Luke, the First Year

Today is Luke’s first birthday, and Katherine Morrison wants me to spill the beans:

Paul Jaminet, we know you’re so very busy with work and family but if you have a moment, we’d love a photo update of your sweet boy (or the whole family!) and an update about how things are going generally; how long it took for him to get have more organized circadian rhythyms; how and when he took to solids; what he’s eating now. If there’s anything else you’d like to share about your parenting journey, we’d love to hear that too.

That’s a lot of ground to cover. Here’s a little photo and video update, and a recipe for PHD baby food.

Luke’s growth

Here’s a photo of Luke at age 1 month:

Luke at age 1 month

You can see photos of Luke at age 3 months in my previous post about Luke’s baptism. Here’s one from February, age 6 months:

Luke Jaminet in his hat 2015-02-22

The hat was knitted by a guest at our October 2014 Perfect Health Retreat. (Thank you Deidre!).

Luke has gotten his teeth in earlier than the other babies he plays with. He started getting teeth at 4 months, had eight teeth by age eight months, and teeth 9 through 12 have sprouted up this August. Here’s a photo from the May Perfect Health Retreat, age 9 months, showing off his teeth:

Luke at May 2015 Perfect Health Retreat 07

Luke is lean and strong, athletic and venturesome, and quick to smile. He rarely crawls on hands and knees – he’ll occasionally crawl on one or two knees when on a very smooth soft surface, but much more often he bear crawls, keeping his knees off the ground. Recently, he’s begun walking. Here’s a video from last weekend, showing him walking, bear crawling, and babbling:

Luke’s circadian rhythms

We’ve had no problems here. He’s always slept very well and kept a regular schedule. When he was very young, he had a clear 4 hour cycle. At night he would sleep 3.5 hours, feed for half an hour, and go immediately back to sleep for another 3.5 hours. In the day he would be awake 3 hours and sleep 1 hour.

For some time now he’s been on a two-nap schedule. He sleeps at night from about 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. Sometimes he sleeps through the night, sometimes he gets up to feed once. In the day, he naps from about 10:30 am to 11:30 am and from 4 pm to 5 pm. He generally goes outdoors to play for an hour before each nap, then comes home, feeds, and falls asleep.

We didn’t do anything special except keep him on our own rhythms — including 12 hours of orange-red light at night and 12 hours of bright natural light in the day — and take him outdoors for 2 hours of sun, people watching, and activity each day, one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Luke’s night waking seems to be driven almost entirely by hunger. A large feeding before bedtime, or better yet a meal rich in carbohydrate and glycine (from collagen), helps his sleep. We give him a soup with rice, fruit, and bone-and-joint stock before bed, flavored with a bit of coconut milk or egg yolks, vinegar, and drop of fish sauce.

Most other parents strike me as fearful of nature. Children are bundled up and shielded from the sun. We would take Luke out in a diaper and onesie, so he would get sun on arms and legs, carry him to get exercise ourselves, and let him crawl barefoot; the other babies would have layers of clothing, hats, and shoes, and be pushed in strollers with sunshields for further protection. In this aspect, we are much more ancestral in our parenting.

Luke’s food

Luke was exclusively breast fed through age 3 months, after which we started using formula. To make up for some of the deficits of formula, we supplemented it a bit:

  • To make up for the missing milk oligosaccharides, a form of fiber that is fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, we added a bit of vinegar to Luke’s formula.
  • To make up for the missing nucleotides, we added a drop of fish sauce.
  • To make up for missing cholesterol and other lipids, we added some egg yolk.

We tries to minimize egg protein in his food by puncturing the yolk sac and draining the insides into the milk, rather than adding the whole yolk to the milk.

At age 5 months or so, we introduced solid food in the form of chicken rice congee, but within a few weeks we developed a recipe that will be given in a followup post. We made up a PHD meal suitable for infants, pureed it with a blender, and mixed it into his milk. He soon came to love this “PHD milk” and started to refuse plain formula.

Luke has never had cheerios, rice puffs, or any of the other processed foods that pediatricians recommend. He eats our food or his “PHD milk”. White rice is our equivalent of cheerios.

At about age 6 months, we started sharing our food with him as we ate. Feeding him this way is a little slow and when he gets really hungry, “PHD milk” is always the best option.

We introduced new foods gradually, out of concern that he might react badly to something. For example, he tried avocado for the first time at his 7 month birthday. But so far, Luke has enjoyed every food we have given him, and there has been no sign of any sensitivity or adverse reaction. He loves chocolate – so much so that for a while he would root in the trash for old chocolate wrappers in the hope of finding chocolate inside – and is not very interested in cucumber, but has never refused to eat any food. His favorite everyday food is Daddy’s lunch, typically rice, meat, and vegetables drenched in egg yolks, coconut milk, vinegar, and fish sauce. After every meal, we give him fruit for dessert.

When he was just beginning to eat solid food on his own, I had a surprise. Sitting on the sofa working on my laptop, I gave him a banana to play with. He became very quiet and I didn’t pay attention to him for about ten minutes. Then I looked over. The whole banana was gone, but for a few shards of the peel, and Luke had brown banana peel fragments smeared over his face and clothes. He had eaten the whole banana, peel and all! He looked at me a little nervously, as if fearful he had done something wrong, then gave me a big smile.

Luke after eating whole banana 2015-04-09

That was in April, at age 7½ months.

Luke was very pleased when we first gave him beef fat – we gave him trimmed fat from a sirloin steak before giving him the meat. He loves to eat ribs and will gnaw the bones for quite a while:

Luke with a bone

He’s been out to restaurants several times. Here is his first taste of restaurant sushi – salmon roe and avocado with rice:

Luke sushi July 2015 03

We recently let him try dairy for the first time. Here he is having sampled yogurt:

Luke after first yogurt

Coming up next: our recipe for “PHD milk”. This is still the dominant food in Luke’s diet.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Marcelo Freitas

    Happy birthday Luke.
    Congratulations to Paul and Shou-Ching!
    Thank you for your kindness and help!
    God bless you.

  2.!!! Thanks for the update and photos. Congratulations on such a healthy happy child. Grace and peace to you and yours.

  3. Luke is such a cutie pie!! How fortunate he is to have such a healthy start to his life. I really enjoyed reading this update, and I look forward to the future infant recipes!

  4. Beautiful Boy! Gorgeous photos, thank you for sharing, Fascinating to read about the bone gnawing too.

  5. What a delicious post! A joy to see all those photos.

  6. Oh! And the vinegar…..seems to me that you have been mentioning vinegar a lot recently in your responses the Q&A section. You have always said it helped with blood sugar when eating starches. And here you mention it for the oligos. Might there be more info on the subject forthcoming? Or did you say more elsewhere that I missed?

  7. Oh!

    You’re my hero now, Paul.
    You are revamping medicine!

    Congratulations to Mrs. Morrison. You are doing great!

  8. Thank you so much for the update on your handsome guy!
    Shou-Ching and you are doing such a wonderful job.
    Best wishes.

  9. What a darling — and lucky — boy! This was very, very interesting. Makes me wish I could have “do over” with my son who was raised when we were following a macrobiotic diet. He didn’t sleep through the night til he was 2! I’m sure he was starving for nutrients. 😕

  10. Love this post! Thanks for sharing how it is going on the kid front. You may have already found it, but I think RIE parenting would really resonate with you. A couple of my favorite tenets:

    We allow children to develop motor and cognitive skills naturally

    We value intrinsic motivation and inner-directedness

  11. So cute baby Luke! 😛
    Reading this post together with my son. He also loves the pictures, the video and the story about the banana too:)
    Happy birthday Luke, best wishes for you All, looking forward to more updates!

  12. Happy Birthday Luke! He’s adorable. Paul, thanks so much for the update. I can’t wait to get your recipe for PHD milk (expecting my own little one in a couple months) 🙂

  13. Paul, can you give some more specifics on how you doctored the formula? Quantities?

    • Just to clarify, I mean the vinegar, fish sauce, and egg yolk that you used to supplement the basic formula. Not the “PHD milk” which I know you mentioned you’ll post in a follow-up. I’m interested in giving both a try with my 7-month old. Thanks.

      • Hi Steve,

        Yes. The best procedure is to taste the milk yourself and look for a delicious flavor. It shouldn’t be too salty (too much fish sauce) or too sour (too much vinegar). I typically used about 3-4 drops rice vinegar and 1 drop fish sauce.

        • I’m surprised that a few drops of these things can be significant. I was also surprised that you went to the trouble to pierce the membrane of the yolk and extract the contents without using the membrane. Fascinating. I still don’t know when seemingly small things are relevant.But I feel so incredibly fortunate that I can read your writings. Thanks again, for the incredible gift you give humanity.

  14. So adorable 🙂 And such clear evidence of the benefits of PHD!

  15. “Most other parents strike me as fearful of nature. Children are bundled up and shielded from the sun. We would take Luke out in a diaper and onesie, so he would get sun on arms and legs, carry him to get exercise ourselves, and let him crawl barefoot; the other babies would have layers of clothing, hats, and shoes, and be pushed in strollers with sunshields for further protection. In this aspect, we are much more ancestral in our parenting.”

    A friend of mine forgot to put sunscreen on her 2 year old and she got a mild sunburn. She had a “well-child” pediatrician appointment the next day and the pediatrician told my friend that he could report her to child protective services for failing to apply sunscreen to her child. She was sternly lectured about the risk of melanoma. THIS is why parents have become fearful.

  16. Many many returns of the day Luke!

  17. Thank you for sharing, Paul. What a beautiful, healthy boy you have!

  18. Happy Birthday to Luke, and congratulations to you & Shou-Ching, Paul! Looking forward to seeing you all again.

  19. Happy birthday to Luke. What a beautifully healthy and happy boy! May he always have that adorable smile on his face. Good job!!

  20. So adorable! I love how he bear-crawls 🙂

  21. why did you stop breastfeed him at such an early age ?
    of course if it’s something private, feel free to not share this.

  22. Adorable! Thanks for the post. Our daughter (now 16 months) bear-crawled as well. I haven’t seen any other kids do this. started crawling around 6 months. Had 12 teeth by 11 months too. I haven’t done quite as good a job feeding her healthy foods, but her first favorite foods were egg yolk, liver pate (she loved this), broccoli, and sweet potatoes (never liked avocado or banana much). Nowadays she is much pickier. She has a distinct preference for sweet veggies (carrots, peas, beets) and fruit. Hit or miss on protein. I just continue to offer her a variety of choices. I don’t feel too guilty about giving her occasional rice puffs and cheerios since they’re pretty clean as far as processed foods go. No goldfish or cookies allowed though.

  23. Hi Paul, that is a very beautiful boy! I would love to know your take on first year vaccinations.


  24. Happy Birthday, Luke! I can’t believe it’s already been a year – time flies!

    Thanks for sharing what you’re feeding Luke. I’m always curious what other PHDer’s do with their children. My daughter is two and the first grandchild, so sometimes we get a hard time for doing things differently. 😉

  25. What a delightful post!! Happy birthday to your healthy and handsome Luke!

  26. Wonderful post! Love the pictures of your happy and healthy little guy.

    How do you pierce the yolk (and get just yolk into whatever you’re making)? I usually have a hard time separating yolk and white completely and would like to try your method.

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  29. Love the update! Thanks for posting. My baby boy Max is coming up on one year soon (9/9) and it’s nice to kow how other like-minded parents are managing. 🙂

  30. That is one cute baby! Absolutely adorable!!

  31. Many happy days ahead of you with your beautiful little boy. He is very fortunate to have such wonderful parents. Happy Birthday Luke and Congratulations!

  32. What brand of fish sauce do you use? The ones I’ve seen contain sugar and salt. Is that OK?

  33. Hi Paul,
    Wasnt sure where to post this, but was wondering if you could share your opinion on this.
    Our 19 month old daughter has never been apparently sick . Of course I usually like to celebrate that fact, but then I start thinking about things I’ve read about the immune system being formed and trained in first few years of life, and then I begin to worry. Does this sound worrisome? I realize you can’t know for sure but wanted to know your basic thought on that if you would. For some background, she is still breastfeeding a little every day (I think mostly for comfort at this point) and eats full meals. She doesn’t go to daycare except church nursery once a week. I’m not running around with antibacterial wipes scrubbing her hands (I rarely think to wash her hands before she eats! I don’t know if that’s good or bad!)
    Do you think it’s possible that her lack of sickness is just because of some protection from breastmilk? Or maybe I’m not letting her get enough exposure to germs?
    Thank you!

  34. So cute! This brings back memories of when my kids were that age. They both LOVED steak. They couldn’t chew it obviously, but whenever we had it we’d give them a long strip they could hold in their hands like a popsicle and they would basically suck on it until it dissolved. They usually ended up covered from head to toe in streak juice … but I’m sure it was very nutritious!

  35. Thank you so much for the update! Luke looks absolutely gorgeous, happy and healthy! You’ve done a great job so far!!

    My son Dylan is 4 months younger than your boy and I am trying to raise him PHD style. We’ve done a lot of things similarly and I have also tried some things differently. But this post has already given me lots of great ideas! Keep them coming if you have time 🙂

    All the best, Claire (a PHD follower since the early days!)

  36. Hello Paul,

    We have 2-month old baby. He is adopted, so we are feeding him formula. Our questions are how soon can we introduce egg yolk to the formula? How much? And how to prepare it? Do you boiled it first, etc?

    • Hi F.P.

      We started mixing one egg yolk per week, increasing to one egg yolk per day, in with milk at about age 3 months, and also introduced chicken stock with rice at that time. We increased that to 2 eggs per day and chicken soup at about 4-5 months, then the PHD baby food ( mixed with milk at about 5-6 months.

      Two ways to do it: With formula, mix the yolk and water in a mug, microwave 50 seconds (to 70 C, not near boiling, but enough to cook the egg yolk), strain the yolk-water through a strainer, and refrigerate; when ready to make formula use this yolk-water. If you are starting with milk, mix the egg yolk with some milk in a mug, and then microwave 50 seconds (to 70 C, not near boiling; if it coagulates you’ve microwaved too long) and then pour it through a strainer (so no large pieces that can clog the nipple are retained) into a bottle and cool.

      I would think you can start now. Formula is deficient in lipids so the egg yolk should improve it. Try to use eggs from pastured hens.

      Best, Paul

  37. Hello Paul,

    Thank you so much for sharing these details. I loved the banana story. My son is about 6.5 months old and was also exclusively breastfed until 3.5 months. Sadly he suffered from an inability to sleep much from the very beginning and to be calm which I understood after an adrenal crisis was caused by the stress hormones in my milk. We put him on formula and he began sleeping in his crib, the baby carrier no longer being necessary to get him to fall asleep.

    Anyway, I come to beg for advice about giving them egg yolk! At 4 months I began doing the exact same thing you describe: puncturing the yolk sac and letting the liquid yolk drip into his formula. Just once a day. It seemed to lead to chronic vomiting, no diarrhea though or other signs of sickness. He vomited even when there was no egg yolk. I stopped giving it for a month or so and restarted when he was a bit under six months. I didn’t make a link, but he dropped his third nap at this time. And in fact I gave the egg yolk at that time of day, his third bottle.

    Now, for two days I decided to give him the egg yolk before his second nap to see if it would help him to sleep longer. He sleeps generally 2-2.5 hours for the two naps. But he always rubs his eyes, showing that he still has a sleep debt. The opposite occurred: he only napped for 45 minutes, waking crying. I suspected the egg. The next two days I didn’t give it at all. The first day we were on the road and he took a short third nap before waking after the car was stopped. Today he took a real third nap in his bed, just like in the past! 45 minutes. The egg is definitely the culprit.

    I boil the eggs for about 4 minutes. The inner white is liquidy and I do my best to avoid putting any in, but I’m afraid that sometimes some uncooked white drips in. Could this be the problem? Tiny amounts of white? I’m skeptical, given that it probably hasn’t occurred every single time, and he has been refusing his third nap systematically. I never got the impression that he was in pain by the way.

    What should I do? Cook it for longer and spoon-feed? I know that I will get a lot less into him because he has not taken well to solids yet.

    God bless you,

  38. I’m convinced that babies that have the chance to be barefoot will be better enabled to walk sooner than those always wearing socks etc. Unfortunately my son is always wearing socks because we can’t do otherwise–it’s just too cold in our old stone house, especially on the floor.

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