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 Jayne Bowater

    Hi Andy.
    I’ve just started day 4 of phase 1& haven’t lost any weight. Also I’m often hungry which I thought should be slightly curbed. I don’t want to give up as I’m very inspired but rather disappointed. Is there any advise you could give me please?

    • avatar Andy

      Depending on how much you have to lose, you may need to stick to Ph1 for a bit longer. Make sure that you eat enough at meal times to get you through to the next meal and adjust portions for your own requirements.

  2. avatar Elaine Burfield

    Hi Andy. On Phase 1, am I allowed a vegetable stock cube and 1 parsnip to make vegetable soup. Also is balsamic vinegar allowed. Thanks

    • avatar Andy

      Many veggie stock cubes that I’ve come across are fine. Parsnips are quite ‘carby’ so don’t go mad on them.
      No vinegar on Ph1.

  3. avatar Kiki

    I would like to try this diet, so I was wondering which book would have at least a weeks worth of sample menus in it to get me started? I was also wondering if potatoes and whole wheat were allowed on this diet, and if so how much?

    • avatar Andy

      Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing weight and 3-Step plan have meal plans for Ph1 and Ph2
      No pots or wheat on Ph1, ok thereafter as long as you’re ok with both. We don’t specify portion sizes.

        • avatar Andy

          If you can drop me an email to clubadmin at theharcombedietclub dotcom with your address, I’ll pop some in the post for you.

    • avatar Andy

      No need to replace anything, just make veggie meals. There are veggie alternative plans in Stop Counting Calories and The three step plan.

    • avatar Andy

      Hi Sam, if you send me an email with your address, I’ll pop some in the post for you.

    • avatar Andy

      Hi Karen. I only have them as printed cards. If you can email me your address, I’ll pop some in the post for you.

  4. avatar Andy Wilson

    Hi. Do you have any specific guidance for Type 1 Diabetics on the diet please? I imagine regulating blood sugars will be a bit of a nightmare at first.

  5. avatar Rachel Hixson

    Hi, I’ve just started Phase 1 today. Please can you let me know how we can get hold of the ‘foods allowed’ cards for each phase?

    • avatar Andy

      Hi Rachel, if you drop me an email with your address, I’ll pop some in the post for you.

  6. avatar Therese Mayo

    Hi I’ve just bought Zoe’s book and am keen to get started. I’m a pescatarian and just wondered if I would do as well on phase 1 if I’m only eating fish rather than meat too? I’m a reluctant one as I like meat but I was getting very nauseas after eating it so that’s why I stopped. I’ve put on two stone since and am so desperate to get the weight off. I think I have the three illnesses listed in the book

    • avatar Andy

      You can take the meal plans and replace any of the meat options with a fish meal instead. Be sure to otherwise stick to the rules and carb limits.

  7. avatar Andrea

    Hi just done my 5 day phase 1. Lost 6lb yeah!!! Can I have mushrooms in phase 2


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