Pillar 1 - Nutrition

Nutrition, Eating Healthy, Wellness, Food, Health, Holistic, Doctor, Physician, Keto, Low Carb
Curated By
Dr. Richard Harris

Born in Cleveland, Ohio but raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Richard E Harris II is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pharmacist. Dr. Harris attended the University of Texas at Austin for pharmacy school then pursued medical education at the McGovern school of medicine in Houston. Dr. Harris completed his residency in Internal Medicine at UTMB in Galveston. After finishing residency, Dr. Harris worked for a large group in Houston but left that practice to pursue holistic medicine. Dr. Harris has a client-centric view focusing on building relationships and trust through a comprehensive lifestyle medicine system combined with genetic and micronutrient testing. In his spare time, he is an avid reader, weight lifter, video game enthusiast, and author. Dr. Harris also enjoys sports, traveling, philanthropy, church, and keto donuts.

He or She Might Be Thinking About...

  • I don't know what to eat.
  • Where do I even begin?
  • Who should I turn to for help?
  • What is actually healthy?
  • Should I do Vegan, Keto, or some other plan?
  • Should I ask my doctor?
  • Should I ask my friends?
  • I should just do what everyone else is doing?
  • I can't stop eating *insert food*.
  • This is the way I've always done this.
  • Is organic really better?
  • What should I cook my food in?
  • I don't have time to meal prep.
  • Cooking takes too much time.
  • Eating out can't be that bad for me.

Words That Might Be Encouraging

  • You can do it.
  • Plenty of people eat healthily and it doesn't change their day to day flow.
  • Take it one step at a time.
  • It's ok to have a cheat meal once a week.
  • Do what works for your body and your schedule.
  • Certain plans may be better for certain conditions, but you'll have to talk to a professional about that.
  • I changed my habits slowly and now I don't even miss what I used to do.
  • You can achieve your goals if you put your mind to it and go all in!
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Everyone hits road bumps, get back on the bike and keep going!
  • The data shows that eating healthy is actually cheaper when you factor in what you save in health care costs.
  • Cooking doesn't have to be a fancy ordeal. Most of the time we just throw together meat and veggies.  
  • A good cast iron skillet is a lifesaver!

Words That Might Be Discouraging

  • You'll always be overweight.
  • My friend tried that and it didn't work.
  • Don't waste your time on that.
  • I can eat whatever I want and I'm healthy.
  • You should just do what everyone else is doing.
  • We all die someday, why even bother?
  • You aren't strong enough to follow this through.
  • Just jump one of the fads that have helped people.
  • Just eat less meat and more veggies.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Everyone knows that.

Pillar 1 - Nutrition

Pillar 1 Nutrition:

If you are going to calculate calories, we can discuss how to go about this. At first, I typically don’t recommend counting calories. You can use Cronometer (www.cronometer.com) to track calories and nutrient/vitamin level intake. In general, I recommend about 12-14 calories per pound of lean weight (use adjusted body weight if body weight more than 30% over ideal). In general, I recommend about 12-14 calories per pound of lean weight (use adjusted body weight if body weight more than 30% over ideal). These calculators can be found online. A starting point for weight loss is 10% lower then what the calculators say. These equations can be off by as much as 20%. The recommended breakdown is approximately 55% fat, 25% protein, 20% carbs. This may be changed as necessary if you are doing a ketogenic plan. That ratio is 70% fats 20 % protein 10% carbs. Again, this may need to be adjusted based on your own body. A key mistake people make is cutting calories to fast. This can crash your thyroid, wreck your adrenals and lead to weight gain. After a change, wait at least 2 weeks before decreasing calories again. I recommend cutting calories in 5-10% increments after the initial 10% decrease.

If you are not counting calories what I recommend is the rule of 10. Start by decreasing the amount of food on your plate by 10%. Do this for 2 weeks before making any changes. After 2 weeks if your measurements (see the section below on measuring results) do not change, then decrease the amount of food on your plate by another 5-10%.

On keto, you need to replace your electrolytes frequently at first. Replay electrolytes is a great brand. Himalayan rock salt has excellent minerals and electrolytes in it as well. A good resource on a low carb nutrition plan is www.ketogenic.com. If you do the full ketogenic plan than have your cholesterol checked in approximately 3 months. You may find more keto-related information by checking out my Facebook group Keto Connected. Make sure you look at the primer first because it has a lot of great info related to Keto.

Food should be all organic if available. You may need to cater diet to religious/personal/financial preferences or if you have food allergies/intolerances.

Below are examples of approved carbs, fats, and proteins. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Carbs: Berries, crunchy/cruciferous veggies like broccoli, asparagus, okra, brussels sprouts, kale, chard, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Starchy roots (sweet potatoes, yuca, taro root), and grains (quinoa, buckwheat, whole oats, flax seed, long grain rice). For starchy roots and grains heat them and let them cool this makes them resistant starches (more slowly absorbed to prevent quick elevations in blood sugar)

Proteins: Grass-fed beef, organic chicken thighs, lamb, salmon, tuna, organic bacon (small amounts). We order all our meats from Butcher Box. They have the highest quality of sustainably raised meats as nature intended (including grass-fed/grass-finished). You can receive 30$ off your initial order here.

Fats: Grass-fed dairy (milk, butter, ghee (better than butter, cheeses, etc.), eggs, avocado, salmon, beef, chicken thighs as above, pecans, macadamia nuts (raw roast them yourself in cayenne pepper and Himalayan rock salt for a spicy-sweet treat, MCT oil/coconut oil, olive oil 

I would avoid sweets, sugars (real and fake if necessary, to sweeten a little stevia/xylitol, cinnamon, or cacao powder can be used), candy, sodas, cakes, and anything processed, etc. Basically, if it comes in a box don’t eat it, if it has a commercial don’t eat it, if it doesn’t run, walk, swim or come from the ground don’t eat it. 

For cooking oils, use avocado oil, ghee, or coconut oil. These oils are better able to take high heats without negative changes to their makeup. Avoid cooking with olive oil, however, it is great to put on cooked food. I frequently add a tablespoon to my food to increase the fat content and flavor.

When cooking use low or medium heat, avoid charring or burning foods. Pan-frying and baking are better than grilling/broiling.

Insulin sensitivity is also important. By increasing this you preferentially move nutrients to your muscles and not fat. Ceylon Cinnamon tastes great and is a wonderful insulin sensitizing agent. I frequently use it in my buckwheat, protein shakes, and berries.

Please watch this 30 min video on insulin resistance. It’s is extremely educational. It is by Dr. Ted Naiman and the title is Insulin resistance. You can use the link below or search YouTube for it.

Eating ginger or sucking on bay leaves after meals can help lower blood sugars and fight cravings. A tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar after dinner can help lower blood sugars as well. Both are great measures to improve insulin sensitivity.


Proper water intake is paramount to great health. Reverse osmosis or natural spring water (mountain valley) is the best, but if that’s not available it shouldn’t slow down your water intake. There are plenty of ways to calculate how much water the body needs, but the best measure is your urine color. Your kidneys are very sensitive to fluid status. Your urine should be light yellow. This indicates adequate hydration.

Tea/coffee (organic is better green tea has numerous health benefits 1-2 per day) and wine (no more than 5 oz glass daily for women, 2 5 oz glasses for men a few times a week). Dry farm wines and Scout and Cellar make excellent natural wines.

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and juices as these often have extremely high amounts of quickly absorbed sugars (often they may hide the name of the sugar). Be sure to check the label for added sugar and sugar content. Juice is especially troublesome because it has high fructose content (linked to fatty liver disease) and all the fiber and most of the nutrients are removed in the processing of the juice. If you want to drink juice the best thing to do is juice at home with berries and vegetables to ensure fiber and nutrient content. You can add one or two scopes of microingredients organic inulin (a great healthy fiber) to increase fiber intake.

Avoid sodas and other processed beverages. There are numerous links between diet sodas and chronic disease states. A diet soda every now and then is ok but drinking multiple per day is harmful. They are extremely dehydrating, contain phosphorus that binds calcium (most of us do not get enough calcium), are extremely acidic (sends danger signs to the gut) and are highly processed.

Bottom line, drink plenty of water, an occasional tea/coffee, and a glass of wine every now and then.

Tip: Keeping a food journal can also help with accountability and maintaining successful habits when initiating a nutrition plan change. Cronometer is a great app for tracking the nutrient content of foods.

Tip: Store food in glass containers and avoid reheating plastic even if the plastic is BPA free. There are still other materials in the plastic that will leach into food.

Tip: Men should aim for 38g of fiber per day, women for 25g (or 14g/1000 calories). Fiber has numerous health benefits including regulating normal stomach and intestine function, decreasing body fat, decreasing cholesterol, improving the gut microbiome, etc.  

Tip: Use smaller plates and bowls when trying to cut portion size. This little hack can significantly decrease per meal intake.

Tip: In moments of strength prepare for moments of weakness. Do not go to the grocery store hungry, throw out undesirable snacks before the craving comes, if your meal comes with dessert make the dessert inedible before the craving comes on (pour hot sauce, or mayonnaise, or use some other way to make it taste bad). These are just a few tips that can help you prepare for the inevitable moment of weakness.

Tip: If you are going to snack pre count the amount of that item you are going to snack on. You are much less likely to overeat a snack if you are aware beforehand of how much you are eating.

Tip: Eat a cheat meal once a week. I recommend this be done before a fast. It’s perfectly fine to schedule a cheat meal; this will help adherence to the plan.

Disclaimer: These are general recommendations and may not be the best overall plan for your individual genetics/activity level/body. Consult with an expert/healthcare provider before implementing the above recommendations.

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