The Best Brain, Inflammation, Pain, Energy, and Detox Diet Ever

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Paleo diet in a Lyme disease treatment image from Marty Ross MD

The Best Brain, Inflammation, Pain, Energy, and Detox Diet Ever.

Try this diet. I think it is the best option for someone with chronic Lyme disease. It is designed to:

  • improve brain function and grow nerve connections,
  • prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease which Lyme can trigger,
  • decrease inflammation and inflammation cytokines from infection,
  • prevent and treats yeast overgrowth in the intestines that could cause more inflammation,
  • provide key vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber for detoxification,
  • and repair and grow cell energy factories called mitochondria found in every cell.

The diet is named the Mito Food Plan. It was developed by physicians and nutritionist from The Institute for Functional Medicine and is based on the latest science. This article includes numerous papers and articles that are printed here for you to download with permission of the authors.

Marty Ross MD Discusses Healthy Food in Lyme Disease

This video was recorded in Feburary 2016 while Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle Washington.

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The Mito Food Plan

  • provides 60% of calories from healthy fats, 20% from protein, and 20% from complex carbohydrate sugars.
  • is similar to a Paleo diet as it avoids grains, but compared to the Paleo diet it relies more heavily on healthy fats and anti-inflammatory therapeutic foods,
  • is a gluten-free diet,
  • requires a rainbow of vegetable colors in a day to provide key vitamins and antioxidants,
  • includes three different periodic fasting options to increase the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) that promotes nerve growth and connections to improve brain function.

How To Use This Article

This article has a number of resources attached to it and steps to take. I am breaking it down in to a number of steps to make it easier to understand.

Step One

Calculate a target for your daily calorie intake.

  • Print or view the Target Calorie Recommendations page which I use in the video below.
  • Watch the video where I show you how to calculate your target calorie intake.

(Note: In the calculation 1 KG = 2.2 pounds. If a person weighs 150 pounds then they weigh 68.1 KG (150/2.2). Also 1 inch equals 2.54 cm. So a 5 ft 6 inch tall person is 66 inches tall. This person is 167.64 cm tall ( 66 X 2.54).)

Marty Ross MD Explains How To Calculate Your Recommended Calories

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Step Two

Create your food plan which provides a goal for the servings you should eat each day of protein, nuts and seeds, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and healthy fats.

  • Determine the different amount of servings for each food categories using the Options for Therapeutic Macronutrients Distributions table (print or view) and your target daily calories you determined in Step One.
  • Write the servings on the your Mito Food Plan (print or view).
  • Watch the video to see how I developed my own food plan.

Marty Ross MD Explains How to Create Your Mito Food Plan

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Step Three

Make sure you get enough essential vitamins and micronutrients in a day by having a rainbow of color each day from your vegetables and limited fruit intake. Make sure you try to eat foods of at least one of these colors identified in the Phytonutrients Spectrum Foods document (print or view).

Step Four

Develop your first menu and go shopping (or have someone help you do this). Sometimes figuring out how to get started is the hardest part. Try the Mito Food Plan Weekly Planner and Recipes (print).

Step Five

Knowledge is power. Understand why it is good eat this way. Read Mito Food Plan Comprehensive Guide (print). This document explains the food plan in some detail. It provides a good explanation of why you should have so many health fats in a day and why some recommendations are called therapeutic foods.

Step Six


As I have worked with this food plan for my own diet I have had to adjust. The initial calorie target that I calculated was too much, and I was gaining weight. So I had to cut back on all of the food categories equally.

I tried to eat “the best’ protein choices like grass feed bison, beef, and wild salmon. But this is very expensive. So you may need to emphasize the other protein choices.

My Favorite Food

By far my favorite therapeutic food is coconut oil. I now start out each day by putting 1 tablespoon in my morning coffee or tea. Coconut oil is direct brain fuel. It is rich in medium chain triglycerides and the brain superfuel known as beta-hydroxybutyrate. It is shown to improve brain function and improve mitochondrial energy function too.

A Note on Fasting

Periodic fasting is shown to improve brain function, decrease inflammation and improve the function of the mitochondria energy factories. It can help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. There are three types of fasting you can try. These options are outlined in the Mito Food Plan Comprehensive Guide on pages 7, and 29-30. Consider discussing fasting with your physician before trying the 24 hour option.

The options include

  • 24 hour water only fast 1-2 times a month
  • 600 calorie daily fast 1 time a week, or
  • 12 hour fast 4 times a week with no food from dinner until breakfast.

A Detox Diet

The Mito Food Plan is a detox diet. It is full of antioxidants that work to increase the master detox chemical used by the liver called glutathione. For more information about this key chemical read Glutathione: The Great Fixer. In addition to the food choices outlined in the diet be sure to drink 1/2 of your body weight (in pounds) as ounces of water a day. For example a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water a day. Read more about detoxification in Lyme Detoxification 101: The Basics.

An Anti-Yeast Diet

The Mito Food Plan is great for treating and preventing yeast overgrowth in the intestines. It is a low carbohydrate (sugar) diet. In this way it starves yeast of its food source sugar. Read more about preventing and treating yeast in the Yeast Chapter.

Go Organic

As much as possible buy organic foods. Do not add more poisons and toxins to your body. In Lyme disease, the various germs release toxins. In addition some of the medications are toxins too. So limit your exposure to other toxins when you eat organic foods.

Does The Food Plan Work?

Yes, but it but in most cases it takes time.

In my own case though I saw some dramatic improvements after working with this diet for 1.5 months. I was having daily severe headaches, very low energy, and poor sleep over a course of 3 months. I tried various approaches, but only after using this diet plan did I really turn the corner. Now I am back functioning fully.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

This reference list for the Mito Food Plan is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Functional Medicine

Therapeutic Foods for Energy

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Protective Antioxidants

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Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients

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High-Quality Dietary Fats

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Low Glycemic Impact

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Reduced Carbohydrates with Ketogenic Option

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Intermittent Fasting and Caloric Restriction

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Low-Grain and Gluten-Free

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Miscellaneous References

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)

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  10. Radd-Vagenas S, Duffy SL, Naismith SL, Brew BJ, et al. Effect of the mediterranean diet on cognition and brain morphology and function: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Mar 1;107(3):389- 404. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqx070.
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Organic Foods

  1. Barański M, Srednicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, Seal C, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014 Sep 14;112(5):794-811. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514001366.
  2. Baudry J, Lelong H, Adriouch S, Julia C, et al. Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the nutrinet-santé study. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1520-1.
  3. Benbrook CM, Butler G, Latif MA, Leifert C, Davis DR. Organic production enhances milk nutritional quality by shifting fatty acid composition: a United States-wide, 18-month study. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 9;8(12):e82429. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082429.
  4. Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):4-12.
  5. Ferreiro T, Gayoso L, Rodríguez-Otero JL. Milk phospholipids: organic milk and milk rich in conjugated linoleic acid compared with conventional milk. J Dairy Sci. 2015 Jan;98(1):9-14. doi: 10.3168/jds.2014-8244.
  6. Kamihiro S, Stergiadis S, Leifert C, Eyre MD, Butler G. Meat quality and health implications of organic and conventional beef production. Meat Sci. 2015 Feb;100:306-18.
  7. Kim S, Woo GJ. Prevalence and characterization of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli isolated fromconventional and organic vegetables. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 Oct;11(10):815-21. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2014.1771.
  8. Lundebye A-K, Lock E-J, Rasinger JD, et al. Lower levels of persistent organic pollutants, metals and the marine omega 3-fatty acid DHA in farmed compared to wild Atlantic salmon (salmo salar). Environmental Research. 2017;155:49-59. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2017.01.026.
  9. Mazzoncini M, Antichi D, Silvestri N, Ciantelli G, Sgherri C. Organically vs conventionally grown winter wheat: effects on grain yield, technological quality, and on phenolic composition and antioxidant properties of bran and refined flour. Food Chem. 2015 May 15;175:445-51. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.11.138.
  10. Mugnai C, Sossidou EN, Dal Bosco A, Ruggeri S, et al. The effects of husbandry system on the grass intake and egg nutritive characteristics of laying hens. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Feb;94(3):459-67. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6269.
  11. Oates L, Cohen M, Braun L, Schembri A, Taskova R. Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet. Environ Res. 2014 Jul;132:105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.03.021.
  12. Rodríguez-Hernández C, Camacho M, Henríquez-Hernández LA, et al. Comparative study of the intake of toxic persistent and semi persistent pollutants through the consumption of fish and seafood from two modes of production (wild-caught and farmed). Science of The Total Environment. 2017;575:919-931. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.142.
  13. Rosati A, Cafiero C, Paoletti A, Alfei B, et al. Effect of agronomical practices on carpology, fruit and oil composition, and oil sensory properties, in olive (Olea europaea L.) Food Chem. 2014 Sep 15;159:236-43. doi: 10.1016/j. foodchem.2014.03.014.
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  7. Essa MM, Vijayan RK, Castellano-Gonzal
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Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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