I’ve read several books that have left an impression on me regarding nutrition. The majority of the authors are doctors, and though there are several common themes, for example: broccoli yes; Dorito’s no, they do differ in their minutia. (Note: I recommend consulting a Registered Dietician to help determine what is the best eating plan for you. ) That said, my goal with this two week program is to give you an eating plan that fits into the parameters of all these experts. Surprisingly that was not easy to do. When I broke with the guidelines of a particular author, I noted so next to the recipe. Below I give an Executive Summary of each of the books, a link to the authors website, and a recommendation as to who should take a deeper dive into each book, i.e. go buy the damn thing.
Dr. Masley is a believer in managing your blood sugar to control cognitive decline.
Who does best on this eating plan: Those who are (or have a loved one) suffering from a brain injury, memory loss, cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is also an excellent protocol for anyone who has a familial history of dementia, has tested positive for the ApoE4 gene variations or is otherwise at increased risk for accelerated cognitive decline.
Dr. Shanahan’s dietary recommendations are summarized in these four bullet points:
- Consume meat with the bones
- Eat from hoof to tail (this includes the “icky” parts, e.g. liver and kidneys)
- Fermented foods (Started making my own Kombucha and Saurkraut after reading this book.)
- Lots of greens
Who does best on this eating plan: Those interested in living an “ancestral” (not paleo) lifestyle, who don’t mind eating a wide variety of foods and have no illnesses, autoimmune disorders or allergies.
Ms. Whittle’s diet recommendations center on intermittent fasting to promote autophagy (cellular clean-up), but she does have some interesting nutritional tips:
- Tea Seed Oil
- Broccoli Sprouts (I started to grow my own after I read this book. It really is fun!)
- Atopha Tea (recipe listed below)
Who does best on this eating plan: You are healthy but have a few pounds to lose.
Dr. Cates’ diet recommendation are summarized by ELIMINATING the following foods:
Who does best on this eating plan: those with acne or skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis or keratosis pilaris.
Dr. Gundry believes that plant lectins (gluten being the most familiar lectin) are the cause of most modern illnesses.
Who does best on this eating plan: those with undiagnosed medical issues, autoimmune disorders and gut issues. Note: folks suffering from autoimmune disorders need to consult with a registered dietician.
Planning Your Two Week Reboot
Before embarking on this two week eating plan, prepare to tell family and friends that you will not be going out for dinner, drinks or desserts. It’s only two weeks!! You can do this, and I encourage you to get family and friends to join you. I’ve picked recipes as written in the books, but additional ones can be found on the authors websites. I suggest you make several servings so you have plenty for leftovers. I’ve tried to choose recipes that have fish, chicken, red meat and vegetarian options. When shopping chose the best quality products available. To quote Dr. Gundry, “You are what you ate, ate.” If you choose animal proteins such as farmed fish or industrially raised pork, you are eating the same crap those animals ate. I know the rules governing organic produce, grass fed beef and pasture raised eggs, leave a lot to be desired, but do your best to pick high quality foods.
Morning Replenishing Cocktail: DRINK THIS EVERY MORNING UPON RISING!!!!
16 ounces Pellegrino or Gerolsteiner Mineral Water
Squeeze of half lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Other morning beverages:
Black Coffee (unless you’re trying to clear up skin issues such as acne)
Bulletproof Coffee (This is Dave Asprey’s variation, though several authors had their own interpretation.)
- Make your coffee. Brew 1 cup (8-12 ounces) of coffee using filtered water with 2 ½ heaping tablespoons of freshly ground Coffee Beans.
2. Add Brain Octane Oil. (You can substitute another brand of MCT oil, but this one seems easier on the gut.) Add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil
3. Add grass-fed butter or ghee. …
Tea: Black, Green, Earl Grey
Atopha Tea (Naomi Whittel)
1 green tea bag
1 whole citrus bergamot Earl Grey tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
1 teaspoon trehalose (optional, can be bought on Amazon)
- Steep tea bags in large mug with hot water and cinnamon sticks for at least three minutes (longer is better). Remove and discard tea bags.
- Add the coconut oil and stir it in using the cinnamon stick.
- Mix it all together for 20 to 30 seconds. You can also blend the tea to help mix the flavors and emulsify the oil.
- If desired, sweeten the tea with trehalose.
If you want some help in learning how to make your own, please reach out to me. I’m happy to help you get started. Otherwise, look for bottles that have less than 2 grams of sugar per serving. Don’t drink more than a bottle a day. I tend to drink a bottle every other day, e.g. slightly less than 8 oz a day.
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source (i.e. grass fed beef)
- 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 400, along with the vegetables which I liberally coat with avocado oil. I stir up the mixture 15 minutes into cooking time.
- Place the bones in a crock pot. Pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
- Cook on low for 24 hours.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetables.
- If there’s bone marrow, remove it and crush it or blend it, along with the veges, and add back to the broth. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
Note: You can drink this bone broth anytime of the day with a nice sprinkling of Himalayan Sea Salt. It will be oily and rather bland. It can also serve as soup stock for another recipe.
Green Smoothie (Dr. Gundry)
Makes one smoothie
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
½ cup baby spinach
1 mint sprig, with stem
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 to 6 drops stevia extract (optional)
¼ cup ice cubes
1 cup water
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth and fluffy. Add more ice cubes if desired.
Very Veggie Smoothie (Dr. Cates)
Makes one smoothie
1 cup organic unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup organic mixed greens
½ cup chopped cucumber (not allowed on Dr. Gundry’s plan)
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup organic apple
1 tablespoon fresh herbs of choice, e.g. mint, cilantro or parsley
1 tablespoon chia seeds (not allowed on Dr. Gundry’s plan)
1 tablespoon spirulina or chlorella (optional for extra green)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or lime juice
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
In a blender, combine all the ingredients, including the spirulina (if using), and blend until smooth. Pour into a small glass and enjoy.
Sausage, Kale and Onion Egg Muffins (modified from recipes by Naomi Whitttel and Dr. Gundry) Note: Dr. Cates believes those trying to improve their skin, should avoid eggs.
2 teaspoons tea seed oil (can use extra virgin olive oil)
4 ounces Diestel Farms Turkey Italian Sausage or Turkey Chorizo
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 ½ cups very thinly sliced kale leaves
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 large pastured or omega-3 eggs (if you suspect egg allergies, use 6 to 8 yolks and one to three full eggs.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease six cups of a muffin tin with 2 teaspoons of the oil.
- In a medium skillet, heat ½ teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until evenly browned. Set aside.
- In the same pan, cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the kale. Gently cook until the kale wilts. Let cool. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and salt and pepper.
- Evenly divide the sausage among the greased muffin cups.
- Evenly divide the onion-garlic-kale mixture over the sausage.
- Use a 1/3 cup measure to divide the egg mixture among the muffin cups, being careful not to overfill them.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the eggs are set.
- Serve immediately, or let cool completely and freeze.
Thoroughly Modern Millet Cakes (Dr. Gundry)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
½ cup millet
2 cups vegetable stock or water
¾ teaspoon sea salt, preferably iodized
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped basil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 clove garlic chopped
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or perilla oil
1 pastured or omega-2 egg, beaten (Dr. Cates believes you should avoid eggs if cleaning up your skin)
1 tablespoon coconut flour
In a large dry saucepan, toast the millet over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring or shaking frequently, until golden brown and fragrant. Do not burn. Slowly add the vegetable stock and salt, being careful not to get burned from the rising steam. Stir and bring to boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile place the onion, carrots, basil, mushrooms, garlic and Italian seasoning in a food processor (I used a chopper) fitted with the S blade and pulse into fine pieces.
Plane one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable mixture and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Add the millet, beaten egg, and coconut flour to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and thicken.
With greased hands, form the mixture into 2-inch balls, and then press down with the palm of your hand to form into 12 patties.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the patties and sauté over medium heat for five minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-covered plate before serving.
Lunch or Dinner Recipes
Romaine Lettuce Boast Filled with Guacamole (Dr. Gundry)
Serves one, double as needed
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch sea salt (Dr. Gundry likes iodized)
4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
Place the avocado, onion, cilantro, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth,
To serve, scoop an equal amount of the guacamole into each lettuce leaf.
Smoked Salmon with Endive or Nori (Dr. Masley)
8 medium endive leaves or 3 x 4” Nori (seaweed sheets)
½ pound wild smoked salmon
1 medium Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 8 slices
2 tablespoons fresh Italian Parsley
Juice of one lemon to taste
Separate the endive or nori leaves and place on a serving plate. To each endive leaf, add a slice of the smoked salmon and a slice of the avocado, top with parsley and drizzle of lemon juice.
Salad with Chicken and Vinaigrette (Dr. Gundry and Dr. Cates)
Serves 1 (double or triple as needed)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 ounces boneless, skinless pasture-raised chicken breast, cut into ½-inch strips
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
Zest of ½ lemon (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
1 ½ cups Organic Greens (arugula, kale, spinach, etc. Feel free to combine)
Make the Chicken: Heat the avocado oil in a small skillet over high heat. Place the chicken strips in the hot pan and sprinkle with the lemon juice and salt. Sauté the chicken strips for about two minutes; turn them and sauté for another two minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Make the Dressing: Combine the ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined.
To Serve: Toss the arugula in the dressing and top with the chicken, adding the lemon zest, if desired.
Roasted Lamb and Vegetables (Dr. Masley)
One of the nice things about lamb, is that it is relatively easy to find reasonably priced, organic, grass-fed lamb.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes
1 pound lamb chops (preferably French cut)
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (or a similar combination) finely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ medium sweet onion, chopped into chunks
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped into 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, chipped into 1-inch chunks
1 medium beet, peeled and chopped into ¾ -inch chunks
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the lamb first with the ghee, then the herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a roasting pan, mix the chopped vegetables with the oil. Place the lamb, fat side up, in the center of the roasting pan with the vegetables surrounding it. (As beets bleed red juice, either roast them in a separate ovenproof container or place them to the side of the roasting pan.) Roast for 40 to 50 minutes on the medium rack. (The USDA recommends for health safety that the final internal temperature of lamb should reach at least 145 degrees F for medium to well-done, although those who prefer it medium rare would stop at a temperature of 130 to 135 degrees F.)
When the internal temperature is 5 degrees less than your desired temperature, turn the heat to broil, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes to render the fat crispy. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, put in a warm place and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Wild Salmon (Dr. Masley)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 5 minutes
Grilling Time: 8-10 minutes
1.5 to 2 pounds salmon fillet (likely skin covering one side)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ teaspoon paprika
Garnish: 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed or parsley and 4 lemon wedges
Preheat grill to 450° (F).
Rinse salmon fillets in cold water. Marinate in a bowl with lemon juice for 5-10 minutes. Lay fillet skin side down on a plate, and sprinkle sea salt, black pepper, dill weed, and paprika over the fillet.
Grill salmon fillet initially skin side down for 6 minutes. To turn, separate the skin from the meat with a metal spatula. Flip the fillet, keeping the skin on the grill and placing the flesh over the skin. Grill another 2-4 minutes until cooked.
The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145° (F), which is medium done. Most chefs prefer 125-130° (F), with the center a bit translucent and it will flake easily, as it is more moist and tender. Whichever temperature you choose, don’t overcook past 145° (F) or the fish becomes dry.
To serve, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges.
CHIPOTLE FLANK STEAK RECIPE (Dr. Gundry)
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oiil
- 3 Tablespoons lime juice
- Zest of one lime
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sauce from canned chipotles en adobo OR 1 tablespoon pure chile powder
- 1 cup plain goats milk yogurt
- 1 grass-fed flank steak (about 1 ¼ pounds)
- Sea salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients except the steak and sea salt in a resealable zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag and shake to mix well.
- Add steak and press air out of the bag, making sure the meat is well coated in marinade. Let marinate AT LEAST one hour, or as long as 8.
- Preheat a grill or skillet over high heat.
- Remove steak from marinade, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt.
- Grill to desired doneness — medium rare is about 4 minutes per side — and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Slice steak against the grain into thin, diagonal slices. Serve 4 oz of meat per person.
And there’s your steak! Now, the best thing about this particular recipe is its versatility. Since you’re making a larger piece to start, you’re sure to have plenty of leftovers… and since this recipe tastes good hot OR cold, it’s as nice on a salad as it is hot.
For a simple weeknight meal, serve the steak over a bed of riced cauliflower, along with grilled asparagus (with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, of course!)
Though Ms. Whittel’s is the only plan that includes intermittent fasting as part of its protocol, all the authors are fans of some sort of time-restricted eating. For this reason, I recommend you avoid snacking and strive to go 12 hours between eating dinner and breakfast. If you finish a meal and believe it wasn’t enough to tide you over, you can try adding the following:
- A handful of raw macadamia nuts (Most of authors recommend soaking raw nuts to optimize digestibility.)
- Coconut Yogurt
- Berries (In moderation. Dr. Gundry is not a fan of any fruit, except avocados.)
- Dark Chocolate, 90 percent cocoa
The authors do include dessert recipes, but for two weeks, stick with small quantities of berries or chocolate. You can always go on-line and find some dessert recipes if you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO!
If you’re goal is to clean up your skin, avoid alcohol for the whole two weeks. Otherwise, no more than one glass of high quality red wine (if wine costs $3.99 a bottle, odds are it has fillers) or vodka/per day.
Post Two Weeks
All these eating plans eliminate processed sugar and vegetable oils. And, except for Dr. Shanahan, they also eliminate grains and dairy. If you feel better after eating this way, you can continue to do so and follow the protocol that best suits your needs. (Insert third disclaimer about working with a registered dietician to fine tune your diet.) Here are a few tips on adding back “suspect foods”:
Beans: Not all the authors were anti-legume, but they can be an irritant to some people. Make sure to use dry beans, soak them well and cook them in a pressure cooker.
Dairy: Add-in whole fat, organic fermented sources first, e.g. goat kefir. Dr. Shanahan is a huge proponent of clean, raw dairy, though this can be hard to find.
Grains: Start with fermented grains, such as sourdough made from ancient Einkorn wheat (and yes, I make my own sourdough bread from Einkorn). Rinse and/or soak items such as Quinoa to remove irritants before preparing.
Nightshades: Peel and seed peppers and tomatoes before using. Slowly add in things like cucumbers, squash, etc. i.e., anything with the seeds. Note: I personally don’t think lectins are a problem for most people. Any reaction we get from consuming them is more of a hermetic stressor that make us stronger. That said, I also don’t suffer from gut issues or brain fog.
Good luck my friends! Please share your experiences in the comments.