Harvie de Baron’s job as a financial analyst caused so much stress that he depended on steroid-based treatments that made him gain weight. He developed a program that allows a client to eat more healthy food and still lose unwanted pounds. PHOTOS BY ALEXIS CORPUZ
Other diets promise to make one lose weight by restricting carbohydrate intake, making one load up on protein or eat like a caveman.
A local sports nutritionist has created a program that would allow one to eat spaghetti Bolognese, fried chicken, bistek Tagalog, and silog classics like tocino, tapa and longganisa and not only lose weight, but even stay healthy.
Harvie de Baron was a financial planner whose steroid-based treatments for stress, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle caused his dramatic weight gain.
Fearing what the future held, Harvie did his own research on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through steroid-free, natural methods with an emphasis on food as medicine.
Sixty pounds lost and a triathlon later, Harvie tried his hand at a degree in Sports Nutrition, got a diploma with high distinction from Oxford College and created what fans now refer to as the Baron Method that follows a highly personalized menu based on healthy ingredients that can be prepared at home—no food delivery required.
Harvie actually frowns upon diet systems that rely on food deliveries in which the company, not the client, makes the food choices.
He believes that clients could be more empowered if they make smart food choices based on an awareness of healthy ingredients. This way, they themselves can cook the entrées, appetizers and desserts.
Harvie explained that the Baron Method does “reverse engineering” on food “by tweaking ingredients and finding alternatives to unhealthy ones. This way, clients can eat whatever they want without having to worry or feel guilty.”
For example, Harvie and wife Eizza take pains to make their own cassava flour instead of using the commercial variety more readily available in the market.
Cassava is a complex carbohydrate that takes longer to digest. It is considered healthier than most commercially available carbohydrate sources.
The couple also test-drive organic ingredients found in the market. Their recommendations are found on their website.
Harvie said formulations for menus are based on each person’s unique metabolism. There are no shortcuts.
He added that the Baron Method also allows clients to create their own meals “so they can control and monitor what they eat.”
Clients are given a recipe book with over 100 dishes they can try at home.
“All recipes use unprocessed alternatives as ingredients and have specific preparation instructions. The Baron Method recommends olive oil or culinary coconut oil that really smells of coconut when the container is opened,” Harvie noted.
“For sweeteners, clients are encouraged to use only unprocessed sugars like muscovado, coco sugar and unfiltered honey,” he added.
Harvie warned that clients would most likely be disturbed by the pantry overhaul.
“So we help by educating them on why certain things aren’t good for them and by teaching them how to read labels so they’ll know what to avoid,” he said.
Processed food is a no-no, as anything with preservatives does not contribute to the body’s wellbeing. The same goes for transfats that could lead to health problems.
“Food was and never will be the enemy. When you know and when you can control what goes into your food, you can eat whatever you want while attaining your health and fitness goals,” Harvie stressed.
Typical diets that restrict the intake of specific food groups leave a practitioner feeling deprived and unhappy. Harvie said this causes the body to “receive less of its needed vitamins and minerals, and leads to feelings of depression… These diets can cut inches from your waistline, but they also strip you of nutrients as well.”
Healthy meals from scratch
The mantra “Eat more, live great!” via the Baron Method was demonstrated one quiet morning when Eizza cooked healthy meals from scratch in front of journalists.
“Oatscaldo,” a play on arroz caldo, used organic rolled oats instead of milled white rice and still tasted great.
Baron Method fried chicken used gluten-free homemade cassava flour and was shallow-, not deep-, fried. It was neither salty nor oily.
The Baron Method short ribs looked sinful but wasn’t. A client who indulged in it trimmed down from a size 3XL to an L.
Harvie presented good friend and client Matec Villanueva, chair and chief executive officer of Publicis Manila, as his model client.
The 50-something mother of three used to weigh 116 pounds, a feat achieved through a steady diet of saba and kamote. However, Harvie noted that Matec was on the verge of looking older than her actual age because her intake did not supply all the nutrients her body required.
“Patatabain muna kita,” Harvie told Matec, whose son already lost weight and was on his way to becoming a star swimmer of his college’s varsity team after adherence to the Baron Method that time.
Once Matec started packing on the pounds, Harvie put her on an exercise regimen that required her to do push-ups and chin-ups. Her body blossomed even as she gained 14 pounds.
“At 116 pounds, I had no boobs or butt. Under the Baron Method, nagka-boobs ako. I have a four-packand a 28-inch waistline,” she said as she showed off her size 4 figure clothed in a baby tee. Matec also has the metabolic rate of a 20-year-old.
The process was not easy, she admitted. But Matec would rather sweat through it again than agonize over her sugar and uric acid tests.
“Getting thin is just a nice consequence of getting fit and healthy. Besides, the cost of maintenance medicines could go to a pair of branded jeans,” she added.