In just 60 days, you could look like this!
Steve Dupont here. That’s right, folks, make a mental note — you heard it first at nutritionnewsandreviews.com — the next big diet craze to sweep our diet crazy nation will be …
The Gilligan Diet.
Go ahead, laugh it up land lubbers! But then consider bizarre regimens the likes of the Twinkie Diet, the Martini Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet and let’s not forget the infamous Tapeworm diet have garnered inexplicable cult followings in recent years. The Gilligan Diet may have a funny name (unlike its namesake, by the way), but it’s based on some serious nutritional principles. So what is the Gilligan Diet you ask?
Basically, fish and coconut. Coconut and fish. Maybe a few extra fruits and vegetables thrown it for good measure. Seaweed, wild boar, macadamia nuts, all acceptable. But mainly fish and coconut.
So let’s take a closer look at this thing. Fish. Well, we know that fish has been a dietary staple throughout the world for thousands of years. Excellent protein source, first and foremost. Also rich in heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Not too shabby a source of vitamin D, either — of course, if you’re out in the noonday sun as much as Gilligan, this won’t be a problem. Granted, different species have different nutritional profiles, and those at the top of the food chain are a double-edged swordfish — bringing ample DHA but also higher levels of mercury and other bio-accumulated toxins … but, generally speaking, few nutrition “experts” these days would throw the fish out with the fishbowl water.
Now for coconut. A little more rebellious. You might even be tempted to say, a little on the “craze-ish” side. Coconut of course was long reviled for its high saturated fat content, but in recent years a veritable Pandora’s box of scientific evidence has been unleashed, vaunting coconut oil, in particular, to bona fide “superfood” status. For example, according to Jonny Bowden, PhD, author of the phenomenal book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, “Coconut — and its oil — is one of the most healthy, amazing things you can ingest.”
Indeed, it been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the medium-chain (saturated) fatty acids offered by coconut are very friendly to the human metabolism and are a preferred energy source. Meaning they are less likely than some other saturated fats, and even some unsaturated fats, to be stuffed inside adipose (fat) cells and increase your adiposity (fat-assed-ness) as a result. They also tend to have a positive effect on your lipid profile — that is, your levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL), “bad cholesterol” (LDL), triglycerides (free circulating fat globs), etc. In fact, studies have been done on some of these remote Pacific islands (Pukapuka and Tokelau, in particular), where the people eat tons of coconuts (and fish), and it turns out their hearts are downright horse-like.
Of course, I failed to mention the most obvious plus for coconut as a subsistence food, which is that it offers hydration as well. Not only coconut water — which is admittedly over-hyped as a nutritious beverage — but coconut milk, both of which contain a smattering of minerals. I don’t think I would make either a huge component of the Gilligan Diet, just for the sake of practicality (and cost), but it’s still another legitimate bragging right for the coconut.
But wait! There’s more! It has also been demonstrated in multiple studies that one major component of coconut oil, lauric acid, is one of the most potent natural germ-killers around. In the body, lauric acid is readily converted to monolaurin — which, unlike penicillin or zinc lozenges, can effectively destroy bacteria and viruses. For a nice rundown of the science on coconut/monolaurin, check out this article.
Coconut just might be the ultimate survival food. In fact, now that I think about it, if I were stranded on a desert island with just one food, I just might choose coconut. How convenient!
As a final note on coconut, if you’re not crazy about the idea of eating spoonfuls of coconut oil (delicious, I must say) or piles of fluffy shredded coconut (also delish), consider that coconut sugar and even coconut flour are now available on the market. Needless to say, one will cost you an arm, the other a leg, but would you believe that coconut flour has about 50% more protein than whole wheat flour? Gadzoinks! Again, it’s not the coconut’s fault this stuff goes at such a premium … and who knows, maybe if demand increased, supply would increase even more and the price would come down … hmm, that sounds a little too voodoo economics …
So anyway, coconut and fish. Fish and coconut. The anchor of the Gilligan Diet. But, as elegant as it might be — from a marketing perspective — let me be the first to say I would have grave reservations about anyone eating these two foods alone. For one thing, vitamin C might very well become an issue, and you don’t want to hear my full lecture (2,309 powerpoint slides, approximately 13 hours long) on the perils of scurvy, which is a cakewalk in a candy store compared to the ravages of scurvy itself. THE HORROR! THE HORROR!
Seriously though, variety is always the name of the game in nutrition, therefore you might very well run into deficiencies in other key vitamins or minerals, as well. Thus, the other fruits and vegetables as mentioned before. Tropical, or not. Just absolutely, positively no cabbage soup, no tapeworms (martinis I’ll allow) and for the love of God, no Twinkies!