Another diet for those with attention deficits, autism and related disorders! Enter the Body Ecology Diet (BED). Its developer, nutritional consultant Donna Gates, believes that the key to understanding these problems lies deep within the intestinal walls. Recognizing the value of the amazing “subculture” of microflora in our intestinal tracts could prevent and heal these and other disorders.

Healing the Gut, Healing the Brain

Of the many side effects of mercury toxicity, leaky gut (see New Developments, 5:3) is probably the most serious. Unable to absorb nutrients properly and to defend approximately 85% of the immune system it is home to, a wounded gut allows incompletely digested nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. The result: an infected brain.

Aren’t a gluten-free casein-free (GF/CF) or Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) enough? “No,” says Gates. The BED takes GF/CF and SCD, and the best of macrobiotics, Fuhrman, and other diets, to the next level. The BED heals the gut by reestablishing a healthy inner ecosystem, eliminating dysbiosis, correcting nutritional deficiencies, strengthening the adrenals, and conquering systemic infections. A healthy gut produces nutrients for the brain; a healthy liver removes toxins from the body. The result: a healthy brain.

BED Scientific Principles

  • Contraction/Expansion– For over 5,000 years Oriental medicine has viewed foods on a continuum from contractive to expansive. At the contractive end are animal products, eggs, and salt. At the expansive end are fruits, sugar, and caffeine. The BED encourages foods from the middle, such as root and leafy green vegetables.
  • Acid/Alkaline– Ideally, human blood is slightly alkaline to discourage the growth of yeasts, fungi, viruses, and bad bacteria. Each meal on the BED contains only 20% acidic foods and 80% alkalinizing foods. Because classifying foods can be confusing, use a guide, such as Alkalize or Die by Baroody (see booklist).
  • Individualization– The BED has adapted principles of D’Adamo’s blood type diet to guide individual food choices. For instance, some types can eat animal protein while others should avoid it.
  • Food Combining
    1. Eat fruits alone and on an empty stomach. Fruits pass through the digestive tract very quickly and encourage yeast.
    2. Eat protein with non-starch and/or ocean vegetables. If starch and protein are consumed together, the stomach cannot properly digest either. Separation increases digestive efficiency, thus reducing undesirable fermentation.
    3. Eat grains and starchy vegetables with non-starchy and/or ocean vegetables, such as kelp, hiziki, wakame, dulse, and nori, all of which greatly enhance the immune system and are extremely high in minerals.
  • 80/20– 1. Eat until your stomach is 80% full, leaving 20% for digestion. 2. Eat 80% land/sea vegetables and 20% animal protein (fish, meat, eggs), starchy vegetables, (potato, winter squash), and gluten-free, alkalinizing ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet).
  • Cleansing– This most important, misunderstood, and least trusted of the seven BED principles allows the body to restore balance. The BED recommends regular bowel cleansing to remove toxins, which continuously accumulate. Complete cleansing includes elimination of toxic thoughts and feelings. Gates believes that complete healing is impossible without this step.
  • Step-by-Step– In naturally slow, sequential healing, the body goes through cycles of progress followed by periods of rest. Each step gets deeper into the body, pulling out toxins, and healing affected organs.

BED Foods

The BED includes only nutritionally dense foods, as near to their natural state as possible, seasoned with Celtic sea salt and herbs. Use only high-quality, organic, unrefined seed oils, raw organic butter (available only from local farms and 99% casein-free), and ghee or coconut oil for cooking. The following vegetables are not permitted: beets (too much sugar), mushrooms (too expansive), avocado (too much oil), and tomatoes (too acid).

Gates recommends daily servings of BED’s signature foods, specifically aimed at halting sugar cravings and reestablishing good intestinal flora: cultured vegetables and coconut kefir. Purchase starters for both

  • Alkaline-forming raw cultured vegetables are “pickles” loaded with vitamins and rich in lactobacilli and enzymes. Eaten at every meal they help to restore and heal the body’s ecosystem.
  • Coconut kefir is made from culturing the water and meat of young green coconuts. The fermentation process eats up the natural sugars in the juice, makes the minerals more bioavailable, and leaves a delicious, refreshing probiotic drink teeming with potent, protective micro-organisms. Kefir contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. BED includes high quality fats.
  • Raw butter and cream are both rich in raw, saturated fatty acids that nourish the brain and intestinal lining. Casein content is minimal. When the butter is introduced a week after starting the coconut kefir, the trace amount of residual casein almost never causes a problem.
  • Coconut, cod liver, pumpkinseed, flax seed, evening primrose, borage oils, and raw, casein-free ghee are anti- fungal and anti-viral, and add a variety of omega and other essential fats that heal the damaged gut.

The BED does it all: alkalinizes and heals the gut, re-establishes the inner ecosystem, and feeds the body real, nutrient dense foods that allow it to withstand the detoxification process.

Want to know more? Read The Body Ecology DietThe Body Ecology Diet by Gates. The ninth edition comes out this summer. Practitioners interested in becoming Certified Body Ecologists can take a three-day course. Check out for the next training session, and how to crack those pesky coconuts!



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