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Michi’s Latter

Use this tool to guide your food choices. Stick with the top two tiers and you will do great!

Climb Michi’s Ladder


Michi’s Ladder is not a diet. It’s a simple substitution plan. To lose weight, try swapping the foods you eat for similar foods in tiers 1 and 2. The more you eat in tiers 1 and 2, the more you’ll increase your chances of losing weight.There are some healthy foods in lower tiers, but they’re either calorie dense or nutrient deficient. To lose weight, you want to maximize the nutrients in every calorie you consume.Note on frying: Foods should be eaten raw, steamed, grilled, poached, baked, or broiled. Frying automatically drops even the best foods into tier 5.

Carb Fat Protein

Tier 1: The Pious Tier

  • Apples, with skin  C
  • Artichokes (no sauce) PC
  • Amaranth PC
  • Arugula C
  • Asparagus C
  • Barley C
  • Beans PCF
  • Beets C
  • Blueberries C
  • Bok choy C
  • Boysenberries C
  • Bran C
  • Broccoli PC
  • Broccoli sprouts PC
  • Brussels sprouts PC
  • Cabbage C
  • Carrots C
  • Cauliflower C
  • Celery C
  • Chard PC
  • Chickpeas PC
  • Cherries C
  • Citrus fruits C
  • Collard greens PC
  • Cottage cheese (nonfat) P
  • Cucumbers C
  • Egg whites P

  • Endive C
  • Fish (broiled, steamed, grilled) PF
  • Flaxseed F
  • Garlic (fresh) C
  • Grapefruit C
  • Grapes C
  • Hempseed F
  • Herbs
  • Kale PFC
  • Ketchup (homemade, no sugar) C
  • Kiwifruit C
  • Lentils PFC
  • Lettuce (romaine, green or red leaf) C
  • Melon honeydew C
  • Milk (nonfat) PC
  • Mushrooms C
  • Mustard C
  • Natto PFC
  • Nectarines C
  • Onions C
  • Papayas C
  • Peaches C
  • Pears C
  • Peas PC

  • Peppers C
  • Pineapple C
  • Plums C
  • Prunes C
  • Quinoa PC
  • Radishes C
  • Raspberries C
  • Refried beans (nonfat) PC
  • Rice (whole-grain) C
  • Salsa (natural, no sugar or oil) C
  • Spelt PC
  • Shakeology CP
  • Spinach PC
  • Squash C
  • Strawberries C
  • String beans PC
  • Sweet potatoes C
  • Tea (green or black, no sugar)
  • Tomato sauce (no sugar) C
  • Tomatoes C
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Yams C
  • Yogurt (nonfat, no sugar) PC
  • Zucchini C


Tier 2: The Happy Tier

  • Apples, skinless C
  • Applesauce (raw) C
  • Avocados F
  • Bagels (whole-grain) C
  • Bananas C
  • Bread (whole-grain) FC
  • Broths (veggie, chicken, etc., low sodium) FC
  • Buffalo, super lean (under 10% fat) PF
  • Cereal (whole-grain) PFC
  • Cheese (nonfat) P
  • Coffee (black or cappuccino w/ nonfat milk) C
  • Coconut F
  • Corn FC
  • Couscous PFC
  • Cottage cheese (low-fat) PF
  • Cream cheese (nonfat) P

  • Dates C
  • Eggs, whole PF
  • Eggplant C
  • Feta cheese (low-fat) PF
  • Fowl (skinless, white meat only) PF
  • Figs C
  • Granola (raw, no sugar) PFC
  • Hummus PFC
  • Juice (fresh-squeezed w/ pulp, no sugar) C
  • Mangoes C
  • Meat, wild game PF
  • Milk (1%) PFC
  • Muesli (raw, no sugar) PFC
  • Nuts (raw) PF
  • Nut butters (raw, no additives) PF
  • Oatmeal PC

  • Olive oil F
  • Olives F
  • Pork tenderloin PF
  • Plantains C
  • Raisins C
  • Ricotta cheese (nonfat) P
  • Rye Crisp C
  • Seitan PFC
  • Squid PF
  • Stevia
  • Sunflower seeds PF
  • Tahini PF
  • Tempeh PFC
  • Tofu PFC
  • Vegetable juice C
  • Veggie burger PFC
  • Yacon syrup C
  • Yogurt (low-fat, no sugar) PFC


Tier 3: The Swiss Tier

  • Applesauce (big brand) C
  • Agave nectar C
  • Almond milk PFC
  • Beef, ground, super lean (under 10% fat) PF
  • Beef (lean cuts) PF
  • Broths (veggie, chicken, etc.) C
  • Butter (unsalted) F
  • Canola oil F
  • Cheese (hard)
  • Cheese (low-fat) PF
  • Chicken taco (baked) PFC
  • Chili (no lard or sugar added) PF
  • Crackers (whole-grain) FC
  • Cream cheese (low-fat) PF
  • Fowl (skinless, dark meat only) PF
  • Fowl, ground, super lean (under 10% fat) PF

  • French fries (baked) FC
  • Fruit (dried) C
  • Granola (no sugar added) C
  • Honey C
  • Jam or marmalade (no sugar added) C
  • Ketchup (store bought, no sugar added) C
  • Lamb (lean) PF
  • Lettuce (iceberg) C
  • Maple syrup (natural, no sugar added) C
  • Milk (2%) PFC
  • Muesli (big brand) PC
  • Molasses C
  • Oatmeal (flavored) PC
  • Pancakes (buckwheat) C
  • Pasta (whole-grain) C
  • Pickles C

  • Popcorn (plain) FC
  • Potatoes (baked or boiled) C
  • Refried beans (low-fat) PFC
  • Rice cakes C
  • Rice milk C
  • Rice (white) C
  • Sauerkraut C
  • Shellfish P
  • Shrimp P
  • Soy milk PFC
  • Soy nuts PFC
  • Sugar alcohols (Truvia, & anything ending in –tol) C
  • Sushi PFC
  • Tortillas (whole wheat) FC
  • Veal PF
  • Wine (red) C
  • Wine (white) C


Tier 4: The Dodgy Tier

  • Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, etc.)
  • Bagels (refined flour) C
  • Beef, ground, lean (under 20% fat) PF
  • Beer C
  • Bread (refined flour) C
  • Butter (salted) F
  • Caesar salad (w/ chicken) PFC
  • Canadian bacon PF
  • Cheese, soft (including blue and goat) F
  • Chips (low-fat, baked) C
  • Cobb salad PFC
  • Coffee (iced mocha latte w/ nonfat milk) PC
  • Coffee (latte w/ whole milk) PFC
  • Coffee cake FC
  • Crackers FC
  • Cream cheese F
  • Fish (fried) PF
  • Fowl (with skin) PF

  • Fowl, ground, lean (under 20% fat) PF
  • Graham crackers C
  • Ham PF
  • Hot dogs (turkey) PF
  • Ice cream (sugar-free or fat-free) FC
  • Jell-O C
  • Jerky (turkey) P
  • Juice (from concentrate) C
  • Lamb chops PF
  • Lasagna PFC
  • Macaroni and cheese FC
  • Mayonnaise F
  • Meat loaf PF
  • Milk (whole) PFC
  • Muffins FC
  • Nuts (salted or roasted) F
  • Nut butters (processed) FC
  • Pancakes FC
  • Peanut butter (not raw) FC
  • Pizza (thin crust veggie) PFC

  • Popcorn (w/ salt and butter) FC
  • Pork chop PF
  • Potato salad or macaroni salad FC
  • Pretzels C
  • Pudding (w/ low-fat milk) FC
  • Reuben sandwich PFC
  • Sauce (steak, etc.) C
  • Sherbet C
  • Sloppy Joe (lean beef or turkey) PFC
  • Soup (canned creamy) PFC
  • Soy sauce
  • Spaghetti (w/ meatballs) PFC
  • Sub sandwich PFC
  • Sweet-and-sour sauce FC
  • Tortilla (refined flour or corn) FC
  • Tuna salad or chicken salad PF
  • Yogurt (frozen) C


Tier 5: The Newburg Tier

  • Alcohol (hard liquor)
  • Bacon PF
  • Baked beans PFC
  • Beef, ground, regular, (over 20% fat) PF
  • Beef taco (fried) PFC
  • “Breaded” foods FC
  • Breakfast sandwich (fast-food) PFC
  • Cake FC
  • Candy PFC
  • Cereal (sugared) PFC
  • Chicken à la King PFC
  • Chicken (buffalo wings, nuggets, tenders) PFC
  • Chicken or fish sandwich, fried PFC
  • Chips (potato or corn) FC
  • Chocolate PFC
  • Chicken fried steak PFC
  • Cinnamon bun FC
  • Coffee (mocha, macchiato, ice blended, frappé, triple caramel vanilla buzz bomb, etc.) FC

  • Cookies (Oreo®, etc.) FC
  • Creamed veggies FC
  • Creamer (nondairy) FC
  • Doughnuts FC
  • Energy drinks C
  • Fowl, ground, regular (over 20% fat) PF
  • French fries FC
  • Gravy PF
  • Grilled cheese sandwich PFC
  • Hamburger (fast-food) PFC
  • High fructose corn syrup C
  • Hot dogs PFC
  • “Hydrogenated” foods F
  • Ice cream FC
  • Jerky (beef, pork, venison) PFC
  • Juice (sugar added) C
  • Lobster Newburg PFC
  • Margarine F

  • Milk (cream or half-and-half) PFC
  • Nachos FC
  • Onion rings FC
  • Pastries FC
  • Pies FC
  • Pizza (delivered) PFC
  • Potato skins (fried) FC
  • Refried beans (w/ lard) PFC
  • Salad dressing (creamy) FC
  • Sausage PF
  • Soft drinks, diet (read the studies)
  • Soft drinks, sugared C
  • Sports drinks & foods (unless you’re playing sports)
  • Syrup C
  • Sugar (refined) C
  • Tater tots FC
  • Toaster pastries FC
  • Vegetable oil (cheap big brand) F

One Comment »

  • Jim said:

    this was hard for me to understand at first, but when you get use to using it, it make perfect sense. Thanks for posting it Karen.

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