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. anyone with phd experience….

    is pasture-fed whey phd friendly?



    • Hi William,

      It’s OK but in general we avoid protein powders and recommend eating meat or fish.

      Best, Paul

      • blessings…
        paul you’re such a blessed embodiment full of information that is going to change humanity to overall well being…
        i wd love for you to come up with a user friendly guide book in the vicinity or dr mercola’s “Effortless Healing” enveloping the most important steps to overall well being…

        thak you for all your extensive hours this research is keeping you from your family time…and i appreciate your wife for her support and hard work as well…
        you might be the embodiment of archangel “Rafael” ….

        william and family

  2. No grains or legumes? These foods have been on the planet forever, but we shouldn’t eat them? Do I need to read your book to understand why that is? What would you say then to Asians who consume vast quantities of tofu/soy; do they have it all wrong? Sorry, I’m not trying to be argumentative but I’m coming off sounding so. I only want to understand! I’m excited to learn!

    • blessings patricia…
      according to most collective information from top nutritional books…
      i’ve learned that agriculture has only been around for 10k years and our digestive system has not evolved to digest these grains properly causing a disruption in our over all health…
      most of the soy in the u.s. (about 95%), is gmo and asian countries consume mostly non-gmo agriculture..
      most late research is indicating that white rice, prepared and cooked properly is beneficial…
      i was on a paleo/ketogenic diet and lost a lot of weight and hard earned muscle but my body went into insulin resistance and uncontrolled blood sugar levels…
      i’ve been on the phd resistant starch diet for 3 wks consuming lots of white rice, plantains, and sweet potatoes and doing remarkably well..
      not craving for food snacks late at night anymore and blood sugar levels have dropped to 75 some days…i couldn’t believe it…
      save starches are bypassed by your digestive system where they make it to your colon and get processed creating “butyrate” for energy and short chain fatty acids which improves over all health amazingly…

      SO YES….BUY THE BOOK FOR YOURSELF AND LOVED ONES…this is the best book i’ve ever read in nutritional health….it’s amazing…paul and his wife are a blessing to humanity…



      • off the top of my head William…
        with you butyrate comment, you may be confusing safe starches with resistant starches (fiber).

        (I would need to double check myself tho)

    • Japanese and Chinese (and some other cultures, to a mostly lesser extent) eat tofu but not huge amounts. They do eat fermented soy in various forms, such as natto and soy sauce, but again, not huge amounts.

  3. This research is going around now that says fermented foods significantly lower social anxiety in neurotic individuals. Whats your take?

  4. I just bought the book, have listened to many podcasts and am still deeply Confused About how to approach this for weight loss. I have approximately 40 pounds to lose. Approximately how Much should I be eating. If I follow about a 1200 calorie diet I figured the perfect macronutrient nutrient ratio for me Would be 75 grams of protein 75 grams of carbohydrate and 67 grams of fat Does this sound about right? My metabolism is trashed after trying HCG and starving on it. You said in a couple of podcast I heard that 600 calories is the minimum for carbohydrate daily to support healthy thyroid function.

    Also you are a huge supporter of intermittent fasting. There are no studies and no support of evidence For intermittent fasting for menopausal women. I am 51 years old. From what I have read A menopause a woman’s body interprets fasting as starvation Or at the very least causes a lot of stress which causes a cortisol release Could you please expound on this thank you

    • Hi Paul, please, can You answer this question about Intermitteent fasting for perimenopausl and menopusal women, I´m interested in it also. Thank You!

    • Hi Francie,

      For weight loss, see especially my Ancestral Health Symposium talk,, and the free ebook you get for signing up for our newsletter,

      Some keys are intermittent fasting (see chapter 40 of our book), circadian rhythm entrainment (see chapter 42 of our book), and good nutrition (see chapter 17 of our book).

      1200 calories is too few for most people. If you did, 75 g protein, 100 g carb, and 50 g fat (be sure to get at least 3 egg yolks per day) would be better I think.

      But particularly if you are recovering from a starvation diet, it’s very important that you restore normal appetite regulation. So DO NOT UNDEREAT. I would try to eat a normal amount of calories, at least 1600 per day, for a while, without being concerned about weight, until you know that appetite is behaving normal. At that point, do intermittent fasting, and calibrate food intake so that you just begin to become mildly hungry 15-16 hours into the fast.

      There is every reason to believe that intermittent fasting is a normal part of our ancestral lifestyle for both men and women, and that it is healthier for post-menopausal women than it is for menstruating women.

      Intermittent fasting is not interpreted as starvation, undereating is. Women are more likely to undereat when they do fasting, but they two do not need to go together. Correctly done, without undereating, intermittent fasting will relieve stress by entraining circadian rhythms. Make sure that your feeding window is in the daytime, and DO NOT UNDEREAT. Weight loss will follow as you get healthier.

      Best, Paul

  5. Is black rice a good option for starches?

  6. Hi Paul – a math question….

    If I eat a 12 ounce baked potato as my safe starch of the day….. according to my calculations that is only about 240 calories and yet you have said that we should get a minimum of 600 carb calories – primarily from starches.

    so…. I’m confused on the math…..

    would the 600 carb calories come from the 240 calories of the 12 ounce baked potato PLUS the carb calories from the “sweet vegetables and fruit” and not exclusively from the potato?

    I would have to eat 30 ounces of baked potato to get to 600 carb calories, so that can’t be right.

    What am I missing here?

    Thanks in advance…..

    • Hi Susan,

      We recommend about a pound (16 ounces) of potato or other starches per day, and getting the 600 carb calories about 400 from starches and about 200 from sweet plants from fruit, berries, beets, carrots. That digests to about 500 calories glucose, 100 calories fructose, which is our favored glucose:fructose ratio.

      Your calculation would give 320 calories from a pound of potatoes which is a bit lower than the nutritional databases say. From, 100 g boiled potato has 80 calories carbs, or for one pound (454 g) 360 calories. A bit closer to the 400 calories we recommend.

      Best, Paul

      • Thank you Paul. That’s exactly what I needed. I did reach for my copy of PHD after I wrote my original comment and found on page 171 that you did specify 600 calories from both safe starches and the sweet plants combined.

        But the breakdown of 400 calories from safe starches and 200 calories from sweet plants is exactly what I needed to know.

        Thanks…. Susan

      • Paul – a follow up question if I might…

        I am assuming that the 600 carb calorie recommendation is based on the 2,000 calorie plan shown on the PHD apple graphic.

        So if I need about 1500 calories, would I reduce the carb calories to 450 with 300 calories from safe starches and 150 from sweet plants?

        or… do I still need 600 carb calories even if on a 1500 calorie per day intake?

        • Hi Susan,

          It doesn’t scale exactly with calorie consumption, but it will be close if you keep the same proportions and then adjust by listening to your body and your appetite. Let appetite be your guide.

          • Thanks Paul. I find that to maintain my weight that approx 1800 – 2000 calories is about right… depending on activity levels.

            However, I need to lose about 30 pounds so was planning to aim for about 1500 calories and see how that goes.

            I am not counting every calorie… just trying to ballpark the categories and see how my body reacts.

            Thanks again !!!

          • One more piece of info.

            I am eating 3 eggs per day plus 8 ounces of beef or chicken or shrimp.

            I will try 12 ounces of safe starches.

            12 ounces of sweet plants.

            2 – 4 servings of other vegetables.

            and 2 TB of added fat – either butter or coconut oil.

            Plus 48 ounces of water and 2 mugs of black coffee.

            No processed foods. No added sugar. No legumes. No other types of fats. No grains except white rice.

          • SusanB,
            Actually I’m also a Susan B! And you sound exactly like me on the amounts cals to maintain vs lose weight, although it’s more like 5 lbs for me — and others may say may current weight is ideal — it’s more about how I feel and look to myself. ANYWAY…I’ve been on PHD for about 1.5 yrs. Your rundown of food, when I add it up, seems like a lot less than 1500 cals, maybe more like 1200-1400, depending upon what meat source you’re using (lean vs fatty, and whether or not you’re trimming excess fat prior to cooking, which Paul recommends for weight loss and I which I do). He says not to count the crunchy “other veg” in the calories, which I do because I agree that they are insignificant as macronutrients. My final two cents is that you may still feel hungry on the food list that you laid out (I would), and if so, my personal experience is that it’s OK to bump up the “other veg” category as much as you want (green veg) and the lean protein by up to 4 more oz (only ~ 100-200 cals, depending) to satiate hunger. Protein and fat keep me feeling full longest, and if I’m limiting fat, it helps me to scale up the protein a bit. I don’t know if Paul would agree with everything I’ve said hear, but I think that I got most of these tips both from his book and my lifetime experience with my weight management. Kudos to you for addressing your weight and good luck!

          • Hi Susan !! I haven’t actually counted my calories, but I agree that it’s probably about 1400 calories per day ….IF ….
            one doesn’t count the “other vegetable” category. While they may not be the most important, they are calories….. so I am getting more like 1600 – 1700 calories per day with everything counted. And… I find that with those amounts that I am not hungry. No more snacking in between meals and nor more snacking in the evenings. My 3 meals per day keep me full.

            But… I am only losing about 1 pound per month. I do need to increase my exercise. So I think the answer is to keep eating the way that I am eating and increase the exercise and the pounds will come off a little bit faster. I’m not in a hurry. A pound a week would be nice…..
            3 whole eggs + 210
            8 ounces of 90% lean ground sirloin = about 500
            safe starches = 300
            sweet plants = 200
            2 TB added fat = 200

          • Hi, I believe that Paul’s advice about not counting the crunchy veg is because it takes about as much cals to digest them as they contain, presumably because of the high fiber and low calorie content, so I don’t bother counting them unless they are a crossover veg like some of the roots (i.e., carrots, beets, etc) and even then, I pretty much ignore them.
            Your plan sounds very sane to me! BTW, on days that you’re eating lean chicken or fish, 8 oz might be more like 250-400 calories, especially if poached or cooked otherwise without oil.
            Losing slowly is smarter and more maintainable because you are retraining yourself about how to eat right for the long-haul and therefore more likely to maintain the weight loss.
            Exercise is great all the way around, especially if you just stay moving all day long in some activity like walking/hiking, yoga, gardening, shopping, cleaning or other movement. Some intensity is good too, but if you overdo the intense forms, then you will feel hungry on 1400 cals, and then you then you might want to bump up starch and protein a tad. I think/hope that approach is consistent with PHD, otherwise I’m in trouble! (BTW, I really don’t sit around counting calories; I’m just aware of them and focus more on healthy eating and trying not to over-indulge in pleasure foods, eliminating them for a short time when necessary, i.e., if I feel I’m up a pound or two. So for me, that’s a good approach for maintenance.)

  7. ❓ Does anyone know how many ounces of starch are in a gluten free bagel? It says 2.3 on the package, and it was 30 grams of carbs. Does that sound right?

  8. Hello Paul, I’ve just started with PHD after following a “macrobiotic-based” diet for a couple of months, then I started with low-carb Paleo about one months ago, and by then I started doing a little bit of research on the literature myself (I actually enjoy it, but my biochemistry isn’t the best) and I’ve had no major problems adapting to it (At first it was hard, since I suddenly stoped eating whole grains, after relying on them as virtually my only carb source for over a year) what brings me to the question I wanted to ask you:
    How could I prepare grains and/or legumes to minimize the toxicity? Also, what is your stand on ancient grains (spelt, for instance) and where can I find information about the topic (good science-based proof)? I know I shouldn’t base my diet on grains, but it gets hard to adapt this diet with other people…

    A huge thank you from Argentina for writing the book… It would be great if you had an Spanish version of it, so I could recommend to my family…

    • Hi Agustin,

      For legumes: Indian cooking is a good guide; but to fully minimize toxicity, purchase hulled legumes (e.g. red lentils or yellow mung beans), soak overnight, and then pressure cook. If you restrict yourself to those legumes traditionally used in Indian cooking (see e.g., this will do a pretty good job of minimizing toxicity; but for other legumes (e.g. soy, fava bean, peanut, etc.), there will still be substantial residual toxins.

      For grains: Grind into flour and then ferment, as in the making of sourdough bread or beer. Longer fermentation is better, but regardless of what you do, you should expect there to still be substantial residual toxins.

      Note that while raw legumes are more toxic than raw grains, careful preparation is more effective at neutralizing legume toxins than grain toxins; well-prepared legumes are thus safer than well-prepared grains (although I wouldn’t make either a staple of my diet).


    • Hi Agustin,

      Regarding ancient grains: Here is what Paul wrote about quinoa, which would apply equally well to spelt:

      “…This is the basic problem: we just don’t know. We know about the toxicity of wheat because billions of people have made it their primary calorie source and we can see that after 60 years of eating it, people have much worse health than those who made rice their primary calorie source. Then, because wheat is so important, scientists have studied it and identified most of its toxins. With quinoa, we lack that kind of usage and there has been little scientific study.”



    • Augustin, like you and most other non Asian people, my diet was heavy on wheat, bread, pasta, beans, etc. It’s a little hard at first trying to figure out how to get around it especially when you’re out with family and friends, but after five years, I can tell you that I’ve always been able to put together some sort of plate of food even if is a little unorthodox, but you really don’t care because food is no longer primary.

      Best part is never being hungry or craving treats, except of course home made fudge a mean friend made for my birthday. Paul says once a year fudge is okay … and if he didn’t, he should have.

      I cook according to PHD and haven’t had any complaints from guests, but then I don’t tell them either although by know almost everyone knows about it.

      Good luck. You won’t believe how good you’ll feel and look!


    • Thank you both for your comments…
      Eric, that’s precisely what I needed to know! I don’t have any cravings or whatsoever but my mum still doesn’t think that not eating any grains or legumes (and restricting seeds) is ok, I’m sure she’ll be happy to know that she can eat some red lentils every once in a while… Also, thank you for the link about ancient grains, it’s much more clear now…

      Erp, you are right, perharps all I needed was using my creativity a little bit more… My family is supportive (even if they don’t understand why I’m doing this, haha) and you can always improvise something…

      Sorry for taking so long to reply!

  9. since Oats is mentioned above, i’ll re-post this query here (posted under q&a earlier).

    Hi Paul,

    in the book & above you say do not eat Oats,
    & rate oats a ‘D’ as a plant energy source.

    How about just the Bran, would oat bran be any better or worse than whole oats?

    (edit: since white rice is preferred over brown rice, makes me wonder if oat bran could be worse than whole oats).

  10. salutations pual…

    in the phd book Tim Steele reveals how ingesting “RS/resistant starch to feed our microbiome in addition to taking probiotics is very beneficial to our health…

    would you recommend adding “resistant starch” to the same amount of “safe starch” foods recommended in phd…since safe starches take care of the main glucose needs of our bodies and resistant starch takes care of our gut bacteria…

    william and family

    • Hi William,

      I don’t recommend supplementing resistant starch. I do recommend cooking and then cooling safe starches before eating them in order to generate RS3 resistant starch. Also eat plenty of vegetables.

  11. I know that you must cover this somewhere Paul, but I haven’t come across it. If so, please just direct me to it…. I have food intolerances which are increasing. Most recently it seems that salicylates or oxalates seems to set off tight muscles and headaches/brain fog (still need to work this out). So much so that I need to cut out all sorts of good foods.My question is this – how do I get to the point where my gut is able to tolerate enough foods to do the PHD? Do I need to do a GAPS style diet for a year or more before I can transition to PHD? I have seen your recommendations for gut dysbiosis; would it be best to follow those with all the foods eliminated (or a GAPS diet) until I am able to reintroduce them, and then start PHD? Gratefully!

    • I am in a similar situation Sharon. I hope Paul has some good information for us! I did do GAPS and SCD for several years and really only got worse and just lost more and more foods. I can really not tolerate any veggies 🙁 Keeping my fingers crossed Paul has some great wisdom to offer us!

    • Sharon – Great question. I, too, am curious as to what Paul says.

      After a long round of strong antibiotics several years ago, I became highly sensitive to many foods that I had enjoyed for decades prior to the round of antibiotics.

      It is slightly better now… and what I did was to eliminate the very highest of the histamine producing and salicylate foods, but not all of them…. Just the very highest on the vary lists that one finds on the Internet.

      Then… after a couple of months, I started adding back in a few of the ones that I had eliminated but 1) in small doses and 2) in rotation i.e. each food only once every 4 days.

      That seems to be working….. FOR ME….

      But I am very curious to hear Paul’s response…

  12. Thanks, SusanB and BJ! While we are hoping for Paul to give us some insight, I’d love to know if stress is an issue for each of you? Some researching on the internet seems to suggest that stress may be a factor in food intolerances. Have you any thoughts? Happy to chat by email too…. at least one person on the internet has got rid of food intolerances by getting rid of stress and trauma from the body….

    • Hi Sharon – Stress has not been an issue for me. I can trace my food sensitivity issues directly to 12 weeks of strong antibiotics. Before the antibiotics, I did not have these food sensitivities. Afterwards, it started and got progressively worse. With the process that I mentioned in my other message, it is … just now… starting to get a little bit better…. slowly… but getting better nonetheless.

      As BJ also found, by going on the severely restricted diets like SCD, the situation got worse.

      I only tried that for about 3 months because I quickly saw that eliminating so many foods was.. first.. not working.. and second.. was making the situation worse.

      That’s when I read somewhere (and I can’t remember where) that it is far better to just remove the very very highest offenders (I used the histamine and salicylate lists) and only removed the categories in the Very High categories on each list. After a few months of that, I started adding some back in…. as I said above…. in very small doses and only once every 4 days or so.

      That seems to have worked and now I can eat some of those foods in larger (but still moderate) quantities and more often.. maybe twice a week… with no problems.

      I am convinced that the antibiotics messed up my intestinal system by destroying good bacteria and threw the whole system out of whack.

      I love the Perfect Health Diet because it lays out the healthy foods one must eat to stay healthy and eliminates the toxic foods like wheat, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods, etc.

      So… on the PHD… one eats a variety of healthy foods… eliminates the unhealthy foods and lays out the quantities of foods that one needs to get proper nutrition.

      So eating the healthy foods in the necessary quantities to get proper nutrition is working for me.

      It is a process and each of us is different, but the PHD is my basic foundation with my choices of foods within that framework being dictated by not eating a few foods that I am still sensitive to. For instance, I can not eat dairy… at all…. so I don’t. It’s not necessary for good nutrition. I also don’t do well with tomatoes… so I don’t eat them.

      • Thanks, Susan. I really appreciate that, because I am finding it really hard to consider another very restrictive diet. For me the issue is linked to long term antibiotics as well as stress, but its very interesting to hear just how clear cut it was for you. It’s a pity that the solution isn’t as simple………

        • It is really good to hear that you’re having success with more foods Susan! Personally I find that I can always tolerate a lot more over the summer when I’m getting sunshine and swimming a lot to reduce my chronic inflammation.

          My main problem is that when I do start to introduce new foods I tend to go crazy and binge on them. I don’t know if it’s little critters in my body causing me to overeat or if I just get so excited to have new and different foods that I just go nuts, but I’m desperately trying to break that cycle.

          I’m surprised Paul didn’t have any insight to offer us 🙁

          • BJ – I do think it is crucial to eat a wide variety of vegetables, starches, fruits for the nutrients, but eat them in small doses and rotate them.

            I keep a blank sheet of paper taped to my kitchen cabinet between the stove and refrigerator. A new sheet each week.

            I have one section labeled safe starches, one labeled vegetables and one labeled fruit.

            At the end of each day, I mark in the appropriate category what I ate that day to remind me to eat a wide variety of foods and not keep eating the same things over and over again.

            The only things that I totally avoid are all dairy, tomatoes and olive oil. I don’t do well with those.. at all…. I may try to add them back in small doses in another 6 months… or I may just leave them out completely….

            I can now eat most of the recommended PHD safe starches, fruits and vegetables…

          • Forgot to add:

            I, of course, also eat proteins and fat. I didn’t want to leave them out !!

            For protein, I eat beef, chicken, shrimp and eggs.

            For fats, I eat pastured organic butter and coconut oil.

            For drinks, I have black coffee or water… and… I make sure that I drink at least 48 ounces of water each day.

            Also, I realized that by eliminating all processed food, I wasn’t getting enough sodium. I know…. considering that on a typical American diet most people are getting way too much sodium.

            But that comes from all of the processed food.

            Too little sodium, I have read, is just as bad as too little sodium.

            So now I put 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a salt shaker each morning and that’s how much added salt I use each day.

            I mix iodized sea salt and non-iodized sea salt in the shaker.

            My Centrum Silver multi-vitamin contains iodine, so I don’t want to overdo the iodine.

            I have found that 3/4 tsp of added salt (used in cooking and on cooked food) is about right for me.

  13. Both my white blood count and red blood count are slightly low and have been for years. Is this anything to be concerned about? My doctor doesn’t seem to think so.

  14. Hi Paul,
    I don’t know if you saw this, but it supports IF. (although they used a shorter fast window than 16 hours)

    “Participants in this small pilot study were asked to make one change only: to limit their consumption of anything with more than 5 calories to a 10- to 12-hour span each day. Over 16 weeks, the study participants lost an average of just over 7 pounds. They rated their sleep satisfaction and daily energy levels as increased.”

    “Fewer than 10% went for more than 12 hours without eating” (in their normal routine), this was really surprising to me.

  15. Hi Paul,

    For fasting, is it Ok to have a coffee with cocounut oil in the morning and then around 10:30 a bone broth??


    • I’m not Paul, but he used to say yes (until about a year or so ago) to something like cream or oil in coffee, but his research, thinking and experience has led him to now say that IF should be little or no calories. He has told me that broth is OK if needed. It has to do with starving bad bugs of calories for the ideal 16 hours and fat has significant calories. Broth is almost zero, especially mine which is strained of all fat. Hope that helps for now. He’s blogged, replied to comments about it and talked about it in several of his talks and interviews over the past year, so I bet if you googled the topic or searched the PHD website you would be able to find more discussion about it in his words. Well wishes to you.

    • I seem to recall Paul also said some tomato and sea salt were ok during fasting too.

      • Yes, he told me some chopped up spinach and tomatoes in the broth would be fine to provide some potassium, magnesium, etc., without many calories. I omitted that because he’d told me that in response to my concern about my being prone to headaches when I get hungry and it seemed like more of an exception for special cases, rather than the rule; but maybe I’m wrong about that.

        • Thanks Susan!
          The problem is that I find it really difficult to fast the complete 16 hours stated on the book. If I do the coffee and then the broth, it eases my way.

          Any thoughts?

          Or should I only do the bone broth?

          • Try starting with 12 hours and gradually working up to 16. It helps me a lot if my last pre-fast meal is amply satiating. A little extra KerryGold butter with boiled or baked potatoes helps a lot. It tends to stoke my metabolism in the night, and I wake up with little or no appetite. I used to think that high protein would be best before fasting, but I have found by experience that is not true for me. Recently I read that also seems to be the case for most people; fat and starch in the last meal beat protein for making the fast easier.

          • I agree with Forest and Paul says to go slightly heavier on protein vs starch at lunch and slightly heavier on starch vs protein at dinner, which is consistent with Forest’s comment.

            I’m pretty sure that Paul would say that the coffee without the fat added along with the veggie fortified broth is preferable to coffee with fat added. That way you are minimizing calories during the fast.

  16. I was curious to know how parsnips would be classified- as a starch or a sugary vegetable? Can anyone help with this? Thanks, Angela

  17. Paul (and/or any other PHD dieter that can answer me this):
    I have some worries about dairy comsuption (full-fat dairy, as you recommend in the diet), mainly due to IGF-1 hormone…
    Is it something to concern when it comes to eating dairy or should I just forget about it?

    I couldn’t find anything on the blog (except a comment you wrote here responding to Annie’s questions, on 11/15/2010:’t-supplement-calcium/) what led me to think that perharps there isn’t enough research to conclude anything yet… Anyway, I would love any suggestion you could give me!

    Thank you

    • Another question: Is goat dairy any better?

      • I was also wondering about dairy. What about casomorphins? Opiate compounds that are released into the circulation due to milk proteins not being fully digested. I first read about this in the GAPS diet and apparently it is strongly linked with autism and schizophrenia. However, from the GAPS diet I think the book talks about how its due to casein not being fully broken down due to the absence of certain enzymes that most people have and the proteins end up as this opiate peptide molecule, yet I have also read that ALL diary ends up as casomorphins in even healthy people and it’s due to some sort of survival mechanism to give babies a strong drive to drink mothers milk because of the reward system.

  18. Hi Paul,

    It’s difficult to get enough Riboflavin without supplementing. Have you found a way to do so? 3 eggs and some dairy don’t seem to provide the desirable daily amount..

    Wish you a great day!

  19. Dear Paul, I was diagnosed at age 18 with folliculitis on my scalp, and now that I am 39 and follow the PHD things don’t get any better. I have tried antibiotics many times but it always comes back. A long time ago I noticed that every time I catch a flu or get sick with fever my folliculitis disappears completely, only to come back when I recover from the flu or the throat infection. Could this indicate that my folliculitis has an autoimmune element to it? The way I see it is that when my immune system is busy with something “out of the ordinary” it forgets about my scalp and my folliculitis desappears… Could this be happening? Any advice would be very welcome. Thanks in advance!

  20. I think I need some help with this. I’ve scoured the website and trawled the book but can’t come up with anything other than:

    450g safe starches = 1800 calories
    450g other carbs = 1800 calories
    300g protein = 1200 calories
    50% of that in fat + 2400 calories

    which totals 7200 calories per day! Plus the other leafy vegetable carbs you don’t count. Is this right or am I interpreting this totally wrong?

    • Hi Ruth,

      No, when we give a weight it is a weight of the food, which is mostly water – only a small fraction of the weight is in the form of calories. You are calculating calories based on pure starch, pure sugar, pure fat, pure protein, not natural whole foods.

      For natural whole foods, starchy plants like rice and potatoes have about 500 calories/pound, sweet plants like fruit about 200 calories per pound, meats have about 300 protein calories and variable amounts of fat per pound but 600 calories is typical. So 1 pound of each would be 500+200+900 calories = 1500 calories and this is the core of a 2000 calorie daily diet.

      Best, Paul

      • Ok Paul, that’s too funny…I know you’re just testing to see if anyone will dare to check the math of an astrophysicist…
        but I get 1600 🙂

  21. Hi Paul,
    I am currently studying naturopathy and we were taught about the blood type diet, I searched on your website and also on google, the links mostly talk about antigens and immune response to certain foods but it doesn’t mention how O types have thinner blood, higher stomach acid and thrive on higher protein-red meat and higher fat (high intestinal alkaline phosphatase) diets whereas A types have thicker blood, low stomach acid and are better suited with no red meat, lower fat, getting protein from seafood, vegetable base diet. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

  22. Hello!

    I’ve read your book and it is the best book on health I’ve read. However I’m currently looking into Mind Body Syndrome / Tension Myositis Syndrome to heal chronic pain and migraine headaches.

    I’m taking a course and they inform me that I should eat everything and that the brain can react to certain foods, like gluten, and trick the body into believing that it is the cause of the pain. So I’m very confused! On one hand I want to follow your guidelines and on the other I’m told that it’s all about re-training my brain.

    (I ate gluten yesterday and my joints started to ache a lot, like they always do… I’m not gluten intolerant to my knowledge, but it makes me feel terrible).

    What do you think about these syndromes? I would be so grateful for some help regarding this.

    Thank you!


    • Hi again,

      I really need some help with this and I don’t know what to do. Does anyone else know about Mind Body Syndrome / Tension Myositis Syndrome?

      I started eating gluten again because these dr’s keep saying that I can work through the pain, but my joints are killing me…

      • I don’t know about mind body syndrome but I do know that gluten can be damaging. Apparently it has been proven to be undigestible by humans, to cause intestinal permeability in everyone for a few hours after consuming (according to Dr Tom O’Bryan and Dr Fasano I think). I think how much damage gluten does in an individual depends on a variety of things e.g. your genes, your gut flora, whether you have infections that also cause intestinal permeability….)
        If I were you I would stop eating gluten, as explained in Paul’s book it’s healthier to be without gluten anyway, even if you don’t have celiac or a real sensitivity.

        How do you know that you are not ‘gluten intolerant’? Have you tested? e.g. apparently currently the best test now is a blood test for gluten by Cyrex labs. But if you yourself feel less well after eating gluten then it seems you have your answer.

        Just my view.

        • Yes. I’ve been thinking the same way about gluten for a few years now, being totally grain free.

          I’ve taken a blood test to determine that I don’t have celiac, but still unsure if non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a thing. Does anyone know?

          I have great respect for the Jaminets, they surely know what they are talking about. That’s why I get so confused by the mind body experts saying something totally different.

          • Yes, it is a thing! Years ago, long before anyone was talking about gluten …about 15 years ago I tried a grain free, dary free and legume free diet to deal with fatigue. The Eades Protein Power diet. After about two or three weeks
            I felt a tiny bit better with regard to fatigue, but not much. Then I noticed that my hands no longer ached. I hadn’t thought anything would help that that and it was just part of getting older.i was totally surprised . My husband had been having pain in his hands too so I suggested he try the same restrictions and he got the same result. Over the years we experimented and learned that it was the gluten. We have worked on healing our gut and can eat occassional gluton with no problem. But see no reason to do so regularly, rhe prospect of long term damage, that won’t show up for weeks or months and might be more difficult to heal a second time just does not seem worth it when it is s easy to be gluten and even grain free as per PHD.

            Chris Kresser has written a lot about non celiac gluten sensitivity. Google around.

          • I tried a gluten free diet (in fact, I eliminated all grains and seeds) for a month. I didn’t notice any difference (though I only have slight pain in a couple of joints). However, I only eat true sourdough bread (which I make myself), which may be why I didn’t get an improvement when eliminating it, since fermentation partly pre-digests the gluten. What did seem to help was elimination of tomatoes (though not elimination of all nightshade family veg). Take that for what it’s worth; highly anecdotal.

      • If you don’t have joint pain when you don’t eat gluten, why on earth would you eat gluten? The Sarno protocol does help some people, but not everyone by a long shot. And it will be no means resolve issues with gluten.

        • Thank you for your input Ellen. The pain is getting worse so I will stop eating it. I just wanted an opinion on mind body syndrome and if it’s a real diagnosis or not… and if it can be connected to gluten. But I feel terribly ill so I just can’t go on eating it.

          • I absolutely agree with Ellen. If you have the pain when you eat gluten and don’t have the pain when you don’t eat gluten, why would you eat gluten?

            I have learned that I need to have a balance between medical advice from my doctor and my own “intuition” based on experimentation and observation of my own body. No one knows what I’m feeling and what I’m reacting to.

            For instance….

            After switching to a Paleo/Primal way of eating most of the time about 2 years ago and then following this PHD for the past 6 months, I was experiencing irregular heart beating that was scary.

            If I had immediately gone to my doctor, he would have prescribed a pill.

            I knew that it was something fixable. So I did a lot of research and discovered 2 things.

            I wasn’t drinking enough water. That can cause irregular heart beats. I now drink 48 – 60 ounces of water every day.

            I also discovered that I wasn’t getting enough sodium. Too little sodium is as bad as too much.

            Most people get far too much sodium, but they are getting it from all the processed and fast food that they eat.

            By dropping ALL processed foods from my diet, I wasn’t getting enough sodium.

            I experimented and have found that I have to be sure to add 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt to my diet every day. This is by a combination of adding it to the foods that I cook and by sprinkling it on my food before eating.

            So now I put 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt in a salt shaker every morning and make sure to use that before the day ends.

            Between the regular consumption of at least 48 ounces of water and the addition of 3/4 teaspoon of salt to my diet every day, TA DA….

            no more irregular heart beat.


            So… my point is… you know your body better than anyone. You have to listen to it and read and ask questions and listen to the doctors and then make your own decision.

            Perhaps my doctor would have mentioned dehydration as a cause of irregular heart beats, but I doubt that he would have thought of a sodium deficiency.

            Hope that helps !!

          • Thank you Susan for sharing your thoughts. You’re absolutely right. Gluten is making me very ill. I hope that it won’t take too long before the pain goes away, I’m miserable right now. 🙁

  23. Hi Paul,
    I’m a huge fan, and have a perplexing issue. My son is severely allergic to peanuts. We have been invited into a study of oral immunotherapy, where he would eat peanut and oat flour daily to build up his tolerance. The goal is that he is no longer seriously allergic. However, to maintain his new “protection” he will have to eat 2 peanuts a day for the rest of his life. We are deciding right now whether we want to participate in the study. I am concerned that we will be making him less healthy by him having to eat peanuts everyday, something the rest of the family happily lives without. Do you think 2 peanuts a day for life will do any measurable detriment to his health?


  24. Hi Paul,
    I have a question about magnesium… Is there any way to avoid supplementation? I’m doing great geting all the other nutrients from the diet, but Magnesium is really hard… I know supplementation is recommended, but can’t I get it from food only?

  25. Hi Agustin,

    Are you eating plenty of beets, potatoes, spinach, and swiss chard?


    • Hi Eric, would there be any magnesium left in any of those if cooked though? I though magnesium gets destroyed by heat?

      • Magnesium survives cooking. Some will move from the food into the juices or cooking water; but if you consume that too there would be no loss of magnesium.

    • Hi Eric! Thank you for answering my question again… I do eat lots of spinach and potatoes, and ocassionaly beets, but it doesn’t seem to be enough… I am eating a lot of cocoa powder with breakfast (around 1 cup), which is a pretty good source of Magnesium, but it also provides lots of copper, and I’m probably getting a lot of it already… I’ve been checking Weston A. Price foundation website also, to check what’s their recomendation, and I was surprised to see that they also recommend supplementation (weird, given that they recommend getting every nutrient from food)…
      I guess I’ll have to keep digging… Haha

      • Hi Agustin,

        PHD recommends 400–800 mg of magnesium… How much are you getting now?


        • Eric

          I’m getting around 500-600 mg daily, but also get to 4 mg of Copper easily, plus the weekly liver and squid (I eat squid sometimes for Omega-3) so I’m getting way too much Copper…
          The book mentions inorganic copper toxicity, but what about my case? Am I getting too much? Is the storage form of Copper fat or water soluble?

          • Yes, it sounds like you are getting too much copper. I would eat less cocao powder, and eat chicken liver instead of beef liver.

            The body stores copper using specialized copper storage proteins.

            Supplementing extra zinc will hasten the removal of excess copper from the body.

  26. Hi Paul,

    Potassium question..

    In pilates class while doing certain exercises, I regularly get hamstring cramps. They go away immediately if I stretch my let out.

    My pilates instructor keeps telling me that I need to eat lots of bananas 🙂

    While researching recommended potassium levels, I see that the RDA is 4,700 mg per day for adults.

    Looking in the nutritional database at some of the foods that I eat regularly that contain “good” amounts of potassium, it appears to me that if I eat 6 oz of ground beef, some lettuce, a banana, an ounce of avocado, a 10 oz baked potato, 1/2 a grapefruit, 1 ounce of almonds in a day that I am only getting about half of the recommended amount of potassium.

    My Centrum Silver multi-vitamin only contains 80 mg of potassium and while looking at Swanson’s website (where I get my other vitamins i.e. K, C, magnesium, D3) that one Albion Chelated Potassium only contains 99 mg of potassium.

    I don’t see how one gets enough potassium with an average PHD diet plus a multivitamin with only 80 mg of potassium…….

    Certainly, one is getting more potassium in an average PHD diet than a standard American diet and yet…. I don’t potassium in your recommended supplements.

    What am I missing here? How does one get enough potassium ???? Why does Centrum Silver only have 80 mg of potassium if the RDA is 4,700 mg per day? And according to my quick calculations I’m only getting about 2400 mg per day while eating some of the recommended “high” potassium foods like banana, avocado, lettuce, baked potato, ground sirloin beef, grapefruit, etc?

    I’m confused….

    • Hi SusanB,
      From the book, p 296:
      “The target (4,700 mg/day of potassium) is easily reached as long as high-potassium foods are favored. Most of the time eat potato, sweet potato, …. rather than white rice as safe starches, beets, carrots, and banana as sugary plants; chocolate, avocado and nuts for snack foods;coconut milk as a cooking oil; sun-dried tomatoes, green leafy vegetables and seaweed as vegetables.”

      Eating a pound of potatoes a day is big help (~2, 429 mg potassium).
      And two medium tomatoes (~ 9 oz) gives another 600 mg potassium.
      A pound of bananas brings 1,625 mg potassium)

      Those three together get you close (4,654 mg potassium).

      My notes show:
      Foods with the highest potassium / calorie:
      beet greens
      swiss chard
      Chinese cabbage

      Acorn squash brings 347 mg potassium / 100 grams @ only 40 calories!
      Spinach: 558 mg/ 100 grams @ only 23 calories.
      Split peas: 981 mg/100grams.
      Beet greens: 762 mg / 100 grams.
      Yam: 816 mg / 100 grams @ 118 calories.

      Personally, I rely on potatoes and yams and sweet potatoes more than rice (but love that rice and rice noodles are fine for variety when I get a little tired of potatoes). And a few medium sized tomatoes are easy and delicious and low in fructose. And spinach is easy and delicious with just a little butter and salt & pepper, and super easy in the microwave.
      And squash with a little butter also very easy in the microwave, and delicious.

      • Hi Randy, Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer. That’s exactly what I needed. I did not remember reading that in the PHD book on my first read… so that’s another section that I must go back and re-read.

        I will make a list of the foods that I eat and enjoy and the potassium content of each and track it for a few weeks.

        I can’t eat tomatoes so that’s unfortunate. I love them but my skin doesn’t.

        I do love potatoes, but I find I have been relying on rice far too often as my safe starch. I’ll go back more to potatoes.

        Again, a big thank you for your response. It is very helpful !!!

  27. Hi Paul!
    I really need HELP!
    I have been eating PHD for one year, but I have big problems with 1 lb of safe starches/day. When I eat rice and potatoes (especially rice) my blood sugar is skyrocketing. I can only eat small amounts. I follow your advise and eat it with fat, fibre an something acid, but it does not help. If I eat it cooked and cooled there is no problem. Is it better for me to eat a low carb Paleo diet? In Sweden it´s very popular to eat LCHF( Low Car High Fat).
    Pease help!

    • Hi Eva,
      Prior to finding PHD, I had been a few years low carb or very low carb. I had also just learned that my fasting blood glucose was 99 mg/dl (just below what American medicine would call pre-diabetic) which alarmed me so I bought a glucose monitor and started measuring after meal blood glucose levels and I was frequently shocked to see reading as high as 180 or even 200 after the first meal of the day. Eating rice was perhaps where I saw this the most, but I discovered that a 15 min brisk walk after finishing the meal was enormously effective in reducing these post prandial spikes and it soon became my habit to walk 15-30 minutes after at least my first meal of the day. Over a little time my spikes were most often below 140 even after eating carbs as advised in PHD, as if the walking blunted the rise, giving my body time to adapt to eating more carbs. Now I find I can east PHD, even rice which had been more problematic for me, and have excellent blood sugar control. And my HbA1c has been trending down from like 5.6 to 5.0 which I think is excellent and maybe optimal.

      Try a brisk but enjoyable walk after eating, especially the first meal of the day and see if it helps.
      And give your body time to adjust to the moderate carb levels of PHD (while doing all the suggestions for eating carbs that you seem to be aware of: the vinegar, vegetable fiber, sour cream and butter, sauces of fat and acid).


  28. Hi Paul,

    I recently read this article ( which claims that butter may have negative effects on LDL blood levels, while cream and other full-fat dairy may not (due to the presence of Milk Fat Globule Membranes in those)… I’d like to know what you (and/or anyone else) thinks about it… However, the subjects were on an isocaloric diet, what led me to think that perharps it was a malnutrition problem rather than butter being bad per-se… However the difference was drastic between the groups… Anyway, I’d really like to know your opinion… Thank you!

  29. Hi Paul,
    I just finished your book after hearing your podcast with Ben Greenfield. Absolutely love how thorough you are in citing your research and explanations for avoiding certain food groups. I’ve eaten Paleo/primal for several years, but whenever people would ask me why I avoid dairy/grains/legumes I would always get tongue-tied, unable to provide a concise or fully informed explanation. Thanks to your book I can now provide a coherent scientific explanation for why I choose to eat the way I do, and not like a bandwagoning dieter. Thank you 🙂 I have two questions regarding the diet:
    1) You recommend eating about 1lb safe starches. IIs that 1lb raw or 1lb after cooking? I know sweet potatoes and squash lose quite a bit of weight after roasting.
    2) You say “low calorie vegetables to taste”… does this include starchier veggies like cauliflower and eggplant? Or do I count those under safe starches?
    Thank you so much!

  30. salutations to your divinity paul…

    is Organic Matcha Green Tea phd friendly…


    william and familia

  31. I’ve been eating canned wild caught Alaska salmon two or three times per week. But recently I heard that radioactive cesium from the Fukushima meltdown has been showing up in seafood from the Northern Pacific Ocean, now even to Oregon and California.

    Government sources say that the level of radiation is so low that there is nothing to worry about, but they don’t seem to be taking into account the difference between external exposure in passing and internal incorporation of radioactive material into one’s body tissues, which can give you a close up long term dosage for years, as when radioactive cesium takes the place of potassium.

    Is it still safe when you take this aspect into account?

  32. Hi Paul,

    I was wondering about your perspective on the following video by Dr. Greger:

    He discusses link between animal proteins and the increase levels of IL-1, and TNF with regards to cancer and heart disease.

    Also of interest is the issue of BMAA as a neurotoxin found in fish.

    I was interested in your thoughts given your recommendations.


  33. anyone please……

    Is Organic Matcha Green Tea phd friendly?

    thank you


  34. I can’t see why not. Paul has said explicitly that water, tea, and coffee are the best drinks.

    What’s your concern?

  35. Hello Paul,
    Does this new report by the WHO on red meat and its probably cause of cancer affect any of your current recommendations? Thank you in advance.


  36. Hello Paul,
    Any insight on this recent article? Thank you.

  37. Hi all. Love the book and started PhD on 1 October. Sugar and life long chocolate cravings have disappeared. It feels right to be eating this way. I’ve recommended the book to my niece who is having problems as she’s had her thyroid removedthis year and the doctor says there may be damage to the parathyroid gland too as she can’t absorb calciuM despite taking supplements. Any thoughts which might help her? Many thanks. Shona

    • hi Shona, make sure her vitamin D levels are optimized to support calcium absorption and that her gut is healthy. Eat a balanced PHD-like diet to make sure other nutrients are optimized. Also, she should supplement magnesium with the calcium, and optimize her thyroid hormone intake. A little T3 along with T4 is probably helpful.

  38. Hi Paul,
    Just wondering if you know about moles on the skin. My children keep getting more and more, on the face, neck and all over the body as they get older. I have heard once that they could be caused by a virus. Do you know, if so they should be able to be prevented perhaps?

  39. Hi Paul,
    I am french and I read your book last year. It was great! I love it. But in France, there is a lot of nutritionist who say we have to eat meat once a week for men and two for women because of iron. Fish 3 a week. I do not know where is the truth.He re the red meat has increasingly bad reputation. What do you think about meat, red meat and iron? Thank you and sorry for my bad english. David

  40. Paul,
    What do you think about the latest meat scear??? Lots of people are in the dark now.

  41. Paul, Paul, Paul,
    I love and adore legumes and I have given up grains except for Ezekiel bread. I watch my carbs because I do lean toward a high blood sugar if I do not. You have some interesting ideas and may be worth reading more about. Lots of food for thoughts as well.


  42. Hi Paul,
    I am a 38 yr old woman with IBS, diverticulosis, hashimotos disease, with symptoms of foggy brain, exhaustion, 30 pounds of weight gain, a stomach ache with stabbing pains for 18 years and general depression due to being so tired all of the time. I tried the Atkins diet, and after 3 weeks I felt horrible… I mean so horrible my assistant told me to stop. I decided to cut out gluten and eat everything else. Although I felt a little better, I would get the stabbing pains in the gut after certain foods. I was going to try paleo but I know I need to have starchy foods for my thyroid meds… This is when I stumbled upon your diet. I started about 3 weeks ago and I have to say- the change in the way I feel is miraculous. No more stomach pains, foggy brain and I am happier… Although not at my optimal, I am sure I will be there in time. I am so thankful for you, this book and this diet. I don’t miss bread and avoiding all the junk food is very reinforcing! I love chocolate cake and was recently offered a piece. It was so easy to say no! When you have had stomach pain for 18 years and it’s now gone, you never want it back- and that is where I am. I stil need to incorporate more foods from your list of foods but I am off to a good start.
    Thank you!!!

  43. Hi Paul,

    it would be interesting to know your thoughts on Denise Minger post on low fat diets.

  44. Paul,
    Routine blood work is showing elevated liver enzymes (AST and ALT in 300s). Other blood panels and liver ultrasound are normal. Doc wants to do biopsy.IS PHD liver friendly…would you suggest any modifications till they can figure this out?

  45. Hi Paul
    Any ideas on lucuma powder and PHD ?

  46. And Spirulina ?

  47. I am a vegetarian so dont eat meat fish and egg products.
    does yr book have alternative plan for us?

  48. Hi, As I am learning about the PHD, I see you list white rice as being a safe starch, but don’t mention brown rice or at least I haven’t come across it and and am wondering if it is a “bad” starch and what is the difference. Can you please help me understand?

  49. Hi, I was wondering what was your opinion on molasses as sweetener, since it’s basically sugar, but with a great mineral profile…

    Thank you!

    • We’re generally not fond of sweeteners and tend to favor raw honey, for its antimicrobial properties, but molasses would be better than purified sugar.

      • What about sweeteners used for rare times I need to make a birthday cake or similar (gluten free of course with rice/potato/tapioca starch flours). I’ve used honey in the past but I realised if honey is cooked it loses it’s antimicrobial properties and the mineral content is not as high as dry healthier sugars such as coconut sugar or rapadura, so I use those now. What do you think?
        This article gives mineral content of some sugars:

        • I’m not Paul, but my advice is don’t sweat the nits. Since it’s only rare times, as it is for me, what’s the harm in using honey, even if the benefits are slightly reduced when baked? If you compute how much honey per slice, it’s probably not much. If I’m going to craft a rare confection, it’s a matter of balance and choices between lesser evil options at holidays and special times.
          However, I’m still sensible and PHD “conscious” about it…there are many excellent bread, cake, pie recipes that use almost all whole food ingredients and bare bottom minimum sweeteners of any kind, and those are the ones I make. (Many are 100% PHD compliant, but occasionally one will call for something that is a lesser choice like maple syrup, and I make a decision between perfection or near-perfection and slightly better result.) Often they’ll use mainly bananas or apples or soaked dried fruit, or some other way to bump up the sweetness factor, and I’ve come to find them better tasting than traditional recipes. If a recipe calls for pumpkin, I use Buttercup (not nut) or Kabocha because they are SO sweet naturally.
          I don’t sweat it anymore if a recipe calls for a few dates, a little maple syrup or molasses or coconut sugar because in the grand scheme of things, I’ll be consuming a tiny amount in 1 slice and I do it so rarely that it is inconsequential, and I only make things like this 5-6 times per year.
          And…for all of us who eat less than 100% dark chocolate: do you know what usually makes up most of the balance: sugar!!! So any of us who eat 75-99% chocolate daily are eating refined sugar of some type each day. Just something to bear in mind when we’re looking at the big picture. 😀

          • I would tend to agree with you and I don’t really worry about the rare times but since I have been diagnosed with a klebsiella infection I’m starting to think about it more and wonder which would be the least harmful. A few years ago when I tried GAPS diet for a few months I was very strict and never had anything sweet except for occasional honey. It seemed easy at the time as the diet is so strict as to what is legal or not. Now on PHD for some reason I find it much harder to resist temptations for sweet things, perhaps because there are more grey areas with food allowances and I’m just getting too relaxed sometimes. It should be rare treats but in reality it ends up being quite often. I am doing most of the baking of the healthy options for all the family birthdays and special occasions. With extended family around that ends up being every other week or so! And on top of that when I visit parents/inlaws each weekend I need to bring healthy treats for my kids to have a healthy option. Grandmas tend to only provide the unhealthy stuff unfortunately.
            I do make a lot of healthier type desserts but recently been swaying more towards the more normal tasting types, mainly for my husbands sake who wants it to taste ‘normal’ otherwise he’ll just go for the worst option available. e.g. I’ll make a standard Madeira cake but using PHD flour and rapadura sugar (that seems to be the closest to white sugar of the healthy options) as well as butter and eggs. I’ve tried dextrose in recipes but it leaves a strange aftertast burnning type effect in the mouth.
            If I was single I would have no problem limiting treats to very rare occasions. But I have a husband who wants a sweet every evening!! So I try to make alternatives for him. The problem is I will end up tasting and then eating it too a lot of the time!
            I don’t eat normal chocolate but buy the darkest available one that is sweetened with coconut sugar. It’s about 2 times per week. I just feel I am having way too much sweets on PHD these days!

            Susan, to be honest I would love to try out a new recipe or two from the ones you mentioned. If it’s not too much trouble could you post the links for a couple that seem the most PHD friendly? That would be very helpful. I feel I need a bit of inspiration with a tried and tested recipe.

          • Claire, there are SO many great recipes out there, and many are posted on great blogs. Try searching the recipes on these websites as a start:


            And so many others. If I think of any other great ones I’ll post a follow up. Slim Palate banana bread I love. Paleo spirit chocolate beet cake I love. I make an avocado-chocolate-honey-vanilla-espresso frosting for it and will look for that recipe — it is spectacular as a frosting or no-cook mousse!

            If you are truly a baker, then you would love these books by professional bakers-turned-paleo:

            My sweet paleo (Lea Valle)
            My paleo patisserie (Jen Hulet)

          • Thanks very much. That’s very kind of you. There are some new ones there for me. I do enjoy searching for new recipes but I’m just so busy these days.

            Any one have a dairy, egg white free cake recipe??
            Until I resolve my gut infection I should not be eating those due to positive food sensitivity testing.

            I made up my own cake today using 8 egg yolks, gelatin, PHD flour mix, rapadura and lemon. Wasn’t bad. Will try replacing some of the sugar with a fruit or squash next time. But after eating it I’ve developed indigestion. I’ve not had indigestion for months!
            I think I just need to have better will power to stop eating these things even if I make it for others.

          • susan – good point about chocolate bars having a lot of sugar – try making your own with cocoa powder and stevia – nu naturals from is the brand to use as it is not bitter like others. mix in some coconut oil and water to get the consistency you want. It may be hard to get it just like a commercial chocolate bar but you will still have the chocolate taste. I mix it with some ground almonds and almond butter and make little balls and then roll in coconut – we call them “little tasties”. Mix in some coffee too if you want them to have a “kick”.
            We use cococeps and cafeceps from for cocoa and coffee.

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