Encore Day at PaleoCon & Perfect Health Retreats

Today is Encore Day at PaleoCon and once again (but for the last time) you can hear my talk for free. Please listen!


If you have trouble finding the link, an alternative path can be found here.

My talk is mostly about what we’ve learned from doing six months of Perfect Health Retreats. We’re very proud of these Retreats and the health transformations they’ve accomplished. We’re modifying them to turn them into a luxury vacation experience and a great educational opportunity at the same time. For more information about Perfect Health Retreats, now held on the beach on a private island in Wilmington, North Carolina:

Due to our various family, business, and life commitments, we can only offer two Perfect Health Retreats this year, so space is limited. The site we have chosen, the former vacation home of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, has only seven bedrooms. Two have already been reserved. If you are interested, let us know! You can reach Paul Jaminet at paul@perfecthealthretreat.com and 617-576-1753 or Whitney Ross Gray at whitney@perfecthealthretreat.com and 910-763-8530.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Another fantastic interview!

    I’m really hoping for the video series as well as the gut healing guidelines you spoke about on another interview.

    I developed Ulcerative Colitis 2 years ago and I’m not making progress(symptom wise) on what I’m implementing so far.

    Just want to say you and your wife are giving me hope to keep trying.

  2. Hey Paul,
    Great interview! I’m sorry to hear that PHD-Austin will be closing down, but I understand you and Shou-Ching are really busy with work and new projects. Just wanted to offer my services as a recipe tester for the new cookbook, if you need it. I’ve tried a lot on the site and most have been hits – Steak Diane and sweet and sour salmon are weekly regulars in my house, the dumpling rolls as well, and I loved the okonomiyaki! The only thing I might alter was the steamed egg custard – I love chawanmushi (the japanese name for it) but think that mine came out too watery. mostly, no complaints! You’ve got my email if you need me.

  3. Hi Paul, just wondering if you had any thoughts on this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23877060

    I know you advocate intermittent fasting as part of the PHD, your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • I believe the problem is with night eating. Skipping breakfast itself is fine as long as there is no night eating. But most people end up getting hungry at night and then eating late. Eating at night disrupts circadian rhythms. If you can finish eating by 7-8 pm then skipping breakfast should be no problem.

      • Interesting, thanks for the response. I was under the impression that it may have been the chronic stress response of daily fasting that created an inflammatory environment, but that was just speculation.

      • Hi Paul when you say skip breakfast I’m curious as to what you normally consume in the AM… (how much cream in your tea/coffee would disrupt the circadian effects)

      • What about if you ate when your hungry instead of having these rules seemingly pulled from the ether? Let’s say your a human living during paleo times, wouldn’t it be beneficial to eat whenever you were hungry and had access to food, instead of eating by some time schedule?

  4. Hi Paul,

    Would you or any of the staff need help at the May retreat (someone to welcome guests, give inspirational talks, etc)?

    Also, do you have an outline of how each day would unfold at the retreat?

  5. Hi Paul,

    You mention a lot of bad effects from meat and greens: scurvy, diverticulitis, gall stones, etc. I would like to know, since you said your wife also had bad health at 40 and was dieting with you to improve health, what were the bad effects of meat and greens that she suffered?

    also, do you recommend safe starches to prediabeticsZ?


    • Hi V,

      She wasn’t willing to go VLC Paleo, she wanted me to try it for a year or two before she would give it a try. I gave up after 12 months.

      Yes, I do recommend safe starches to prediabetics and diabetics.

  6. after a google search i see that your diet is not recommended for diabetics:

    you say: “Our “regular” diet is not specifically directed at diabetic or metabolically damaged persons. We have a basic diet that is designed for healthy people (represented in the apple – food plate) and we recommend modified versions of the diet for various health conditions – including diabetes.”

    but i did not see that caveat in the book i borrowed from my public library published in in 2012. i looked in the index for all references to diabetes. actually, you have a testimonial from a diabetic in your book on page 391:

    “I am down from 341 lbs. to 272 lbs. doing mostly Paleo, but modified with some safe starches per your book. Just so you know tis is not just about weight loss for me, I was a type 2 diabetic with full metabolic syndrome and most importantly, I had popping capillaries in my retinas that were leading to blindness. All is better now, no pills, etc. -J. Hippman”

    Also, I did not see the modified version of you diet for diabetics on your site that you say you recommend. could you please link to it for me?

    lastly, a person does not need to have diagnosed pre diabetes or diabetes to stay away for safe starch. i have neither at the moment, but i have two parents with diabetes. i ate 100 grams of a traditional taiwanese porridge made from white rice and sweet potato. that is a small amount which i measured on a food scale. my fasting bloos sugar upon waking was 95. one hour after eating the porridge of ‘safe’ starch my readings were 145/151. not very safe. i should say i usually eat low carb, so you might make the case that i would not have such alarming readings if i carbed up, however i don’t know if i would really drop that much, especially if i ate your recommended daily intake of a pound of safe starches. my husband, on the other hand, ate the same amount of safe starch as I, and his blood glucose actually dropped from a fasting level of 91 to 79/70 one hour later. so how an individual reaches to safe starch is very individual. my recommendation to you is to strongly recommend that any people thinking of starting your diet who have diabetic relatives should test their blood sugar before and 1 hour after eating your safe starch. if they get readings of 140 and above, your regular diet is not for them. they can buy cheap relion meters from walmart without a prescription. i think it would be irresponsible if you did not do something similar to what i recommend.

    • Hi V,

      That caveat is out of date. When we published the first edition in 2010 we were willing to believe that reducing carbs below the normal optimum might be best for diabetics. But with further experience from diabetic readers and with diabetics at the Perfect Health Retreats, it seems they do great with our normal amount of carbs, and we’ve had a number report improved health and improved blood glucose regulation after increasing carbs from VLC levels. We’ve also seen a few diabetics who go into ketoacidosis if they lower carbs too far.

      Every diabetic is a bit different and so some experimentation is in order, but I think 20% to 30% carbs will be optimal for nearly all diabetics. Published research studies are consistent with this finding, eg the LOBAG diets have produced excellent results at these carb levels. Our normal diet is 30% carb, so not much different.

      Regarding your own elevation of blood glucose after eating starch, (a) those levels are not particularly worrisome, and (b) if you eat starches properly, and eat them more routinely, the blood glucose elevation in response to them will go down. By properly I mean in a balanced meal with fat, vegetables, vinegar, and meat: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/10/how-to-minimize-hyperglycemic-toxicity/.

      • so paul, you have reached your conclusions about your program based on seeing how many diabetics at your retreats? did any on them have genetic defects in insulin production as i have? if the insulin isn’t there, how am i going to process a lot of glucose? maybe all the diabetics you have seen do produce lots of insulin. did you see any type 1′s or 1.5′s succeed on your diet? i hope you respond to the doctor whose comment closely followed your reply to me. it would seem some specifics are in order. you did keep data on your diabetic clients i assume?

        • Hi v,

          No one had genetic defects in insulin production. If you do, then you’ll need exogenous insulin. We have had reports of success from some Type Is on our diet.

          We requested data from all clients but didn’t require clients to share it, so the data we have is not always comprehensive, but most guests were highly cooperative.

          • genetic defects in insulin production are not uncommon:

          • 1. no doc will prescribe insulin to me cuz i don’t meet the criteria
            2. when i do meet the criteria, i will have already suffered a lot of beta cell loss and may have some diabetic complications
            3. i am trying to preserve my beta cells for as long as possible
            4. your safe starch will accelerate their loss
            5. therefore your diet is inappropriate for me and people like me
            6. i don’t think i am the only one in this position
            7. you don’t have in depth knowledge of diabetes, so you do not inspire confidence in me
            8. therefore i will not try another one of your safe starches in a meal per your recommendation

          • Why do you suppose our prescribed amount of safe starches, and manner of eating them, will accelerate beta cell loss? I believe it’s just the opposite.

          • if i am producing insufficient levels of insulin, how is eating higher carb going to make me produce more insulin? i already have increased my efficiency rate of using insulin by being well-muscled, losing 15% of body weight, and walking a lot. those strategies really did not make a big improvement in how i handle blood sugar. it is only cutting back of carbs and doing exercise that helps. i am pretty well nourished. how would you know if i was not well nourished? i don’t have any of the side effects from LC you experienced. I don’e eat fruit or junk of any kind. i am already doing everything right. would you like me to give you any blood work numbers. i can do that going back years to prepaleo and post paleo.

            could you please explain that mechanism? do you think a type 1 could wean themselves off insulin using the PHD? How would this be achieved? What studies can you cite that something similar has been attempted? do you have any type 1’s who significantly reduced their insulin on your diet?

  7. Robert Cooney, MD

    Greetings Paul,

    Have you met people who have been newly diagnosed and transitioned immediately and successfully to PHD? Any flat out failures? More successful with a strict CHO reduction followed by progressive increase in carbs or have BG levels simply improved with time (Weeks? Months?)? Anyone been able to get a1c levels below 5? What about weight loss? What if anything needs to be done to determine total daily calories?

    Apologies for all the questions and certainly don’t expect you to answer them all, but whatever light you can shed on the issue would be appreciated. I would be more than happy to discuss with any diabetics who are currently following this plan.

    I am a primary care physician in Portland, OR and although I find that a VLCD is very effective, but it is awfully difficult to follow. Any alternative that can produce similar (or better?) results AND is easier to follow? That would be a WIN!

    Thank you in advance,

    Robert Cooney, MD

    • Hi Robert,

      I do think our diet is highly effective and easier to follow – quite enjoyable in fact – but it does have a learning curve and it is hard for a lot of people to start cooking for themselves, which is necessary, or to give up some of the social aspects of sharing bread etc with others.

      None of the diabetics at the Perfect Health Retreats were newly diagnosed, I believe all had been diagnosed seven or more years earlier. There were a few prediabetics. We didn’t have multiple diets, we just put them on regular PHD and all had good results. All were coming from some version of the Standard American Diet. Among our readers, I am rarely privy to all the details. In general, I hear about people who stuck with PHD and had good results and contact me after they’ve seen excellent results — usually weeks to months to a year or two after adopting PHD — or from people who tried it (or what they think is it) for three or four days, had immediate weight gain, and quit. This initial weight gain is not uncommon when coming from a very low carb diet, as you’d expect from adding back a whole macronutrient class (thus tending to increase calories) and because weight gain is often due to inflammation associated with gut dysbiosis and adding carbs/fiber will tend to feed gut microbes, for better or worse. In general, among readers coming from VLC, some report improved healthy immediately including immediate weight loss, others report a transient weight gain of 5-10 pounds over 3-4 weeks followed by a reversal and weight loss. I would say that is a fairly typical time frame for the new diet to improve immune function and gut barrier integrity, bring about an improved gut flora, and reduce gut inflammation.

      No one reduced A1c levels below 5 but I don’t consider that normal, 5.4-5.8 is a more reasonable target. We did have several whose HbA1c went from diabetic to prediabetic levels, and someone whose fasting glucose went from 164 mg/dl to 95 mg/dl but whose HbA1c numbers I didn’t get. A representative case was a 260 pound, 70 year old man who arrived in early December with HbA1c of 7.9. He contacted me a few weeks ago and his HbA1c was recently measured at 7.0, which he said was the lowest it had been since his initial diagnosis with diabetes 17 years earlier. He had lost 15 pounds since early December. Clearly he has work to do but that’s not bad for the first two months and one hopes for continued progress. This particular fellow arrived with bad knees and a cane and could not walk more than 100 feet. He was up to walking 500 to 1000 feet by mid-January. If he could exercise more I think he would have made quicker progress.

      Weight loss was terrific, everyone who was overweight lost weight and the one woman who was underweight gained weight. Dramatic weight loss was routine, we had obese guests who lost 15, 16, 20, 24, and 26 pounds in 30 days. A few others lost 8-12 pounds but had significant health improvements. This was with 2000 calories a day of food and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. Aspects like intermittent fasting and circadian rhythm entrainment and the nutritional supplements for better immune function played important roles.

      Best, Paul

  8. Hi Paul,

    Would the retreat help someone with Thalassemia Major?



  9. Hi Paul:
    Do you have any insight into the treatment of alcoholism through nutrition? Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Mathews-Larson at her health recovery centre in Minneapolis, MN?
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Paul,
    Really enjoyed listening to your interview on the Paleo Con event. I listened to most of the rest of the interviews as well and enjoyed several of them.

    Question, Did you listen to Loren Cordain’s interview? I am sure you have heard or read his stuff before. In his talk he was critical of taking a vitamin C supplement and suggested it was not good for you. Can you comment on that briefly? If you have time, can you comment a bit about his continued belief that potato and rice are still not good? But I am mostly interested in your thoughts on Vitamin C in terms of his criticism. Thank you!

  11. Anyone hear they news today about “dangers” of high protein diets? I specifically heard them mention the Paleo diet as well…

  12. Hi, are you allowed to eat gluten free porridge oats?

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