The Body Ecology Diet book was one of the first books I read in my training in Functional Nutrition. Donna Gates is a pioneer in the field of health. She began talking about the benefits of probiotics, digestive enzymes, minerals and fermented foods over twenty years ago- and now thousands of scientist research has shown to back up her concepts. She was even the first person who introduced stevia to the United states!

My goal is to provide you with tangible, practical tools you can begin to use everyday to transform the way you think, feel, and look! Today I will provide 6 action steps that you can play around with and see if they make a difference for you!

Six Main Concepts from The Body Ecology Diet Book: Eating for Health, Energy, and Vitality

1 . Expansion/Contraction

  • When you combine any two complementary opposites, you can arrive at an ideal or a balance. For example, hot and cold create warmth.
  • Foods with salt inside them, such as animal foods and cheese, also produce a contracting effect. Therefore, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, eggs, and fish are contracting foods. When we eat them, we feel more uptight or closed.
  • All foods with sugar in them (fruits, sweet veggies, most dairy products, sweetened pastries, and candy) are expanding foods.
  • Body needs an equal balance of both contracting and expanding foods to feel healthy, have energy, and feel vitality.
  • For example, if you eat too much salt or animal food, you will crave sweets to make a balance.
  • Stress causes the body to contract. This too explains why we often crave expanding foods such as candy, alcohol, and even tobacco, because in our fast-paced world, we are usually under great stress.

Action Step: The body ecology diet suggests Practicing putting together balanced plates to create a balanced body state. For example: 1/2 your plate in greens and veggies, a palm size protein (eggs, chicken, fish, buffalo, etc), and a palm size complex carbohydrate (sweet potato, squash, beet, quinoa etc.)

2. Acid/Alkaline

  • An imbalance toward too much acidity allows yeast, viruses, rebellious (cancer) cells, and various other parasites to thrive. Acidity also leads to conditions such as chronic fatigue, arthritis, and allergies.
    Approximately 20% of the foods on your plate should be acid-forming, and approximately 80% should be alkaline-forming.
  •  If you have an acidic condition from eating an acid-forming diet, your body is constantly trying to return to a more balanced state by calling on your stored reserves of alkaline minerals: sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
    • Vegetables, greens, Ocean vegetables, Millet, quinoa, and amaranth, Sea salt, Herbs and herb teas, Seeds, Mineral water, Lemons; limes; berries; and sour, unsweetened juices from pomegranates, unsweetened cranberries, and black currants, Raw apple cider vinegar, Cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids, Milk kefir, Soaked and sprouted almonds.
    • Animal foods, such as beef, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish, Buckwheat, Organic, unrefined oils Stevia—liquid concentrate and white powder
    • sugar, candy, soft drinks, flour products, beans, soybean products and tofu, nuts (except almonds) and nut butters, wine, beer, saccharin, NutraSweet, alcohol, and commercial refined vinegar.

Action Step: Try making 70-80% of your plate alkaline foods.

3. Cleansing

  • We all have peaks and valleys in our health throughout our lives. The valleys are periods of cleansing we should be grateful for. After the cleansing is over, our bodies will be free of damaging toxins, and this leads to a lifetime of greater strength and health.
  • Disease, on the other hand, often occurs when the body loses its ability to cleanse itself and gives up the struggle to remain pure.
  • The cleansing process is very simple: When the organs of elimination (lungs, liver, kidneys, colon) become overwhelmed with impurities and toxins, these toxins lodge somewhere in the cells, tissues, or muscles (usually where we have genetic weaknesses). In an attempt to maintain integrity, the body organizes a cleansing, forcing the toxins out in some disruptive form like fever, cold, flu, rashes, acne, or other “illness.” If a cleansing is suppressed by a drug (such as an antibiotic or a cold medicine), the toxins are driven deeper into the body. Over time, the major organs give up a little of their fight to stay alive until, step by step, they give up altogether, becoming weakened and diseased.
  • Through techniques such as visualization, affirmations, and even prayer, we can strengthen our immune systems and enhance the cleansing/healing process.
  • The monthly menstrual cycle offers women a special opportunity to cleanse. Not only does the uterus shed its lining during this normal process, but the entire body enters a cleansing mode. So to take advantage of this opportunity, treat yourself well. Rest a little more; plan quiet activities; and eat warm, alkaline-forming foods.

Action Step: The next time you are sick, try eating tons of alkaline foods and water instead of suppressing the symptoms with over the counter medications. This will allow the body to cleanse instead of pushing the toxins further into your system.

4. Food Combining

  • Fruit on an empty stomach
  • Protein with non starchy veggies
  • Starch with veggies
  • No starch and protein

Action Step: Trying only eating fruit in the mornings, on an empty stomach and not combining them with any starches. This causes build up in the digestive track leading to gas, bloating, and disease. I wrote more on food combining here. 


5. The 80/20 Life

The body ecology diet is big on the 80/20 principle as it applies to many areas of eating.

  • Eat until your stomach is 80% full, leaving 20% available for digesting.
  • 80% of the food on your plate should be land and/or ocean vegetables. The remaining 20% can be: Animal protein, grain like seed, or starchy vegetable.

Action Step: Try loading every meal you have with greens and veggies.

6. Fermented Foods

  • Cultured vegetables contain lactobacilli and enzymes that are enzyme-rich, mineral-rich super foods that aid digestion, eliminate toxins, and restore or maintain a healthy inner ecosystem.
  • The health of your entire body is determined by the quality of the bacteria that live inside of you.
  • In general, there are three types of bacteria in the digestive tract: pathogenic (hostile), beneficial (friendly), and neutral. We need more good than bad to have healthy moods, skin, energy, and digestion. When we have more bad, problems occur.
  • Antibiotics, birth control, sugar, and vegetable oils kill good bacteria.
  • Fermented foods contain 10x more healthy bacteria than any pill or capsule.
  • To have high quality and effective fermented foods- I recommend the body ecology kefir starter and culture veggie starter as these are specifically formulated with powerful bacteria that change your body.
  • More about keifr here and fermented foods here.

Action Step: Go and buy some raw cultured veggies at your health food and have them with dinner every night.

Which one of the steps from the body ecology diet stood out most to you? Let me know below! 🙂

PS: I use almost all of the  Body Ecology Products and have noticed huge improvements in my energy, skin, and digestive health. I love their fermented liquids, coconut water keifr, minerals, greens powders and culture veggie starters. These are the products that have made the biggest difference in my health along with a therapeutic grade fish oil. You can browse the Body Ecology Products here.

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