • It’s also a vital part of the daily human cycle, or the Warrior’s cycle
    • The warrior diet promotes a healthy, natural elimination cycle
  • Your immune system is naturally boosted during fasting and detoxification
  • Detoxification and the healing process
    • Sometimes you may get allergic reactions but these are the body’s way naturally activating the immune system to help heal and cleanse itself by getting rid of toxins in any available way
    • For example, if you have a fever and let it run its natural course without taking drugs, in most cases the fever will kill the bacteria or other pathogens, that’s helping the body to detoxify and heal
      • Taking drugs cuts short this process so your body may not have a chance to finish the healing cycle
  • The adaptation usually lasts for the first few weeks when beginning the warrior diet
    • Some people adapt immediately, but it normally takes between 1 to 3 weeks
    • Adaptation is necessary
      • Adaptation relates to the warrior instinct because part of the warrior instinct involves taking chances

Chapter 4: What to Consume During the Undereating Phase

  • As mentioned previously, detoxification and keeping insulin at a minimum level are of prime importance during the undereating phase
  • It’s most important to consume live, raw foods on a daily basis during the undereating phase
    • Live foods contain vital nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals that aid in daily detoxification
  • When you ingest raw and fresh fruits and veggies, you reload your body with living enzymes
    • When you do this, you optimize your body to:
      1. Detoxify and create an anti-aging effect
      2. Reduce inflammation, congestion, and pain
      3. Better digest the food that you eat later on in the overheating phase
      4. Replenish your body with natures life forces
    • It’s extremely important to drink a lot of fluids throughout the day, primarily water
      • Vegetable juices that are freshly prepared are the best to complement your water intake
      • Fruit juices made in a blender with no additives are also good
      • Minimize or avoid using foods with a high glycemic index
      • Berries are great choices during undereating, as well as apples, pears, and tropical fruits like mangos
  • Active individuals should have a recovery meal after training made from fresh, fast assimilating proteins such as whey or milk proteins 15-30g together with low glycemic carbs such as rice or oats 10-25g
    • After exercise, the body is in a peak metabolic potential to absorb amino acids and other nutrients into the working muscle
    • This highly anabolic potential diminishes within 3 to 4 hours after exercise
      • The timing of recovery meals is therefore critically important for all recuperation, muscle development, and strength again
    • To fully utilize proteins, you must optimize all three factors: enzymes, probiotics, and the live food factor
  • Good fats like raw avocado and raw nuts may accelerate fat burning, increase libido, and resist aging
    • Note that is best to eat these foods at night during the overeating phase as to not tax your digestive system during the undereating phase
    • Do NOT combine nuts and seeds with grains and sugars
      • These high-fat foods work best in a low glycemic environment
  • Probiotics are the friendly beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract
    • They are necessary for healthy digestion and may be the first line of defense in disease prevention
    • The main function of probiotics is to aid in the efficient absorption of food, vitamins and minerals
    • They secrete antibiotic substances that destroy harmful pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and parasites and thereby help you digest and assimilate your food
    • Probiotics are abundantly found in naturally fermented foods including sauerkraut, miso, yogurt
  • Athletes are particularly susceptible to mineral deficiency and therefore should consider supplementation
    • It’s best to take the multimineral supplement before or right after your work out
    • Minerals help alkalize your body
      • This protects it from the acidic side effects physical and mental stress
  • Ginseng is a good antioxidant and alternative stimulant to caffeine
    • It helps you adapt to stress
  • Ginger is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties and one of the best natural digestive aids
    • It possesses natural antibiotic properties which makes it a most viable herb for detoxification

Chapter 5: The Overeating Phase

  • Overeating Principles:
    • Rule one: always start with subtle tasting foods then move to the more aggressive
    • Rule two: include as many tastes, textures, colors, and aromas as possible in your main meal
    • Rule three: stop eating when you feel much more thirsty than hungry
  • Instinctual eating: The overeating phase does not involve guilt or obsessive self-control
    • By following these rules, you will create a way of eating that is much more instinctive
    • By trusting your instincts, you will experience a sense of freedom and real satisfaction
    • Having the sense of freedom is necessary to be truly happy
  • The Goals of Overeating:
    • Enhance your recuperation
    • Repairing tissues and building muscles
    • Boost your metabolism
    • Replenish your energy reserves
    • Nourish your body and mind while providing a sense of pleasure and full satisfaction
    • Experience a sense of freedom guilt free
    • Re-train to eat instinctively
  • After the undereating phase, your taste buds are primed for subtle tastes
    • Is the best way to retrain your taste buds
  • Researcher speculate that the cycle of fasting and overeating affects the brain similar to the way physical exercise affects muscles
    • Similar to how the intensity of a workout dictates the quality of the workout, the intensity of the meal dictates your body’s metabolism
  • The human body is built for subtle, whole foods tastes
    • But taste buds today have been dulled from being fed an aggressive, overly processed diet from an early age

Chapter 6: The Main Meal

  • Food preparations for the overeating phase
    • Eating warm, cooked foods is not only beneficial but a good balance between raw, uncooked foods during the undereating phase
    • Fermented soups like miso soup are great because it is a natural alkalizer
      • Fermented foods are helpful for your digestion and the balance of healthy bacteria in your guts
  • On the warrior diet, you can actually consume as many raw nuts as you like and not gain weight
    • Just follow this rule: do not consume nuts with green carbohydrates
      • Nuts work really well with a small amount of protein and an abundant amount of veggies
      • You can basically live on nuts and veggies
    • Almonds are the best nuts to consume
  • Red wine is good because it’s fermented, contains enzymes so helps digest protein, and combat free radicals because of the flavones protects against heart attacks
  • Fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices have high GI but since they come from natural, live, raw food, the body can usually handle them really well
    • They contain digestive enzymes that load the body with essential nutrients and support overall metabolism
  • Balancing sodium intake has a lot to do with the ratio to potassium and magnesium
  • What is not allowed on warrior diet: almost everything allowed except refined sugar, refined processed pastries

Chapter 7: Stubborn Fat

  • How to prevent stubborn fat:
    1. Stay away from crash diets that make you lose fat then get it back
      • Second generation fat would most likely be more stubborn than the first
    2. Avoid ingesting foods that have an estrogenic effect on the body, such as soy, clover, and licorice
    3. Eat as much organic food as possible
    4. If the food or water smells like plastic, stay away from it
      • Certain compounds in plastic called plasticizers are highly estrogenic and carcinogenic
    5. Minimize alcohol consumption
      • Excessive alcohol may compromise your liver’s ability to break down and detoxify estrogenic derivatives
    6. Control your insulin
    7. Follow a steady exercise routine

Chapter 8: The Warrior Diet vs. Other Diets

  • Our bodies are built to adapt to various situations without losing homeostasis
    • If a diet is built on such specifics that you often fail to follow the regimen, it is most likely an unstable diet
    • An unstable diet is a bad diet simply because it’s almost impossible to stay on it
  • The huge disadvantage with the frequent feeding system is that the body never gets a break to detoxify, recuperate, and to let the pancreatic system rest

Reader’s note: Now he’s going through the diet and lifestyle or ancient people like Greeks and Romans back then

  • The Ancient Warrior Diet was based on a cycle of one meal per day at night
    • You can cycle the warrior diet in different ways, with days of undereating only and days where you overeat
    • You can also alternate between days of high fat and days of high carbs
      • However, if your goal is to reduce body fat, high fat days would be most effective
  • You can always go off the warrior diet for a period (like holidays) and then go back on
    • This is okay because you should never feel deprived
  • The warrior diet promotes synergy between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
  • Overeating boosts metabolism
    • One of the most important benefits of overeating on the warrior diet is the overall metabolic accelerating effect on the body
    • Overeating can be good for you and doing so can be instinctual
      • Like any primal instinct, if you try to repress it and shove it inside, it will come back with a vengeance
      • The overeating syndrome:
        • Deprivation leads to uncontrolled binging
  • Romance is based on an instant like the warrior instinct that goes against the rules and norms
    • Like being devoted to a cause or being self-sacrificing for love and such
    • Any seemingly romantic idea that appeals to a crowd of people is probably false romantic
    • True romanticism is individualistic and endorses uniqueness
    • All romantic acts involve breaking rules or routines and doing things out of the ordinary
  • The Aggressive Instinct
    • Aggression has both good and bad sides, and is needed for survival
  • Some supplementation is necessary to make up for the lost nutrients that existed in greater quantities in food in the past
    • Some foods like fresh vegetables and fruits and juices are best eaten on an empty stomach during the day to accelerate the detoxifying effect and assimilation of their essential nutrients

Chapter 12: Sex Drive, Potency, and Animal Magnetism

  • An inherent, instinctual code has always attracted men and women to each other sexually
    • Further, this inherent code is based on sensual, aesthetic attraction
  • He believes there may be a direct connection between diet, health, sexual performance and fertility for both men and women
  • The most notable cause of testosterone decline is the common exposure to estrogenic chemicals in the environment, food, and water
    • Overtraining may rob you of your testosterone
      • It is critical to take one to two days off per week
      • Rest is part of the training cycle and is necessary for recuperation and strength gain
  • Food and sex have been bound together for a long time
    • This could be due to the intimate connection between the two most powerful instincts that predominate life:
      • The instinct to survive
      • The instinct to multiply
    • Nourishment and sex give us a great sense of pleasure
      • Having the wisdom to satisfy both desires for food and sex is the art of living well

Chapter 14: The Warrior Workout

  • Controlled Fatigue Training = CFT
  • Strength is the ability to resist a force in time and space
    • The more you can sustain strength, the stronger you get
    • Factors that determine strength are:
      1. Intensity = weight load
      2. Volume = time under tension
      3. Form = the length of the motion
  • The timeframe for a constructive, intense training session is between 15 and 45 minutes
  • Pre-workout meals are optional whereas post-workout recovery meals are critical
    • The logic behind recovery meals is to:
      1. Minimize the catabolic and stress effects of the workout
      2. Replenish energy reserves in the muscles
      3. Accelerate the anabolic effects after the workout

Reader’s note: right now he’s going through different workout regimens and examples for the warrior work out. I think it’s worth checking out the online PDF guys to see the examples

  • When cooking, you treat yourself and those around you to something that satisfies a most basic primal need: nourishment
    • Cooking is one way of being in control
    • In his opinion, it is a humane means of showing respect to yourself and your surroundings

 

Themes/Main ideas:

  • The warrior diet is based on the daily cycle of under-eating and overeating
    • The huge disadvantage with the frequent feeding system is that the body never gets a break to detoxify, recuperate, and to let the pancreatic system rest
  • Fasting is the art of manipulating the metabolic system
  • Many people today have an irrational almost phobic fear of hunger
  • Detoxification is literally the neutralizing, breaking down, and elimination of waste and toxins from the body
  • Eating live, raw foods during undereating help:
    1. Detoxify and create an anti-aging effect
    2. Reduce inflammation, congestion, and pain
    3. Better digest the food that you eat later on in the overheating phase
    4. Replenish your body with natures life forces
  • Overeating Principles:
    • Rule one: always start with subtle tasting foods then move to the more aggressive
    • Rule two: include as many tastes, textures, colors, and aromas as possible in your main meal
    • Rule three: stop eating when you feel much more thirsty than hungry
  • The Goals of Overeating:
    • Enhance your recuperation
    • Repairing tissues and building muscles
    • Boost your metabolism
    • Replenish your energy reserves
    • Nourish your body and mind while providing a sense of pleasure and full satisfaction
    • Experience a sense of freedom guilt free
    • Re-train to eat instinctively
  • Having the sense of freedom is necessary to be truly happy
  • The human body is built for subtle, whole foods tastes
  • Our bodies are built to adapt to various situations without losing homeostasis
  • The timeframe for a constructive, intense training session is between 15 and 45 minutes
  • The timing of recovery meals is critically important for all recuperation, muscle development, and strength again
  • The logic behind recovery meals is to:
    1. Minimize the catabolic and stress effects of the workout
    2. Replenish energy reserves in the muscles
    3. Accelerate the anabolic effects after the workout

 

Closing thoughts:

I loved this book! I think this was exactly what I needed to get back on my diet and nutrition game after falling off for the past 6-8 weeks (mostly just being inconsistent). I had been doing Intermittent Fasting for 3 months prior, but this book really helped break down the logic and science behind the undereating and overeating cycles.

I think knowledge is a big part of following and believing in something. I mostly followed the principles, but knowing how and why was really the glue for me. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been adopting more of a “warrior diet” type of Intermittent Fasting.

A few key differences from what I was doing before:

  1. I break my 16-hour fast with raw, live foods (in my case, salad and boiled eggs)
  2. I stay away from processed/sugary foods until my evening meal to keep my insulin levels low and prevent spiking during the day
  3. I sometimes do a post-workout of BCAAs, and maybe a cup of coffee with a tsp of cinnamon right before lunch (to keep hunger away, and not worrying about it breaking my fast too much since they’re so low calorie)
  4. My main meal will follow the order of operations:
    1. Live, raw & subtle tasting foods w/ variety of textures
    2. Cooked veggies and protein
    3. Other carbs and fats
  5. Incorporating more veggies and fermented foods for the enzymes and probiotics
    • Ex: wakame seaweed salad, kimchi, red wine

So far, I’ve found the following benefits:

  1. Psychologically, I feel great. I don’t feel restricted
  2. My craving for sugary carbs has gone down significantly
  3. I’m feeling leaner and lighter, less bloated at night
  4. Easier to stick to my meal plan and not go over calories/macros
  5. More room in my budget for macros
  6. Eating a lot less and not feeling deprived physically
  7. Less worrying about eating often, prepping meals, transporting food

I think even if this diet isn’t for you (because not every diet or nutrition lifestyle will fit everyone), it’s definitely worth checking out and learning about the principles. I’ve definitely learned a lot, and the principles make sense to me intuitively.

 

Nutshell:

The Warrior Diet is based on a set of principles around overeating and undereating to facilitate better detoxification/rest, and then better recovery/recuperation/gains with a host of health benefits.

 

Rating:

4/5

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