A Modern Diet Based On Formulas from a Historic Italian Family
Interview with Gianluca Mech
Editors: Désirée Molyneux & Antonio Moretti Design & Processing: MODE Studio
There has been a great deal of research done over the years about diet and general food consumption and how it affects our health and quality of life. The saying “You are what you eat” is proven true as many maladies in the health of people in modern societies can be directly attributed to the quality of food consumed and how much and how it is consumed. Even with access to all the available information, people are sometimes confused with too much information and sometimes with conflicting information.
One trend that has been gaining ground is the revisiting of older and more natural dietary methods combined with modern technology to achieve the best of both worlds; the new with the old. This is especially the case when considering diets that are designed to help achieve controlled and lasting weight loss. We discovered Tisanoreica, a health food system by an Italian company Balestra Mech, that is steeped in tradition but has evolved to address modern needs by combining the quality of the old with the technology of the new.
After reviewing some feedback from our readers we decided to sample some of their products and were impressed with the quality of each item. They are definitely not designed for people with sweet tooth. It feels as if the ingredients are on the higher quality spectrum and it is refreshing to taste food items that are not loaded with sugar, which often defeats the purpose of dieting. Their system is based on the use of natural herbal extracts to safely speed up metabolism whilst detoxifying which leads to a more healthy weight loss. It is described as essentially a low-carb diet with normal levels of protein.
We sampled the “Mech-Bag” which is basically a 41cm x 20cm x 8cm box with a good selection of snacks and two bottles of herbal extracts all very nicely packaged. Each item had detailed ingredients listed in Italian and sometimes in English and Italian. Although we did not have enough time to test in detail how effective they would be as part of a weight loss program, it was clear that they would be effective because the various snacks were surprisingly very filling even when taken in small quantities. One would imagine that over a period of time this would lead to a net reduction in calorie intake as well as the other health benefits gained from the natural and active ingredients used.
So to find out more about the diet programs and the history behind it we interviewed Gianluca Mech, heir to the Balestra Mech company.
MODE: How did your family first get into the herbal health and diet business? Gianluca: My company has been producing and distributing products obtained through “Decottopia®” since 1911. This is an ancient way, also known as the ten-plant therapy, of processing medicinal plants, and it was handed down over the centuries from father to son, and finally to myself.
Today I am the sole heir of this ancient herbal tradition, and my family was at the centre of the arts and secrets of phytotherapy in Italy since the late 15th century. With the precious heritage of this tradition and the experience of those who were not able to cure diseases with specific active ingredients and who therefore tried to “cure your health” and guarantee the maintenance of the best possible psycho-physical state, Decottopia® was handed down from generation to generation through the Bonardo, Balestra and Mech families. When the advent of chemically-synthesized pharmaceutical products radically down-sized the market for products from the ‘galenic’ tradition, Adelaide Balestra created a new range of products, by transforming her herbal extracts into “amari”, or digestive drinks, the most important one being the historical “Amaro Balestra”. From the experience and competence that I gained in my family, I then developed the specific diet foods which constitute the innovative “Tisanoreica® Diet Global Protocol”, which was developed and tested in collaboration with the Department of Anatomy and Physiology of the University of Padua
MODE: With the wide range of diet options available in the market today, what would you say makes your company’s products stand out? Gianluca: The Tisanoreica® Method is a hypo-glucidic (low levels of carbohydrates), low-calorie diet, with normal protein levels. This is a weight-reduction protocol based on activating a metabolic reaction known as “ketosis”, or “green ketosis” or “phyto-ketosis” in the Tisanoreica® Diet, because – differently from the classic ketogenic diet – it improves and controls the activity of the ketone bodies through the use of medicinal herbs contained in our Decottopia® products. What characterizes the Tisanoreica® Diet and distinguishes it from other diet products, is the fact that it is a dietary supplement and not a substitute: in fact, the Tisanoreica® Diet includes: Decottopirics® + Tisanoreica® Food Products (PATs®) + daily foods. • Thanks to Decottopia®, the Tisanoreica®2 diet is a protocol that purifies the body and removes inflammation, so it is not limited only to weight loss but it is useful for the general well-being of our body. • Tisanoreica® Foods are different because they have a natural heart: the Tisanoreica® Activator, a mix of medicinal herbs with different functions: – it counteracts unsightly cellulite; – it has a digestive function; – it improves the regularity of the intestinal transit; – it has an emollient and soothing action (digestive system, urinary tract); – it improves mood and controls feelings of hunger; – it improves lipid metabolism.
MODE: We know that your system is not described solely as a diet but rather as a way of life. How do you avoid the stigma that sometimes surrounds the diet industry, especially when it comes to whether users can maintain their improved weight and health with any particular system? Gianluca: With Tisanoreica you lose weight and this weight loss is stabilized by the use of foodstuffs from the Tisanoreica Style line and by means of the maintenance of eating habits that were correctly modified during the diet. This tends to happen in Tisanoreica without difficulty because you feel rewarded by the results obtained. After the diet you learn how to eat and how much to eat. Tisanoreica also satisfies even those who prefer not to diet but simply eat low-carb products, a lot of fiber, and products that have a purifying function for the body.
MODE: How do some of your products such as the Mech Chips snack and the T-Biscuit (coffee or vanilla flavor) become so filling when consumed even in small quantities? Gianluca: Our PATs are highly satiating because of the quantity of protein and fiber in them. As well as fostering a sense of satiety, they also promote the growth of healthy flora in our bodies. In the PATs, which contain the Activator, Griffonia is present, which is titrated in 5-HTP, the precursor of serotonin. This neurotransmitter regulates feelings of hunger and mood, both important factors during a slimming regime or one aimed to stabilize body weight.
MODE: A recurring theme in your products seems to be effort and dedication to not over-sweetening things and this is clearly apparent in your herbal tonics such as Decottopia Depurativo Antartico and Decottopia Diur Mech. They do taste as if they will do you some good. How do you educate your clients to appreciate consuming healthy food and supplements that do not have the excess added sugars and sweeteners they’ve probably become accustomed to? Gianluca: Decottopia has its own special characteristic: the taste of medicinal plants. Their taste is synonymous for people with natural products. When they try them they see that the products work and so they become attached to them, even to the flavor. Sometimes it happens that they try other products, which they say are poor copies of ours, but they always return to the original Decottopia, because these products are completely free of alcohol, preservatives and gluten. The Tisanoreica foods are also low in sugar, but the taste is so good they almost do not notice they are “diet foods.” Our skill is to offer products that produce weight loss but are very good on the palate.
MODE: When it comes to taking care of our health of course price should not be the first item of consideration. However, product pricing is an important element that a majority of shoppers consider when making a buying decision. How would you say your general product pricing relates to other product choices on the market and how would describe your price/quality ratio? Gianluca: Quality for us is in first place, it always comes first. When you are dealing with health, you cannot joke around and you have to demand for yourselves and for others the highest level of performance. Luckily, people are changing their culture and are beginning to understand that compared to a nice pair of shoes or a bag, it is far more important to take care of your body, which accompanies us throughout life. Also many overweight people have major social problems and with our Tisanoreica system, we help them to resolve them. For this reason the price of the Tisanoreica diet is certainly an important factor but it is not something that can make you decide not to follow it.
“Our skill is to offer products that produce weight loss but are very good on the palate“
MODE: Some of your products are designed to be taken as part of a temporary health/weight treatment plan and others, presumably, are designed to be consumed as part of a regular eating plan. How would you advise our readers to combine your products with their regular personal or family eating regimen so as to gain maximum and sustainable lifetime benefits? Gianluca: When consumers approach the Tisanoreica diet, they are supported both by the retailers from whom they buy the products, and by the Tisanoreica Study Center, which through scientific operators, provides free nutritional counseling. The company does not just sell products but it provides those who want to slim with customized protocols, which include their normal daily diet, tables with weekly menus for those who want to keep fit and eat healthy, light food, special menus for vegans and vegetarians and also customized diet plans based on specific problems. Depending on the particular case, all the best food combinations are proposed for a person’s personal specific framework in order to obtain and maintain the results and benefits achieved.
MODE: Our readers are very much into maintaining healthy lifestyles and are always curious and interested in discovering products, food and supplements that can further those goals. Sometimes the wide range of products and ideas that are coming out seemingly every other week can be confusing. What advice would you give our readers as the basic foundations for maintaining great health? Gianluca: Here are a number of good eating habits to follow:
• Only eat when you are hungry: if you are not hungry, it means that your stomach is not ready to digest food well: it is therefore preferable at that time to have a glass of hot water and wait until you have an appetite; • It is advisable to eat vegetables before meals to increase your sense of satiety, calm any nervous hunger and stimulate proper digestion. Your consumption of wholemeal foods should be increased. Do not eat fruit after the meal because it slows down digestion and can cause swelling and not be absorbed properly, it is preferable as an appetizer along with raw vegetables; • If you cannot have a meal for business or travel reasons, it is best to consume food with a low-calorie impact, with plenty of fiber and protein (such as a PAT!); • You are recommended to eat satiating, energy foods (nuts) if you need a snack; • Drink water between meals and before meals to increase your sense of satiety; • Eat slowly and create colorful dishes to increase your visual satisfaction; • Preferably purchase vegetables and fruits that are in season; • If you break your diet, we recommend that at the next meal you do some fasting.
MODE: Decottopia – “the ten-plant method” – is an ancient way of extracting the active ingredients in plants to bring wellness to the body. Could you educate us on how this system is superior to others? Gianluca: Decottopia® is a method of processing and transforming medicinal plants into liquid form following the centuries-old tradition. Decottopirics are products with a clear health value, outside the field of medicinal products in a narrow sense, which are developed for specific therapeutic purposes – and they aim to improve one’s nutritional state, by optimizing the conditions of general well-being in the body. The word derives from the Greek “deka”, and means “the ten-plant therapy.” In fact, while in traditional herbal medicine normally not more than three or four plants are combined so as to avoid possible “incompatibility”, Decottopia® uses at least ten medicinal plants, and sometimes as many as thirty, with the total and always documented certainty that between them there is only synergy, which has been carefully tested and documented over centuries of clinical experience and tradition. The decottopiric extracts are obtained thanks to an ancient extraction technique that uses only water, at different temperatures, in order to extract the active ingredient of the plant without the use of alcohol or preservatives. There are usually four functional extracts prescribed by the Protocol: for purification, hormone regulation, and for diuretic and tonic effects. Decottopia® is particularly useful in the first phase of the “Tisanoreica® Diet ” as a method for achieving an effective purification of the body, but it is also very useful both during the diet and after: the products of Decottopia® are in fact developed to balance what is missing, but never to tip the balance of what is already in harmony. The products of Decottopia® are very effective even for those who are not on a diet but who want to resolve nutritional deficiencies with “decottopirics” which, with their constant daily consumption by Italian families, are an integral part of the great Italian herbalist tradition.
MODE: Your company in its current format has been around since 1911. How has the focus changed over the years, especially to adapt to new discoveries in alternative medicine as well as to use the power of Social Media both for marketing and customer engagement? How do you see your company evolving in the next five to 10 years? Gianluca: Today everything is changing very quickly. Generally food quality is poorer and and much less rich in real nutrients. So with Tisanoreica I am more and more committed to finding “real” substantial nutritional solutions. There is no shortage of diet supplements on the market, but perhaps the deep understanding of what it means to eat properly is lacking, especially in the face of lifestyles which have changed compared to the past, which are more and more frenetic, and which are often difficult to reconcile with good eating habits. Over the next 10 years I will face new challenges to try to give consumers what will help them to live better.