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 ?

3,408 Comments.

  1. Paul,

    I eat very well and get all of the nutrients, but I will get looked at for another underlying problem. I was supplementing up until a month ago when I ran out, so I was surprised to see it that low.

    I appreciate your response and definitely will contact my doctor for further investigation.

    Amy

  2. Paul, do you still eat red meat?? Just a question, since the last article on red meat.

  3. Why is white rice preferred to brown rice?

    • My understanding is that the brown part of the rice contains toxins. The white rice is eaten as it is toxin free and eaten for the starch/carbs/glucose.

    • It is because all of this backlash of the Macrobiotic School –
      everyone else is trying to make their own name even though
      top health has already been proven by macrobiotics.

  4. I have a question…in light of the beef/hashimotos thing, should one also avoid protein powder made from beef too? I think the answer would be yes but I want to be sure because if so Im giving mine away and will be having omelettes from now on! Please answer even if just a yes or no! Thank you!!

    • Hi Nancy, I would avoid protein powders of all kinds, it is better to eat natural whole foods (meat or fish) than purified calories. However, I think a purified protein powder should not have the sialic acids that are the problem for Hashi’s. Check the label to find the source and how it was purified.

  5. What is the problem with egg whites?

    • Eggs are a common allergen and many believe that the white is actually more of the problem than the yolk. Some other people find either the white or any part of the egg hard to digest or that they cause other unwanted symptoms, thus more of a food intolerance or sensitivity. Then others of us seem to have no issues with any part of the egg. Also, as I understand it, eggs and especially whites can be problematic for certain health conditions, including the autoimmune disease spectrum.
      I fall into the “no issues” category as best that I can tell. But like several PHDers (and I believe the Jaminets are in this group too?), I have begun to eliminate egg whites as more of a precaution than anything else, i.e. as a guard against developing intolerance or autoimmune disease. I think this is largely because in PHD we eat at least 3 egg yolks per day, and if you’re eating whole eggs instead, then over time, that is a LOT of egg whites. Also, nearly all of the nutrition is in the yolk. The yolk is the nutrition for the unfertilized egg (i.e., it would feed the chick if it were fertilized) so it contains all the good stuff.
      So for some of us, we avoid whites out of necessity, and for others it’s more of a precautionary and voluntary elimination or reduction of them.
      In my case, I don’t avoid them like the plague, rather I’ve just begun reducing them. Some days I eat 1 whole and 2 yolks, some days only yolks and some days the whole eggs. BTW, whites have many other helpful uses. I’ll make honey meringues as a yummy PHD treat (non-PHDers love them too), or you can clarify broth or other things with them (I even know some high-end wine makers who use them to filter wine).

  6. I have psoriasis. Should I avoid eggs?

    • Cathi, don’t know if you’d yet read my reply to your initial question when you asked about psoriasis, but, as you probably know, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Please read this post by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (aka The Paleo Mom). She explains in layman’s terms and also more scientifically why eggs, and egg whites in particular, can be problematic with autoimmune conditions. Like many things though, all of our bodies are slightly different, and often the best test is you YOUR body handles them.

      http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/06/whys-behind-autoimmune-protocol-eggs.html

      I hope that this helps you.

  7. Thanks, Susan,
    The AI Protocol is rigid,that’s for sure. I wonder how or if I should get the recommended carb intake of the PHD. It sounds like I may never eat according to the PHD.

  8. Cathi, many of us have dietary constraints that cause us to modify the PHD, and the Jaminets offer suggestions about subs and supplementary alternatives. Have you read the PHD book? If not, then you should. Re: AIP, as I understand it’s very restrictive initially, but then you slowly reintroduce foods to see what YOUR body can and can’t handle. Not all AI diseases are the same, nor are our bodies.

  9. As a vegetarian, how would I go about substituting the one-half to one pound of recommended meat or fish per day?

    • I second this question. I’m reading the book but there seems to be nothing about doing PHD for vegetarians.

      • Well, for a start I would include properly soaked and pressure cooked lentils, chickpeas, and maybe beans for more plant protein, plus extra egg yolks, fish roe, and supplements; but I would really recommend being at least a pescetarian.

        • Vegetarians can add oysters or other non-sentient bivalves, some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Bivalves (such as clams and oysters) lack a central nervous system, placing them sort of between the plant kingdom and animal kingdom. Depending on your reasons for being vegetarian, they can be an excellent way to fill in some of the nutritional gaps present in plant-only diets.

        • Hi Paul,

          While I am not a vegetarian, I have a number of friends who are; it would also be nice to be able to include legumes in my diet once every week or two for the sake of variety. So I am curious about which legumes are best.

          Here is my thought process:

          * Legume lectins, trypsin inhibitors, and amylase inhibitors are generally heat-liable [1], and so pressure cooking would probably thoroughly inactivate them. (Except for peanut lectin [2], so we should avoid peanuts.)

          * Phytates are inactivated by autolysis during soaking. (And not that worrisome anyways.)

          * Saponins in most legumes are not appreciably degraded by soaking or cooking [3]. Ranking legumes by saponin content, we have: peanuts, mung beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soy, in that order [4].

          * Tannins are present primarily in the seed coat, and so levels are decreased by using hulled legumes [1].

          * Some legumes also have additional toxins which show up only in that legume: e.g. soy has large quantities of isoflavones (other legumes have around 2 orders of magnitude less, which is presumably not problematic), jack beans and sword beans have Canavanine, fava beans have vicine, etc. So we want to avoid such legumes.

          On basis of this, it sounds to me like the best legumes would be hulled lentils (e.g. red lentils), hulled peas (e.g. split peas), and hulled mung beans (e.g. yellow mung beans).

          Yet you mentioned chickpeas and beans (unhulled) before split peas and yellow mung beans.

          So are there other considerations that I am missing?

          Thanks!

          [1] Legumes in human nutrition. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

          [2] Assessment of lectin inactivation by heat and digestion. Pusztai and Grant.

          [3] Effect of Soaking and Cooking on the Saponin Content and Composition of Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) and Lentils (Lens culinaris).

          [4] http://thepaleodiet.com/beans-and-legumes-are-they-paleo/

          • Hi Eric,

            Thanks for doing so much spadework and sharing it with us. I pretty much agree with your conclusions. It is your first group, the digestive inhibitors, fourth group, the skin components, and fifth group that I’m most concerned with. My cooking experience is that the skin of beans is still integral after soaking and pressure cooking, while the skin of lentils seems to dissolve. But I’d agree that getting them hulled first is even better. So your rank order sounds good!

            Best, Paul

          • Hi Paul,

            First of all, just to clarify: Going by saponin content, the best-to-worst ranking would be [yellow mung beans, red lentils, split peas]. But I ordered them as [red lentils, split peas, yellow mung beans] because we have a bit less scientific knowledge of mung beans than of either lentils or split peas (which makes me a bit more cautious).

            If we ignore saponins, then the only toxins that I am aware of which would survive soaking and pressure-cooking are those in the seed coat, plus those in the fifth group. So from that perspective, lentils, peas, cowpeas (the class of legumes including mung beans), chickpeas, and beans (by which I mean genus Phaseolus) would all be equally good — as long as they were hulled, soaked, and then pressure cooked. [In practice this would probably mean beans are less good, since I’ve never seen hulled beans. But you can purchase hulled chickpeas (known as “chana dal”); even though chickpea skins are fairly flimsy, this is still probably better than unhulled chickpeas.]

            However, why do you think saponins are harmless?

            Thanks again,
            Eric

          • Hi Paul,

            To further clarify, I’m not saying we should draw a bright line between [red lentils, split peas, yellow mung beans] and chickpeas on basis saponin content. Certainly, hulled chickpeas (and hulled beans if they exist) should also be added to the list — they have only double or triple the saponin content of, say, lentils; not two or three orders of magnitude more (like soy as compared to other legumes in terms of isoflavone content).

            Rather, the question is whether the list [red lentils, split peas, yellow mung beans, chana dal, hulled-beans-if-they-exist] is in something resembling the order of healthfulness (as opposed to an essentially-random order).

            Best,
            Eric

          • Hi Paul,

            I just wanted to update you with a bit more information:

            First of all, I dug up more precise references [4, 5] for the distribution of tannins in various legumes; in general, they are located in the seed coat as claimed by the FAO report above — but in peas (and also in fava beans which have other problems), they are located in the cotyledon as well. So perhaps split peas should be viewed as less-desirable than I previously thought, on this account.

            In addition to looking at known toxins, there are some other heuristics which might help confirm some of our conclusions.

            We can look at protein digestibility; here is the ranking [1, 2, 3]:

            91% : Lentils (hulled and pressure cooked)
            89% : Mung beans (unhulled and pressure cooked)
            88% : Lentils (unhulled and pressure cooked)
            88% : Mung beans (unhulled and boiled)
            86% : Peas (hulled and pressure cooked)
            85% : Chickpeas (unhulled and pressure cooked)
            83% : Pigeon peas (unhulled and boiled)
            75% : Beans (unhulled and pressure cooked)

            As you can see, it is essentially the same as the previous ranking as by saponin content. And again, beans have something like double or triple the levels of undigested protein as lentils, not two or three orders of magnitude more.

            Yet another heuristic would be to look traditional Indian cooking: The list of commonly-eaten dals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal#Common_varieties) is essentially the same as our extended list above. In particular, none of the legumes identified as having additional toxins (e.g. fava beans, jack beans, soybeans, peanuts) are traditionally-used Indian dals. Convesely, there are only two traditionally-used Indian dals which I didn’t include on the extended list: mungo beans and pigeon peas. I can’t find great information on mungo beans, but they are a quite close relative of the mung bean; so presumably they have a similar toxicity profile. Motivated by this observation, I also did a literature search for pigeon peas, and was also unable to turn up any additional toxins specific to pigeon peas.

            So perhaps we should say that the list of acceptable legumes is the list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal#Common_varieties; with red lentils and yellow mung beans being preferable to the others. What do you think?

            Best,
            Eric

          • Whoops! Forgot to include the list of references:

            [1] Mubarak. Nutritional composition and antinutritional factors of mung bean seeds (Phaseolus aureus) as affected by some home traditional processes. (Available outside sciencedirect.com’s paywall at http://www.parrots.org/pdfs/our_publications/psittascene/2012/extras/sprouting/mung%20bean%20sprouts.pdf)

            [2] http://www.pulsecanada.com/uploads/ff/28/ff280f2f10206d5a53a241ef6e2e2d25/USA_PC_protein_fact_sheet_p6.pdf

            [3] Shah. Nutritional evaluation of pigeon peas (cajanus cajan) and its cooking characteristics.

            [4] Reddy, Pierson, Sathe, and Salunkhe. Dry bean tannins: A review of nutritional implications

            [5] Faris, Takruri, and Issa. Role of lentils (Lens culinaris L.) in human health and nutrition: A review.

          • Thank you Eric. I haven’t read your references but your analysis looks very solid to me.

      • I almost never eat beans, but when I do it’s usually lentils on the theory that they might be the safest(?)
        FYI, there’s a brand that I found at Whole Foods that comes pre-sprouted, and it’s organic:
        TruRoots Accents Sprouted Lentil Trio
        I wonder if using them might cut out the soaking time for times when you’re in a hurry.

    • As a vegetarian – don’t look here – they will attempt to convince you that you are wrong for not wanting to participate in murder.

  10. Why pressure cooked legumes, Paul? I would have thought the longer simmer regular 2-3 hour cooking time would be better. What does a pressure cooker do?

    • I second this question. Pressure cookers scare me.

    • Even with the shorter cooking time, the higher temperatures and pressures are more effective at denaturing proteins and rendering them digestible. They can also break some bonds leading to detoxification.

      erp, try the new electric pressure cookers. Very safe and easy to use.

      • Paul, I’m enjoying the website. I’m not healthy enough to cook for myself currently, so I must look for workarounds. I have no connection whatsoever to the company, but I just searched for pressure-cooked canned beans and found Eden’s claims that:

        “EDEN canned beans are washed and patiently soaked in stainless steel soaking tanks (a very rare step in the bean canning industry). The soaking water is discarded. The soaked beans are steam blanched and rinsed before being pressure-cooked for a specified amount of time depending upon the bean variety. Pressure cooking beans thoroughly inactivates lectins. Traditional fermentation methods (such as those used in making EDEN Miso, Shoyu, and Tamari) also completely eliminate lectins. These beans are also washed, soaked, and cooked prior to being fermented.”

        The can lining for their low-acid foods is an oleoresin enamel, rather than the usual hormone-disruptive plastics. (I’d be more pleased with that if the oleoresin formula were specified. If anybody knows more about it, please respond.)

        –Art

        • Hi Art, they do sound like well prepared beans. Good find!

          • Paul, could you comment on the NutritionFacts.org May 26 & 28, 2015 articles on the health (cancer) benefits of phytates in beans/legumes?

          • Hi Donna, I haven’t seen the articles but the anti-cancer effects of IP6 have been reported for a long time. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=IP6+cancer. That’s one reason I’ve never cited phytate as a reason to avoid foods.

          • OK. I had thought that one of the objections you had to legumes was the phytate content. Wrong?

          • So what foods in the PHD contain these IP-6 / phytate compounds? Thanks.

          • Phytate is found in all plants, it is the plant phosphorus store. See http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-high-phytates-3307.html. It is something we neither seek nor avoid. In whole foods phytate is chelated to minerals so it may not have the same anti-cancer effect as the unchelated IP-6 supplements; but the unchelated IP-6 supplements can induce mineral deficiencies, so they are a risk and best avoided unless you have cancer.

          • the NutritionFacts.org May 26 & 28, 2015 articles on the health (cancer) benefits of phytates in beans/legumes might be of interest to you then (it will take under 5 minutes to watch the 2 brief research videos)- research seems to show great health benefits to the phytates in these foods – so may be quite worth it to eat them fairly regularly – if properly prepared? Or do you have research that shows a downside to this?

        • which of the Eden canned beans and lentils would be the best PHD options…?

          (ignoring the soybeans, which i presume would be the worst of them)

  11. Just putting in a word for Instant Pot. I use mine for so many things with no worry. The keep warm function is an added bonus if you can’t arrange your cooking time to fit your eating schedule.

  12. If you don’t mind, can you tell me what you use it for for PHD? I’ve never had one!

    • What do I use my Instant Pot for?

      Broth, either the pressure cooker setting or the slow cooker setting.

      Steam a bunch of potatoes or make large batch of rice to have both on hand.

      Beans, soups, stews, steamed vegs…the newer ones have a yogurt setting I hear. I keep finding new uses. The fact you can start something in it and not have to watch it or be there to turn it off is very helpful in saving mental energy and in organizing food prep

      • I’ve been looking long and hard at both pressure and slow cookers. I’m more and more convinced that the IP 7 in 1 is the way to go. I love that it’s both a slow and pressure. The Amazon reviews are excellent, Paul and Russ Crandall both love them and I have WAPF friends who use and love them. I also was at a cooking store recently, looking at various models, and spoke with the owner about IPs. He doesn’t sell them, but carries a pressure cooking book by an author who also reps for one of the brands like Fagor or Fissler. He says that she loves and uses IP at home. I think I’m sold!

    • Melancholy Aeon

      Personally I use my restaurant quality Kuhn Rikon Hotel stovetop pressure cooker. They are extremely safe & durable. I’ve had it for 20 years. I made stews, soups, bone broth, rice & risotto in it. You can even use it as a sauteuse!

  13. Hi Paul, I’m glad you seem to have softened your stance on beans and legumes a bit. I think the growing body of evidence indicates that they are probably very healthy (due to their relative nutrient density and especially their effect on gut biome).

    Wouldn’t pressure cooking also degrade the fiber content?

    Best, Palva

    • Yes, but then when it’s refrigerated starch reforms. Cooking at room pressure would degrade resistant starch also.

      • Hi Paul,
        Does the shorter bone broth cooking in a pressure cooker yield the same health benefits in the broth as the long method you recommend (12 hours with acid)?

  14. Thank you! Do you know if the shorter bone broth cooking in the pressure cooker (how long by the way?) yields the same health benefits in the borth as the long method Paul recommends?

    • I’ll be interested in Paul’s response to this question because I’ve read that higher heat/pressure can break down the gelatin, yielding a less nutritious result — I may have read that in Sally Fallon’s (WAPF) book called “Nourishing Broth”. Although I’ve also read that it might be a safer way to go for folks who are histamine intolerant or have autoimmune disease?

      • I just posted the question directly to Paul.

      • Hi Susan,

        Even if the compounds are broken down, they are still nourishing. Think of it as pre-digestion. I’m not aware that pressure cooking reduces histamine formation however.

        • Thanks Paul! Aside from longer cooking time, do you see any downside to using the slow cooker feature on the Instant Pot for broth making, instead of the pressure cook feature? In other words, do you think it’s better (easier to digest, more nutritious, etc) for the gelatin to be more broken down by pressure cooking, or other benefits? I’m specifically trying to boost my collagen intake/production as my facial skin is very sensitive/thin/irritated.

        • If I add vinegar when making bone broth, I get a headache similar to that from monosodium glutamate or other food additives (e.g. hydrolyzed protein). Without acid, I notice no symptoms. This observation is consistent (because acids catalyze hydrolysis), but why does this pre-digestion cause a problem for me? As a side note, I don’t think I’m sensitive to histamine.

          • Griffin, read this podcast transcript by Chris Kresser that talks about this exact issue. Chris is my doctor, but prior to reading this, I’d also been to Mission:Heirloom and spoken with Bobby, one of its owners, about what they’re doing. Their child has Hashimoto’s and falls somewhere on the autism spectrum too as I recall, and was having trouble with bone broth. It was Dr. Reid at UC Berkeley who suggested that they stop adding vinegar, so they did and everything dramatically improved. You can skip down to the heading “Creative Culinary Ideas” and go to the second paragraph…that’s where the dialog about bone broth and vinegar starts.

    • Hi Donna,

      Yes, it does. 50 minutes in the pressure cooker is similar to 3 hours on the stove.

  15. I just ate cold white rice for breakfast with rice vinegar in it. Isn’t that a good way to get resistant starch?

  16. I was looking for a better alternative to rice syrup (trying to scape the arsenic issue)…and I am still confused..I am thinking about yacon syrup (which is NOT the same as tapioca syrup) and am unsure if it would be good or if I should just keep it to my coconut sugar, stevia and honey and try to use it less frequently. Any thoughts?

  17. Anyone know where to find tapioca syrup in UK? I haven’t managed to find it anywhere.

  18. Does anyone have info or feedback on Lucuma. It’s a creamy textured fruit from South America I believe and it is dried and sold in pure, powdered form. I saw it at Whole Foods by Divine Organics. Has anyone researched it or used it?

    • I would be interested in knowinig too. I did buy some lucuma powder to use for a chocolate recipe. It’s not really that sweet, no where near as sweet as honey or even glucose.

  19. What about just using mashed fresh Medjool dates or adding a little hot water to them and pulsing in the FP? Many of the Primal Palate recipes call for this and even some in Slim Palate, instead of honey or sweeteners. I think it works great, as do mashed bananas. I know they’re both high fructose, but as a whole food with some finer, they still seem healthier than processed options. (Of course I do realize that in some recipes it’s preferable to just add sweetness and not liquid or bulk.)

    • Medjool dates are fairly nutrient-poor. So I think it would be more healthful to use a glucose-based sweetener like tapioca syrup or dextrose powder. That said, dates are low in toxins other than fructose, and so would be okay in small quantities (e.g. one or two dates per week). I would also guess that the same conclusion holds for lucuma powder, although I cannot easily find the necessary information on the internet to determine if this is indeed the case.

      Mashed bananas would make a perfectly good sweetener, as they provide a fairly high quantity of nutrition per quantity of fructose. Another “whole-food sweetener” which you could try is mashed sweet potatoes.

  20. Eric thanks, but don’t dates also lend good fiber (not that we’re low in fiber on PHD)?

    • I don’t think fiber content is the most important variable here. But per gram of sugar: Bananas have twice as much fiber as dates, while sweet potatoes have five times as much fiber as dates.

  21. Paul,

    I developed stress and anxiety issues in my early twenties. Several months ago, I started calorie restriction and noticed euphoria, mental clarity, and much better cognitive functioning (My reading comprehension and memory were way better. I also think my second language, Spanish, was coming back to me.) that eliminated my anxiety and improved my sleep quality. I was sleeping about 6 hours a night and felt rested. Some days I would be groggy, but I would be more functional than before I started calorie restriction. I lost too much weight. I’m 6’2″ and went from 175 lbs to 158 in a month. (I also developed an egg white sensitivity that made me indigested, gassy, and eventually have instant diarrhea if I ate egg whites.) I then tried a ketogenic diet with more calories and didn’t notice the same cognitive changes, but I think the calorie restriction permanently lowered my baseline anxiety. About 5 days into the ketogenic diet, I was craving more carbs and felt pretty intense fatigue including in my quadriceps. However, in the afternoon that day, I felt my mood suddenly improve and had greatly improved cognitive function. It felt like getting a second wind which was what I noticed during calorie restriction. That night I got to bed late and was worried about the coming day, so I slept poorly. I’ve been behind on sleep since then and have not been getting much work done. I am a big fan of PHD, and I am wondering if you can tell me if a ketogenic diet of 200 cal/day of safe starch, 400 cal/day animal protein, ~15 tbsp of coconut oil a day, and veggies to taste (mostly lettuce) should be maintained, modified, or discarded to get myself into that state when I feel a second wind?

    • I also do intermittent fasting, eat 3 egg yolks/day, try to eat pickles and sauerkraut routinely, and supplement with NAC, vitamins (B, C, and D), iodine, k2, mg, zn, chromium, vanadium, molybdenum, lithium, and taurine. I have a second question if that is okay. Can you tell me if it is better to eat all my daily starch and protein in one nightly meal rather than spread out over the 8 hour window?

  22. I just tried kimchi for the first time and I loved it!! I’m going to eat that with my cold white rice like a little kimchi salad and get prebiotics and probiotics at the same time! So cool!! Its fun to eat it with chopsticks 🙂

  23. Paul, I have been following the diet for a long while now, and I’m trying to dial in my fats just right. I used to have 4 tbs of butter, egg yokes, and a little cream. I have tapered off on so much butter, now I use maybe 2 or 2&1\2, plus yokes and a little sour cream. Does that sound more proportional to you?? How much butter is about optimal in your opinion?? Just trying to get it all right.

    • Just curious if you had any thoughts on this topic Paul, as I would love to have your input. Also kinda off topic, but have you seen any of the work from 180 degree health website? I just found it today, but it pretty much goes against everything that I have grown to believe in what brings good health.

    • Your new usage is more in line with PHD – we suggest 3 egg yolks + 2 tbsp of oil or butter per day (6 tbsp coconut milk).

      • 3 yolks = about 150 cal, 2 Tbs. butter = 140 cal. Total cal = 290-300 where do we get the other 700 cal. for 50% fat? is it from 1/2-1 lb meat or fish? or is this only for sat. fat? Thank You

        • A pound of meat will typically provide at least 500 calories fat and you can get a bit from plants also (esp if you eat fatty plants like avocado). It might not be exactly 50% fat but it will be close.

          • I usually only eat about 1/2 pound of meat a day, and it’s mainly from fish and seafood such as haddock and such. I am very active, as I cycle on my bike about 10 to 13 miles a day, on top of going to work, I am a manager for a large retail store. I walk many miles a day at job and lift pallet and such. II get about 2000 to 22 hundred calories a day, and somtimes I just do not know if that’s enough?? I eat An avocado a day for the calories (is this a healthy thing to eat everyday??) Paul what is your thoughts on what I can eat to keep up my calories on a daily level??
            Thanks for all your help.

  24. Instant Pot question for Paul and anyone else:
    Does anyone own (or has anyone researched) the new iPot (Bluetooth compatible/programmable) model?
    I’m trying to decide between the 7 in 1 and the brand new Bluetooth model. I’m not a techie, so my mind isn’t wrapped around all of the undoubtedly cool things that the Bluetooth model offers, even though I’ve read the blurb about it on the IP website. I’m an Apple user — iPhone, iPad, iMac — have Bluetooth on my iPhone and both wired and wireless cxns at home.
    So before I hit the order button I’m considering whether it would be a benefit or just useless options that allow more things to break or go wrong.
    Does anyone have insights/experience re: the Bluetooth model? Thanks!!!

  25. I’m confused about wheat & gluten. I just read recently that even a tiny amount of gluten like a bite of bread is just as bad as eating the entire slice as far as gluten is concerned. I also read that from that tiny bite your body can be affected for months afterwards. So am I wasting my time always trying to eat gluten-free when in reality there’s no way I’m “completely” gluten-free? I never intentionally eat wheat, but I do have an occasional beer, and I eat Thai food a lot which may or may not have some gluten in the sauce. I also have soy sauce occasionally. I’ll knowingly eat wheat probably 2 or 3 times a year, because I never thought it was that big of a deal.

    • A tiny bite is most likely not going to have the same effect as a whole slice. If you had celiac disease, a tiny amount can indeed mess you up for months, but a larger amount I’m pretty sure would be worse. For the rest of the population, the less you consume and the less sensitive you are to it, the less big a deal it is. I’d like to hear more opinions on this, though!

    • Hi Steve,

      [Warning: This is all from memory (including the numbers). So you might want to confirm this before relying on it.]

      For non-celiac individuals, the basic mechanism of gluten toxicity is the binding of gliadin (the bioactive part of gluten) to the mammalian chemokine receptor CXCR3. The disassociation constant of this interaction has been measured at 32 micro mol per liter; in human-relevant units, that would be about half a slice of bread per the volume of your small intestine.

      So as far as gluten is concerned, one slice of bread is probably just as bad as five slices; but a tiny bite isn’t as bad as a whole slice.

      However, there are other toxins in wheat besides gluten — and I don’t remember off the top of my head what the critical dose would be for these.

      Best,
      Eric

    • Steve,
      I buy gluten free soy sauce. Many restaurants carry it also, since more people are eating gluten free.
      How do you feel after eating the occasional food with gluten?

      • David, I believe it is the soy itself that is the culprit.

        • erp, culprit of what? Soy or fermented soy? This goes back to Steve’s original question. Are you eating soy sauce @ 5 ounces per year or a gallon per week?

          • I don’t really eat too much soy sauce other than what may be added to the dish. Usually I eat curry, but sometimes a rice noodle stir fry or veggie stir fry like broccoli beef. I don’t remember ever feeling anything from eating wheat. I’ve never noticed a problem eating anything really. I think I’m just going to forget about trying to be super strict with the diet. If there’s some wheat starch mixed in with my vegetable stir fry so be it. And I love popcorn, so I’m going to have some every now & then. I’m tired of thinking about it. So I’m going to try to eat healthy, but not worry about being so strict with it.

          • Steve,
            I’m at the same point as you, where my eating follows PHD most days, but occasionally I have something else. If eating a tiny bit of gluten would affect you for months, I think you’d feel it and if you feel that bad, you should eliminate it completely.

  26. Paul, please how do you get enough choline if one is allergic to eggs – and cannot take inositol which is recommended when one supplements it? And how much choline would one supplement? Thanks very much for this wonderful way of eating. Clodagh

    • Chicken liver is a good food source. Three egg yolks provide about 350 mg of choline; so you would want to supplement about 350 mg of choline to replace the egg yolks. You could also get 350 mg of choline by eating 1/4 pound of chicken liver (about 2 livers).

  27. And is butter better if one tends to have high cholesterol or coconut oil, please? Thanks very much

  28. Can anyone help? I think I may be addicted to milk (UHT). I crave it all the time and I drink between 2 and 3 liters a day. Why is this? Could this be deleterious to my health? A part from this, I follow the PHD since over 2 years ago.

    • I’m curious as well about UHT milk. I work in an area with UHT milk. I use it in coffee.
      Looking in the PHD book, toxins can be introduced by high temperature processing and chemical processing. Which could be the case with regular milk or UHT milk.
      2-3 liters? Have you calculated the carb content? I calculated 60-90 g carbe for that much whole milk, and double that range if it’s non fat milk. So if you are having 3 L of non-fat milk, that’s around 180 g carbs.

  29. Hi Paul,

    I started your diet about a week ago after a diagnosis of what doctors think is probably Irritable Bowl Syndrome with the reaction being constipation rather than diarrhea. My adrenals are also extremely low and I’m exhausted and somewhat dehydrated despite plenty of water and my hair and skin are super dry and losing elasticity. My blood work all comes out fine. Do you have any recommendations of how you might modify the diet for adrenal problems? Would you?

    Just fyi I am now taking the Beltaine, B vitamins, eurethro root, NAC, Lysine and several of the other supplements you recommend.

  30. Hi Paul!

    I’m really amazed by your knowledge! I suffer from Hahimoto, was on low-carb diet and felt terribly. Today I was inspired by your diet enough to eat rice (the first time for ten months) and I felt great!

    I’ve got one serious doubt: are sprouted lentils and other legumes ok? I soak lentils for 24 hours and sprout them for another 36 hours. I feel quite good after eating them. Moreover, they seem to be perfect food with all the vitamins and minerals they contain! My concern is: would it be better to cook them in a pressure cooker after sprouting? Or are they perfectly safe eaten raw?

    • Hi Ola, yes, properly prepared lentils are OK. I do think it’s better to cook them in a pressure cooker. I wouldn’t eat them raw.

      • Thank you for the answer, I really appreciate it! I’ve got one more concern: I think sprouted lentils eaten raw might be a good source of vitamin C, but cooking destroys the mayor part of it. I’ve found some research suggesting that steaming causes less damage to the vitamin C, so probably the best option will be to steam lentils in a pressure cooker, am I wright?

  31. Hi Paul is protein powder shakes ok? Either pea/rice or whey? I would really like to know!

  32. Thank you so much for your answer!! I work out using weights and protein shakes are often recommended but I am going to stop using them now!

  33. There seems to be considerable research supporting the benefits of high quality whey protein, no?

  34. Hi Paul,

    So I started the perfect health diet about 10 days ago I have gained weight and my clothes are tighter! I started it for IBS that shows up as constipation.
    I didn’t eat sugar or white flour before the diet, ate grains only occasionally and only sweetened with stevia (or occasionally splenda — now no more splenda.. I am a 5’6 foot woman, in pretty good shape and about140 lbs.
    The only oils I ate before were olive and a significant amount of flax oil on my salads and occasionally coconut oil.
    On the diet my intake of meats and fats has of course gone way up.But I have been following the diet faithfully. The only starches other than your recommended vegetables and fruit — mostly berries and cherries — has been white rice twice. I have been having 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil a day because it seemed to help the constipation. Could that be the culprit? Or should I cut out all almond butter and nuts? …….Any ideas? Thx!

    • Hi k,

      I don’t understand. We recommend starches at every meal. You should have more starches than meat. We also recommend 2 to 4 tablespoons oil per day total, including cooking oil and salad dressing. But you say you’ve only had starches twice in 10 days?

      I wouldn’t eat a lot of almond butter and nuts, although they’re fine in moderation. I would cut back on coconut oil – make it coconut milk instead – and normalize your starch intake. Check out our food plate.

      Also, do intermittent fasting; get vitamin A (preferably from liver) and vitamin D (preferably from sunshine); practice circadian rhythm entrainment; supplement taurine and vitamin C; get lots of extracellular matrix in your diet from stocks made from bones, joints, tendons, and chicken feet or ox hooves; and include green leafy vegetables, onions, and herbs and spices daily. Also, try to get a few tablespoons of vinegar per day, and at least 3 egg yolks per day.

      Best, Paul

  35. Hi Paul! I really appreciate all the ways you help people. Its great to find a place with so much help and good information! Truthfully I have been afraid to eat starches because I heard they raise insulin and then if you are not insulin sensitive, like if you are menopausal, you can gain fat etc. Anyway I feel good eating safe starches and I think eating less fat is perfect!! I hope I loose 10 pounds and feel great doing it 🙂

  36. Hi Paul,

    Quick question here springing from your recommendation to include vinegar in a recent comment. Do you think that other acids like, let’s say, lemon juice are just as good as vinegar, or is there something to vinegar that makes it particularly valued?

    • Both lemon juice and vinegar are beneficial, but vinegar probably more so, especially if your diet is fiber-poor.

      • Any suggestions for a mold (and therefore vinegar) allergy? Gives me stomach pain (other things are soy sauce, wine, moldy/old cheeses). Or is that something that never goes away?

  37. I have read your book two times so far. Great book.
    I have been on PHD for last 7 months or so. It has done pretty good things for me. Thank you!

    Past weekend, I came across an article in Wall Street Journal (book review section) and the following link shows the article.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/want-great-longevity-and-health-it-takes-a-village-1432304395

    There is a reference to Okinawians (like in your book) among other things. But the diet seems a bit different ( along with grains and bean)
    I was wondering on your take on this this article?

    Thanks
    Kannan

    • Hi Kannan,

      Good to hear you have done well!

      The Okinawan diet has varied significantly with time and circumstances. In the latter stages of World War II and its aftermath, Okinawa was impoverished and the diet shifted to a nearly plant-based diet. Some of the earliest ethnographic studies were done then. Historically, in better times, it had been a higher meat and fat diet, but we don’t have precise data. More recently Okinawans have adopted processed foods and obesity and diabetes rates have skyrocketed.

      But note that the plant foods that Okinawans ate (sweet potatoes) are very low in caloric density. So in the early (post WWII) ethnographic studies Okinawans ate on the order of 10 pounds of plant matter per day. It’s unlikely that this sort of diet was representative of earlier diets. Although it could have been a very healthful (Terry Wahls like) diet and contributor to their longevity, people don’t like to eat so much food and generally won’t do it if animal foods are available.

      Best, Paul

  38. Is edamame off limits with the PHD?

  39. Hi Paul,

    If one is going to supplement selenium, what form is best? Selenocysteine (without methylation) does not seem to be commercially-available; the main choices are selenomethionine or Se-methyl-L-selenocysteine.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  40. Hi Paul, thank you that is helpful.
    I have been eating vegetable starches (leafy greens, onions, sweet potatoes, etc) at least one at every meal — I meant that the rice was the only non-vegetable starch.
    Sounds like I have been consuming too much oil and nuts. I will switch to coconut milk. I haven’t been doing enough eggs or vinegar so I will do that.
    If I’m a bit hypoglycemic how long of a fast do you recommend?
    And a cup of unsweetened greek yogurt is okay a few times a week I am assuming from the food diagram?
    Anyway, thanks so much. Really appreciate the help!

    • Paul doesn’t consider vegetables to be starches – only potatoes or rice.

    • This is what I eat on a daily basis and I feel great thanks to the PHD.

      Each day:

      3 egg yolks

      8 – 10 ounces of beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, poultry

      10 ounces of potato, sweet potato or winter squash and sometimes white rice

      10 ounces of steamed carrots or onions or beets or low fructose fruit

      3 or 4 servings of non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, artichoke, etc.

      2 tablespoons of fat/oil: butter or coconut oil (I don’t do well with olive oil so I don’t use it).

      A spritz of lemon or lime juice for flavor (I can’t eat tomatoes)

      I spread all that out over 3 meals a day in a 10 hour window. In other words, I usually have breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and I am sure to finish my dinner by 6:00 p.m.

      I am a 5’6″ female in my 60s…

      Hope that helps.

  41. Hi Paul I have a question about using flaxseeds to decrease estrogen. I am post menopausal and I have been reading a lot about estrogen dominance and eating flax seeds to get rid of it. I can’t find anything in your book about it. Is it better to just eat a lot of veggies? Im kind of scared of trying sends…

    • Go to healthyimmunity.com Lorna Vanderhaeghe’s website. A Women’s health / nutrition expert. Read about her supplement EstroSmart to correct estrogen dominance.

  42. Hi Paul!

    I haven’t noticed you saying anything about seeds.
    Are they healthful?
    I eat pumpkin seeds regularly.
    Whats your take on them?

    • I believe he has commented on them on the blog or in his book and says they are OK, and probably one of the best (safest) seed choices with some benefits. But I think their overall guideline with all seeds and nuts is moderation.

      I eat pumpkin seeds, but not everyday — and when I do, it’s ~ 1 T sprinkled on top of a salad, and I alternate other nuts or sunflower seeds this way. I have about 6-7 different types of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator and try to change up daily what I consume. (Although most days I also eat 2-3 Brazils for selenium.) In total, I eat ~ 1 oz of seeds or nuts most days, and sometimes up to 2 oz, but that’s about it.

      We all naturally fall into the rut of eating the same foods every day, unless we make a conscious effort to change them up. IMO it’s very important to eat a wide variety of foods from day to day to ensure the right overall balance of nutrients (macro and micro).

      • And as I recall, they are not a fan of flaxseeds, chia seeds, or those types of seeds, partly because of the types of omegas and partly because there aren’t enough studies on their safety. One concern that I continually hear expressed about them (and really all nuts and seeds), and not just by the Jaminets, is the rancidity issue — maybe the biggest factor with pre-ground seed meals.

  43. Thank you, Susan!

    • You’re welcome.

      And BTW, something I recall having read (though I don’t believe it was by the Jaminets) is that pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial for prostate health. In fact, I bought and use them primarily with my husband’s health in mind. For a large man (my hub is 6’2″) to have 1 T of them per day, might be a good thing and doesn’t represent a significant component of his overall food intake as long as overall nutrient density and wide variety is present in the daily diet. For a small woman however, that may not be more difficult, depending on overall calorie limitations,

  44. I found this interesting article about peanuts. What do you think?http://superhumanradio.com/blog/to-peanut-or-not-to-peanut.html

  45. Hello, Paul!

    I would like to ask something.
    I have some dark stripes on my front teeth.
    Do you have any possible cause for that? Could it be a deficiency of calcium?
    I supplement all the recommended nutrients.
    I do not eat dairy, except butter. And I eat broccoli every other day. Is my calcium intake too low?

    Best,
    Andrei

  46. I am craving potato chips!! Just gonna have a tiny bag…

  47. Hi Paul,
    Im really interested in your diet.I lost 15 kgs using Atkins, but i keep getting dry eyes and eyes keep getting red all the time. I was having great success in doing Atkins till now, but i want to try other diets such as yours to keep my weight down. I have tried reintroducing carbs in my diet, my eyes do look ok sometimes so i don’t know if the diet is doing it or not.The eye doctor says the diet has nothing to do with it.But now I’m starting to think that i shouldn’t leave any food group out, any suggestions?

  48. I was reading an interview about gluten with Alessio Fasano, and he states that for most of us, our bodies handle it just fine. Pretty interesting if you care to read it.

    The lowdown on celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and celebrity wheat-bashing: In conversation with Dr Alessio Fasano
    By Elaine WATSON, 29-Jan-2014

    http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/The-lowdown-on-celiac-disease-gluten-sensitivity-and-celebrity-wheat-bashing-In-conversation-with-Dr-Alessio-Fasano?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright

    • I read something similar in Sandor Katz’s book, The Art of Fermentation. However, my wife noticed an improvement in her finger arthritis, eventually, after trying to cut gluten out of her diet. Not a cure but a marked improvement. Don’t know if it is the gluten, the wheat or something else. Recently, she’s been forced by circumstances to return temporarily to eating gluten foods and the arthritis has worsened again.

      So this may be a case of experience trumping rationale.

    • I would be interested in this topic too. I am very confused by the whole gluten issue. I tend to believe that it is not the best food and have been told by my practitioner to not consume it at all due to my Cyrex blood results showing some elevated markers to:
      Transglutaminase 6 IgA, Gluteomorphin + Prodynorphin IgG, and Gamma Gliadin 15mer IgG.

      I haven’t had a biopsy to check for celiac but in my reading I think it is TG 2 that is related to the gut and TG 6, which I have is, related to the brain/nervous system.

      I’m just not sure who to believe. I’m happy not to have gluten at home but it would make life easier to have tiny amounts e.g. at church or when invited to others..

    • Less than a year ago Mercola had an article on the mechanism of how glyphosate in our food triggering gluten sensitivity. The rise in gluten sensitivity and the increase in glyphosate use in agriculture parallel each other closely, and now the mechanism is known.

  49. Hello Paul,

    I have only recently found this information. I find it facinating and greatly appreciate the time and energy you and your wife and put into research.

    I’ve not purchased the book… yet… But I have poured over the comments looking for something about a ‘safe starch’ cold breakfast cereal. My husband (who was diagnosed 11yrs ago with myasthenia gravis which seems to be in remission with little to no medication, thank God) is expressing the desire to eat healthier/lose weight. This is music to my ears since he has strictly been a meat and potatoes kinda guy (hates most vegetables, loves processed meats). My search for healthy eating ideas landed me here. So…. ones of the things he was curious about is if there was, PHD standards, a healthy or safe cold breakfast cereal. I wondered if unsweetened rice cereal would be considered safe…. Thank you for your time!

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