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WHY CALL IT "THE SHERLOCK HOLMES DIET"?

Sherlock Holmes cartoon
from Dining with Sherlock Holmes by Rosenblatt and Sonnenschmidt

This diet is called The Sherlock Holmes Diet because Sherlock was famous for paying attention to what was right under his nose. As Holmes said to Watson in "A Case of Identity," "Upon my word, Watson, you are coming along wonderfully. You have really done very well indeed. It is true that you have missed everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method. Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details."

"I say, Watson, what have we here?"

"My goodness, Holmes. I do believe that it is a shepherd's pie."

"Looks good, Watson. Shall we try it?"

"Well! Yes, indeed! Here, Holmes, we will share."

We can assume that Holmes and Watson enjoyed their shepherd's pie. They set to with gusto, savoring each bite and remarking on the superb potatoes and the great gravy. "Oh, my, Watson. What crust! Delicious." "Yes, Holmes, and the beef is perfectly done."

People who enjoy their food are the perfect Sherlock Holmes dieters. They like company, they are willing to make remarks, but, by and large, they would rather eat than talk. They are sitting down at the table for the purpose of eating, not talking. What a fine salad! Such cold watermelon! The rolls and butter are delicious!

Eaters who pay attention to what people are saying more than to what is right under their noses would not make good detectives. Neither do they make good eaters. They eat absent-mindedly. They stuff food into their mouths and guzzle a drink while trying to keep up with the conversation. Eating this way, they don't fully enjoy what they are eating and consequently eat too much in order to feel satisfied.

There is a way of living that tries to match what one is doing with the pace of time. Instead of trying to squeeze more and more into a given amount of time, this kind of person recognizes that time has its own pace, and it's up to us to go along with it. There is a song in the Broadway show "One Touch of Venus" called "Forty Minutes for Lunch" in which, when it's time for lunch, the dancers hurry, hurry, hurry, walking briskly to lunch, eating fast, just barely making it to dessert, and hurrying back again to work. They hardly know what they have eaten. The Sherlock Holmes dieter knows that hurrying only leads to heartburn. This dieter matches what he or she is doing with the natural pace of time, allowing time to sit comfortably, to see what is on the plate, to chew well, and to talk little. For the Sherlock Holmes dieter, lunch is time for eating, not for talking.

Have you noticed people in restaurants who take out notebooks or even write on tablecloths? The Sherlock Holmes dieter would say that they are missing one of the great pleasure of life.

Is it possible for a driven person to become a Sherlock Holmes dieter? Yes, but a change in personality is necessary. The egotism that says, "I have to perform, I have to make a mark, I have to be noticed, I have to show that I'm important" - this egotism has to be replaced. In its stead must be, "I am in Nature, not apart from it; everything that I am is provided by Nature; I am a living organism functioning in the present; I choose life, not the having lived; the more significant one's present is, the less significant one's past becomes; I do what is called for by circumstances; my life is my own, not anyone else's; all I can take is what I get." This non-egotistical manner of being, wherein we give credit to Nature instead of to ourselves, is a philosophical orientation that affects the personality. Sherlock Holmes is more than just a good detective. He is also an admirable personality who can be emulated.

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