Friday, June 30, 2006

Shangri-la Diet -- Best Practices

I've been reading and talking with Seth Roberts, and the following is my simplified list of best practices. Most of these ideas are not mine, but come from the experiences of other people.
  1. Start with extra light olive oil (because it reduces cholesterol. "Extra Light" not "Extra Virgin"). Buy it at SAMS or COSTCO -- ten dollars worth will last you half a year or so.
  2. Pour four tablespoons of oil into a glass with about 2 inches of water. Put it on your counter in the bath room.
  3. Drink some water before you go to bed. When you wake up in the middle of the night, swirl the oil and water together and drink them (the oil and water mix makes it go down a lot easier -- just like water alone). Go back to sleep. Don't brush your teeth (oil is harmless) or have any food at this time.
  1. Expect to lose 2-3 pounds a month.
  2. Expect plateaus, they are normal, and eventually you will spend a lot of time where the general trend is for your weight to go down, but about half of the time it will stay the same.
  3. Keep track -- while you may want to weigh yourself every day, do an "official" weigh-in that you write down once a week (Sunday mornings are good) to keep track. Slow weight loss is easy to lose track of over time.
  4. If it works (you will know after 2-3 weeks if it is working or not), just keep doing it until you get close to your ideal weight, then start using less oil until you quit losing weight.
  5. Look for Updates (e.g. here and here)
  6. Finally, see Starting (or starting over) the SLD method.
There is a lot more. That is why I advise people to buy the book. Shangri-la Diet at

But this is pretty much the collection of best practices, as they stand now. For more:

Caveats? Of course. Don't start without your doctor's approval, make sure you get enough protien and vitamins, if you find yourself just not eating, cut back on the oil -- you want to lose weight but not starve yourself. The same if you start losing weight too fast, cut back.

As you get closer to your ideal weight, cut back so you don't lose too much weight. Be careful, pay attention, read the book, listen to your health care provider. Not everyone is "generic" so generic advice doesn't fit everyone.

For oil and protien powder from (if you don't have it easy to find locally):

I welcome comments, questions, ideas and thoughts in the comments to this post. Always remember, the diet is a work in progress, you don't have to agree with me and the best guesses may well change. Tailor the diet to fit your own body and your own needs. For my current thoughts on tailoring the diet to myself: http://ethesis. . .update.html.

Also, I have a post that collects links to all of my Shangri-la diet posts. See also: blogger key word collection for Shangri-law Diet Posts.


Anonymous said...


I know we're all trying to save money but I've got to disagree with the advice about buying those large containers of eloo at costco or other warehouse clubs. Depending upon the source I've read that the shelf life for oo is anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

My personal experience is that after a month or two of being opened the eloo seems to get an extemely slight but still noticable taste of rancidity. This seems to be my experience no matter whether I store the oil in a cool dry place or in the refrig.

Considering how much money I'm saving on food I'd rather spend the $$ on the smaller bottles, buying more as needed, and of course checking the "best if used by" date that is printed on the label in order to get the newest bottle on the shelf.


Anonymous said...

I've not had the oil go rancid, and I've bought from both Costco and SAMS.

But, if you have that issue where you are, I'd buy smaller bottles, keep them in the cooler (not just in a dark cupboard) and take other precautions.

You are right, the cost is so small, considering the mileage you get out of even a small bottle.

Not to mention, you can buy grapeseed oil, or walnut oil, or other oils that are just as light or lighter.

Olive oil should always be stored in a cool, dark place. I've never had it go rancid, but when it does, it is as bad as rancid butter.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen,
First, let me express my sincere sorrow for your losses over the past years. I can't even begin to imagine such a thing. YOu are a true inspiration to others and I know it's know coincidence that I stumbled across your site.

I am posting on
Seth's blog, and yes, I have the book. I read through it quickly and plan to reread it again this weekend with a highlighter. While I know the combination of ELOO and SW are recommended, it seems like you, Seth, and some others had a more rapid weightloss in the beginning with just the SW. I'm two pounds down, but like many, "my head" is anxious to make the first ten pound mark. I have a special even to attend August 1 and would like to be there by then. I read your post about not wanting to experiment too much with variations, so I'm curious what worked the fastest for you in the beginning.

Many thanks and God bless you for the time you spend helping others on your site.

Docs Daughter

Anonymous said...

Could you clarify a few things?

-Do you purposefully wake up in the middle of the night to drink the oil/water mix? Ie., do you set an alarm clock?

-If you take the oil during the night, do you also do doses during the day, or does this replace the daytime doses?


Anonymous said...

Docs Daughter

Well, I started with sugar diluted in water -- two liters of water every day. I don't know if I could have just eaten sugar cubes or not -- would have been a lot more fun.

I don't know if it was faster -- early on in the diet I had a lot of fat -- and each pound of fat consumes a certain number of calories just to stay around. As I lost weight, the net number of calories I need to just stay even drops. So at the same food intake, the negative flow slows down.

One thing that does make weight loss faster is to eat one meal a day. Long stretches without flavor help move your set point down. If your schedule works that way you might try that.


-Do you purposefully wake up in the middle of the night to drink the oil/water mix? Ie., do you set an alarm clock?

-If you take the oil during the night, do you also do doses during the day, or does this replace the daytime doses?

I take a glass, pour in some water, pour in two-three tablespoons of oil on top of the water and put the glass on the bathroom sink countertop.

I drink some water (no sugar, just plain water) and go to sleep. Sure enough, I wake up in the middle of the night. I guess that is an alarm clock of sorts, but it is a lot more natural, and it makes sure I am always hydrated and not losing "water weight."

While I'm up, I wander over and drink the oil and water.

I don't drink oil during the day while I'm doing this, the night time oil replaces the daytime oil.

I do have oil at the office (in a cupboard, I used to take it at 10:00 every morning), but right now, only other people in the office are drinking it (they are doing oil/sugar/water mixes).

Hope that helps. I'll be on vacation and not logged in until after the 4th of July. While we will have house guests, they won't have my computer. ;)

Anyway, I'll try to check in from time to time.

Stephen said...

For links on protien powder, etc.:

Anonymous said...

I have only been doing this "diet" for a few days, and have already lost 2 pounds. I am confused however...the oil is very difficult for me to swallow. Can you mix the oil with sugar water to make it more tolerable, or is it best to separate the two? I read the suggestion of mixing water with oil, and will try that as well to see if it makes it easier. I just find myself gagging every time I take the oil, but will make the sacrifice as this "diet" for some reason or another really seems to work.

Anonymous said...

I think that the main part in your diet should be eating only
healthy calorie! That's the main!

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Martin said...

What makes you think everyone wakes up in the middle of the night? Also, four tablespoons sounds like too much.

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Stephen said...


If you don't have a hundred or more pounds to lose, then instead of starting with one tablespoon and working up to four, one tablespoon is enough (at least for many people).

You are right, not everyone can drink a large drink, go to sleep, and find themselves awake in the middle of the night.

Not everything works for everyone.