PHD Baby Food

Before I get to the recipe, let me play proud papa for a few minutes, and share with you an episode with Luke this weekend that illustrates his spirit and character. I mentioned last week that he had started walking. However, as recently as his birthday, last Thursday, we thought it was impressive if he strung together 20 steps at a time. This weekend, coming out of church Saturday evening, he demanded to be allowed out of my arms to walk. He proceeded to walk almost the entirety of the 3/4 miles home. Here is a short section of his journey; he was already 10 minutes in and starting to get tired:

You can see him refusing any support from me – he wanted to do it all himself – and grinning at his new skill.

It was inevitable that he would take a tumble at some point, and soon after we stopped recording he did. He tripped and landed on all fours, just as in the video; but then he tried to launch himself back to his feet by sheer strength of arms, and didn’t quite make it all the way up. His head came back down first and he got a cut and bump on his forehead. I picked him up and he cried for 10 seconds or so; after 20 seconds he was smiling again:

Luke after fall while walking Aug 30 2015 02

Just seconds after this photo was taken, he demanded to be let back down to the ground, and proceeded to walk the rest of the way home, grinning. When we reached home, he complained at being taken indoors. Nevertheless, he was tired. Forty minutes later, he was asleep, and slept 11 hours.

OK, back to food. When Luke was age 6 months or so, we introduced him to solid food through this recipe. It is essentially a PHD meal suitable for infants, puréed with a blender, and mixed into his milk. As is suitable for a baby, the “baby meal” has less protein and more carbs and fat than would an adult meal.

Luke soon came to love this “PHD milk” and started to refuse plain formula. Here he is enjoying his favorite meal:

Lukemilk-08 vfull

One note on ingredients. If I were designing this solely on the basis of nutrition, the meat would be a mix of beef liver, oysters, salmon, and scallops. However, there have been some concerns that early introduction of shellfish could pose a heightened risk of allergy. The issue is discussed here. I think the concern over shellfish is probably misplaced in the case of healthy children, but nevertheless we’re posting this recipe using beef liver only, although it makes the resulting meal higher in copper and lower in zinc than we’d like.

[Further note: If you’re viewing this on the main page, click here to see the recipe.]

Paleo Magazine Radio: Berlin PaleoCon and the Globalization of Paleo

Note: The recipe for PHD Baby Food will be posted Monday.

I had the great pleasure of traveling to Germany in July for the first-ever German Paleo Convention, a fun event modeled on PaleoFX; a meeting of the German Paleo Medical Society; and an event at the world’s first PHD gourmet restaurant, Life! Restaurant for Body and Soul on the Konigsallee in Dusseldorf. (See The First PHD Gourmet Restaurant: Life! Restaurant.)

Soon after my return I was interviewed by Tony Federico of Paleo Magazine Radio, to discuss the globalization of Paleo and especially the growing interest in Europe. Our interview is now live: Paleo Going Global with Paul Jaminet – PMR #93.

Tony and I briefly discussed the Perfect Health Retreat. The October retreat (October 10-17) is almost sold out, so if you are interested in coming please contact us quickly. We’ve also scheduled next May’s retreat for April 30 to May 7, and are now accepting reservations. There will be a small price increase starting with the May 2016 retreat, but any reservations received by December 31 will receive 2015 prices.

To learn about the retreat, visit the web pages under the Perfect Health Retreat tab, starting here. To reserve a room or for more information, please contact Paul Jaminet at


Luke, the First Year

Today is Luke’s first birthday, and Katherine Morrison wants me to spill the beans:

Paul Jaminet, we know you’re so very busy with work and family but if you have a moment, we’d love a photo update of your sweet boy (or the whole family!) and an update about how things are going generally; how long it took for him to get have more organized circadian rhythyms; how and when he took to solids; what he’s eating now. If there’s anything else you’d like to share about your parenting journey, we’d love to hear that too.

That’s a lot of ground to cover. Here’s a little photo and video update, and a recipe for PHD baby food.

Luke’s growth

Here’s a photo of Luke at age 1 month:

Luke at age 1 month

You can see photos of Luke at age 3 months in my previous post about Luke’s baptism. Here’s one from February, age 6 months:

Luke Jaminet in his hat 2015-02-22

The hat was knitted by a guest at our October 2014 Perfect Health Retreat. (Thank you Deidre!).

Luke has gotten his teeth in earlier than the other babies he plays with. He started getting teeth at 4 months, had eight teeth by age eight months, and teeth 9 through 12 have sprouted up this August. Here’s a photo from the May Perfect Health Retreat, age 9 months, showing off his teeth:

Luke at May 2015 Perfect Health Retreat 07

Luke is lean and strong, athletic and venturesome, and quick to smile. He rarely crawls on hands and knees – he’ll occasionally crawl on one or two knees when on a very smooth soft surface, but much more often he bear crawls, keeping his knees off the ground. Recently, he’s begun walking. Here’s a video from last weekend, showing him walking, bear crawling, and babbling:

Luke’s circadian rhythms

We’ve had no problems here. He’s always slept very well and kept a regular schedule. When he was very young, he had a clear 4 hour cycle. At night he would sleep 3.5 hours, feed for half an hour, and go immediately back to sleep for another 3.5 hours. In the day he would be awake 3 hours and sleep 1 hour.

For some time now he’s been on a two-nap schedule. He sleeps at night from about 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. Sometimes he sleeps through the night, sometimes he gets up to feed once. In the day, he naps from about 10:30 am to 11:30 am and from 4 pm to 5 pm. He generally goes outdoors to play for an hour before each nap, then comes home, feeds, and falls asleep.

We didn’t do anything special except keep him on our own rhythms — including 12 hours of orange-red light at night and 12 hours of bright natural light in the day — and take him outdoors for 2 hours of sun, people watching, and activity each day, one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Luke’s night waking seems to be driven almost entirely by hunger. A large feeding before bedtime, or better yet a meal rich in carbohydrate and glycine (from collagen), helps his sleep. We give him a soup with rice, fruit, and bone-and-joint stock before bed, flavored with a bit of coconut milk or egg yolks, vinegar, and drop of fish sauce.

Most other parents strike me as fearful of nature. Children are bundled up and shielded from the sun. We would take Luke out in a diaper and onesie, so he would get sun on arms and legs, carry him to get exercise ourselves, and let him crawl barefoot; the other babies would have layers of clothing, hats, and shoes, and be pushed in strollers with sunshields for further protection. In this aspect, we are much more ancestral in our parenting.

Luke’s food

Luke was exclusively breast fed through age 3 months, after which we started using formula. To make up for some of the deficits of formula, we supplemented it a bit:

  • To make up for the missing milk oligosaccharides, a form of fiber that is fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, we added a bit of vinegar to Luke’s formula.
  • To make up for the missing nucleotides, we added a drop of fish sauce.
  • To make up for missing cholesterol and other lipids, we added some egg yolk.

We tries to minimize egg protein in his food by puncturing the yolk sac and draining the insides into the milk, rather than adding the whole yolk to the milk.

At age 5 months or so, we introduced solid food in the form of chicken rice congee, but within a few weeks we developed a recipe that will be given in a followup post. We made up a PHD meal suitable for infants, pureed it with a blender, and mixed it into his milk. He soon came to love this “PHD milk” and started to refuse plain formula.

Luke has never had cheerios, rice puffs, or any of the other processed foods that pediatricians recommend. He eats our food or his “PHD milk”. White rice is our equivalent of cheerios.

At about age 6 months, we started sharing our food with him as we ate. Feeding him this way is a little slow and when he gets really hungry, “PHD milk” is always the best option.

We introduced new foods gradually, out of concern that he might react badly to something. For example, he tried avocado for the first time at his 7 month birthday. But so far, Luke has enjoyed every food we have given him, and there has been no sign of any sensitivity or adverse reaction. He loves chocolate – so much so that for a while he would root in the trash for old chocolate wrappers in the hope of finding chocolate inside – and is not very interested in cucumber, but has never refused to eat any food. His favorite everyday food is Daddy’s lunch, typically rice, meat, and vegetables drenched in egg yolks, coconut milk, vinegar, and fish sauce. After every meal, we give him fruit for dessert.

When he was just beginning to eat solid food on his own, I had a surprise. Sitting on the sofa working on my laptop, I gave him a banana to play with. He became very quiet and I didn’t pay attention to him for about ten minutes. Then I looked over. The whole banana was gone, but for a few shards of the peel, and Luke had brown banana peel fragments smeared over his face and clothes. He had eaten the whole banana, peel and all! He looked at me a little nervously, as if fearful he had done something wrong, then gave me a big smile.

Luke after eating whole banana 2015-04-09

That was in April, at age 7½ months.

Luke was very pleased when we first gave him beef fat – we gave him trimmed fat from a sirloin steak before giving him the meat. He loves to eat ribs and will gnaw the bones for quite a while:

Luke with a bone

He’s been out to restaurants several times. Here is his first taste of restaurant sushi – salmon roe and avocado with rice:

Luke sushi July 2015 03

We recently let him try dairy for the first time. Here he is having sampled yogurt:

Luke after first yogurt

Coming up next: our recipe for “PHD milk”. This is still the dominant food in Luke’s diet.

Melanie M. on the Perfect Health Retreat

Melanie is a lovely young lady who didn’t want to record a video, but gave us a written testimonial. She wrote at the end of the retreat:

If this was simply a seaside vacation it would be well worth the price, but it also gives you the ability to become healthy again, no matter how severe your health problems, or how long you have been suffering from them. That is priceless.

There is a saying that “not all doctors are healers, and not all healers are doctors.” I think anyone who has been on this retreat will agree that our friend Paul is a healer in the true sense. It is going to be difficult for me to go home to my situation and do everything I now know I need to do to get healthy again, but I am going to do it.

This August, ten months later, I asked Melanie for an update. She wrote:

Sadly it turned out I was only able to do the diet off and on since coming home. My main difficulty has been in generating the extra effort it takes to care for myself while also being the caregiver for my grandfather, who has dementia and terminal cancer.

Recently my mom and I have been trying very hard again at the diet part of it, and have been successful for a full month now. When we are able to maintain the diet, we do notice a great improvement in mental fog, and we visibly lose inflammation in our faces (and in Mom’s ankles). My skin also clears up on PHD, and my mom has less digestive trouble, which I think is a sign that it could help cure her GERD over time. I am really happy with my brain function right now, I feel like my ADD symptoms are vastly improved, and I am dealing with stress much better lately. Remember the awful sciatic pain I had during the retreat? That pain is gone after doing PHD this past month. That is motivation to keep going for sure!

I have not lost weight yet, which is my own fault, but the longer I can keep doing PHD, the better my quality of life becomes, which is equally important.

Thank you, Melanie. I believe weight loss generally follows upon health improvements, so I suspect you’ll be losing weight soon.

We are taking reservations now for the next Perfect Health Retreat to be held October 10-17, 2015; and for the following retreat, April 30-May 7, 2016. Don’t miss this opportunity for a luxurious vacation combined with a week of learning that will pay a lifetime of dividends.

To learn about the retreat, visit the various web pages under the Perfect Health Retreat tab, starting here. To reserve a room or for more information, please contact Paul Jaminet at or Whitney Ross Gray at