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 ?

2,956 Comments.

  1. Just lost a pound of the two I gained…starting to get the idea that for now a sweet potato, chopped steamed greens (beet greens, broccoli, spinach) bring my carbs up to a 70. I will wait on the beets and carrots until but add them much slower and lower. Loving the 3 tabs of ACV. My protein is always about 60gr and I have reduced my overall fats to a bit less than 90 grams – more coconut milk than butter – 1 tab butter and 2 tabs my homemade olive oil and coconut oil mayo. So far so good. Have a swell Sunday you all…it’s pretty gorgeous here in Southern Vermont…<3

  2. PeterC – I can’t make that leap yet – I’m sure I’ll get there but I can’t switch up my “science” about carbs and ignore greens and green veggies like broccoli in my total carb count. I’ve done low carb for a long time. I’ve also been Paleo for almost 9 years. I healed myself from respiratory stuff along my way. I have a good heard start with PHD. I’m taking this slow. It’s huge to me that I am adding sweet potato and some beets and carrots. I like the plan…it makes good nourishing sense. I’ll get there from here. Thanks for the reminder. I figure one week at a time…:)

  3. Thanks Darrin – still wrapping my brain around the leafy greens = no carbs – spinach, beet greens, don’t know where broccoli fits in but I eat about a cup chopped every day…I will got back and read more about it. I’m eating “spuds” in the form of Japanese sweet potato steamed – very delish. Not a carrot beet person though…never have been…not sure what to do there to replace…any ideas greatly appreciated. I appreciate your input. Like I said I’m going very slow with this…very. Like many here I suspect there is a wealth of “science” out there and lay people like me need to pick and choose and figure out what works individually..it’s daunting. I am very on board with PHD…just need to assimilate it all and I am. On to the new week…:)

  4. My dilemma is that while improvong my SLE & Autoimmune Vasculitis, a low-lectin/AIP Paleo style diet has worsened my thyroid issues and significantly raised my cortisol while decreasing my testosterone. How can I add calories/carbs without triggering autoimmune issues? White Rice? Gluten-free Oats? White Potatoes? It’s a real catch-22.

    • Hi Mark,

      Try PHD.

      Best, Paul

      • I do eat about 1-1.5lb of sweet potatoes daily.
        I was doing 2 cooked plantains 3-5 days a week as well but felt it was making things worse with regards to inflammation.
        Still unsure about trying Cassava with my thyroid issues and Taro with the oxalates.

        Thanks for the response

  5. Appreciate the response. What about lectins in Potatoes, Rice and Plantains? Oxalates in Beets and Taro?

    Are Water Chestnuts and Bamboo Shoots likely to cause inflammation?

    • Hi Mark,

      The lectins in potatoes and rice are destroyed by cooking.

      From (http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0207e/T0207E08.htm#Potato):

      “Lectins or haemogglutenins are also present in potato. These toxins are capable of agglutinating the erythocytes of several mammalian species including humans (Goldstein and Hayes, 1978), but this is of minimal nutritional significance as haemogglutenins are also destroyed by heat, and potatoes are normally cooked before they are eaten.”

      And from (http://www.fao.org/docrep/T0567E/T0567E0g.htm#Antinutrition%20factors):

      “Rice-bran lectin binds specifically to 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-Dglucose (Poole, 1989). It is stable for 2 hours at 75°C but sharply loses activity after 30 minutes at 80°C or 2 minutes at 100°C (Ory, Bog-Hansen and Mod, 1981). Rice lectin agglutinates human A, B and O group erythrocytes.”

      I’m not aware of any data showing plantain lectins are problematic to humans.

      Beets and taro are indeed rich in oxalates — but so are many other foods (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalic_acid#Content_in_food_items). Oxalate is also synthesized naturally by the human body, so I doubt that eating a modest amount would be harmful!

      Best,
      -Eric

      • Hey Eric, this is a question for a friend who just discovered that she has kidney stones and they haven’t passed yet. Docs gave her nothing and no treatments but told her to avoid oxalates. She’s a big endurance bike rider and had been eating lots of oxalate rich foods, like beets and spinach. I don’t know if she’d been overdoing it on the beets or not, but my husband rides with her a lot and I know that for awhile they were drinking beet juice (he’s not PHD, other than by necessity when I’m cooking).
        Question: What’s your take on why/how this can cause kidney stones if she wasn’t OD’ing (knowing her, I’m pretty sure that she was eating them the way that PHDers would be doing). If not overconsumption, then does that mean that her body synthesizes them poorly? And how can that be corrected?
        Also, I’d thought (thru previous friends who have had them) that high dairy consumption is a typical cause or contributor to kidney stones. Are there different types (and causes of stones)?

        • Hi susan,

          Endogenous oxalate synthesis is a result of vitamin C degradation; so the prime suspects would be things that impair vitamin C recycling — insufficient intake of nutrients required for vitamin C recycling (such as selenium, cysteine, glycine, and glucose), infections which increase vitamin C requirements (including most viral infections), etc.

          Of course, over-consumption of oxalate is also a possible explanation.

          Yes, there are different types of kidney stones; the major ones are oxalate stones and uric acid stones. But I’m not sure how dairy consumption would effect either one.

          Best,
          -Eric

          • Eric, I just knew that you’d be able to shed light on this. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights with me. Have a great 4th!

      • http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs004250000307

        Abstract.

         One of the predominant proteins in the pulp of ripe bananas (Musa acuminata L.) and plantains (Musa spp.) has been identified as a lectin. The banana and plantain agglutinins (called BanLec and PlanLec, respectively) were purified in reasonable quantities using a novel isolation procedure, which prevented adsorption of the lectins onto insoluble endogenous polysaccharides. Both BanLec and PlanLec are dimeric proteins composed of two identical subunits of 15 kDa. They readily agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes and exhibit specificity towards mannose. Molecular cloning revealed that BanLec has sequence similarity to previously described lectins of the family of jacalin-related lectins, and according to molecular modelling studies has the same overall fold and three-dimensional structure. The identification of BanLec and PlanLec demonstrates the occurrence of jacalin-related lectins in monocot species, suggesting that these lectins are more widespread among higher plants than is actually believed. The banana and plantain lectins are also the first documented examples of jacalin-related lectins, which are abundantly present in the pulp of mature fruits but are apparently absent from other tissues. However, after treatment of intact plants with methyl jasmonate, BanLec is also clearly induced in leaves. The banana lectin is a powerful murine T-cell mitogen. The relevance of the mitogenicity of the banana lectin is discussed in terms of both the physiological role of the lectin and the impact on food safety.

        • Hi Mark,

          I skimmed through the paper… Unless I missed something, the only results the authors report in humans is an unexpectedly high prevalence of IgG reactivity to the banana lectin — but this disregards the point that the majority of fruit allergies (including banana allergies) are known to be cross-reactions to other antigens (notably birch pollen). And anyway, high prevalence of immune reactions should, by itself, not be enough to eschew a food (except in individuals who notice a negative reaction to the food or have a positive skin prick test to the food in question).

          We are not looking for toxin-free foods; we are looking for low-toxin foods, as the former don’t really exist — you could compile an equally-suspicious-sounding list of properties about some substance found in pretty much any food…

          Best,
          -Eric

          • What do you think of Steven Gundry’s work with Lectins?

            http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/129/Suppl_1/AP354

            The diet consisted of avoidance of grains, sprouted grains, pseudo-grains, beans and legumes, soy, peanuts, cashews, nightshades, melons and squashes, and non-Southern European cow milk products (Casein A1), and grain and/or bean fed animals.

            Eight hundred pts (80%) related some history of autoimmune disease (AID) personally or among family members, including Hashimotos thyroiditis, IBS, arthritis, RA, Lupus, Crohns, colitis, GERD, CAD, Type 1 DM.

            Adiponectin levels were elevated in all 800 pts with family hx or personal history of AID (16.6-83 ug/ml)(nl3.0 pg/mL). In contrast, Adiponectin was normal in 200 remaining pts without AID history (<16.5 ug/ml), while TNF-alpha was normal in 100/200 (50%) of pts without AID.

            When the lectin and gluten free diet was instituted, all TNF-alpha levels became normal in all 1,000 pts (<3.0 pg/mL), within 6 months and remained normal, if the diet was followed, for up to one year of study.

          • I tend to wonder if the success of Gundry, Paleo Moms’ AIP, The Perfect Health Diet, etc… is do to what specific foods are being removed or the overall caloric reduction that tends to accompany the removal of grains/legumes/dairy.

            There is ample evidence that caloric restriction lowers inflammation which would improve many autoimmune conditions.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16713232

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20962912

          • How do you feel about Jicama, Water Chestnuts and Bamboo Shoots?

          • Hi Mark,

            I’m not so familiar with Steven Gundry’s work; I will only comment that, in general, removing too many foods increases the chance of malnutrition (either insufficient micronutrients or insufficient macronutrients).

            That said, I think we should remove foods, and which foods are removed definitely matters! For example, rice is just as calorically-dense as wheat, yet (for example) regions of China which eat rice as a staple food have significantly lower cardiovascular disease rates than regions which eat wheat.

            Jicama, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots are all probably fine — I say this because most low-calorie vegetables and most root vegetables are fine, not because I have any specific knowledge. Of the three, only water chestnuts would provide enough starch to replace potatoes. But potatoes are probably safer than water chestnuts, simply because they are more commonly eaten and we thus have more data. (Trying to select foods with no worrisome data will result in eating the foods on which we have the least data. If there’s lots of data, and that data doesn’t look so bad, that’s better than no data!)

            Best,
            -Eric

          • I agree that toxin-free foods do not exist. My fear, as someone with multiple auto-immune diseases is trying to avoid the most problematic foods, while still getting enough nutrients/calories. We know there are many plant lectins that can induce cytokines production. I have had issues with Winter Squash, for example, which is very frustrating as it is included as a staple on most AIP style diets. Plantains and Bananans I really enjoyed, but I just can’t bring myself to reintroduce them. Too much research that scares me.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769584/

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19874914

            It’s so frustrating because I desperately need to add more calories to my diet.

      • Do you boil or bake your potatoes? Does it make a difference?

        • If that is a general to all question, Mark – I steam or boil mine…I eat primarily sweet potatoes and they get very sugary when I bake them…

        • I believe that any traditional method is allowed, but that a gentle and moist method is considered best (for most things, actually). That would include steaming, braising, and presumably Instant Pot slow or pressure. Personally speaking, I occasionally use all methods (except that I don’t deep fry, in fact I rarely even pan fry anything) and most often I steam and sometimes bake. I tend not to boil potatoes because it breaks them up too much and makes them mealy.

        • Hi Mark,

          As susan said, any cooking method is acceptable, but moist heat is usually the best. For potatoes and other starchy foods, this is because baking or frying can produce acrylamide, while steaming and boiling do not. (The potato lectin will be destroyed either way.)

          Steaming results in less loss of flavor and better retention of nutrients than boiling, so I usually steam my potatoes.

          Best,
          -Eric

          • Yes, and another good reason for steaming is that, more so than other methods, they hold up (and taste) better warmed up in future days as leftovers, probably due to higher moisture content. And warmed up as leftovers is ideal for maximizing resistant starch, if I understand correctly. I batch steam them for this reason and enjoy them for days.

            I love potatoes! Especially the ones that are purple and turn bright blue inside when they’re steamed! It’s my understanding that they have the highest RS among all “white” potato varieties, along with their other superior nutritional attributes.

        • Mark I just got yours from 7/14 today. I’m replying here and hope you get it. You said: Mark July 14, 2016 at 11:02 am

          I agree that toxin-free foods do not exist. My fear, as someone with multiple auto-immune diseases is trying to avoid the most problematic foods, while still getting enough nutrients/calories. We know there are many plant lectins that can induce cytokines production. I have had issues with Winter Squash, for example, which is very frustrating as it is included as a staple on most AIP style diets. Plantains and Bananans I really enjoyed, but I just can’t bring myself to reintroduce them. Too much research that scares me.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769584/

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19874914

          It’s so frustrating because I desperately need to add more calories to my diet.

          Getting more calories on this diet is not my problem LOL! I could easily eat Japanese sweet potatoes, white rice, more beef/lamb/fish and get my overall calories up. I am thinking that at this point I’m not adding ALL of the suggested foods on the diet but eating according to appetite which frankly I’m pretty sated at 1450 calories (on the high side). I’m only 5’2″ and I’m 67 and I exercise light to moderate every week mostly lite. I’m jut trying to give you another view because I think this diet is quite flexible if I stick to my Paleo no grain very little fruit ways…of course if you need good calories you can eat many fruits on this plan. Hi Susan B and Susan Susan…loving this way of eating and maintaining 118 for 5 weeks now…AND I upped my carbs to 80…omg…oxox

          • Lynda – Congratulations !!! You’re doing great !!!

            My feeling about all of this is….. follow the basics of the PHD plan… trying to keep the proportions of the foods that the plan outlines in balance… and.

            within each food group – the specific foods that an individual eats will vary because we are all different and we all have different reactions to specific foods.

          • oops… my post got posted before I was finished… LOL

            Mark – my next comment was to be addressed to you. Rather than delving into the minutiae of each new article and study that gets published, put all of that aside.

            Listen to your own body. Keep a food journal. Forget about everything except this…. how do I feel after I eat this food.

            To do that, you need to keep a food journal… not of proteins and carbs and fats and calories and vitamins and minerals or any of that detail…. just write down the foods that you eat each day and when you ate them.

            Then see… over the next 4 days…. how you feel. I say 4 days because it can take that long for an adverse reaction to show up.

            It will take time, but after a while you will see a pattern develop. Keep experimenting and keep the journal for as long as it takes to figure it all out.

          • My current diet consists of nose to tail Beef/Bison as the main sources of protein with occasional Lamb, Chicken(usually liver or hearts) and Turkey. Usually 1lb a day. My carbs are 1 – 1.5lbs of Sweet Potatoes every day, 0.5lbs of White Potatoes twice a week, 0.5lbs of Turnips once a week, and White Rice once every two weeks. The rest of my diet is cruciferous veggies about 6 servings a day rotated – Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Arugula, Rapini, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Brussel Sprouts etc..

            I have a hard time getting over 1500 calories a day. I am a 37 yo male, 6’0 and currently down to 129lbs. Before my health issues started I was 215lbs. Of course that was 5+ years ago when I was a vegan and eating 1lb of whole wheat pasta a day in addition to 8-10 servings of oatmeal every day and exercising religiously.

        • Mark, can’t you just bump up the fat? Pick fatty cuts of meat (short ribs, etc), add ghee, coconut oil, or whatever you can handle? Fat is the highest calorie food source. I know it’s obvious, but just wanted to mention it anyway.

          • Mark, what Susan said about bumping fat up…I was going to suggest that too. More good butter and coconut oil…:)

          • Paul seems to say that whole food sources are best — fatty meats/organs, avocado, coconut or its milk — if you can handle them. (I’m assuming that you don’t do egg yolks, dairy or nuts due to AI, otherwise nut butters, cheese, sour cream, etc.)

      • thoughts?

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1941928/

        The stability of STA, which is resistant to heat, base and acid, appears to be due to its high content of carbohydrate residues and disulphide bonds [49]. This appears to be true in the case of STA present in heat-processed potato extract, wherein ∼40–50% of its biological activity (as measured by haemagglutination and glycoprotein binding assays) is retained.

  6. Mark – I can’t speak to your concerns about rice, potatoes, platains and oxilates in beet and taro. Paul does address this all in his book. I am coming off a ketogenic diet where I restricted my carbs to no more than 30 usually 25 a day. I just started to dry up inside and when I read Paul’s on mucins it was an ah-ha moment for me. I’ve just added that so ar and I’m up to 50 carbs…huge steps for me.

    I suspect there is a more knowledgeable soul around here that can address to your questions…personally I do not eat rice or white potatoes – they spike me then crash me…Japanese sweet potatoes are my new go to mucin food LOL.

    There is a lot of good info on this site – the commentaries are great and cover a lot of dis-eases.

    The big thing for all of us who find PHD is transitioning. There is just too much information out there…I am trusting my body right now and going very slow. I suggest you do the same.

    • When you eat the rice / potatoes do you combine them with fat and acid, and if so, do you still spike?

    • Hi Lynda, I’d been on a very low carb diet for about 4 years and, not sure if it was related, but also started ‘drying up’, mucus in throat felt very thick and sticky, got puffy eyes every day due to tears not draining properly, had to have cervical polyp and nasal polyps removed. I too read Paul’s article on mucins and although it’s taken a couple of years to see a difference (I added back in potatoes/white rice/squashes and sweet potatoes, the puffy eyes have gone along with the constant throat congestion and I feel sooo much better. Carbs have been demonized far too much I feel and although weight was never an issue for me, adding back in those carbs didn’t add back any pounds.

      • Hey Tracy! Definitely related. I appreciate your example. Dry throat and eyes for sure…I’ve added sweet potatoes and upped my carbs and am NOT gaining weight…very cool. Good to know it takes awhile…:)

  7. Hi Paul, my husband and I are enjoying your book and have been applying the PHD for a while now. I have one question around intermittent fasting when it comes to females. I have been researching the topic and find many are of the opinion that the benefits for women of intermittent fasting are not always as clear cut as they are for men. I have noted that you did not mention this in your book or in any of the many interviews you’ve given over the years – which we listen to and enjoy 😀 can you comment on this topic?

    • Hi Liat,

      I think the benefits of IF are just as great for women as for men, but women often undereat when they do IF and that can do a lot of harm. So women need to take special care to eat enough food within the feeding window.

      Best, Paul

  8. Hi Us All…

    Just wanted to report in. I am stable at 118.4 pounds and my headaches are barely there. I’ve added one steamed sweet potato (Japanese, 1/3 cup steamed orange winter squash, 1/2 cup steamed spinach, 2 cups chopped steamed broccoli, 1/2 cup mix of steamed chopped carrots and beets. Less fat which means to me about 2 tabs mayo, 1 tab butter and 1/2 cup homemade coconut milk. Today and tomorrow I’ll do 5.50 oz of braised beef chuck and 3 eggs – all mixed in my daily bowl. Very happy – I know I should add more squash, beet and carrot and I will – a bit at a time…just trying to figure out how to maintain at this point. Biggest take away so far in just 2.5 weeks is that I am not dehydrated at night and my headaches are very diminished…:)

    • Hi Lynda,

      Please don’t focus overly much on weight. Health is most important, and if you optimize health, your weight will optimize too.

      Best, Paul

    • Hi again Lynda,

      Thanks for the update. I think you are doing great !! It’s a big switch from your Keto diet. As far as the fat is concerned, I do try to limit my added fat (like mayo and salad dressing and fried eggs in butter), but I don’t limit myself on the fat that I get from meat, poultry, avocado. I have a small handful of nuts every few days, but don’t indulge more than that because they can get addictive and too easy to grab as I walk thru the kitchen, so I try to stay away from more than a few every once in a while

      You’ll figure out the right amounts for your body. Take it slow and give your body lot of time to adjust…..

      Glad to hear that your headaches are gone. That was a biggie for me.

      For me, the bottom line is:

      Eat healthy whole foods in a balanced way and don’t sweat the small stuff. You can drive yourself crazy micromanaging the amounts.

      I weighed everything for several months in the beginning, but now I can eyeball protein and carb amounts to about the right amount and don’t weigh or count anything unless I think I might be low on something. For instance, I tracked my potassium intake for several weeks recently because I didn’t think that I was getting enough.

    • Hi Lynda, so glad to hear that you’re seeing improvements.
      A couple of points:
      1) Headaches — SusanB and I both get them. If they are chemical headaches (vs structural) I would start by boosting your water intake (I try to drink a quart of clear water by noon, then another 16-32 oz between noon and bedtime. Are you constipated at all? If yes, then drink even more water. If you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated. For me there is definitely a strong link b/w constipation and headaches. Also make sure that you are getting all the electrolytes in abundance. SusanB told me to up my salt and it helped a lot, and I’m gradually doubling it again. (I recommend a good sea salt like Celtic, Pink Himalayan, or other clean ancient sea salt.) Potassium — I eats lots of potassium rich foods and don’t supplement, but I’m considering it (I hate taking pills). Magnesium — in my experience it’s hard to get it all on PHD, so I do supplement 2 pills per day (sometimes I think 3-4 might be better, and I may experiment with that on days when I know that I’ll be home all day/night). There are also electrolyte droppers that I use in cases of emergency along with lots of water, when I feel a headache coming on. Also, watch how much caffeine you’re consuming. I find that coffee is very dehydrating and thus, constipating (vs laxative).
      2) Diet –it’s very easy to fall into the trap of being held hostage by our diets. We all do it, especially when we start out on a new eating regimen like PHD. But my recommendation is to relax and not stress out about it. The stress causes more damage than many foods could cause potentially. It’s easier for us to change diet than to change lifestyle/environmental factors, and I’m coming to believe that the latter is as, if not more, important than the former. I hope that doesn’t sound preachy, and I hated hearing that when it was said to me over the past few years. But over the past year or so I’ve come full circle on this and I’ve begun to not worry/obsess as much and trying to enjoy life more.
      3) Weight control — as SusanB mentioned, it’s very natural to want to weigh your foods at first since the PHD apple components are quantified by weight. But realize that they are just guidelines. My suggestion is to eat to satisfaction and not over that amount, and to rely most on your own common sense. Focus on balance and quality, not quantity. Go for walks and exercise outside frequently and stay busy with other stuff. Don’t weigh yourself everyday; at most do it once per week. I usually know if I’ve gained a couple of pounds just by how I feel — my energy level, aptitude for exercise, any need for extra sleep and how my clothes are fitting. Also remember that muscle weighs more than fat. How good we feel matters above everything else! BTW, I continually have to remind myself of all these things!

    • I just invented a new way to eat my two tabs of potato starch (Rob’s Mill raw unbound) – I put in my little Ninja – 1/4 cup chilled bone broth, 2 tabs my homemade mayo, a little salt to taste. Whip it up and mix it well into my daily bowl…like a salad dressing…creamy and tasty. So far so good with potato starch…no adverse anything. By the way in my daily bowl today is 4oz of beef chuck, 3 eggs, 1 cup cooked spinach, two cups chopped cooked broccoli, 1 Japanese sweet potato and 3 tabs ACV…I fill nori sheets with about 2 tabs of the mix throughout my day and stop at 4:30-5:00pm. I’m not OCD…I swear…:)

      Next is to add the dratted beets and carrots…sigh…not a big fan of either but maybe steamed and chopped into it all will be fine…:)

      Feeling very good you all…my brain seems pretty happy…dry mouth gone…yay.

  9. Thanks for that Paul…hard habit to let go of but I am feeling so much better eating foods I thought I’d never be able to eat again that I’m listening and letting go every day…thanks again…:)

  10. Hi Susan!

    Thanks for the detailed response. I appreciate it. I’m good with all you mention – no constipation, my potassium is around 4200 (RDA is 4700). I drink 1/2 my weight in water every day. I eat almost all the foods on PHD already with the exception of sweet potatoes and the additional carrots and beets. I weigh once a week and I intend to continue that – it’s just my little method and I’m good with it. I love logging my foods and keeping track – honestly I’m one of those weird people – I understand I really don’t need to. I take 1.5 tsp of LoSalt every day to round out my potassium. As for the headaches – my fault – I pinched a nerve in my neck lifting a saddle over on to a horse – sigh…also tweaked my back at the same time – feeling a lot better now though now that I’ve had 4 visits with my chiropractor. For me PHD is just the next logical step in my stay healthy journey. I really appreciate the wealth of information. My most exciting “take away” (as Paul says) is that I’m not feel dehydrated at night anymore.

    The best advice is to stay mellow – I hear you…yes it’s a change – adding carbs is big but less so as the days goes by and I feel good. I’m in this for the long haul. You are the coolest – thanks so much…I’ll report in again soon.

  11. Oh Susan – I forgot to mention – I’ve taken 1000 mgs of mag oxide/glycinate (did I spell that right?) for years…between that, 2 tabs of ground golden organic flax seed and 2 cups of chopped steamed broccoli a day yeah – constipation is not a problem.

    • Lynda, that’s great! Oh, you have structural headaches — they are a very different animal than the chemical type. Everything you’re doing sounds wonderful, including your equestrian pursuits (except that you might need a step stool for future saddling 🙂 Have a great, healthy 4th weekend! BTW, there’s a great CBC show on Netflix streaming for horse lovers (I’m guilty) called Heartland. I dare you not to binge watch it.

  12. Heartland! I am on it! I volunteer once a week at an equine therapy program – I am the Saturday barn girl…yeah time for a footstool for sure…:)

    Thanks for your support Susan! I forgot to say that in my potassium foods is at least 1/2 cup of cooked spinach a day. Happy 4th! Hope you have a good long weekend. My plan is to as much of nothing as I can…:)

  13. Kathy Montgomery

    Paul, do you have any advice for dietary additions and or supplements to promote vision health? My up-close vision continues to gradually decline with age.

  14. I have crohn’s disease, BPPV due to Meniere’s Disease and a host of other autoimmune diseases. I have read your book even though i dislike all meat, i have eaten eggs, fish, and dairy and even started with limited beef products for the first time in my life. I started to try the 16 hour fasts with coconut oil. Did it for several days and then i stumbled into a podcast you did (Wendy Myers -Live to 110 on July 24, 2014 #68 Perfect Health Diet for Weight Loss) where you said you do not recommend coconut oil during a 16 hour fast. I am so confused now. Can you please let me know which one you recommend since now i don’t know whether you have updated your thoughts from the book and this website. Thank you.

  15. Jeronimo Gutierrez

    Hi, i just finished reading the book. Its amazing how many things i had wrong. I was wondering if you have any resources to develop my own diet based on the book. So that i can plan a whole week in advanced. I really look forward to your answers.
    Thanks again

  16. Here’s a little update from me. I just posted this to the FB Official PHD site but I wanted to share here as well. On to the weekend.:

    Good Morning us all. Since I have been on the PHD eating idea (4 weeks now) my chronic headaches have well gone…yep. They escalated about a month before I started PHD. Part of the reason was a pulled muscle in my neck which was mostly corrected by my chiropractor but the headaches persisted – dull but there. This morning I did not wake up with a headache. Yay. I have incorporated a sweet potato and butternut squash into my daily diet and seems to be doing exactly what Paul Jaminet said it would…sigh. I am still eating a pretty ketogenic diet as far as fat grams, lower protein and lots of green veg goes but adding the starch AND I’m taking two tabs of unbound raw potato starch daily has done something pretty amazing in here…still testing my theories and keeping my coconut oil, butter and olive oil consumption around 800 calories a day…so far I have bounced back and forth between 118 and 120 twice since I started…I’m good with that!

    I do have one little question about Apple Cider Vinegar. I’ve consuming 3 tabs a day…I am noticing a little cold sore forming which I’m thinking is because of the acid in the ACV. I normally do not eat vinegar because this seems to happen when I do…SO…I’m thinking lemon juice – which I tolerate just fine – would be an okay substitute…am I correct there?

    I appreciate the “chemistry” behind PHD…seems to be working well for me.

  17. I guess many of you have dogs. All store-bought dog food is full of cereals and gluten. If these are bad for humans, I figure out they must be terrible for dogs. Could Paul or anyone corroborate this? Is my logic correct? Should I feed my dogs home-made food? Thanks a lot!

    • I feed my dog and my cats only grain free food. It is widely available these days. I am lucky in that we have an independently owned pet supply store in town that has primarily grain free food that is top quality. If you do a Google search you will find the names of many quality companies that are now making grain free pet foods.

      • Also…. you won’t find them in regular supermarkets/grocery stores. But they are available at independent stores and online.

    • I can’t speak for Paul, but I agree, cereal in dog food and cat food is just awful. I make my cat a homemade raw recipe, and it is easy. You can make raw or cooked, but you need to include all the nutrients they need, so you need a good recipe. Otherwise, they will be lacking in some important nutrients, which will make them sick over time. I don’t know the best recipe for dogs, but I got my cat recipe here http://www.catinfo.org/ and I even consulted with the vet on the phone for the best formulation for my cat’s health issues. Well worth it to me.

      • I recommend Primal Pet Foods frozen raw food, it’s 90 percent meat and has coconut oil and vegetables too, no grains

  18. Thanks a lot Susan!

  19. I feed my four felines Orijens kibble and no grain wet food…I’d love to convert their little kitty bones to raw wet but they are less than impressed.

    • Lynda, how old are your cats? It takes perseverance, it took about a month of adding little bits of raw chicken and mince to her regular kibble to convert my 9 year old and now she eats raw wet, bones and all no problem. By contrast, when I gave my new 3 month old kitten, she ate a chicken drumstick no problem at all.

      • It’s daunting Tracy – I have two older (10 and 15) and two younger 2 years. I just have to figure out the best raw to give them little by little in their kibble. What do you do for vitamins? There are several raw products in the freezer of my pet store…I might try those first because I figure they put the nutrients in there…I said daunting, right…very picky clowder of cats my clowder – I’m very will to try. Thanks.

  20. For dog food, another option is grain free Honest Kitchen. It ain’t great on its own (IMO) but it makes nice cookies, mixed with meat. There are recipes on their website.

    My dogs eat homemade diets with meat, fish, potatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, etc and a little bit of veg and fruit (remember that they are carnivores, but they also eat some fruits/berries, grasses, etc when necessary in the wild) and then I supplement it by mixing in Honest Kitchen sometimes. HK also helps increase the calories which is a challenge on a dog’s whole food diet.

    This is a very expensive way to feed your dogs, but in my case, I have no kids, and they are it. So they eat as well as I do.

    I have read that Kabocha squash is toxic for dogs. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but to be safe, I use other varieties.

    Unless you’re feeding raw food, when you switch from a dry kibble to whole food you’ll need to clean their teeth more often (I descaled them myself, or a damp wash cloth works great if you do it daily).

  21. After reading the PHD, I’ve changed my diet to one that is closer to the PHD, but a bit higher in carbs and protein as I am an athlete. Specifically, my macro ratio is about 35% fat, 45% carbs and 20% protein. Previously, my diet was about 70% carbs, 10% fat and 20% protein. The fats I’m consuming are mostly saturated and monounsaturated (more saturated than monounsaturated). The amount of omega 6 polyunsaturated fats I’m consuming is very low.
    One would assume that the recent change in my diet is moving in the right direction and that I would be noticing improvements in the way I’ve been feeling over the last few months. However, what I have noticed is a dramatic increase in inflammation. I have far more aches and pains than I did before the dietary change. I suspect that the reason for this is the increase in animal derived saturated fat, which has been shown the increase inflammation in many people who suffer from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. I’m now consuming about 3/4 cup of animal fat (from grass fed animals) every day, which is a dramatic increase from what I ate previously.
    I’m curious to know if my reaction is common and if it will likely improve or stay the same? My original intention was to increase my fat consumption even further and lower my carb intake over the next few months, but I’m afraid that if I do this it may leave me in even more pain.
    Please advise.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Duncan,

      Try to get more of your fat from natural whole foods, such as egg yolks, avocados, nuts, and whole milk, rather than beef fat which lacks micronutrients. Also, work on your micronutrient intake, especially extracellular matrix and vitamin A/D/C.

      The inflammation is due to oils and bile carrying microbial cell wall components, which are highly inflammatory, into the body.The solution is better nutrition in order to improve the gut barrier and reshape the gut microbiome.

      Best, Paul

    • Hi Duncan,

      What is your approximate volume of training?

      I ask because it’s possible you made an arithmetic mistake when calculating your macro ratios — unless you’re eating at least ~5000 calories per day (which is certainly possible with sufficiently high volume of training), and obtaining protein from lean meats, you couldn’t eat 3/4 cup of animal fat (which provides ~1400 fat calories by itself) while getting only 35% of calories from fat.

      Best,
      -Eric

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your reply.
        I’ve recently been having pain right over where the gallbladder is situated. I think it must be working very hard to digest all the extra fat I’ve been eating.
        I will cut right down on the beef fat. I was actually buying macrobiotic beef fat from grass fed animals and then melting it down and adding copious amounts to my food. The main reason I was doing this was to increase testosterone levels, as I’ve read that diets high in saturated fat increase testosterone. Whether or not it worked for this purpose doesn’t really matter now because it was causing me too much inflammation to continue eating it.
        I also suspected that the cause of my inflammation may have been due to lactose intolerance, so I cut out dairy for 10 days. This didn’t have any effect, so it’s likely that all the beef fat was the culprit.
        Question – how do I know the health status of my gut flora? Is there some kind of blood test or other test the doctor can order to determine the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut?
        Thanks.

        • Hi Eric,

          Yes I did make an error there. Thanks for pointing that out.
          I’m doing about 2 -2 1/2 hours of exercise 5 days per week, consisting of sprinting and heavy weight training. My total calorie intake is about 3500 calories.

          • Given the amount and type of exercise I’m doing (high intensity sprint and power training), do you think staying at 45% carbs would be a good idea, or should I lower it?
            Thanks.

          • Duncan – my question to you is…. and I ask this with all due respect…. why are you exercising at such a high intensity? Do you do tri-athalons? Training for the Olympics or other competition?

            If you read at Mark Sisson’s website, Marks Daily Apple, about exercise he fully explains what type of exercise and what duration is good for most people. He wrote the foreword to PHD and he is a former marathoner and/or tri-athlete. He argues against the amount of exercise that you are doing.

          • Here’s the link to Mark’s website: http://www.marksdailyapple.com and it looks like if you sign up for his free newsletter/emails you get a free copy of his e-book “Primal Functional Fitness.” He is the Primal/Paleo guru and… as I said… wrote the foreword to PHD.

          • Susan B – I hope this comment connects with your Mark Sisson ref. Duncan I agree with Susan B.! Mark Sisson’s book, Primal Blueprint lays out a very cave guy type exercise plan. I’ve been doing a modified version for years. Mark is an athlete gone Paleo – you’ll like his stuff I bet…:0

        • Good stool tests to show gut bacteria would be by Biohealth labs or Doctor’s Data (according to functional medicine practioners). The Genova Diagnostics (formerly Metametrix) good too. None are perfect and practitioners have their favourites.

          • SusanB, I’m training for the 100m and 200m dash. I’m only doing about half the amount of training that most Olympic sprinters do.
            Back to my original question, do you think my macro ratio of 45% carbs, 35% fat and 20% protein would be about right for me, or should I lower the carbs? Most sprinters actually consume a lot more carbs and do just fine.

          • Duncan – I can’t help you with that question. Hopefully, Paul will comment….

          • Hi Duncan,

            Sprinting definitely increases carbohydrate needs, so ~45% carbs sounds fairly reasonable to me. If you want a more precise answer, you’ll need to give more information on your workout intensity (e.g. how many minutes are spent at which %VO2max (alternatively at which %HRmax)).

            Also, you might try eating slightly less protein (for example 17% instead of 20% — note that regular PHD recommends 15%).

            Best,
            -Eric

        • Huh?… Macrobiotic beef fat???? Macrobiotics is vegan! No animal foods. That is the essence of macrobiotics. Where did you get this stuff? Am really curious cause it is either some kind of faux beef fat or not macrobiotic

          • My mistake, it is bio-dynamic beef fat suet. I bought it in 1kg frozen bags from my organic butcher.

  22. Paul – I just came across this article about tapioca from a 2009 study in India on goitergens. I suspect you came across it or a like study in your PHD travels and would love some input. I am just wondering if the same goitergen components might be in unbound raw potato starch as well – I have noticed a swelling of my left thyroid gland since I started RS starch 2 weeks ago. I’m going to stop for a few days (keep up the sweet potato) and see if that helps. I know you are busy and I get it that you may not have time to check this article out…so many articles so little time…I am not wanting to distract here believe me…just wondering:

    http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/56687-goitrogenic-compounds-in-tapioca-and-other-foods/

    • Hi Lynda, I don’t recommend taking raw potato starch / resistant starch as a supplement. Natural whole foods are much better for the gut and your health. If the RS is causing trouble I would suspect a dysbiosis of the lower small intestine that the RS is flaring. Natural whole foods are digested over the whole length of the intestine and will not flare a specific microbial community as RS can do.

      I doubt goitrogens in tapioca are the cause of the problem, but you can try removing tapioca for a while and see if things improve.

      Best, Paul

      • Oh so good to know about not taking potato starch in addition to food starches. Thanks for your time. So noted. 🙂 And just to be clear I’m not taking tapioca in any form but was merely curious about your thoughts on the related goitergen research. No need to respond. I do not have thyroid issues so was surprised when my left side thyroid gland flared and was trying to make a connection. Thanks again for your time…:)

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