Guest blogger Ryan Larkin: The Dal Bhat Diet

May 31, 2010
Author: Ryan Larkin

The last two weeks have been some of the hardest and best of my life.  I have been volunteering in Nepal with my friend Erin’s organization, Edge of Seven ©.  We arrived in the capital city, Kathmandu and had a 2 day orientation to learn some basic Nepali custom’s, phrases and see some of the sites of this bustling city.  On day 3 we started our commute to the mountains.  We would be embarking on a 2 week excursion to a small village known as Jarang, to help build a much needed school for the children of the village.  The trip from Kathmandu included a 5.5 hour drive on a paved road up and down the sides of mountains until we arrived in the small city of Gorkha.  We ate lunch there and started our 3 hour trek on a dirt/mud road to the village.  We were driving in a Land Rover up the side of a mountain with no pavement.  It felt like we were in a car with square wheels, not to mention the cliffs on our right hand side the entire way.  We got out about 3 miles from the village but the roads were so bad that we walked the last 2 hours of the journey.  12 hours later we arrived and were greeted in an amazing ceremony by all of the villagers.  There was flower necklaces, Tikka , singing and dancing.  It was truly breathtaking.

The Nepali people who live out in the “country” live by the most basic means you can imagine.  The only thing I can compare it to is how the pilgrims lived in America when they first settled in Plymouth.   The houses are made of stone and mud they have tin roofs with a porch.  There is no furniture except hard wooden beds on the 2nd level.  There are no screens or windows and the door get’s shut at night to keep tigers out.  Each house has a buffalo, goats, chickens and pigeons.  Some have cats, dogs and roosters.  Each family owns a piece of land on the mountain where they plant rice and corn.  The average day in the life of a villager consists of walking up at dawn (4 AM) feeding the animals with grasses and tree leaves they cut down the day before.  An hour or so later they go to their crops and farm for the whole day.  Everything they farm they eat or trade with other villagers.  Occasionally they will give some of the corn or rice they harvest to a villager who is going into town to sell.  They head to bed around 8:30 PM and repeat the next day.   A few of them also grow potatoes.  They don’t have electricity, they don’t pay taxes and rarely are they in contact with anyone from outside of the village and few surrounding villages.  There is no such thing as retirement either.  They work until they die and they love every minute of it.  They work to live and don’t waste anything they harvest.   On a special occasion, they will have the opportunity to eat meat, but it’s rare and expensive unless they kill one of their own chickens.  They use the buffalo and goats for milk.  Since they live off of what they can grow or produce from their animals their daily meal selection is somewhat limited.  Breakfast consists of tea in the morning, Dahl Baht for lunch and Dahl Bath for dinner.  Dahl Baht is Lentil Soup (Dahl) and Rice (Baht). Most of the time there is a potato curry in it that is so hot I came close to passing out each time I ate it.  During and after each meal I would be sweating under my eyes and on my forehead, my nose would be running, my face was red and my eyes were tearing up.  Just for the record, I never actually cried from Dahl Baht.  Nepali Spiders are a different story all together though.  I may have cried, peed my pants and passed out from them.   After working hard hiking up and down a mountain then eating DB you can imagine these people are in incredible shape.  Each day we worked long hours, digging the foundation for this school in an impenetrable rock soil at the top of the mountain.  You can imagine the physical impact it made on us as well.

At the actual project site one late afternoon it came to me on a whim.  If I marketed this back home I would make my first million.  Step aside Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and all other  low carb diets because here comes the DAHL BAHT DIET©.  Not only am I the Dahl Baht Diet© founder, but I’m also a client.  I started the trip off at 170 LBs and ended it pushing 100.

Dahl Baht Diet©

Schedule:

7 AM Breakfast:  Tea with Sugar

10:30 AM Lunch:  Dahl Baht with Water

8:30 PM Dinner:  Dahl Baht with Water and one Malaria Pill

Duration:

Stage 1: 2 weeks

Stage 2: 4 weeks

Stage 3: 2 months

Rules:

No snacks or supplemental food are allowed and you can drink as much water as you want during the day.  The water can be with or without iodine tablets to purify.  You will be allowed to add powdered Tang (only orange or purple) to your water twice a week.   You must eat with your right hand for every meal and you can NOT ever eat with your left hand.  You will get a bucket shower every 2 days outside with soap but no Shampoo.

Penalties:

If you cheat here are the mandatory punishments which will all be done at high altitudes and in 90 degree weather.

1st time: Dig 6’6’6’ whole in ground then fill with water

2nd time: Haul two 30 liter jugs on your back attached by rope to your fore head up the side of a mountain.

3rd time:  Knock down an old school built from stones and mud with a pick axe and shovel.

4th time: Haul rocks from knocked down school  50 feet away to the hole you dug for 4 hours with no breaks and no shoes.

5th time: Walk 2 hours to and from work each day and make triangles out of an iron bar.

6th time: Harvest Corn and Rice for 8 hours

7th time: No water for a day and 100 lb cement bags up hill.

8th time: You are kicked out of the program with no refund.

Guarantees: *

Stage 1: Lose 10 lbs (only poop twice a week)

Stage 2: Lose 20 lbs (only poop twice a week)

Stage 3: Lose 30 lbs (only poop once a week)

Stage 4: You are officially as skinny as a Nepali.  Your body is so efficient in using its food you may never have to poop again.  Congratulations!!!

*Please note if diarrhea occurs you can double the weight loss in each stage, but you can throw the poop guarantees out the window.

Side effects: Canker sores, sun burn, heat exhaustion, nausea, mosquito bites, loss of life from Tiger, sprained ankles, cuts, broken fingers, canker sores, bee stings, back aches, food hallucinations, diarrhea, lack of poop, lots of peeing on long drives, canker sores, temptation to cheat, vivid dreams, arachnaphobia, chills, rabies, malaria, tetanus, death by millipede bite and canker sores.

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4 thoughts on “Guest blogger Ryan Larkin: The Dal Bhat Diet

  1. Ryan – Great guest appearance on the Edge of Seven blog – nicely done! Very informative and funny. I wish I was there to try your DAHL BAHT DIET© out. The side effects sound terrific.

    Good luck the rest of your trip!

  2. Ramas,
    I was crying from laughing so hard after reading your guest blog. Keep in touch.

  3. So I say … take those tigers, skin them … and use their fur to keep hundreds warm.

  4. I definitely lost some weight with dal bhat, though I think I’ve gained it all back now thanks to the comforts of western living. The whole time I was in nepal I never was able to eat a whole portion of it like the locals, my meals would typically be around 1/2 of what they ate. I nearly ate a whole portion once and almost threw up.

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