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    ALLISON145   32,684
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Perfect Health Diet Photo Blog

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Hey Buddies!

So I've recently downloaded the kindle version of the perfect health diet. It's very similar to Primal ( but actually requires a certain amount of what they call "safe starches" every day for health reasons. This is a pretty controversial topic amongst the low carb/paleo/primal camps, so I thought I would post some info about it. First off, here are the guidelines given from the perfect health website (

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.

Even if you read the book and totally believe in the science, moving from low carb/paleo to this model seems scary, given the statements "Eat 1 pound of starch" and "Eat one half to 1 pound of sugary vegetables or fruits." Since not everyone has a food scale (scandalous!) and to provide some much needed context, I thought I would post some photos of what that looks like.

First off, potatoes:

As you can see, the potato weighs 13 ounces (on the nose, impressive!), or about 80% of that 1 pound recommendation. I added the photo next to the seasoning jars for scale because those are pretty standard and I figured most folks have those hanging around. This is not a HUGE potato. It's a medium to even smaller than typical baking potato that one would pull out of the bin in the store. If you buy the big bags of taters you will get smaller ones for sure, but not a lot smaller. According to Spark, 16 full ounces of potato is around 97 carbs.

Now, for fruit (since I happen to have that handy):

As you can see, the standard "Red Teacher Apple" weighs in at 6 ounces, and the Fuji apple weighs in at almost 8 ounces. Even if you remove 1/3 of the weight for core, you're looking at 4-5 ounces per apple. At the lower end half pound recommendation, that's 2 apples. At the high end, that's 4 apples. Apples are one of the higher sugar fruits, so according to the Spark tracker you're looking at around 40 carbs for 2 or 80 carbs for 4.

I haven't weighed it myself, but I've found online that one cup of cooked rice weighs 7-8 ounces, so 2 cups would be a daily allotment of rice to meet the starch requirement - that's about the same in carbs as potatoes. So in my mind anyway, absolutely worst case scenario (using rice or potatoes and apples vs. carrots, beets, or berries), you're looking at 137 - 177 carbs in a day. Please keep in mind these are GROSS carb numbers, not NET (I didn't subtract fiber). Still significantly less than the standard American diet, but much higher than most in the low carb community are accustomed to. An interesting point to note is how this compares to Mark's Carbohydrate Curve - he states that 100-150 is ideal for maintenance, which isn't too far off the mark (no pun intended) here, even at the worst case scenario end. (

Something to remember about all of this too is that the Perfect Health Diet guidelines are written for just that - health. Not weight loss. So we all need to adjust as necessary to lose weight, then increase as makes sense for us to maintain. It's all just a big personal experiment on our bodies, folks... One size does not fit all. I wanted to post this though so people would have some context and not eat 5 potatoes per day thinking that must be "about a pound." I've been doing this long enough to cringe visibly when folks tell me they had "about" so much of something, particularly when it's carb/calorie dense.

I hope this helps someone!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
EVILKLOWN 1/19/2013 6:46AM

    This kind of thing gives me brain damage. I have all I can handle just trying to eat less calories.

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RUSSELL_40 1/17/2013 12:08AM

    I gain weight if I go over 40 net carbs, so this is not something I would even consider to be low carb. If you are doing well on it.. great for you!

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GOPINTOS 1/7/2013 11:12AM

    There has been quite the debate and N=1 on MDA over starches and potatoes in particular. There is a lot of science to the results but many ppl are actually having great results by adding more potatoes. And very much YMMV.

PHD says UP TO 1lb of fruit and UP TO 1lb of starches. For many ppl it is the missing piece. Agreeable it is not for everyone. You just have to see and do what works best for you. He also discusses ketogenic diets for those that need to go that route. From my notes he says: Natural carb intake for healthy sedentary person is about 600 calories, 300 for ketogenic dieting.

Mark Sisson even wrote the forward for the new book. The basic guidelines are as follows:

low to mod. Carbohydrate (20-35%)
High fat (50-65%)
Mod Protein (15%)

By weight, 65% plant, 35% meats & oils

If you need to lose weight, he recommends dialing the fat back to 40% which he discusses in a bit more detail in the 2nd edition.

I should add, that he does not include veggies in the carb or calorie count.

Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 11:35:08 AM

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GOODGETNBETR 1/7/2013 8:44AM

    Me too. emoticon


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ANDYINBC 1/6/2013 11:59PM

    Interesting blog, thanks for sharing! I got stuck thinking about the three pounds of plant food daily. And then I looked a the bags of salad in the fridge and thought I would never be able to eat that much. The apples and potatoes would be more filling but wow, that's a lot of plant food.

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    It seems like everyone has a take on the lower carb diet but edging much above 150 net carbs a day sounds problematic for me. As I know a lot of doctors, because I'm a nurse, I have found that they often make dietary recommendations on what they like to eat themselves unless the patient has certain problems like renal disease. So if a doctor loves white rice, and many cultures do, then it is on the menu. LOL. I'm big on personal experimentation. If you eat a normal serving of potato, which is very small, and feel like dog poop afterwards then don't eat potatoes. Same with rice. I think that food triggers become obvious with this approach. I learned right away that pasta spikes my blood sugar. My doctors diet involves food combining and I discovered that he was really onto something. While I might be able to eat a small potato I can not eat a small potato with a serving of bread. Often it really is about how many carbs you can eat at a time and not what source they come from unless they are a trigger or very high glycemic.

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ALLISON145 1/6/2013 9:05PM

  Love the controversy! LOL! I have to say, I'm feeling totally confused lately by the barrage of health advice hanging around the low-carb-osphere. I actually get a belly ache if I eat too many potatoes myself. I wonder if it's because I'm just no longer accustomed to so much starch, or whether my body just doesn't tolerate them very well because I'm getting older?

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KICK-SS 1/6/2013 8:55PM

    That would certainly cause a gain for me - not to mention a horrendous bellyache. I guess if you're really super active and not doing too low carb, it could be ok for some people anyhow, but not for me.

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MAIZEY 1/6/2013 5:04PM

    Very interesting. Reminds me how important it is to actually measure or weigh foods. Thanks

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MYLADY4 1/6/2013 3:59PM

    Very interesting. Hope it works for you.

Nothing wrong with good whole foods. Might also try getting some animal bones to make some stock. Have a craving for some cabbage and venison soup soon.

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WOUBBIE 1/6/2013 3:55PM

    I am not an athlete. This will make me gain weight. This would make MOST people gain weight.

If you're already IN perfect health by eating starch then you will probably REMAIN in perfect health until menopause. Once you lose the protective benefits of your youthful hormones all bets are off. This plan actually pisses me off. Fat people don't need any more low-functioning diet plans to try and then discard. You can't be in "perfect health" if you're fat. Period.

Comment edited on: 1/6/2013 3:55:50 PM

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CHUBRUB3 1/6/2013 3:41PM

    Thank you for the information!

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SEDGEY 1/6/2013 3:11PM

    I'm not so sure that the recommendation to include carbs/safe starches is exactly controversial. It's been encouraged for athletes and certainly allowed for those in maintenance. I have seen that the "Low Carb Jihad" has been up in arms about it lately though and Robb Wolf pretty much tore everyone a new one in a recent blog post.

We all have to do what works best for us. n=1 :)

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KAIMANAOC1 1/6/2013 1:58PM

    Interesting. Might have to read up on it. It sounded like so much food until you put it into perspective with photos. Thanks for sharing!

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-SPIRITSEEKER2- 1/6/2013 1:46PM

    not for me , thanks for posting.. paleo, via eating for blood type is what I do - real food - not white- browns ok .. sweet potato ok .. too much fruit sugars for me too..

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NESARIAN 1/6/2013 1:41PM

    Contrary to my beliefs but thanks for sharing.

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HOUNDLOVER1 1/6/2013 1:03PM

    Great blog! I wasn't tempted to try this one anyhow but agree that it is not at all suited for people who want to lose weight and/or are at all insulin-resistant, which most overweight people are.

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AZURE-SKY 1/6/2013 12:56PM

  Interesting, but strange - to me anyway. The thought of eating organ meats turns me off - I'm of an age where liver was considered good for you - yuk! Also, there's no dairy. I'm not a fan of any diet plan that completely eliminates a food group.

If you're coming off a lower-carb diet, don't be surprised if you start gaining as you add more carbs back into your diet. That happened to me a few years ago while following Atkins. When I got to around 80 carbs per day, my weight loss stalled, then I started gaining.

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ELISELOVE1 1/6/2013 12:43PM


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GOPINTOS 1/6/2013 12:40PM

    Fantastic Blog!!!! emoticon

Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Wheat Belly Team


Comment edited on: 1/6/2013 12:44:18 PM

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