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 ?

3,645 Comments.

  1. Two weeks in…added rice and potatoes back into my diet…I feel no different other than constipation + weight gain. Chronic fatigue has not changed.

    • I guess nobody has any suggestions or is willing to troubleshoot. ❓

    • Hi Rick

      I’m someone who’s suffered with many of the symptoms of chronic fatigue for years. I’m not a scientist, not even an expert, but I am a PHDer 🙂 Here’s a few points to consider:

      This diet isn’t necessarily going to cure all diseases. Some people have reported major improvements or cures on the diet alone, as you might see in the testimonials, but in many cases it’s just a very valuable first step.

      If you haven’t already, give the diet a good few months. I’d imagine the likelihood of noticeable improvements increases the more your current diet differs from the PHD.

      Paul has posts on constipation and has recommended antioxidants for this. I assume his advice hasn’t changed so optimising zinc, selenium and vitamin C may help. Are you also eating liver, fermented foods and bone broth? Bone broth’s the best thing about PHD! So tasty – and I find it has helped gut symptoms, often immediately!

      Also optimise the other supplements as per advice on supplements page – vitamin D, vitamin K, iodine and magnesium.

      Hypothyroidism can constipation as well as fatigue.

      Finally, chronic fatigue has been linked to chronic infections. Once you’ve optimised diet and (as far as possible) gut function, you might want to pursue that as a possibility. There are posts here about chronic bacterial infections.

      Have you also read the Jaminet’s advice on circadian rhythms?

      • That should be “Jaminets’ advice” 😊

        In addition, if you’ve been on a very low carb diet, you might want to go slowly with adding in starch to your diet as your body (and possibly gut bacteria) adjust.

    • What was your diet before? What is it now? Also, 2 weeks is not a very long time.

  2. Hi Paul- Do you believe the COVID vaccines are safe to receive? Thanks.

    • Hi TR,

      If by safe you mean without their own direct negative effects and without a risk of enhancing the severity of COVID, no, I don’t believe the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines are safe. There is an immediate risk (peaking about 2 weeks after each injection) of an immune attack on the vasculature or hematopoietic cells of the bone marrow, and a delayed risk of antibody-dependent enhancement of the inflammatory response to later COVID infection which could exacerbate the disease.

      Whether getting vaccinated is better than not being vaccinated is an open question for which we need more data, but the vaccines are certainly not without risk, and the risk from the vaccines could outweigh a risk reduction from the disease.

      The traditional inactivated virus vaccines that China is using on its population are much less risky in my view, though also not completely without risk.

      Best, Paul

      • THANK YOU PAUL!!!! A recent post on the vaccines by Anthony Colpo gave me pause and I was very interested on your take. THANK YOU.

      • Hi Paul
        If these vaccines carried a risk of illness as high as, or higher than, that caused by the virus itself, wouldn’t the statistics be showing noticeable levels of hospitalisations of vaccinated people by now, especially in countries such as Israel which have vaccinated a significant proportion of their population? Or might this take longer to show up in the stats?

        • Hi Harry,

          I think we should have an idea within the next few months of how dangerous the vaccine-specific post-injection effects are.

          Then, it will take some time to compare death rates from COVID among vaccinated vs unvaccinated.

          I think by the end of the winter we should know or have a good idea.

          Best, Paul

          • Hi Paul

            It’s early days still but this article on UK vaccination data suggests the vaccines might indeed be safer than taking your chances with the virus:
            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56153617

            The researchers have come up with a figure of 75% reduction in risk of hospitalisation and death. (We’re currently using the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines here in the UK and more than 25% of the population has had the first dose of a vaccine).

            I really don’t know how to square this with Anthony Colpo’s enlightening articles about the poor testing of these vaccines (and of the US CDC’s and Public Health England’s conflicts of interest…)

          • Hi Paul,

            I wanted to circle back on this comment since it’s been some time and vaccine rollouts are moving along swiftly with a large number of people already vaccinated.

            Do you still feel the mRNA vaccines are not safe?

  3. Hi! I am going to start this diet soon. I want to know how my current morning juice may fit in. Each morning I juice 1 brocolli stalk and florets, 1 zuchinni, 1 golden beet, 4 sheets of kale, a knob of ginger and turmeric, 4 carrots, and 1 cucumber. Each day it comes out to more or less 24oz. What requirements does this fulfill for the daily diet you recommend?

    Also, are chia seeds ok?

    • Hi Eric,

      Juicing is fine, though eating the vegetables would be even better. Eating that many vegetables is certainly not a requirement — you don’t need that much — but I doubt there is harm in it.

      Best, Paul

  4. Hi! Are all the brands of vitamins you recommend equal quality? I see there are some differences in price and want to make sure I’m not putting toxic manufactured vitamins in me.

  5. Hi Paul,

    I was more asking, can those ingredients in my juice count towards my daily vegetable requirements, even though I’m fore-going the fiber?

    THANK YOU
    Eric Blitzer

  6. Hi Paul,

    For the oil consumption, if I cook the oil, does that count? Does some of it evaporate/get left on the pain?

    BEst,
    Eric

    • I believe Paul recommends using saturated or monounsaturated oils for cooking (coconut fat, duck fat, olive oil, palm oil…) and using the leftover oil left in the pan, where some fat-soluble vitamins may have remained, to make sauces to accompany the food. In any case, oil should not be abused as a source of calories, because the PHD recommends whole foods, not refined sources.

      Oil does not evaporate, it is burned. If you see smoke, it is a bad sign that the oil is being damaged. Although damage can also appear in the oil even if you do not see smoke, as it happens in sunflower oil (which apparently has a high smoke point, but at low temperature cooking it already creates harmful cancerous substances). That is why using saturated or monounsaturated oil helps, since polyunsaturated fats, besides being harmful per se when too much is taken, are very prone to go rancid and get damaged by heat and oxygen.

      Another thing that I think Paul recommends is that, if you cook for example a chicken or industrial pork, do not eat the fat that it releases, because it is polyunsaturated and when it is directly exposed to heat it is more easily damaged than if it remained in the matrix of the food. But fat released from other meat such as duck, or ruminant meat, is fine because it is low in polyunsaturated fat.

      Finally, if you cook something for many hours, such as a bone broth (which some people cook for a whole day), the fat that remains on top is best removed when the pot cools down. This is because when exposed to heat and in contact with oxygen, they will most likely be damaged.

      Hope that helps. The book is a terrific source of good information, I recommend you get it!

  7. Hi Paul! Thank you for everything you do. Do you have any insight into Erythromelalgia? It’s a neurovascular disorder that I have, after living in toxic mold. Fermented foods (even quercetin) elicit flares, while probiotics and yogurt do not. I’d love to heal with Perfect Diet foods like Bone Broth one day! Thank you so much.

  8. Hi Paul! Do you have any recommendations for Becherev’s disease? I have a friend in the early 30s who suffers from this, with great pain in the knees and back, and it is getting worse. People are saying that starches should be avoided for this diagnose – do you believe that also includes “safe starches”?

    Greetings
    Martin

  9. Hi Paul, thanks for everything – your work is helping me manage my girlfriends CFS/ME!

    Do you have any thoughts on https://www.truniagen.com/

    It’s a Nicotinamide Riboside supplement that claims to increase NAD+ levels, thus improving energy creation and fighting aging – strong claims!

    I know that you’re against Niacin, but they claim that this doesn’t have the negative affects that Niacin can.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this?

    Thanks so much!
    Ben

    PS If you have any other guidance on CFS/ME, I’d love to hear it too!!

  10. I read that storing potatoes in the fridge allows enzymes to convert the starches to sugars. If one prepared potatoes this way, would it affect PHD’s starch recommendation?

    • If you store potatoes in the fridge before cooking them, yes, it does affect PHD’s recommendations on proportions of nutrients, since now the potatoes have some sugar, and less starch. But I don’t know how much starch will be transformed, and at what rate it will happen.

      Anyway, even if not a lot of starch is converted, it can be a problem, because sugar can react during cooking to create nocive substances. If you cook potatoes that have been stored in the fridge, you will see they turn black.

      So, if you want to store the potatoes in the fridge for some reason, it’s better if cut them into pieces and blanch them. This way the enzyme will be deactivated. This is what is done in the industry with potatoes sold frozen, and with other vegetables as well.

      Now, the other situation is: you store the potatoes correctly, then cook them, and then you store them in the fridge, it’s perfectly OK and healthy. The enzymes will be destroyed, so the starch won’t become sugar now. Instead, a part of the starch will change its structure in the cold, to become resistant starch, which is a kind of fiber very encouraged by PHD’s recommendations.

      You won’t have to eat the potatoes cold, since you can reheat them gently and the resistant starch will stay there.

  11. Hey folks, another potato question. In the book, white potatoes are the specific type that is advocated. Why is this type advocated in place of other varieties?

    • I don’t think white potatoes are singled out in the perfect health Diet. My sense is that the general category is underground starches. This includes all potatoes in the near neighbors such as yams and sweet potatoes of many varieties. The essence of the category is that the food digest digests largely to glucose. Rice is an obvious exception to the underground aspect but still qualifies as safe starch in that when cooked is largely toxin free primarily because the toxins are removed in milling. Sweet potatoes have more fructose than white potatoes and so are somewhat closer to the sweet plant category. In the book you will see that suggested combinations of safe starches are suggested in a table as an example to help you understand the balancing act. My sense is that diversity is good and that eating a variety of safe starches including white potatoes red potatoes yeah arms sweet potatoes is encouraged. As well as rice.

  12. Hello Paul
    i’m interested in your book and i’m going to purchase. you are not advocating a fad diet like so many others (no this, no that)but wholesome nutritious food which is refreshing for a change.
    I took a heavy course of antibiotics last year and since then my health has been bad. for the first time ever i have eczema on my hands and neck and i suffer from rosacea and very sensitive skin after cleansing with lukewarm water and mild soap. i now have constipation which i never had before as well as other immunity issues (urinary infection a few months back, swollen eyelids)…can i please ask why do you say no oats? i have to eat oats every day otherwise i won’t go….please what would you recommend?
    Sarah

    • While you are waiting to see if Paul responds (they are busy trying to cure cancer!), I will say what I can to help as much as possible:

      1) use the search box at the top right of the website page and search on:
      oat

      This will give you a large list of links containing discussions about oats. Very useful really as you can read everything the community has said about anything specific over more than 10 years. Can be super informative and is directly accessible to you now.

      The reason oats are frowned upon in PHD is the toxins they contain that are not destroyed by cooking. All grains, except white rice, are in this category and while some may be worse than others (modern wheat seems to be the worst by far) the others are also deprecated because in general the seeds of grasses were under severe evolutionary pressure from grass eating herbivores to protect their “babies” (seeds) from predation.

      If memory serves, I may have read Paul saying that perhaps oats are the least problematic of the grains, but still best avoided strictly.

      Camps of thinking that are more accepting of grains talk about soaking and long cooking or pressure cooking as means of detoxifying but if I have Paul’s view right, he considers the risk to be significant, even if reduced by these measures.

      I like to eat steamed and then cooled potatoes, chopped and then warned in coconut oil as my staple safe starch, although I get the sense diversity is good and so I also enjoy yams and sweet potatoes and rice, always with fat (mostly coconut oil, or tallow, or coconut milk). Be guided by your taste. Experiment adding healthy fats until you find the ratios that are the most delicious.

      Have you tried the basic pillars of the diet? A plate divided into four quarters, with near equal quantities of 1) safe starch; 2)meat, fish, eggs; 3)sweet plants (like beets, carrots, berries and fruit; 4) low cal veg (like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, mushroom, onions) with enough healthy fat to Make everything as delicious as possible?

      For most people the recommendations end up with about 3 pounds of plant matter a day. I suspect that should do the work that oats were doing for you.

    • Let me also add, fermented vegetables might also play a key role in your getting better, if the problems is related to your antibiotic use disrupting your gut bacteria. I’m lucky to have a local store owned by a Korean family and one of the sisters has a kimchi business and so it is easy for me to buy delicious real kimchi (almost like homemade but easier. Can you find something similar? Also look for Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut in the refrigerated dairy section. They make live culture pickles. You can also easily make your own. Search kimchi or fermented veg.

      a little bit of fermented food with each meal seems to be a good idea.

      • Hello Randy, thank you so much for your reply, it is most informative. I have been buying supermarket sauerkraut and a few days ago i made my own for 1st time with purple cabbage. i have put it in the fridge and in a week’s time it will be ready to eat. If any good and i feel brave I might try my own kimchi : ) thank you.

        • Hi Sarh, glad I was able to help.
          Unless I’m misreading you, it sounds like you are trying to do the fermentation in the refrigerator. I think the fermentation needs to happen at room temperature and in the dark for a few days (3-7). I do mine in a cupboard, sitting on a plate to catch any overflow as it starts bubbling. If it is fermenting you will see bubbles forming. Once it gets to a point where it small pleasantly sour the you can refrigerate to keep it from progressing further. Search the site for fermented vegetables for more guidance.

          Good luck!

    • Sarh, I was in a similar situation. I’ve been taking herbal anti fungals (rotating every 4 weeks), probiotics specially for gut health, and a diet that is similar to PHD. I’m doing so much better! No constipation, skin is significantly improved. I hope you feel better.

  13. Hi Paul,

    With regards to the safety of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, what red flags might you be looking out for in the coming weeks/months?

  14. What about eggs? 🙄 ❓

    • 3 yolks per day, ideally gently cooked, from pastured chickens if at all possible.
      You can discard the whites to keep protein down and avoid issues many have with the whites, or you can eat the whites, which should always be cooked.

      Yolks are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I think Paul suggests 5 yolks to those who are pregnant or wishing to be.

      The reason for limiting to three for most is the relatively high omega-6 content.
      I religiously eat 3 yolks per day, from commercially pastured chickens, and am still able to keep to the low side of the omega-6 optimum, even with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (which is also one of the higher omega-6 foods in my diet).

      Eggs are an excellent source of choline, which most Americans are seriously deficient in, as well as a wealth of other nutrients.

  15. Hi Paul,
    really hope you’re able to comment on this. I’ve been seeing a functional medicine nutritionist for issues related ot fatigue, brian fog, concentration/memory issues, skin issues etc. I’ve had a copper deficinecy and apparently also iron levels that were too high.
    I’ve been vegetarian and vegan in the past, plus paleo and keto.

    Through the Great Plains Organic Acid Test my nutritionist also says that I have an issue with oxalate toxicity so I’m on a low oxalate diet. And I have a somewhat mild yeast/SIBO issue too.

    But I always find myself very convinced by your PHD and I want to try to eat safe starches. However when I eat white rice, the low oxalate safe starch, I tend to feel almost like I’ve drank some alcohol (which I don’t do). I’m considering trying just white potatoes but these are high oxalate.

    I’m wondering what you make of oxalates as an issue, and why you think I’m having this reaction to white rice?

    Many thanks

  16. Lukas Mizerovsky

    Hey Paul 🙂

    Do you have any opinions on covid vaccinations?

    Kind regards 🙂

    Lukas

  17. I don’t think 75 g is enough protein, and you can lose muscle depending on how big you are. .7 times your weight seems about right.

  18. Hi Paul or anybody willing to answer. I recently got the PHD book and appreciate that its focused on micronutrients not just macronutrients however I am having trouble actually balancing my macronutrient ratios. My daily calorie intake is 1600kcal and im trying to achieve a 80gcarb(20%)/60gprotein(15%)/115gfat(65%)

    Currently I have 250g of either meat or fish a day however I noticed that its easy to reach protein and carbs daily intake however fat is always lacking. How can i incorporate more fat into my diet without overloading protein as meat generally uses up my daily protein intake.

    I use butter, avocado and double cream which i feel like im having too much of sometimes(125g). Is this okay? what are other foods for me to incorporate to allow me to intake more fat and how much protein is do you think should be the limit?

    Kind Regards,
    Jordan

    • Hi Jordan,

      1600 calories is a reduced calorie intake which is not recommended over long periods of time. If you are going to restrict calories to accelerate weight loss — note calorie restriction is not necessary for weight loss, but can accelerate it — you generally want to keep protein and carbs at normal PHD levels (600 calories carbs / 300 calories protein for a reference half-man half-woman, for a typical man that would be more like 720 calories carbs / 360 calories protein, for a petite woman closer to 500 calories carbs / 240 calories protein). Fat is adjustable because fat is how calories are stored in the body and if you have excess adipose tissue you shouldn’t need to eat any particular amount of fat. So I wouldn’t worry about how much fat you eat. Just use butter or coconut milk to flavor food to taste, eat a few egg yolks daily for nutrition, and stop there.

      If you are not trying to lose weight, you should eat more.

      Best, Paul

  19. Paul,
    Are your macronutrient recommendations the same for people who are 65 and older as they are for those who are younger? Or should those who are older be eating more protein relative to carbs and fat? If so, how much protein do you recommend? And how much of carbs and fat? Thank you.
    Mary

  20. I assume it still might be worthwhile to restrict pro and carbs to less than 720 calories/ 360 calories for longevity purposes?

    Thanks,
    Nate

  21. Hi,

    Does anybody have an updated opinion on Millet?

    It’s a grain, and as Paul said, “Millet is a grain and so it is guilty until proven innocent. Grains in general are very rich in toxins, so odds are millet is no exception.”

    However, it was curious to me to discover that Dr. Gundry does recommend Millet. He’s against a lot of foods with lectins, even some that everybody usually see as safe, such as squads. So it’s surprising that he says that millet indeed is safe: https://gundrymd.com/millet-lectin-free-carb/

    He seem to gain this knowledge in part by having their patients test different foods with or without pressure cooking, so he says that pressure cooking can deactivate lectins e.g. in legumes, nightshades, etc., but not in wheat products.

    So does anybody here have experience with Millet? Either personal experience or having read studies on it.

    Thanks,
    Héctor

  22. I am just starting the Perfect Health Diet, but would like to know how best to measure the “1 lb Sweet Plants, 1 lb Safe Starches, and 1 lb Vegetables” per day. Do I have to buy a scale? Are the recommended weights raw or cooked? Is there a way to say how many cups of these equal 1 lb / day? I am excited and eager to begin this healthy diet to be able to lose weight long term and follow a healthy eating plan for life. Any suggestions on this is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Tawny,

      You don’t need a scale. Weights of natural whole foods are all around 1 g/ml so just make the volumes of sweet plants, starches, vegetables, and meat on your plate approximately equal, and then eat to appetite, and you’ll be fine.

      Best, Paul

  23. Hi, please can you let me know if organic oat milk is safe?

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