The Phytonutrient Diet

The Phytonutrient Diet

The right proportions for this diet are about 70 percent cooked vegetables,  15 percent protein, 10 percent cooked grains, and 5 percent fats and oils.

The right proportions for this diet are about 70 percent cooked vegetables,
15 percent protein, 10 percent cooked grains, and 5 percent fats and oils.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

Most people are mineral-starved today, and their digestive systems are weak. The phytonutrient diet, as explained in this article, is the only way I know to counteract these dietary problems and obtain the nutrients we all need.



1. Eat at least three meals daily and do not skip meals, even if you are not hungry. It is difficult enough to take in the necessary nutrients by eating only three meals per day; it is even less possible if meals are skipped.

2. Rotate your foods, i.e., do not eat the same foods every day. You may choose to have more than three meals daily, but do not snack all day long, as this is hard on digestion.

3. You may eat plentifully, provided it is the right foods in the correct proportions. The right foods are mainly cooked vegetables, with a little animal protein, dairy products, a small amount of whole grains, toasted almond butter, and some dried beans.

The right proportions for this diet are about 70 percent cooked vegetables, 15 percent protein, 10 percent cooked grains, and 5 percent fats and oils.

4. Whenever possible, eat fresh and organically grown food. Organically grown food is generally lower in pesticides and higher in nutrients. Fresh food is usually better than frozen or canned. However, consuming canned vegetables is definitely better than not eating them.

Eat whole, natural foods. Do not live on shakes, smoothies, rice cakes or food bars.

5. Eat slowly in a relaxed, quiet environment. Sit down while eating and chew thoroughly. Ideally, rest a few minutes before mealtime and at least 10 minutes after each meal. Avoid eating while driving, when feeling upset or in noisy places.

6. Keep meals simple for easy digestion. Meals should consist of cooked vegetables, with either one protein or one starch. This means:

• Do not mix meat and eggs at one meal, as they are both proteins.

• Do not mix rice and corn tortillas at the same meal, as these are both starches.

• Do not mix a starch with a protein.

For example, you may have a large amount of two or three cooked vegetables with a chicken thigh. Then, a few hours later, have a cooked vegetable or two with a starch, such as blue corn tortillas or quinoa.

Also, if possible, refrain from adding a lot of dressings, sauces, relishes, sweeteners and spices to your food. A little is fine for flavor; too much can upset digestion.


Diet specifics

The phytonutrient diet consists of four main categories of food: vegetables; protein; starches or complex carbohydrates; and fats and oils. Specific information is given below for what and how to eat in each category, as well as which foods and drinks should be avoided.



Adults need to eat about three cups of cooked vegetables at each meal, at least three times daily. This means nine to 10 cups of cooked vegetables daily. This is the most important but most difficult part of the diet. Fill two-thirds of your plate with one to three different kinds of cooked vegetables.

Each day, eat at least:

• Two root vegetables, such as carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, ginger, black radish, celery root, rutabaga, daikon, beets, sweet potato or yams.

• Two cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or broccoli.

• One or two greens, such as spinach, kale, carrot tops, beet greens, green beans, string beans, peas, cilantro, mustard greens, Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage, bok choy, Swiss chard, leeks or green onions. Other acceptable vegetables (although not quite as beneficial) are fresh corn, winter squashes (acorn, spaghetti and butternut), pumpkin and celery.

Do not eat nightshade vegetables (white and red potatoes, tomatoes, all peppers and eggplant). These vegetables are really fruits, and they are too yin and somewhat toxic due to their solanin content.

Also, avoid or rarely eat asparagus, artichoke, okra, cucumber, lettuce, jicama, mushrooms, and summer squashes (zucchini or sunburst). They are slightly toxic or yin.

All vegetables should be cooked until soft, not raw or crunchy. Steaming, pressure cooking, stir-frying or using a crock pot are the best cooking methods.

Cooking greatly enhances the absorption of minerals from food and makes the food more yang, which is very important. It also kills many bacteria and parasites on vegetables, and it concentrates some foods, allowing one to eat larger portions.

Cooking does reduce the amount of several vitamins in the food; however, it does not damage the mineral content, which is more important.

Eat a variety of cooked vegetables, not just two or three every day. Fresh is best. You can cook once daily or you can cook enough for two days, preferably in a crock pot or steamer. I do not suggest eating leftovers after more than one day.

Salads and coleslaw are difficult to digest, do not provide many minerals and are too yin. For these reasons, they do not count as vegetables on this diet. Please do not eat many salads.

If you eat out, choose restaurants that offer fresh, cooked vegetables. Excellent choices are often Chinese, Thai, and East Indian. Fast food places and Mexican restaurants offer fewer cooked vegetable choices. At some places, you may need to order a triple order of cooked vegetables to get enough.


The phytonutrient diet consists of four main categories of food: vegetables; protein; starches or complex carbohydrates; and fats and oils. Specific information is given below for what and how to eat in each category, as well as which foods and drinks should be avoided.

The phytonutrient diet consists of four main categories of food: vegetables; protein; starches or complex carbohydrates; and fats and oils. Specific information is given below for what and how to eat in each category, as well as which foods and drinks should be avoided.


About 15 percent of the diet by volume should be made up of protein foods. Two servings daily of four to five ounces each is usually adequate for adults.

Cook all protein foods except cheese, yogurt and kefir. These may be eaten raw. Crock pots, steaming and stir-frying are good cooking methods. Do not overcook meats. Roasting, barbequing and baking are not quite as good, so do this only occasionally.

Eat animal protein only twice daily. This includes meats, poultry, eggs and dairy products. The best protein foods are sardines, lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, raw cheeses, toasted almond butter, and wild game, such as deer and elk.

Beef is a hybridized food today. Eat one serving per week or less. Lamb is an excellent choice that is almost always pasture raised. Eat two portions each week.

Sardines are an excellent protein food. Ideally, eat three to four cans weekly but no more, due to the mercury in all fish. No other fish or seafood is permitted on this diet for this important reason.

Men can have up to eight eggs per week, and women can have up to six eggs. Eating more eggs than this causes liver toxicity. Always eat eggs soft-cooked, with the yolks runny. This means soft-boiled, poached or lightly fried.

Avoid hard-boiled eggs, quiche and omelets; American cheese or processed “cheese food;” and all processed meats and organ meats, as they usually contain too many toxic metals.

Ideally, find raw dairy products. Organic is not as good but is better than most standard dairy. Have only four ounces or less of dairy products daily. They are really not essential foods.

Nut and seed butters are acceptable to use occasionally, but these are somewhat yin and difficult to digest. An exception is toasted almond butter, which may be eaten several times per week.

Dried beans or legumes are somewhat yin. You may have up to two servings per week.

Avoid all pig products (ham, pork, bacon and lard), all soy products, all nuts and seeds (except almond butter), spirulina, all algae products, protein powders and meal replacements.


Starches or complex carbohydrates

About 10 percent of the diet can be complex carbohydrates. Eat less if you do not tolerate them well.

The best starch foods are blue corn (chips or cereal), quinoa, millet, amaranth, and basmati, brown or wild rice. Some people can tolerate oats, rye and barley, but they contain gluten.

Organic yellow corn and yellow corn tortillas are also acceptable. Other good starches are sweet potatoes and yams, which are technically vegetables but are digested more like starches. Avoid white or red potatoes, which are in the nightshade family of vegetables.

Always thoroughly cook starches. Avoid all raw grains, such as granola, trail mix or raw grain cereals, such as muesli.

Do not mix heavy starch with protein or have more than one starch at a meal. Completely avoid wheat, spelt and other wheat variants, such as teff, bulgur and einhorn. Also avoid buckwheat.

Eliminate products made with white flour. These include cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, muffins, flour tortillas, hot and cold cereals, soups thickened with flour, and white flour wheat pasta. Pastas made of rice, corn or quinoa are permitted.

Avoid rice cakes, which are a highly processed and a less nutritious food. You may eat some wheat-free bread. However, breads of any kind are not recommended, as they are cooked at a high temperature and are usually not as nutritious as cereals.


Fats and oils

About 5 percent of the diet should be from fats and oils. Excellent quality fats are butter, meat fat, toasted almond butter and olive oil. A little ghee is allowed, but butter is usually better. The Challenge brand of butter is one of the best.

Occasional use of refined vegetable oil is acceptable, such as peanut, sunflower, safflower, corn, soy and canola oils. Vegetable oils in blue corn chips are OK.

Avoid deep-fried foods, tropical oils and avocados. The oils are often damaged in deep-fried foods, such as French fries. Coconut oil, palm oil and avocados are yin and somewhat toxic.


Fruits and other simple carbohydrates

Avoid fruit and simple carbohydrates. Fruit today is hybridized, too yin, upsets blood sugar and digestion, and is not needed. Fruit also absorbs a lot of toxic potassium from NPK or superphosphate fertilizers. This fertilizer is even used on organic fruit orchards. If you want fruit, have a few black botija olives each week.

Other simple carbohydrates include sugar, honey, maple and agave syrups, fruit concentrates and rice syrup. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, Equal®, Splenda®, saccharin and others. If you need sweetener, stevia or xylitol are among the best.



Adults need to drink three quarts or three liters of water daily. An excellent habit is to drink up to one quart of healthful spring water upon rising in the morning. Do not drink with meals. Drink an hour after meals and up until 10 minutes before a meal.

The best drinking water is spring water. Second best is usually carbon-filtered tap water. Use only carbon, carbon block or a sand filter for filtering water. Do not use multi-stage filters, as they seem to damage the water.

The American or Canadian spring waters are generally better than the European ones, although Evian® and Aqua Panna® are excellent. Buying spring water in plastic bottles is permissible.

Avoid reverse osmosis water, also called “purified water” or “drinking water.” It is devoid of minerals and does not hydrate the body well. Also avoid alkaline waters and other designer waters. Well water may or may not be pure.

Do not add minerals or salt to your drinking water. Do not substitute other beverages for water, as they do not hydrate the body well. You may have one cup of coffee or caffeinated tea daily, but no more caffeine than this.

Milk is not a necessary food for adults; however, if you drink it, look for organic and, if possible, raw milk, as it is usually healthier. Limit all dairy products to no more than four ounces daily. Limit soy milk, rice milk, almond milk and hemp milk. These are not as nutritious and are more yin.

Bone broth is excellent, up to one cup daily. Avoid meat broths, which tend to be toxic, and most soups because they dilute the digestive juices with too much water. Some thick vegetable or lentil soup is fine occasionally.

You can drink 10 ounces of carrot juice or one to two ounces of wheat grass juice daily but no other juices, as they are too yin and sugary. Drink carrot juice 15 minutes before a meal or between meals, as it does not combine well with food.

Use a juicer, not a blender, to make carrot juice. Blenders do not break up the carrots enough to extract all the nutrients. They also mix the juice with too much water and air, which is not desirable.

Avoid fruit juices and kombucha tea, which contains a harmful amphetamine-like substance. Completely avoid soda pop, energy drinks, alcohol and all sugary drinks, such as lemonade, Kool-Aid®, Gatorade® and Recharge® Sports Drink.


Other foods

The only fermented foods allowed are sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kefir and cheese. Other fermented foods are too yin, and many of them contain aldehydes.

Sea salt is excellent, but avoid refined table salt. Mild spices, such as tarragon, garlic, ginger, mustard, dill, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, burdock, horseradish, oregano, basil, rosemary and parsley are very good choices.

For safety and efficacy, it is recommended to consult your physician before beginning this diet or any other type of diet program.


Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for more than 30 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 6, December 2015/January 2016.

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