The Hunza Diet and Essential Oils




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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison


This article was received from a reader. For more information on the Hunza diet read "Death Rides a Slow Bus in Hunza" by Jane Kinderlehrer.



I have always been interested in living a long, healthy life and keeping away from hospitals, doctors and medications. Over the last 25 years, I have experimented with various diets including lacto-vegetarian, macrobiotics, vegan and raw food. I became quite thin and almost anorexic as my stomach shrank and I had almost no desire to eat or prepare foods.

After reading Long Life Now by Lee Hitchcox D.C., I became particularly interested in the traditional long-lived cultures (such as the Hunzas of Kashmir Valley and the Vilcalbambas of Ecuador) whose diet consisted of whole, unprocessed foods with lots of fiber. They lived 120-140 years and died of either old age or diseases of poverty - not from degenerative diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, arthritis etc) such as we do. At age 100 they were running up and down mountains, still sexually active and there were no nursing homes.

So what exactly did these cultures eat? They did not eat highly processed foods like we do. The traditional Hunza diet consisted of unprocessed whole foods rich in fiber; 40% calories from whole grains, 30% calories from vegetables, 15% from fruits, 10% from beans, 4% from nuts/seeds and only 1% from animal products. The Hunzas ate 80% of their vegetables and 100% of their fruit raw. They consumed 10-15% of total calories from fat and were never obese. In other words, they were on a low-fat (not no-fat) diet.

So the challenge was how to make this simple food taste delicious. After using essential oils for several years and enjoying their intoxicating aromas and their therapeutic qualities, it occurred to me that they could be powerful food flavoring agents. Then they could help people make the transition from junk food/animal products to a healthier diet that promotes longevity and optimal health.

What exactly is an essential oil? It is the unique blend of chemical constituents (e.g. alcohols, phenols, esters, sesquiterpines, terpenes, aldehydes) found in aromatic plants that exists to protect the plant from invading organisms and microbes; to help heal it from wounds; to carry nutrients to the plant cells (as the blood of humans does); to attract certain insects and repel others etc. When plants are distilled (or cold-pressed in the case of citrus oils), the resulting essential oil is far more potent than when they are dried as herbs.

Essential oils can come from many different parts of plants e.g. flowers, blossoms, fruit (skins), seeds, stems, leaves, roots and bark. Their tastes encompass tangy (citrus such as lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, mandarin, lime); spicy (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cumin); floral (geranium, rose, lavender); herbaceous (oregano, basil, dill, rosemary, sage, tarragon, savory) and minty (peppermint, spearmint) to name just a few. So far, I have found a total of 28 different essential oils that enhance the taste of food.

Unlike fatty oils such as olive oil, flax oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, soybean oil, canola oil etc. essential oils contain no glycerol molecules that give a characteristic slippery texture and leave a greasy residue. Fatty oils and essential oils are different. Distilled essential oils contain no fat whereas fatty oils are 100% fat. Instead, essential oils are composed of hundreds of different molecules that are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and immune-stimulating.

Many physicians, especially in France, are treating patients with essential oils and getting excellent results without the side effects of orthodox medicine. One such doctor and author is Daniel Penoel M.D. Dr Penoel also recommends using therapeutic-grade essential oils in food preparation as they purify the body, enhance the immune system and generate endorphins (mood-elevators). In the U.S., Dr Phillip Minton claims that eating pure essential oils can improve circulation, oxygenation and protect against heart disease, dementia and cancer.

Since this is such a new field of application, many readers may be wondering about safety issues. All the oils I recommend are on the FDA GRAS list ("generally recommended as safe"). Some of these oils have toxic components, however taken in moderate amounts (a few drops per person) there is no toxic effect, even cumulatively. For example, even though nutmeg oil contains myristicin and elemicin which are psychotropic, the LD50 for an average adult would be 100mL (approximately 1600 drops). No one in their right mind would use so much when a drop or two is adequate. Nutmeg oil is in fact safer than whole nutmeg as the most toxic components in nutmeg are non-volatile and in the process of distillation most of these components are evaporated off. Yet people universally use whole nutmeg powder as food flavoring. If table salt were administered in high dosages it would also be toxic but would be an overreaction to say that salt should not be used in food. Common sense prevails.

Can some of these toxic compounds (found in parsley, cinnamon, clove, basil, anise, fennel and tarragon for example) accumulate in the body? The majority of oil molecules are terpines and terpenoids which are multiples of five carbon fragments. Since the body can only use food that can be broken down into two carbon fragments, essential oils must be excreted by the body. Since they are not water-soluble, they are made more water soluble by various enzymes found in the liver. From there they are excreted by the kidney via urine. However, if an essential oil component is introduced to the body at a faster rate than the liver can convert it into a water-soluble form, liver toxicity can result. This could happen even if the mode of entry were not ingestion. There have been reported cases of serious liver damage resulting from excess skin application of eucalyptus oil. Again, moderation is the key.

Some oils can be irritating is used directly on mucous membranes (e.g. cinnamon, lemongrass) but when evenly mixed with food, there will be no problem.

Is it okay to use cheap essential oils for food flavoring? I cannot overstress the importance of procuring only the highest grade essential oil with no toxic, synthetic chemicals. Unfortunately, the majority of essential oils available in America are adulterated with synthetic chemicals in order to "stretch" the oil for economical reasons. Many of these substances (SD40 alcohol, propylene glycol) are carcinogenic and definitely not good to ingest. The purest oils also happen to have a full-bodied, authentically rich taste. Make sure all citrus oils are organic in order to avoid consuming pesticides which are on the rind of the fruit. Pesticides cause cancer and are stored in fat (dietary and body fat).

In fact, the addition of just a few drops of essential oils to food is so outrageously delicious that it can make the simplest diet fit for the gods! At first I began with salad dressings and was thrilled with the results. I realized that by extending the recipes and writing a cookbook, many others could be helped to stay on one of the most powerful diets known to prevent disease. Before long there were also dips, sauces, quiche, cheesecakes, ice creams, chocolates, strudels, energy bars and so on (22 different recipe categories) all very simple, healthy and tasting out of this world.

Since being on this diet I have noticed that my skin (which used to be dry) is now silky soft all over my body. I used to sneeze uncontrollably on waking (allergies). Now I rarely sneeze and my immune function has greatly improved - no more herpes or colds. My days of bloating are over. Candida is practically gone and I can eat as much fruit as I like. I have lots of energy and rarely experience fatigue. In fact, my health is better than when I was 20 and I am now 50yrs of age.

The following are some recipes based on the Hunza diet for you to try.


1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

6 Tablespoons tahini sesame paste

3/4 teaspoon reduced salt soy sauce or Braggs

2-3 drops Dill oil

Blend first 3 ingredients. Stir in Dill oil. Fabulous on salads and vegetables.


2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds

4 soft dates

4 cups pure water

1 drop Cinnamon oil

4 drops Orange oil

Remove pits from dates. Soak almonds and dates in 2 cups water overnight. Blend with remaining water till homogenised. Add Cinnamon and Orange oils then sieve in a mesh strainer. Chill. Wonderfully refreshing.


2 cups fresh carrot juice

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

2 drops Nutmeg oil

Grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder. Stir into carrot juice. Lastly add Nutmeg oil. Superb!


1 potato

1 carrot

1 onion

2 teaspoons reduced-salt soy sauce or Braggs

1 teaspoon unsalted cashew butter

1 + 1/4 cups water

Dash black pepper powder

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 drop Mandarin oil

Peel potato. Cut carrot and potato into cubes. Mince onion and parsley. Put water in a pot add potato, carrot and onion. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid on 10 minutes. In a bowl stir cashew butter with a little soup stock gradually till creamy. To the soup add creamed cashew butter, soy sauce, black pepper and parsley. Stir in Mandarin oil right before serving. Exquisite! (Tastes like chicken soup).


1/2 cup cashew butter (unsalted)

4 apples

1 beet (half the size of an apple)

3-4 drops Mandarin oil

Juice the apples and beet together. Blend juice and cashew butter till creamy. Lastly stir in Mandarin oil. Its intense hot pink color looks gorgeous on green leaf salads.

Recipes are excerpted from The Essential Oil Cookbook: Outrageous Recipes for Weight Control and Long Life  by Menkit Prince. Available from Earth Love Enterprises, phone (888)217-1028. 

Long Life Now by Lee Hitchcox D.C. can be obtained from (800)841-BOOK or (415)455-0220.

Wishing you a long and healthy life free from sickness and premature aging.



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