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 ?

3,548 Comments.

  1. A very flawed study reported on NPR recently is being irresponsibly touted for the proposition that eating a high-protein/low-carb diet increases bad gut bacteria:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/10/250007042/chowing-down-on-meat-and-dairy-alters-gut-bacteria-a-lot-and-quickly

    Based on the article (I haven’t read the study itself), they used many cured meats, did not distinguish beef from pork, while using mostly pork, did not report on how the meat itself was fed/treated as far as hormones, antibiotics, etc., don’t seem to have distinguished meat from cheese, didn’t actually show that the bulk of the gut bacteria that formed as a result of the diet are bad and probably committed many other errors that I’m not qualified to track … but I’m sure this will get a lot of publicity since it was published in the journal Nature. It’s probably worth a read and a response.

    • Hi Alex,

      I believe there was no actual test of the health in the study. They saw that a change of diet changed the gut flora, but they didn’t prove that the new flora was less healthful in the context of the new diet.

      The diet itself was extreme, no carbs or fiber, so that is another factor in interpretation. Harmful changes may be due to what’s missing, rather than what’s there.

  2. Hello Paul,

    In a desert of confusion about what diet is the best for humans, finally I found an oasis your diet. Above all it makes sense and feels right. I have been following your site for sometime now and every time I read something new about some new discover about some new fancy diet I force my self to come to this “oasis” and put my feet back into the right track.

    Nevertheless there are some doubts that I still have I am sure that you will be able to point me into the right away. Trying not expanding myself very much here is the context:

    In this moment I am following your diet. I do Judo and competing every often. Usually I have 2 training sessions a day one first thing in the morning and another in the afternoon. Some of the session, mainly in the morning, are strength and conditioning sessions. I am doing intermittent fasting, and generally my fasting hours range from 16 to 18 hours, and usually one day per week I do a fast you 22 hours. Usually during my fast I take some BCAAs and about 3 table spoons of coconut oil. I do all my morning session fasted. In Judo I have to be as lean as possible maintaining and even increasing my muscle mass since we have weight classes. I would like hear your opinion about 3 different topics:

    1) How lean (body fat %) can a human be to perform at is best?
    2) In your opinion, following your diet do you think is possible to increase muscle mass while leaning down (big confusion about this topic in the fitness world)?
    3) Regarding the fasting interval what do you recommend for my level of activity? I understand that you typically do a 18 hour fasting window, I from what I have read and listen in some web sites only after a 18 hour fast will the benefits of fasting really kick in, what is your opinion?

    Sorry for the long post, looking forward for your reply.

    Best Regards,

    /Hugo

    • Hi Hugo,

      Our diet is not designed for extreme leanness, rather for optimal health, which is probably closer to 15% body fat for men. Adding intermittency and intense resistance exercise as you are doing can help generate greater leanness. Still, it is not healthy to be extremely lean/ripped.

      I am not sure what degree of leanness is optimal for judo, but it is probably in the 10-15% range.

      I would recommend eating within an hour or two after both workout sessions. So I wouldn’t do an extremely long fast. A 16 hour fast might be good.

  3. Hi Paul,

    Thanks a lot for the reply!
    My plan is for sure to achieve the best physical condition possible with optimal health  I want to believe that is possible…I have tried different diets before (vegetarian, vegan, Atkins…) while doing intermittent fasting, which I am doing for sometime now…but in all of them there were always something missing and occasionally I gave in to cravings…with your diet I do not have cravings any more, it is a well balance diet. The mistake I guess I am doing lately is to have large fasting windows (between 18 to 22 hours daily) which I guess is not feasible for the amount of training I am doing. I will follow your advice and use a 16h fasting window. Regarding the macros should I stay in the recommended ones: 20-30% carbs 15-20% protein and 65-70% fat?

    Kind Regards

    /Hugo

    • Hi Hugo,

      Our recommended macros are 30% carb 15% protein 55% fat. Power athletes can increase carbs and protein a bit. Keep omega-6 fats down, saturated fats up.

      I agree that the more intensely you train, the less you want to have a very stringent fasting program, especially if one of the training sessions is during your fast.

  4. Hi Paul. I’ve been on a healing journey for almost 3 years now using the PHD principles, and have recently seen some good progress in my chronic fatigue, leaky gut, estrogen dominance etc etc etc with the help of an integrated health doctor. All I’m left with is moderate adrenal fatigue and some food intolerances including egg and gluten. I still feel lethargic, tired, and weak sometimes – but am way better than I used to be. I’m still about 25kg overweight, and I think I’m in a kind of catch 22 where I don’t think I’ll get much better until I lose fat but I won’t lose fat until I get better. Does that make sense?? But every time I try to change my eating I tend to lose my equilibrium and I get a resurgence of IBS and stress symptoms. Do you happen to have an opinion about whether a 24 hour fast for one or two days a week would cause adrenal stress?

  5. Hi Paul. I’ve been on a healing journey for almost 3 years now using the PHD principles, and have recently seen some good progress in my chronic fatigue, leaky gut, hypoglycemia, estrogen dominance etc etc etc with the help of an integrated health doctor. All I’m left with is moderate adrenal fatigue and some food intolerances including egg and gluten. I still feel lethargic, tired, and weak sometimes – but am way better than I used to be. I’m still about 25kg overweight, and I think I’m in a kind of catch 22 where I don’t think I’ll get much better until I lose fat but I won’t lose fat until I get better. Does that make sense?? But every time I try to change my eating I tend to lose my equilibrium and I get a resurgence of IBS and stress symptoms. Do you happen to have an opinion about whether a 24 hour fast for one or two days a week would cause adrenal stress? Or if there’s a better option? I lost about 10kg at the beginning of 2011 when I came off grain and other toxins, but nothing since. Many thanks. Jacquie

    • Hi Jacquie,

      I would say, don’t change your eating, but work on other aspects — circadian rhythm entrainment #1, intermittent fasting #2, exercise #3, and replacing gut flora #4 via fermented foods, probiotics, vitamin A, vitamin D.

      See our book, chapter 42, for circadian rhythm entrainment factors.

      I wouldn’t do a very long fast, but try to do regular 16 hour fasts every night. Make sure you get sufficient (plentiful) food during the 8 hour feeding window. If you get hungry or experience signs of adrenal stress like low back pain during the fast, eat some salted meat and salted tomato slices.

  6. For leaky gut, if you feed the body processed foods, the bad bacteria will always dominate the good bacteria.

    However, on your diet white rice is allowed.

    Isn’t white rice going to feed the bad bacteria and keep the bad bacteria stronger?

    Or is white rice different?

    Enrico

  7. Hi Paul, Bought the book for myself and another for my parents.

    Just bought the book on kindle plus one for my parents. Finally, feeling like I’m on the right track to resolving what I now recognize as hypothyroid (despite so called normal 2.7 THS).

    After losing 25 lbs in 2006 on VLC maintained for a few years until boredom with the diet set in and led me to low-carb high-carb yo-yoing along with some troubling health symptoms by 2010 — including muscle weakness and constant soreness, injuries from overtraining, hair thinning and graying, poor cold tolerance, sleeplessness, and skin rashes.

    Finally tried gluten free and the skin rashes disappeared. That led me to try paleo but I couldn’t stomach all the cooking in coconut oil. Butter led me to primal, which I tolerated better. But unresolved thyroid issues (I began to recognize) led me to PHD.

    My question: can I get my iodine from iodized sea salt?

    • Organic pink salt has a lot of iodine it. Only half a gram has 250 RDA value

      • I think pink Himalayan salt has no iodine in it.

        • Of course it has

          • I buy my Himilayan sea salt from mercola.com. On his website, it says “This salt does not supply iodide, a necessary nutrient.” Are there other sources of Himilayan sea salt that do contain idodide? I would be interested….

      • Enrico, do you have a link/ref to that info.
        preferably one which includes a chemical anaylsis…i would be interested to see the complete breakdown

        • I wouldn’t listen to dr.mercola that much. He changes ideas every week about certain health issues.

          If you wanna be healthy, follow the PHD diet, take probiotic (biokult)with 2 to 6 billion with 14 strains, go to the gym, and use homeopathy if you have health issues.

          Homeopathy is probably one of the best medicines that exists out there. The founder of drug companies Rockfeller used it and even the queen of England uses it over conversional medicine

    • Hi Enrico,

      I would be interested to see a link/ref to that info (“Organic pink salt has a lot of iodine it. Only half a gram has 250 RDA value”) as well

      cheers

  8. Hello,
    I have a question on achieving the macro-nutrient ratios. From what I understand, PHD recommends getting approximately 60% calories from fat, 25% carbs and 15% protein. (Volek and Phinney recommend an even higher fat content, 65%) I kept track for a day, but the shortfall in fat wound up in the protein column.
    Fat 141.2g (41.5%), Carb 94.4g (27.8%), Protein 104.33 (30.7%)
    Total calories- around 2200
    No snacks, beverages: black tea, green tea and water
    I am looking to optimize health with weight maintenance, my BMI is 23. Based on being an adult male of moderate physical activity, is it beneficial to start adding more fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc. to boost the overall calories, which will also raise the total fat % of calories? Below is what I ate that day, to obtain the macro-nutrient breakdown-

    meal 1: 40 raw almonds
    12 raw cashews
    3 hard boiled eggs
    200 g full fat yogurt
    1 oz dark chocolate

    meal 2: 1 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 banana
    1/2 cup green beans
    4 oz potatoes, boiled
    2 cups lettuce
    1/4 cup white rice
    4 oz dark meat chicken

    meal 3: 1 tbsp olive oil
    2 cups lettuce
    1 cup cauliflower
    5 oz. lamb leg

    • hi David,

      macro-nutrient ratios are always give as a percentage of energy (calories), as you mention in your 2nd sentence.

      however, you have calc’ed your % based on weight (grams).
      your actual % for those numbers are,
      fat 61.6%, carbs 18.2%, protein 20.2% (total calories = 2061).

      you can play around with the numbers using the calculator here,
      http://www.scientificpsychic.com/fitness/macronutrients.html
      make sure you zero (0) the Fiber entry, otherwise it stuffs things up.

      • Thanks daz! I sensed something was off in the calculation. I looked at the link you sent, for alcohol it has 1 g = 7 calories – I’m assuming when adding alcohol this would go 100% in the carb total.

      • that calc is not setup for tracking alcohol calories.
        but if you know the amount of carbs in your alc, you can enter those under carbs.

        if you want to track your diet and calories more accurately, i suggest you use http://www.cronometer.com

        cronometer does ‘know’ about alcohol

        • Thanks daz, I set up the formulas in Excel, with-
          Fat: 1 gram = 9 Calories
          Carb: 1 gram = 4 Calories
          Protein: 1 gram = 4 Calories
          Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 Calories

          So if a glass of red wine has 105 calories, then 105/7 = 15g, which I would add into the carb total.

          • alcohol is alcohol…it is not a carb (or a fat or a prot).
            & is is not deemed a macronutrient (afaik), because we do not need it for survival.

            if i look at the data for a 5 fl oz serving of red wine from here,
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beverages/3847/2
            it contains 15.6 grams alcohol
            & 3.8 grams carbs.

          • …so from a macronutrient ratio/percentage perspective you do not need to track/count alcohol grams (but technically you should count the actual carbs that are in alcohol, use http://www.nutritiondata.com to find out this info, if it is not listed on the label of the bottle/can).

            You only need to track/count alcohol if you are tracking your daily caloric intake

          • Thanks daz. I will include the carbs in alcohol in the daily total. Now I understand how to account for a glass of red wine.

      • So these were the averages over 3 days-

        Breakfast
        F C P
        65.3% 19.1% 15.5%
        calories: 905.3

        Lunch
        F C P
        48.3% 30.8% 20.9%
        calories: 577.6

        Dinner
        F C P
        55.3% 17.0% 27.6%
        calories: 658.8

        average/day over 3 days
        F C P
        57.4% 21.9% 20.8%
        calories: 2141.75

        2 observations,
        With breakfast having the most calories at 42% of daily intake, does it matter how the calories are distributed throughout the day?

        The highest fat % was at breakfast, highest carb % at lunch and highest protein % at dinner. Is there an optimum pattern for what time of day you get each of the macro-nutrients?

  9. I am so happy to see this diet “in print” because this is the way I’ve been eating for one year with remarkable results for my health concerns and my weight. My strange neurological symptoms that mimicked MS are gone as I stay on this diet. As well, I lost 50 pounds which was impossible for me before. I feel that I’m healthy and my blood work-up says the same, in terms of inflammation and a return of healthy thyroid production. Now I have a place to tell others where I’ve gotten my health, instead of just saying I’m “gluten and dairy free” –which scares some folks off. Thanks!

  10. Hello.

    Just writing to say – I’ve had a revelation.

    Foods can be delicious! Nay, they can be delicious _and_ nourishing.

    I had a boiled potato (mashed, coconut oil, salt, some apple cider vinegar), as per your recommendations in your book, and it was DELICIOUS!

    While your foods guides and thoughts had always mentioned that foods should be delicious, I did not truly understand until now! There is very potentially something amazing to having a diet that tastes “as delicious as possible”.

    An old friend has always had trouble following Paleo. The foods would be very plain, and he would lack energy (I suspect this was Paleo without safe starches, and with not enough fats). I’ve followed many of his tries, and recently we’ve been trying the PHD together, step by step.

    He’s been craving “tasty food” on the days that he’s strictest about eating no SAD foods. He’s been eating an SAD for the past year, so we thought that cravings for “tasty food” were perhaps just sugar/hyperflavor withdrawl.

    I’ve been eating a fairly stripped down diet of fatty meat stews and potatoes, with no spices, and rarely and added fats because of recent GERD and stomach problems and bloating.

    But, I’d never combined my foods until recently: mixing in fats and acids with a carbohydrate. Mostly, I ate whole boiled potatoes/starches by themselves, then meat. (Stew was about the most complicated combining different foods had gotten. No sauces, sometimes salt.)

    I feel satiated, and my mood is great. I’d never felt this way for the past few months, eating plain, separate foods. There was a slight “hunger” in the background all the time, even though I sometimes ate more then the 1 lb of meat and more towards 2 lbs of starches. Now, I feel satiated. A brain fog and headache has cleared, and I feel more nourished and less bloated, not more, from having a very filling potato+fat+acid meal.

    I’m very inspired.

    I now realize that the foods I’d been eating while eating Paleo/PHD were aesthetic, and that I’d missed/lacked a little… “something”, some pleasure to my food that I’d let fall to the wayside, forsaking it for health and what I hoped would keep me not feeling bloated.

    I had kind of given up on cooking “delicious foods”, in a particular way, which had always been a passion of mine.

    I feel much better. Perhaps there is something the brain craves in the form of delicious food, or perhaps we are both people who enjoy the sensory of delicious food, and are particularly aware of it.

    Either way, you’ve sparked an amazing step towards the health of at least two human beings. 🙂

    I am certain this will be a great inspiration to both of us, and I instinctively feel that this mixing of and tinkering with healthful foods to make them “as delicious as possible” is a large missing link.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. 🙂

  11. Hello I have begun following the PHD after reading the book, Im was wondering if you had a more elaborate “food list” for each category of foods or if you have considered making a list i believe this would be great benifet to us newbies just starting out…..

  12. Thank you for bringing sanity to the paleo world. There is a “bread” produced called Against the Grain. They use only tapioca flour with milk eggs and mozzarella cheese to make delicious baguettes and rolls. Are these acceptable? And there has been a lot of news in the last year about contamination of rice fields with lead and arsenic. Is there a particular brand you consider safer than others?

    • Thanks for the Against The Grain tip! I googled it. There is a new cookbook; and some of the recipes are available on line at
      Gluten Free Bread: Against the Grain Original Roll Copycat Recipe

  13. Hi Paul,

    I’ve just discovered the PHD and am excited to experiment with it. I would like to heal my hypoglycemia I’ve had for 25 years, if possible. It started a few years into becoming a vegan who ate white sugar and white flour. I’ve been away from all that for a long time and have been paleo for almost a year but I still feel my blood sugar drop 2-3 hours after eating and it becomes an emergency if I don’t eat some carbs right away. What tweaks do you recommend to the PHD, if any, for healing my condition? Historically, carbs have made my blood sugar plummet, but it still drops eventually on a low-carb diet which means I have to eat some carbs to get it back up to normal. Eating fat seems to extend the time I can go between meals. I sense a ketogenic diet might help but I doubt I can manage a long fast. Thanks.

    • Hi Amy, not Paul here but thought I’d chime in – I have similar issues, I was a vegetarian for many years and get blood sugar dips through the day, even now that I have started eating meat again. Before xmas I was doing a ketogenic diet and it seemed to work – I was eating fatty meat to get my energy and I became keto adapted after a few weeks. One thing I found to help was branched chain amino acids, which Paul mentions in the PHD book – it seems to give me the energy I need during ketosis.

  14. Really enjoying your diet. What are your thoughts on the idea that if you want to lose weight you eat either fat & protein or protein & carbs in each meal?

    They claim that mixing fat and carbs causes weight gain while separating them by three hours causes weight loss.

    Thanks!

    • Hi James,

      I disagree. I’ve actually had some readers report that they tried that and it didn’t work for them, but when they began eating starches and meats and fats and vegetables and acids together, as we advise, they began losing weight, and had less hunger.

      Biologically, I see no reason why separating foods would be beneficial, and a few reasons it can be harmful. Mixing food types lengthens gastric emptying time which is beneficial.

      However, separating the foods does make meals less palatable and that may help some people lose weight. But even then I think it is less healthful.

  15. I am really surprised about white rice being allowed in this diet. Brown rice is rich in vitamins and is a good colonic food for dysbiosis, crohns and ulcerative colitis. Why isn’t this chosen instead?
    Also red rice is very high in antioxidants and known in clinical research to also benefit ulcerative colitis.
    Please can you explain why white was chosen over these other rices? Thanks Sheridan ND.

  16. Hi,

    a famous nutrition researcher adovocating his
    L O G I Diet cites two studies in his board showing the dangers of rice..the headline in his board is saying:
    Rice is killing the chinese people…

    Thank you

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/2/319.abstract

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/ea…kwt178.abstract

    What do you think about these studies?

    • Hi Mike,

      Those studies have nothing to do with rice and everything to do with carbohydrate intake. They are evidence that a 68% carb intake is too high and that additional carbs in that range are harmful to health (ie, someone eating 80% carbs has worse health than someone eating 70% carbs who has worse health than someone eating 60% carbs). That is consistent with PHD, we believe a 30% carb diet optimizes health.

  17. I used to make my raw chocolate using maca or lucuma powder, also using carob instead of cocoa powder.
    Now following the PHD, I wonder if maca or lucuma powder are safe starches?
    Also does carob has the same property that cocoa that you recommend?
    When I eat too much of cocoa chococate, it gives me heart palpitations but I don’t have the problem when using carob instead.
    Last question, cocoa or carob are beans, are they safe?

  18. hello paul i am new to phd i was wondering if you could suggest some diffrent foods for each categorie that would be acceptable to eat i read the book but got somewhat confused by it i think a food list would help us newbies out alot thankyou

  19. hello paul i am new to phd i was wondering if you could suggest some diffrent foods for each categorie that would be acceptable to eat i read the book but got somewhat confused by it thankyou

  20. Hello from London

    Hi guys

    I’ve read and digested (metaphorically, of course – unless we discover good bacteria in the brain 😕 ) the PHD book and have a question. I’m struggling to find ‘more reading’ on the excellent points made on page 23 (UK edition) about cells preferring to take in nutrients they can use as structural molecules (and then, only in specific proportions). This point, to me, is fundamental. We eat for energy (we must) but we arguably over-eat for energy. We aren’t a steam engine – that has only one use for its fuel and that is converting it into a energy (burn coal, create steam, boil water, move pistons): but I believe we often fall into that analogy. Our bodies also use the fuel it ingests to build and repair its pistons – and the quality of those pistons depend on the quality of the food.
    If Paul/anyone has any easy to read paper/studies on these issues, I’d love a reference.
    Best

  21. Hello, Paul. I have been following your diet for a while and feel good most of the time; however, I do find it challenging sometimes as I am still breast feeding my 2 year old. Do you have any additional suggestions on the diet for lactating moms as well as for children or should we keep it exactly the same, micronutrient ratios and all. Thanks for your excellent work, eating this way helped me beat MS and RA!

  22. Hi. Rice cakes. I’ve decided rice cakes are for me because I miss texture of bread. I’ve noticed though rice cakes are made from brown rice. Is that still OK?

  23. Very nice info! Many thanks from greece
    μεσογειακή διατροφή

  24. Hello,
    I work at times in a remote area, no access to groceries or a kitchen, all the food is prepared.

    I found out that, unfortunately, the meat is always cooked in corn oil.

    PHD recommended foods that are available:
    potatoes & vegetables (not cooked in oil – only butter), rice, salad and some fresh fruit (mostly oranges, mangoes and bananas)

    I can get hard boiled eggs in the morning.

    Foods I pack in a suitcase-
    raw almonds, cashews, dark chocolate and olive oil
    If I add 3 eggs for breakfast to those items, the daily total comes to around 950 calories with fat-carb-protein %s of about 76-12-12.

    I can probably get close to the PHD fat and carb %s without eating the meat every day. But does anyone know of a recommended protein source,
    something that is portable and can be packed in a suitcase?

    (I’m an adult male, moderate activity, near ideal weight and desired daily macro-nutrient ratio around the PHD recommendation- 52% f, 30% c, 18% p)

    • Mercola.com sells high quality whey protein powder (organic, grass fed, low heat processed, etc.). The only whey protein I will eat. Pack of 3 comes with a shaker bottle. ProOptimal Whey is almost all protein; Miracle Whey is combined protein and carb. Also see his cocoa cassava bars.

  25. Paul,
    I am a firm believer in the dietary impact on health and illness. In your review of the literature regarding kidney stones and osteoporosis, have you found any commonalities to suggest an underlying cause that would account for both issues? There are no identified endocrine disorders. Can you suggest further resources on this particular area?

  26. Reply to David, 4th January,
    I have found on PHD site that Steven uses Pemmican which is a dried pasted meat used by North American Indians, see his comment and the link:
    “My health is fantastic lately! I’m still able to push the edges of what I can tolerate, and am enjoying eating butter, some white-rice based gluten-free breads, some vegetables, and occasionally cheddar cheese. Sure beats just the 5 foods I took on my trip! Well, to be honest, after several months of just eating coconut, cacao, pemmican, fish, and white rice, I grew quite fond of it all. It’s amazing how your palate can change.”
    http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2014/01/curing-ankylosing-spondylitis/

    • Thanks Marie. I’ve heard of pemmican but have not tried it, and have no idea where to find it. I was thinking about bison jerky also, which I am sure I can find locally.

      • Hi David,
        I have another thought for you.
        I used to eat raw but with proteins as well. It is easy to dry your own oily fish and meat.
        You could use a pantry with a metal mesh around to allow the air to circulate or do your own with a metal cat pet cage that you protect from flies with a big piece of cheesecloth.
        I don’t know the name of it but you could find it in a paint shop, painters use it as a cleaning cloth, it is easy to wrap around the cage as it is a tubular piece of cloth (like a sock).
        Then you could hang your piece of meat.
        By hot weather or to help the drying process, you could place a fan outside.
        Alternatively, you could put the meat directly on your fridge racks.
        Small and thin pieces will be ready faster than big pieces.
        Turn them around from time to time… it is easy to do and the meat is very tasty this way, if you use a big piece, the outside will become hard and dry and the inside is still very soft, small piece will be dry all over.
        The only problem is that you need a separate fridge as you can’t mix up the meat together with vegetables or fruits as they will bring moisture and it will be difficult to dry the meat.

  27. My son (11) seems to do well on the SCD diet which is very hard for him to comply. When he eats carbs, in the form of fruits, vegetable starches or grains he feels tired and fatigued. It seems to affect his ability to do anything. He is very lean and hungry all the time. I know you recommend rice as a safe starch and since we are Asian Indian we are trying to re-introduce rice and even a 1/4 cup of Basmati makes him fatigued. However since age 8 he seems to have this reaction to carbs. Any suggestion will help. Thank you.

  28. Dear Paul

    I know you tackled the issue of tweaking the PHD for weight loss some time ago, but after plateauing (and even putting on a little weight) I was wondering if you have new updated recommendations regarding this issue.

    Thanks and best from Spain

  29. Paul, do you have any suggestions to ween myself off of sugar in a satiating and simple way? I think the key is “simple” for me to get started on the diet. I am just having a difficult time with transitioning. I keep going off and binging on sugar. I get so anxious after about two days and going for sugar….even with rice and potato. Do you think fasting at first or going no/very low carb at first is a good idea?

  30. Any recommendations on ameliorating jet lag?

  31. Thank you for your generosity in providing us with food guidelines for FREE while I wait for amazon to deliver your book. What a blessing. I was doing paleo, but all the differing guidelines and recommendations from various sources had my head spinning. Amazon is kind enough to provide a generous search through your book on-line. I just couldn’t stop reading! So I had to order. In the meantime, much appreciation for your eating guidelines here. What a wonderful website. 😀

  32. Hi, I want to greatly and soundly thank to Paul the insight he gave me on histamine. I was on a dead end, I didn’t know what to eat, everything I put in my mouth gave me a huge increase in histamine and disgusting symptoms.
    He told me to take zinc, iodine, and vit d, and intermittent fasting and circadian rhythm.
    After two years of undiagnosed h pylori I finally eradicated it with antibiotics. But my body is greatly injured by the bug.
    I bought the zinc, the iodine and thought to begin the vit d a little later on. And see how it go.
    On my first day after the morning dose of zinc I felt head ache but the anxiety diminished a lot( I concerted a meeting with my psychiatrist to get some paroxetine and the like, I just couldn’t get sleep!). But the biggest thing was the lunch dose of iodine…. wow the back of my head started aching, but I noticed it was for the good, my digestion felt incredibly smooth, like a normal person, for the first time in years, I could not believe what was happening, and the best of all: my high histamine seems to have vanished. Just like I was awoken from a nightmare.
    It is my second day of supplementing the Paul’s way, I don’t know how it’ll continue, but by the moment I must to say an insanely huge thank to Paul. You’ve nailed it.
    (Excuse my English please)
    All the best,

  33. 😀 What do you think of monkfruit sweetener? Splenda also puts one out called Nectresse. There is also a brand called Monkfruit In the Raw. I’m sure there are more. I really like this sweetener and hope it’s ok. Please let us know!

    Your book should arrive on Saturday!

  34. 😀 One more question. Your book is on the way, so I’m not sure of this, but will ask anyway. I heard you subscribe to intermittent fasting 16 hours a day. I am very interested in the new 5:2 diets where you eat 500 calories twice a week and eat normally the other two. I would like to do this in conjunction with your eating recommendations. I have to lose a LOT of weight so am interested in this. Your opinion, please? Thank you.

    • Hi Sher,

      I think the daily 16 hour fast is best for weight loss. The reason is that food is important for entraining circadian rhythms, and rhythms are crucial for immunity and weight loss, so I think reinforcing rhythms with (a) normal daily food intake (b) within a restricted daytime time window, is the best strategy. The 5:2 diets weaken rhythm entrainment by spreading food intake over a longer window during the 5 feeding days, and by reducing food intake on the 2 fasting days. However, it is an excellent protocol too, I just think weight loss will be more reliable and safer, and possibly faster, with daily 16 hour fasts.

  35. ❓ Just finished reading your book and I love the approach – I have a question regarding eggs – I don’t have an egg allergy but I feel nauseous for about 24 hours after eating eggs – I can eat eggs in things but just can’t seem to eat an egg on it’s own – I am wondering if I eliminated the egg white and just ate the yolk it would be better – what do you think?

    • Hi Sherry,

      Yes, that’s what I would do. In fact it is what I do do – I rarely eat the whites. Egg whites are hard to digest and it seems you have a sensitivity. When you eat them with other foods you digest them a bit better so don’t notice it, but it’s still there.

  36. Sherry – I had exact same problem my entire life until I gave up all grains/ gluten / wheat / etc over 1 year ago. I can now enjoy unlimited eggs with absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. My “egg sensitivity” is completely gone. One bite of an omelette or scrambled egg would ruin my day (even though products made with eggs were fine), now I enjoy omelettes as a standard part of my standard diet.

  37. I am new to your diet. Not a full convert yet, but moving that way. I tore my ACL skiing a couple weeks back and will be having surgery to repair the ACL with my Patellar tendon and have the damaged meniscus ‘cleaned up’. I am wondering if you have specific recommendations or areas I should focus on in preparing my body for surgery and subsequent recovery.

    • Hi Karen,

      Circadian rhythm entrainment is key to healing — see Chap 42 of our book.

      Nutrients for bones and joints are important: vitamins A, D, K2, C, collagen from bone and joint soups and stews, magnesium, silicon.

      Best, Paul

      • Thanks Paul. Circadian rhythm working well for me. Adding Coconut Oil, giving up/limiting sugar helping liver adding totally dark room at night and I’m no longer waking at 3am. Will focus on other circadian suggestions. Have added k2, d…working on bone broths next and other supplements.

  38. Hey! Been loving the diet and working on implementing things over the last 4 months or so. I am starting to scientifically track the protein, carb, and fat ratios as opposed to the intuition method I have been using since reading the book.

    I am having trouble converting what I actually eat into calories consumed. Example: in the book it says that beef contains 369 cal of protein per pound so if I eat 1/4 lb of beef I would see 92 cal of protein. But it seems like an excepted standard for beef is that it is 70% protein so 1/4 pound (113g)*70%*(4 cal/g) = 316 cal or protein in 1/4 pound of beef. That’s 3.5 x’s the number reported in the book. How do I know what method to use for my conversions? I am seeing major inconsistencies like this for all the macros and I’d like to know that I’m not 3.5 times above or below what I actually should be eating. Getting the calculation right seems quite important considering it will convert what I read in the book into real food eaten and I am feeling quite unsure.

    • Hi Bryan,

      I suggest using one of the online versions of the USDA database, such as that at nutritiondata.com, to get calorie numbers. You’ll find that the protein content of beef is quite a bit lower than those numbers.

  39. you have likely seen this recent Mercola article already Paul…
    you & your diet get a mention, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/20/paleo-diet.aspx

    i have only skimmed, but looks like all positive stuff. looks like he has come around to your way of thinking,
    “I have revised my position on using low carb long term and now believe that the low carb, low to moderate protein, high healthy fat diet is appropriate for most who are insulin or leptin resistant. Once that resistance resolves, then it likely becomes counter productive to maintain a low-carb approach. Once your weight, blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol normalize, you can increase your carbs” Mercola

  40. High-glycaemic starches aren’t safe. Studies show that rats fed the same amount of energy can gain fat on them, whilst low-Gi caused fat-loss.
    Acid and fat may moderate Gi; avoiding peaks in blood sugar is essential to benefit health.
    High-insulin levels are detrimental to chronic health.
    Proper preparation of grains and legumes minimises toxins.

  41. Hi I a 44 yr old mum, I had had awful symptoms in the past 3 yrs ranging from migraine, aching bones, chronic fatigue to name a few. My ferritin level was 10 so I was put on iron tablets, it is now 34. My platelets are 145 a bit low I have been told. After many visits to doctors the last one I saw about six weeks ago gave me vitamin c and d to take along with my iron. Now I feel a bit better but no where near where I should be. The doctor thinks I have hyper mobility, I don’t know if that’s correct but I am willing to try anything to help me and the way I feel. The doctor suggested I look at your book and website to understand about food, which would also help with the absorption of vitamins. Being a busy Mum with 2 young children I wonder which book or recipes you would recommend to get me started, I am already trying to cut out sugar which is a start. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Rachel,

      We only have one book, but there are UK, Australian, and North American editions (also a Hungarian edition). Search your bookseller for Perfect Health Diet or Jaminet.

      I do think our diet will help. The main keys – cut out sugar, wheat, and soybean oil/corn oil/canola oil/safflower oil/sunflower oil. Replace them with natural whole foods, for oils use coconut milk and butter and beef tallow. Cook for yourself. Try to have roughly equal proportions of (1) meat/fish/eggs, (2) starches, (3) fruits, and (4) vegetables. Also focus on circadian rhythm entrainment, that’s discussed in chapter 42 of our book. Do intermittent fasting, meaning confine your eating to 8 hours a day, but don’t undereat – eat just as much food as you do normally.

      We have recipes on this site, click the Recipes tab. Russ Crandall is also coming out with a PHD cookbook shortly.

      Let me know how you do!

      Best, Paul

  42. Hi Paul,
    When you said for oils to use coconut milk, do you mean coconut oil?
    I have 2 other questions. Is macadamia nuts a safe oil? (I find the taste very neutral and good for mayonnaise).
    Also, is carob as good as cocoa? (cocoa makes my heart beats faster). Also, both cocoa and carob are beans, so, I am a bit confused…..
    ML, Marie

    • Hi Marie,

      Either coconut oil or coconut milk are fine. The first for frying, the second for soups, stews, curries, flavoring, coffee, etc.

      Macadamia nut oil or butter is great. Best of all nut oils.

      Yes, carob is good. Beans/seeds/nuts from the tropics are generally good, those from cooler climates are generally bad.

  43. After starting your diet 3 months ago I have finally rid myself of the headaches that I’ve had for 25+ years. I suspect they were related to my acid reflux, which is also a thing of the past. My problem is alcohol….even 1 drink will trigger a bad headache. I don’t drink to excess (3-5 drinks per week) and I really don’t want to give it up. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s wine, beer or spirits. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Lisa,

      That would be a good topic for a blog post. There is an alcohol chapter in the book (Chap 15) which lists a number of nutrients that can help you deal successfully with alcohol, try those. Another possibility is that this is due to a persisting small intestinal infection, which may have been more severe in the past (headaches and reflux) but is still causing the alcohol sensitivity. Vitamins A, D, C, zinc, and iodine may help, also circadian rhythm entrainment. A third possibility is that due to genetic mutations you may have an innate problem with alcohol and are best off avoiding it.

      • Lisa,

        On the PHD I experience the same thing when drinking alcohol that is, a headache during or after one drink and/or no enjoyment of the drink as in – not a good feeling at all. This holds for any type of alcohol. I have been following PHD 3 years now.

        The only thing that brings back the “fun” in drinking alcohol is sugar or probably more precisely, the fructose in the sugar. Starch, as in glucose, doesn’t do it.

        I first noticed the improvement to alcohol metabolism when I added more fruit to my carb mix under PHD and I have even experimented with adding sugar directly to my alcohol (margarita, etc) solidifying my hypothesis. In fact, if I want to drink all night with minimum or no hangover the next day, I must consume some sugar while drinking. Were talking 4 drinks in 6-7 hours type thing, nothing impressive mind you but something I can’t do on PHD due to feeling like garbage from alcohol poisoning.

        Some might say this is likely just my brain being exposed to higher levels of alcohol because the liver is preoccupied with metabolizing the fructose as well as the alcohol. I doubt this very much for numerous reasons.

        • Perry, What type of sugar do you consume when you drink? Does fruit juice work – as in vodka and orange juice? I will try it and see if it helps. Don’t want to give up alcohol completely and forever. Thank you very much!!!

          • I eat more fruit now throughout the day then Paul generally recommends (I don’t eat starch until dinner)so when happy hour rolls around I am usually ok to just have the glass of wine and feel good. I don’t know if it is more important to have fructose leading up to the drink (this I suspect) or none throughout the day then fructose with the alcohol as in vodka and OJ. If I was going to drink alot, I would make sure to have sugar over the time period I was drinking or some other food containing fructose.

            Keep in mind this is pretty heretical in Paleo circles…might even get you kicked out of the club 🙂

            I still never eat pufa while drinking and try to avoid dairy as well as wheat.

  44. Thank you so much for your quick response. I will try your suggestions. Also, thank you Paul and Shou-Ching for the fantastic book and all of your research and hard work. I am reading your book (from my local library) and just ordered it because I know I will be referring to it again and again. Kudos, bravo, etc!!!

  45. Diagnosed with SIBO 3 yrs ago, I have been PHD/Paleo/low FODMAP for 1 year with good results. Yesterday my yearly bloodwork came back high cholesterol (315), and bad TSH. Dr. is retesting to make sure, but any suggestions if the numbers are correct. 46 yr. old female in need of advice!

  46. I’m wondering why you no longer recommend blu ray light therapy – is there something wrong with it? I’ve been using blu ray for SAD and it seems to help. Thanks!

    • It does work for SAD but I’m concerned that blue light without accompanying red may be harmful to mitochondria, which could lead to retinal damage in the long run. A white light box solves that problem.

  47. HI Paul,
    I heard you mention on a podcast (cannot remember which one) that you were to have a forum soon so PHD’ers could form their own community. Is there one? If so, how do I find it?? 🙂 thanks!!

  48. Hi. I was told I had gallstones 8 yrs ago, but never had any symptoms. I’ve been working out for 2 years and eating a balanced diet with protein at every meal, especially high protein (egg, greek yogurt) after my workout. I noticed that I was gaining muscle, but the stubborn fat on my belly and around my wais would not go away. So, I made a change. A month ago I started drinking green smoothies daily and eating a mostly vegetarian diet with limited animal proteins (cut out my daily eggs and greek yogurt) and limited nuts and seeds (I had noticed these made me look and feel bloated). Since then I’ve actually looked better, and I still have retained muscle (though in some places not as much). I did, however, experience 2 painful gallstone attacks and looked yellow (after eating fish with arugula and another after a green smoothie with mustard greens). I stopped consuming these two bitter greens because I’ve read they could be responsible for my gallstone attack. I understand that I need fat for my gallbladder to function, but don’t know if it’s the bitter greens or the fat that are giving me issues. I don’t want to eat the full fat and put on the weight I’ve lost and feel bloated again…I finally look really fit and feel great (aside from those attacks). I don’t want to keep eating foods high in oxalates if it’s going to hurt me more, though. And I don’t want to eat foods high in fat if that’s going to make me pack on the pounds and make my gallbladder worse too. I don’t know what the happy medium is where my gallbladder functions perfectly and I keep the physique I am now happy with.

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