The Harcombe Diet – Phase 1

Phase 1 came about following Zoë’s review of all the early literature referenced on the pages for Candida (Reference i), Food Intolerance (ii) and Hypoglycaemia (iii). Zoë took the foods allowed and/or recommended for each condition and put them together to establish Phase 1.

Phase 1 is only five days long, although it is recommended to stay on Phase 1 for longer if you have more than 20lb to lose and/or if you have marked Candida overgrowth.

With unlimited meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (except potatoes/mushrooms), Natural Live (bio) Yoghurt, herbs, spices and one portion of ‘safe’ grains daily (brown rice, quinoa, oats)…

… Breakfasts can be: bacon & eggs; omelettes; Natural Live Yogurt; brown rice cereal (available from the gluten-free sections of supermarkets; porridge oats (made with water – milk is avoided for Phase 1 as it’s a common Food Intolerance)…

Lunches can be: Salade niçoise; coronation chicken wrap (one of our special recipes); chef’s salad; omelette; brown rice salad…

Dinners can be: Butternut squash curry with brown rice (one of our specials); steak & salad; chicken & stir-fry vegetables; rice pasta with home-made tomato sauce; paella; pork & crackling with parsnip chips; quinoa and Mediterranean vegetables…

This is eating as we should eat – real food – in satiating quantities.

It is best to get into the habit of eating three main meals a day with in between meal snacks only if you are genuinely hungry. However, the most important thing with Phase 1 is to complete it. So, if you need to snack between your three main meals then you can have cold meats, hard-boiled eggs, celery sticks, raw carrots, Natural Live Yoghurt or a tin of tuna – whatever it takes to keep hunger at bay.

Any of the diet books (Stop Counting Calories; Why do you overeat? The Harcombe Diet for Men) will give you menu plans/meal suggestions and lots more information about Phase 1.

 

Early literature

(i) Candida
“Candida – a 20th Century Disease” by Shirley Lorenzani (1986)
“The Yeast Syndrome” by John Parks Trowbridge MD and Morton Walker D.P.M (1986)
Candida Albicans – Could Yeast be your problem?” by Leon Chaitow (1987)
“The Yeast Connection” by William G. Crook MD (1983)
“Beat Candida through diet” by Gill Jacobs (1990)
(ii) Food Intolerance
“Food Intolerance – What it is and how to cope with it” by Robert Buist (1984)
“5-Day Allergy Relief System” by Dr Marshall Mandell and Lynne Scanlon (1979)
“The Allergy Hanbdook” by Dr Keith Mumby (1988)
“Allergies – Your Hidden Enemy?” by Theron Randolph MD and Ralph W.Moss PhD (1981)
“Not all in the Mind” by Dr Richard Mackarness (1976)
“The False Fat Diet” by Elson M Haas MD and Cameron Stauth (2001)
“The Complete Guide to Food Allergy and Intolerance” by Dr Jonathan Brostoff and Linda Gamlin (1989)
(iii) Hypoglycaemia
“Hypoglycaemia – the disease your doctor won’t treat” by Saunders and Ross (1980)
“Low blood glucose (Hypoglycaemia). The twentieth century epidemic?” by Martin L Budd (1983)
“New low blood sugar and you” by Carlton Fredericks (1985)

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Website Comments

  1. avatar emma
    Reply

    Hi Andy I am 15 stone 3lbs and am 5’3 tall … so I have a lot of weight to loose…how on should I stay on phase 1?

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Hi Emma,
      Certainly until your cravings are under control. Aim initially for 4 weeks and then review.

  2. avatar Shauna
    Reply

    In Phase 1 – can I have natural greek yogurt rather than plain natural yogurt? still full fat – no sugar added etc. thanks.

  3. avatar Rebecca
    Reply

    Hi. I’m sure I read somewhere that vegetarians can have extra brown rice in phase 1? Have I imagined it or is that ok? And if ok, do you have a recommended amount?

  4. avatar Karen Merriman
    Reply

    Hi. I’m about to start phase 1 and have a couple of queries. Can I have fried tomatoes with the bacon and eggs? And if I have steak and vegetables can I put butter on the veg? Thanks

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      A small number of tomatoes is fine
      Go easy on the butter, it’s best used for cooking only in phase 1

  5. avatar Bernadette
    Reply

    Hi I’ve just done my 5 days I struggled slightly with cravings but stuck with it, I feel this is one dit I can finally relate to and explains the science of food to me, the penny has finally dropped and I understand it now after being confused the same as everyone else, I purchased stop counting calories and the recipe book before I embarked on this programme my advice to anyone is read and reread the book you will need to go over it till it sits in your mind like I have done, I lost 4lb on phase 1 but it made me constipated even though I ate lots of veggies & salad, looking forward to phase 2 with a little friut to eat..good luck everyone.

  6. avatar Pasca
    Reply

    Hello,
    In p2, it says you shouldn’t mix carbs and fats so why does it keep saying we can mix veg (carb) and meat (fat) in the meal plan. I’m soooo confused with what constitutes as a fat and carb – is there a list I’m missing?!

    Thanks 🙂

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      If you use ‘surface veg’ (greens etc) and not root veg (potatoes, carrots etc) then you’d be generally fine with mixing with meats.
      Full explanation and food tables in Stop Counting Calories.

  7. avatar Pam
    Reply

    Can i follow this plan as a vegetarian with limited egg recipes? not always wanting eggs for breakfast, for lunch and then dinner!

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Yes. There are lots of veggie friendly options and Stop Counting Calories includes a vegetarian phase 1 and 2 meal planner.

  8. avatar Geen
    Reply

    Hello,
    1) Can I use tomato puree in ph1?
    2) Can I have homemadebvegetables soups in ph1? As I find it strange that you don’t have soups in any of your meal plans, is there a reason why I should avoid soups in the harcombe diet phases?

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Yes. Mixing is ok in phase 1 as long as you keep the carbs to the recommended amounts.

  9. avatar Elle
    Reply

    If I do p1 for several weeks, or have to redo the five days of p1, can I mix brown rice and meat within allowance daily? Or is it true that there is no rice after 5 days or in a redo? Please clarifying. Thanks!

  10. avatar Raman
    Reply

    Hi, I am a vegetarian and I am starting phase 1 tommorow. Can I cook the vegetables and make indian curry? Is yogout allowed in phase 1? I am very addicted to indian chai tea which includes milk and sugar can I have one or two cups a day? So in phase one is only veggies and meat. No fruits , nuts wheat. I don’t like rice and porridge can I not have any rice and porridge at all or do I have to have 50g?

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Yes for veggie curry
      yes for yoghurt (NLY) on Phase 1
      No to milk and sugar (if you’re ‘addicted’ to the tea, you should be looking to stop it.
      You don’t have to eat porridge and rice, just replace them with something else.

  11. avatar Chris Cain
    Reply

    Hi, ive just finished day 5 of phase 1. Half way through I had lost nearly 8 lbs but then I had the 50gms rice with chicken. I the didnt lose any more and now tonight I have lost it and eaten 2 pots of Muller Rice (custard and Apple flavours). Id weighed myself and now my gain has reduced down to about 4lbs. I feel so demotivated and tomorrow I am working away, staying in a hotel and the temptation to eat nirmal food is going to be a battle.
    I just feel like I will put weight back on in an instant. I dont know how to approach phase 2 but I cant face the idea of phase 1 again. I thought i would love eating Bacon and eggs but I am now sick of it and the thought of eating veggies is not encouraging me. Basically I feel like crap now. Any suggestions please.

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      The Muller custard and apple ‘flavoured’ rice wouldn’t help.
      Try sticking to a strict Phase 2 with no mixing and NO processed stuff. Re-read Phase 2 rules in books and drop me an email with your address and I’ll send you some reminder cards.

  12. avatar Wendy
    Reply

    I am from the U.S. and am confused as to whether whole-meal (UK) and whole wheat (US) are interchangeable?

  13. avatar Janet
    Reply

    Please explain phase 2 of carb/protein and fat/protein and not mixing the 2.

    The definition in your book on fats and carbs is clear – but I still don’t understand what “protein is” – pls explain. I have been on Phase 1 for 5 days and only lost half a kilo. Help!!!!

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Protein is in all foods, so we just ignore it and separate meals into fat-meals and carb-meals in Phase 2

  14. avatar Lynsey
    Reply

    Hi on P1 could I split the brown rice over 2 meals? Such as have 50g Kallo cereal one meal and 25g rice for another?

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Yes, but try not to do it every day as every carb meal will trigger an insulin response. We suggest working towards a single carb meal a day.

  15. avatar Jody
    Reply

    Is it okay to use some lemon juice with olive oil for salad dressing in phase 1? If not, what do you recommend dressing salads with?

  16. avatar Natalie
    Reply

    Hi can someone please help! I have been doing the diet for 4 days now and am doubting whether I am doing it right! I need to know whether I am supposed to follow the 5/7 day classic menu on phase one, dish by dish, as in the book or whether thats just an example of what to eat? many thanks

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      You can follow the Phase 1 menu plans exactly or swop in other meals that you prefer. The printed plans are examples to show you how varied you can eat. But if bacon and eggs works every day for you (as it does for me), then go with that.

      • avatar natalie
        Reply

        Hi thanks for your reply. I’ve been on phase 1 for two weeks now and haven’t lost anything! A typical day has been bacon and egg for breakfast, lunch has been sliced butchers meat with some raw veg for snacking or a tin of mackerel in olive oil and dinners are steak and salad or lamb chops and roast veg. I’ve cut out caffeine and only drink decaf and herbal teas. I can’t see what I’m doing wrong? I have more than 2 stone to lose and am feeling hopeless.

  17. avatar Nikki Webber
    Reply

    What book can I buy to guide me through the Harcombe diet step by step with all the info. Thanks

  18. avatar Jo
    Reply

    Just wondered about fats on ph1…none listed but in the book chapter Zoe mentions olive oils to dress salad. Can we add small amounts of fat to cook with eg stir fry? What about animal meats eg chicken – should skin be eaten or removed in ph1? Thanks for any clarification!

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      olive oil to cook stir-fry if fine.
      portion sizes are not limited, eat enough to keep you satiated between meals.
      Eat all meats with skin/fat left on (unless you don’t like it), they add to taste and satiety.

  19. avatar jean
    Reply

    I’m very over weight, my husband diagnosed coeilac and lost stones, trying g to start diet tomorrow, waiting for books to arrive, if we have eggs for breakfast and glutten free cornflakes with yoghurt, then steak salad for lunch , what to have for dinner plus snacks, can I use oil and vinegar dressing HELP

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Eggs are great, but drop the cornflakes
      Steak for lunch, lucky you 😉
      go for meat/fish with greens/salad for dinner.
      Olive oul dressing fine. No vinegar on Ph1
      Aim for three meals a day, avoid snacking.

  20. avatar bryn
    Reply

    I’m 5 ft 3 inches and weigh 238lbs bmi 40 + how long should I do phase 1 ? 5th day today and going strong. Thank you.

  21. avatar June
    Reply

    Hi … just wondered if I can substitute tinned salmon for tinned tuna as I really can’t stand tinned tuna?
    Thanks

          • avatar Lucy Thomlinson

            I’m a vegetarian with a milk protein allergy so no yoghurt or cheese for me – I can’t stand tofu and I don’t like fish. Is there a way for me to follow this diet’s principles?
            I would have to cut out phase 1 – unless I ate only raw vegetables for 5 days (which I have tried in the past with no success as I feel so weak)
            Would the following two alternative meal plans work for a phase two?
            Breakfast: omelette cooked with butter or olive oil with spinach and tomatoes
            Lunch: boiled eggs with Heinz mayonnaise, raw veg & salad
            Tea: plain boiled potatoes, cannellini beans & tomato passata
            or
            Breakfast: Wholemeal Pitta bread with cannellini beans and tomato passata
            Lunch: Spinach omelette with salad & tomato and red onion salad with olive oil & balsamic vinegar
            Tea: Sweet potato, new potato, cannellini beans and raw vegetables

            Without carbs each day, I feel very ill very quickly so would need the potatoes and beans regularly.
            I would also need some mayonnaise for the egg salad – presumably as this is a fat it’s ok?

          • avatar Andy

            You may struggle with such a limited food choice, to be honest, and most you your meal options then become very carb-heavy. We’d suggest making your own mayo, rather than the processed variety. If you can create your own meal plan that only has one carb meal a day, with no processed foods, that would be a good target to work towards. There are some Veggie meal plans in Stop Counting Calories that may help.

  22. avatar Nicola
    Reply

    Hi
    Can the yoghurt be eaten along with anything or should it be lumped in with (protein & fat) on ph1
    Many thanks

    • avatar Lucy Thomlinson
      Reply

      Thank you. I’ve never struggled with a limited diet; I do genuinely love only vegetables, potatoes, salad, beans, lentils, wholemeal bread and eggs and essentially I’ve eaten just these foods for nearly 40 years! I don’t like sugar, chocolate or cakes, meat, fish, rice and pasta and don’t feel restricted in the slightest. I just wanted to check that I had the general principles straight in my mind? So essentially you are saying the suggested menus above carry the correct principles? As long as I have either: my potatoes/beans/lentils with salad & veg & tomaoes plain without fat OR eggs and mayonnaise with salad & veg then this is correct? I have to say I have used these principles for 6 days now, and even though I have only around 10lb to lose, half of it has come off already and the my stubborn belly fat is shrinking daily! The boredom/limitation factor would be usual for most people, but I’m not bored after 40 years, so it’s more just a case of combining differently. The reason I need to drop about 10lb is not because the foods I eat and love are bad for me (quite the contrary!) it’s just the way I was eating them I can see now has contributed to the extra weight. Half a ton of butter on jacket potatoes, poached eggs on toast with more lashings of butter, salad, eggs, nuts, beans and potatoes with mayo all in one meal etc. etc. rather than just keeping the fat and carbs separately. Thanks for your help. I will set about making my own mayonnaise with egg yolks and oil. One last quick question – is mustard (Dijon, wholegrain or English) allowable in any quantities?

      • avatar Andy
        Reply

        Hi Lucy. Your food plans read fine and as they are working for you, stick with them. Mustards are generally fine but make sure there’s no sugar in the brands that you use. The tiny amount of vinegar when mixed into a homemade Mayo shouldn’t be a problem.

  23. avatar sweets
    Reply

    I’m starting Ph 1 – wish me luck. I need to knock off 12-15 kgs. My question- is it ok for me to have flax seeds , sesame seeds, virgin coconut oil & honey(I have these in the morning with warm water) in ph1? Also are dried apricots, raisins figs allowed?

  24. avatar Lolly
    Reply

    What is the amount if brown rice or porridge and is this cooked or uncooked weight. Thanks

  25. avatar Rosie
    Reply

    Hi, I have lost 7lbs in 5 days of phase 1! I’m loving it, thank you. One question I can’t seem to find the answer to….. I was wondering why mushrooms are banned or is that just phase 1?

    • avatar lucy
      Reply

      Hi, I’m vegetarian and struggling on day 5 of phase 1. Have had porridge made with water and added yogurt for breakfast. But stuck for what else to eat. Also feel lethargic and headache. Any suggestions please.

      • avatar Andy
        Reply

        Loads of vegetarian, Ph1 options in the recipe book, plus some examples on this site.
        Tiredness and headaches should pass within a few days. Best wishes.

  26. avatar paula
    Reply

    Hi,I’m on day 1. I have got prawns for dinner. Can I squeeze lemon on them or is that a No coz its a fruit? Thanks

  27. avatar mary
    Reply

    Is your diet okay for type2 diabetes and where can I purchase in Australia thankyou.

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      We can’t advise on your diabetes – you’ll need to work with your doctor and explain what you are planning. We do find that those with T2D do well when supervised.
      We ship all books to Australia from our shop and, also, Stop Counting Calories may still be available here.

  28. avatar Jessica
    Reply

    Just read that you can’t eat fruit in this phase and I’ve been doing it for 5 days and have lost 3kgs. Eating a fruit and making fresh natural juices should I start the diet again and don’t eat any fruit.

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      If you’re doing well on what you’ve been doing, then keep at it. We don’t recommend fruit due to sugar content, hence reason to avoid.

      • avatar Mary
        Reply

        I thought one of the purposes of the diet is to get rid of sugar cravings. What is the logic then I telling someone to continue eating fruit in phase 1 on the basis that they are loosing weight. What about the sugar…………??

  29. avatar Amy
    Reply

    Hi! Is there a plan i can start? I mean like A calendar type plan on where to begin? Thanks

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight has meal planners and some recipes to get you going as well as a comprehensive Q&A section.

  30. avatar Emily
    Reply

    I’ve just done 5 days on phase 1 so will weigh myself tomorrow but I feel better already after 30 years of diet hell! My question is about oat cakes. How can I have them in the next phase when they have wheat flour in or do you have bought ones from the wheat free range in the supermarket??

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      A few supermarket own brands are wheat free, just oats, olive oil and salt.

    • avatar Andy
      Reply

      Hi Vivian. Thanks for your order. I’ve emailed you the shipping details for your package.

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