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The 12 Core Principles


The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is based around 12 Core Principles.

These are 12 simple points to guide you to optimal good health. The 12 Core Principles are easy to understand, easy to implement in your life and easy to follow. Living this way requires no science degree, no calorie counting and no need to starve yourself. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We have worked hard to remove the science and complexity, and the end result is purposefully simple, as good health should be. And far from starving, this lifestyle is abundant, you shouldn’t need to suffer in order to be healthy.

Karl formulated the 12 Core Principles out of his own 26-year journey from fat-to-fit, from ill health to supremely good health and abundant natural energy, combined with his extensive reading and studies and working with other people. Please remember, Mother Nature’s Diet is not a fad diet, it’s a permanent, sustainable, healthy lifestyle. As such, these 12 Core Principles are not ‘rigid and inflexible rules’, rather they are sign posts, guidelines for you to try out, to see what works for you.


Giving people dietary advice in the 21st century has become a dangerous game, fraught with complications and whatever you say, someone will criticize it, contradict it or say that it’s wrong. The reality is that all dietary advice is open to variation - all people are different, your metabolism is different to someone else’s, your gut flora is different to someone else’s, how you absorb and assimilate food is different to someone else. Food varies by the soil it was grown in, the climate, the environment. The amount of exercise and activity you do which you define as “an active lifestyle” may be very different to someone else’s definition. One person is an athlete, the next person is not. One person wants to lose weight, another wants to gain weight. Many factors are involved, we are all different.

The 12 Core Principles are designed to create the best possible outcome for the broadest population possible. We believe the 12 Core Principles are an excellent, healthy, optimal and abundant way to live for the overwhelming majority of people, but of course, some people may disagree. We suggest you try the 12 Core Principles, treat them as guidelines rather than ‘hard rules’ and see what works for you. Strictly regimented eating rules tend to be a hallmark of the fad diet world. Instead, we like to think of the 12 Core Principles as a broad set of basic guidelines that work most of the time for most people. We encourage you to try them, and adopt what works for you. Adopting a healthier lifestyle long term is more about finding what works for you as an individual than about following the latest predetermined set plan just because it happens to be endorsed by some celebrity!

For a ‘brief’ introduction to the 12 Core Principles, please read on…

Core Principle 1: Eat fewer processed grains and starchesMND_CP_logo_1

In today’s diet-obsessed world, carbohydrate (carbs) consumption has become one of the most over-discussed issues in modern day nutrition, and it is all-too-easy to get lost in the detail of the arguments. However, this page is not the place for that, so this is necessarily brief.

Mother Nature’s Diet is not a ‘strict low-carb diet’ as has become very popular in recent years. While there is no doubt that low-carb and ketogenic diets have proven to be extremely beneficial for some people, that is not what we are advocating here. Living the MND way, carbs are on the menu every day – vegetables and fruits are natural carbs. We eat vegetables at pretty much every meal, and fruits in moderation. Beware of health advice that is completely restrictive, such as “don’t eat carbs” as this is often a sign of nutrition advice that is restrictive, trying to apply ‘one size fits all’ mentality where it does not suit everyone.

In very broad general terms, there are five key reasons why we avoid eating grains and processed starchy carbs when living the Mother Nature’s Diet way.

  1. For the vast majority of people, unless you are an athlete, then you just don’t need lots of bulky starchy carbs in your diet. The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat
  2. Grains cannot be digested unless they are processed or fermented, and in the natural order of things, way back in evolution, these foods would not have formed a major component of our diet
  3. Most of these foods (grains) naturally contain compounds that are not good for a lot of people. These foods contain gluten, phytates and other chemical substances that can cause digestive problems for a lot of people
  4. Grains and starchy carbs – the way they are consumed in the typical Western diet – tend to supply lots of bulk and lots of calories, without supplying much in the way of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. In terms of eating foods that fill your plate, there are much better choices
  5. Modern large-scale industrialised agriculture, particularly grain (and maize, rice and soya) agriculture, is a major source of topsoil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions

This page does not allow us the space to explore each of these points in great detail, for that you might like to read my book Mother Nature’s Diet so here we will just touch on these topics very briefly.

Eating lots of processed carbohydrates and starches – that’s bread, cereals, pastry, pasta, white potatoes, spaghetti and rice – can contribute to gaining excess unwanted body fat. In very plain English: too many starchy carbs can make you fat.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are an attempt to give the best possible nutrition and lifestyle advice to the broadest possible group of people. In the world of nutrition, one size never fits all, so there will always be people who will disagree with Core Principle 1, but we believe this advice stands true for ‘most’ folks eating a typical Western diet. Athletes with specific training goals and individualised energy requirements would be the major exception.

We are not excluding an entire food group “from all people, in its entirety, at all times” just because ‘grains are bad for you’ as there is much more to it than that. The reality is that for many people, the popular foods made using grains and other starches, sold en masse in our supermarkets, which form a bulk part of the typical modern Western diet, are feeding people large amounts of easily-digestible calories, eaten rapidly in large quantities, eaten too quickly, too easily, too eagerly, too often, and these foods tend to be of a fairly low overall nutrient density. In all, this ‘consumption pattern’ seems to be a major contributing factor to growing obesity levels, it seems to be a major contributory factor to the rising type-2 diabetes problem, and it seems to be a major contributory factor to the sub-standard level of micro-nutrients in the modern Western diet.

Additionally, people tend to eat these grains and starchy carbs as ‘the bulk’ element of a meal (think cereals and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta, rice and spaghetti for dinner) and this can often lead to over-eating large quantities of these foods. Because of this issue of quantity, these grains and starchy carbs tend to contribute a substantial proportion of the calories in a person’s diet, but comparatively little micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). This can contribute to weight gain. However, let’s not just blame starchy carbs and sugar for making people overweight, and don’t blame insulin either! If someone is overweight, they have been taking in more calories than they have been using – starchy carbs and refined sugar are just adding to the problems!


Additionally, too many processed starchy carbs can lead to a diminished insulin response, a damaged pancreas and can contribute to metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes. Bulky meals of starchy carbs can cause your pancreas to work too hard producing insulin and can trigger blood sugar highs and lows, leading to regular energy lows throughout your day. These energy lows can contribute to carbs being addictive, and subsequent over-eating.

Grains are the seeds of grasses, and humans are not evolved to eat grasses. The way Mother Nature evolved grains was not primarily to become a major component of the human diet – and the way Mother Nature evolved humans, was not to eat a diet comprised of a large proportion of calories coming from grains.

We have not evolved to eat large quantities of grains, we cannot digest these plants in their raw form, that is why they have to be processed before we can consume them. There are compounds in grains – gluten, lectins, phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors – that are undesirable and have negative side-effects inside your body. These compounds can contribute to all manner of digestive disorders and auto-immune problems. A lot of people suffer from gluten sensitivity but they are not aware of it. If you suffer any digestive issues, bloating, gas, or inflammatory conditions (that could mean anything from skin conditions, to heart disease, from nasal congestion to arthritis) then it could possibly be that gluten is the cause, or a factor in aggravating the condition. If you suffer from any digestive health problems or inflammatory conditions, you may benefit from trying six months off grains to see if it makes a positive difference to your life.

If you are eating lots of starchy carbs, chances are you’re not packing in other more nutritious foods that your body could use to help you achieve supreme good health – such as lots of vegetables. Basically, and yes this is a generalisation, too many folks are living on cereal and/or toast for breakfast, bread for lunch, pasta and rice for dinner, and while none of these foods in small quantities will do you any terrible harm (unless you are extremely gluten sensitive), living on a diet high in these foods for many years, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, is a major driving force in the current rising prevalence of obesity, type-2 diabetes and a host of auto-immune conditions.

As if all that isn’t enough, while grains are not particularly good for us humans, grain agriculture is also not very good for this beautiful planet we call home. Industrialised grain agriculture is harmful to our Earth and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Current industrialised agricultural methods are not sustainable. We have to change, urgently.


There are so many good reasons not to eat grains…and there are just so many better food choices available! If we look at the major health challenges our society faces today, rising obesity rates and rising type-2 diabetes rates are close to the top of the list. Meanwhile, too many people are eating too much processed food, high in sugar and low in micro-nutrients. What we need is less bulky ‘beige food’ that is high in calories but low in micro-nutrients. We need to eat less of that stuff, and more fresh whole foods, high in micro-nutrient values. Eliminating grains and starchy processed carbs from our diet and eating lots more fresh vegetables instead, is a sensible substitution, aimed at improving the nutrient density of your diet.

So MND Core Principle 1 recommends “Quit the grains and starchy carbs” as broad advice to the public as a whole – and that is very different from saying “never eat these foods, they are really bad for you”. So there are a bunch of exceptions to this ‘Rule’ – if you’re a bodybuilder or weight lifter, you probably eat lots of carbs, and you probably know what you’re doing, so that’s cool, good for you. Maybe you run marathons and you love eating tons of carbs, and you burn it all off every week, well good for you, if you are gluten tolerant and that works for you then you keep doing that.

But whatever activity you do, you will likely benefit from making some better choices. Cereals, bread and pasta are low-nutrient carbohydrate options, and you could be getting your carbs from sweet potato, squash and parsnips, foods which will give you additional micro-nutrients, and foods that don’t come with added sugar, processed salt and other additives. Fresh whole foods are also less processed, and if you are making smart purchasing decisions, such as buying local and organic, you are supporting much more sustainable agricultural practices, with better consequences for the environment.

“The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat”

Anecdotally, many people trying to lose weight report that the single best thing they have done to quickly shift persistent undesirable body fat is to drop grains and starchy carbs. Unless you’re an athlete, quit bread and pasta for three to six months and see the weight come off.

Core Principle 2: Eliminate refined sugar, limit natural sugarsMND_CP_logo_2

Refined sugar is a major health hazard. Either in the form of the white crystals we know as table sugar, or the comparatively ‘new evil’ liquid form you have almost certainly heard of, high fructose corn syrup, sugar is undeniably a major contributory factor to the rising global obesity problem.

Food manufacturers seem to increasingly add sugar to almost everything, and some processed foods and soft drinks contain frightening amounts of refined sugar. As most Western nations face an obesity problem that is racing out of control, and a type-2 diabetes problem that’s not far behind, refined sugar is increasingly recognised as a major contributing factor in this situation.

With sugar added to everything from oven pizza to stir fry sauces, the problem is that people are becoming ever-more conditioned to expect all foods to taste sweet. This desire for sweet-tasting foods is a vicious cycle, driving over-eating of processed foods, and causing people to lose familiarity with the natural tastes of fresh whole foods.

Not a whole food

Refined sugar is not a nutritious food in and of itself, because it offers only calories, without any vitamins and minerals, and it costs your body dearly to process it. Refined sugar is therefore an antinutrient, something that costs your body small amounts of certain micro-nutrients in order for you to digest and assimilate the calories provided. If you lived on nothing but sugar, you would develop life-threatening vitamin deficiencies surprisingly quickly. In short, you would die faster eating a diet of just sugar, than if you ate nothing and starved to death. Therefore, it’s not an unrealistic notion to say that refined sugar is an addictive, fattening, poison.

Sugar consumption is almost unquestionably the key driver behind the current type-2 diabetes epidemic. Sugar products are now hidden under an array of names and guises, some notorious like High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and some more subtle, such as maltodextrin. Sugar is added to so many foods it is ridiculous – and often because the so-called ‘food’ is little more than “nutritional cardboard” made in a factory, and without sugar it would taste pretty awful.


  • Eating refined sugar actually does you more harm than good
  • Sugar consumptions is a major driver of the current obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics
  • Refined sugar offers only empty calories, no vitamins and minerals. It costs your body small amounts of micro-nutrients to digest it
  • If you tried to live on just refined sugar, you would almost certainly become very sick in surprisingly little time, and eventually die
  • Sugar is an addictive, fattening, poison
  • Many people think healthy fresh whole foods are boring, because they say they taste bland – but only to their palate which has been familiarised to desire sweet tastes by refined sugar and processed salt
  • Sugar is in almost every processed food these days – study labels and wise up!
  • Alcoholic drinks are also full of sugar

Core Principle 3: Minimise processed foods, eat only organic raw or grass-fed dairyMND_CP_logo_3

Processed foods are the output of the industrialised food system. Many processed foods use the staples wheat, maize, soy or rice as a base, end products of industrialised agricultural practices that deplete topsoil and are harmful to the planet. They tend to contain added sugar and salt, and nasty processed vegetable oils (think trans fats), and scant amounts of micro-nutrient rich fresh whole foods, such as vegetables, oily fish or organ meats. In short, processed foods are often based on grains or other starchy carbs, have added sugar, and lack natural micro-nutrients, and they support poor farming practices that are not nourishing our precious topsoil resources.

If it comes in a packet with a label on the back listing lots of ingredients and some scientific sounding words, and if it has a barcode and a use-by date more than two or three days in the future, then you shouldn’t be eating it. Living the Mother Nature’s Diet way, we want to avoid these processed foods, and eat almost exclusively fresh whole foods, rich in micro-nutrients and low in artificial additives.

Food labels

A carrot does not have a label saying: “Ingredients: 100% carrot”. When you visit a proper butcher and ask for a shoulder of lamb, it does not come with a label, a list of ingredients, a bar code and a pretty picture of sunrise over an old farm house. It comes out of the cool room at the back with blood smeared on it and bones poking out. He weights it and wraps it in a piece of paper and you take it home. That is real food. Fresh food. Whole food. That is how it should be.

If you look at food labels to understand what is used in processed foods, you’ll see how many processed foods are all just made of the same stuff – starchy carbs, sugar, processed salt, vegetable oils and then a few small amounts of artificial additives to give it flavour, colour and texture. Food labels list ingredients in order of size – I.E. the thing listed first is the single biggest ingredient, and the thing listed last is the smallest. So generally speaking, the first few items make up the bulk of the food by weight and by calories.

Just to illustrate a point, here are a few sample ingredients lists:

Ingredients label 1 – Bisto Best Rich & Roasted Pork Gravy granules: Potato Starch; Dried Glucose Syrup; Salt; Flavourings (Contains Milk); Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635); Vegetable Oil; Colour (E150c); Dried Pork (0.4%); Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin); Onion Extract; Rosemary Extract.

What do we see here? Potato starch (there it is, #1 biggest ingredient, starchy processed carbs), dried glucose syrup (sugar, basically), salt, then minor additives. So that 100% makes the point. Gravy granules, processed starch with added sugar and salt.

Ingredients label 2 – Sharwoods Medium Egg Noodles: Wheat Flour; Egg (5.5%); Salt; Acidity Regulator: Potassium Carbonate.

And we see the same story again – egg noodles, made of wheat flour, egg and salt. Well, at least it doesn’t have a bunch of added sugar!

Ingredients label 3 – Whole Earth Lightly Whipped Milk Chocolate Spread: Sugar; Palm Oil; Lactose; Low Fat Cocoa Powder (10%); Skimmed Milk Powder; Whey Powder; Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Flavouring: Bourbon Vanilla Extract.

Number 1 on the list is sugar, then palm oil which has been the target of massive press attention because of deforestation and loss of habitat for orangutans.

Ingredients label 4 – Kelloggs Crunchy Nut with red fruit bites: Cereals (Oats, Maize); Sugar; Vegetable Oil; Crisp Cereal (Rice Flour, Maize Flour, Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Salt, Dextrose); Glucose Syrup; Raspberry Flavour Fruit Pieces (6%) (Sugar, Cranberry, Citric Acid, Flavouring, Elderberry Juice From Concentrate); Peanuts (4.5%); Strawberry Fruit Pieces (3%) (Fructose-Glucose Syrup, Humectant {Glycerol}, Sugar, Strawberry Puree from Concentrate, Oat Fibre, Vegetable Oil, Rice Starch, Gelling Agent {Pectin}, Vegetable Concentrate {Pumpkin, Carrot}); Modified Starch; Salt; Barley Malt Flavouring; Sodium Bicarbonate; Antioxidant (Ascorbyl Palmitate, Alpha Tocopherol); Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin).

And breakfast cereals here provide the perfect example – ingredients in order of weight are highly processed grains, a bunch of sugar, and then a heap of artificial additives to try to make it taste and look nice.

The Mother Nature’s Diet lifestyle avoids processed foods completely because they represent everything that is wrong with our food system. Grains (see all the reasons in Core Principle 1,above), sugar (see CP 2 above), refined salt, processed vegetable oils, artificial additives and very little in the way of real nutrition. Instead, we want to eat a diet comprised almost entirely of fresh, whole foods – as covered in Core Principles 7 and 8.

This is a vast topic, and we are only just touching on it here on this page. Please read my book Mother Nature’s Diet for much more detail.

Core Principle 4: Don’t smoke; drink less alcohol; avoid drugs. Cut the chemicals MND_CP_logo_4


There are some pretty obvious good health tips here. Don’t smoke. Really, we all get that already, right? Smoking kills around 6.5 million people worldwide every year, around 80,000 in the UK, or one in six deaths, including around 23% of cancer deaths.


This is a big deal for a lot of people. Karl, founder of MND, finds that after 26 years as a heavy drinker, being teetotal works best for him personally. But you may decide to reduce your alcohol consumption to ‘moderate’ if that works better for you. Alcohol has a lot of known side effects; it contributes to obesity, sexual dysfunction, liver disease, breast and prostate cancer (the most prevalent cancers in UK females and male respectively) and degenerative neurological conditions.

Many people believe that moderate alcohol consumption is healthier than total abstinence, and this is quite possibly due to the stress-busting benefits of moderate consumption. For more on this you may like to read this post here.


Quite obviously narcotics and recreational drugs are a no-go for a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, you should avoid performance enhancing drugs, steroids, sports stimulants, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs as much as possible. Of course, if your doctor is recommending you take a prescription drug for a specific condition, then you should follow that advice – but you should also talk to your doctor and ask if there might be ways to avoid taking drugs at all. You could ask if healthy dietary and lifestyle options can reduce your need for any drug. Prescription pharmaceuticals certainly play a vital role in our society today, but there are also many cases where such drugs are prescribed too quickly, and patients do not explore all possible alternatives. We encourage you to always look for alternatives to all drugs.


Over the last couple of hundred years, we have invented around 150,000 chemicals that did not exist in Mother Nature’s world. Only a small number of these (less than 10%) have ever been tested for safety in humans, because the rest are not designed to end up inside us. However, experts have discovered traces of between 50% and 75% of these chemicals DO end up inside us…and this is not good news. We simply do not know what effects they are having. Let’s face it, the human race has a blistering track record of messing around with substances that we think are safe, we put them widely into use, and then we figure out they are actually really harmful. Think asbestos, DDT, BPAs in plastics, and so on.

There are tens of thousands of man-made chemicals out there, untested in humans, yet traces are getting inside us, and we just do not have the science to say whether these compounds are harmful or not. We can’t even be certain how they end up inside us. Perhaps we are eating traces of pesticides, or maybe we are breathing in fire retardants that are sprayed on our fabrics and soft furnishings, or it might be that we are absorbing traces of chemicals in cosmetics through our skin. Somehow, they are ending up inside us. Many of these chemicals may be endocrine disruptors, messing with your hormones, many may be carcinogenic, many may have effects on our brains and neurological function. We just don’t know. The best advice is to keep all chemicals in your life to minimum use. Until we have done all the science, which might take the next 100 years, don’t use any chemicals unless you really need to.

Core Principle 5: Breathe! Use your lungs fully. Get plenty of fresh air every day MND_CP_logo_5

Breathe! Use your lungs. Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, every day. Oxygen is, without question, the most vital nutrient any of us can consume. Nutrition is really about more than just food. Air and water, sleep and exercise are all just as important, or more important, than the food we eat, when it comes to nourishing our bodies. Air is the most important nutrient our bodies need. If you don’t believe that, try going an hour without it and see know how you get on. (Please, don’t actually try this!)

The majority of people just don’t use their lungs enough and just don’t get enough fresh clean air every day to truly maximise their health and have abundant natural energy. Core Principles 5 teaches you that –

  • Nutrition is about more than just food
  • Any ‘diet program’ that only talks about food is far from holistic. Air, water, sleep, exercise and sunlight are all important factors in any ‘healthy diet’
  • Breathe deeply, let your tummy out, fill your lungs and move your body
  • Get outside, get fresh air and sunshine, exert yourself with a brisk walk and breathe deeply
  • Try to exercise at maximal effort at least once per week. Cycle up a big hill, sprint around your local park or do something that makes you really fill your lungs deeply, down into every little alveoli
  • Country air is much cleaner than city air, so get out and enjoy the countryside whenever you can


There are immense health benefits to be gained from making your lungs work maximally on a regular basis. Lung and respiratory diseases are among the most common ill health conditions that the general population suffer with today. Upper respiratory tract infections (that is ‘persistent coughs, nasty colds and chest infections’ in plain English) are among the most common complaints that people report to their GP for. Lung health is a big deal, don’t downplay this. In the UK, one in five people suffer from a lung or respiratory condition, including asthma, and such conditions are responsible for over 1 million hospital admissions annually in the UK. Lung diseases are the third largest cause of death in the UK. Lung cancer is the single biggest cancer killer by a large margin. Other big killers include bronchitis and emphysema (collectively known as COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a collection of lung conditions), flu and pneumonia.

If you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to look after your lungs. Remember one of the key MND exercise principles – ‘use it or lose it’ – well that includes your lung health too, so we need to get our lungs working. That means regular aerobic exercise is a must. Running, swimming, cycling, rowing or just brisk, hilly walking, it doesn’t matter what, but you need to get out at least once or twice per week and get puffing and panting. In many ways, your life depends on it!!

Core Principle 6: Good hydration - drink plenty of clean waterMND_CP_logo_6

Drinking lots of water is an essential element of a nutritious diet. Think about it, you can live for two to three months without food, but you will die after just two or three days without water. Water is seriously important stuff. Roughly 60% of a human body is made up of water, so don’t underestimate your need to hydrate well every day.

Most of your brain is made of water, your skin has high water content and half of your blood is water. Water is a major component of all human body organs, and without water intake, you will go from perfectly healthy to dead in approximately three days. Among other things, water regulates body temperature, aids digestion, mineral absorption and bowel function, helps to lubricate joints, aids cell regeneration and helps your body to manufacture vital hormones.

Water is vital to life, and vital to feeling good and functioning well. The acute symptoms of dehydration include headaches, irregular sleep, tiredness, loss of strength and energy, weariness, constipation, dry flaky skin and scalp, mental confusion, depression, muscle cramps, sunken eyes, lethargy, fever, dizzyness, loss of orientation, vomiting, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, palpitations, loss of consciousness, multiple organ failures and death.

It is quite incredible how fast dehydration can wipe you out. You can literally go from 100% healthy, through this whole list to death all in under four days, and then that’s it, game over. So don’t under estimate the importance of good hydration if you want abundant healthy living! If mild dehydration can cause headaches, tiredness, lethargy, weariness, loss of strength, constipation and depression, it seems that good hydration may well be the cure to many mild cases of these conditions. So ensure you get at least two litres of water every day, more if you are exercising or if it is hot weather and you are sweating a lot. Good hydration is an essential cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.

Core Principle 7: Eat only plants and animalsMND_CP_logo_7

If you really think about what food Mother Nature put on this earth for us humans to eat, if you think about what was naturally available as food for humans before we built shops and roads, boats and planes, tractors and refrigerated warehouses, it all comes down to plants and animals.

Anatomically modern man has lived on Earth for around 185,000 years. In broad terms for about 180,000 of those years we ate plants and animals and drank water. There were no fridge-freezers, no sugar-coated hoop-shaped multi-coloured breakfast cereals, no fizzy drinks, no oven pizzas and no convenience stores selling bags of crisps and chocolate bars.

You might have read the last paragraph and thought this is all sounding like a ‘Paleo diet’ or something. Paleo is great, but while thinking about our ancestors and our origins, it is also important to remember that almost nothing on Earth in the 21st century is still as it was 30,000 years ago or 130,000 years ago. Most plants today have been changed by farming through hundreds of years of selective breeding. Topsoil composition has changed, as has air to some degree (pollution) and fresh water and sea water. Animals have been bred to be smaller, or larger, fatter, or leaner, more muscular or faster growing. Foods are now grown using chemical inputs including pesticides, hormone supplements and artificial fertilisers.

The reality is that very few of the things we can buy in our shops as food today are the same as they were back tens of thousands of years ago. The best thing we can do to emulate the more natural diet of our ancient ancestors is to ‘eat plants and animals’ and do our best to avoid processed foods – as laid out in Core Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4. Once we take out all that processed stuff, Core Principle 7 and 8 are all about putting the good stuff in, by eating fresh, natural, whole foods.

Plants (we’re talking vegetables, and some fruits)

There are many great reasons to eat lots of vegetables and fruits.

  • Eating lots of veggies and fruits means lots of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – which are good for you in a great many ways
  • Eating a ton of veggies displaces most of the processed starchy ‘beige bloat food’ from your dinner plate
  • Replacing the grains and starchy carbs in your meals for more vegetables exchanges those calories we talked about in Core Principle 1, for more nutritious high-fibre foods

One of the core goals of the MND lifestyle is to consume a very nutrient-dense diet. We want way-above-normal levels of vitamins and minerals, and we really don’t want to waste our money, or our digestive energy, eating low-nutrient-density foods, that offer calories but little in the way of vitamins and minerals. Micro-nutrients are important for powering all our bodily functions, resisting ill health and helping us to have lots of energy, so we want to eat as many nutrient-rich foods as we can.

This is the main reason why we broadly look to replace the starchy carbs such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice, spaghetti, and excessive amounts of white potatoes, with lots of root vegetables and green leafy veggies instead. You can watch a little video at the bottom of this page to learn more about making those changes.

Removing these starchy processed carbs from our diet, and adding extra vegetables, gives us greater amounts of vitamins, minerals and some beneficial dietary fibre. All these vegetables are great, and let’s not forget fruits too. Our healthy lifestyle should include a couple of portions of fruit every day, again because fruit offers lots of beneficial micro-nutrients and some additional dietary fibre. Citrus fruits, berries (tend to be seasonal) and bananas all offer useful nutrients, and many find apples, pears or similar offer just the right amount of fibre to maintain healthy bowel function.


While it might be tempting to think that vegetables are some kind of wonder foods, that maybe we should all become vegetarians for a long and healthy life…we also need to eat animal foods, as they too offer many benefits. There are some persistent myths around the health benefits of vegetarianism and the idea that all plants are good for us, and that we only need to eat plants and we can abandon animal foods.

These myths are just not true. We need to eat animal foods too; broadly speaking, animal foods are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Animals (meat, fish and eggs)

Animal foods contain many vital nutrients that we need. Meat and fish will give you the best proteins (the building blocks of all life) available, lots of good vitamins and minerals, abundant essential fatty acids and plenty of good HDL cholesterol. All these nutrients are important and their bioavailability from animal sources is often far better than from plant sources.

Over a period of years, a vegetarian diet, and particularly a vegan diet, can potentially lead to a number of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 and B12, iron, and certain important fatty acids. Eating animal products such as oily fish, eggs and organ meats (such as kidneys and liver), ensures we correct these imbalances.

Some of the key benefits of animal foods include:

  • Vitamin A is much more bioavailable from meat than from non-animal sources
    Some of the best sources of B group vitamins are animal foods such as liver, fish, eggs and pork
  • Vitamin B12 is mostly only found in animal foods. Some B12 can be found in vegetables, but not in a form that is bio-available to human digestive system
  • Vitamin D is not found in plants at all, it is only found in animal foods. (Alternatively, your body can use sunlight to convert cholesterol into vitamin D)
  • Iron from animal sources is far more bioavailable than from plant sources
  • EPA and DHA (fatty acids, these are health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids) are only found in animal foods, mostly in oily fish and fish oils. These fatty acids are essential for brain and nervous system function, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in many studies to promote heart health

Plants and animals

As you can now see, a balanced healthy diet really should be made up of foods coming both plants and animals, as both offer beneficial nutrients. Mother Nature’s Diet recommends that around half of your calories should be coming from meat or fish or eggs, and the other half of your calories from vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. That’s the MND way.

You should look to create balance, get some of your protein from meat, some from fish, some from eggs. Don’t get stuck eating only one thing. I meet some people who eat ‘lean white chicken breast’ every day and never anything else. They have been ‘scared away’ from animal fats over 60 years of the wrong message from the diet industry.

That’s a mistake – you should not avoid animal fats, because you need the vital nutrients in those good fats to help your body absorb other nutrients. For example, your body uses vitamin A to synthesise and assimilate proteins. If you only eat lean meats, and avoid fatty meats (such as fish, fish oils, liver and eggs) then you will be slowly depleting your body of vitamin A.

Equally don’t only eat tuna. Don’t only eat broccoli. Don’t only eat carrots. Don’t get stuck on just one thing. Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables, look for all colours – greens, reds, yellows, etc., as colour often indicates a variety of available micro-nutrients. Also aim to eat a variety of fish, especially oily fish, meats of all sorts, including organ meats, and eggs. Don’t deny children foods with good fats in them. We have seen the ‘diet industry’ and ‘health experts’ push an agenda of ‘cholesterol is bad’ for 60 years, yet many scientists and doctors argue that there is not one scrap of evidence that total dietary cholesterol causes any harm at all to human health.

Cholesterol is an essential component of all cells in all animals. In terms of your life, it’s as important as air, water, blood and glucose for the brain – it’s absolutely essential. Cholesterol forms an essential element of all cell membranes in your body. It is so important, that all animals can produce their own, so if there is not enough coming in your diet, your body will make more for itself.

Natural sources of good (HDL) dietary cholesterol happen to be the foods we often see associated with good fats – such as oily fish like salmon and mackerel, extra virgin olive oil and olives, nuts and seeds, avocados, free-range eggs, organic grass-fed meats and organ meats, such as liver.

You can now see how Core Principle 1 and 3 had us remove the grains and processed foods from our plates, and now Core Principle 7 puts the good plants and animals in their place. We swap out those starchy processed carbs for more vegetables, and we benefit from a diet higher in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

Core Principle 8: Eat only natural, organic, free range, outdoor-reared, grass-fed, wild caught MND_CP_logo_8

Modern industrialised agriculture is not good for food quality, not good for animal welfare and not good for the environment. The advice in Core Principle 7 to ‘eat plants and animals’ comes hand-in-hand with Core Principle 8. Quality matters. We should be looking to eat plants and animals that have themselves been raised on a healthy natural diet. We ideally want to eat plants that are local, seasonal and organic, and we want to eat animals that have been raised free-range, grazed on open pasture and treated humanely.

While humans are supposed to eat other animals, that does not give humans any right to shut those animals in a cage or mistreat those animals while they are alive. For better animal welfare, for better environmental management, for sustainability in farming, and for your health, we need to consume animal products that have come from animals which have lived as naturally as possible. We also want our plant foods free from man-made chemicals, many of which are toxic and may bio-accumulate inside our bodies.

Plants – local, seasonal, organic

In an ideal world, we want to eat vegetables and fruits grown as locally as possible. In recent years, we have all got used to having tropical fruits and summer fruits available all year-round in our supermarkets, but this comes at a cost, and it’s the environment that is paying. There is a carbon footprint attached to eating bananas, strawberries and pineapples year-round in cold Northern Europe. Cutting a very, very long story short, we should ideally try to eat as much locally-grown produce as possible, and this will mean seasonal variations in our diet. Here in the UK, that’s going to mean eating lots of those strawberries and raspberries in the spring and summer, but far fewer at other times of the year. More salads in summer, more hardy root vegetables in winter.

The best way to eat what is seasonally available is to learn to grow some of your own fruit and veg. Plant an apple tree, grow a few of your own cabbages or tomatoes, have a go at growing some strawberries, try to grow some lettuces in trays on your kitchen windowsill. You don’t need much space, a few pots and planter trays will do, and you can start small and see how you get on.

If you can, shop at a local farm shop or farmers market, try to support your local farming community. Engage with the sellers, ask if they are organic, how far the food has travelled. If you are growing some of your own food, you will find it tastes fantastic, and you will know it is 100% organic, using no artificial chemicals at all.

While there is controversy around organic labelling, it still makes sense to go organic as much as you can afford. It is widely known and accepted that many pesticides are harmful to human health…but the argument goes, that by the time it is sprayed on crops, left to blow around in the wind, then the crop grows, then it is harvested, washed, transported and sold on…by the time each small individual piece of fruit or vegetable reaches you, then the residual small amount of pesticide left on that plant is so tiny, that any harmful effects are too small to worry about.

In essence, that argument is pretty logical and probably right. Your body is equipped to process toxins and that one small meal with a tiny bit of pesticide residue in it really probably won’t hurt you. But this seems to ignore the fact that you are going to eat more than one meal this year, aren’t you? What this logic ignores, is the lifetime bioaccumulative effect of eating about 1000 meals per year for 60 or 70 or 80 years. If you can afford to, just buy organic. The more we buy organic, the more the market will shift in the right direction.

Animals – free range, grass fed, sustainably-caught

For animal welfare: Really, we have no right to dictate that any animal live it’s life in a cage or box, all animals deserve to see day light and breathe fresh air, so let’s just refuse to support farming that mistreats any animals. Enough said.

For human health: Ruminants (we’re talking about cows and sheep here) are supposed to eat grass, not corn or grains, and the meat we get from those animals is healthier for us if they have been raised on a more natural diet. Grass-fed meat tends to be lower in omega-6 fatty acids than grain-fed meat, and this is beneficial for us. Free range chickens produce healthier eggs. Sustainably-caught fish from the open ocean offer us better fats than farmed fish.

For the environment: Intensive, industrialised farming practises are not sustainable, and they are harmful to the topsoil, the air and to rivers and seas. This is a vast topic, that could easily fill an entire book on its own.

In very brief terms:

  • Growing crops to feed cows creates greenhouse gas emissions
  • Cows should eat grass, not corn or grains
  • Trawling oceans for fish destroys marine life, fish should be caught sustainably, by pole and line
  • Intensive crop farming, focussed on the staples maize, wheat, soybeans, etc., causes fertilizer run-off which pollutes rivers and seas
  • Intensive farming is depleting topsoil – yet free-ranged pastured cattle could be building topsoil, AND locking up carbon from the atmosphere at the same time

If you are interested in learning more about the environmental aspects of farming, please read these three blog posts.
How intensive farming is causing greenhouse gas emissions
Why the answer is not just ‘stop eating meat’
How grass-fed free-range ruminants can be the solution

Please remember that Core Principle 7 and Core Principle 8 go hand-in-hand! For your health, for animal welfare, and for the sake of our environment.

Core Principle 9: Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure MND_CP_logo_9

If we had to summarise the MND approach to exercise in a ‘one size fits all’ approach (which of course, it doesn’t!) then it might be to say this: Go for a walk every day, then two or three times per week do some exercise that pushes your heart rate up, makes your lungs work and gets you sweating. Additionally, two or three times each week, do some exercise to stimulate your muscles, and don’t neglect this as you get older – in many respects, the older you get, the more important strength training becomes!


Mother Nature’s Diet Core Principle 9

  • Your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own – use it or lose it. That applies to fitness, strength and flexibility (…and your sex life!)
  • Don’t believe the hype, most of these workout programs, 6-pack solutions, endless online programs and routines are little more than modern solutions, to a modern problem, called sedentary lifestyles, and they will shrink your bank account as quickly as your waistline
  • In the pursuit of a long, healthy life, structured exercise programs are a poor substitute for keeping busy, keeping active and moving naturally, outside, every day, using your body to get places, move things and complete practical tasks
  • Longevity is a vital element of the MND lifestyle. Ageing doesn’t have a brake pedal, only an accelerator. Try not to spend your life pushing down too hard on that accelerator
  • Working out too hard, all the time, is almost certainly counter-productive to your health objectives
  • Our first goal is activity, and then exercise. Exercise should be seen as a ‘tool’ you can use, when required, rather than an end-goal in and of itself. Our goals should be to be active, to spend time outdoors, to be moving lots every day, to be playing, having fun, having sex, playing games, enjoying life, keeping moving. If we can get enough daily activity from walking every day, playing games we enjoy (sport) and enjoying an active sex life, and doing all our daily chores like growing some of our own food in the garden, then we can see structured exercise simply as a ‘supplement to a busy life’ rather than as a goal in its own right
  • Regular long brisk (and hilly) walks are the best fat burning exercise we can do
  • Cardiovascular exercise is essential for a healthy heart and helps us to live longer
    Strength training is essential! Maintaining our muscular strength as we age helps us remain youthful and is a proven anti-ageing strategy
  • Muscle helps to burn calories, keeps us free from injuries and shapes our bodies in desirable ways
  • Studies seem to show that endurance athletes live a little longer than the average population (only 2-4 years), most likely because of the cardiovascular benefits for their hearts (remember that heart disease is the global #1 killer worldwide)
  • Studies seem to show that strength athletes live slightly shorter lives than the general population, though there is conflicting evidence
  • One famous study of elite athletes (Gold and Silver Olympic winners over a 12-year period) showed that average life expectancy of these elite athletes was only 67
  • However, by contrast, the longest-living demographic group on Earth, the famous Okinawans, who live an average of 12 years longer than the general population, report that they rarely do any purposeful structured exercise at all…just daily walking and gardening!
  • Our bodies have evolved to work at a dozen basic physical functions, and we should learn to exercise in ways that emulate those functions:
    • Walk
    • Run (jog, run, sprint)
    • Lift and carry heavy things
    • Drag, push and pull heavy things
    • Climb
    • Crawl
    • Fight
    • Grapple, wrestle
    • Swim and dive
    • Jump
    • Balance
    • Stretch
  • Stretch often; keep your body supple and mobile. Avoid injuries, look after your structure and see an osteopath if you need help with your posture
  • Look after your spine, and your knees. As the song says “you’ll miss them when they’re gone”

Maintain an active lifestyle, and use exercise as a fun way to plug the gaps. Try to ensure your typical week includes a walk almost every day, a couple of cardio sessions, a couple of strength sessions and some stretching. Learn to use your own bodyweight for strength training – you can be your own gym! Consistency is key! Make exercise habits that you can stick to for life.

“Exercise, every day, outdoors, mostly walking. Lift some heavy things and use your muscles a few times each week, and sprint from time to time. Stretch often and don’t become a crazy exercise addict!”


Core Principle 10: Reduce stress. Enjoy your life. Love more, don’t hate. Sleep, relax, smile, pray MND_CP_logo_10

Constant, low-level stress is more of a burden than most of us appreciate. It drains your energy, it makes your body hold on to fat, and it kills your libido. If you eat a good diet and exercise but you still can’t lose that excess 20 pounds, it might be that stress is a big part of the answer. If you are healthy, active and successful in life but you wonder where your sex life has gone, it might be that stress is the problem. Many experts agree that stress is a major contributor to lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Two or three decades of constant low level stress can be very harmful. Get a handle on things now and manage your life more effectively to reduce the stress burden on your health.

Summary of Core Principle 10

In a nutshell: Chronic stress is bad for you. That’s everything from alarm clocks and day-to-day hassles and worries, to bankruptcy, divorce and career pressure. This is the stuff we often live with for decades on end, and it all has a negative impact on our health. Many studies link stress to many major illnesses, including the big killers – heart disease, cancer and obesity. We want to reduce stress, love more, smile more often, have less debt, get more sleep and enjoy life. Happy is healthy, and vice versa.

Reduce stress

Enjoy your work. If you don’t, change your job. Meditate daily, get some exercise, ensure every day includes a little time outside and some fresh air. Don’t get trapped in the cycle of working a job you don’t enjoy, to service debts to own stuff that doesn’t ultimately make you happy. It is just a pointless way to live your life. Buy less, live within your means, relax more often.

Stop borrowing, stop over-spending. So many people just can’t get their brain around this. Say you earn 10, then learn to live on 9. It’s called saving! Put the 1 away, and after a few years, you can invest your savings in something that will give you a return, such as your pension, or property. Do this throughout your whole life, and you will be able to live very comfortably in older age.

The trouble is, folks out there earn 10, and spend 11. They do this using credit cards, car loans, overdrafts, bank loans, mortgages and more. They do this for decades on end, then have to keep borrowing against the equity in their home to cover their debts. This causes relationship strain and too many folks wind up broke at retirement age. Just stop it and live within your means!

If you stop over-spending, and develop the habit of only spending what you have got, and saving a little each month, then some time down the line, when things go wrong, you might just find that you have enough reserves in place to cover these challenges without them becoming too much of a drama.

  • Enjoy your life
  • Laugh more often, make time to play, enjoy comedy and have more fun
  • Be adaptable, be flexible, and be forgiving. Be kind to other people
  • Take a day off. Stop and smell the roses
  • Love more, don’t hate
  • The world needs more love, and less hate and resentment. Negative emotions are costly, they cost you your health. It’s just not worth holding on to anger, bitterness or resentment. Let go
  • Sleep
  • Regular good quality sleep is probably your best weapon against chronic stress. Aim for 8 hours per night – more if you are an athlete
  • Relax
  • Get a massage, make it a monthly treat. Take a yoga class whenever you have time, make it every week if you can
  • Walk more often, allow time, leave the car at home and walk to the shop or to school. Walk with your kids, engage them in conversation. Walk with your partner, hold hands, listen to the birds, talk, take time to observe things
  • Smile
  • Cheer up, develop a positive outlook, life is amazing, but not long enough, so make the most of it. Seriously, happiness really is ‘an inside job’, so get to it, and don’t delay!
  • And develop a positive outlook on life. Frankly, in the lottery of life, we are absolute winners. This is the UK, it’s the 21st century. We’ve never had it so good. Know that, and celebrate it every day
  • Know that ‘shit happens’ and that’s life, and plan for it. When it happens, don’t go complaining to everyone else about how hard life is – the rest of us are dealing with our own shit and to be honest, we don’t really want to hear it. Behind your back, we just think you’re a moaner
  • Pray
  • Make no judgement of others for their faith – it’s their business, not yours
  • Whatever your faith is, follow it, practice it, celebrate it
  • 1luvx

“Low-level, constant lifestyle stress is a major health hazard. Chill out, before you peg out. Value good health over money and possessions – no sense being the richest man in the graveyard.”

Core Principle 11: Enjoy nature - spend time outdoors every day, get some sunshine MND_CP_logo_11

It would be so easy to think that Core Principle 11 is “the least important one” but that would absolutely not be true. Please do not under-estimate the importance of spending time outside in natural places. Walk in the woods, climb a few hills, stroll barefoot on the beach. This is important stuff.

First, there are practical, physiological and psychological benefits to spending time outside in nature, around trees and in fresh country air:

  • Spending time around trees has been shown to have an appreciable positive effect on asthma and other diseases. Trees suck up carbon dioxide and put out oxygen, so they reduce air pollution. Studies show that spending time walking among trees every day has delivered improvements to asthma, heart disease, cancer and stroke
  • Improved mental health. Studies show better moods, positive stress reduction, and reduced depression. A Stanford University study showed just 90 minutes daily walking in nature showed an appreciable effect on symptoms of depression. How much better would it be to treat depression with a daily walk in the woods, rather than a lifetime of medication?
  • Reduces air pollution. Trees soak up air pollutants and provide us with clean air, trees in towns and cities are providing valuable cleaning services
  • Trees make oxygen. We breathe oxygen. When there are no trees left, then there will be no people. Please don’t write this off as insignificant, trees are literally fundamentally important to human life. Oxygen is our most vital nutrient…just 3 minutes without any and we die. Trees make our oxygen, all of it
  • Trees promote healing. A 1970s study showed that patients recovering from surgery in hospital, healed faster if they had a view of trees, compared with a view of other buildings. Just looking at trees helped people heal – for real
  • Improved cognitive function. Studies have shown that trees help people with clearer thinking, more creative thinking and better problem solving. Kids showed improved cognitive function when trees were present in school grounds
  • We should walk on hills from time to time. Psychologists have shown that climbing a hill or mountain and looking down on the land below helps us to feel good. We benefit from feeling like ‘the king of the castle’ when we look down on land below us

Beyond these clear, practical reasons, we must spend time outdoors just because it is so very nourishing for the soul. Quite a lot of people come to Mother Nature’s Diet overweight and out of shape, and they have not exercised for years, so they are out of condition and not fit and strong enough to start lifting heavy weights or running 10k. These people tend to start their journey back to regular exercise by initiating a daily walk. It’s amazing how many people quickly grow to love and cherish their daily walk as their most sacred time of the day.

Often that daily walk is at 5:30am or 6am, perhaps with the family dog, over hills and fields and along quiet country lanes. People take this time to meditate or cogitate on life, and they report back to us that this is their favourite time of the day. Some people develop this habit of walking two, three or four miles every morning, all year, whatever the weather, and it becomes the cornerstone of their weight loss and road to improved fitness. Don’t underestimate the value of taking time out to walk in nature.


Studies show reduced asthma, improvements in cancer patients, children getting better scores at school and patients recovering from surgery faster when they have a view of trees from their hospital bed! Clearly, with such studies it is hard to prove exact cause-and-effect, because there are so many variables to control for, but it really seems quite obvious that spending time out in nature can only help. Think about it, have you ever met anyone who thinks going out in the woods, walking on cliff top paths with sea views, strolling on the beach or taking to the hills makes them feel “dirty, smelly and harassed” and they “just can’t wait to get back to the city to feel clean and fresh again.”

No. That would be ridiculous. Everyone enjoys time outside in the beauty and calm of Mother Nature. Sunset walks, family picnics, meadows of wild flowers. Good for your mind, body and soul.

Time enjoying the surroundings of the natural world feeds your body oxygen, encourages clearer thinking as it feeds your brain with good views and uplifts your spirit. It also tends to mean you are outdoors, moving, getting some gentle, or perhaps strenuous, exercise. There is no need to over complicate this. Just get out there, go for a walk, enjoy nature!

Disconnect, get off grid

We all know how it feels good to walk barefoot on a soft sandy beach, but it also feels good to walk barefoot on wet grass. It feels wonderful walking in the dirt, on the hills, in muddy puddles in the rain, you should try it some time. Let’s remember, trees suck up carbon dioxide, and they make oxygen, so trees help to clean the air we breathe and reduce pollution. It stands to reason that you will be breathing in cleaner air walking in the fields and woodlands, than in the middle of the city, where cars are all around. Fertile topsoil is the very crucible of life on Earth, down in the dirt is where all our food grows, it’s the bed of nutrients that keep us alive. Don’t be afraid of dirt, of soil, it’s teeming with life, microbes and beneficial bacteria that are far too small for us to see.

Spending time around plants and touching soil has been shown to boost immunity, time outdoors will help you get sunlight (good for vitamin D production) and time in natural environments has been shown to improve vitality, mood and libido. Studies – and sheer common sense – show that spending time outside reduces stress and improves quality of sleep. Get out of the air conditioning, get away from the TV, turn off the Internet connection, put the smartphone away and take a break outside. If you live in a city, book a few weekends away each year, get out to the countryside and go camping, try to find somewhere with no mobile phone coverage, force yourself to detox from the digital world.

Make no excuses, get out there and get connected with Mother Nature. It’s good for you in every imaginable way!

Core Principle 12: Apply the 90/10 rule MND_CP_logo_12

Mother Nature’s Diet is a healthy lifestyle. It’s not a fad, it’s not torture, it’s not punishment, it’s not meant to be hard and it’s most definitely not a ‘bandwagon’! Some people will find it difficult implementing Core Principles 1 through 11 into their lives. For some people, ditching bread will be hard, for some people getting off their sugar addiction will be hard, for some people quitting alcohol will be the biggest challenge. Some people will find it pretty easy making these changes, and other folks may find it all quite tough. Core Principle 12 is your safety net, your ‘pressure release valve’ to make the whole lifestyle easier, more manageable and completely long-term sustainable.

Core Principle 10 is all about reducing stress, so the last thing we want is to try to be a diet perfectionist and get stressed out about our food. If you are out to a business lunch and you look at the menu and it doesn’t state that the beef is grass-fed, no drama. You don’t need to ask the client if you can go to a different restaurant, no sweat if the vegetables aren’t organic. Just pick something from the menu that fits ‘plants and animals’ and make do with that. See, that’s Core Principle 12 at work. It’s there to make life easier, and to make this healthy lifestyle realistic, achievable and sustainable.

If you go to friends for a meal, and they serve pasta, just relax, eat it, this one time it won’t hurt. But politely decline the dessert, because two wrongs don’t make a right!

This is the idea of Core Principle 12. It’s there to make life easier, so you don’t become one of those boring, fussy people who no one wants to hang out with, and to stop you feeling stressed about your food choices. Core Principle 12 allows you to get it right 90% of the time, and chill out over the last 10%.

“Don’t stress over the last 10% – don’t sweat the small stuff”

What does CP 12 allow?

  • If you can’t afford organic all the time, then buy organic for the so-called ‘dirty dozen’ which use the most pesticides (includes apples, peaches, spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers – you can look this up online any time)
  • If moderate alcohol consumption suits you better than teetotal, then that’s OK
  • If you want to have an ice cream while you’re on the beach with your kids on summer holiday, then chill out and enjoy. Just make sure it’s only a couple of ice creams per holiday, not one every day!
  • If you are in a restaurant and can’t find pasture-fed meat, no stress this one time
  • If you dine out and eat dessert, don’t beat yourself up about it, just don’t do it every day

Can you see how this works? It’s about being sensible, taking the drama out of healthy living, making it sustainable. We all accept that in our modern world, food made from grains, starchy carbs and sugar are everywhere, and sometimes we get caught away from home and in need of food and we have to make the best choice we can from what is available. Trying to religiously avoid sugar and grains and processed foods 100% of the time is virtually impossible.

The goal is to do the best we can with what is available. It’s about making progress, rather than seeking outright perfection.

“Progress, not perfection”

What does CP 12 not allow?

  • It’s not an excuse to binge!
  • Eating fish and veg from Monday to Friday, then blowing out all weekend on junk food and heavy drinking is not “enjoying your 10%” and that’s not what this is about
  • It’s not a ‘cheat day’ or an ‘allowance’ of ‘sin points’
  • It’s not an excuse to get blind drunk once per week and pig out on junk food


Mother Nature’s Diet is a commitment to yourself, to be the best version of you that you can be, it’s a long-term healthy lifestyle. It’s not rocket science, it’s all pretty simple stuff. Many people are overweight, out of shape, tired all the time and suffering a range of minor chronic health conditions. The advice in the 12 Core Principles can help will all that, but you have to do this stuff, you have to make the choices, exercise some self-control, make better decisions. It’s about personal responsibility.

Core Principle 12 is there as a safety valve to help you do that without feeling like you are living under some strict dietary regime. Ultimately, how much you apply this stuff, will determine your results. Some people go for it 100%, they live the Core Principles 1 through 11 to the letter, and they get great results, fast. Others push CP 12 to the limit and live the MND way at about 70/30…and they still get beneficial results, but much slower, the changes take much longer.

How it works for you…is entirely up to you. In this life, you get out what you put in. Your results are up to you.

It is always worth remembering that what we do occasionally has little consequence on our lives, it’s what we do habitually that really defines us. It’s not what you do once in a while that counts, it’s what you do 90% of the time that determines your results.

You may have read all of the above and learned something, or you may have read it all and you disagree, or you may now have more questions than you started with! Please remember, this is the short version, really, this is just touching on these topics. If you have found this interesting and you want to read the details, to answer all the questions you may have about gluten, coffee, dairy, red meat, alcohol consumption, red wine, weight training, running marathons and soaking and sprouting beans, please purchase a copy of the book Mother Nature’s Diet from our online store.


So what major changes are involved in living the MotherNaturesDiet way?

It might all sound like a big deal, reading through the Core Principles above, but it isn’t really. We’re just talking about making a conscious effort to eat a clean, natural diet. To shop local, buy organic and avoid processed or heavily-packaged food. We’re talking about making a real effort to spend a little less time staring at a TV, or a computer screen, tablet or games console, and a little more time enjoying time outdoors surrounded by the beauty of nature, whatever the weather. We’re talking about shouting at the kids less, not getting so wound up in a traffic jam, and trying to get a little more sleep.

Exactly what does MotherNaturesDiet look like on your dinner plate?

You don’t need to become  a calorie-counter, MND is not all about stressing over precise details and there are no points awarded or deducted for getting it right or wrong. Very roughly speaking, animal foods should make up about half of your diet (based on calories), and plant products the other half. This is likely to be ‘weighted’ more to plants in the warmer half of the year, more to animals in the colder half of the year, for most people.

In practice, this equates to your dinner plate being made up of mainly one third animal products and two thirds plants, when measured by weight or volume.


In plain English, your main meals should be about one third meat or fish, and the other two thirds vegetables. Eat enough to be comfortably full. Don’t go hungry, don’t overeat until you feel stuffed.

Fresh fruit, and maybe a few nuts, can be snacks if required.

That’s easy enough, isn’t it?

People say that what they love about Mother Nature’s Diet is that it is simple, easy to learn and easy to follow. People have said that what is so easy about MND is that it is “a diet of reduction, it’s cutting things out, simplifying, not adding complex things in.”

If you  would like to watch a short video about getting started with the 12 Core Principles, you will find that here: on YouTube or at the bottom of this page on our other site.

Try living your life by these 12 Core Principles for just 1 month and see how you feel. What have you got to lose?

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Martina #

    I found this and although it doesn’t exactly follow your principles I thought you might find it interesting. I am using your diet to try and improve my chronic asthma; only 2 weeks in and already I see an improvement.

    September 27, 2021
    • Hi Martina,
      Thanks, an interesting article for sure, thanks for sharing.

      So it has taken me 3 weeks to reply…you must be 5 or 6 weeks in now, how are YOU getting on?

      I hope you feel great!


      October 21, 2021
  2. elliegrahamphotography #

    Don’t you want to sell me something??

    November 14, 2021
    • Hello Ellie,
      I’m not sure I understand?
      All the best,

      November 14, 2021
      • elliegrahamphotography #

        Hi Karl In my search for answers to my healthy living questions, it’s just so refreshing to find a site that is not hype and magic shakes. Thanks!

        November 18, 2021
  3. Hi Karl

    What do you drink, when not drinking water??

    January 1, 2022
    • Hi Wayne mate, i drink black coffee, herbal teas, hot water and cold water and that’s all. I love finding new herbal teas in bars, restaurants, hotels and coffee shops when I’m travelling.

      January 2, 2022

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  13. The drugs don’t work and you can’t trust the media! | MotherNaturesDiet
  14. MND home cooked food on a budget | MotherNaturesDiet
  15. MND stance on alcohol | MotherNaturesDiet
  16. Myth busting – Part 8 | MotherNaturesDiet
  17. Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs - Can I eat beans and legumes? | MotherNaturesDiet
  18. Myth busting – Part 12 | MotherNaturesDiet
  19. Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender Review - The Holistic Journal

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