About a fortnight ago, I bought the Kindle version of Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet’s diet book Perfect Health Diet from Amazon.com. Since then I have been following some of their diet recommendations. I have already eliminated wheat from my diet since October, 2013 and derived substantial health benefits. But I was seeking to improve my diet even farther.
What follows is a list of all the dietary changes I made since reading the book. I hope people who live a sedentary life, those who are overweight or are suffering from chronic ailments may find it helpful if they follow these dietary habits. That is my purpose of writing this post. It is not intended to be a substitute of professional medical advice.
1. I have completely eliminated sugar, all grains (except rice) and all vegetable oils from my diet. I am careful about the quantity of legumes (including lentils that include the Indian DAL) in my meals and if I have to eat them, I eat very small quantities. These should be cooked only after soaking them in water for a considerable period, preferably overnight. I can’t avoid them completely, being mostly a vegetarian, but I won’t eat them in considerable amounts.
2. For my calorie needs, I am relying on what the authors of the PHD calls the ‘safe starches’ — in my case these are mainly rice and to some extent potato and sweet potato and occasionally boiled plantains or taro. I am eating just enough carbohydrate to keep me going (roughly 30% of my calorie needs). I have a small bowl to measure my rice and/or potato etc. intake for lunch and dinner and I NEVER eat more. I eat roughly fist-sized portions of rice or muri (puffed rice) or boiled potato for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The portion is very important here and this item of your food should be linked to calorie expenditure. An athlete will, of course, need much more. I think this element of food (along with sugar) is the single defining factor that can help someone to reduce or control body weight. I have lost ten kilograms of weight since October, 2013 following this diet. The weight reduction has been steady, it spanned over six/seven months. What is more important, not once did I gain weight in these months.
3. I eat all vegetables in sufficient quantities. As usual they are cooked in a bland manner, with very little oil and spices. Rice and these are my main food.
4. Since there is not much oil in my vegetables, I usually add one tea-spoon of good fat to my rice. It is usually ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for me. Olive oil is very expensive here in India. I am trying to be on the safe side with the oils. I know I am eating somewhat less fat than what is recommended in PHD (especially when I don’t eat meat or even much fish). As you know the oils make the digestion slow and we can avoid the sugar surges after eating rice.
5. About four/five days a week I have fish or an egg for lunch. At other times I am eating mostly a vegetarian meal. I know with protein too, I can increase the quantity by a little bit but I’ll consider it only after reaching my ideal weight.
6. I eat no fried foods at home. Since I don’t eat wheat, there are no ‘fast foods’ that I can consume and I eat nothing that has been cooked or fried outside. I drink nothing except water and tea. Since last October, I have not eaten a single biscuit, cookies etc. and I think I won’t have them ever again.
7. After lunch I eat a bowl of home-made yogurt. I have plans to look for other fermented foods I can eat.
8. I have not followed the PHD writers’ other recommendations like starving for 16 hours. At least not yet and I am not taking any vitamins or supplements. I take no other medicines.
9. And of course I usually take short walks (about 30 minutes twice a day) in the morning and the evening. Every day it is important to spend some time in the sun.
10. If I ever feel somewhat hungry between these meals (it occurs rarely now) I have a few pieces of cashew nuts, walnuts and almonds. I eat nothing else.
To conclude, I like this book for it offers a balanced view of the human diet and it appears to me that it is difficult to go wrong if you strictly follow the recommendations offered in this book. The authors say, “For glucose, as for all other nutrients, our strategy is to find the peak health range — the intakes at which benefits have ended and there is still no toxicity.”
Perfect Health Diet is a very good read and it may change your life.