What foods not to eat for fear of worsening symptoms?

There has been much discussion recently on coconut oil that has helped some members to experience an improvement in their Parkinson's symptoms, but are there any food items that some of us omit from our diets for fear of worsening symptoms? I personally have given up all dairy products, because milk is meant for calves and not human consumption.

61 Replies

  • No, but one that I added is Super Food Drink.You can keep the juice in the refrigerator for 10 days. If it makes more than you can consume in 10 days adjust the recipe.

    Juice for the Super Food Drink

    4 Cups of Carrot Juice (about 5 lbs carrots

    1 Beet

    2 bunches Romaine

    2 bunch Spinach

    1 bunch of Kale (Stripe leaves off branch)

    1 bunch Chard

    1 bunch Celery

    2 Tomatoes

    1 Red Pepper

    The more green vegetables you can find, it is good to use them

    For 2 super food smoothies: Put in blender: 2 cups of vegetable juice (from juice above), a ½ cup pure almond or chocolate milk (Silk), 2 big spoons of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, add the powders below and add a little mixed frozen fruit of your choice (6-8 pieces) and whirl up until all blended and smooth.

    For 2 glasses of Super food Drink

    Super food Powders for the drink: We get them at Sprouts

    Green Vibrance Powder-one heaping scoop

    Harmonized Protein Powder, Vanilla Flavor, 1 scoop

    Cacao Powder-one heaping scoop

    Toasted Wheat Germ-one scoop

    Ground Flax seed- one scoop

    Ground Chia Seed-one scoop

    Sprouts has many super food powders, you might like some other ones as well

    Pour into glass and enjoy! This is our morning breakfast drink.

  • Hello Tlongmire

    Thank you for your recipes for super food drinks and smoothies. They sound as though they provide you and your husband with lots of goodness and energy. I have read that we should endeavour to provide our body's with alkaline foods for health and these recipes certainly do that.

    Further to my original question I am also cutting down on meat and fish as I believe that over the years I have eaten too much protein and mostly from non organic sources which may have contributed to my developing Parkinson's.



  • Norton

    Do you think it would be better to get your protein sources from a plant based diet

    and that milk and dairy products causes inflammation?

  • Many plant proteins cannot be used by humans. Very limited options, e.g. I think I heard proteins from peanuts are okay but I might be making that up as I go.

  • Thank you Pete-1

    I do not know which plant proteins you are referring to, but I know that many are good for healthy human consumption, such as rice, potatoes and legumes. I am having my eyes opened by watching video's on YouTube with Dr. McDougall. In these video's he informs us that it is healthy to eat a carbohydrate diet, which is different to the low carb advice that is currently all the vogue.

    He is dead against dairy products too!


  • I don't really know either. I got this idea about plant proteins from a bloke I knew, when I was a student, who was doing a degree in biology.

  • Vjessv

    I certainly am coming round to that idea and carrying out research on the Internet about eating an exclusive plant based diet for health. There are many contradictions on what constitutes a healthy diet and I have tried lots of diets in my time, but can it be right to eat food such as dairy products which have at times been implicated in so many chronic conditions because it is not a natural food for humans? Yes, I do believe dairy products can and do cause inflammation.


  • I tend towards the idea that a happy medium is required in most if not all things. Have you ever heard of the 80 - 20 principle. Where so long as for 80% of the time you eat what may be described as a balanced diet then its alright to eat complete rubbish for the remaining 20%.

  • Hello again Pete-1

    Is it called the Parento Principle? According to Dr. John McDougall a healthy diet is one where you get all your nutrition from plants including protein. He has a website called 'star McDougallers' where there are many examples of people with all sorts of health conditions who have improved their health by following such a regime. Balanced diet can mean many things depending from the position you start.

  • You made me lol, but I hope so, because that is so me ! :-)

    (for pete-1)

  • Sometimes a bit difficult to see which post refers to which. Sorry Jocee I can't tell which post you found funny?

  • For Pete-1 The one that says you can eat 20% rubbish if you eat healthy 80% of the time. Because I do. eat rubbish 20% of the time! (fast food, chocolate, ice cream)

  • I'd quite like to make my ice cream consumption 100% of my diet. Best food known to man. Got to leave some room for chocolate though

  • You may want to check out the new book Grain Brain by neurologist and nutritionist David Perlmutter. In it he argues that the best diet for brain health is a Ketogenic diet - low sugar/carbs, high fat no gluten and very few grains. He backs everything up with lots of science. The most compelling part is in the last few chapters where he explains how gene expression for brain protecting mechanisms and neurogenesis can actually be controlled by specific lifestyle factors. I highly recommend.

  • Thank you Rtag for replying. I have indeed read the book and have tried the Ketogenic diet myself, but am no longer on it. I tried it for several weeks, but found it adversely affected my sleep and gave me constipation for four days at a time. If you are going re to try it, please be aware of my experience, it is not to say yo will be similarly affected. I would be interested to know how you get on.



  • I do know what you mean Norton. There is so much conflicting advice out there, it really is quite maddening. My husband has been on this diet for 6 months. He has early onset tremor dominant PD. He has noticed an improvement in his energy, but nothing yet in regard to his tremor. However, he has noticed other general health improvements. He had chronic heartburn for 10 years and that has completely resolved. He was popping antacids regularly and the other day he commented that he hasn't had a single episode of heart burn in months. Unheard of for him. He was also experiencing some bizarre inflammatory pain in his wrist not prompted by injury. That has since resolved on the diet. It was actually these two symptoms that first prompted us to investigate diet. Regardless of the Ketogenic approach, I think that reducing refined sugars and carbs, avoiding wheat and dairy and increasing vegetables and whole foods is a logical approach.

  • Hello rtag

    It is good to hear of a success diet from someone eating a low carb diet. Let us know if eventually this diet lessens your husband's tremors as this is a most difficult symptom to reverse. Thank you for sharing his story with us. I'm sure you are absolutely right in eliminating dairy products from his diet. Some advocates of the Ketogenic diet encourage us to eat cheese and cream!


  • Thank you for your encouragement. Actually when he first started the diet he was guzzling cream as he felt he needed it to feel satiated without the satisfaction of carbs! Did you experience a similar need when you had cut out all grains for several years? As he has adjusted he had phased out the dairy, sometimes just having goat's cheese. I will definitely let you know if he gets anywhere with all this.

  • Rtag

    I did not feel the need to partake of dairy products, but did so, because the author of the book I was following said they are good for you. One of my many faults is that if someone sounds authoritive, I believe them, despite evidence to the contrary. I am now seeing that people have to make a living and do not mind what they advocate so long as it is said strong enough! That is just one of the problems of living in the 21st century.

    I'm sure many of us will look forward to reading anything you post on this website.

    Thank you


  • I should also really mention that my husband has been monitored by an integrative MD while following this diet protocol. Before he started the diet his glutathione levels were tested and found to be low. Glutathione is an important antioxidant synthesized by the body and it's measurement is often an indicator of cellular health. His levels were measured again 4 months into the diet and they had gone up considerably. Before the protocol he was also found to be deficient in other antioxidants essential for brain health: CoQ10, Lipoleic Acid, and Vitamin E. These deficiencies are all typical in PD. We haven't re-measured these as the test to do so is quite expensive, however our MD has suggested that they are likely up too as the increased glutathione is likely an indicator of that.

    My husband has lost 20 lbs on the diet too. The "spare tire" that he could not get rid of no matter what he tried is gone. His BMI is right on target.

  • Rtag

    It just gets better. From what I understand all (most) PwP have low levels of glutathione. Has your husband ever had a sleep problem, like so many others have with Parkinson's. I just wish that I had experienced the same as your husband when I tried the same diet.


  • He did go through a phase of poor sleep, however it's hard to say if it was the PD or anxiety due to his diagnosis (he was only diagnosed about 10 months ago). He did begin to sleep better - whether it was the diet or not, hard to say - but since starting amantadine has found he has very lucid dreams and does not feel like he falls into deep sleep.

    We entered this PD world with very little background in dietary theories etc. We have been educating ourselves, but I completely agree, it is so confusing with all the differing opinions and trends and it is so hard to know what information to trust as you are right, so many have their own best interests in mind while advocating these things. We all just have to make our own decisions for ourselves even if they involve a leap of faith. That said, I do believe it is better to keep looking and trying and keeping an open mind, rather than giving into the disease. Following his protocol (while admittedly I do have some questions and reservations) has given my husband a focus, empowerment, and most importantly hope. I think that is worth a lot.

  • Hi Norton,

    I have been watching interviews with David Perlmutter and he clearly says that a Vegan lifestyle is compatible with a ketogenic diet, but you must comply with two food choices, a signifficant high fat content (e.g. coconut oil & olive oil) and keep your carbohydrates way down). as per the ketogenic diet. The message is that it can be done within the Vegan lifestyle.

    I'm finding his book very helpful in fine tuning my ketogenic diet.

  • Thank you Satwar. Will look on YouTube to see if the interviews you refer to are on there.

    Kind regards


  • Hi Norton,

    It may be more productive to read his web site. I googled "perlmutter vegan", without the quotes, and got lots of hits.

  • Thank you Satwar for this information.

    Kind regards


  • In fact there is a lot different expert opinions on the effect of ketogenic diets on brain health. A researcher in Canada, Stephen Cunnane, who is investigating ketone therapy, has a ketone PET scanner and also does a glucose PET scan back to back, studying Alzheimer's. He has found that most of the areas of the brain can use glucose perfectly well, and also that the areas that do not take up glucose DO take up ketones just as well as a healthy young brain. He suggests that we NOT use a very low carb diet so that the areas of the brain that can use glucose, get glucose, and don't use up the ketones we are providing through ketone therapy.

  • Hello Satwar

    I have noticed that diets come and go. This is the age of the Paleo/Ketogenic/low carbohydrate diet and there are many writers jumping on the bandwagon. Sixty years or so ago it was 'the rice diet; thirty years ago it was the food combining diet.

    Some advocates of the low carb diet tell us to limit our carb intake to 20 grams a day.

    There is a 20 minute talk on TED talks which dismantles the commonly held view that the Paleo diet always included fish and meat. Apparently it did not and our ancestors food depended on their geographical environment.

    I'm afraid that I am getting dispirited by all the contradictions about the food we should eat, it's all getting rather confusing.


  • I guess it was the inflammatory role of sugars and the neuroprotective role of fats which made sense to us about this diet.

  • Hello rtag

    It is often stated that carbohydrates turn into sugar during digestion and that is a good reason to eat far less of them and eat more fat and protein. If carbohydrates are so bad for our health why is it that many millions eat carbohydrates, such as rice, as their staple diet and yet suffer far less degenerative diseases than we do in the west? Some other cultures eat other grains as their staples, yet have far less ill health than we do. I have believed some of these low carb gurus and ate no grains at all for several years, but still experienced a worsening of my symptoms; maybe it' is just me because there are clearly others who thrive on low carb diets.

    It would be good to hear from some others who have tried the Atkins and similar low carb diets and gave up because they felt unwell.


  • Something about the western diet...or lifestyle in general. More processed food with hidden sugars and trans fats? More dairy? There is actually a study that has found that men (for some reason only men) who consumed more milk were 60% more likely to develop PD. Less exercise, less sunlight, more chronic stress...more modified foods...?

  • Rtag

    I think that you are absolutely right in what you say are possible causes of degenerative diseases we are experiencing, especially processed foods. But going back to a point I made earlier, grains such as brown rice has received little processing. Having said that millions of the earth's population eat white rice and thrive. I think simple diets are also important.


  • I agree. I don't see much harm in a bit of rice either. Grain Brain even suggests that brown rice as well as a few others that are free of gluten are fine in moderate quantities. For now, my husband is happy to exclude it from his diet...so I don't rock the boat!

  • Hi Norton,

    In my opinion it is a big mistake to lump all carbohydrates in the same basket. Eat good quality carbs with a low glycemic index and your body will look after itself.

    I started CO therapy with a low carb (50 g) diet in anticipation of weight problems. I lost 25 lbs by slowly lowering my target carbs but in the end I started crashing on low carbs, not pretty with PD. I started eating good quality carbs, no carb counting, and I straightened right out, no more crashing and my weight is up 5 lbs but stable @ 12 tbs CO.

    Dec 1 Update:

    I retract the above opinion, because at the time I was still struggling to understand what was happening to my body. In fact what I was experiencing was ketone crashes, which flipped my body back into glucose mode. I then had to feed my body carbs to feel better.

  • Hello Satwar

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us when you restricted your carbs to 50 grams; some low carb writers recommend that we eat no more than 20 grams of carbs. What I want to ask such writers is if carbs are so bad for us why is it that we have a digestive enzyme in or saliva especially for the digestion of carbs/starches?

    Re the coconut oil, I am pleased that it is working for you and others doing the same. It might just be that this is a feasible treatment for some PwP in the future. In the UK you would need a small fortune to take 12 tbsp a day. I still think that diet also plays an important and vital part in any treatment we may undergo.

    I would like to ask the question, but won't' what do you think are the causes(s) of you developing Parkinson's?



  • My trial with CO is far from over. It may take several years to realize it's full potential.

    As for the cause, if anyone knew that we wouldn't be having this conversation. My acupuncturist says it's caused by a stressful event in my past. I have no idea.

  • satwar, have you had much success with your PD symptoms with CO and acupuncture?

  • My tremor stops but is easily started up by stress.(many kinds). I decided to see if acupuncture can reduce the stress in my body and keep the tremor at bay. On my first visit when the last needle was inserted the tremor stopped completely. Unfortunately I started to cry with joy and the effect was lost after a minute or so. Never the less I was extremely impressed.

  • wow. Incredible. Do you keep going to acupuncture?

  • Yes I will. My second visit wasn't as spectacular, but afterward at home I was working around the house with no tremor all evening.

  • Hello Satwar

    My apologies for not making it clear. I was really asking a rhetorical question about all of us with Parkinson's and do we have any suspicions about what caused it to develop in us. For myself, I believe that I have eaten too many dairy products during my lifetime and this was a possible cause, but I can not prove it. As for mercury fillings, both my wife and I have them, but only I have PD.


  • Sorry Norton, I have no idea.

  • Norton, please read this. You may be getting ketone therapy, without buying it in a jar:


  • Hello Satwar

    Thank you for the link which is enlightening. I walk Monday to Friday for forty minutes starting at 7am, but I do little more than amble, because i accompany a dog walker. It's quite clear, I need to step up a pace and not have anything to eat until later in the morning thereby allowing more keytones to build up in my brain. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.



  • Now don't injure yourself, or you'll be doing no exercise. Also remember that the healthy part of your brain needs glucose, don't starve it.

  • Hi Norton,

    I believe that PD, for me anyway, was caused by a combination of genetic disposition for insulin resistance and a no fat, no salt, no sugar food choice style. Since I'm not a dog, I can't live on protein, and I shunned fat, so I relied on carbohydrate for energy and it poisoned me (technically starved my brain cells to death).

  • Hello Satwar

    After reading about and trying various diets over the years, it has occurred to me that primarily we should be eating food which has been minimally processed.

    I no longer eat cheese, yoghurt or add milk in my morning porridge, because it believe dairy is meant for calves and not humans. After all, until humans began to farm, where did they obtain their milk, hardly, wild animals.

    As for carbohydrates, there are billions of people on earth who eat such food as their staple diet. If carbohydrates were poisonous to humans there would not be many Asian people left where rice comprises as a large part of their diet. Was fruit poisonous to you? If so, that was unfortunate, because humans have a digestive enzyme called Amylase which tends to indicate that starches are and have been part of the human food chain for thousands of years.


  • Hi Norton,

    I think you missed my point. There is a complete spectrum of insulin resistance, from none to very severe. Both my sister and I have had weight control problems in our later life, and it is a progressive disease (sound familiar yet?). Many people can live very well eating donuts and coffee, but it would kill me. Carbohydrates are poisonous to me, not to everyone, it depends on your genetic makeup.. I've always felt diabetic (insulin overreacts after eating sweets), but all the doctors kept telling me I was okay. The only way to challenge the disease in me is to reduce carbohydrates intake until the insulin stops overreacting and the keytones start flowing and firing up those dormant (I hope not dead) brain cells.

    I highly recommend "The Art and Science of Low Carbohyrate Living" by Volek & Phinney. There are some excellent videos on Youtube as well.

  • Yes, Satwar re reading your post, I most certainly did miss your point. At times, I feel as though I've got so much to say I don't always concentrate on what I am reading!


  • Hi Norton ,

    I keep forgetting to mention that the above book I recommended reading, addresses the problem of constipation you encountered with a low-carb diet. The authors recommend moderate salt intake (4-6 g sodium per day) during the adaptation phase. I haven't had a problem following that guideline.

  • Thank you Satwar for pointing this information out to me. I hope that others going down the low carb route will take notice of what you have said.



  • Thank you Satwar


  • All this talk of eliminating diary products is disturbing to me. I'm originally from Wisconsin. Has anyone from Wisconsin ever given up diary products?

  • Hello Joanne_Joyce.

    I must confess that you have lost me with your question. All I can repeat is that cows milk is for calves and not human consumption. We are the only species that takes the milk of another. Dairy produce has been implicated as one of the possible causes of PD.



  • Norton, I guess it wasn't really a question - more of an excuse for continuing to enjoy my cheese. But if there is strong evidence that it is implicated I'd like to read more. Can you suggest some sources?

  • Hello Joanne_joyce

    I have a book titled 'natural. Therapies for Parkinson's diseases' authored by Dr. Laurie K Mischley. In it, she lists three research papers into dairy being associated with an increased risk of PD.

    I will copy one of her quotes from this book.

    ' Tetrahydroisoquinolines are endogenous neurotoxins, and known to cause Parkinsonism - like syndrome in rodents and primates. They can pass easily through the blood-brain barrier, but cannot be metabolised in the brain or the liver. These endogenously produced substances have been hypothesized to be possible Parkinson's disease- inducing substances'

    I recommend that you borrow this book from your library and follow the References through and decide for yourself if you want to continue drinking milk, eating cheese, cream, cottage cheese yoghurt and the like. I personally have given them up save for a splash of milk in my cup of tea.



  • Thanks Norton. I'll check this out. (Glad to learn you still add some milk to your tea. That would be very hard to give up!)

  • I found this really interesting and thought i would add this, it ties up a few things being discussed here.


  • Hello vjessv

    Good to hear from you again and thank you for your contribution.



  • I gave up or severely reduced everything that I knew to overly stimulate my kidneys, for example, coffee, tea, watermelon (the worst), cranberries...etc. , due to consuming them they led to the rapid elimination of medicines via the urinary tract. Now I take about half of the meds I took before being very cautious about ingesting those foods and drinks. The half-life of meds is more predictable, the ride smoother not a rollercoaster. Your welcome

  • Would switching to goats milk be as effective as avoiding all dairy? Some say goats milk is better for arthritis and as gran has both parkinsons and arthritis was wondering if this could help?

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