Diet experiments are fun. And if not fun, at least they could be called interesting. RRARF is definitely going to be interesting.
What is RRARF?
Contrary to how it may sound, RRARF has nothing to do with dog chow or bulimia. RRARF actually stands for: Rehabilitative Rest & Aggressive Re-Feeding. This therapeutic diet was engineered by Matt Stone, who describes the diet in his free e-book:
"Most people crave refined sugars, sweets, junk food, rapidly-absorbed white flour products, caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs because they are tragically undernourished and their adrenal glands have been overtaxed by everything from dieting to working too much to experiencing some major emotional trauma. RRARF attempts to combat all of this in one fell swoop (the saying ‘fell swoop’ makes no sense, but hopefully you know what it means)."
I've been following Matt's research into restoring metabolic health for some time, and while I've supported many of his general recommendations, I've never actually done the full RRARF program. From my own research into the work of Diana Schwarzbein, Julia Ross, Jon Gabriel, Linda Bacon and others, I know that metabolic recovery is an essential part of the healing process. But I told myself I didn't need to do RRARF all the way because I've been working on healing my metabolism for about two years now with great success.
But... I've had some personal breakthroughs lately that gave me some insight into a few areas that I really need to work on. For one thing, I want to kiss diets and counting calories (or anything else) good-bye forever. I'd rather work with my body to the point where I can rely on my own internal signals for eating. I genuinely feel that if I can get my body to regulate my appetite, then that will pave the way for natural regulation of other things like hormones and body fat levels.
And after listening to Matt's audio seminar sessions on lowering the weight set point and on addictive eating, I realized that I need to give sugar the boot, too. Not only because this seems to be the in vogue thing to do (have you read about Coconut Mama's 21 day sugar detox?), but because I'm thinking this may be the main culprit interfering with my body's natural regulation systems. (I'll go into much more detail on giving up sugar--and even all things sweet--in an upcoming post.)
Make no mistake: RRARF is not a weight loss diet. As I said, I'm kissing those good-bye. Matt explains the point of RRARF like this:
"To be clear, RRARF – Rehabilitative Rest & Aggressive Re-Feeding, is a plan designed to achieve one primary goal above all others – raise that mitochondrial activity. It does this through a combination of lowering cortisol levels, restoring the health of the adrenal glands, raising the hormone leptin, increasing leptin sensitivity, topping off nutritional reserves, and flooding the body with a surplus of energy – long known to raise body temperature, increase metabolic rate, increase lipolysis (using fat as fuel), etc."
How to RRARF
Here's a brief summary of how Matt suggests doing RRARF:
1. Take a month off from exercise.
2. Eat as much food as you can within 30 minutes of waking.
3. As soon as you feel inclined to eat--eat again!
4. Get extra sleep.
5. Stay well-hydrated.
6. Minimize mental and emotional strain, within reason.
And although prejudiced individuals may have you believing Matt's plan involves binging on Krispy Cremes and Gatorade, this is not at all the case. In fact, Matt lays out some pretty strong guidelines for what the ideal foods for RRARF should be (although he stresses not to get neurotic about food):
1. Rich in saturated fat, particularly short and medium chain saturated fatty acids (like butter and coconut oil).
2. Rich in unrefined starch.
3. High in calories.
4. Low in fructose.
5. Low in polyunsaturated fat.
6. Devoid of refined carbs, junk food, processed food, fast food, etc.
7. Devoid of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs as much as possible.
8. High in protein (but not too high).
9. High in vegetables.
These are the basics of RRARF, but I will be delving into much more detail about the meaning behind these recommendations over the next 30 days. I'll also dish about how I'm doing following the different parts of the plan. Some of these points are surprisingly easy for me to follow... others are going to be far more challenging!
If you want to find out more about RRARF, check out Matt's free e-book here. For more about the perils of dieting and how to restore metabolic health, check out this revealing video presentation by Matt.
Any questions? Ask away below in the comments!
Other RRARF Posts:
Day 1 on RRARF: What is RRARF?
Day 2 on RRARF: Why I'm Doing It
Day 3 on RRARF: Rest and Relaxation
Day 7 on RRARF: Benefits Already!
Day 8 on RRARF: Eat the Food!
Day 9 on RRARF: Adieu, Le Sucre!
Day 21 on RRARF: Deprivation is Dieting
Day 23 on RRARF: Life Without the Scale
RRARF vs. The Milk Diet
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's blog.