The Diet

The Perfect Health Diet

Here’s our Perfect Health Diet food plate:

PHD_Apple_plate cropped

NOTE: This is our new food plate, updated 2015. Foreign translations of the original food plate may be found here.

We recommend:

  • About 3 pounds [1.4 kg] of plant foods per day, including:
    • About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of safe starches, such as white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and taro;
    • About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of sugary in-ground vegetables (such as beets or carrots), fruits, and berries;
    • Low-calorie vegetables to taste, including fermented vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
  • One-half to one pound [0.25 to 0.5 kg] per day of meat or fish, which should include organ meats, and should be drawn primarily from:
    • ruminants (beef, lamb, goat);
    • birds (especially duck and wild or naturally raised birds);
    • Shellfish and freshwater and marine fish.
  • Low omega-6 fats and oils from animal or tropical plant sources, to taste. Good sources include:
    • butter, sour cream, beef tallow, duck fat;
    • coconut milk or oil
    • palm oil, palm kernel oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
  • Acids to taste, especially citric acid (lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice), lactic acid from fermented or pickled vegetables, vinegars, tannic acids from wine, and tomatoes.
  • Broths or stocks made from animal bones and joints.
  • Snacks or desserts from our pleasure foods: fruits and berries, nuts, alcohol, chocolate, cream, and fructose-free sweeteners like dextrose or rice syrup.

By weight, the diet works out to about 3/4 plant foods, 1/4 animal foods. By calories, it works out to about 600 carb calories, primarily from starches; around 300 protein calories; and fats supply a majority (50-60%) of daily calories.

In the shadow of the apple are foods forbidden because of their high toxin content. Notably:

  • Do not eat cereal grains — wheat, barley, oats, corn — or foods made from them — bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, oatmeal. The exception is white rice, which we count among our “safe starches.” Rice noodles, rice crackers, and the like are fine, as are gluten-free foods made from a mix of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.
  • Do not eat calorie-rich legumes. Peas and green beans are fine. Soy and peanuts should be absolutely excluded. Beans might be acceptable with suitable preparation, but we recommend avoiding them.
  • Do not eat foods with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Do not drink anything that contains sugar: healthy drinks are water, tea, and coffee.
  • Polyunsaturated fats should be a small fraction of the diet (~4% of total calories). To achieve this, do not eat seed oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or the like.

We highly recommend certain foods for their micronutrients. These include liver, kidney, egg yolks, seaweeds, shellfish, fermented vegetables, and bone broths.

We also recommend augmenting the diet with certain supplements. See our Supplement Recommendations page. These nutrients are deficient in modern diets due to removal of minerals from drinking water by treatment, depletion of minerals from soil by agriculture, or modern lifestyles that deprive us of vitamin D by indoor living.

We recommend tweaking the diet for certain diseases. Neurological disorders often benefit from a diet that is ketogenic; other conditions may benefit from lower carb diets. These variations are discussed in the book:


See the “Buy the Book” page for other purchase options.

Leave a comment ?

3,505 Comments.

  1. Is hemp oil okay? It seems to have good omega 3.

  2. Awesome!

    One question tho – What’s inherently wrong with peanuts? I would think they’d be fine in moderation with the other nuts…

  3. Hi Paul, you recommend almond butter, what about almond itself (raw or roasted), and walnuts? thanks!

  4. Hi Paul,
    While best to eat sweet potatoes in whole food form, what is your view of Japchae noodles (Korean glass noodles) made of sweet potato?

    And if you eat them occasionally yourselves, is their a brand that you prefer for safety and contents?

    I recently had them at a paleo retreat and was shocked to learn that they were made from sweet potato starch (they look like kelp noodles). They are delicious.

    Thanks!
    Susan

  5. Hi, Paul, read your book and implemented it immediately. I have had hypertension for a few years. shortly after practicing PHD, my BP readings started going down. I was really happy. To make the diet even better I started doing intermittent fasting with the eating window of 6 hours, my BP began to elevate, now it is back to where it was at 150-160/90-100. Read a thread on Dr. Mosley’ site, many people reported the same elevation of BP to various degrees once starting fast. Would you please commend on this? Thank you very much!

  6. I am a 66 year-old female, 5’4″, 115 pounds, pretty sedentary lifestyle because of being limited to chair and floor exercises due to chronic foot problems. Have eaten whole foods for decades, paleo for a few years now. Overall health is good. Here’s the question: I can’t eat anywhere near the amounts of food each day that the PHD suggests! Haven’t kept track exactly, but I’d say I can get in maybe between 25-50% of those amounts. Do you recommend that I just scale back the quantities to my needs, but keep the same proportions with each food group in the apple? Or, for example, should I not go below the .7 lb of meat, fish, and eggs per day, but just scale back the veggies, sweet plants, and safe starches, keeping about equal amounts of each of those 3 categories, as in the PHD plan? Not sure how to proceed! Any advice you can give is welcome. Thanks!

    • Forgot to say that I eat about 2 oz of cooked meat or fish plus 1 or 2 veggies at each of my 3 meals every day. Also, I have one snack a day which is usually a very small amount of nuts or seeds along with one serving of fruit. And good amounts of the healthy fats every day. That’s pretty much my diet. Weight has been stable for years.

      • Sorry to keep adding in spurts! 🙂 At any given meal, I eat about a cup of cooked veggies total. Trying to give you a better idea of the quantities I’m consuming. I generally just drink water or herb tea. I’m not filling up with calorie drinks or anything else like desserts or whatever.

  7. Paul,

    I have read your book and Mark Sissons’ Primal Blueprint. As he wrote a foreword for your book, how do you reconcile the differences between your optimized meal suggestions? Your plate has safe starches, his plate avoids carbs. Here is his keto recommended macro breakdown. 65-75% caloric intake from fat, 15-25% caloric intake from protein, 5-10% caloric intake from carbohydrates.

  8. barbara sandquist

    Just had my first PHD meal, at noon breaking my fast. My blood glucose after one hour was 192 (started at 103). That’s not acceptable for a T2 diabetic. Would rice noodles be better? I had 3/4 c. white rice, cut-up chicken with 1 T. teriyaki sauce, 1 T. vinegar, snap peas and shredded carrots. For other seasonings I used cilantro and green onions.

    • Barbara,
      I can suggest a few things for your consideration.
      I would do a few experiments to see what you learn.
      Use more fat in your meal. Butter, coconut oil, beef fat, even olive oil. If in doubt how much, err on the side of more.
      Use more low calorie vegetables (for fiber). Asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, spinach.
      Use a little more vinegar unless the taste is off putting. It was good that you included some. A little more might be better.
      Think sauces. Fat, plus vinegar, plus soy sauce. Bone broth would be good too, but you don’t have to have it all the time. Mostly try to make something delicious that has a lot of good fat and some acid (vinegar, or citrus juice, or tomato, or wine).
      I think your choice of 3/4 cup of rice is about the right amount to experiment with.
      If you haven’t been eating carbs you may need 3 or 4 days of eating carbs before your body doesn’t overreact.
      If you are worried about high readings doing the initial experiments, eat half as much carb but more often for a few days and see if you don’t go as high over time.
      Egg yolks mixed into hot rice is delicious and a great way to put very healthy fats into rice.
      Mushrooms, broccoli sautéed in coconut oil or butter and served with rice & egg yolks is a favorite of mine.
      Cucumbers, sliced and covered in salt , pepper and rice vinegar are a delicious way to get more vinegar and low calorie fiber into your meal.
      I find that I am more sensitive to carbs in the morning after fasting 16 hours than I am in the following meals.
      You might experiment and see if fewer carbs at breakfast and more carbs later in the day might allow you to get used to eating carbs without getting very high glucose levels.

      Good luck,
      Randy

    • Let me also add that I tolerate steamed and cooled potatoes better than rice. I steam Yukon gold potatoes for about an hour and then refrigerate for use throughout the week (thereby benefitting from increased resistant starch and lower glycemic load). This is very easy and convenient. Chopped potatoes cooked (really just warmed up) in coconut oil is delicious and easy. I’m able to easy tolerate 10 ounces per meal withou my glucose going too high. You might do some experiments with cooked and cooled potatoes. They are more nutrient dense than rice and offer variety.

  9. barbara sandquist

    Thank you so much, Randy. Your suggestions were very helpful. I think you could be right about the potatoes. Yukon Gold are my favorites, but not as filling as rice.

    • You can eat a lot more potato than rice for the same amount of starch. Roughly twice as much by weight according to Chronometer.

      Glad you found it helpful.

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