The Book Cover

Update: Printing of the proof copy was delayed a day, but it printed this morning and if it passes the printer’s inspection we should receive it tomorrow.

The book cover is:

This was also the popular choice. There were 11 votes for cover C, 5 for cover A, 3 for B, and 2 for D.

Honors for best guess go to Luming Zhou of the Organism as a Whole blog. Luming was not only the first to choose the correct answer, but also did an excellent job of guessing our reasoning.

We felt:

(A)  Was too dark, and a pedantic attitude could be a turn-off.

(B)  The apple is not our favorite fruit – I’ve made fun of it here and here due to the high fructose content of commercial varieties – and an apple is already in our logo, so we didn’t want to overdo it.

(C)  The winner!

(D)  Very attractive at first glance, but we didn’t want to give people the impression we favor a vegetarian diet, or that lettuce is an important part of our diet. Substituting other foods for the lettuce didn’t work as well.

We wanted a cover that would make people salivate, but also surprise them – to make people ask, “Is that yummy food really perfectly healthy?”

We strongly believe that a healthy diet is also a great-tasting diet. Evolution didn’t design us to dislike what’s good for us; quite the opposite. Any mixture of carbs and fat tastes great, and these macronutrient sources should be 85% or more of a healthy diet. We wanted this idea that a healthy diet should taste great to be upfront on the cover.

I mentioned in the comments that I would have liked a steak-and-potatoes cover. But my co-conspirators, both women, preferred ice cream and berries. It looks great – but rather a small portion, to my eye. Hopefully just right for many readers however.

Fantastic job, Monika! Thanks much.

Leave a comment ?


  1. interesting that you chose ice cream for the cover. would be interested in hearing more on why that specifically was chosen verse maybe plain greek yogurt.

  2. Well, we mentioned that we wanted to surprise people.

    We regularly eat both homemade ice cream and yogurt. Either would work. But yogurt is already widely regarded as a health food.

  3. Yes, I consider homemade ice cream a health food, too, along with homemade mayo, butter, bacon, and high quality lard from healthy, happy pigs. When I say that to people in conversation, they look at me like I have two heads (obviously doesn’t bother me, though, or else I’d keep my thoughts to myself, right?).

  4. Anna – You’re making me hungry. Must be time for lunch.

  5. Congratulations!

    What’s not to like about chocolate ice cream, berries and mint in an elegant wine glass. Can’t wait to see it in person (so to speak)!

  6. No offense meant. I’m glad I got the coverless e-version first! This cover never would’ve drawn me in – I feel cold just looking at it. Would’ve inferred that your Perfect Health Diet is a lacto-veg, fruit-heavy regime. Paul, I’d have seconded your steak and potato, maybe with an artfully cracked-open coconut alongside.

    I hope the book is a great success for you and Shou-Ching (if I may), and that you celebrate the publication with your favorite adult beverage in the most elegant of stemware!


  7. Thanks, KKC! I’m sure we’ll be having a glass of wine tomorrow as we look at our book!

    On our next book, we’ll get reader feedback earlier to help us make the decision. I think it’s helpful.

  8. Ice cream is also listed as a recommended food at the beginning of the book. It’s not until p. 111 that the “minimal sugar” in your homemade recipe is mentioned. Some people may be slurping Häagen-Dazs when they get to that page…

  9. Hi Steve,

    True. Perhaps we should have qualified that first mention.

    A little fructose is tolerable if it’s not accompanied by polyunsaturated fat; ice cream fits that requirement. We don’t have any problem with berries and fruit in ice cream.

    I’ve noticed that commercial low-carb and sugar-free ice creams are becoming common. Hopefully if people are reading the book they’ll understand that sugar is not desirable.

    I confess that on occasion when we’re lazy or travelling we’ve been known to buy Haagen-Dazs ourselves …

  10. Paul, life isn’t worth living without pistachio ice cream drowned in hot fudge. Of course, that’s only in my dreams. ;-}

    • Ah, pistachio ice cream. Hard to beat that.

      Last summer I tried a banana split on Cape Cod. I used to love those as a kid, but now I could hardly eat it as the sauces were so sugary. I’m sure there are good low-sugar fudge sauces out there, but for now I’ll stick with homemade ice cream, berries, nuts, bananas, dark chocolate, and maybe a little whipped cream.

  11. “Some people may be slurping Häagen-Dazs when they get to that page…”

    There are worse things to slurp…

  12. Paul, if you don’t have an iSi cream whipper, put one on your wish list now!

    We use ours a LOT! All my friends got one because of ours.

    Unsweetened plain heavy cream (or with a tablespoon or two of liqueur added for adults) is what we usually keep in it. Forget the commercial cans of nasty whipped cream and whipped topping with to much sugar, too many stablizers and not enough real cream. A shot of real whipped cream from a cream whipper makes everything special (& gets the fat calories into kids), even plain fruit, a grain-free pancake, instead of frosting on a flourless chocolate cake…do I really need to go on?

  13. When will the book be coming???
    I can’t wait for the hard copy

  14. Abby, maybe as early as the end of next week. I had an order from Steven last week, was that yours? I don’t think I’ve gotten an address yet, I’ll need that. Send me an email.

  15. Anna, I’d never heard of iSi cream whippers, I had to look it up on Amazon. Sounds awesome. You’re making me hungry again. And I just ate.

  16. Congratulation, it must feel amazing to have completeted the project.
    The cover is lovely, but it’s the content that will sell!

    I do have a few questions about the content. Is your book the basic diet for a healthy person, or does it go into healing?
    Does it have any of your personal story?
    and I see that it has references, by any chance do you explain the biochemical processes/mechanisms as well?

    Have fun celebrating!

  17. Thanks, Kriss.

    The book does go into healing. The “Four Steps” are macronutrition, avoiding toxins, micronutrition, and healing and preventing disease. The fourth step discusses methods for maximizing immune defenses and recovering from diseases.

    The book doesn’t have many details of our personal stories. We decided to save discussion of most diseases for later blogging or for sequels, and our personal diseases were a little esoteric, so didn’t fit in very well. We have a page or so upfront, but just a general outline of what we did wrong and what diseases we got as a result.

    Biochemistry – Our book has a lot of biology, but not a lot of biochemistry. The reason is that on a molecular level things are extremely complex, and generally still poorly understood. Anything we said about molecular mechanisms would seen be proven obsolete or wrong. From a logical point of view, biochemical discussions add a lot of complexity for very little gain, since the decisive evidence comes from other sources.

    We have mentioned on the blog, in the course of discussing why most pharmaceutical drugs don’t work and always have side effects, how the gene-protein network is a very dense network, with many alternative pathways and many interactions such that it’s very difficult to trace mechanisms. This is what causes the difficulty.

    So molecular pathways are useful as clues for hypothesis generation — e.g. bacteria consume tryptophan at a high rate, so bacterial infections cause serotonin deficiencies, so a serotonin-deficiency disease might well be caused by a bacterial infection. But not so useful for figuring out the optimal diet.

    Avoiding biochemistry is one reason people have said the book is easy to read and understand, despite being science-rich.

    I think if you like science, you’ll enjoy the book. It’s sort of like sitting on the shoulder of a pair of scientific detectives, sifting through the evidence to find the criminals who cause disease.

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