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 ?


  1. Paul you are a hero!
    Thank you for all the support.

  2. Are you considering a book of menus? I find putting this diet “together” to be very confusing. Also, would like to see measurements in cups as opposed to pounds. Thanks!

  3. Paul,

    Just read your book and would like to start the diet. However, I weigh 115 lbs. and cannot fathom to eat so much food… Can I just cut the different ingredients proportionally i.e. into half?

  4. ❓ I so wish I could attend your retreat but business obligations are in the way. Do you do any private consultations outside of retreats?
    I have been faithfully following PHD for almost 3 weeks, (Have already bought 5 extra copies of your book for friends and am thrilled to say that my daughter has now dropped wheat, beans and oils from my 22 month old granddaughter’s diet)

    My concerns are about weight loss and travel. I’ve just returned from a 4 day business trip to the East Coast from Seattle. 3 hour time difference. Everything went great while there (sleep and diet) but now I’m back home, I can see it threw my circadian rhythm off. Was “munchy” and vaguely hungry last night for the first time and caved, eating too many rice crisps at 10:00 pm. First time I’ve had ANY desire to snack since beginning PHD. This morning I awoke at 5:45 with only 6 hours sleep, feeling unrested. (Normally I effortlessly sleep 8 hours.) I have 3 more trips east in the next month. Is there a strategy I can employ for my return?

    Secondly, I am a 58 year old woman with a miserable diet history that started at age 4. Currently 75lbs. overweight. I weighed after 2 weeks of following PHD and had gained 4 lbs. Haven’t weighed since. I do my best to eat .5 lb meat/seafood per day, 400 calories of rice or potatoes, vinegar or fermented foods at both meals, 3 egg yolks, and beets or carrots, plus some “lean” veggies, with usually around 2 tbs added butter, but it’s so much food! I have a hard time eating it all before getting too full. (Even though it is all so remarkably delicious. I have never enjoyed meals as much as I do PHD meals!). I’ve used Fitday and it seems I’m eating around 1200 calories.

    I have been employing IF since day 3 (except 3 TBs cream in coffee in the am) and my eating window is between 1:00 and 8:00. I am supplementing as per your recommendations. I walk most days for just 20 minutes, but try not too sit for more than 30 minutes at a time and have tried to increase movement.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to why I am gaining instead of losing? I’m desperate to lose. 🙁

    On a positive note, my bowel movements were a MESS ever since I spent 8 weeks flat in bed this spring, with a horrifyingly bad case of shingles. I am very happy to report that this morning, I had my first beautiful bowel movement (grin). Textbook perfect. Was most encouraged by that! Now, if I can just lose weight…

    Any help is appreciated…or words of encouragement. Thank you…and I apologize for such a long post.

    • Hi Ann,

      It sounds like you are doing very well. It’s hard to believe 1200 calories is too much food. You should stop the cream in your coffee — black coffee is much healthier — and reduce the butter and cream, 2 tbsp of butter plus 3 tbsp cream is quite a lot, especially when you are eating such a small amount of food. Use just enough butter or oil/fat to make your food tasty, not more.

      The initial weight gain will probably reverse once you stop the cream in your coffee, and as your gut microbiome adapts to the diet and you become better nourished.

      Circadian rhythms are very important. Unfortunately it is hard to make travel healthy. For short trips like 3-4 days I would try to keep to an artificial day that matches your home environment — e.g. if your home “day” is 8 am to 8 pm, try to make your “day” 5 am to 5 pm on the East Coast – switch to blue blocking glasses at that time, eat most of your food at lunch, get bright light exposure and exercise in the morning, avoid too much evening socializing.

      It’s good to hear your bowel movements have improved, that tells us your gut microbiome is being fixed.

      I think if you replace the cream in your coffee with food in your daytime eating window, you’ll be all set.

      No, I’m afraid I don’t do private consultations, only for retreat guests.

      Best, Paul

      • Paul, When one’s gut biome appears to have gotten fixed, but then it reverts after a period of days or weeks, what could that indicate?

      • Thank you very much. Your speedy replies amaze me.

        I was VLC right before PHD and ate almost nothing. My appetite disappears on VLC, so PHD seems like a ton of food. I also have a lapband, but it’s quite loose. Even though I am so fat, people have always commented to me that I eat small portions. I have eaten on a salad plate versus a dinner plate for years and years.

        I will drop the cream and the butter.

        Unfortunately, you reversed the time difference. To do an 8 to 8 day in the east would be 11 to 11 which of course, doesn’t work for business. I did stick to an 8:30 to 8:30 while traveling, which is just an hour off my home schedule. My guess is that the travel day home (losing 3 hours and returning very late for my body, but not that late for west coast time) is the main problem. Will just have to keep trying to do my best over the next month.

        I hope to attend your next retreat. Any idea of what month that might be ?

      • Good news to report! I’ve lost the 4 lbs originally gained when starting PHD, PLUS ANOTHER 3 lbs! After the past 15 months of relentless weight gain (roughly 3 lbs per month) PHD has reversed that frightening trend in 4 weeks. I am thrilled. I’ve found that I simply cannot eat all the food, though, so quit trying. Daily, I eat 1.5 cups rice, 8 oz of protein, 3 egg yolks and about 1 cup of veggies, plus 1/2 cup berries. Cream and butter added to foods to “make them delicious.” Sourced good bones and have at least some broth every day. Eat shellfish/salmon once a week, and grass-fed liverwurst once a week. Supplement.

        ONE MAJOR PROBLEM lingers. I get so, so lethargic after breaking my fast around noon. First I eat 3 egg yolks. About half an hour later I eat lunch. After lunch I get so sleepy and lethargic and what could best be described as apathetic. I don’t feel like working, or caring about anything. It lasts for 2 to 3 hours. No such lethargy after dinner.

        Yesterday was especially bad. After the eggs, I broke the fast with a bowl of soup made of: bone broth, spinach, nori, 1 drop sesame oil, tamari and meatballs made of grass-fed hamburger, 1 egg, minced onions and a small amount of infant rice cereal flakes (makes a great replacement for bread crumbs!)

        I had to give in and take a nap after lunch. I’ve never experienced this post-meal lethargy before in my life, other than after eating HUGE amounts at Indian buffets, or Thanksgiving.

        Am I really the only one experiencing this on IF? Any ideas? I’ve tried large meals, small meals, high fat, low fat, high veggie, low veggie. Nothing seems to help…

        • Are you only eating egg yolks for breakfast? Try rounding it out with some carbs, like a banana, or sweet potato, or berries.

        • Hi Ann,

          Great news!

          The post-meal fatigue is an immune reaction suggestive of a leaky gut and reaction to food. To prevent development of an egg allergy, make sure you discard the whites, mix the yolks with food at lunch, and heat them to make them more digestible.

          Work on gut health with liver, spinach, carrots, sunshine, vitamin C, circadian rhythms, intermittent fasting, coffee during the fast, bone and joint stock, fermented vegetables.

          • Thank you for your response. I am going to start adding the yolks directly to the first meal, then. (I never eat the whites.) Will keep working on everything else. I do eat carrots and spinach regularly. Bone broth daily.

            Loving the food. Nueropathy is getting worse…but I’m not giving up at all. I really believe in this way of eating!

        • Within a 12-hour daylight period, Paul mentioned he thinks the optimal meal window begins 3 hours after waking and ends 1 hour prior to sunset. Shifting your eating window a couple hours backwards may help your energy levels by promoting better circadian rhythms, by harmonizing the eating-cycle with the light-cycle.

          The shortest days of the year in the US are around 9 hours. During this time the sun rises around 7:30 AM and sets around 4:30 PM. Paul has stressed the importance of eating only during daylight hours. So, 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM would be a 9 hour winter-window imposed by the sun itself.

          The median sunrise in the US is about 6:30 AM and the median sunset is about 6:30 PM. So, in general, I would guess that finding a shortened eating window anywhere within that 12-hour period would be fine, but I don’t think it makes sense to eat past 6:30 PM, especially if one is exposed to light and is physically active as early as 6:30 AM.

          • There’s an old aphorism indicating that something along these lines is correct:

            “To rise at six, dine at ten, sup at six and go to bed at ten, makes a man live ten times ten.”

          • Thank you, Euthyphro. I’d missed that in the book. It’s funny…with all the tinkering I’ve done to try to eliminate the lethargy, I’d never played with the timing of my first meal! I’m usually up around 6:30, so will try breaking my fast much earlier – at around 9:30 or 10:00 and see if that helps. Unfortunately, traveling again tomorrow across 3 time zones, so the day will be messed up anyway. My constant travel is NOT helping, I know. 🙁

          • Within a 12-hour artificial sun-cycle, I wait to eat 2.5 hours after the “sunrise” (“sunrise” is also when I wake) and then I always finish eating prior to the “sunset”. If that means I eat 1.5 hours prior to sunset (which I’m not always willing or able to do), then that’s an 8-hour window; however, by waiting to eat 2.5 hours after the sunrise, I’m usually able to fast for 14.5-16 hours. That kind of flexible approach seems to work best for me.

            Symptoms such as exhaustion, fatigue, stress, hunger and over-eating can occur, if I delay breakfast past 2.5 hours. So, the key for me was learning to time breakfast, not too early, but not too late either.

            I’m grateful that Paul specified what he regards as the optimal placement of the 8-hour window within the 12-hour sun-cycle; the advice works for me, give or take about a half-hour or so, and placing the window within the right daylight-range makes the difference for me between being able to stick to a fasting schedule versus finding it to be untenable.

          • Euthyphro, it seems to be working! Over the weekend, I ate within 4 hours of waking and didn’t experience the lethargy at all. VERY pleased about that. Thank you so much for your suggestion!

      • It’s been a while since I read your book so I don’t remember if this question was addressed. Would it be okay to use organic grass fed bovine gelatin to supplement bone broth? Thank you.

    • P.S. Shou-Ching recommends making bone broth and using it in soups and stews. This is a key part of PHD cooking.

      • I tried, with frozen bones from a Safeway. The smell was so disgusting I simply could not eat the broth, and I am not a picky eater, having eaten ALL manner of “disgusting” foods living in Japan for 9 years.

        I am blaming it on the quality of the bones and am working on sourcing better bones.

        Thank you again.

        • Bones from patured animals is very important. Also, discard the water from the first quick boil. That will fix the taste.

        • What mix of bones did you use? When I use meaty beef bones, I usually take the time to roast them first (45 minutes in a 350 – 375F oven for about 45 minutes). This extra step dramatically improves flavor, eliminates the first throwaway step, but I don’t always have time for it. When I want to make broth a la PHD style, I use bones with very little meat on them such as a combination of knuckle and marrow bones. Then I follow PHD recommendations, toss out first boil, clean bones and pot, add fresh water and proceed. I also follow Paul’s recommendation and get at least one more batch of broth from the same bones (with a spoonful or two of ACV added).

          Even if you don’t like the taste of the broth it can be used to make gravies and sauces, to cook vegetables, and as a poaching liquid. Pour leftover liquids over the starch – delicious.

        • Ive never used raw bones, just the ones from the meat we eat. So Hilary’s advise of roasting them first seems sound, but boiling for a while and then discarding the water seems OK, too. For the broth, simmer the bones for at least 6 hours, after that – avoid letting too much steam escape as that will reduce the amount you get.

          I’ve read that some cultures pass the bones around for someone else to make more bone broth. I haven’t tried making two batches from one set of bones, though.

          • Paul recommends 3 hours, which is how I’ve been doing it. I routinely use the bones many times.

          • Hmm, OK. Well, every other place I’ve read about making healthy bone broth says 6 hours minimum. If 3 hours is fine for you, then that is certainly better than no bone broth at all. We use such broths often.

          • Paul shows that is possible to get at least 3 or 4 batches of bone broth from the same set of beef or pork bones. The first (brief) boil is tossed out. The next one (which is actually the first broth) takes about 3 hours at a gentle simmer. This first broth is the richest, with whatever meat was on the bones, their fat and gelatin. The next broth takes at least 6 hrs, maybe longer, and a bit of vinegar is used to help leach minerals from the bones, enriching the nutrition of the second broth. A 3rd broth is possible but takes much longer (several days I think) and produces soft bones.

            Each successive broth is thinner and milder in taste but all are highly nutritious. Second broths, and beyond, are best used in liquids where the flavors are coming from other ingredients.

            To my mind, all of this applies only to large bones (ruminants) not to poultry bones which are much lighter, thinner, etc… With very careful attention I’ve gotten 2 broths from chicken but only if starting with enough raw bones or a whole bird.

            Paul has some extensive posts on broths – check the recipe section of this site. He provides lots of photos which might be useful to anyone without experience in making broths 🙂

          • Thanks, Hillary. That’s interesting. My take from that is that, if you only want to do one broth from the bones, 6 hours would give a very good one. But the ability to do three could be very useful in the future.

          • I do mine with chicken bones from those Whole Foods roasted chickens, bones from Ribeye’s at Outback, and sometimes oxtail or marrow bones from Whole Foods. I use the nom nom paleo pressure cooker method with whatever bones I have, a couple of leeks, some carrots or celery, etc. I let it cook for an hour in the cooker and it’s pretty yummy.

        • Is it important to throw out the first water? I put mine in a crockpot and cook all day. Tastes just fine with salt and onions/garlic.

        • We had the same problem.Purchased a pressure cooker,problem solved!! Done in 3 hours tastes delicious ,no smell in the house and it is Very gelatinous .

      • Another update, in the interest of research. 🙂

        Upon your recommendation, I dropped the butter and cream. That resulted in constipation for the next 2 days. So yesterday I added both back in (but inside the eating window this time) and this morning had another perfect bowel movement. So it seems I need the fat?
        I tracked calories with Fitday. Days with added fat were around 1300. Days without added fat were around 1100 (because I increased my carb and meat intake).

        • Hi Ann,

          You need the bile. Try supplementing vitamin C, taurine, and, if you don’t eat bone/joint/tendon soups and stews, glycine. For fat, you can use whatever you like, but egg yolks and coconut milk may help you more. Great move switching the fats to the feeding window.

          • Thank you again so much. I am already take Vitamin C, but will add the taurine. I’ve ordered bones, so will hopefully be adding bone soups again soon.

            Things aren’t especially good for me, though. Several things going wacky. Have a migraine this morning. Only have 1 every 3 or 4 years. 🙁 Have a boil on my leg – haven’t had one in a dozen years, though I used to get them chronically. Bowels are a mess again this morning. I have a low grade yeast infection that just won’t clear up. And VERY, very lethargic after breaking my fast. Have tinkered with that since starting IF, with little relief. Seems no matter how small my fast-breaking meal is, nor how much vinegar or fat I eat with it, I get sleepy and lethargic after eating that first meal and it lasts for about 3 hours. (I’m not diabetic.) And of course, after nearly a month, I’ve lost zero weight.

            So today, I’m calling a naturopath to get a full blood, stool, urine work up. I was hoping your diet alone would turn things around for me, but things kind of seem to be heading the other direction, except that I now have no cravings.

            I was expecting too much. I have an article I call “Confessions”, detailing my sordid dieting past at With a history like that, even the most perfect diet alone is probably not enough.

            I grew up in rural Japan in the 1950’s. Although we did not “officially” eat the local foods because they were grown with human fertilizer, my brother and I reguarly ate roasted sweet potatoes from our neighbor’s farms, fresh out of the ground. Who knows? It might turn out I’ve had some sort of parasite since a tiny child?

            Anyway, I chose to believe that between your diet and some tests, I can achieve HEALTH, including a healthy weight!

      • I’ve added rice. I’ve added potato. It’s not the eggs that make me sleepy…it’s the first real “meal” eaten for the day, after that. I eat the egg yolks first, while preparing my lunch. If I ONLY have the egg yolks, then get distracted and don’t eat for a couple hours, no lethargy. It’s the first meal of the day that does it. I don’t at all eat huge portions…don’t know what’s going on but it’s making it hard to work!!!!!

        • Hey Anne,

          You mentioned you had neuropathy issues. I have Trigeminal and occipital neuralgia. I began taking 1000mg of L-lysine and have had major improvement. I ended up in the hospital one night bc my neuralgia was so bad I could not take my medication. I was given a prescription but the doctor told me that L-lysine is not a guarantee but could potentially help depending on the source of the disease. I was desperate after 3 straight months of it on and off, usually on. But within 48 hours I had “manageable” levels of pain. It’s been 3 months and for the most part I would say it has worked amazingly. It also worked for my mom who is 74 years old.

          It is something to look at. Like the doctor said, it doesn’t work for everyone…but it works for many!

          • Is it a herpes (HSV1- the cold sore virus) issue? I have heard that is one presentation of that virus.

          • Thank you so much, Amy. I will give that a try right away.

            I don’t have pain…but the fingers on my left hand have been more numb than usual, as well as the right side of my face. I’m sure it has something to do with stress, travel and posture…but I’ll try the lysine and let you know.

    • Okay. Got it!

      A follow-up…I just had to see what the scale said again, as I was wondering if my ANXIETY about the scale was messing me up. Happy to report that all 4 gained lbs are gone! No additional weight loss, but I think that my middle is shrinking, in spite of no weight loss. I probably just panicked a little early. Still happy I posted though, as I’ll be following the cream and broth suggestions.

      Happy PHD-ing, folks! 🙂

  5. I’ve been vegetarian (lacto-ovo) all my life and just can’t get my head around eating meat now. Do you have any vegetarian suggestions?

  6. just posted this same query here;

    but thought more people may see it if i post here as well;

    Hi Paul et al,

    Does anyone have any info on foods/fats/oils that are high in Vitamin K2 MK-4.
    The best i’ve found so far is Goose Liver Pate/Paste; ~369 mcg per 100g.
    I have been trying to find the MK-4 content of the following potential items without success,
    – duck liver pate/paste.
    – goose livers.
    – duck livers.
    – goose fat.
    – duck fat.
    anyone know/have links to this info,
    and or know of any other high MK-4 foods/fats/oils sources.

    Thx all.

  7. Hi Paul & Shou-Ching

    After 4.5 months of following the PHD my LDL cholesterol has jumped from 2.0 mmol/L to 3.8 mmol/L & total cholesterol from 4.9 mmol/L to 7.7 mmol/L. Should I be worried? Should I be reducing saturated fat intake? I am feeling good on the PHD and don’t want to abandon it, but my doctor is not impressed! 🙁

    Maybe there is some information on cholesterol that you would recommend for me to read??


    • Hi Kate,

      A few tweaks should do it. Your LDL cholesterol is on the high end of normal, only half a standard deviation above the mean. Just eat more carbs, less fat, and supplement a low dose of iodine daily (225 mcg/day is good). You don’t tell me your triglycerides but you want those to be low. Your LDL was way too low before.

      Information — read the cholesterol category on this web site (under Biomarkers in the category list), and read the chapter on lipids in our book.

      • Thanks Paul, that’s really helpful, I’ll work on that.

        My triglycerides (non-fasting) were 0.7 mmol/L. That’s pretty low, right?

        And thanks for pointing me to the cholesterol info on your website – I had looked but hadn’t found it.

        By the way, welcome to Luke & congratulations to you both. I hope breastfeeding is going well & you are all getting some sleep!


    • This might be an interesting read for you, Kate. It’a an article on the Weston A Price web site, by Natasha Campbell McBride, a medical doctor who wrote the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book (and another but I forget its title).

      Regarding triglycerides, it should be noted that this test is unreliable unless the blood was taken after a period of fasting (12 hours or more).

  8. Hi Paul,
    I have Hereditary Fructose Intolerance – cannot have fructose, sucrose, sorbitol or derivatives. Its easy for me to rule out ‘sweet’ foods but many commercial products have minimal or hidden traces which I feel my system is reacting to. I’m excited about PHD because I think it will better address my nutritional needs. Given my situation, do you suggest I make any modifications? i.e. you recommend 3 lbs of plant food however I need to rule out the sugary in-ground vegetables. p.s. the most difficult sacrifice for me/a person with HFI to give up will be milk 🙁

  9. How many ounces of water do you recommend per day?
    I realize different people have different needs(body size, exercise levels.)
    But as a rule of thumb, what say you?

  10. Regarding calories and ratios… 57 year old woman. Walk the dog 5 miles per day. Heavy weight training 6 days per week. 21% body fat or so. Have felt at my best 18% or so body fat. Hypo thyroid, so very low carb has not worked well for me. thx

  11. Hi Paul, I’m researching a bit about super bugs like mrsa, and what I found is absolutely scaring. As is obvious, these nasty bacteria are winning the battle to the scientists and becoming resistant to almost every antibiotic available. Do you think it could be overcome with natural agents like monolaurin, black seed, pau darco, etc? Thank you

    • Hi Rodrigo,

      People get exposed to staph all the time. Antibiotic resistance is a concern but most people defeat these germs with normal immunity, so mainly you want to avoid immune suppression.

  12. Hey Paul,

    I read your blog all the time and recommend your book to everyone who will listen. I’ve commented before. I came up with a theory last night reading Mark Sisson’s blog, and I wonder if anyone has come up with it before. I’ve never seen it anywhere. He was saying that casein in milk seems to have a similar effect in the gut as gluten. I was wondering if this might be a way for grazing mammals to prepare their young for the toxic effects of the grasses they feed on? Maybe casein provokes hormesis by intentionally aggravating the guts of baby ruminants? Goat milk has less casein in it, I think, and goats eat a wider variety of foods, not just grasses, as I understand it, so maybe they need less casein to mimic the effects of the grass toxins? I don’t know if this has been discussed before, but I’ve never seen it and thought it might be a useful theory!

    The End.

  13. I’m just wondering how you feel about kombucha. I see plenty about kimchi and sauerkraut but nothing about kombucha. I read the book about a year ago and have decided to reread it, but if you could let me know whether kombucha is a good idea, nutritionally, that would be great. Thank you!

  14. Hello Paul,

    If you ever get the time to do post on whether there is anything to the notion of gluten cross reactivity, I would love to hear your take. I’m especially interested in the idea that all grains including rice may not be safe for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. There does not seem to be a lot of valid evidence beyond the lab which came up with a test for gluten cross reactive foods so I don’t want cut out rice if there is no reason it should damage my health. Thanks for your time.

  15. I’ve been on PHD for a year now. After the first 6 months my cholesterol went down to 273 (was 310). Now it went up to 349! HDL is 116. LDL is 224. Triglycerides are 47. My doctor wants to put me on a statin ASAP. I don’t want to take meds but am worried….not sure what to do. I’m so confused. I’m not overweight (lost 10 lbs on PHD), don’t smoke and BP is low. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Lisa,

      Click here for a good article about cholesterol.

      So far as I can tell, there are few problems with cholesterol. My level is also high, but I haven’t answered the doctor’s request to consult about managing it because I don’t see a problem. One of the key measures seems to be the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, which should be under 4.5. yours is well under. The other measure that might concern me is triglycerides, but your level (assuming it’s mg/dL) looks fine.

      I’m not a doctor (the author of that article I linked to is) but all I’ve read seems to show that I don’t have a problem and I certainly don’t want to “manage” a non-existent problem with statins.

      • Thanks, Tony, for your thoughts and advice! I feel slightly better after reading your reply. I will check into the thyroid/cholesterol connection also. Had thyroid removed 4 years ago and am taking Levothyroxine, which I may have to bump up a little. Thanks again!

  16. Take a look at the video yesterday / Friday Oct 3, 2014, on (Dr. Michael Greger) presenting extensive research on dietary fat, cholesterol, eggs, etc. on serum cholesterol and cardiovascular health. I’ve been begging Paul to respond to the extensive research presented on that website.

    • I did a google search, his personal website is

      That should tell you everything you need to know.

    • I am familiar with this website. I’ve eaten this way in the past and my cholesterol was still high. Plus, I was always hungry, had terrible cravings and I just didn’t feel “right”. Plus, I just couldn’t stick with this type of diet – not satisfying or enjoyable at all.

  17. What in particular did you have in mind to see on his website? Thanks…

  18. Yes, I have the same thoughts about such a vegan diet. However, my cholesterol levels have gone through the roof (including oxidized LDL) on the PHD diet. However, the research he is presenting is very pursuasive and concerning to me.

    • That’s the problem; ALL the research is persuasive and compelling, but who do we believe? I will continue to eat PHD (because I feel so much better – have fewer headaches) but with a few changes to try and lower my LDL without lowering my HDL. I have taken a few recommendations from his website that are easy to follow. BTW my ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is very good – 3.0 (it always stays the same, never wavers, doesn’t matter if total cholesterol is high or low). So, I take that as a good sign. 🙂

      • Excellent point, Lisa. All of the analyses seem to be persuasive and compelling. I (and my wife) have bounced around quite a bit as the next book is read. However, from the books I’ve read, there seems to be a core number of diet principles and that is what we’re following (as best we can). Briefly, they are fresh foods (not refined), no sugar (certainly no refined sugar), fermented veg and milk, organ meats and saturated fat. I think there is still something we haven’t got quite right (as both of us have a small degree of arthritis), so we’ll try the odd new idea, here and there. But I think we’re just about settled on the healthiest diet that is practical for us.

        Given you are what you eat, I would find it remarkable that a healthy diet could result in risky levels of cholesterol. That’s largely why my (and my wife’s) high level doesn’t worry me (or her).

  19. yes, it is a very good sign that your TC/HDL ratio is good. Mine is much higher – has been high for years but much higher on PHD especially VLDL/oxidized LDL. The suggestions to lower LDL/VLDL in the book have not helped. And yes, research is very confusing. That is why I wish Paul would comment on the other research….it is persuasive. The research Dr. Greger presents on eggs alone (let alone animal products in general) is frightening if one is eating 2-3 yolks / day in particular. And he breaks down the research with respect to that which has been funded by the egg industry and that which has not – with a bias effect that one might expect to see in situations where conflict of interest could occur.

    • Donna, I appreciate your comments here but it would help if you replied in the thread you’re replying to. Rather than use the reply form that is already on the web page, click the “Reply” link at the top right of the comment you’re replying to. If it doesn’t have a “Reply” button then the reply depth is already at the limit but you can reply to the comment at the higher level to get your comment on the same thread.


      • Hi Tony; not exactly sure what you mean. When I get the emamil and click on the top link, it takes me to Leave A Comment window. there? or got up about and hit the Reply beside your name – which seems to result in the same Leave a Comment window?? Thanks for helping me with this. Donna

        • Hi Donna,

          Well, you did it! You reply came out below my comment.

          The comment form is exactly the same, though it shows up in a slightly different place when you press the Reply button. But your comment then goes on the site below the comment you’re replying to. That’s all. It just makes it easier to follow your reply as it’s below the comment you’re replying to instead of, potentially completely separated from it.


  20. I just eat some delicious Marlin tacos that my mom made. I wonder is the Marlin is eaten on the PHD diet.

  21. Hi Paul and Shou-Ching,

    I’ve been a fan of your blog and PHD book since it first came out, but this is my first time writing. 🙂 Thank you for your dedicated and careful research!

    Trying to follow PHD I’ve always stumbled with one issue … the use of weights to figure out daily portions. I’ve always wondered if you have (or might) translate the PHD food plate into servings.

    Years ago when I first went low-carb following Allan & Lutz’s book, “Life Without Bread,” they made the suggestion to not count grams of carbohydrate, but to learn serving sizes as they related to carb allotment. At first this seemed like double work, but soon it proved to be something that I could maintain easily by keeping mental track of whether I was within six to 10 servings per day. (For example, half an apple equals one serving — or “bread unit” as Lutz called it — at about 12g carbohydrate.)

    I’ve tried to convert the PHD plate into servings myself by Googling databases of how many ounces are in certain categories of foods (beef, fish, rice, etc.), but between the pounds, ounces, grams and various charts … I just got frustrated and lost in all the numbers. 🙂

    Thanks for your consideration.


    PS – Congratulations on the blessing of baby Luke!!

    • Hi Claire,

      Thank you!

      I would make it less complicated. Just arrange approximately equal amounts of starch, sweet plants like fruit or beets, vegetables, and meat or fish on your plate. Then add flavorings like fats, acids, and umami flavors until it tastes delicious. Adjust amounts to fit your appetite. Don’t restrict calories if you are trying to lose weight, rather do intermittent fasting and eat just enough so that on the next day you will just be starting to get mildly hungry at the end of the 16 hour fast.

  22. You recommend Fermented Vegetables, but I read on wikipedia that it forms a carcinogenic by-product, and there was a study that regularly eating pickles doubled chances of getting some carcinoma. Whats your take on it?

    • If the Wikipedia article talks about epidemiological studies to show the doubled chance of cancer, then be wary. Epidemiological studies can never prove causation. There could well be some other factor in those studies that is the more likely candidate. For example, some studies show Asians who eat pickles have an increased rate of cancer, but then Asians also eat rice which has had talc powder added, which is more likely to be the cause. Many traditional diets involved a lot of fermented food and cancer used to be as rare as hen’s teeth.

  23. Hello all,
    I am going to Florida for a 3 week vacation and am researching what to eat as don’t want to break my perfect health regime. We will be doing a good deal of socialising and eating out and am asking for advice from you all please on some recommended places to eat and some tips for our stay.
    Shaz x

  24. Jaminet once said that health is best achieved by “living like a wild animal”, by which I think he meant that health is best achieved by living like an ingenious human (ingenious humans are not “wild animals”, and civilized city-dwelling humans are not “domesticated animals”).

    Here is my interpretation of this idea in light of the familiar experience of backpacking: most of us feel energized and happy after a backpacking trip. Now, consider what it’s like to go backpacking without a flashlight. All physical activity, light and sun exposure, exposure to faces, and food-consumption occurs within the sun-cycle. The night is cold and black. One cannot see anyone’s face. There is nothing to do except peacefully to philosophize, tell stories, and stargaze.

    To reproduce these conditions in a major city, it is best to live next to a park or river; it is good to do meditation in the morning and to exercise in nature three times a day: morning, noon and late afternoon, and to have a standing desk as an option, and, in general, to practice good posture (note: we still do not have a good understanding of posture). The morning walk/hike is the most important activity of all for circadian rhythms. It is good to play a musical instrument, such as classical piano (Bartok, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart are the most enriching) and to have various social interactions. It is good to eat food only during daylight hours, and after the sun sets (e.g., 6:30 PM), to retire to a completely darkened environment, using f-lux “Darkroom” setting with the lowest screen illumination possible, limiting work to something that is not particularly stimulating such as reading classic texts (on f-lux darkroom) and writing (so, no movies, news or TV). ). I don’t believe that orange lights have no adverse impact on nighttime circadian rhythms, although I think they simulate sunset or sunrise quite well. (So, I think at night it’s best to work in a completely dark environment.) In the evening one might like to have a continuous unbroken soundtrack of ocean waves or rain or nighttime nature sounds; one should be relaxed and basically at rest or engaged in easy, restful, activities. It’s also good to keep the room cool when sleeping, and then to wake by means of light exposure in the morning. I think that it’s possible that one’s sleep cycle will be bi-phasic under such conditions, waking in the middle of the night at some point, to find oneself engaged in meditation.

    This ritual of “living like a wild animal” (which when practiced will mark one off from the rest of modern society) will produce optimal health, in both a physical and psychical sense; however, health is not the meaning of life, since according to Maslow, a person has many other needs apart from health, which are more important and which provide the true meaning of life, e.g., self-actualization and transcendence. But health is a need and a basic good nonetheless, and is to a large extent a prerequisite for pursuing the other “higher” needs over the course of one’s life.

    Health, in both a physical and psychical sense, can only appear to be the highest good if we assume that we are mere animals. Because, for mere animals, health, in a psychical and physical sense, is the most that can be achieved in their lives. But man is a Rational animal. Here ‘Rational animal’ does not mean “not irrational animal”. It means the Dimension of contraries “reasonable/unreasonable/rational/irrational” is applicable conceptually to man. And this means that man’s ownmost need is excellence in the ethical.

    • Typo: “Indigenous” not “ingenious”.

      • A beautiful ideal, Euthyphro. The few times I’ve experienced the natural cycle of light/dark, like in a power outage or camping, I noticed dramatic, peaceful effects on my health and well-being. Unfortunately, I lack the time to do that every day and still work 40 hrs.

        I found the blue-blocker glasses to be irritating, even to wear for a few hours, so I switched to candlelight reading with non-toxic candles (palm and beeswax). Color has powerful impacts on our subtle energy system. It can harm or heal, depending on the application. Orange, for instance, stimulates the thyroid gland while indigo quiets it.

        • Candles are nice. Perhaps I should try that.

          In any case, the use of computers is a necessity now, and so I’m glad for F-lux “darkroom”. I have found that a completely darkened room and f-lux “darkroom” works well for circadian rhythm entrainment; it creates a situation that’s not so different from camping without a flashlight. When camping without a flashlight one has the stars to look at, to keep one occupied; so, I don’t see a problem with reading or writing white text against a black screen.

          The normal F-lux “sunset” or “bedtime” setting or the amber glasses or the orange light-bulbs are not as effective, but they are still useful.

          Similarly, blue-light emitters are helpful, but there’s no substitute for going outside in the morning, just after sunrise, and taking a walk (especially in a natural setting).

    • Health is the optimal-biological-state-of-balance of the physiology; well-being is the optimal-psychical-state-of-balance of the psyche; justice is the right-ethical-situation-of-balance-of-the-scales in achieving the proper outcome in one’s dealing with oneself and others. (Socrates defines justice as a harmony of the tripartite-soul, paralleled by a harmonious tripartite-city-state.)

      Goodness, often, is thus a kind of right-balance. And the good, qua right-balance, is the end-telos in light of which the state of affairs of the biological and the psychical and social-communal are intelligible as entities which can flourish or not. But, “the good” is an explicit and intentional goal of human rational dealings and actions. So, the aspects of man (i.e., his biology and psyche) not only are defined by a good (i.e., an end of flourishing qua proper-balance); but, man actively seeks the good (or goods) in his actions in a categorial manner that is called “Rational”.

      “The good”, is a state of affairs in which things exist in their right or proper balance. “The good” applied to the biological is health; it is the optimal state of flourishing in the homeostatic systems. “The good” applied to the psychical is well-being; it is the optimal state of balance in the psychical states, processes, drives and psychical occurrences. “The good” applied to animal-societies is a harmony in social organization and behavior. “The good” applied to the human ethical sphere is justice; it is the state of affairs of ethical-interpersonal-harmony towards which we aspire that takes into account oneself and others as persons.

      The property of “being beneficial” is thus a real and quite definite property; it is the property of “achieving or realizing or contributing to the good, i.e., the state of “right-balance” in the respective domain or realm (e.g., biological or psychical or ethical).

    • Mark Sisson is unique in the evolutionary health community in recognizing the existence of “higher” human needs over and above “physiological health” and “psychical well-being”; however, he asserts that the pursuit of these “higher” needs of, e.g., self-actualization (the realization of one’s potential in light of some axiological ideal) and self-transcendence (i.e., the sense of belonging to a higher cause, something of absolute value, of greater value than one’s own life) on the part of humankind, ought, like the pursuit of health and well-being, to also be grounded in an “evolutionary framework”. But, this is confused and is a symptom of an idee fixe.

      Evolutionary biology informs our understanding of the biological realm: and by having a sense of what environmental hoops our genes have had to pass through over the course of evolution, we can speculate about what environmental factors are likely to be not incompatible with a reproductively functional physiology (however, whether or not our speculations are correct is ultimately to be determined solely on the basis of traditional physiology (and not on the basis of a priori reasoning regarding the very idea of “evolution by natural selection”)); similarly, evolutionary psychology informs our understanding of the psychological realm: and by having a sense of what environmental hoops our genes have had to pass through, we can speculate about what environmental factors and behaviors might not be incompatible with a psyche that is correlated with a reproductively capable human society (given that the psyche is correlated with brain processes and structures which are themselves connected to our genes).

      Ethics, however, is not a science at all (and neither is esthetics). For, the determination of what is and isn’t a just state of affairs is not a scientific question. Moreover, what does or doesn’t have intrinsic or absolute ethical worth (which is a matter of axiology) is not determinable by any facts acquired by the natural or social sciences. Thus, what is ultimately valuable in life (which is a question of ethics and axiology), and thus the ends in light of which the acts of self-actualization and transcendence are pursued, is not something that can be explored or determined by the biological sciences, let alone a specific branch of biology, namely, evolutionary biology. I think Sisson’s idea that evolutionary biology is relevant to fundamental questions of axiology stems from a confusion of categories in which the human being is a regarded as a ““bio-machine” that is designed (by factor X) to function in light of certain goals set (by factor X)”. For, excellence in the case of a machine is defined purely by the success in carrying out the goals for which it was programed or built or designed. (But there is no analog here with humankind and the meaning of life.)

      There is a debate concerning whether the human need for self-transcendence is something that was “selected for or not” in the course of the history “natural selection”. The idea is that, if it were, then “the need for self-transcendence” would be a legitimate “mental function”, and, if not, then it would be nothing more than “a bug” or “glitch” in the “computational bio-neuro program”. But this idea rests on categorial confusion. A human being is not a machine-computer-robot. And so we are not designed by anything (the term ‘selection’ in the phrase “natural “selection”” is a metaphor) to perform functions for, or in light of, some final-cause. And thus our need for self-transcendence cannot be evaluated as if it were a behavior that either is the result of design (with some end in mind) or the result of random chance, such that if it is the latter, then it is somehow revealed as illegitimate, since “unintended” and “telos-less”.

      One grant that we are not designed-machines, but that we are nevertheless “designed by a god”. But even if a human being were made in an efficient-causal sense by a god, and even if that god had some final-causal plan for the functions of the parts of the human body, this plan would nevertheless be “other”, and thus it is something we could freely and ethically ignore as individual, Free, Rational persons, regardless of whatever consequences this might have; moreover, the plan or design would be “extrinsic”, and thus it would be the sort of thing that is categorially distinct from the “intrinsic-biological-function”, which is “intrinsic”. That is, the kind of thing we call “an intentional plan on the part of a god or person” is categorially distinct from what we call “the intrinsic biological functional-design”, which is determined immanently within the biological mode of being as such by means of the natural historical context in light of the intrinsic end of biological flourishing.— Consider, on the one hand, the intrinsic function of a root system of a tree in light of possibility of flourishing in the natural historical context, and then, on the other hand, the landscaper’s extrinsic intentional goal of using the root system to prevent erosion. It is a conceptual joke for a landscaper to say “My goal for the root system of the tree is the taking in of nutrients on the part of the tree.” And I do not see how it would be any less of a joke if a god were to say this (for, a god, at least as far as the metaphors work, is made in the image of man (as Xenophanes pointed out), i.e., “the divine landscaper”).

      • You begin to go seriously astray in the second paragraph. Our values are indeed based on biology. See Sam Harris’ TED talk titled “Science Can Answer Moral Questions” and you’ll see that your view of the relation between science and human ethics is too rigid.

        • Yes, Harris seems to have persuaded many people of this notion.

          We must distinguish between the question of the “definition of “the good””, on the one hand, and then the question of the “right technique for achieving “the good””. For, these two topics are conflated in Harris’s talk.

          Harris DEFINES “the ultimate good” as nothing more than psychical well-being and physiological health. And he is right that when “the good” is DEFINED in that way, namely, as bio-psychical flourishing, then the sciences and applied sciences of biology and psychology can tell us how to achieve it (i.e., they can provide for us the RIGHT TECHNIQUE of how to achieve it); he’s right that the technique for achieving well-being at a physio-psychical level can be treated as an objective scientific and applied scientific issue.

          But that is not what the ultimate good is. That is, that is not the DEFINITION of the “ultimate good”. The ultimate good is, according to Socrates, the “health of the soul”, and the “soul” is neither the “psyche” nor the “physiology” of a human being; rather, the “soul” is the ethical status or fiber of the person. But there is no applied science that deals with the pursuit of the “health of the soul”, since there is no science (i.e., a disciplined inquiry that achieves true law-like propositions) in which the atomistic units are Free, ethical, persons, whose characteristic feature is a possession of a soul.

          The “theory” of upbringing, military service, community service, political participation, friendship, spiritual enlightenment, and education (primary, secondary, college, adult) are the closest things to a body of knowledge or educated opinion that treats of the technique of achieving the “health of the soul”. But these are hardly “sciences” in the paradigmatic sense of the term “science”. In each one of these arenas, there is an operative concept of “a good” or “the ideal case” that are ends-in-themselves and that are not reducible to “psychical-physiological wellbeing”. To be an educated person, a courageous solider, a good friend, etc.—these are not pursued as a mere means for the sake of “psychical-physiological well-being”.

          Consider Kant’s Groundwork, which is a refinement of Socrates’ thinking on ethics; that it is wrong to knowingly make false promise is not a matter of something learned in the course of natural science; nor is the inherent wrongness of doing this a fact about the natural world; to knowingly make a false promise is just wrong, full stop, as it does not take into account the dignity of personhood, which is an end in itself; (the ethical status of “personhood” is not a “natural status” of anything in the “natural world”); that is, the reason the making of a false promise is wrong is not because of some consequence it has for psychical well being or physiological health. (That how utilitarians think; but utilitarianism lacks an authentic concept of the ethical, since utilitarians define the absolute good as “happiness”, which is both reductionist and wrong. As Kant points out, the reason we care about happiness is because we care about persons, and not the other way around.)

          To suppose that biology can tell us that it is inherently wrong for persons to knowingly make false promises is like imagining biology can tell us that Beethoven string quartets are among the greatest achievements in the history of music. Biology has no authority or relevance in either case. (And to assume otherwise involves categorial confused assumptions such as “a person is nothing more than a brain” and “”the esthetic greatness of Beethoven’s opuses” is nothing more than such and such brain structures or processes”.)

          To imagine, as Harris does, that there is nothing more to “the good” than psychical-physiological well-being is to imagine a world without “the soul”. It is precisely the world-view of most thinkers in the ancestral health movement. But it is a world-view that is grounded in an impoverished philosophical understanding of the order of things.

          (However, even Harris tacitly admits such a position is reductionistic, since he realizes that a “1984” situation would be not “optimal” even if it resulted in perfect psychical-biological flourishing, since it would fail to take into account the inherent dignity of persons, which is an end valued in itself, and is not merely a means to some other end (he refers to this vaguely as the “broader context”.))

          • (a) Having a healthy physiology (in which the homeostatic physiological systems have achieved optimal balance), (b) having a healthy psyche (in which one does not suffer from psychical problems such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, etc.), (c) having a healthy soul (in which ethical reason rules over narrow self-interest) —- all of these are different from one another and irreducible. In other words, to be a good person is not the same thing as being healthy (in a psychical or physiological sense). An unhealthy person can be ethically virtuous, and a healthy person evil. While there is an applied science for attaining (a) and (b), there is no applied science for attaining (c), unless we regard the collective wisdom of our culture, concerning the question of how to raise the young to be morally excellent adults, to be a “science”. Socrates said that “the unexamined life was not worth living”. Was that a proposition of science, of biology perhaps?

            Furthermore, ethics is the discipline aimed at determining what we ought to do, including the basic principles upon which these specific imperatival determinations rest. The central principle of ethics is Kant’s principle that persons are respect-worthy in themselves and thus must be treated as ends in themselves, not as a mere means. That we ought not to knowingly make false promises is a proposition of ethics, since it follows from this basic Kantian principle. But it is hardly a proposition of (pure, non-applied) science, since as Hume rightly pointed out, science studies “what is the case” but not “what ought to be”. Furthermore, it is not a proposition of applied-science either, since categorical ethical imperatives aim at nothing, no outcome. That it is wrong to knowingly make a false promise is just wrong in itself (given what persons are), and not merely conditionally wrong because of further consequences it has for some goal, e.g., health or happiness, etc. So, it is not analogous to the hypothetical imperative that we should not eat wheat (i.e., that it would be “wrong” to eat wheat), if we want good health, e.g., which is a proposition of applied science.

            Finally, persons, qua beings with a soul, are not objects of natural scientific inquiry at all. So, there is no such thing as a “natural science of the moral development of persons”, and so there is no applied-natural-science that deals with “what persons ought to do to become moral persons”. Is there a human-social science that deals with the phenomenon of moral development? Well, there is collective cultural wisdom; there is pedagogy; there is Aristotelian and Kantian ethics; but I’m not inclined to call any of that “science”.

          • The TED talk recommendation was meant to be only an introduction – he can’t fully answer your mistaken observations in that short presentation. Your immersion in the old philosophers’ mistakes and mysticism about the soul and wrong. Our decisions are made with our brains, not a conjured supernatural thingamabob. Read his work as a starting point and you’ll make progress instead of treading water.

          • I haven’t returned from my Walkabout yet, but once I do, I’ll let you know if I come back as an excellent human being or not.

            “If you have heard from anyone that I undertake to teach people and charge a fee for it, that is not true either. I think it a fine thing to be able to teach people as Gorgias….and Prodicus and Hippias….Each of these men can go to any city and persuade the young, who can keep company with any one of their own fellow citizens they want without paying, to leave the company of these, to join with themselves, pay them a fee, and be grateful to them besides…..I learned that there is another wise man from Paros who is visiting us, for I met a man who has spent more money on sophists than everybody else put together, Callias. ….so I asked him—he has two sons—“Callias” I said, “if your sons were colts or calves, we could find and engage a supervisor for them who would make them excel in their proper qualities, some horse breeder or farmer. Now since they are men, whom do you have in mind to supervise them? Who is an expert in this kind of excellence, the human and social kind? I think you must have given thought to this since you have sons. Is there such a person,” I asked, “or is there not?” “Certainly there is,” he said. “Who is he?” I asked. “what is his name, where is he from? And what is his fee?” “His name, Socrates, is Evenus, he comes from Paros, and his fee is five minas.” I thought Evenus a happy man, if he really possesses this art, and teaches for so moderate a fee. Certainly I would pride and preen myself if I had this knowledge, but I do not have it, gentlemen.” — (Plato, “Apology”)

  25. Hi Paul,
    I looked at the categories on this page, I did not see one for coffee/caffeine. Have you posted any thoughts on benefits/drawbacks on this topic? Thank you.

  26. Regarding the use of butter-tea as a caloric beverage, for breaking the fast or as a high quality energy drink, the ancestral health community is in good company:

    From wikipedia:

    “Drinking butter tea is a regular part of Tibetan life. Before work, a Tibetan will typically enjoy several bowlfuls of this beverage, and it is always served to guests. Nomads are said to often drink up to 40 cups of it a day. Since butter is the main ingredient, butter tea provides plenty of caloric energy and is particularly suited to high altitudes. The butter may also help prevent chapped lips.”

    “Yak butter tea is a daily staple dish throughout the Himalaya region and is usually made with yak butter, tea, salt and water churned into a froth. It is the “Tibetan national beverage” with Tibetans drinking upwards of sixty small cups a day for hydration and nutrition needed in cold high altitudes.”

  27. Hi,

    Do you have any views on a) Food combining (that if you combine your foods in a certain way that they will digest more quickly) b) Alkalinity – measuring the alkaline or acidity of foods so that the body is alkaline and therefore disease resistant?


    • I remember in the muffins post he mentioned not eating dry baked goods with protein for digestive reasons, or something. Also on acid/alkaline he said

      Re acidity, first I would say that there are many alkaline forming foods on PHD, such as most vegetables. I don’t expect that the typical diet will be far off in terms of balance.
      Second, it really doesn’t matter much what the balance in food is if mineral nutrition is good, since electrolytes like sodium, chlorine (from salt), potassium, magnesium, and calcium provide buffers enabling acids to be excreted in urine, maintaining a healthy pH in the body without any bone loss or other negative effects.
      So there should be no cancer risk from acidity.
      Best, Paul

      I don’t know if these are the current views though.

  28. Hi I have a question. Do you think its a good idea to eat bone marrow if one is trying to loose weight? I read about it in a “paleo” book. I like what you say about eating less fat. I am hypothyroid and menopausal and am on synthroid and may start T3 soon. I am also on HRT. I also noticed that I have trouble sweating and I have anxiety. In spite of all this I’m fine and I look good but my weight has crept up to 150 and Im 5’3. I should be 125. Also I have celiac disease. Should I keep my fats low and not eat bone marrow? I don’t even like it! I am big into resistance workouts but have little energy for cardio, and Im trying to do everything right! Thanks!!

  29. Do you have any opinion on the proper position for sleep?

  30. I was initially prepared to embrace both “your science” and your food choices until I pretty much finished the book and felt the disillusionment that I’ve so often felt after reading what food gurus have to say. I realize that the reading public wants things simple and uncomplicated and I can understand why authors would try to meet that need but there are folks, like myself, who would rather handle the complications than to deal with simplistic presentations that give, at best, only a passing nod to inconvenient facts. I’ll mention just 3 points in the book where I think your arguments are incomplete.
    1) When “your science” take a position on something like Omega 6 that is hugely at odds with the opinion of renowned experts like Walter Willett then I think your reading public should not be left in the position of trying to figure out why the two of you disagree to such a degree. We should at least know why “your science” leads you to a different conclusion than his.
    2) You have nothing good to say about wheat (or legumes) and suggest that both are implicitly involved in the current obesity epidemic. Your biological facts may support this theory but other facts challenge it. During the period of time during which the obesity crisis has mushroomed, wheat consumption in the US has either remained stable or even declined a bit. If your theory is correct, then one would expect wheat consumption to have increased in somewhat parallel lines with the growth in obesity.
    3) North Africa consumes about 4 times the amount of wheat per capita as does the US and yet their obesity levels are nowhere near ours. If your theory is correct it should be the other way around.
    4) You only give a dismissive nod to the neolithic culinary uses of grains and legumes prior to the industrial revolution. You fail to mention that there were at least 4 ways in which our neolithic ancestors handled grains and legumes that, to a large degree, dealt with their anti-nutritional aspects: soaking, sprouting, fermenting (including sourdough breads), and slow cooking. I find that hugely disrespectful and a big disservice to those whose economic conditions don’t allow them to buy a pound of animal products every day. I know for a fact that porridge is the backbone of the daily diets of people living in the rural villages of Botswana. (I observed it both there and in Namibia.) But they didn’t just eat porridge – whether it was millet or sorghum, it was fermented. That none of these methods of using grains and beans merited even a mention in your index makes me wonder just how many more inconvenient facts were overlooked.
    Over the last several years I’ve read a large number of books on various aspects of nutrition. About a month or so ago I reached saturation point and found myself saying (of nutrition gurus) “A pox on all your houses!”. I’m sorry to have to say this but, at this point, you are now numbered in that august gathering. I sometimes wonder if free speech is really all that great.
    Whole grains have formed a large part of my diet for over 50 years and, at 77, I am healthy although a bit overweight. No illnesses that I know of and no medications.
    I intend no disrespect but felt the need to express my feelings.

    • Thanks for the review, David. Are there other examples, other than Omega 6, where Jaminet’s take on nutrition is at odds with other “experts”? Most of your review centres on grains and I’m of the same opinion myself. Christopher Masterjohn’s review on the Weston A Price website was generally favourable but did mention grains as something he probably got wrong, including this anecdotal evidence:

      Although sweet potatoes are considered a safe starch on Perfect Health Diet, they are not very safe for me. When I discovered how yummy sweet potato fries are, I started eating several sweet potatoes per day. Within a few days, I was limping and my neck was stiff. By the end of the week, my limp was extreme. I looked online to see if I was eating anything high in oxalates, and sure enough, sweet potatoes are loaded with them. My symptoms dramatically improved after one day off sweet potatoes and were gone the second day. By contrast, I went gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) for a year and a half, and FAILSAFE (low-amine, low-salicylate) for several months, and both diets did me more harm than good.


      I’ve also read numerous books on nutrition and have largely come to think there there is a core of good nutritional advice, and the Weston A Price organisation largely gets it right.

      • Hi David
        Your post makes me think of an old miner for nutritional gold who’s finally struck paydirt and then throws down his pickaxe and turns away in disgust at the thought of how long it’s taken him to find it.
        PHD is a science based diet. Paul is a scientist, not a demagogue who will ‘take on’ any other author in order to ensure his own status or following. If you have some quality science to offer from another book, please present it to us – real conflicting evidence is welcomed here. But I have a couple of comments about your post, because it doesn’t offer what I just described
        1. What’s your confusion about omega 6?
        2. Not interesting. It’s not Paul’s job to say ‘something good’ about wheat, legumes or anything else for that matter. Wheat comsumption, if you’re right about the amounts you mention, does not have to rise in direct proportion to obesity as the indicator that it’s a key factor in the problem. Nor has Paul said that it’s the only factor.
        3. Simplistic and untrue. Wheat causes changes that, among other things, tend to make people obese, but if, for example, their caloric intake is low compared to energy output this won’t be as overtly apparent.
        4. Completely false. Paul hasn’t failed to mention those toxin-ameliorating strategies. Telling the truth about the healthiest foods is not a political statement but a scientific one, and to label it as disrespectful to people who don’t have access to the best food is not only a non-sequitor, but completely unfair and mean-spirited toward one of the most kind and helpful individuals I’ve ever spoken to. You can’t be serious in blaming Paul for what people eat in various parts of the world, or in hinting that he should lie to us about what’s best for our health, thus damaging us, in order to make poor people who may get wind of it feel that their diet needs no changes, thus damaging them as well. You hint that Paul has overlooked lots of other facts, like the ones that you falsely claim he’s overlooked about traditional food preparation. It’s actually you who have overlooked what’s in the book and are extrapolating from your own mistakes to case aspersions.

        Are these your main points? If so I don’t find much of substance in them. The same holds true for your statement about your health, which anyone on the street, totally ignorant about health or nutrition, could easily duplicate. As the book explains, the body prioritizes its functions – you may or may not be healthy, and you may or may not be one of a few people who are immune to wheat’s ill effects. It’s a good thing for you that you feel okay, but there are folks who live to well past 100 to whom you’re only middle-aged. If you intend to join them – choose, and eat, wisely.

      • Hi Tony . . . Yes, there are many instances in which the Jaminet’s conclusions differ from other widely-promoted theories. I mentioned Walter Willet. In his book “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy” (published by the Harvard School of Public Health) his position on grains, legumes, red meat, and lipids are almost exactly opposite those of Jaminet. Red meat, saturated fats, and potatoes are located in the “consume rarely” part of his pyramid. There are also any number of other books that, along with “The China Study”, advocate a vegetarian, low fat diet and Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat for Health” aims for an almost vegetarian, low fat diet. He eschews dense starches in favor of nutrient-rich greens.
        I wasn’t intending, in my earlier comment, to debate diet specifics. Uppermost in my mind was the confusion and frustration (which one respondent mislabeled as “meanness”) over the general lack of agreement between all these “science-based-diets” and an almost universal unwillingness to admit any self-doubt about the conclusions of the many and different points of view. While Willett seems pretty convinced of his conclusions he at least does examine the claims of some of the diets that differ from his in major ways.
        Like you, I’ve tried many different diets over the years. I couldn’t survive on either the Atkins’ diet or a Paleo diet. Both leave me painfully constipated within 24 hours. 3 Days on the PHD had the same impact. I love sweet potatoes and have eaten them since I was a child but using potatoes in place of whole grains is just not doable for me. Even foods with lots of soluble fiber don’t work very well. I’ve eaten whole grains for over 50 years – more recently switching to either soaked and/or sprouted grains and legumes and sourdough breads. My reading of the science behind the latter suggests to me that soaked or sprouted grains/legumes are a more nutritious safe carb than potatoes (at least the white varieties) and white rice.
        I can afford organic chicken but pastured beef and lamb are out of my reach financially and I think that there are environmental reasons for consuming as little beef or lamb as possible. Since the vast majority of people throughout the world are in the same position I am in – or worse – I think scientists should focus on environmental doable foods for the 21st century and into the future rather than advocating for foods economically available only to the economic elite. If soaking and sprouting will turn otherwise highly nutritious foods such as grains and legumes into safe foods then I think they should be presented as an alternative to animal protein – if not for ethical reasons then, at least, for environmental reasons.
        In short . . . in the face of polar-opposite theories about what we should be eating, if the scientists are unwilling to admit to the ambiguity to which the contradictory opinions certainly bear witness, then I think a healthy degree of agnosticism is required of us who look to the experts for guidance. I realize the public wants simple, uncomplicated answers. The whole, unvarnished, truth is probably not going to sell many books but a bit of humility on the part of nutrition “experts” would be refreshing.

        • Hi David,

          Why don’t you look at the parts of the PHD you question, and go to the studies referenced for them and see what you think, and compare to the reasoning of other experts? Take one PHD fact you disagree with at a time? I also think it’s really useful to see the experts’ interactions…like the “Safe Starch” debates, and Denise Minger’s critiques of the China Study, or Paul’s posts on it. Etc.

          I think Paul has said he thinks sprouted legumes are probably fine, merely inconvenient to soak, but sprouted grains are still dangerous. You might consider buying weirder meat too, pastured organs can be quite a bit cheaper! And magnesium and fat are good for constipation, I think. Just some troubleshooting ideas if you haven’t tried them.

          Also, as far as being open to criticism and humble, I think the Jaminets are as good as it gets from the experts, personally! I’m biased though, I love PHD:D

        • Hi David,
          You should stick with what diet works for you. The problem is, some advocates start with a conclusion and find the facts to support it. It’s each persons responsibility to read all the information they can, and then make the best decisions from there. To your original post, Paul refutes each of these arguments in the book, you should go back and give it a re-read.

          • Amy & David; I agree completely. Individual differences,’listening’ to our bodies, and often just plain common sense, are always factors that can ‘trump’ research (although sometimes we can be fooled). Setting those factors aside, the issue I am raising for discussion is that of evaluating research, and debating the relative merits and problems of opposing research. If I were Dr. Greger or Dr. Jaminet, and was reading contradictory evidence presented by my professional peers, I would not rest easy until I had considered and addressed such opposing research results.

          • Donna,
            Since you keep posting about Dr. Greger’s website here, have you posted information from the PHD diet on Dr. Greger’s website? What did Dr. Greger say to refute what Paul recommends?

          • To the best of my knowledge, there is no means to blog on, or any ‘Contact’ features on his website. To Paul’s great credit, his website is open to such communications and he responds to many, many questions. A great feature! I have tremdous respect for the Jaminet’s work / book and have recommended it to many people. However, given my research background, and knowing about the potential limitations of research, I also tell people of the website so that they can expose themselves to a body of completely conflicting research and views. Those two sources provide a great example of how good quality research can lead to completely different conclusions. Thus my great interest in seeing Dr. Jaminet and Dr. Greger address each others specific research – not just present other research that supports their own theories and conclusions; though that is also an important avenue in research i.e., to bring additional research to the fore. But a debate type forum would be extremely enlightening in this case.

          • Donna, If you have links to anthropological evidence of vegan cultures either HG’s or earlier would you please post them? From what I’ve read there is no evolutionary evidence for a vegan hominid. All of our direct ancestors have been omnivores (within the last several million years). Basically, they ate what they could get there hands on.

          • Sal. Google Vegegarianism and anthropology. One eg is a Scientific American article July 23, 2012, titled Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians. I have read though that what we ate in the past may have had more to do with availability of food and other economic, political, geographical etc. factors – with a note being made that humans fortunately have the ability to adapt to a wide variety of foods / diets and still survive. I find all that interesting, but am more concerned about what is the best diet (generally and with variations for individual differences of course)given our fortunate current circumstances (for the luckier people on this planet)of a wide variety of food being available.

        • Yes, David, diets are no different to other bodies of opinion. Those who are invested in a particular viewpoint entertain no criticism (or, at least, never seem to alter their views when others point out problems, scientifically). That’s why I liked the first book about this stuff, that I read, the GAPS book, where the author admitted to the lack of research in some areas but offered an opinion based on what little science there was. Every so-called science backed diet sounds absolutely right, but they aren’t right for everyone and so one has to be prepared to adjust, based on one’s own reaction to certain diets and all the information at one’s disposal. One red flag for me is the need for supplements, which is why I never took Fuhrman’s ideas too seriously. The notion of “paleo” is also a red flag because it assumes that our bodies have not evolved at all from paleolithic times. We’re very similar to those humans but not identical in all respects and those indigenous to certain regions will have their own variations. This is why I find the general principles offered by ideas like those of Weston A Price, or “Deep Nutrition” so compelling, along with a lot of science.

        • Here is a link to one of Dr. Fuhrman’s articles-

          “Carnitine (abundant in red meat) and choline (abundant in eggs, dairy, and meats) are metabolized by gut bacteria into a pro-inflammatory compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) that may contribute to the development of cancers”

          He is saying that choline may contribute to cancer yet with PHD the recommendation is to eat egg yolks every day because choline is beneficial. I’m always surprised by the polar-opposite theories, and wonder if people see a news headline and then believe it without questioning it.

          • Yes. Polar opposites for sure. Dr. Michael Greger (NutritionFacts.or) also presents extensive high quality research of the health damaging effects of meat and eggs. I have asked Paul to comment on this a number of times, but so far, no…. would love to see them debate it.

          • Paul does have a post on it, I’m going to take a look at it-


          • Yes, Paul presents great data on it, though it is largely epidemiological! The confusing issue is that presents different studies, high quality, with opposite results. Take a look at – search eggs.

          • What makes the other studies “high quality” in your opinion? I’m always skeptical when I look at a vegan website.

          • “Research” can be clinical reports, epidemiological, or experimental including longitudinal, retro – or prospective, with or without control groups, double blind, etc. Dr. Gregor presents a variety of data. He usually also questions each study he presents with respect to alternative explanations / confounding factors, finds another study that addresses that question or confounding factor, and keeps doing that until he gets to the bottom of the question / concern. Quite an analytical approach. Paul presents his data nicely too. What is needed, in my opinion, is for them to address each other’s data.

          • Donna,

            Paul has been so widely available before the birth of his child, it is odd not having him around! Setting aside research and statistics and the like, it is the people that USE his guidelines with incredible results. That is why he consistently says…you need to “add” or “remove”, to see the results. There is no one size fits all. For one person, eggs are a wonderful component of their diet that “may” make them healthier…for someone else it may have more adverse effects if they are sensitive to cholesterol. I can eat eggs all day long…I eat a lot of eggs and my cholesterol is 150. On the other hand my husband’s is 200 and he hardly ever eats eggs. He can sleep 10 hours a night without circadian rhythym entertainment, I sleep 7 with all of my best efforts. Although the authors research seems very specific, it’s very general when you consider a planet of over 7 billion people living in different cultures, climate, health and stress environments. If a study came out that said wheat extended the life of people that live in Sardinia, some people would immediately begin eating wheat, and it may work for some people. In fact, there are a fair amount of centenarians, if not all that eat wheat. I however, have an immunodeficiency and an autoimmune disease that no matter how many research studies that may or may not be done, wheat will never work for me. And addressing the centenarians, that is the research the authors have done that has been the most compelling for me. Most, eat eggs, bacon, ice cream, drink wine, what seems to rise to the top, is their mental attitudes. A person who eats according to research and statistics, statistically has a better chance of being healthy. What you can not measure is how individuals enjoy their lives, reduce stress, laugh, etc. I am guilty of “googling” and comparing studies until one day I realized the stress of not knowing what was hurting or helping me…was really stressing me out! Most likely counteracting all the benefits of these wonderful diets. Paul is right, experiment, see how you feel. Add one food or supplement at a time and see how YOU feel. Turn off your tv, your computer and put on some music that makes you feel good. I have found his guidelines for inducing autophagy extremely healthy. My 13 year old dog almost died,her liver enzymes are so high they don’t register. I used recommendations for intermittent fasting, and 2 years later she acts like a 2 year old dog and chases her tail and…her liver enzymes are still over 2000! But she is happy as a clam.

            I have seen the best doctors in the world, no matter what I do, I am still sick and have been since I was a teenager. I am 42 now with a 5 year old. I grew up with a wonderful garden and my mom canned veggies and I drank milk from the cows down the hill. My husband grew up in Minnesota, near the spam capital of the world. He grew up on bologna and white bread. I get so jealous, he is so strong and healthy. But it was funny…he said “my commitment” to live is why I am still here. I would have to agree. I do my very best to read my body, some days I crave milk, so I drink it. And then another day, I drink it and it makes me nauseous. Which means to me, sometimes my body is okay with something’s, and if I am a bit hypersensitive it is time to focus on some rice and chicken soup and cooked potatoes. Sometimes I can eat an orange…but If I am having unusual stress in my life, I get geographic tongue and that hurts! The bottom line is, read what you can epidemiological or not…and see you feel!

  31. Please tell me that popcorn is different and safe to eat.

  32. can anyone answer this for me please, I have so very well on PHD for over 2 months, all of a suddeen out of the blue I craved sugar and I ate a large bar of milk chocolate and from then on am craving sweet things constantly. I am lacking something does anyone know?

    I’m back on PHD and ignoring the cravings but its not easy…………..thanks for any help?

    • I don’t know why it should happen suddenly but a craving for sugar can often hint at a candida problem. As sugar is toxic, I’d try to avoid it, whatever the craving. Humans don’t actually need any sugar intake (your body can manufacture what it needs).

    • Shaz, this may be totally off-base, but on one of the internet health summits today Krista Orecchio said that a constant hard-driving desire for sweets can be a sign of candida overgrowth because it feeds on sugar. I don’t know anything about candida, so I have no basis for knowing if her statement was true or not, but thought it was at least worth mentioning. If you google her name and “candida” you should be able to find her website. She said that she has a lot of free info about candida there.

    • Hi shaz,

      Usually this means you are too low carb. The brain is usually correct in its desires. Try eating more starch.

  33. thanks paul, i thought this may be the case. im conscious of eating too much starch as id like to shift some weight and have underactive thyroid too and finding it difficult to get balance right and to have more energy, ill give it a go tomorrow. thanks again.

  34. thanks paul, i thought this may be the case. im conscious of eating too much starch as id like to shift some weight and have underactive thyroid too and finding it difficult to get balance right and to have more energy, ill give it a go tomorrow. thanks again. 😆

  35. Hi Paul, thinking about your comment on introducing more starch and my underactive thyroid, what are your thoughts on intermittent fasting with the thyroid issue? I only eat with an 8 hour window and pretty much fast for 16 hours every day only occasionally eating breakfast earlier if I am that hungry. My thyroid is up and down at the moment! 😐

  36. My doc wants me to buy this book, but I just can’t even afford the $10 right now for a used one. I am following the guide lines one the web site, but want to know if stevia, honey, and/or coconut sugar are ok on this diet. Also I assume garbanzo beans are not as they are a legume, but want to double check as I do love my hummus. Thanks.

  37. My mother lives in a remote area and was able to find the book at her library, so you might have luck accessing it that way. My understanding is that honey is ok in moderation and when combined with other things so as to reduce the fructose load. For example Paul has commented about having warm milk with a touch of honey in it for dessert at night. I believe that stevia is ok too, but only in pure (leaf) form. I haven’t seen any specific comments about coconut sugar. PHD’ers do eat 75%+ dark chocolate that is sweetened with sugar, and in that context it may be OK. PHD does not recommend legumes. You might checkout a delicious parsnip hummus recipe on the “” website that I use and enjoy as a vegetable dip. Sesames are not high up on the PHD recommended list, but in terms of the amount in a serving of the hummus, it is inconsequential, so I do use an organic tahini in mine.

  38. Hi Paul, I have put my daughter on the eat right 4 your type and I feel it has made a difference. yes, she has Down syndrome and began having seizures around age 11 or so. The doctors thought it was only teen growth pains because she said her knees hurt a lot. We use reflexology and essential oil from doTerra now and have seen a big relieve in seizures. She uses the supplements for children since she doesn’t swallow capsules. She is basically a vegetarian on the A- type blood. She does eat fish and chicken, no red meat. Can you tell me more if what I should be doing?

  39. Bought your book after listening to you on BulletProof Exec! On page 241, you say Perfect Health Diet “is very similar to traditional diets known to produce superb health”, including Kitava. On page 82, you mention the Kitavan diet is 69% Carbs, which seem to be mostly starches. No one with heart disease or overweight. The takeaway is that carbs are not the issue, but rather the type of carb?

  40. I would like to know your approach to Hemp Oil…

  41. meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

  42. Hello Paul,
    Should one stop your recommended vitamin supplements for 2 weeks prior to getting blood work to check for their status (ie thyroid hormones, vit c, k, b12 etc)?

  43. I think it would be helpful to include “mirepoix” or “aromatics” or “aromatic vegetables” to your dietary recommendations (on par with “acids” or “stocks”); this way, people would be encouraged to use onions, mushrooms, garlic, carrots, peppers and celery, on a daily basis and in combinations that were traditional.

    • It is important to include the notion of “aromatics” to round out the notion of a “balanced meal”.

      What is a balanced meal? A balanced meal will include

      1. Animal parts of all kinds
      2. Safe Starch
      3. Aromatics (Mirepoix, Holy Trinity, etc.) (onions, garlic, carrot, celery, mushrooms, peppers, tomato, etc.)
      4. Herbs and Spices (e.g., cooked into the aromatics)
      5. Fermented vegetables
      6. Sea vegetables
      7. Green vegetables
      8. Sugary vegetables (beets, carrots, pumpkin, squash)
      9. Bone and joint gelatin
      10. Cooking fats and sauce fats
      12. Vinegar
      13. Umami flavorings (fish sauce)
      14. Sea Salt

      15. Acidic fruits (lemon, lime, tomato)

      16. Cheese
      17. Nuts

      18. Sweet fruits

      19. Chocolate
      20. Raw honey
      21. Coconut butter/cream/milk
      22. Tea

      • Apart from the chocolate, perhaps these would be part of an overall healthy diet but not a single meal, especially a five course meal!

        • When reading about Cajun cuisine, one gets the sense that the Holy Trinity constitutes an unvarying essence of any meal.

          My point is that “aromatics” is a culinary category, not a biological category, and the concept helps to bring together some of the vegetables on the Perfect Health Diet Food Plate, in such a way that one can better understand the essential principle of their unification (i.e., The Trinity) by reference to various world food traditions (all of which are grounded in a version of The Holy Trinity).

          My point is that “aromatics” should replace “bulb, stalk, root” on The Plate and “aromatics” should also be listed among “stocks and acids” as basic elements that constitute part of the universal essence of the Platonic Form of The Meal. (We are not dealing with actual meals, of course, but with ideal types.)

          “An authentic Cajun meal is usually a three-pot affair, with one pot dedicated to the main dish, one dedicated to steamed rice, special made sausages, or some seafood dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful or available. Shrimp and pork sausage are staple meats used in a variety of dishes.

          The aromatic vegetables bell pepper (poivron), onion and celery are called trinity by Cajun chefs the holy trinity includes the use of garlic of both Cajun and Creole cuisines. Roughly diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mirepoix in traditional French cuisine which blends roughly diced onion, celery and carrot.” (Cajun Cuisine, Widipedia)

          • Consider a Perfect Health Diet restaurant:

            Here is what a 6 course meal might look like:

            1. Mineral water served with lemon
            2. Appetizer of nuts
            3. Appetizer of Fermented veg.
            4. Salad
            5. Broth with sea veg.
            6. Appetizer of shellfish
            7. Main course consisting of a meat braised in stock with aromatic veg, and herbs/spices, and served with green veg., sugary veg. and safe starch.
            8. Cheese plate
            9. Dessert of chocolate, fruit, raw honey, coconut cream
            10. Tea

          • Let me know when that restaurant opens!

            One of the dangers of any diet is viewing food as medicine, not pleasure. I think the Jaminets try to combat that throughout their book with constant reminders to “eat according to taste” and “make your food tasty” and the “tastes great diet.” Unfortunately, I’ve had to combat the urge to throw together macronutrients and gobble them mindlessly in front of the television. Candlelight, conversation, meals in courses with time for conversation in between: these all help digestion and mental health, but they are delicate, ephemeral things smashed by cell phones, televisions, and time deadlines. What should be natural human interaction with food and family now must be fought for or it gets swept away by the river of time roaring through at the breakneck pace of the business world. At that pace, food has no taste and it’s easy to over or under eat because you are not savoring the present moment. In that moment, a meal without some form of mirepoix is unpalatable.

          • I know most of us are of European decent, so these meals and mirepoix seem “traditional”. Having grown up in Japan (I’m not Japanese) I’ve seen the stark contrast in meals and meal time rituals. Traditionally, a Japanese meal is miso soup or clear fish-stock soup with tofu & seaweed, a mix of pickles, rice, grilled fish (often whole, so you eat the guts) and a vinegar-based fresh vegetable salad (sunomono.) Traditionally, it’s eaten in silence to honor the food and the cook. No dessert. Fruit, if eaten, is usually a mid-day snack.

            I’ve read that one of the Japanese governments guidelines is that your meals be “beautiful”. Japanese friends of mine have complained that American food is too “one-note”…meat and potatoes. They’re used to having a taste of 6-8 different morsels per meal.

            An “eki-bento” (lunch box bought in a train station) can have a dozen little morsels along with rice. Very varied diet, always based on what’s seasonal.

            Anyway – no mirepoix or aromatics, but the food is delicious just the same, and definitely nutritious.


            Does this Japanese food guideline (a spinning top!) look an awful lot like the Perfect Health Diet, minus the bread??

          • That’s true, but Japanese cuisine appears to be an anomaly in this regard; the general phenomenon is not limited to Western cultures. See article below:


          • That was an interesting site, Euthyphro. Looks like without tomatoes or onions, most of the world’s cuisines would be utterly bereft.

            They listed Japan’s trinity as dashi, mirin and soy sauce. I suppose those are aromatic…it’s just that they’re so ubiquitous that it doesn’t take long to not smell them at all…

          • Indeed, a meal is best treated as a meal, instead of as a collection of organic matter consisting of biologically beneficial compounds.

            With that said, I’m sure that the aromatics have all sorts of important bio-psychological benefits; for one thing, pleasing aromas have beneficial effects on the brain, which are correlated with the psychical reduction of anxiety on the part of a person. So, perhaps a healthy diet is not only “the tastes great diet” but also the “smells great diet” and maybe also the “looks great diet” (since something that looks appetizing is probably also healthy).

            Moreover, if every cuisine in the world utilizes a similar set of aromatic elements, it stands to reason that aromatics, as a category, are quite important for health and well-being. This is why they deserve a place on the Food Plate and why they deserve mention alongside stocks and acids. Stocks, acids and aromatics are themselves a kind of important trinity. The three elements belong together. E.g., aromatics are cooked with red wine and stock.

            Also, “dinner” lasts for 3.5 hours during the Perfect Health Diet Retreat. They start eating hors d’oeuvres at 4:30 PM and then dessert isn’t until 8:00 PM. A 3.5 hour dinner provides sufficient time to get in all the nutrients within an 8 hour eating window without feeling rushed. I believe that long multiple course meals make intermittent fasting less stressful.

          • We might say that the flavor-base of a meal consists of a combination of

            1. Cooking fats (tallow)
            2. Aromatic vegetables (garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, green onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, carrots, celery)
            3. Spices and herbs
            4. Stock
            5. Acids (tomato, citrus, vinegar, wine)
            6. Umami flavor (fish sauce, mushroom, stock)
            7. Sauce Fats (coconut milk, butter)

      • How about insects? I just read in a current men’s fitness magazine that crickets, mealworms, and hundreds of other bugs are traditional incredibly nutritious (not to mention easy on the environment) staples for about two billion people on this planet.

        I suddenly realized that the Mormon Pioneers rejected a huge heaven-sent blessing when they let the sea gulls have all of the crickets. It seems that the crickets were much more available, abundant, and nutritious than the wheat that was eventually harvested. The natives of the region could have taught them that lesson, if they had made better friends with them.

        When we pray for deliverance from starvation (or anything else) we have to be open to new ideas. Of course, even if we are not, providence will continue raining down other opportunities until we finally latch on to one.

        Remember the guy stranded on the roof of his house who rejected the boat, the helicopter, etc. explaining that God was going to deliver him from the flood?

        • Paul wrote about insect flour here:

          Personally, I think the cricket flour energy bars are a great innovation, and the particular one I tried (chocolate and honey) at AHS ’14 was tasty.

          Whole insects are not offered locally, but neither are most of the safe starches—taro, true yams, Japanese sweet potatoes, Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, sago, yucca, plantains—and the latter upsets me more than the former.

  44. That sounds like a nightmare for someone with weak digestion

  45. I’m not saying aromatics is the problem; I whole heartly believe people should eat a varied diet but having all those different types of foods in one meal would cause major bloating, gas and indigestion

    • Interesting. In that case, perhaps “the food plate” should become “the various plates of a five course meal”, in which there is a salad, appetizer, fermented starter, hors d’oeuvre, soup, cheese plate, dessert, tea, and main course.

  46. Hi Paul,

    I am just working my way through your great book, reawakening the grey cells from their hibernation since doing Biology at school.

    Background, I have never been over weight (6FT, 11.5 stone with little variation)
    Drank too much in my 20’s and 30’s, smoked on an irregular basis. Now drink in moderation, don’t smoke. Ran a marathon last year. I have never been a fast food junky, always eaten predominantly home made food from real food.

    About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with indeterminate ulcerative colitis/chrons. Fortunately never been hospitalised, but have had a few of flare ups which really take it out of me.

    Two questions

    1) what is the best way to ingest the most amount of beneficial nutrients during a flare up eg not agrivating the ulcerated colon.

    2) you mention Butyrate as beneficial in reducing immune response and reducing colon cancer (UC increases risk of Colon cancer). Problem; increase correct fibre, to increase butyrate, could cause increase in physical aggrevation to colon. Increase butyrate intake with coconut oil/butter does it matter if the butyrate is ingested (eg going through stomach/small intestine) or produced by the digested system further down the track?

    Thanks for the great book.



  47. Hi Paul, Can you please comment on the coagulation study Mark talks about in this article:

    I’m afraid I’m eating too much butter with starches. I follow your advice with eating fat to taste and have no problem eating 1/3 stick of butter with safe starches. This taste delicious to me but I’m worried about blood sugar/coagulaiton/.

  48. Have followed the diet for a couple of weeks and now I have developed an aversion to meat. I’d rather not eat than eat meat. Some fish, eggs, yoghurt, cheese and cottage cheese are appealing. What to do?

  49. Hi Ann,

    Is a very great news and thank you

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