A New Venture: Perfect Health Retreat

On Tuesday (“Toward a Proof of the PHD”), I said that for several years now I’ve been convinced that following the diet and lifestyle advice of Perfect Health Diet would greatly improve nearly everyone’s health, and have been looking for ways to prove it.

To generate proof, we need a group of people to adopt our diet and live our lifestyle, and be able to directly observe the results – without any selection or bias, so that we see negative as well as positive results.

That’s a scientific and scholarly goal. Our other goal is to help our readers heal illness and enjoy long, happy, healthy lives.

This weekend, we’re going to announce a new venture that will help us achieve both goals: the Perfect Health Retreat.

How It Got Started

Damon Young is a professional chef who operates an upscale lodging place, Albert Oaks Austin, on a wooded two acre lot in Austin Texas. Damon has long suffered from obesity, diabetes, and a number of other health problems. Like so many others, he had gone through a litany of medical treatments, including bariatric surgery, without benefit. Late last year he discovered PHD, and in six months has lost a great deal of weight, normalized his blood sugars, improved his sleep, and generally feels worlds better. He was also impressed with the tastiness of our food.

In March Damon contacted me and invited me to stay at Albert Oaks Austin during PaleoFX. While there he proposed a joint venture: that I create a hands-on educational program that would teach people how to live our diet and lifestyle advice. He would host the program, cook and serve PHD food throughout, and provide a supportive, stress-free environment supportive of all aspects of PHD advice, including lighting that supports circadian rhythms and an activity/exercise program that complies with PHD guidelines.

We decided to call this program the Perfect Health Retreat. For the last two months, since the end of PaleoFX, I have been developing the educational program. About four weeks ago, we began a “beta program” in which volunteers with significant health problems test-piloted the program for us.

I’m pleased to say that the beta program has been a huge success: every participant has seen dramatic health improvements, in several cases shocking their doctors.

More information about Perfect Health Retreats can be found at the Perfect Health Retreat tab and, eventually, on PerfectHealthRetreat.com. However, if you would like to know more about the program, please contact Paul Jaminet at paul@perfecthealthretreat.com and 617-576-1753 or Whitney Ross Gray at whitney@perfecthealthretreat.com and 910-763-8530.

In the meantime, I’d like to share a report from one of the beta participants.

Jorjan Cullender Hendrix’s story

Jorjan Cullender Hendrix was the first of our beta participants; she began the program in April even before I had prepared educational materials. Jorjan writes:

I feel 1000% better than I felt 75 days ago.

I was diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome in the fall of 2001. I stayed active and continued to work; however, many nights I would cry myself to sleep in silence and without the ability to make tears. I took solace in Coca Colas and sugary and salty snacks which made me gain 45 lbs. No one in my family knew of my condition until further complications and problems arose. I developed many food allergies, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and bone spurs in my feet, fingers, and neck. I became extremely sensitive to touch and had extremely dry eyes and mouth.

Over the last three years I lost 35 lbs by cutting back on snacks and trying to always eat before 6 pm. However, this had little to no effect on how I felt physically and emotionally. I looked better but still felt like a prisoner to my syndrome. Every day I worried whether I would make it to the next day. Stress took a toll: higher blood pressure, less sleep, and a feeling of total hopelessness.

I needed a cane most days to get around due to a persistent injury to my hip and knee. I was scheduled to have both replaced in January of 2011. However, I lost my Mom, and then when my job status changed I lost my health insurance, so the surgeries were postponed. A true blessing in disguise, as I now see no need for either after being on the Perfect Health Diet.

My blood pressure was always around 154/140 and I was extremely sleep deprived due to stress and constant pain. I could not endure being outside if it was warmer than 8o degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes just the touch of water from a shower could send me up the wall with sensitivity.

My good friend from college Damon Young invited me to attend the Paleo FX conference with he and his wife in Austin. Dr. Paul Jaminet was staying at their bed and breakfast. I found myself getting to know him and about his and his wife’s self discovery and writing of the Perfect Health Diet.  I discovered I might benefit from his Perfect Health Diet. I started PHD on April 1st, supported by Damon and his wife Joyce at Albert Oaks Austin.

I was apprehensive about the intermittent fasting, but after the first few days it was very easy. Giving up the cokes was the hardest part. I still will cheat occasionally and have one, but I’ve noticed I feel aches afterwards.

I started spending more time outdoors and found that working outdoors and staying very active elevated my mood. My energy level has usually been good but I would often after a 10 hour work day crash at 6 pm. Then on the weekends I would stay in bed all weekend. Today, after 75 days on PHD, I can easily do a 10-12 hour work day 7 days a week. My energy level has risen through the roof. I work outdoors 5-6 hours a day and some of that during the heat of the day. For over 10 years I have not been able to endure temperatures over 80 degrees, but now I can tolerate Texas summer midday heat and sun.

Soon I no longer needed my cane to walk, and over the following weeks I was able to reduce and then stop my pain medications. Just a short time earlier, I had thought I would never again walk without pain.

The diet is easy to follow; the food we eat is comparable in quality and taste to what I have eaten in 5-star restaurants. There is so much variety. I am never hungry.

I have learned how to make fermented vegetables and eat them regularly. I am enjoying the outdoors again. I enjoy working in our organic garden and caring for our chickens. I have been allergic to chickens and eggs for years, but now I am showing less sensitivity to eggs.

My excitement increased when three more beta candidates joined our program 30 days ago. I had already seen so much personal improvement I was able to share with them. I would do nightly checks to see if they had on their amber lights and or glasses if they were watching TV. This allowed me to share my excitement about the program and PHD.

We fixed and ate our meals with each other. We did our supplements for the week together. We developed recipes of our own, and kidded each other about foods we were learning to like that we had previously thought we could never eat. We developed a family atmosphere during our video conferences and classes with Dr. Jaminet,  as we all sat in a big living room with a big screen TV and it was like family night at home.

Just 3 months ago, I didn’t think I would live many years more. After my last physical, my doctor told me, “You need to quit worrying about your father-in-law and your sister making it to next Christmas, if you have another 2-3 years like the last ones they will need to worry about you.”

Now I know I can look forward to many more years of a healthy and happy life with my children and grandchildren. My son, who is overseas, can’t say enough about how great I sound on the phone. He is now reading Perfect Health Diet because of my “just short of miraculous results.”

Many thanks to my friend Damon for inviting me to the program, to Dr. Paul Jaminet and his wife Shou-Ching Jaminet for writing Perfect Health Diet, and to the Perfect Health Retreat at Albert Oaks Austin. I have a new lease on life, thanks to you all.

Thank you Jorjan! We hope that many more will experience similar health improvements!

Leave a comment ?


  1. Man Paul you’re a healer.

  2. Brilliant, I hope you get all the recognition you deserve. Sounds like my ideal retreat! Wish it was in the UK. All the best with your venture.

  3. Wonderful – here’s hoping that you can expand your retreats! It would be a dream to have some hands on talks…..or eat a prepared PHD meal. I am adding more PHD foods, but seem to not be able to get ALL the food in. The main thing is I feel better since adding some potatoes or rice an apple or banana, AND fermented foods. Thank you for sharing what has healed you and your wife and Thank You both for the work you put into the book!

  4. This is thrilling. Mazal Tov!!

  5. GREAT Idea! Have you ever considered somehow sponsoring a contestant on “The Biggest Loser”? Not sure how that would work, but it would really showcase the PHD principles on a national level.

    • Hi Julia,

      Well, PHD isn’t the fastest weight loss method, it’s trying to be the healthiest. So we would lose on The Biggest Loser, unless they made a special 6-month contest! It would be fun though to participate.

  6. This is awesome. Glad to finally see a non-vegan alternative to healthpromoting.com

  7. I have been following the PHD fairly closely (including the supplements) for about half a year. Though I wasn’t in terrible shape, I had more-than-minor pains and, like Jorjan, had difficulty sleeping on that account. That is mercifully gone, and I have seen many other benefits as well. One of the more surprising ones, which I didn’t even realize until just now, is that heat affects me much less than it used to. We are having typical summer weather, but even without the air conditioner I rarely feel hot. That is certainly a change, but I never would have expected it.

    • Hi Henry,

      Yes, I noticed something similar. I no longer need air conditioning in the Boston summer, and when I visited California a few years ago and the temperature was over 100 degrees everyone else was complaining but I felt fine.

      • for me it’s the opposite.

        i hate hate hate cold (have mild Raynaud)

        now i have become more cold tolerant.

        (i still hate cold)


  8. It would be tempting to go there to try out the stuff I’m too lazy or cautious to do, like try fermented vegetables and bone broths. I could never get the hang of fasting either. I don’t think I could tolerate any sugar.

  9. I recently found your blog and am reading your book. I noticed that your apple icon shows plantains as a safe starch yet you have made no mention of it in your book (so far) and I haven’t seen any recipes for them on your site. Do you eat plantains? Any ideas for healthful ways to eat them? They’re new to me but I want the variety. Thanks.

  10. Thanks for the plantain info. I was wondering why coconut flour isn’t considered safe when the other forms are fine. Could you clarify? Thanks.

  11. Brilliant! All the best for the new venture.

  12. Liked so much the article. Thanks for all the advices 🙂 im finally losing weight by reading and educate my lifestyle.


  13. Jorjan, I am really curious about your inability to handle the heat. This has been the case for me over the past 5 years and I have been living in Australia for the winter then the US for the winter (I’m Australian). I have attributed it to perimenopause but I also have SLE (Lupus), which is, as you may know, related quite strongly to Sjorjens. Anyway one of the Drs Jaminet, or you could comment on this I would be so grateful. I have been on a diet quite similar to PhD for 25 years but slacked off for about 10 and only recently took all grains nuts seeds and beans out of my diet. I feel better in myself but eczema and other issues persist.

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