Dieting is discipline, no matter which diet you choose. The Warrior Diet is an aggressive and non-traditional approach to dieting. It is not back by much clinical research bit the Warriors that follow this lifestyle swear by. Let’s find out if the warrior diet is the right diet for you.
Naturally, when you think about a warrior you imagine a bold, brave, manly man. Well, spoiler alert, it is that imagery that inspired Ori Hofmekler to create this diet. He had no formal training nor expertise in diet and nutrition. He was looking to maximize his own personal strength and energy.
As a soldier in the Israeli Special Forces he noticed that his energy often lagged. One place you want to have the most energy and be your most alert is in the military, but while serving in the military, Hofmekler was being served six meals per day plus snacks.
After completing his service he went to art school and found a drastic change in his energy. Being engulfed in the art world took his full attention. Many days he would barely eat. But he had an abundance of energy. It was totally unlike his time in the military.
He then began the practice of the warrior diet. This lifestyle comprised daily intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is defined by its calorie restriction. The foods you eat are up to you, mainly the focus is on non-eating. Apparently, this type of fasting, where you go long periods throughout the day without fasting, is shockingly healthy for your body.
Another popular diet that typically incorporated long periods of non-eating is the ketogenic diet. Ketogenesis is defined on Wikipedia as a biochemical process by which organisms produce a group of substances, collectively known as ketone bodies, through the breakdown of fatty acids and ketogenic amino acids, which it has been shown to improve overall health of blood cells by starving them of glucose (sugar) the same way the cells react during fasting. Warriors following this diet are on record for going up to 18 hours a day without eating.
Warning: The Warrior Diet Is Not Entirely Based On Science
Ori Hofmekler seems to have discovered a long lost life hack. His theory is simple. He believes that the Warrior diet is the same eating and exercise regiment as the warriors, hunters, and gatherers of the Paleolithic era. Yes, Hofmekler concludes that it is ideal for modern man to take his lifestyle and health back to the days of Stone Age.
To summarize exactly what the Warrior diet is, Hofmekler proposes that we eat on a cyclical of minimal consumption and maximum consumption daily. Although his theory is not scientific proof, he has some research to back up his claims.
What’s the Science Behind the Warrior Diet?
The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS)
This is an important division of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the regulator of unconscious functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion. Obviously, these functions of the body play a critical role in your overall health. Back to PSNS which governs bodily activities such as rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It manages energy conservation so your body properly recalibrates itself every day.
The Warrior Diet was designed to create a cycle of binge eating that kick-starts the parasympathetic system while you are awake rather than sleep. This effect reduces fatigue but does not inherently reduce weight gain. Weight loss is not the goal of the Warrior Diet, optimal health is.
These are the things that the Warrior Diet is designed to defend against. For this defense, Hofmekler manufactures a variety of dietary supplements to keep his warriors healthy and feeling strong.
These supplements include protein bars, protein powders, and a product called Warrior Milk. All the products for the Warrior Diet are on sale at Defense Nutrition and are eco-consciously sourced and contain no extra preservatives, fillers, coloring, or harmful chemical additives.
Hofmekler has dedicated estrogen as the sworn enemy of his Warriors and he is doing his best to keep them from the body. His supplements are primarily engineered to be estrogen inhibitors. Common science verifies that unhealthy estrogen levels in the body can be catalysts to several diseases and cancers, but that is as much as science has agreed with Hofmekler, not having put his diet through the scientific process.
Another component of the Warrior diet is how a warrior stores his or her food. Plastic is a strict no-no, as it can seep estrogenic compounds into your food. There has been no qualified medical research done to verify the quality of the Warrior Diet, however, there are adherents that attest to its positive effect on their personal energy.
The Thrifty Gene Hypothesis
This is one nail that the Warrior diet hangs its hat on. The thrifty gene hypothesis was proposed by a geneticist named James Neel in 1962. Dr. Neel was trying to explain why modern man is so overweight, and he concluded that there is basically a gene in modern man that causes us to sniff out food. Since we no longer have to forage and hunt for our food because of commercialization of the food industry, we basically, or genetically cannot help but to overeat. The beauty of the Warrior Diet is that it factors that in. So you can overeat, only within a certain window every day.
What’s the Real Skinny with This Warrior Diet?
The way this diet works is you decide to under-eat, or snack on light vegetables, or yogurt, practically nothing for a majority of your day. Hofmekler recommends ten to eighteen hours a day of food deprivation. And then you eat a large meal during the window of time you have allotted yourself for eating. As mentioned before, the science behind this is merely from admiration of ancient warriors lifestyle and Hofmekler’s personal experience.
The eating and non-eating component are just one aspect. Many people do not join this diet to lose weight nor gain muscle. Both will happen, but the goal is to be a lean mean warrior machine. In the Stone Age, the warriors were not big and bulky due to an overabundance of protein. They were hunter-gatherers, so they were agile bodies of lean muscle that had full function and capability of their bodies and could properly use the body as a weapon.
This regiment is predicated on plenty of exercise as it aims to help you build up your endurance while experiencing hunger pains. Back to the Warrior model that inspired this diet, Hofmekler believes the warriors had to fight while hungry. Not only did they have to fight, but they had to endure the long trek across the countryside while sporting armor that likely weighed more than 40 pounds. All this was happening on an empty stomach, but this supposedly had no detriment to the warrior’s ability to war.
Now we can walk when we are hungry, but much of the western world suffers from obesity. The Warrior diet aims to combat these faults. So when you practice this diet, understand that it will require you to workout during the time of day where you are not eating or really lightly snacking.
Do not be too skeptical, the effects this diet has on your body are reported to be miraculous. Hofmekler has coined this phase of physical exercise as Controlled Fatigue Training (CFT). His views on dieting are peculiar because he believes the emphasis on controlled eating is exaggerated. The Warrior diet put a greater emphasis on controlled exercise while under hunger duress. It is believedthat CFT activates certain latent genes that will help people be healthier more functional humans. The CFT slogan states “If you are not actively surviving, you are passively dying.”
What to Eat and What Not to Eat
If you are seriously considering embarking upon the Warrior Diet, we recommend after reading this article, you type “Defense Nutrition’ into your search engine and check out some forums and dietary supplements. Hofmekler himself restricts any food that is not organic nor grass fed. And, since you can eat anything you like during your eating phase of the day, we think it is healthy that he made this distinction.
His logic is that non-organic and conventional foods in the market are loaded with estrogen. He forbids eating processed foods. The rationale behind that is you don’t want to load up on junk food during your eating phase. Also, what processed foods existed in the Stone Age? Exactly. Use filtered water only, even when cooking, and alternate days where you eat high in fats one day and high in carbs the next day.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Warrior?
The beauty of this system is that although it has no scientific findings to back it, there are many people in forums that swear by the Warrior Diet. Also, since there are no large test groups and controlled experiments, the only way to know if it will work is to try it. All you are really doing is adjusting the times when you eat and making sure you get exercise during the long stretch of the day when you are choosing not to eat. We think if you are interested in trying it, to go for it! Send us an e-mail to let us know how the Warrior Diet is working for you.