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 ?

3,407 Comments.

  1. Izaskun Azurmendi

    Hello From Spain!!
    I have read the book through some Australian friends. I have doubts about fasting adn some other things :smileWhere can I write to explain more about them? A friend has high potasium and cholesterol (familiar problem). What is the best she can do? Very interesting your book and work!!! 🙂 Thank you

  2. Paul,
    Talking with Alex leaf on the FB page, he believes and his wrote about, high fat with carbs causing insulin and glucose problems. He sited and wrote about studies showing over 15 grams fat with starch causing big issues. What is your take on this issue?? The studies looked true and was not hyper caloric. In fact a meal with 40+ fat and starch was very damaging in the text.

    • Paul,
      Does this issue matter👆👆? PHD meals for me adds up to 190 carbs and around 140 to 150 fat…Alex shows this causes insulin resistance even when not in caloric excess..

      • Hi Keven, I don’t know what the studies are, maybe you could link the thread you referred to. But transient insulin resistance in response to large meals is normal and not a matter for concern.

        Best, Paul

          • Melancholy Aeon

            I think Paul many people conceive of it as “normal healthy people have no insulin resistance ever” & “pre-diabetes & diabetic people have insulin resistance all the time.” It’s not well understood that it’s normal human physiology to have transient temporary insulin resistance after meals as a metabolic brake. It’s one of body’s many protective mechanisms. There are a lot of these false dichotomies in the common internet Paleo “wisdom.” Would you agree?

          • That would certainly be a big mistake, I don’t know how many people in the Paleo world would make that mistake.

            The bigger issue here is that macronutrients are toxins, insulin is not. So in a healthy person there’s no reason to be alarmed by transiently high levels of insulin or insulin resistance, it just means you ate a lot of food and your body is directing it to the safest places. Glucose enters the brain across a concentration gradient, hyperglycemia in the blood leads to toxicity to neurons, so hyperglycemia is potentially toxic; high insulin is not if it is physiological.

            Maybe in diabetics there is an issue with combining fat and starch, but in healthy people, it’s likely to be beneficial.

  3. Awesome! I’m learning a lot of things. Congratulations!

  4. Paul,
    Do you think spikes in blood sugar 140 to 150 then back is safe for longevity. I have been keto but looking to return PHD just can not get past this blood sugar spike

    • Hi Keven,

      That’s within the normal range for postprandial response, so I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize that as a spike. On low-carb you’re almost certain to go into that range after eating some carbs, because you’ll be naturally insulin resistant. The way to lower that number is to eat more carbs, more regularly. But I’m not convinced you need to lower the number. You may be worrying overmuch about a trivial concern.

      Best, Paul

    • Melancholy Aeon

      Hi Keven:

      I hear ya. Keto seems like a box you can’t get out of safely, once you find out it doesn’t work for you. Just as it takes time to adapt to keto, it takes a while to adapt back. I had to add starchy veggies back very slowly week by week. It took me about 12 weeks honestly to get back to PHD real food. You may just be going too fast for yourself at the moment. Good luck! 😀 😀

      • Melanchloy,
        Its a hard cycle to enter and exit from. My problem in full ketosis I improve in just about every area of my life, but my latest cardiovascular markers came back so messed up I had to rethink everything. Going for a cac test tomorrow, hope to find its just ketosis that has markers so far off..

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