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 ?

3,229 Comments.

  1. Hi, again, Paul…I understand cereal grains are toxic for us…but what about the cereal “grasses” themselves?

    This is what is in the SuperGreens powder I recently started taking when I am unable to go grocery shopping to get fresh produce.

  2. PS: I forgot to ask…is it ok to leave the skin on when cooking & eating vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.?

  3. Just thought of another question.

    What about Lentil Sprouts?

    Or any other of the Sprouts?

    I think I read somewhere that being germinative they’re NOT toxic…is that right?

  4. Hi Paul. I’m getting your book in about a week or so. I’ve been wondering, since it is hard to find tapioca, plantains and taro in Slovenia, could their flours still be used as a substitute? Best, N.

  5. I know you say to avoid oats but are gluten free steel cut oats acceptable or should oats be avoided all together?

    • Hi Michelle,

      These are judgement calls, I think in our book we gave oats a grade of C and rated them the safest grain after rice. You have to decide how stringent you want to be.

      Best, Paul

  6. Hi paul, i have a question regarding supplements, can you guide me when is the best time of the day to supplement. Do you have any strategies?

  7. Thank you Paul, i read your book and it helped me a lot.

  8. Hi Paul,
    I read your fascinating book. Seems reasonable to me,
    whatever that means.
    What about all those doctors: Greger, Fuhrman, Ornish, McDougal Esselstyn, the China Study; They all present scientific papers as proof of: Vegan is best. Whole grains and Beans are the healthiest foods on earth. Animals, Eggs, Milk Products, Saturated fats: The worst foods. I would have liked to have science based comments on that ideology in your book.
    Could you comment here?

    • Hi Inbal,

      I think the benefits of those diets, where they exist, are due to switching from processed foods (sugar, starch, oil, no micronutrition) to natural whole foods. But among natural whole food diets, the vegan/plant-based diets are inferior to PHD.

      Best, Paul

  9. Hi Paul,
    Any thoughts on this study linking low gluten diets to higher risk of type 2 diabetes?

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170309120626.htm

    • Hi Jorge, it’s just observational finding an association. It looks to me like the association is between higher gluten and higher fiber intake overall, which is a protective factor for diabetes. That’s no reason to change PHD recommendations as foods like potatoes, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Best, Paul

  10. Hi Paul, I tried the diet but did poorly due I think to lack of insoluble fiber (I don’t do well on soluble). Do you know of a safe source of insoluble fibre, even if in supplement form?

    Thank you.

  11. Hi Paul, What about Mercola’s argument against too much fruit, being that you should stick to 15g a day and that Fructose is metabolised by the liver and potentially harmful.
    Just want to know your thoughts on this?

    Cheers
    Matt

    • Hi Matt,

      PHD recommends getting about 15% of carbs from fructose, see the book for why that is optimal, and that translates to about 25 g per day. It’s possible that Mercola got the 15g a day from us as on his lower-carb diet that is about 15% of carbs also.

      Best, Paul

  12. Paul,

    Is Creatine supplementation acceptable with the diet? I used to take it in the morning but have heard that you frown on that. Can I take the supplement at night?

  13. Hi Paul. I have struggled with Candida and Gut Dysbiosis for over 25 years, so any new approach is very welcome! Does your book have any specific guide lines for yeast infections ? I’m aware you suggest 600-800 carb calories for Candida issues ( which seems immense compared with anything I’ve tried before ! ) but can you advise Fat and Protein levels too please ?
    John ( U.K )

    • Hi John,

      My problems went away on PHD, so I think it’s very effective for those issues. I would advice reading our book and following its advice, or read this page (The Diet) and the Recommended Supplements page.

      Best, Paul

  14. hello,

    I just rread through the book today I do think I will be implementing a lots of what in it.

    I have two questions for you
    1) what supplement brands do you recommend?
    2) when it comes to fasting is just a bulletproof coffee in the morning considered breaking the fast?

    • Hi Andrew,

      We don’t recommend specific brands, as we have no way to evaluate brand quality, but you can see some suggestions on our recommended supplements page: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/recommended-supplements/

      A bulletproof coffee does break the fast. It maintains a carbohydrate and protein fast, but adds a lot of calories (the equivalent of a full meal), which takes away many of the benefits of fasting. I generally don’t recommend getting a lot of calories from purified nutrients (starch, sugar, or oil as in bulletproof coffee), but rather from natural whole foods.

      Best, Paul

  15. Hello Paul. I am on the PHD because my cardiologist recommended it, not necessarily for weight loss. I was losing weight prior to starting the diet, although I’m not at all heavy. Now, on the PHD, I am continuing to lose weight and it’s almost too much (I’m down to 140, which is light for my frame).

    So, my question: How does one GAIN weight on this diet?

    Thanks very much,

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      How tall are you? The general prescription for gaining weight is more calories. If you are underweight, usually more saturated fat, starch, and possibly protein (if your diet was deficient) will help most; then some resistance exercise.

      Then, I would try supporting immunity with vitamin A, D, C, glycine/taurine/NAC. Optimize per the book and see the recommended supplements page.

      Next, I would look at lab values to see if any clues can be found there. For example, low LDL may indicate a parasitic infection that could be treated with mebendazole.

      Best, Paul

  16. Thanks, Paul. I am 5’6″. My LDL is actually a tad high, rather than low. I suppose increasing the fats, starches and protein is the way to go. I do exercise daily, both at the gym and at home.

    I received your book from Amazon today and am looking forward to reading it (the doc gave me a “cliff notes” version). I read the first portion online. At present, I’m hoping (beyond the science) to discover my food choices and plan to stay with your plan for the long haul … hence the variety I’m hoping to discover.

    Anyway, thanks for writing back so quickly.

    All the best,

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      An extra 10 pounds might do you good, but you’re close enough to ideal weight that I wouldn’t pay attention to that as a metric – rather work for better general health and your weight will migrate to its optimum. Once you relieve inflammation, it will be easier to gain muscle and lean mass.

      Best, Paul

  17. Avinash Ramchandani

    Hey Paul

    USA today just reported on a study about coconut oil not being healthy. Do you have a rebuttal?

    Thanks

    Avinash

  18. what are your thoughts on pseudo grains like quinoa?

  19. Hello Paul, the PHD sounds interesting,, I’m looking at buying the book, but I just wanted to know do you cover things like SIBO, Histamine intolerance, Fodmaps and Salicylate intolerance? As at present I have to avoid most starches due to inflammation, fruit, Honey and anything containing fructose.. Anything Coconut I react too..

    thanks for your time.
    MG

    • Hi Mister G,

      PHD works for a lot of things, even if the illness is not discussed in the book — if we had to discuss which nutritional interventions work for each illness, it would get repetitive (similar advice for many conditions) and would expand the length of the book enormously. In general all four of those things tend to clear up readily on PHD. We do have a few therapeutic supplements that can help, mainly the bile/immune supports of glycine/taurine/NAC and vitamin C, also 2 tbsp vinegar and 3 egg yolks per day are important, and intermittent fasting and circadian rhythm entrainment (see Part V of the book).

      Best, Paul

      • Longtime follower, and PHD has helped my family a lot. But I wonder if you have any creative ways to make use of all those uneaten egg whites (?) Discarding them feels wasteful.

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