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The Epi-Paleo Rx


The Epi-paleo Rx for optimal human health

  • Always respect circadian cycles and eat according to season

  • 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 for optimal human flora)


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. They are the most nutrient-dense of any food for optimal brain function.

  2. Crustaceans

  3. Fish

  4. Offal, or organ meats, of pastured/ grass-fed 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: Grass-fed skeletal meats.

  6. Pastured eggs if there are no contraindications of inflammation, such as autoimmunity.*

  7. Seeds and nuts.* Leaning toward 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 mayonnaise, raw cream if there are no contraindications.* When you eat seafood try to use MUFAs 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 MUFAs as the added fat.*

  3. When you eat non-seafood protein you should add saturated fats to your diet to the greatest degree! Grass-fed red meat and offal come packed with saturated fats and fish do not, as I explained in the webinar. When I eat non-seafood protein and saturated fats I also add sea vegetables to the meal. The healthy human colon converts complex carbohydrates to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) to increase omega 3 content in our colon and diminish the risk of diverticulitis and colon cancer. This is only done when gut microflora function well, however this process can be re engineered by evolutionary dietary modifications. *These were covered in depth in the webinar on this topic for members of our community.

Foods I totally eliminate from the Epi-paleo Rx:

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

2. All U.S. dairy (including raw dairy) because of the A1 casein problem, its ties to BCM-7 (a detrimental opiate), and its massive link to Hashimoto’s and disease. One can use French or New Zealand dairy products.

3. All nightshades vegetables if you have chronic inflammation and low vitamin D: 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 Solanaceae. 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 with a toxicity to humans and animals that ranges from mildly irritating (most) to fatal in small quantities.

What are Solanaceae? If you have an autoimmunity, degenerative disc disease, or degenerative joint disease consider avoiding them:

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

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

  • Tomatoes (green are worse than any other type. Eating other red fruits of veggies offsets the lycopene issue. Watermelon, for example, blows tomatoes away as a source of lycopene.)

  • Eggplant

  • Sweet and hot peppers (including paprika, cayenne pepper, and Tabasco sauce, but not black pepper)

  • Ground cherries

  • Tomatillos and tamarillos

  • Garden huckleberry and naranjillas

  • Pepinos and pimentos

  • 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.


The key point to consider and why I use some of these veggies and fruits in my Epi-paleo Rx 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, seriously 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. This keeps the vitamins intact while making the fruits easier on the body. I use nightshades in my sauces in this way.

Nightshades have oxalic acid, which depletes the calcium in your body. Dairy has a lot of calcium, and if tomatoes take it away from our body, why not consider having them together to create a balanced dietary effect? This is why many Italian dishes are prepared with a combination of the two. As most of you know, I am no fan of A1 dairy products for many reasons I laid out in the Epi-paleo Webinar (such as BCM-7 casein and DPP-IV), but 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 by doing quarterly testing on myself more than seven 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 patients in my clinic do, you need to rethink this food group carefully.

Most of my spine patients with degenerative disc or joint disease are shocked by this information. Most have never heard it before.

4. All fruits when they are out of season for your particular geography. When in season they are fine for you.

5. Optional: Cut out all poultry and fowl. For optimal health limit fowl if you can afford to. All fowl should be eliminated until you’re healthy, with the exception of duck. Personally, I eat very little fowl but when I do it is wild duck, quail, or pheasant. I use more duck fat than meat.

6. All legumes without exception, even for cultural reasons.

7. Any foods containing saponin . Alfalfa sprouts, yucca, soy, quilla extract (used to foam drinks like beer), and 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 fats or protein consider adding sea veggies to the recipe ( is a good online source of seaweeds).

A. Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help detoxification, 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 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-10 supplement list long ago in the blog series. Kelp proteins are high quality and present in abundance for a sea plant. Kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles (think Fukishima iodine) and heavy metals from the body. Kelp can work as a blood purifier, relieve arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid health. Kelp’s natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders such as obesity and muscle fatigue seen in fibromyalgia cases. Clinical pearl for 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 often gives large clinical results.

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

E. Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp) has a long tradition as a Japanese delicacy with nutritional healing value. Natural healers use it is a decongestant for excess mucous and to help normalize blood pressure. It 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 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 percent balanced protein that is easy to assimilate, higher than any other sea plant. Nori’s fiber makes it popular for sushi wrapping. I do not eat any rice because its microRNA directly affect our DNA expression. Nori is rich in all the carotenes, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.

G. Sea palm (Postelsia palmaeformis), or 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 a tasty vegetable. I like it with my cauliflower rice recipe from 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. It helps sensitize us to insulin because of its K2-like effects. It is often used today by Native American cultures in broths and in sauna and steam baths for degenerative arthritis and inflammatory joint conditions.

I. Dulse (Palmaria palmata), a red sea plant, is very rich in iron. The last two sea veggies are my favorites because they have the most iodine of any plants on our planet. It also has abundant protein and vitamin A. What really makes it a good 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 a woman’s progesterone to estradiol ratio. If you are estrogen dominant you might consider using this as 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 contains fat-soluble vitamins and phytohormones, which can help normalize perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Arame is often associated with soft, wrinkle-free skin, enhanced hair growth, and an incredible sheen to hair. This sea veggie increases your free T3 to a dramatic degree when used regularly in your diet.

I focus on those who are not well or as ideal as they want to be. Those of you who heard the July 2012 webinar got quite a bit more data behind these simple recommendations. Share them with your loved ones and then post your results at my blog as time evolves. Your comments are important to people who come read it in the future. Also, 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 part of the Epi-paleo Rx as well.

There’s a huge difference between the Paleo diet and Epi-paleo Rx when you are not well. The Paleo template is a very good diet because it is better at controlling inflammation than most other diets. However, I discovered the Epi-paleo Rx seven years ago as I kept researching the biochemistry of diet in those with serious diseases and inflammation. It destroys inflammation while providing massive quantities of brain-specific nutrients to rebuild your neural circuitry.


Nutritional therapy was a key feature in medical training in the early half of the 20th century. Between 1910 and 1945, the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City offered more than 50 unique therapeutic diets for diseases, following Hippocrates' advice to "let food be your medicine." This was typical of any major community or university hospital at that time.

I think the real defender of gut integrity is not the brush border of the intestine but rather the liver's ability to detoxify our blood and ensure our plasma is not oxidized. The first line of defense after food is eaten is the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), also known as the gut's immune system.

The nutrients the gut absorbs enter the liver's portal circulation for detoxification and repackaging. This is the most important step in biology in my view. If the liver is a "poor sieve," you are opening the flood gates to inflammation and eventually Neolithic disease.

what allow the liver to be a good sieve?

The answer is:

- HDL,

- optimal testosterone and estrogen levels,

- good thyroid hormone levels, and

- a well functioning LDL receptor.

A healthy liver protects the gut and brain from assault. Most endotoxin (tosins in bacteria) gain access to our protal circulation but rarely make it to our general circulation, where they would cause real damage, because our liver won't allow it.

In fact, the liver's ability to bind to endotoxins is increased by exercise, testosterone, estrogen, and even occasional alcohol use.

A high HDL is a sign of good liver function. HDL particles bind to inflammatory endotoxin particles to protect us from oxidation.

Moreover, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and chylomicrons also protect us from inflammatory damage. This biologic process is at the seat of why we see higher cholesterol levels in the face of cellular stress or infection. Cholesterol production is our body's natural response to clean up inflammation if the brush border is overwhelmed in the gut.

If your gut receives an insult that causes leaky gut, thyroid hormone production increases to up-regulate turnover of cholesterol, working with vitamin A to convert cholesterol to pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is the basic building block of all the steroid hormones our brain uses to run the body. Its formation is critical for our brain to manage the stress of many different cellular insults.

If this system is not working properly the result is a communication breakdown between the brain and our cells. This is how I globally define leptin resistance. Leptin resistance prohibits the brain from understanding a situation. Likewise, when we lose control of our thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) we essentially lose control of the brain's communication with peripheral cells.

When cortisol is chronically elevated the body steals pregnenolone from the other hormones to make cortisol, decreasing progesterone, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. This helps explain why we see low vitamin D, testosterone, and estrogen in so many people today. Life today is based on a constant need for cortisol due to our inflammatory diets, our exposure to light late into the night, and other Neolithic factors.

We need to think about the thyroid some more. Another biochemical fact: 20% of the conversion of T4 to T3 (this is a vital process) occurs directly in the gut. The liver primarily converts the remainder. So the liver and thyroid is critical to how this brain gut axis system work.

If the brain senses thyroid hormones are low it increases the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH from the pituitary gland. This increased secretion is pro-inflammatory as it causes the liver to make a chemical called high-sensitivity C-reactie protein (HS-CRP). HS-CRP is a chemical that is what we call an acute phase reactant. This means the liver releases it whenever we face any kind of metabolic stress. The same is true for ferritin, which is stored in the reticuloendothelial system of the liver. There are other acute phase reactants but these two are the most important.

HS-CRP tells you how oxidized your plasma is, which in turn tells you how much inflammation your cells are making. You want HS-CRP as close to zero as possible. As HS-CRP multiplies, it facilitates the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines stimulate inflammation, including in the blood vessels, which provokes the rupture of plaques. This is why 55% of fatal heart attacks are caused by plaque rupture instead of arterial occlusion. When your HS-CRP is elevate you better take notice.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an epidemic in America and in my view is a sigh of a constant assault on the gut that eventually floods liver portal circulation with inflammation. This is a simplified version. Once inflammatory cytokines are present in the general circulation they head to the two most prominent organs based upon blood flow --- the brain and the heart. The first effect in the brain is to overwhelm the parts not protected by the blood-brain barrier, which are also the areas that secrete hormones in response to both the external and internal environments.

The most important of these unprotected areas are found in the hypothalamus, where the leptin receptors are also located. These receptors can become so overwhelmed by inflammatory cytokines that they become resistant. Leptin resistance, in turn, basically blinds the brain to the energy needs and status of our 20 trillion cells. Leptin resistance also prevents control of how calories are partitioned to peripheral cells. Something else that's interesting. Leptin resistance alters the receptors that control the wiring and firing of our reward tracts in the brain. This is why obese people with leptin resistance tend to have abnormally low levels of dopamine receptors in the reward tracts, making them slaves to high-reward foods such as processed carbohydrates.

The Epi-paleo Rx is based on how we evolved from transitional apes. You decide now what you want to be with your diet: effective or correct. I’m just the guy with the flashlight on the road to optimal.

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