“Health starts in the digestive system”

“There is a “right diet” for everyone, but no single diet is right for everyone!”


Why CHI Optimal Diet?

Have you wanted to move from an animal-based to a plant-based diet? Have you ever wanted to adopt a raw food diet? Do you have a health condition and believe diet is important to healing?

We are here to help you find a diet suited to your body and circumstance.

If you are looking to heal, seeking to maximize your health and well-being, or searching for factual information about food, this is the ideal course for you.

What is the CHI Optimal Diet?

Food is an indispensable part of day-to-day life and culture. We all encounter many conflicting messages about what is good and what is not good to eat. All the different diets and claims on the market can be confusing. This course is informed by both the latest Western scientific research and Eastern health and medical traditions. With it, the Conscious Health Institute offers a clear plan to help you turn the most healthful ingredients into complete meals every day.

This CHI Diet course contains 10 lessons full of text, videos, recipes and reflection checkpoints. Here, you will discover the nutritional benefits of a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and beans. Recipes from around the world will teach you how to combine these foods into delicious dishes, and then you can follow our menu suggestions to combine these dishes into balanced meals.

This diet is free from animal products, gluten, processed foods, and refined sugar, and places a special emphasis on raw and organic foods and good digestion. Along the way, you’ll learn how to juice your own fruits and vegetables, grow your own sprouts, soak grains and beans, and more.

Beyond providing guidance with practical guides, you’ll also gain access to a private Facebook page where you’ll find additional information and support from a growing community of practitioners. If you have any questions, you can ask your CHI instructor. After 35 years of personal investigation and 25 years of working with people in the health, wellness and medical field, Keyvan believes that the best way to help people is through education. Keyvan Golestaneh is available to help answer questions as your guide throughout the 10 week duration of this course. You will get 4 personal consultations, by appointment via phone or Skype. 

How was the CHI Diet designed?

Unlike many diet plans created by chefs, the CHI course is designed by trained professionals with many years of experience in healthcare and nutrition. The CHI diet course is not a weight-loss diet or a fad diet intended to be followed for only a few weeks. It is a deliberate, sustainable way of eating to help optimize your health over the long term. This course presents general tips and guidelines, not strict rules that everyone must follow at all times. Each person’s health and nutritional needs are slightly different, and these needs can change with time. A key aspect of physical, emotional, and mental health is learning to pay attention to your own body and to be flexible in how you take care of it. It is a good idea to meet with a healthcare professional with expertise in this nutritional approach, to get personalized guidance both before and throughout the process of changing your diet. This will help you speed up the process and individualize the diet to your current health condition.

We hope you find this course informative and easy to follow, and the foods tasty and satisfying. Eating well should be not just a commitment to yourself, but also a joy and an adventure. In many different ways, it should make you feel great!   

*Thanks to Jennifer Cornbleet for demonstrating the recipes for the videos.

*Thank-you to Yukiko Artis for her lovely photographs of recipes

Please email us your feedback about your experience taking the course and any suggestions you may have. This will help us improve the course over time. 

Course Overview

“Health starts in the digestive system.”

Welcome! You have made a wise decision to take control of your health and your life.

In the Introduction, you’ll find out about the philosophy and approach of the Conscious Health Institute. You’ll begin to learn how to cultivate and maintain health.

Add Elements


# Actions Element name Reorder Order
1  Introduction
2  Transition to an Optimal Healthy Diet
3  Constitutional Body Type Questionnaire

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4  Food Chart of Carbs, Proteins and Fats

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The next step in your health evolution.

We all want to be healthy—it’s how to be that is challenging. Diet and stress are the two most important factors affecting our health and well-being. One of the best ways to promote good health is by eating the right diet. The right diet helps prevent illness and disease and can help heal most common health conditions. Diet plays a critical role in minimizing the stress response in the body. The right diet will support your body’s potential and gives you the freedom to follow your best life path. Finding the right diet is one of most empowering and practical things you can do in life. Adapting to your right diet will help you discover your body intimately. You’ll learn to know and trust your experience about what suits you best.

By “right diet” I mean what is right for you, not a one-size-fits-all diet. No one diet can suit everybody’s needs, because we each have a unique genetic makeup, particular body type (constitution), and personal background. Once you transition to a plant-based diet, you can experiment to find which foods work best for you. We start with the premise that plant foods are optimal for human biology. The dietary approach we present is based on scientific principles and backed up by anthropological and clinical evidence.

The Conventional Approach vs. the CHI Optimal Approach

Conventional medicine and nutrition view diet in terms of chemistry and physiology. They model the body in terms of separate interacting parts, not as a whole system with characteristics that transcend the parts. Although chemistry and conventional anatomy are essential to understanding the body, these do not offer a complete picture. Whole systems follow predictable laws and processes. Our approach to diet is based on the principles of the science of how living (biological) systems work, known as ecology.

Conventional medicine is based on treating disease by focusing on symptoms, rather than on promoting overall health, which is the best treatment for any health condition. The conventional approach does not tell us how we can evolve our body beyond its present state of adaptation.

As a rule, in our view, the less the body is interfered with, the better it can function. And the better it functions, the stronger it and your immune system get, enhancing your ability to prevent disease. Once you know how the body works as a whole, and how it responds to various diets and lifestyles, you can work with that to fulfill its potential. The key is working towards increasing function, not suppression of symptoms. In this way, your body naturally heals and overcomes its various dysfunctions, imbalances, and weaknesses.

Conventional nutritional science looks at how food interacts with the body at the micro level, in terms of chemistry, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and phytochemicals. It is a quantitative approach that does not consider macro-processes as important to the body ecology as a whole. It does not recognize how the qualities, like tastes and the elements, affect the body—only how quantities of substances in foods affect the body. Conventional medical and dietary approaches emphasize weight, muscular strength, metabolism, and symptom relief. They perpetuate the popular myths that overemphasize animal protein and ignore plant protein in the diet. The positive effects on health that some diets can have are hardly acknowledged or used. Conventional medicine and nutrition lack knowledge about how to increase the body’s performance potential and how to avoid disease while promoting well-being.

Our approach radically changes the frame of reference away from a disease-pathological model in medicine while still being grounded in science.

Two more ancient medical traditions based on the natural health paradigm are Chinese and Ayurveda medicine. These schools of thought consider diet one of the keys to health and longevity. Food is considered not only in terms of chemistry and nutrients, but in terms of qualities, such as elements and tastes, and how they affect the body. The elements are cold, hot, dry, damp, and wind; the tastes are bitter, sour, salty, sweet, pungent, and savory. You find these qualities in the natural world, as part of life. When any element gets out of balance, it will eventually disrupt the body’s normal functioning and make us more susceptible to illness and disease. When organs in the body become overactive or underactive (excessive or deficient), it weakens various systems and the body’s performance. The idea is to maintain a dynamic balance in the body. Different foods can either promote or aggravate the actions and elements in the body and affect the mind and temperament. We can get into moods and become emotionally aggravated because the nervous system gets enervated and out of balance. You will find that you can exert some control over your emotional life and mental states simply by finding the right diet.

Nutrients and Your Body Type

Our cells are the biological building blocks of life. They require nutrients—in the form of glucose, minerals, and oxygen—and the ability to eliminate toxic build-up. The body needs amino acids, water, fiber, and the macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. As you begin this diet plan, you may find some of these macronutrients more difficult to digest than others. They are converted in the process of digestion to the fuel, glucose, which powers our cells and gives us energy through metabolism.

The average adult should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.

However, the exact proportions of macronutrients we need will vary from person to person. These averages can change depending on a person’s nutritional needs and current state of health. What is optimal for each person depends on our individual biology, which I call constitutional body type. How your metabolism works will generally determine the proportions of macronutrients you require. If you have a health condition, that also becomes a factor.

There are different ways of determining your constitutional body type based on different systems; metabolic typing and Ayurveda are the most reliable. To determine your constitutional and metabolic type, take a self-test. It will give you a general guideline for understating your body and which foods are more compatible with you. The foods we use for recipes in this course are generally good for all body types. But no matter what type you are, the real test is to determine what you need through personal experimentation.

Getting Started

This course is meant to give you a broad overview of a how to create a healthy plant-based diet that is suited for the general population but flexible enough for you to tailor to your personal needs. It serves as a starting point on your path to better health and improved performance of body and mind. You might stick closely to this diet, or you may choose to maximize the proportion of raw food you eat. You can stop and restart anywhere on the spectrum of vegetarian to vegan to partly raw to fully raw diet. By the end of this course, we hope you are motivated enough to follow a diet that meets your personal needs.

Here are some important ideas to keep in mind on your journey.

The following are meant as general guidelines. Individual needs and health conditions should be taken into account. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional trained in natural medicine and nutrition for personalized guidance.


  • Key #1– Remember the old saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” This means: If you can’t be as perfect as you would like, don’t let that stop you from trying your best! If you sometimes revert to unhealthful habits, just get back on track with your next meal. 
  • Key #2– The more easily food is digested and waste is eliminated, the healthier and less stressed the body will be. 
  • Key #3– The further away food is genetically (in terms of evolution) from the human body, the healthier and more compatible it will be with your body. 
  • Key #4– Eat a plant-based diet centered on vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit, and grains.
  • Key #5– Don’t get obsessive. Stress is a major factor in health.
  • Key #6– To strengthen your digestive system, avoid eating between meals. This leaves more energy available to your body for other things. Have a healthy snack if you need one, and don’t eat late at night. 

In changing any part of one’s lifestyle, developing a new habit is key. That can be challenging at the beginning. As you put into place new dietary habits, you’ll find that they become easier to maintain and require less and less effort over time. It usually takes at least 3 weeks to 3 months to stabilize a new habit.

What you substitute for what you eliminate from your diet is very important and can make or break the ease with which you transition to your new diet.

Most people cannot go “cold turkey” (so to speak), stopping their consumption of all animal products at once. You can give them up gradually over 1–2 months. If you are already a vegetarian or vegan, it won’t be a problem.

Here are the first steps to take as you transition into the CHI diet. We recommend taking them in the order given, but you may change the order if necessary.

1– If you are not already a vegetarian or vegan, start by cutting back consumption of red meat, pork, poultry, and dairy. Eat no more than 1 animal product per day; after a few weeks, cut down to 3 servings per week. Then eliminate meat altogether. If you like fish, eat it only 2 or 3 times per week, gradually eliminating fish altogether after 1 month.  

2 – Eliminate all processed foods and simple carbs (footnote 1), white flour and white rice, refined sugars, and concentrated sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. You can do this over a few weeks. 

Fruits will slowly become your choice for satisfying the body’s natural needs for sweetness. Dark chocolate, over 75% cocoa, preferably raw, is also a good choice.

3 – Add the following uncooked items to your diet: 

  • Breakfast with a smoothie, fruit, or a seed porridge  
  • A salad with lunch or dinner, or a side of cut veggies like carrots or celery, alone or with a dip  
  • Nuts, seeds, or fruits for snacks 
  • Nut milk like almond, instead of dairy

4 – Eliminate gluten grains and products like wheat, pasta, and barley. Switch to non-gluten whole grains like millet, quinoa, teff, and buckwheat. It’s also possible to purchase raw oats, which you can soak and eat without cooking. 

5 – Add beans and legumes to your diet. 1 cup contains 15 grams of fiber. 

6 – Gradually increase the amount of greens and vegetables in your diet, working your way to 3 cups per day. 

7 – Get enough healthy fats, like olives, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds. Increase the quantity of nuts and seeds in your diet—a handful will be a good beginning, up to 1/4 or 1/2 cup per day. This will help you feel more satiated and help maintain your body weight. 

8 – Ideally breakfast and dinner should be lighter meals. Try not to eat after 7:30 pm, and don’t overeat. 

9 – Use small quantities of virgin unfiltered cold-pressed olive oil with dishes, and olive and sesame oil for cooking. Cook with as little oil as possible or none at all.

10 – Increase the amount of uncooked foods in your diet. A great place to start is with fruits and salads. Uncooked veggies do not have to be eaten cold—let foods get to room temperate before you eat them. Make your first goal 30% and then increase to 50% uncooked foods. If you want a maximally raw diet, work your way up to 75–80%. If you don’t eat vegetables raw, steaming is one of the best ways to cook vegetables.

11 – Increase your intake of fresh water to 4 to 6 cups (8-ounce glasses) per day, depending on your body weight and how much water is in the vegetables and fruit you eat. If you drink tea, you can lower your intake of water to 3 or 4 cups per day, depending on how you feel. 

12 – Start by eating more non-sweet fruits, like berries. Eat sweet fruits only occasionally, and preferably on their own, apart from other foods. 

13 – Depending on how you feel after eating them, gradually cut back on non-gluten grains to no more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day.

14 – Eliminate high-caffeine beverages (black teas and coffee), and substitute green tea and pu-erh tea, which have much lower caffeine and are healthy to consume. If you cannot stop caffeine, do not let that prevent you from implementing the rest of the diet. 

15 – Chew (masticate) your foods well. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing well helps prevent overeating and stomach problems. 

16 – For long-term health, eat fresh organic foods (rather than conventionally grown, frozen, dried, or canned foods) whenever possible.