The chocolate chip cookie was a chewy, whole wheat, six-inch affair. Its generous size offered moisture, mild natural sweetness and the unmatched flavor of melted chocolate chips that overpowered the apple sauce.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, you can eat this without a problem. This will give you energy,” said financial planner-turned-sports nutritionist Harvie de Baron.
In the past five years, the Baron Method weight-management program has been quietly treating clients who want to look better, cure attention deficit disorder or diabetes and boost their sports performance.
Unlike other diets which restrict food portions to reduce fat, the Baron Method encourages clients to eat more judiciously prepared meals.
“What makes this method different is that I’m not going to starve you. Instead, I will give you a great variety of recipes, and the ingredients are locally available,” he said.
Looking younger than 41 years old, De Baron suffered from ulcerative colitis, a disease of the colon characterized by inflamed bowel movement. He gained more weight from the steroid treatments. Searching for alternative cures and wanting to make a dramatic change in lifestyle, he studied sports nutrition at Oxford College. He lost 60 lbs and has since joined triathlons.
De Baron often meets people who claim that they eat 1,000 calories a day and exercise at the gym. Still, they aren’t getting any results. He explained that they are eating too little.
Most calorie-restricted diets supply energy that merely covers the body’s basic function of assimilating nutrients and maintaining the systems for survival. The disadvantage of cutting back on food is that the body tends to compensate by eating more, and will go back to its former unhealthy habits.
“You are just eating for your basal metabolic rate, your energy expenditure in relation to your weight. If you eat bad calories, you won’t feel good. On the other hand, you’ve got to eat more so there’s energy for maintaining body function, burning fat, healing and building muscle. As you build muscle, your metabolism increases, so it’s easier to lose weight,” explained De Baron.
The Baron Method eliminates processed and refined food such as white flour, white sugar, white rice and convenience food. Ideally, everything has to be made from scratch.
On his greatest learning from Oxford School, De Baron said: “On a daily basis, you don’t have to live your life on a diet just to keep in good shape. The essential foods you need are consumed for your purpose in life. You need to eat to perform your tasks. A program should make one become a great boxer, and not just look like one.”
Each program is individualized. “Just as there are no two people who are alike, no two diets are the same. Although you and I may have the same physical goal, our life purpose or pathway is different,” he explained.
For P60,000, the six-month program includes close consultation with De Baron and a program manual of easy recipes. “I take your measurements such as the body composition (muscle and fat ratio); study your eating habits and how much is too much or too little for you; get doctor’s reports and lab tests. The more information I have, the more accurate the program.”
Clients, who lost weight dramatically under the Baron Method, ate two eggs a day and lots of fruits in between meals.
Enjoy the food
“You have to eat in the zone where the body burns fat more efficiently. It’s not about lowering the calories but increasing the good calories,” he said.
“The weight will come off once the body realizes that you are trying to eat well.”
At the press conference of the Baron Method at Somoma, a Japanese fusion restaurant at Capitol Commons, De Baron maintained that we could order pasta and a cookie and eat them, too. The appetizer was a medley of arugula and romaine lettuce, topped with walnuts caramelized with muscovado sugar, fresh parmesan cheese and sundried tomatoes and drizzled with a light, tarty dressing.
The main course was Somoma’s specialty, steak flank with miso. Although beef or steak is considered fatty food, it’s the lean offering that is nutritious and packed with protein, said De Baron.
The pasta was creamless carbonara, made luscious with organic eggs and bacon. Pasta is known for satiating cravings and is recommended for people with blood sugar issues. The egg is considered a superfood because of its dense nutritional content. (Eggs play a vital role in the Baron Method, unless the client is a vegetarian.) The meal ended with chocolate chip cookies which used homemade organic apple sauce as a binder.
“I want people to enjoy their food,” said De Baron. “At home, we eat longganisa, fajita, siomai and yakudon, using the freshest ingredients.”
The family enjoys tocino for breakfast like most Filipinos. However, De Baron chucks the traditional greasy pork fat for skinless chicken breast, sweetened with muscovado sugar and colored with fresh annato seeds. There is no MSG or processed seasoning.
Their sinigang recipe uses fresh tamarind instead of powdered mix.
De Baron gets all kinds of clients, from children with ADHD, to obese professionals with diabetes and hypertension, to swimmers who can’t get rid of their muffin tops.
There’s even Olympic long jumper Marestella Torres. At 5’5”, the 31-year-old elite athlete needs to lose at least two kilos from her 52-kg or 115-lb frame.
“Her body fat is already low, but she needs to maintain a certain weight,” said De Baron. “She took out the carbs and ate more veggies. She’s not allowed to have cheat days.”
His wife, Eizza Lim, is a perfect example of the Baron Method. When she was Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International in 2004, the 5’6” stunner was sickly at 94 lbs due to a diet of junk food. “I would be in the hospital four times a year for severe migraine,” she recalled.
After giving birth two years ago, she bloated to 145 lbs. Her husband put her on a wholesome diet of one cup of brown or red rice, egg, viand and vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and lots of fresh fruits and corn for snacks.
Although the doctor didn’t let her exercise for two months, she lost weight dramatically. Eizza doesn’t like working out on the gym. Still, she’s got a knockout 34-24-35 figure. “After five years of being married to Harvie, I don’t like to eat candy anymore,” she said.
Visit www.baronmethod.com or call tel. 0917-8522854.