The Shell Diet (Remember 4 Things: Fiber, Fresh, Kosher, Active)

It’s as easy/difficult as converting your religion.

This is the time of year when I hear people talking the most about getting back into shape and losing weight, as one of their New Year’s Resolutions.  I personally don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions for my own weird reasons, but coincidentally it was a year ago this week when I officially began a new diet that I accidently discovered/invented in an attempt to get rid of my eczema.  By Spring 2009, people started asking me if I had lost weight and I would reply, “Not that I know of”.  By summer, I got on the scale and realized I weighed (my still current weight of) 153.  This was a major surprise to me because since getting married, I had weighed around 178.  Without trying whatsoever to lose any weight, I had accidently lost 25 pounds.  And more importantly to me, I finally got rid of my eczema, acne breakouts, and regularly occurring headaches.

Over the last several months, friends and coworkers have observed and referenced my strange dietary habits with comments like this, “I wish I could be cool and do the [Nick] Shell Diet”.  Well, thanks to this post, now that will be a possibility for anyone.  Of course, “diet” is a tricky word.  When we hear it, we often associate it with losing weight, or associate it with a temporary change in our eating habits.  But if losing weight is the purpose of the diet, I say the diet is destined for failure.

According to the recently aired special on ABC, Celebrity Weight Loss- What Really Happens, 50 million people every year go on a diet but only 5% of them keep the weight off once they lose it.  Something else I learned from watching was that the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.  So not only do the majority of people going on diets each year not lose enough weight or keep off the weight they do lose, but they waste money doing so.  With the Shell Diet, there’s no profit to be made.  I can’t make money off of sharing my experiences on becoming a healthier person.  There is no product to endorse here.  Can you afford to eat fresh vegetables and fruits every day? If so, good.  But I’m not making any money off of this thing.

Therefore, I interpret the word diet as “healthy lifestyle strategy”, and that’s precisely what the Shell Diet is all about.  Because if you truly begin living a consistently healthy lifestyle, losing weight is an unavoidable side effect.  The problem with most with other diet programs is that they focus on counting calories.  But it’s not about the quantity (number) of calories; it’s about the quality (fiber and whole grains) of calories.  I know a guy who every three years, goes on the Atkins Diet to lose his potbelly (45 pounds), then once he does lose the weight after a few weeks, goes back to what ever he wants for the next three years.  His focus is not on being healthy- since actual nutrition (fruits and vegetables) is seen as a bad thing (because they count them as bad carbs) in that diet.  Not cool, Zeus.

One of the major discouraging things about other “diets” is that at the end of the day, if you’re hungry but have reached your calorie count for the day, you’re just out of luck. With the Shell Diet, it is a sin to let yourself go hungry, ever. With the Shell Diet, you are encouraged to eat (but never overeat) as you’re hungry, granted that you’re eating high fiber snacks and meals.  If you really are hungry, and not just bored, you will eat an orange or a banana, or a whole grain cereal that does not have a charming cartoon character on the box.  Sorry, Count Chocula.

There are four main keys that the Shell Diet is based on:

Fiber, Fresh, Kosher, Active.

Now it’s time to break those down.  This is like a table of contents.  Individually click on each mini-post below, then after reading it, click back to this page.

FIBER: “Build your meals” on fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains, not meat or carbohydrates.

FRESH: Cut out all processed foods.

KOSHER Eat like the Old Testament Jews did.

ACTIVE: Find a practical way to be physically active every day.

That’s it.  Everything I have described in the Shell Diet, I literally live by on a daily basis.  I admit, The Shell Diet isn’t truly introducing any new ideas.  Subconsciously, we already know this stuff.  But the Shell Diet breaks it all down into cut-and-dry rules to make it more practical and easier for people to keep themselves accountable.  Sure, if I’m at someone’s house and they made chocolate cake for dessert, I will eat a decently sized slice with no hesitation.  I just won’t pay for it with my own money.  By only eating sweets when they are free (like some Halloween candy), it keeps eating sweets down to irregular occasions.  But I refuse to break my Kosher lifestyle.  Even if it means hurting people’s feelings.  (You’d be amazed how offensive in can be here in the South to turn down BBQ pork, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, shrimp, etc.)

How has the Shell Diet changed my life personally?  Well, since officially converting to the Shell Diet about a year ago, as I mentioned in the beginning, I no longer suffer from eczema, shortness of breath, regular occurring headaches, or acne breakouts.  Not to mention, clothes fit more comfortably now; maybe too comfortably.  But most importantly, I have the assurance of knowing that I am much healthier at age 29 then I was at 27.

If you are brave enough to go “Jesus style” and do the Shell Diet, please grant yourself grace.  It literally took me a year to discover the Shell Diet then another year to begin living by it without cheating.  For me, it ended up being an accidental New Year’s Resolution that actually worked.  Yes, living by the Shell Diet will make you a little bit weird.  People will question you and give you a hard time occasionally.  They even may think you converted to Judaism.

Just ask yourself, "W.W.N.S.E.?" (What would Nick Shell eat?)

By living the Shell way, you’re living like people have lived for thousands of years, back before Coca-Cola and KFC were household names, and before cancer and Diabetes were common.  Sometimes it’s just better to be old school- even as old school as Moses, the Jewish guy who sort of started this whole “healthy lifestyle” thing thousands of years ago when he wrote what we now often think of as that outdated book in the Bible called Leviticus.

I guess no diet strategy is complete without before and after pictures, so here you go:

Before the Shell Diet, around 178 pounds.

And now, after the Shell Diet, around 153 pounds.

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