Over a kilo of plant foods daily

NACHTIGALLEN FRUITS 25 FEB_3854In their eye-opening book, Perfect Health Diet (PHD), with its radical approach to a greater percentage calorie-wise of fat than carbohydrate or protein, Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet recommend a daily intake of about 1.4 kg (~3 lb) of plant foods and 1/4 to 1/2 kg (1/2 – 1 lb) of animal foods.

That seemed like an awful lot to me.  I began to weigh what I had in the house and was amazed that those pictured above already totalled over 1 kilo (2 lb). The PHD recommended intake is .45 kg (15 oz or almost 1 lb) of fruits per person per day.  I haven’t accounted for the peel or other discarded bits like seeds. (For instance, a 178-gram apple’s stalk and core can weigh 13 grams; for a 175-gram banana, the peel and stalk can equal 56 grams.) I must say though that this attention to meticulous weighing will only be in the beginning, as I certainly don’t see myself obsessively weighing every item as I journey towards health-conscious eating.

I do find it interesting that 5 portions of fruit (the UK-recommended daily allowance) can weigh over half a kilo (1 lb). I realize that not everyone will eat chico (the brown round fruits above, also known as naseberry, sawo, chico zapota, Manilkara zapota )  or other exotic fruit on a regular basis. It just so happens that M and I are always ready to try any food item that is out of the ordinary.  For a more typical year-round fruit, the handful of black grapes above, for instance, weighs about 100 g.  The banana is 126 g, the pear 130 g; half of the grapefruit 185 g; and the chico 61 g.  (Rough equivalents for non-metric readers are 100 g = 3.5 oz; 450 g = 16 oz or 1 lb; 1000 g or 1 kg = 2 lb.)

How am I doing for vegetables then? Those pictured below are  intended for curry for two.


They include 4 pieces of Chinese cabbage (also known as Chinese leaf) 256 g; 1 section of broccoli 138 g; 1 carrot 107 g; 3 stalks spring or green onions 45 g; 1 red pepper 236 g; and a handful of arugula (also called rucola or rocket) 30 g. I also added 8 cherry tomatoes 101 g. In total they came to 913 grams; thus one equal portion would be 456.5 grams, rounded up to 457 grams (roughly 1 lb). In reality, however, I consume much less than one half of any dish I make for M and me.

The total weight of fruits and vegetables above for one person came to 1,140 grams or roughly 2.5 lb. The actual consumed weight is less, as there was enough of the curry left over for my lunch, and to account for wastage during preparation. As for starchy plant foods, my average intake is 165 grams, consisting of 15 grams of rice crackers and 150 g of cooked short-grain rice or boiled potato. So altogether the above combination of plant foods for one person for one day would be 1,305 grams, just under the 1.4 kilos (~3 lb) recommended intake.

I’m quite heartened that I do manage an intake of 1.4 kilos of plant foods on average per day.  If anything, I perhaps eat well over the recommended intake, as I can very quickly gobble up 4 or 5 mandarin oranges at one sitting! Just for reference and then I shall shut up: one mandarin can weigh 100 grams. My objective now is to observe the proportions (calorie-wise, that is) of 55% fat, 30% carbohydrate, and 15% protein. But that’s for another day, dear reader.


6 thoughts on “Over a kilo of plant foods daily

  1. Paul and Shou-Ching showed this on Facebook and I’m so glad you did this post! I’m also eating PHD but am far under your amounts so this was a good reminder to actually weigh everything to get a baseline of what it looks like in my head. I’ll also be curious to see how you measure out the proportions of fat, protein and carbs. GREAT POST!! Thank you!


  2. Thanks very kindly, CK, and I’m glad this post was able to help you with getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegs. I’ve just started the PHD myself and it’s encouraging to hear from you!


      • Well, PHD would be mostly starchy vegetables, not sugary fruit. Those photos don’t look all that PHD. I came here expecting to see a lot of tubers.


      • Hi Pinball,
        From Chapter 10 of the UK edition of the book: “A rough rule of thumb is…to combine 450 grams per day [or roughly 1 pound] of safe starches, such as white rice, white potato, winter squashes, taro, or sweet potato, with 450 grams per day [or roughly 1 pound] of sugary plant foods, such as beets or fruits and berries. Add as many low-calorie vegetables as you like [leafy or fermented vegetables].” [emphasis in the original text; text in brackets are mine].

        In other words, the PHD advises equal quantities of starchy and sugary plant foods for a moderate-carb diet. I hope this clarifies the issue. Cheers!


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