I'll start right off with admitting that it's a little naive to imagine that there is a single "Ideal Diet" that works for everyone. From decades of clinical practice, individual variability is the principle of reality that is most often confirmed in my clinical experience. So I encourage you to consider this diet as a set of guidelines, and perform gentle personal exploration to determine which form of the eating plan works best for you.
When answering the modern question, “What should I eat?” the right answers consider both the immediate and long term effects on both you and your world. Healthy choices should be healthful for everyone concerned, and sustainable.
Choosing to eat food grown nearby and prepared at home is challenging for people working full-time, but big changes can start with small steps. If you don't have local access to recommended fish or protein, visit the websites of US Wellness or Vital Choice Seafood and try some wild Alaskan salmon or, economically, some salmon roe, where just a few a day can be healthful.
Ideal Diet Summary
- Meat, eggs, and dairy should be organic and derived from pasture-raised animals; available from your local farmer or regional Costco.
- Seafood according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
- Include organic organ meats as liver, chopped liver, or pate, on a regular basis.
Fats actually help you in various ways (digestion, key nutrients), so enjoy them from
- Organic, pasture-raised animals: meat fat and skin, butter, cheese, cream.
- Coconuts and olives, organic and virgin oils.
- Nuts properly prepared (crispy nuts).
Vegetables eaten raw, cooked, or fermented. Best if local, fresh, colorful and organic.
Fruits eaten in season, or berries any time, 1-2 servings a day. Best fruit has colored flesh. White-fleshed fruit such as apples, pears, and bananas can be considered treats.
Grains and Legumes are enjoyed by many - not all, but are healthiest if
- Low in gluten, which is irritating to many people.
- Sprouted: sprouted grain breads, or home-cooked grains, well soaked before cooking. Legumes in particular require both a long sprouting time and long cooking time, if they are to be tolerated.
Treats might include
- Dark chocolate, 70% or more cacao.
- Alcohol in moderation.
Most basic supplements, suitable for everyone include
Fish oil omega 3's as Barleans Omega Swirl, 1 Tbsp daily, or Designs for Health OmegAvail, 1 or 2 softgels daily.
Probiotics: Found in fermented foods or a variety of supplements. Include a prebiotic if fibrous vegetables (leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables) do not make a regular appearance on your plate.
- Multi-vitamin: Find a food-based, gender appropriate multi-vitamin.
Ideal Diet Full Description
Savor Healthy Foods
Protein is the centerpiece of a nutritious meal, eaten with healthy fat to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. Seafood should be wild-caught, meat should be free-range and grass-fed or wild, and poultry should be free-range or pastured. Vegetarians should be particularly selective about dairy and egg sources.
- Seafood. Emphasize omega-3-rich varieties such as wild Alaskan salmon and salmon roe (avoid farmed), herring, anchovies, sardines, and cooked or smoked oysters. To enhance nutrient absorption, add butter or cream sauce to fish and sour cream to roe.
- Raw fish. To ensure safety, marinate for 7-24 hours in lemon or lime juice.
- Lamb, beef, and pork. Consume with the fat and avoid overcooking to maintain tenderness.
- Venison, elk, and bison. These meats may require marinating 3-24 hours for tenderness. Enjoy with butter or cream sauce.
- Raw meat. Considered a delicacy in traditional cultures, raw meat should be frozen for 14 days to eliminate parasites.
- Poultry. Enjoy chicken, duck, geese, quail, and Cornish game hens and consume with the skin and fat.
- Eggs. Consume eggs from pastured hens whenever possible. Eat as many eggs as you like.
- Organ meats. Eat once a week. Primarily available from cows and chickens, organs such as liver, heart, and kidneys are superb sources of trace minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. You can also enjoy organs as liverwurst, chopped finely and added to soups and stews, or mixed with ground meat as meatloaf or meatballs. See our Recipe section. (If you don't like organ meats no matter how well prepared, consider supplementing with one of Dr. Ron's freeze-dried organ supplements.)
- Dairy. Choose full-fat unpasteurized dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, cheese, and kefir) from grass-fed cows, 2-3 servings a day. Alternatives to grass-fed raw milk are organic cultured buttermilk, whole milk yogurt, butter, cream, and raw cheeses. Second choice is organic milk from grass-fed cows, pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized.
Fat is essential for nutrient absorption, adequate fat also provides satiety and prevents protein content from being overly high. Fats especially need to be organic as pesticides, solvents and other fat soluble petroleum derivatives accumulate specifically in animal fats.
- Animal fats. Butter, fatty cuts of meat, poultry skin, and fat reserved from roasting meats provide valuable sources of fuel and fat-soluble vitamins. Look for fats from grass-fed meats.
- Vegetable fats. Healthy choices include coconut oil, coconut milk, extra virgin unrefined olive oil, and, for flavor, small amounts of sesame oil or other nut oils. For sautéing, maintain low temperatures and use fats that are solid at room temperature, such as coconut oil, butter, ghee, and animal fat. For salad dressing, 1 part flax oil to 2 parts olive oil is a great substitute for oils in commercial dressings.
- Avocado. Half an avocado daily provides a tasty fat and a valuable source of healthful fatty acids and nutrients.
- Olives. Extra virgin olive oil and olives contain important trace minerals. Olive oil should be 100% organic, virgin if possible, and only minimally heated if used in cooking. Avoid oils where olive is mixed with other oils.
- Nuts. Soak and dehydrate before eating. See our recipe for Crispy Nuts. Macadamia nuts, cashews, and almonds have more favorable fat proportions than walnuts. Peanuts are legumes, not nuts at all!
Other beneficial Ideal Diet foods.
Although proteins and fats can actually provide complete nutrition, meeting all nutritional needs, the following foods are not only enjoyable but can also contribute to making you healthy.
- Vegetables. Eat vegetables lightly steamed with butter, cream, and sea salt; raw in salads with olive oil and vinegar dressing; or juiced. Adding fat aids in nutrient absorption. Colorful and bitter green vegetables are especially rich in nutrients. Root vegetables are high in carbohydrates and contribute to weight gain.
- Fermented foods. Naturally fermented foods enhance digestion and immune function as well as providing valuable vitamin K2. Choose from sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles, cultured vegetables, miso, yogurt, and kefir; eat at the beginning of meals regularly.
- Fruit. Berries are ideal; other choices include lemons, limes, cantaloupe, cherries, tangerines, nectarines, and peaches. Fruits with low to moderate fructose content should be consumed in limited amounts such as one piece of fruit or one cup of berries per day. Very sweet dried fruit and bananas are fine as treats, while fruit juice seems to carry health risks similar to sugar-containing soft drinks.
- Celtic sea salt. This provides valuable trace minerals.
- Chocolate. Ah yes, chocolate! High in anti-oxidants, chocolate stimulates endorphin activity, lowers blood pressure and LDL's. I recommend dark chocolate 70% cacao and above. My favorite is has been 85% but I've recently found a ... 91%! that is great. Eat earlier in the day if the caffeine in chocolate affects you.
- Green tea, one cup a day is healthful if one does not have a tendency to overstimulation. If sleepless, nervous or anxious, decaffeinated green tea is available.
- Grains and legumes. I recommend a daily diet low in grains. Consuming soaked cooked grains and genuine sourdough bread with plenty of butter is acceptable in small amounts. Legumes in particular require both a long sprouting time and long cooking time, if they are to be tolerated.
- Natural sweeteners, such as stevia,honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup.
- Alcohol in moderation is generally considered healthful. Look for organic choices and stick to one beer, one glass of wine or 1-2 oz. of alcohol daily, preferably at mealtime.
- Sugar. Avoid as much as possible all high fructose sugars such as corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), agave, or sodas. Non-caloric sweeteners (aspartame, Splenda, etc.) are not clearly safe and appear to lead to weight gain.
- Processed Grains. All quick-cooking grains such as instant rice and wheat cereals, as well as rice cakes, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are actually as processed as obviously problematic potato chips!
- Soy. Soy foods should be fermented, such as tempeh, miso, and tamari. Limit tempeh to one serving per week. Traditional, fermented tofu is not usually available commercially, but would be comparable to tempeh.
- Excess Alcohol. Excess alcohol contributes to weight gain, as well as problems with the liver and immune systems.
- Vegetable oils and genetically modified oils (canola, corn, soy, and cottonseed). Artificial trans fats and margarine are obvious problems. An interesting observation is that the single food group where the rise in consumption exactly parallels the rise in obesity, diabetes and heart disease is this very food group: vegetable oils. We ate almost none until the mid-1900's. Food for thought, wouldn't you say?
- Restaurant dining. Restaurant dining can present a particular challenge: out for a lovely social evening, it may be hard to ask, “Do you fry in vegetable oils? Who grows your meat?” These are questions certainly worth asking in restaurants you visit frequently.
- Processed foods. The more a food is processed, the less easily it is recognized by our bodies as familiar food, and to paraphrase Michael Pollan, if it's unpronounceable, it's probably inedible.
- Low-fat and non-fat dairy products. Processed, padded with non-fat dry milk solids, and imbalanced in their carbohydrate, protein and fat proportions, better avoided.
- Caffeine. Minimize or avoid caffeine if you have a tendency to urinary frequency, insomnia or diabetes.
Although not strictly food, these are food-based supplements and provide basic nutrients difficult to obtain fully from food itself. Artificial supplements are as unrecognizable to the body as processed foods, and require adaptation by the body to be able to use them at all. Stick with food-based supplements, and consider these as the basics.
- Dr. Ron's Ultra Pure Liver. For those unwilling to eat liver on a regular basis, supplement with organic liver pills, 2-6 daily.
- Barleans Omega Swirl, 1 Tbsp daily, or Designs for Health OmegAvail, 1 or 2 softgels daily.
- Green Pastures X-Factor Butter Oil. Take 2 capsules daily.
- Probiotics. Bio-Immersion Original Synbiotic Formula is a great option: 1/4 tsp daily, increasing slowly to 1 tsp daily. Include probiotics regularly, and rotate through different brands, so you enjoy a wide variety of probiotic species.
- Vitamin D3. Ideally, obtain vitamin D from the sun with 20 minutes of full-body exposure to overhead sun, which can yield approximately 20,000 units of vitamin D. Vitamin D adequacy exists with blood levels for vitamin D3 at 40-65 ng/ml; people with health challenges may benefit from higher levels. If sun exposure is not giving you adequate vitamin D levels, take Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 as needed to normalize blood levels.
- Multiple vitamins for your specific category: children, men, women, pregnant or nursing women, or women over 40. Organic and food-based vitamins are most easily recognized and utilized by our bodies. Take as directed.