Dr Manthena Raju is an advocate of Plant Based Diets. He lives in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. He taught healthy living in a series of 750+ daily TV shows. He reminds me of Baba Ramdev from India who is famous for spreading awareness of Pranayama, an ancient set of breathing exercises that influence our mind and body in profound ways. Dr Raju also teaches yoga and pranayama. However, what is unique about him are his extensive food guidelines. Reference: an adulatory biography of Dr Raju.
Relationship with Plant Based Diets
Dr Raju's food guidelines seem to be in harmony with those of Western doctors like Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman and John McDougall in the following sense: The western guidelines leave open a variety of implementations, as there is a fair amount of flexibility. Dr Raju's guidelines are much more detailed. So I see them as a specific implementation of western doctors' guidelines. For example, Dr Raju specifies how to space meals apart, how much water to drink and what combinations to eat at each meal. Dr Raju also removes two optional components of western guidelines, namely masala (spices) and oil.
Two salient features of Dr Raju's guidelines are drinking lots of water throughout the day, and eating MOSS free food. MOSS stands for Masala, Oil, Salt and Sugar. Over years, Dr Raju has discovered and published a series of MOSS free recipes which also taste good.
YouTube videos: If you understand Telugu, you may watch YouTube videos by user cleinfo123. There are 750+ videos. Playlists on various topics can be found in the Yahoo Group listed below.
Yahoo Group in English: natural_lifestyle_manthena has lots of material, including English translations of Dr Raju's works and an active English speaking community. There are telephone numbers and email addresses of people who follow him sincerely. Also, the 750 odd YouTube videos have been categorized into playlists by subject.
In July 2012, at a Vipassana potluck lunch get together, a bowl with mildly flavored, steamed collard greens caught my eye. I was immediately convinced that this individual was following some version of plant based diets. I sought out this individual. It turned out to be a friend I already knew. He mentioned that he was following some teacher in India who speaks and writes in Telugu. I didn't pay much attention because I don't know Telugu. I didn't get a name.
In December 2012, in a memorable conversation in front of a fountain outside Google, a second friend mentioned the same teacher. This time around, I got a name: Dr Manthena Raju, which I noted down in my cell phone. A few days later, I started digging deeper on the Internet. Information in English was not readily available. I chanced upon web pages by Sudheendra Rao, who is finishing his Ph.D. in Physics at IIT Kanpur. He maintains a folder with PDF files in English explaining Dr Raju's system. Sudheendra was very helpful — he is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org. Within minutes of receiving my email, he responded. In a 90-minute Skype session, he explained to me the big picture of Dr Raju's food guidelines. At IIT Kanpur, he and a small set of his friends follow these guidelines quite faithfully. A larger group of about 20 students follow these guidelines to various degrees of approximation.
Within a week of getting the big picture from Sudheendra, I adopted several of Dr Raju's guidelines.
My implementation is not exactly in alignment with the guidelines. However, I have picked up many important components. Over time, my immersion will be complete.