Several years ago I delighted (and cringed) watching the classic Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me, during which the award-winning filmmaker ate nothing but McDonald’s for an entire month, and received more than a few shocking health diagnoses along the way.
Needless to say Spurlock didn’t do so well at all, and the movie served as a grim warning to fans of salty, GMO-laden fast food: stop making it a staple of your life, or suffer the consequences.
Since the movie was released in May 2004, the fitness and health world have seen the rise of religiously-followed diets far healthier in nature, such as the ketogenic diet, paleo diet, raw vegan diet and many more.
But if what one 23-year-old man’s recent experiment showed is true, now may be a good time to add ‘The Chipotle Diet’ to the list of health fads.
Man Eats Nothing But Chipotle for 186 Days Straight
As noted in an article from USA Today, Andrew Hawryluk, a 23-year-old Los Angeles-based animator, decided to eschew all conventional dietary advice by eating at the fast casual Mexican chain for 186 days straight — and it all started as part of a simple plan for Lent.
Instead of giving up something that he loved, as is the typical Lenten tradition, Hawryluk did the complete opposite, promising his brother in a text message that he would eat Chipotle every day for 40 days straight during the Lenten season.
He chronicled the whole experience on a personal blog titled ‘Chipotlife,’ which includes the tagline ‘I Know It’s Extra’ in reference to the additional money it costs to add guacamole to a Chipotle meal.
“I Don’t Recommend Anyone Else Attempt This Diet…”
While Chipotle has its fair share of detractors because of the high sodium and calorie contents, even spawning the creation of a website called ChubbyChipotle which calls out the Mexican food chain for its alleged “hypocrisy,” Hawyruk’s experiment showed that Chipotle can in fact be a healthy choice, at least in the short term.
Supporters of genetically engineered foods like to point people to the aforementioned site in order to bash the fast casual chain, but anyone who’s eaten there knows it’s a higher quality and healthier brand of food than just about anything you can get for the price, as long as you don’t go overboard with your portions.
According to Hawryluk, his cholesterol actually went down since he began eating at Chipotle every day, his weight has stayed around the same level, and his stomach even became so toned that he said he has “six-pack abs” according to the USA Today article.
His order each day rarely changed — a simple bowl of chicken, white rice, guacamole, lettuce and Tabasco sauce that’s about 650 calories worth of food is all he needed to receive a clean bill of health from his doctor after 80 days.
Despite his success, Hawyrluk added that he only ate Chipotle once a day (in stark contrast to Spurlock who ate every single meal at McDonald’s during the filming of his documentary).
He also exercises daily and does his best to maintain a “normal,” balanced diet outside of eating at the restaurant chain every day according to the article.
“These results are only relevant to me personally, and I don’t necessarily recommend anyone else attempt this diet without first consulting their physician,” he reportedly said.
Others have been trying out the diet recently, however, either as part of an experiment or simply because of their lifestyle and search for fresh, non-GMO food.
The rapper Big Sean is one of them, according to this article from GQ Magazine, and he still seems to be quite fit after several years of eating it.
Another social media personality named Devin Cunningham ate Chipotle every single day for a year (while also carefully measuring portions and working out five to six times a week), and managed to work himself into tip-top shape, as evidenced by the photo below.
He topped out at 425 days in a row and is a self-described “fitness geek.”
Is Chipotle is a Better Choice Than Most Other Restaurants?
Also according to the article, Hawryluk listed the company’s non-GMO policy (although there is one small caveat) as one of its biggest selling points, along with the freshness of the ingredients as his reasons for making it his restaurant of choice for the experiment.
“Chipotle tastes the best and feels the cleanest/freshest to me,” he said to USA Today via email.
Considering the fact that avoiding GMOs in the United States is virtually impossible unless you happen to be going to a rare organic or raw vegan type of restaurant, of which there are only a small handful in each state, it goes without saying that Chipotle can be a healthy choice for people seeking to avoid these lab-created foods.
Still, you may want to exercise caution: Chipotle is high in calories and sodium, and Hawryluk’s escapades certainly followed suit: in total, he spent $1884.42 on 133,960 calories worth of food over the 186-day period: an average of 720 calories per meal in total.
Unless you’re living a highly active lifestyle you may want to save some of that burrito bowl for later, if you eat at Chipotle often, of course.
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P.S. If you’re looking for a sustainable diet plan that doesn’t involve dogmatic, hard-to-follow diets (like paleo or raw vegan, or even the ‘Chipotle Diet’), check out ‘The Thrivers Diet’ from my good friend Derek Henry, who used the simple, concise plan shared in the book to overcome 13 different chronic disease conditions naturally!