Brain Gut 6: Epi-Paleo Rx

Readers Summary:

  1. How should we consider eating our diets?
  2. What is the Epi-Paleo Rx?
  3. Why your brain health is linked to ultimate health.

This blog followed a very popular July 2012 Webinar that I put on for my members a few days ago.  The webinar was over two hours long and had a lot of Q & A done after it as well.  I promised my members I would get a quick blog post up for them on some of the core materials we covered. Today’s blog is delivering on that promise.

How to consider eating the Epi-Paleo Rx:

  • Always Respect circadian cycles and eat according to seasonality
  • Lots of good quality proteins (see below)
  • Lots of good quality fats (grass-fed/pastured animal fats – lard, tallow)
  • Liberal uses of seafood broths and bone broth made from ocean and grass-fed animals (to heal the gut)
  • Fermented vegetables and/or probiotics (to repopulate the gut with an Optimal Human flora)

The Base of the Protein/Fat Pyramid of the Epi Paleo Rx:

This diet is the best at controlling inflammation at the brain level to affect hormonal modulation and epigenetic expression

The levels of the pyramid are ordered from best choice for the human brain to next best.

 1. The base of the Pyramid is shellfish (oysters) other than crustaceans: Provides the most nutrient density of any food source for optimal functioning of the human brain.

2. The second level of the Pyramid: Crustaceans

3. The third level of the pyramid: Fish

4. The fourth level of the pyramid: Offal/organ meat of pastured/grassfed animals.  This is where micronutrient density is greatest in meats but not seafood!

5. The fifth level of the pyramid is where ‘modern day paleo’ begins its pyramid base at our 4th level: grass fed skeletal meats.

6.  Pastured eggs if there are no medical contraindications of inflammation like an AI*

7.  Seeds and nuts*  shading to omega 3 nuts is fine but this becomes important if there is a serious EFA imbalance only on direct testing

Fats: (in order of Optimal)

1. Spring and summer: Coconut oil, ghee, palm oil, duck fat, beef tallow, bacon fat, duck fat, pastured butter if there are no medical issue precluding its use, olive or avocado oils for salads, macadamia nut oils for mayonaise, raw cream if there are no contraindications*  When you eat seafood try to use MUFA’s as the added fat.

2. Fall and Winter: ghee, pastured butter, duck fat, beef tallow, bacon fat, non hydrogenated lard,  raw cream*  Stick to animal fats in colder months.  When you eat seafood try to use MUFA’s as the added fat.*

3. When you eat non seafood protein this is when you should add  your saturated fats to your diet to the greatest degree!! Grass fed red meat and offal come packed with saturated fats by nature and fish do not, by design as well as I laid out in the webinar.  When I eat non seafood protein and saturated fats, I tend to also add sea vegetables to the meal.  What are the Epi-paleo sea vegetables?  That comes later in the blog.  In the healthy human colon complex carbohydrates get converted to SCFA to increase our omega three content in our colon to diminish the risk of diverticulitis and colon cancer.  This is only done when the gut microflora is functioning well.  This can be re engineered by evolutionary dietary modifications to be covered in later blog in this series.

*These were covered in depth in the Webinar on this topic for members of our community.

Foods that I would totally eliminate from the Epi-Paleo Rx:

1. All grains no matter how they are prepared culturally.

 2. All US dairy (including raw US dairy)  because of the A1 casein problem and its tie to BCM-7 and its massive link to Hashimoto’s and  disease.  Hashimoto’s in not a static disease but a dynamic one.  This means you must pay attention to your thyroid panels and AB’s as you evolve through your life too.  One can use French or New Zealand dairy products if you can source them.

 3. All nightshades vegetables if you have chronic elevated inflammation and a low Vitamin D level: Datura, Mandragora (mandrake), Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Lycium barbarum (wolfberry), Physalis philadelphica (tomatillo) , Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry flower), Capsicum (chili pepper, bell pepper), Solanum (potato, tomato, eggplant), Nicotiana (tobacco), and Petunia. With the exception of tobacco (Nicotianoideae) and petunia (Petunioideae), most of the economically important genera are contained in the subfamily Solanoideae.  Read my caveat below about the dietary uses!

Many members of the Solanaceae family are used by humans, and are important sources of food, spice and medicine. However, Solanaceae species are often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity to humans and animals ranges from mildly irritating (most) to fatal in small quantities.

What are Solanaceae?  If you have an AI, DDD or DJD consider avoiding them:

A. American-grown soy! It has been hybridized with petunias, a nightshade, to be pesticide resistant (Round-Up)

B. All potatoes (NOTE:  this does not include  sweet potatoes because they are from the Marigold family)

C. Tomatoes (green are worse than any other type if you eat them as I do.  The lycopene issue is offset by eating other red fruits of veggies.  Watermelon for example blows tomatoes away as a source of lycopene.)

D. eggplant

E. sweet and hot peppers (including paprika, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce, but not black pepper)

F. ground cherries

G. tomatillos and tamarillos

H. garden huckleberry and naranjillas

I. pepinos and pimentos

J. Only the cape gooseberry is a nightshade (Physalis peruviana),  Most gooseberries are not in the nightshade family.  They are in the genus Ribes and are related to currants.

K. Blueberries,  Strawberries, okra, artichokes, have some solanaceae toxin in them, but are not strict nightshades.  If you have arthritis or another inflammatory condition you might want to rethink the ‘dogma’ that surrounds them.  (kills me to tell you this too)

Caveat: Key point to consider and why I use some of these veggies/fruit in my Epi-paleo Rx in my e-cookbook: Most of the foods listed above have small amounts of the toxins in them.  If you are ill with debilitating arthritis, Hashimoto’s or any autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, biotoxin illness, or just have a high HS CRP normally serious consider limiting these foods.  In many countries around the world people have found a way around these toxins by slow cooking their nightshades at very low temperatures for long periods of time and that would keep the vitamins intact while making the fruits easier on the body. This is how I use nightshades in my sauces.  Nightshades have something called oxalic acid that depletes the calcium in your body. If you are already using pre and probiotics for your gut health then you know the meaning of the double edged sword.  Dairy has a lot of calcium, and if tomatoes take it away from our body , why not consider  have them together to create a balanced dietary effect? This is why many Italian dishes are prepared with the combo. As most of you know I am no fan of A1 dairy products for many reasons I laid out in the Epi-paleo Webinar (BCM-7 casein and DPPIV) but the point is that if you learn how to create a balanced environment in your body then you don’t need to avoid the foods you love.  This is what I learned about myself by doing quarterly testing on myself over 7 years.  When I saw my HS CRP and Vitamin D were unaffected by some of these things I ate them without regret and you should too.  That being said if you have an inflammatory condition,  like most of my patients have in my clinic, you need to rethink this food group carefully.  Take a look at this google document for some more information.

Here is a link for a good book on these substances.

Most of my spine patients with DDD and DJD  get told this information and it shocks them.  Most have never heard about it at all.  Here is a link to an arthritis foundation for you to research a bit more about this issue.

4. All fruits, WHEN they out of season for your particular geography.  In season, they are perfectly fine for you.

5. Optional cut of all fowl. For Optimal health if you can afford to limit fowl do so.  All fowl should be cutuntil your healthy with the exception of duck.  Personally I eat very little fowl but when I do it is wild duck or quail/pheasant.  I use duck fat much more than its meat.

6. All Legumes without exception even for cultural reasons.

7. Any saponincontaining food.  Alfalfa sprouts, Yucca, soy, quilla extract (Used to foam drinks like beer) chia seeds

8.  Avoid all sweeteners period.  Stevia is OK ( I rarely use it now)  if it has no maltodextrin or other additives.

9.  When eating non ocean bearing fats/protein consider adding Sea Veggies to the recipe:

A. Irish Moss (chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals — calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help you detoxify, boost metabolism and strengthen hair, skin and nails. In Eastern medicine it is traditionally used for a low sex drive because it helps support T3 levels to convert LDL to progesterone and not to cortisol.

B. Wakame (alaria, undaria) is a high-protein, high calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C. It is used in Chinese medicine for hair growth and luster, and for skin tone because it optimizes thyroid function.

C.  Kelp (laminaria) contains vitamins the fat soluble vitamins A, B, E, D and K in high quantity, and is a major source of vitamin C from the sea.  It also happens to be rich in many minerals found in land based plants. This is why it made my top ten supplement list so long ago in the blog series.  Kelp proteins are high quality and present in abundance for a sea plant.  It is a brown marine plant, kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles (think Fukishima Iodine) and heavy metals from the body.  Kelp can works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Kelp’s natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders like obesity and muscle fatigue seen in fibromyalgia cases.  Clinical pearl: people with herpes virus of any type:  It is a demulcent that helps eliminate herpes outbreaks after they have occurred.  Kelp is nutrient rich and a small amount gives a large clinical result often.

D.  Hijiki is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20{a7b724a0454d92c70890dedf5ec22a026af4df067c7b55aa6009b4d34d5da3c6} protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400mg per 100 grams of dry weight.

E.  Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp), has a long tradition as a Japanese delicacy with reported nutritional healing value. Natural healers use it is a decongestant for excess mucous and to helps normalize blood pressure. Kombu has abundant iodine, carotenes, B, C, D and E vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and the powerful skin healing nutrient germanium, which is a pretty rare element in the human diet. Kombu is a meaty, high-protein seaweed. It is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds. I often add a strip of kombu to my bone broths and seafood broths.

F. Nori (porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried. It contains nearly 50{a7b724a0454d92c70890dedf5ec22a026af4df067c7b55aa6009b4d34d5da3c6} balanced, assimilable protein, higher than any other sea plant. Nori’s fiber makes it popular for sushi wrapping.  I do not eat any rice because its miRNA directly affects our DNA expression.  Nori is rich in all the carotenes, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.

G. Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America by Oregon and Washington State. It has a honeyed, salty taste that makes it tasty vegetable.  I like it with my cauliflower rice recipe form the e-cookbook, or as a summer or autumn salad topping.

H. Bladderwrack is loaded with vitamin K  and it is an excellent adrenal adaptogen and it helps sensitize us to insulin to because of its K2 like effects. It is often used today by Native American cultures broths and in sauna/steam baths for degenerative arthritis and inflammatory joint conditions.

I. Dulse (palmaria palmata), a red sea plant, very rich in iron.  The last two sea veggies are my favorites because they have the most iodine of any plants on our planet.  I was made aware of this sea vegetable when I was researching the Geritol solution for global warming.  It also has abundant protein, and vitamin A. What really makes it a specially balanced nutrient for a lactovegetarian paleo diet is that it contains 300 times more iodine and 50 times more iron than wheat products. Tests on dulse show antiviral action against the herpes virus.

J.Arame (Eisenia bycyclis), is one of the ocean’s richest sources of iodine. It often contains more iodine than seafood does!  Because of its high iodine content it can have major effects on women’s progesterone to estradiol ratio’s naturally.  If you are estrogen dominant you  might consider using this as become a staple in your broths and recipes.  Many natural healers use arame to help reduce breast and uterine fibroids, excessive bleeding, fibrocystic disease of the breasts, and ovarian cysts.  It is also quite helpful in cases of PCOS with acne and excessive facial hair.  It also contains a lot fat soluble vitamins and phytohormones, to normalize peri menopausal and menopausal symptoms. Arame is often associated with soft wrinkle-free skin turgor and tends to enhances hair growth and make your hair have an incredible sheen. The reason is because this veggie increase your free T3 to a dramatic degree when it is used regularly in your diet.

The moral of the story for your paleo template?  Most folks are more interested in being effective than right, when it comes to their diet. There’s a huge difference between Paleo solution and Epi-Paleo Rx when you are not well.  My site focuses in those in our community who are not well or ideal as they want to be.  You have an obligation to yourself only.  You can only change yourself.  You can’t let other people tell you who you are. You have to decide that for yourself.  Health improvements always begin with I, not we.

You can’t let a lifestyle movement become a dogma no matter how good it feels. Those of you who heard the July webinar got a lot more data behind these simple recommendations.  Share them with your loved ones and come back here and post your results as time evolves.  Your comments are important to future people who come read it.  Today smile at someone……..A smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart.  This will help lower your cortisol too and help you get well.  This is also part of the Epi-Paleo Rx as well.

The Paleo Template is a very good diet because it is is better at controlling inflammation than most other diets.  When I discovered the Epi-Paleo Rx seven years ago, I kept researching all the biochemistry links of why it worked so well in those with serious diseases and illness risks.  It destroys inflammation while providing the human with massive quantities of brain specific nutrients to rebuild your neural circuitry.  This current series is showing you how these dietary principles directly link to optimal brain health. Optimal brain health is a requirement for illness prevention in humans based upon our evolutionary design.

We are only as good as our weakest link based upon on our evolutionary construction blueprint.  Humans are unique because of their brains within the mammalian clade.   The Epi-Paleo Rx is how we evolved from transitional apes. You decide now what you want: effective or correct.

I’m just the guy with the flashlight on the road to Optimal.

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Additional Resources


  • (Why you might want to re-think Cordain’s data)
  • The Paleo Answer, by Loren Cordain
  • Cordain et al. Origin and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am. J. Of Clinical Nutr. 2005. FEB; 8(2):341-54