Body Ecology Diet

By Donna Gates with Linda Schatz
The Body Ecology Diet (BED), developed by nutritional consultant Donna Gates, is a diet that can improve symptoms of neurodevelopmental, mood and autoimmune disorders by healing the gut. This diet recognizes the value of the microbiome in our intestinal tracts in preventing and healing these and other disorders.

Healing the Gut, Healing the Brain

This diet postulates that a leaky gut is the major cause of these disorders because it allows incompletely digested nutrients to pass into the bloodstream, which can cause symptoms of autoimmune disorders and neurological disorders. Donna Gates believes that the gluten-free casein-free (GF/CF) diet and/or Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) are not enough because they do not include principles of macrobiotics and food combining.

The BED heals the gut by:

A healthy gut produces nutrients for the brain, and a healthy liver removes toxins from the body. A healthy brain and body are the result.

Body Ecology Diet Principles

The BED has a few defining principles that are based somewhat on the principles of macrobiotics and food combining.


For over 5,000 years, Eastern medicine has viewed foods on a continuum from contractive to expansive. At the contractive end are animal products and salt. At the expansive end are fruits, sugar, and caffeine. The BED encourages foods from the middle, such as root vegetables and leafy green vegetables.


Ideally, human blood is slightly alkaline to discourage the growth of yeasts, fungi, viruses, and bad bacteria. Each meal on the Body Ecology Diet contains only 20% acidic foods and 80% alkalinizing foods. Because classifying foods can be confusing, use a guide, such as Alkalize or Die.


The BED has adapted principles of Peter 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

Because fruits pass through the digestive tract very quickly and encourage yeast, one should eat fruits alone and on an empty stomach.

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.

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.


This principle is a two-parter:

  • Eat until your stomach is 80% full, leaving 20% for digestion.
  • 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).


This most important, misunderstood, and least trusted of the seven Body Ecology Diet 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.


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.

Body Ecology Diet 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, ghee or coconut oil for cooking.

The following vegetables are not permitted:

  • Beets (too much sugar)
  • Mushrooms (too expansive)
  • Avocado (too much oil)
  • 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 at the website

  • 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.
  • The Body Ecology Diet includes high quality fats such as raw butter and cream, which 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.

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