21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A life changer.,
This review is from: The De Vany Diet: Eat lots, exercise little; shed 5lbs in 1 week, lose fat; gain muscle, look younger; feel stronger (Paperback)
I heard about Art De Vany in an article in the Times in 2008, headlined "The Diet that Really Works", now behind the Times' paywall. Bryan Appleyard, an excellent journalist, described adopting Art's lifestyle plan and rapidly dropping weight, appearing 10 years younger to his boss, and feeling generally happier, without the suffering of his previous yo-yo dieting (there's still a youtube video of him describing it). It seemed interesting, as it's trying to simulate the metabolic environment we evolved to have, but I was about to embark on a vegetarian phase so tucked the information away for a long time before revisiting it and putting it into action myself (more on that later).
De Vany is a retired economics professor who devised the system of privatising radiofrequencies, and wrote the definitive book on the economics of the movie industry. He developed his interest in metabolism after his son developed type I diabetes, and experimented with diet to optimise blood sugars. The diet he arrived at was strikingly similar to a hunter-gatherer diet, rich in meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, but eliminating liquid calories, grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. Before going into economics he had been a baseball player and has a long time interest in weight lifting. These strands came together in his website, which became a focus for people interested in the "paleo" movement - looking at the lifestyle we evolved to have as a necessary condition for optimal health. Art developed his programme of evolutionary fitness, where brief, intense, sporadic exercise takes the place of cardio, jogging etc. This is combined with his diet and a pattern of eating that downplays regularity and includes skipping the odd meal (a frightening prospect before you adapt to the diet, but easy and rewardng when you do). Hunter-gatherers don't suffer from diseases of civilisation (obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, strokes, many cancers, many autoimmune diseases). The combination of diet, exercise and other lifestyle advice in Art's writing seeks to recreate this in a modern way, to get the benefits without historical reenactment. It seems to work for him, as Appleyard described him as looking like superman's slightly fitter dad. Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, is a follower, and describes Art as "at 72 looking like a Greek God at 42".
The benefits of this approach were dramatic and not limited to the weight loss (which was easier than any other methods I've tried, and critically has stayed off) - I slept better, didn't dip in the afternoons, and generally felt the way I did at when I was a lot younger. My chronic reflux problem disappeared after a couple of days and has never returned, my skin improved. I never wanted exercise before and had gone years without it, but now have energy and exercise feels natural. My blood pressure normalised. Similar testimonies are all over the web for people on De Vany's plan (or other writers' such as Robb Wolf or Mark Sisson who have blogs about paleo diets, and were heavily influenced by him).
In the end this book is for anyone wanting be healthy and feel good, the word "diet" in the title could lead people to write off the book as only concerned with weight, but as a reviewer for a previous version of the book said, it could be the most important book you ever read.