Your Yoda is in Austin, visit him you must
The only diet type that requires travel. Well, maybe not required, but you can’t go wrong popping into Casa De Luz in Austin to visit with Eduardo Longoria, or simply “Wayo” to his friends, of which he has many.
Wayo is the founder of Casa, a community center built on the unifying principles of food and friendship.
The vision for Casa is nothing short of a mystical experience through food, specifically macrobiotic meals, a system of eating based on Japanese tradition, that emphasizes whole plant based eating, free of gluten and processed food of any kind. To quote Casa’s mission statement:
Religion comes from Latin re ligare, which means to put back together again. Whole plants are served at community tables. The kitchen is open to the dining room. One uniting meal is served to all. These are elements that bring us together with people and nature. Re ligare is the act of bringing unity, then Casa is my religion in the purest sense of the word and my meal is holy communion with mother earth and sharing with the community.
With the exception of the occasional coconut and maple syrup dessert, the folks at Casa serve up a delicious mix of soups, sauces and organic veggies that will knock your sox off. In all seriousness, anyone lucky enough to land in the Wayoan group should take a pilgrimage to Casa De Luz to see how it’s done.
Many of the crowd at Casa is 100% plant based, but not all. While this is a very plant forward template of eating, not all Wayoans need to be 100% Vegan. Having said that, Wayoans are likely to be lactose intolerant and should therefore avoid dairy.
What is the scientific basis for this diet? The benefits of a diet that incorporates more plant foods are well established from some of the most heralded minds in nutrition science, including Valter Longo, T. Colin Campbell, and Walter Willett.
Further, with macronutrient ratios of 15% fat, 70% complex carbohydrates, and 15% proteins, mostly from plant sources, the Wayoan diet is consistent with protocols advocated by Dean Ornish, MD, as a tool for preventing heart disease. The principles of eating outlined in the Wayoan diet are also consistent with the United States Dietary Guidelines in almost all respects.
A review of the scientific literature teaches us that different people respond differently to dietary fat. Some people can eat a higher fat diet and not see massive upticks in heart disease risk and LDL. Some others will see increased risk with higher fat intake. As Wayoans are more likely to see elevated LDL when relying too much on fat for calories, we keep their overall consumption lower.
Most closely related diet: Okinawan
Primary difference with Okinawan: Okinawan and Wayoan dieters are both big time plant eaters. Both should steer clear of dairy. However, Okinawans have a little more wiggle room when it comes to carb clearance and can therefore be more liberal with yams and sweet potatoes.
Biggest challenge: Make no mistake, the Wayoan diet is plant based. Each Casa regular who sits to eat with Wayo believes in the plant based eating template. However, most are not 100% Vegan. The challenge for each Wayoan is to find just how much of a plant based diet is right for them. If you have a few meals at Casa, ask around. People at the table will let you know the balance that works for them and those stories can serve as a starting point for building your eating plan.
Red meat friendly? No, not with any regularity.
Keto friendly: Wayoan dieters don’t have the fat metabolism for keto diets of any stripe.
Carnivore diet friendly? Nope.
Does this diet type handle fermented foods? Yes, fermented foods, as long as they do not include dairy, are on the menu for Wayoans.
What about pancakes and refined grains: The only processed food served anywhere at Casa is the occasional organic, non GMO corn tortilla served on taco night. Wayoans would be well advised to follow this lead when it comes to processed carbohydrates.
Go to breakfast: Bean tacos with tahini and steamed greens.