The Oil-Protein Diet

Dr. Johanna Budwig’s extensive knowledge of oils and fats combined with the findings of her research and cell experiments led her to develop a holistic treatment to help (seriously) ill patients. Food was one of the most important factors for achieving and maintaining good health. In discussions with patients, Dr. Johanna Budwig looked critically at their eating habits and prescribed each a personal nutrition plan based on the oil-protein diet she developed. 

Back to cellular health

Dr. Johanna Budwig focused her research on investigating the chemical processes of life. Through her oil-protein diet, she found a way to return derailed cellular metabolic proceses to normal cellular respiration. Restoring these processes to normal cellular function stimulates apoptosis- in other words, the programmed cell death of tumor cells. At the same time, the oil-protein diet supports and fortifies healthy cells and, thus, acts in a preventive, cytoprotective manner.

Quark with Flax Seed Oil

The oil-protein diet is a nutritional concept in which vital- in other words natural and energy-dense foods- play the leading role. In the foreground are the essential fatty acids- in particular alpha-linolenic acid- and the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. In flax seed oil- a vegetable oil with more than a 50% content of alpha-linolenic acid- and quark- which is high sulfur-rich amino acids- Dr. Budwig found the perfect partners for forming the basis of her nutritional plan. The positively charged, Sulfur-rich amino acids attract the negatively charged fatty acid molecules and have a stabilizing effect on highly unsaturated fats which are very prone to oxidation. The combination of protein with fat also promotes the digestibility and tolerability of fatty acids.

Secure transport

Combining fatty acids with protein to form lipoproteins (lipo = fat / protein = protein) yields a compound which displays additional “solubility” in aqueous environments. Consequently, this compound form is also assumed by proteins in our bodies to transport long chain fatty acids. Co-administering fatty acids and amino acids in a homogenous mixture, as in quark with flax seed oil, thus ensures the timely absorption of valuable nutrients in the body. After passaging through the small intestine, lipoproteins must be again split into small units. These are then reassembled in the form of chylomicrons- lipoprotein particles- and transported via the lymphatic system and the bloodstream to the liver.

The Role of Sulfur-Rich Amino Acids

The sulfur-rich amino acids methionine and cysteine are the main components of milk proteins found in cows, sheep, and goat's milk, as well as the products they are made from, such as quark.

The combination of quark with flax seed oil is well tolerated- even by patients who are sensitive to the lactose present in dairy products. However, sulfur-containing amino acids are present in many other foods, such as buckwheat, millet, quinoa, or amaranth. Even sulfur-rich vegetables, herbs, and spices, such as onions, leeks, garlic, wild garlic, chives, peppers, etc. contain amino acids. The concept of the relationship between the sulfur-rich amino acids and essential fatty acids- especially in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid- can be found again and again in all of the recipes for oil-protein diet.

An ideal combination

Once united in Budwig Cream, quark and flax seed oil form an ideal combination: the quark is rich in the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. These positively charged amino acids attract the negatively charged fatty acid chains and exhibit a stabilizing effect on the highly unsaturated, otherwise easily oxidized fats. Thus, the amino acids protect the polyunsaturated fatty acids from the flax seed oil against oxidation which, as a result, are able to enter the human body unchanged and with their full energy potential. The result: They are much more valuable to cells and their membranes. Consequently, one could say that quark excels as a protector for the polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Sulfur-rich amino acids play a wealth of roles in many vital functions in our bodies. In combination with polyunsaturated fatty acids, they are important partners in regulating the uptake of oxygen and its utilization by the cell. They therefore contribute significantly to a strong immune system, healthy metabolism, and mental vitality. For many generations, people have been getting their omega-3 fatty acids from fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Our health literally depends on the regular consumption of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). Our bodies require these fatty acids in order to synthesize their cell membranes as well as for a variety of metabolic processes.

Sulfur-rich amino acids

Methionine is an essential amino acid. It is the starting material for synthesizing cysteine, which is the primary source of sulfur our food. There are many sulfur containing products which are derived from cysteine. For example, a key substance which protects our cells known as glutathione, which- as a component of glutathione peroxidase- is among the most important antioxidant substances for the cell. Furthermore, glutathione plays a role in detoxifying the cell by forming water-soluble compounds with cytotoxins, which subsequently facilitates their excretion. Glutathione is a tripeptide, which requires cysteine in order to be synthesized.

"Omega-3 / -6 fatty acids are able to easily form bonds with proteins and through these bonds new substances can be delivered to the cells. The polarity between fat (cell membranes) and proteins (nucleus) is of fundamental importance for the maintenance and structure of all living cells. This polarity depends largely on the presence of sufficient amounts of omega-3s / -6s. A lack of omega-3s / -6s cripples many vital functions. When the polarity between the nucleus and cell membrane is destroyed - for example, by a lack of omega-3s / -6s or by consuming partly or wholly hydrogenated fats (trans fats) - this means that the electrical charge disappears. In other words, the cell battery becomes empty. The ability to recharge our cells’ battery depends on the electrons found in Omega-3 / -6 fatty acids." (Dr. Johanna Budwig: " Fats as True Aids," 1959)

A dietary imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats can lead to an increase of inflammatory substances in the body, which in turn contribute to the development of many modern diseases. The cohesive relationship between good health and providing the body with an optimal amount of essential fatty acids at the cellular level was already clear to Dr. Johanna Budwig at the beginning of the 1950s. "The deficiency in these highly unsaturated fatty acids leads to the paralysis of many vital functions," was a statement frequently made by the scientist. (Dr. Johanna Budwig:" Fats as True Aids," 1959)

"Today the combination of quark and flax seed oil represents something tremendous. Through this simple concept, a realization of new scientific knowledge is taking place, regarding how we can counteract many health effects caused by unsuitable food or other toxins." (Dr. Johanna Budwig: "The oil protein diet," 1952)

The Oil Protein Diet as Integrated Therapy

In her oil protein diet, Dr. Budwig placed the utmost importance on the selection of natural foods. On the one hand, the body must be supplied with the necessary nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and phytonutrients in their natural states, and, on the other hand, harmful substances which interfere with cell metabolism- in particular cellular respiration- must be avoided at all costs.

However, she did not stop at emphasizing the importance of the selection of the foods that we eat. Ideally, a greatly significant role was to be ascribed to the homemakers- whereby they were to "know how to give the food their personal touch.” It should fall to them to guide their families and instill them with an appreciation for healthy nutrition.

As a result, she reasoned that the family “would not suffer restaurant fare with its unhealthy, superheated fats, if they are used to being served something better at home.” (Dr. Johanna Budwig: "The oil protein diet," 1952)

Factors such a lack of recognition by others, disharmonious relationships, or an unhappy family or career life can have substantially long term effects on quality of life and even make a person ill.

Dr. Johanna Budwig also kept in mind the electromagnetic environment affecting her patients: she vehemently rejected synthetic clothes and foam mattresses, proclaiming them to be energy thieves. Instead she favored mattresses which were made from natural materials.

In addition to materials that promote a healthy, restful sleep, Dr. Johanna Budwig attached great importance to the notion of bedtime and a correspondingly long sleep duration to promote relaxation and regeneration.

Dr. Johanna Budwig prescribed exposure to sunlight to her patients and recognized the union of sun and man and health as one entity. It was for this reason that she prescribed her patients sunbaths in which they were to use her ELDI oils to enhance the energy-fortifying powers of the sunlight. 

Take care of your digestive system!

Whether the food we consume each day actually benefits our cells largely depends on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is the ability of our intestines to absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig thus recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to care for the intestines and the intestinal flora. Additionally, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in obtaining healthy bowel function. An integral part of the daily diet should therefore also include the consumption of 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed (shredded and protected from oxidation) stirred either into Budwig cream (made with quark and flax seed oil) or in a Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered, unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.

Basic Foodstuffs

  • Cow's milk (no UHT milk), sheep or goats’ milk, quark (may be substituted for with cottage cheese)

  • Flax seed oil, Oleolux, high-quality, cold-pressed vegetable oils, natural coconut or palm oil for frying

  • Fruits, vegetables, salads, potatoes, raw produce

  • All fresh sprouts of soy or wheat seedlings etc.

  • Fresh mushrooms

  • Millet, buckwheat, wheat, spelt, unripe spelt grain, brown rice and wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread lacking additives

  • Herbs and spices (if possible fresh), onion, garlic, rock salt (3-5 g per day)

  • Honey in small amounts as a sweetener

  • Nuts (not roasted)

  • Freshly squeezed juices or Muttersaft (unrefined juice), herbal and fruit tea, black and green tea

All dietary ingredients should be as fresh as possible and preferably organically grown!

As long as there are no immunological limitations or no metabolic complications present, the following foods are allowed as side dishes from time to time:

  • Venison and wildfowl, unless they come from breeding farms

  • Wines which originate from organic cultivation

  • Champagne, whenever there is something to celebrate with champagne

  • Fruit brandies to taste

  • Beer is permitted, but only in moderate amounts

  • All alcoholic beverages only in moderation, as long as the person has healthy liver function and no issues with substance dependence

The following foods are strictly prohibited:

  • Hydrogenated fats and superheated oils

  • Animal fat from meat and sausage or lard from conventional animal husbandry

  • Pesticides, preservatives, dyes, flavor enhancers, synthetic flavors, antibiotics, and/or hormones in meat

Exemplary meal plan for one day

Dr. Budwig placed the utmost importance on the selection of natural foods for her oil-protein diet. On the one hand, the body must be supplied with the necessary nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and phytonutrients in their natural states, and, on the other hand, harmful substances which interfere with cell metabolism, in particular cellular respiration, must be avoided at all costs. Thus, the oil-protein diet is made up of a medley of variations on her Budwig cream, which is made from quark and flax seed oil. A variety of fresh vegetables, salads, fruits, and whole grains, as well as freshly squeezed and naturally fermented juices can be found on the menu daily.

To start the day, Dr. Johanna Budwig prescribed one glass of sauerkraut juice. As a probiotic food, sauerkraut has a positive effect on human intestinal flora. It stimulates secretion processes. It also detoxifies the intestines by killing off putrefactive bacteria and, thus, strengthens the immune system. Dr. Budwig underlined the importance of promoting excretory processes. In order to unleash the full potential of this health-promoting food, sauerkraut should be consumed regularly in its raw state in addition to the juice.

For breakfast, Dr. Budwig recommended that her patients partake of the aptly named Budwig muesli- a combination of quark with milk and flax seed oil, a little honey, fruits, nuts, dried fruit, and flax seed which has been crushed and protected to prevent oxidation. This high-energy and noticeably invigorating combination helps maintain proper insulin levels and get people through the morning feeling satiated and without cravings. Coffee, which acts as a strong acid generator, should be replaced by herbal or green tea. Black tea is restricted- with only 1 cup allowed a day.

As snack in the morning or afternoon, freshly squeezed juices containing flax seed which has been either freshly crushed or protected from oxidation are ideal. The protective, sulfur-containing amino acids which act as a binding partners for essential fatty acids occur naturally in flax seeds. Furthermore, the body receives the lignin from the outer shells of flax seeds. Lignin is a plant hormone that doubles as an effective antioxidant, which protects our cells from being destroyed by free radicals. The gentle pressing of fruits and vegetables is crucial. The high electron potential of freshly squeezed juices- for example, carrot juice with its high content of carotenoids and its ample double bonds- must be preserved in any case.

At lunchtime, the emphasis is placed on raw produce, supplemented by quark-flax seed oil dips and vegetable-based dishes containing low amounts of carbohydrates in the form of millet, buckwheat, or brown rice. As a dessert, Dr. Budwig recommended her Budwig cream with sweetened with fruit.

Dinner should be a small and easily digestible meal. It should be eaten prior to 6 pm and not include raw produce. Since a glass of red wine in the evening can be soothing and relaxing, Dr. Johanna Budwig supported her patients enjoying one- of course, she made this recommendation with the relief of pain in mind.


All dishes may be enriched with ample amounts of Oleolux. Oleolux was another invention of Dr. Johanna Budwig’s- a spreadable fat made from flax seed oil and untreated coconut oil which has - through the careful selection of oils, its production, and by adding special ingredients - retained its accumulated electrons and, thus, its rich energy potential.