Diet Direction

By Ed Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Establishing a diet direction is a way to organize the amounts and varieties of foods one chooses to consume in order to achieve a specific effect. Our lives, as with everything else in nature, run in cycles. We have daily, monthly, and seasonal cycles, as well as progressing stages of life. Learning to eat to support our nutritional requirements for all of these can help us achieve healthful eating patterns and prevent us from getting into nutrition ruts.

What is Your Diet Direction?

The three main diet directions are:

  • Building
  • Balancing
  • Cleansing

Though these directions are based on ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, they do not exist in a macronutrient vacuum. No matter the direction, their health-conferring properties are dependent on optimal levels of high quality micronutrient-rich foods. These include both animal and plant foods, sustainably and cleanly raised, and prepared in ways that preserve or improve the integrity and bioavailability of their nutrients.

The benefits of following each of these three diet directions are discussed below. The length of time one follows a designated diet direction depends on his or her health status. It is common for a person to follow a Cleansing diet for 7–14 days at a time to achieve a healing, cleansing effect. The Building and Balancing directions tend to be the default directions for most people, with a health supporting balance of macronutrients. Cleansing provides too little fat, and sometimes too little protein, to be undertaken for long periods of time. For purposes of healing tissues, organs, and body systems, Balancing and Building directions can be alternated, depending on season and need. A Building diet program often works best for those who are tired, nutrient depleted, and have a long history of eating poor-quality foods. Its larger amounts of high quality fats are satisfying and health building, and some people find this direction suitable long-term.

As Bauman College graduates, you can help clients evaluate the benefits and timing of each direction and help teach them the art of understanding their own diet direction requirements.

Building Diet

Many people with chronic endocrine or immune system disorders, carbohydrate cravings, and excess weight feel better if they follow a Building Diet, which includes fewer starchy carbohydrates, moderate-to-high protein, and more fats.

The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is a Building diet, with its formula of 15 – 35% calories from protein, up to 65% calories from fats (varies among writers), and 20 – 40% calories from carbohydrates. The Atkins Diet, a high-protein, high-fat, limited-carbohydrate diet, is another type of Building diet — albeit not a very healthful one.

Building diets are appropriate for people who are growing rapidly, like children and teenagers, as well as for athletic individuals, adults doing manual labor, or those recovering from illness or injury. The Building direction is also often useful for weight loss and is an appropriate direction during winter’s cold temperatures.

Eating for Health suggests animal protein sources include organ meats as well as muscle, and that broths be made from bones, in order to supply healthful amino acids and nutrients missing from the flesh. It is crucial that a person on a Building diet eats ample amounts of fresh vegetables (5 or more servings per day) and low-sugar fruits (2–3 servings per day) and drinks herbal teas rather than caffeinated beverages to maintain a healthy acid-alkaline (pH) balance.

Balancing Diet

A Balancing Diet is comprised of a higher proportion of carbohydrate foods and less fat than is found in the Building direction, though there is some overlap between the two. A prudent application of the USDA MyPlate is an example of this direction.

A Balancing diet would include a wide variety of healthful foods and would typically supply 20% of calories from protein, 30% of calories from fat, and 50% of calories from carbohydrates. It can be a long-term, healthful direction for those with undamaged metabolisms, and is often a good option as the weather warms, as it emphasizes increased amounts of cooling vegetables and fruits. The key to this approach is that the foods be seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible. The Balancing diet in the Eating for Health approach is quite different than the so-called “balanced diet” advised by industry-driven nutritionists and dieticians.

Many people today are confused about carbohydrates, thinking they are all bad. In fact, unrefined starchy carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet. It is refined carbohydrates in the form of flour and sugar that wreak havoc on one’s health. The healthpromoting unrefined carbohydrates include grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Eating for Health suggests using whole, non-gluten grains, such as rice, millet, and quinoa, as staple grains (in lieu of the traditionally overly consumed and more allergenic wheat, corn, oats, and rye) and soaking or fermenting them for optimal nutrient availability. Roughly equal amounts of fruits and vegetables may be consumed, with an emphasis on eating whole fruits rather than juice or fruit products made from concentrates, to moderate the amount of sugar the body will have to metabolize at one sitting. Small amounts of raw fermented foods are also recommended for all diet directions to supply beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and enhanced nutrient content.

More carbohydrate confusion ensues due to both starchy and non-starchy being lumped under one umbrella term. It is true that some people maintain better health if they limit their grain intake. However, they should still be consuming starchy carbohydrates in the form of tubers, winter squashes, and root vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, celery, etc.) should not be limited and do not count when reducing carbohydrate intake.

Cleansing Diet

A Cleansing Diet will consist of significantly more calories from carbohydrates (>60%) relative to proteins (≤20%) and fats (≤20%). This is a fat-sparing, adequate-protein, high unrefined carbohydrate, low-glycemic (sugar content) diet. The Ornish, Weil, McDougall, and hypoallergenic diets are all in this category.

The main objective is to lower the fat content while maintaining adequate protein and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Dairy products, eggs, wheat, soy, citrus, peanuts, and tree nuts would also be eliminated due to their being possible allergenic foods. Proteins from vegetable sources such as beans and legumes, seeds and nuts, and marine algae would be preferred over meat, fish, or fowl, though broths made from the bones of
pastured animals can be very supportive of the cleansing process.

Maintaining an alkaline-forming diet by including generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as their juices, fermented vegetables, and chlorophyll-rich foods like herbs and micro-greens powders, would replenish the micronutrients that are commonly missing from a non-plant-based diet.

Using a Diet Direction Effectively

The key to successfully applying a diet direction is to build the food plan on top quality whole foods. Food quality is diminished in most restaurants and with most packaged food items. Fresh is always best.

One’s diet direction is a reminder to eat more of certain kinds of foods, such as nuts and seeds in a Building diet, and less of other foods, such as bread products in a Cleansing diet. Having an intention to eat well helps a person decide what to eat and what to pass up. Cookies, candy, ice cream, sodas, and foods with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are best left on the shelves, no matter one’s diet direction.

As individuals make more conscious food choices, they are more in touch with how certain combinations of foods feel to them. At certain times of the day, when hunger hits and hits quickly, such a person knows what foods to keep on hand to satisfy hunger while at the same time providing nourishing energy. Almonds with raisins are more nourishing than a Milky Way® candy bar, and the energy that is produced clears the brain and mobilizes the body into action.

Eating for Health is a skill that is learned with the support of a food coach who can serve as a mentor and resource. Replacing depleting foods in the diet with health-promoting ones is a gradual process, but one new food per week will increase a person’s repertoire by four foods per month, or 48 foods per year.

What about parties or a food craving that just won’t quit? It is fine to socialize occasionally with special food and drink. It is what we consume habitually that makes or breaks our health. The key is to not be too hungry or tired before a big occasion, or else overeating and excessive drinking may prevail.

Proper food choices provide a strong nutritional foundation for life; help protect us from the health challenges we encounter, and allow us to live up to our potential as dynamic, creative human beings.

Bauman College Diet Direction

Composition (as % of Calories)





CARBOHYDRATES 20–40% 30–60% 60–80%
PROTEINS 15–35% 10–30% 10–20%
FATS 45–60% 20–45% 10–20%
2–4 oz animal 4–6 oz vegetable
4–6 servings daily 2–4 servings daily 1–3 servings daily
NUTS AND SEEDS 4–6 Tbs 2–3 Tbs 1–2 Tbs (seeds, only)
1 oz
5–7 times/week 5–7 times/week 5–7 times/week
1⁄2 cup or 1 medium
2–3 servings daily
low-sugar fruits
2–4 servings daily 4–5 servings daily
Crunchy: 1⁄2 cup; Raw leafy: 1 cup;
Cooked leafy: ½ cup
Unlimited but at least
3–5 servings daily
Unlimited but at least
4–6 servings daily
Unlimited but at least
6–8 servings daily
1⁄2 cup
1–2 servings daily 1–2 servings daily 0–1 servings daily
1⁄2 cup
1–3 servings daily 3–4 servings daily 1–3 servings daily
Herb Tea
Fresh Juice
4–8 cups daily*
2 cups daily
1⁄2 cup daily
1⁄2 cup daily
4–8 cups daily
3 cups daily
1 cup daily
1 cup daily
4–8 cups daily
2 cups daily
1⁄2 cup daily
1⁄2 cup daily

*Amount of water required will vary according to water content of foods and how many other beverages are consumed.






Warming Warming Cooling Stagnating to clogging
Concentrated Neutral Dilute Concentrated
Stabilizing — Grounding Comforting — Stabilizing Ungrounding Mood/energy swings
Slower to digest Moderate digestion Quick to digest Slow to digest
Longer lasting energy Longer lasting energy Quick energy Energy depleting
Congesting if overdone Neutral to decongesting Decongesting Congesting
w/lots of greens
Alkaline-forming w/lots
of greens
Alkaline-forming Acid-forming
Wild or organic fish
Organic or pastured meat
& poultry
Non-meat proteins:

  • Eggs and raw dairy
  • Nuts and seeds 

Limited whole grains; mainly
Lots of vegetables, emphasis on
non-starchy; limited starchy &
Algae, seaweeds, yeast, bone
broths, fermented vegetables,
undenatured whey
Spices and herbs

Wild or organic fish
Organic or pastured
meat & poultry
Non-meat proteins:

  • Eggs & raw dairy
  • Nuts, seeds,
    their milks 

Whole grains (nongluten)
Cooked vegetables, incl.
Raw vegetables & juices
(incl. carrots and beets)
Algae, seaweeds, yeast,
bone & vegetable
broths, fermented
vegetables, undenatured whey
Starchy fruits
Green herbs, spices

Seeds & their milks
Bone broths
Fresh fruits (no citrus)
Fresh fruit and
vegetable juices (except citrus, carrots and beets)
Limited non-gluten grains
Leafy greens and other
non-starchy vegetables,
raw and/or cooked
Algae, seaweeds, yeast,
vegetable broths,
fermented vegetables
Green herbs, spices
Water and herb teas
Commercial vegetable
oils, shortening, margarine
Commercial meats, dairy, & poultry;
commercial farmed fish
Overheated oils
Refined sugars
Processed, packaged foods
Refined flour products (pasta,
bread, other baked goods)
White rice
Excess coffee
Egg or soy-based protein