Perfect Health Diet
Eating, food, diets, perfection, and health all fascinate me. So, why wouldn’t a book with this title draw my attention? Add to that, its subtitle: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat. It even has a foreword by Primal/Paleo guru Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple.com and author of Primal Blueprint and more recent book The Keto Reset Diet. Sold!
Perfect Health Diet was written by two Ph.D. scientists, Paul Jaminet and his wife Shou-Ching Jaminet, the former an astrophysicist and health researcher, and the latter a molecular biologist and cancer researcher. Both, having an assortment of distressing health problems, were led to search for answers to their health after not finding adequate help from conventional medicine. This book contains the answers they found.
A good summation of the Perfect Health Diet, if one had to boil it down to just one sentence, would be that the Jaminets promote consuming “nutrients in the right proportions so that there is a deficiency of nothing and an excess of nothing” and then they tell you how to do it. They advocate certain supplements, but not many; they recommend eating in an 8 hour window, which means fasting for 16 hours (for example: you would only eat from 11am to 7pm); and their diet is basically a version of Paleo, but allows white rice and restricts omega-6 rich foods such as chicken. In fact, on the cover of the book, Vogue magazine is quoted saying, “Paleo perfected.”
I definitely recommend Perfect Health Diet (PHD) as a reference book for its abundant information on various nutrients and supplements. One thing that grabbed my attention early on was reading that many diets can deliver weight loss, but most end up causing intense hunger and cravings which then lead the person to regain the lost weight, this being due to nutrient deficiencies—each different diet causing different deficiencies, i.e. vegan, low-cal, low fat, even Paleo. PHD claims to fix these deficiencies while enabling weight loss.
Negatives—hmmm, I felt like it was difficult to get a grasp on how to actually eat, although the PHD model is conceptually illustrated (including food groups) by an apple (ok things to eat) with a stem and leaves (eat these sparingly) and the shadow of an apple (do not eat items). The apple advises to eat certain foods in pounds per day. For instance, safe starches 1 lb. and meat/fish/eggs 0.5-1 lb., but I am not really clear on how that would look in portions. Non-starchy vegetables are pretty much unlimited. And in keeping with Paleo eating, grains (except for white rice), vegetable oils, sugar, and legumes are off limits. The Jaminets also advocate eating fermented foods, seaweeds, and bone broth. And of course, good fats.
I really like the science and the research behind the Perfect Health Diet. I also like the Reader Reports sprinkled throughout the book which contain comments from individuals who have followed and had success on PHD. Other positives are that the Jaminets, in addition to diet, address other factors important for great health such as circadian rhythm, strengthening the immune system, and exercise. They also include some interesting recipes and meal ideas that do not appear too daunting.
The entire 400-plus page book is chock full of amazing, helpful information. Although the biggest emphasis is optimal health, and weight loss being a little more secondary, people tend to normalize their weight without hunger and cravings, and there is a chapter devoted to this topic. Additionally compelling is that PHD is recommended by other Paleo bigwigs like Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Chris Masterjohn, and Jordan Reasoner. It would make a great addition to your library and 2018 reading list!
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