Living healthy & well in Mexico
by Dr. Peter R. Luciano ND
North Americans who are all too often obese,
if not morbidly obese and sickly. Look around and you will see in Ajijic,folks in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s appear spry, trim, fit and vigorous in numbers not typically seen elsewhere. Why? Theories abound: only the healthy relocate here, it’s the perfect climate, all the walking people do, the readily available fresh foods, the freedom from stress, the active lifestyle and on and on. Frankly, from a scientific point of view the answer is not readily known. But, for one segment of the Ajijic population the answer is crystal clear and supported by data – they are the HCG diet group. Moving to Ajijic, I felt the need to change my life and took on the challenge of this diet -to excellent results!
Not familiar with the HCG diet? It is a natural, safe, medically supervised regimen consisting of daily intake of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and a temporary, 23 day or 40 day, low calorie diet. HCG is taken daily either orally or subcutaneously by injection. Much more detail is available at the web site http://www.ajijichcg.wordpress.com, but suffice it to say the compound HCG triggers the body to burn approximately 2000 calories a day from stored fat resulting in a weight loss of one-half to one pound per day when combined with the restricted calorie diet. HCG also normalizes and resets the hypothalamus to adjust to the new, lower (weight) set point resulting from the weight loss. As a result, the lifetime success rate for the HCG protocol is 60% to 70% – NOT the 5% typical of most other diets. Results worldwide are impressive, but results in Ajijic are spectacular.
World-wide, the average weight loss on the three-week program is seven to 14 pounds. However, among Ajijic’s 300+ participants to date, the average weight loss for three-weeks is 14 to 20 pounds and for the 40 day program the average weight loss is 27 pounds. And, the program may be repeated for additional weight loss. For example, I lost a total of 56 pounds and 5 pant sizes in three rounds. This is a typical result.
A local PhD nutritionist and diagnostician tested the program herself and lost 36 pounds in two rounds of the diet. A restaurateur and his wife did the program together and lost 32 pounds each in their first round. One lady active in the local theater didn’t need to lose weight, but was guided through a related “reshaping” program with a normal calorie intake and she lost 14 ½ inches in unwanted post-menopausal fat in her arms, thighs, hips and waist. The benefits of the HCG diet go far beyond weight loss and reshaping. Frequently, participants including myself, are able to significantly reduce and even eliminate maintenance medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and adult onset diabetes and have relieved symptoms of decades-old asthma, joint pain, sinus problems and more.
These results beg the question, “Why are the results in Ajijic so optimal?” The answer appears to be the combination of the following resources available to HCG dieters in Ajijic in addition to the HCG and diet itself:
A weekly support group meeting. This isn’t a weight watching group – no public weigh-in please! Instead it is an informational session where program participants support each other with tips and encouragement. It has a lay facilitator available to offer basic education on the diet. These meetings are entirely optional.
Several area restaurants such as Go, Tango and Gossips and others will prepare meals compliant with the HCG protocol upon request. Also, a local burger joint, 60’s in Paradise, takes a detour and offers an HCG menu with a to-go option in addition to their regular fare. Okay, so it’s a little hard to look at the onion rings and milk shakes at the next table. But, it builds character in addition to weight loss!
Given the limited “pallet” of food items on the restricted calorie portion of the program a potential complaint is boredom with the food choices. To remedy this, the program’s website offers numerous savory recipes submitted by myself and others. I enojyed it so much that I now offer one-on-one and small group cooking classes with the goal of making the limited selection savory and delicious. This isn’t boiled chicken and lettuce! Recipes include “mocktails”, appetizers, salads, entrees and even desserts that you would be proud to serve your non-dieting dinner guests. As an example, a recent class menu celebrating regional cuisine featured North African Fish Chowder with Prawn Garni, Cucumber and Onion Salad with Dill Vinaigrette, Savory Moroccan Filet of Beef, Strawberry Sorbet and Minted Green Tea.
The final, and perhaps most important, difference in Ajijic is a physician dedicated to the success of the program participants. Dr. Juan Aceves – http://drjuanaceves.com (physician and microbiologist) – is readily available to any participant to help them adjust to the program, review medical progress regarding weight related maladies, and conduct frequent progress check-ups.
So the next time you see one of those spry, fit folks bopping about the lakeside, you may say to yourself, “I know your secret!” If they are in the HCG diet group, you will certainly be right. And, if you want to say as they do, “I feel great and better than I’ve felt in years!” join them in an adventure in health and rediscover what an active lifestyle can feel like again. And yes; the climate, the walking, the fresh food, the freedom from stress and the active lifestyle no doubt help.