The Monkey Diet by Jessica Catalano is an adapted version of the Rhesus Macaque’s natural diet plus a combined version of the CBD Paleo Diet that was created in July 2018 and The Monkey Diet by Jessica Catalano Diet created in June 2019 by Chef Jessica Catalano. It is a lifestyle that aims at creating a natural and heathy way of eating through living foods based on an ancestral diet and Freegan principals – but with a focus on hemp (a dry fruit!) at every meal.
Phase 1 of this diet starts with a 30-day fruit-based raw food detox where whole living foods in their natural state are consumed just like the Rhesus Monkey. Non-starchy fruits/vegetables, healthy nuts/seeds, starchy fruits/vegetables, raw eggs, raw honey, ample water, and the addition of raw hemp make the food pyramid of this diet. It excludes dairy, meat, grains, processed foods, processed sugars, and processed oils. The macronutrient ratio of this phase to be followed is 70/15/15 thus making it a HCLF (High Carb Low Fat) diet.
Phase 2 of the diet begins with the daily consumption of 75% raw foods and 25% carefully curated cooked foods after one month. This ratio translates to three fully prepared raw meals and one cooked meal if four meals are eaten a day. The aforementioned foods in Phase 1 are still to be followed with a macronutrient ratio of 70/15/15. But this phase allows for more comforting foods like sourdough bread, stews, and cooked cereal grains like rice. It is recommended to have Phase 1 repeated once a year as a means to detoxify the bodies fat stores and lymphatic system.
This way of eating also intertwines the theory of “Endocannabinoid Deficiency” by Dr. Ethan Russo. Therefore, hemp is particularly important as it has a critical role in keeping the endocannabinoid system in our body at optimal levels. Ultimately, this diet is designed to help you reach your healthiest human potential! It might sound tough, but by turning healthy choices into long term lifestyle habits, you will reap the benefits of a healthier body.
Lastly, compassion is a huge driving force for this diet, that extends not only to animals but also to plants. All food on this diet can either be collected peacefully from the plant or can be harvested at the end of its lifecycle. Eggs from chickens should come from backyard chickens where they are raised like family members and not from factory farms. It is recommended to only source eggs that are Freegan or from your own backyard flock. The same goes for raw honey, making sure that the honey is Freegan or from your own backyard beehive. And it must be said that compassion should be practiced daily, towards all living things. However, this is not a purist lifestyle and should not be treated as such. It is about minimizing animal and plant death as much as possible but within reason and practically.
Why Rhesus MACAQUES? And What Do They Eat?
In 2007, the Rhesus Macaques genome was sequenced by scientists which revealed that humans and macaques share 93% of their DNA sequence. They also found that humans and macaques also share a common ancestor around 25 million years ago within the primate evolutional tree. This link allows us as humans to understand primate evolution, physiology, dietary behaviors, and the genetic basis of human diseases.
Rhesus Macaques naturally eat a fruit-based diet (a diet high in fruit) with the addition of cereals, eggs, roots, bark, seeds, buds, raw honey, but rarely insects or small animals. During the monsoon season, they get most of their water from juicy fruits but otherwise drink water when foraging or drink rainwater that accumulates on trees and leaves. Rhesus monkeys are diurnal, which means that they only forage for food and eat during daylight hours.
The Monkey Diet was created to mimic what our Rhesus Macaques ancestors ate during the 25 million years before the dawn of agriculture. It’s obviously impossible to recreate this diet 100%, as both the foods and animals the Rhesus Macaques ate back then are not the same as they are now. Most of the food and eggs present today all come from selective breeding from humans over time. However, the goal of this diet is taking this idea into modern-context and eating like a Rhesus Macaques monkey would and presently is.
This is done by consuming mostly pre-agricultural whole foods, abundant clean water, following a circadian rhythm TRF (eating during daylight hours), with ample amounts of daily exercise, and sunshine for optimal health. But bear in mind that cultivated foods such as legumes, refined sugar/oils, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, and processed foods are not allowed on this diet. The central foods to this diet are all fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, roots, herbs, spices, cereals, honey, and eggs.
What Are Living Foods?
Raw veganism and raw foodism didn’t come into vogue until the 1300’s. But before the advent of fire in the paleolithic era, cavemen were eating both raw meat and raw plants based on a dental plaque analysis in 2007 from a 1.2-million-year-old hominin. The OG raw foodies in total essence.
Today, raw veganism and raw foodism consists of unprocessed raw foods that are not heated above 118 degrees. The aim of consuming living foods is to avoid harmful toxins that become the by-products of cooking, preserve living enzymes, ensure biphoton content, hydrate the body with living water, and retain the nutrient values of the foods as intended by nature.
What is endocannabinoid deficiency theory?
This theory was first proposed by famous researcher Dr. Ethan Russo in 2004. In a study, Dr. Russo said that deficient cannabinoid levels in the body could explain why certain diseases took hold of the body. He found evidence that some people diagnosed with specific diseases had lower levels of endocannabinoid in their bodies. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a collection of internal processes that ultimately are responsible for homeostasis (equilibrium) in the body.
The theory suggests that some people either do not produce enough natural endocannabinoids or have enough receptors for the system to function properly thus leading to imbalance then disease. He suggested that people who were deficient in endocannabinoids to use hemp/cannabis to bring about homeostasis and thus stop or prevent disease.
Hemp is a miracle plant. You can make food, milk, cheese, oil, and protein powder with it’s seeds. And you can make CBD oil, juices, and food with it’s fruit/bud. The seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Surprisingly, hemp is botanically speaking a dry fruit as its bud or “fruit” is an achene, just like a strawberry!
A whopping 91–98% of the protein in ground hemp seed is digestible. Which means that our bodies can use almost all of the amino acids for important bodily functions. Rich in fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3), high in fiber, high in: phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper – they do a body good.
These seeds also contain gamma linoleic and stearidonic fatty acids, which fight inflammation and enhance immune system functioning. Hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with.
Hemp has many health benefits that when added to a plant-based diet increases the chances of creating an environment within the body that will promote a healthy immune system. Hemp is non-intoxicating and will not produce the effects that high doses of THC does in the body. The following are some benefits of Hemp usage:
- Relief from chronic pain.
- Reduction of anxiety.
- Reduction of depression.
- Improvement with digestion.
- Fights multi-drug resistant bacteria.
- Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Helps the body keep a healthy weight.
- Improves skin conditions and aging.
- Can help to fight cancer.
- Helps with relaxation which can make it a great tool to induce peaceful rest.
Note: Hemp and cannabis is an annual plant which means the fruit and other parts are collected at the end of its lifecycle.
This diet was designed to give your body a hard push on the reset button. Life can be hectic these days which means eating right isn’t always easy. However, years and years of eating bad foods can cause low grade inflammation on our body eventually causing havoc on our immune system.
This means things like cancers, viruses, and bacterium’s can get out of control in our body. Our immune system is our best defense against any invader or insidious diseases – so we have to take care of it! By eating a hemp forward fruit-based diet, we are giving our bodies the building blocks it needs to help reset our immune system.
Phase I Diet Rules:
For the next 30 days and then once a year thereafter, consume a HCLF fruit-based raw food régime consisting of Monkey Diet approved whole foods with a focus on hemp included in every meal. Only consume raw cereals such as corn, raw oats/groats, and wild black rice. Become a sun worshiper and only eat during daylight hours to fine tune your circadian rhythm.
If you eat 4 meals a day, it could look something like this: 9 bananas with raw honey for breakfast, 4 mangoes chopped up over a large bowl of mixed salad greens for lunch, 2 rock melon for dinner, 2 raw eggs mixed into 32 ounces fresh pressed juice for a snack.
Phase II Diet Rules:
From this day forward, you will be consuming a HCLF fruit-based high raw régime consisting of Monkey Diet approved whole foods (75% raw and 25% cooked) with a focus on hemp included in every meal. Now, you can introduce cooked cereals into your diet. Continue to eat as the sun rises and as the sun sets.
If you eat 4 meals a day, it could look something like this: Raw banana nice cream with fresh strawberries and raw honey for breakfast, homemade grilled nut veggie burger on sourdough bread and a huge salad for lunch, summer rolls wrapped in collard greens for dinner, and a big bowl of blackberries and raw coconut whipped cream for a snack.
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
- Root Vegetables
- Freegan or Backyard Chicken Eggs
- Freegan or Backyard Raw Honey
- Cereals (wheat, corn, rice, barely, sorghum, millet, oats, rye, wild rice, etc.)
- Natural Sea Salts (limit sodium intake to between 500mg to 1,500 mg daily).
- Drink 3 liters to 128 oz of water per day dependent on needs.
- Hemp at every meal – raw, cooked, extracted, isolated, juiced, dried, seeds, and leaves. For CBD oils (full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate), aim for 20mg to 1500mg per day.
The NO List:
- Animal Meat Proteins
- Refined Oils/Fats
- Hyper-Processed Foods
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Refined Sugars/Syrups
Do not throw out food items that are on the “No list” when transitioning to this diet. Continue to use items as you need them until you run out or give them away to someone in need.
Importance of Bananas: Approximately 98% of Americans are not meeting the recommended potassium intake and have a deficiency. A healthy adult should aim to consume 3,500–4,700 mg of potassium daily from foods. Bananas have 422mg per medium banana. Aim for 5 to 11 bananas per day to help you reach that goal.
- Water (stay hydrated!)
- Coconut Water
- Seed/Nut Milks
- All Fresh Juice
- Cold Pressure or HPP Juices
- Pasteurized Juices (in moderation)
- Herbal Teas
- Sparkling Mineral Waters
Monkey Diet Friendly Condiments:
- Herbs/Spices (fresh and dried)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Coconut Aminos
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Pickled Vegetables
- Oil-Free or Low-Fat Dips, Dressings, and Sauces
- Sea Salt
- Date Paste
- Fruit Paste
- Fruit Jam
- Apple Butter
- Raw Honey
- Dried Stevia Leaf
- Coconut Cream
Foods in Moderation:
- Canned food (No or low sodium canned coconut milk, tomato paste, and botanical fruits are all that you should be eating from a can. Everything else, forget about it!).
- Desserts/Baked Goods
- Pasteurized Juices
- Do not use oil or fat in baked goods.
- Pick whole grains over refined grains.
- Use applesauce or mashed bananas to replace oil in recipes.
- Use honey or mashed fruits as a natural sweetener in baked goods.
- Sourdough starters are a great way to help the gut microbiome flourish and thrive.
Perennial and Annual Greens, Herbs, and Spices In A Home Garden:
Jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb, tarragon, and kale are great examples of perennials. This means that the plants come back year after year, and generally, can have small amounts harvested off the plant without killing it. For example, unless it’s a massive plant, you don’t want to harvest more than a few stalks at once from a single rhubarb. As long as you don’t over harvest it, this perennial will come back year after year!
For annuals such as cilantro, potatoes, and lettuce – take small amounts and then allow the plant to bolt and create flowers/fruit/seeds. Then you can re-start the cycle next season with the seeds. Therefore, harvesting tubers, rhizomes, herbs, spices, and other leafy vegetables is okay only when you are taking small amounts from the plant so that it doesn’t kill it and allows the plant to continue its natural life cycle. Harvesting a carrot for example, would end the life of the carrot.
Living commercial herbs or lettuce found in grocery stores are fine to buy. Follow the transplant instructions and keep the plant in your home. Don’t over harvest from the plant and allow it to bolt at the end of its life cycle so that you can re-plant the seeds.
This is not a purist lifestyle and should not be treated as such. It is about minimizing animal and plant death as much as possible but within reason and practically. Therefore, if you cannot grow potatoes or herbs for example, and harvest minimally without killing the plant – buy potatoes and herbs in extreme moderation. For example, only buy a bag of potatoes or herbs a few times a month. Or participate in free food shares or produce swaps with other Freegans.
- Daily sunbathing in midday sun between 10-20 minutes (vitamin D-3 supplement in the winter)
- Fresh air and outdoor exercise daily (rain or shine!)
- Viral, bacteria, allergen, and mold exposure to strengthen the immune system (gardening is a great way to do this!)
Herbal Remedy Exceptions:
If you are sick or experiencing serious health issues, I recommend using natural medicine under the care of a doctor. But for other illnesses you can remedy at home such as the common cold, consuming certain plants such as garlic or onions are beneficial. Because some herbal remedies can end the life cycle of the plant, it is advised to only consume these foods during times of sickness rather than everyday cooking. For preventative medicine, buy or harvest the remedy in moderation to minimize plant death, for example fresh pressed ginger juice. Refer to your doctor, herbalist, or home herbal guide on which plants to use for medicinal purposes.
Food examples (with hemp included):
- Hemp Nut Burgers
- Cherry Mono Meal with CBD Water
- Fresh Berries and CBN Coconut Whip
- Rainbow Fruit Salad with CBDA Vanilla Extract
- CBNA Raw Blueberry Cake Bites
- Gazpacho with CBG Sea Salt
- Banana Nice Cream with Chopped Mangos and Fan Leaf Garnishes
- Raw Apple Pie with Hemp Seeds
- Free-Range Pasture Raised Egg Frittata with Hemp Cheese
- Raw Cinnamon Rolls with CBGA Frosting
- CBD Isolate in Winter Sweet Potato and Root Vegetable Stew with Sourdough Bread
- Hemp Fan Leaf Salad with Lemon and Hemp Seeds
When buying new clothes, products, or goods – support no kill items. Biodegradable items such as hemp or linen are best over synthetic materials. But ultimately, buying secondhand natural clothing is best. Because the goal of Freeganism is to stop clothes from being dumped into the landfill, secondhand leather, wool, silk, and fur is okay.
You are not supporting this industry by getting them secondhand nor are you promoting the wearing of animal products either. Vegan clothing generally looks just as real as the animal products they are substituting. This creates just as much confusion on the street, as passersby cannot distinguish between real or fake animal products. Plus, most Vegan clothing products are not biodegradable.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of the planet to use secondhand products by giving them another chance rather than adding more items to a landfill. Who cares what other people think if someone gifts you a pair of secondhand sheep skin boots! Just know in your heart that you gave this item a second chance and gave respect back to the animal who lost its life by keeping it out of the dump.
- Jute (coarse fiber made for rugs)
- Secondhand Leather Products
- Secondhand Wool Products
- Secondhand Silk Products
- Secondhand Fur Products
Focus on steps and exercise. Each day it will be your goal to have stepped at least 10K but 15K to 20K is ideal. When it comes to exercise, you can pick whatever activity that floats your boat and do that for 60 minutes a day. I don’t care if you run, cycle, mountain climb, powerwalk, or jump around in your living room to the latest exercise DVD craze. Just find an activity, commit to 60 minutes everyday, 7 days a week. No cheating!
Sample 6 Meal Plan with Macros:
Meal 1: Vitamins and CBDA supplement. 6 bananas blended with 2 dates and water (789 calories)
Meal 2: 5 mandarin oranges with 1 cup rice milk (285 calories)
Meal 3: 1 cup white short grain rice with a CBN infused curry of 1/2 cup sweet onions, 1 white potato,1/2 cup stewed tomatoes, 2 tbs date paste, and curry spices. Plus, two fried eggs without oil. (612 calories)
Meal 4: 1 cup fresh cold pressed citrus and hemp juice (130 calories).
Meal 5: 1 cucumber, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp CBD hemp oil, and dried spices (142 calories).
Meal 6: 2 large bananas and CBD water beverage ( 213 calories).
Total calories: 2,171
Sample 4 Meal Plan with Macros:
Meal 1: 6 bananas and CBD water (624 calories)
Meal 2: 2 cups blackberries and CBD grape kombucha (152 calories)
Meal 3: 3.5 servings from scratch low sodium and low fat Vegan lasagna and CBDA infused cold pressed lemonade (1556 calories)
Meal 4: 2 sliced red bell peppers and CBD infused melon water (60 calories)
Total calories: 2,392
Note: Keep fat at 10% daily but play around with carbohydrates and protein to suit your needs.
You have got to want the desired changes in your body! Find time to make it happen, no excuses! And remember, our bodies are meant to be in motion, not rusting behind a computer screen or melting into a couch. You have got to move it, or you will lose it!
For an example, I exercise 5 hours a day and hit over 22K in steps per day working towards my black belt in Taekwondo. Your healthiest and fittest body doesn’t come from diet alone but rather a 50/50 effort in both clean foods and exercise. Love yourself enough to treat your body the way God designed us – healthy foods and plenty of movement!