Too many of us I think have bought into the idea that “everybody is different” (as though this were stating some deep, rational and solemn wisdom)—therefore where being a vegetarian works for me it might not work for you—or where being a sugar burner is better for me being a fat burner works better for you… Yes, we are technically omnivores, and some of us get away with certain things better than others. But by no means does this imply that ALL foods we are capable of consuming are all equally optimal for us–or that we somehow need to consume a little of everything to be optimally healthy. Variety in some respects is good (our microbiome certainly likes variety—especially when it comes to fibrous vegetables and greens), but that by no means implies anything and everything goes with respect to our likes and preferences if we want to be optimally healthy in a world today where health compromises are hitting us from all sides and easily exceed health promoting influences.
We seem to rationalize every indulgence with the other pseudo–wise mantra, “everything in moderation.” Why everyone silently nods their heads in reverent agreement every time they hear this phrase as though some great wisdom is being spoken is beyond me. REALLY? That’s not wisdom, that’s politics and/or wishful thinking! How much of anything metabolically dysregulating or inflammatory or disruptive to your endocrine and immune system or even potentially autoimmune provoking do you really want to enjoy “in moderation”? Are you really that completely healthy and symptom-free? And if you’re lucky (or young) enough to say yes—do you really think it’s always going to be that way? It is an almost unavoidable fact that we will all choose moments of some compromise in life, but these moments need to be chosen carefully and consciously, and compensated for as much as possible. And some compromises– especially in light of the dangerous autoimmune epidemic— should never, ever be made at all…by anyone. Case in point: gluten.
And yes—it IS possible to enjoy what you eat while also do the right things. Eating for joy does not need to mean “a little bit of everything goes.”
So getting to the first important point that needs to be made here….There isn’t a separate anatomy and physiology book written for everyone in this room. There are fundamental principles of anatomy and physiology that apply to each and every one of us as human beings. From there, we extrapolate from nuances and polymorphisms…but those nuances do not necessarily change the solidly established foundations we all share in common.
We each have unique fingerprints, but everyone has fingers.
As human beings we are all much more alike than we are unalike. We are all the same species (we are even all the same race for God’s sake–the HUMAN race, and we need to start acting like it) and we are ALL bound by the same fundamental anatomical and physiological laws. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room here. We all share a hydrochloric acid-based digestive tract that’s designed to make optimal use of animal source foods—-including animal fats—and not a fermentative-based digestive tract designed to make optimal use of plant foods (we can eat them, and benefit from them as omnivores, but they cannot supply any of us with everything we need to be optimally healthy on their own). There isn’t a different digestive design between any one person and another. We all physiologically have the same complement of digestive juices (namely HCl and pepsin) and digestive pancreatic enzymes. We all are SUPPOSED to have gallbladders to help us digest fats and fat-soluble nutrients. We all have the same basic skeletal structure, tissues, hormones, glands and neurotransmitters. We all share the same kinds of organs, the same type of unique brain (although some clearly work better than others). And unless something important has been amputated, we all share the same complement of appendages that work in roughly the same way (some of which are admittedly gender-specific). We all have a blood pH that ranges very narrowly between 7.35 and 7.45…or else. We all have and rely upon minute intracellular fat-burning factories known as mitochondria that make up close to 10% of our total body weight they are so numerous in us. Our cells all make energy—a-la something called the Krebs cycle, breaking down fat and/or glucose for generating the ATP that fuels our human machinery.
We all require the same ranges of macronutrients. We all need complete source protein. We all need a significant amount and variety of quality dietary fats, critical (animal source) fat-soluble nutrients and certain essential fatty acids that simply cannot be gotten from plant-based foods in order for us to be optimally healthy. And I am not saying we should not eat plants. Not at all. Far from it. But the fact is that there is no human alive for whom carbohydrates are dietarily foundationally essential, therefore there can be no such thing as a sugar or starch deficiency in anyone. There is no denying that. There are those that like to debate this. Within the actual science of human physiology there really is no debate.
All the same foundations are foundational for all of us in an extremely basic way. The rest is all nuance…
A few takeaways from my AHS16 talk:
1) The most important key to optimal health and to what makes us human in the first place lies not in our individual differences, but in that which we all have in common.
2) “Biochemical individuality” supplies the nuance, but it is our common physiological design that supplies our most essential foundations, which ALL humans share.
You can watch my full length talk for FREE here: https://youtu.be/8k5QixWL0fU
(If you like it, please comment on Youtube, thank you!)
To Your Health and Self-Empowerment,
|According to an article published in the University of California New on June 6th, a research team led by a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at UC Berkeley has (supposedly) found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat. The article can be accessed here: http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/copper-key-burning-fat.
In their news article was stated the following: “We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy,” said Chang. “It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”
The one wise statement made in this article about the study (which focused on mice, by the way, not humans) is the following: “But Chang cautions against ingesting copper supplements as a result of these study results. Too much copper can lead to imbalances with other essential minerals, including zinc.”
Ummmm yeah. Here’s the skinny on that:
I predict that this article is going to cause a LOT of big problems!
There is already a lot of copper in our diets. It is really high in shellfish, kale, cashews, sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, spices and herbs, beans, dried fruit (including sun dried tomatoes) avocados, goat cheese and fermented soy foods, and dark chocolate (and even black tea, cocoa, coffee, beer and wine). But it’s in lots of other foods and beverages, as well. People also get it from water they drink from copper pipes in their homes and from copper cookware. In my experience most people probably get more than plenty. In fact, copper excesses may affect nearly 80% of all men, women, children, and unborn babies. Also, according to Ann Louise Gittleman (who has written extensively on this subject) copper tends to accumulate over our lifetimes and can even get passed on to future generations in a negatively cumulative way.
The bigger health issue (and my major concern about this article) may actually be zinc deficiency, which is far and away more common. In fact, zinc deficiency—arguably a runaway rampant issue– frequently leads to copper dominance (which can result in ADD symptoms, depression, major fatigue, anxiety, hair loss, etc—and even ironically thyroid problems and weight GAIN). Excess copper also has the potential to displace zinc. Copper can even rise due to fluctuations in estrogen/progesterone in women following pregnancy. Estrogen dominance (invariably resulting in weight gain and resistant weight loss and all-too common) is automatically a copper magnet! And testing for copper is anything but a precise science. Copper dominance may not even be easily diagnosed through any available testing means.
It is ALWAYS a problem when research is done on a single nutrient in isolation like this. –And in genetically mutated mice, no less (automatically extrapolating to we far more complex, non-herbivorous humans). Many of you might recall all the hubbub around chromium picolinate supplements in the 1980’s, which promised to make everyone thin. They didn’t. Women were buying up chromium supplements in droves back then, likely creating more imbalances than anything else. Now, overweight (and probably zinc-deficient) women will be stampeding to health food stores to buy copper supplements, and then stop at Sur La Table (or other kitchen store) on their way home to grab whole sets of copper cookware, then maybe jewelry stores to buy copper bracelets (a fad some years back…actually, some older health food stores still sell these—purportedly good for arthritis. Not.). Heck, young women might even excitedly opt for those copper IUD’s from their doctors…
But in real life zinc is supposed to exist with copper in an 8 to 1 or 12 to 1 ratio normally in order for a healthy, functional balance that allows both to work normally. Zinc is actually the mineral that NEEDS to dominate, but the two (zinc and copper) must of necessity work together in a healthy person. And this is more to the point—no nutrient exists in isolation from another. It’s ALWAYS about a relative balance and a broader nutrient interplay. Stress, infection, poor digestion due to issues with producing enough stomach acid, etc. (almost universal in those with thyroid issues also struggling with their weight) rapidly result in zinc loss. And if you don’t have enough zinc, you can’t make hydrochloric acid which (as you undoubtedly know from reading my book) opens up a whole other unsavory can of worms that adversely impacts your health on multiple levels, including the health of your brain and immune system. Stress, alone can easily triple your zinc loss. Undiagnosed pyroluria (a not uncommon genetic metabolic condition afflicting millions) is also worth screening for (I wrote about it toward the end of my book, and also have an extensive article on the subject, together with a free preliminary screening tool available on my website at http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/do-you-have-pyroluria/). And once a real zinc deficiency takes hold it typically takes supplemental sources of liquid ionic forms to replete the coffers and restore balance again. Food, alone may not do it.
I am happy for the poor mice with Wilson’s disease whose fatty livers were lessened by all the extra copper. Really. As for the rest of us there are no single nutrient “magic bullets”.
To Your Health and Self-Empowerment,
ps. To get the latest nutritional and health information from me, please subscribe to my weekly emails!
We had a blast…and sure covered a lot of ground!
Here is the link to Part 1:
By Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN
An article titled “Paleo diets = weight gain” released through the University of Melbourne has hit the mainstream press in no small way. In it, researchers are extolling the virtues of their new mouse study being used to decry low carbohydrate/high fat Paleo diets as “causing weight gain” and leading to other adverse metabolic changes leading to diabetes and other related symptoms.
In the ill-conceived but much ballyhooed study, two groups of overweight mice with pre-diabetes symptoms were split into separate groups. One group was placed on a low-carbohydrate (20%), high-fat (60%) diet (LCHF) supposedly “similar” to certain Paleo diets. The other group remained on their normal diet.
After eight weeks, the group on the LCHF diet gained more weight, their glucose intolerance worsened and their insulin levels rose. They gained 15 per cent of their body weight and their fat mass doubled from two per cent to almost four per cent.
Researchers pretended to be surprised that what they referred to as the “Paleo approach” didn’t help, and seemed to make the diabetic mice worse. This news made headlines everywhere in Australia where the Paleo diet has been gaining some real traction in recent years.
But is this study really an indictment of low carbohydrate, higher fat Paleo approaches to eating in humans… Or is it really just a carefully orchestrated attempt by certain vested interests to stop a growing trend toward improved health and away from corporate industrial profits?
There is so much wrong with this study it is hard to know where to start. If this wasn’t a blatant effort to intentionally smear the growing low-carb and Paleo movement, then at the very least someone who should have known better wasn’t thinking or paying attention.
For starters, the only way to fairly judge the effects of an ancestral diet on a mouse is to feed that mouse its own “ancestral diet”— not a human ancestral diet, which in truth bears no resemblance to the natural diet of a mouse.
But the real kicker here is the fact that the diet that the mice were eating doesn’t even come close to replicating– in any manner shape, or form–any existing manner of Paleo or ketogenic aproach to diet. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this version of a supposed LCHF diet to my worst enemy. What did the mice’s supposed LCHF daily diet consist of?
THIS is the diet that supposedly proves a low carbohydrate/higher fat approach to eating is dangerous? They have got to be kidding. The fact that the [LCHF] mice actually improved in areas such as triglyceride levels and elevated HDL (not to mention even surviving the horrid processed nature of their supposedly “Paleo” diet) is a testament to what even a small lessening of the overall carbohydrate load can do.
There are ample HUMAN studies clearly extolling the considerable benefits of low carbohydrate, moderate protein and higher percentage fat “Paleo-oriented” diets in the existing literature. In fact, an article coming out of the UK in December featured a story about a nine year old Type 1 diabetic boy that came off of the need for insulin entirely following a fat-based, low-carb Paleo-oriented ketogenic diet. The article, based on a study published in the International Journal of Case Reports and Images stated: “After 19 months, the child is still on the Paleolithic ketogenic diet, and the researchers report it can ensure normoglycemia without the use of external insulin. No side effects or complications were observed, and the researchers stress the diet is sustainable in the long-term. They wrote: “We opine that the Paleolithic ketogenic diet ensures normal glucose levels and can be maintained on the long-term in those patients with newly diagnosed T1DM with residual insulin secretion.”
In the comment section of the article, a mother by the name of Beth McNally had the following to share, “Our 9 year old son was diagnosed in Canada in early Sept 2015. He was on the standard high carb diet and required insulin injections. In early November, 8 weeks after he was diagnosed we switched him to a Low Carb/High Fat diet, essentially a Keto/Paleo diet and he has been off insulin ever since. His blood sugars are stable even postprandial they rarely go above a 6.0 mmol/l. He has gained weight and grown in height since November. No hypo moments as he is not being administered any exogenous insulin. We hope to keep this going for as long as we can.”
Co-author of the research study, Csaba Tóth, MD had the following to add, “This is far beyond Honeymoon. Currently he is on the diet for 22 months. Almost 2 years. Actually “Honeyyears”. Note that the stimulated C peptid was in the normal range. In our previous case study C peptid increased within two months. This is the case in several our T1DM patients who are also on the diet but not yet published their case. Otherwise, on the standard diabetes diet, C peptid continue to decline after diagnosis. At two years the level of C peptide is typically about zero. Our data indicate halted autoimmune process.”
I, too have received countless emails and other reports from fans of my work over the years citing similar positive benefits as a result of adopting the fat-based ketogenic approach I promote in Primal Body, Primal Mind across a wide range of metabolic and other diseases. The list decidedly includes positive effects in those having type 1 & 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, mood-related and/or cognitive/neurological issues and far more.
For that matter, anyone attending a Paleo event can tell you based on cursory observation that these are (at least on the surface of things) overall some of the healthiest looking people anyone would ever want to see— with the exception of those that are in the earlier stages of adopting this approach and still working toward reclaiming their health. Even the overweight people you run into at these events will typically tell you how much weight they have already lost, and how much better they feel and function following this dietary change.
The Paleo dietary approach has gained quite a bit of press in recent years and is unnerving the food industry, Big Agribusiness and other corporate interests that profit handsomely from a populace eating a carbohydrate-dominated diet. Low carb, fat-based versions of this are really rocking some boats. Let’s just say there’s a vested interest in making LCHF Paleo/Primal— and those promoting it— look as bad as possible. If Paleo/Primal wins, multinational industrial corporate profits lose.
Even if the diet fed to these mice in the Melbourne study consisted of actual food, mice are largely herbivorous creatures (read: naturally eat a high carb diet) and are poorly equipped to make much use of significant dietary fat. Dr. John Briffa wrote an excellent article titled, “Why Human, Not Mice, Studies are the Most Appropriate for Judging the Effects of Diet on Human Health” following a similarly ridiculous mouse study a few years ago. In it he points put that “these researchers chose an inappropriate animal model to test their theory on, and then fed the animals an inappropriate diet to boot. These actions suggest that the researchers were doing what they could to design an experiment to produce a desired outcome.” Dr. Briffa also added, “Such diets [LCHF] generally give better results for weight loss than, say, low fat diets. They also tend to be extremely useful in the management of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Also, even for those not afflicted by these conditions, they usually lead to changes in physiological and biochemical parameters that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease such as lower levels of blood sugar and blood fats (triglycerides) as well as higher levels of ‘healthy’ high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In my view, anyone with a special interest in the field of nutrition would have to be unaware of the research or choose to ignore it not to admit to the broad merit in lower-carb eating for human health.”
The glossy, front-page Technicolor emphasis on this one puny mouse study in Australia should have anyone with a modicum of discernment smelling a rat. It is pure garbage. The fact that they disparagingly—and very specifically mentioned “celebrity chefs” in the article tells you everything you need to know about the motives. Efforts by celebrity chef, Pete Evans to positively impact the health of Australians with a low carb, more fat-based Paleo-oriented message (largely based on Primal Body, Primal Mind) have ruffled more than a few feathers among mainsteam dietary dictocrats there. It is also clearly changing the way Australians are eating, to Industry’s/mainstream diet authorities’ considerable chagrin.
I have a question for anyone reading this: if the results of the study were opposite would this story be equally publicized in the front-page news? No way. In fact, there have been innumerable studies—human studies— including large meta-analyses human studies clearly demonstrating the exact opposite conclusions of this mouse study… but where is the glossy mainstream fanfare or even basic acknowledgment? The Melbourne mouse “study” wasn’t remotely designed to lead to any success associated with the LCHF dietary approach whatsoever (much less Paleo). The idea that the researchers “expected things to improve and were shocked when they didn’t” is an out and out lie. It’s all a ridiculous, orchestrated sham. Or if it isn’t orchestrated, then the scientists involved didn’t even really know what they were doing.
What did the mouse study manage to prove? That mice are not designed to thrive on canola oil, casein and refined table sugar…any more than we are.
We all need to exercise discernment when hyped up stories like this get mainstream press. I say we move on and focus on what works best for humans. And let’s face it, if the Paleo diet didn’t work for us, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.
~ Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN
The World Health Organization (WHO) just announced that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Yep–Right up there with glyphosate, cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.
——–> insert facepalm <——–
This announcement is absurdly misguided and largely based upon the notoriously two least reliable forms of science we have:
1) Observational studies driven by…
2) Food questionnaires
(By the way, what did YOU have for lunch on Thursday of last week/month year?)
This is all fully based on the idea of “guilt by weak association” and any rational person knows that association is NOT causation.
UGH–Back to the nutritional Dark Ages we go…
The WHO seems to be mostly citing evidence from research based on observational studies and food questionnaires published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012, which included an analysis of “two prospective cohort studies.” Similar in its failures to the ill-conceived and embarrassingly poor 2011 World Cancer Research Fund “Meta-analysis”—also entirely based upon observational studies and questionnaires— ZERO distinction was made between feedlot meat and 100% grass-fed meat (a potentially huge distinction), and no real effort was made to distinguish the effect of the red meat from whatever else people happened to be eating. What did they include as “red meat?” McDonald’s hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, tacos, bologna, nitrate-laced bacon and feedlot meat (GMO-fed and God knows what else). Although they did graciously concede that red meat is “only slightly less hazardous than preserved meats.” And red meat consumption was not separated in any way from whatever else anyone was eating or doing to their health (alcohol intake, sugar consumption, grains, etc. or other lifestyle factors). And since 97% of all meat production is commercial feedlot-based, grass-fed meat likely didn’t even factor into these results at all.
Suspiciously, too, the Archives of Internal Medicine study used what is called relative risk to show their results. “Relative risk” is frequently used to make things look far worse than they are—rather than what is called absolute risk, which really tells it like it is (but might make your results look less dramatic and, well, boring and meaningless).
It is a significant fact that cancer has been consistently reported to be extremely rare to even non-existent in red meat-eating, hunter-gatherer societies., What in particular has characterized the difference between even Neolithic hunter-gatherer diets and the modern-day Western diet causing us so much trouble now? Data from 229 hunter-gatherer societies included in the Revised Ethnographic Atlas indicate that hunter-gatherer diets differ from typical Western ones in basically two aspects: first, a strong reliance on animal foods (45-65% of energy or E%) and second, the consumption of low-GI [glycemic index] plant foods such as fibrous vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. But we also need to take the quality of the foods they had available to them into account and the very, very different nutrient/fatty acid profile between feedlot meat and 100% naturally grass-fed meat/wild game. Grain fed meats are predominated by potentially inflammatory omega-6 content (while being nearly devoid of healthy omega-3’s), versus 100% grass-fed and finished meat (and wild game) which supplies a high percentage of highly anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA). Omega-3’s have additionally shown some significant anti-cancer benefits.  
Quality counts for a LOT and we all need to start taking that seriously. Deadly seriously.
In spite of the WHO declaration, other research has shown no meaningful link between diets higher in dietary animal fat and increased cancer risk., With respect to colon cancer, alone, there are many, many more (and better designed) studies finding little to no significant association with red meat and cancer than those that do, some even showing an actual lowered risk!              
With respect to Paleo—at least the form of Paleo I personally recommend and the form adopted by The Paleo Way, bases its meat consumption overall on two very distinct recommendations:
Excessive protein from any source is potentially bad by virtue of 1) its up-regulation of proliferative mTOR pathways 2) its increase of IGF-1, which increases non-specific cellular proliferation and 3) the excess presence of glutamine and 4) protein in excess of what we need in order to meet our basic requirements is readily (up to 40% or so) converted to sugar and used the same way. –And SUGAR (not red meat) is cancer’s #1 most essential metabolic fuel.
With respect to the benefits of exclusively grass-fed meat (over feedlot meat), a particular form of fat that has been more recently lauded for its anti-cancer benefits is one exclusively found in the fat of animals fed on nothing but natural pasture.     In fact, CLA may be one of the most broadly beneficial and potent cancer-fighting substances in our diet. It is somewhat uniquely able to (in very small amounts) block all three stages of cancer: 1) initiation 2) growth/promotion and 3) metastasis. Most “anticancer nutrients” are typically helpful in only one of these areas. To date, beneficial effects of natural CLA from animal fat have been found in cancers of the breast, prostate, colon and skin. In animal studies, as little as one half of one percent CLA in the diet of experimental animals reduced tumor burden by more than 50 percent. As if this wasn’t exciting enough, there is more direct evidence that CLA may reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those having the lowest levels. Switching from grain-fed to exclusively grass-fed meat literally places women in this lowest risk category!
Additionally, French researchers measured CLA levels in the breast tissues of 360 women and found that the women with the most CLA had the lowest risk of cancer. In fact, the women with the most CLA had a staggering 74% lower risk of breast cancer than the women with the least CLA.  In yet another study, human breast cancer cells were incubated in milk fat high in CLA or in an isolated form of CLA without any milk fat. The high CLA milk fat decreased cancer growth by 90 percent but the isolated CLA decreased it by only 60 percent. When the cells were incubated in the omega-6 fat, linoleic acid, found most abundantly in grain and grain-fed animals, cancer cell growth increased by 25 percent! Other women with the most CLA in their diets were also shown to have a 60% reduction overall in the incidence of breast cancer.
Other studies have additionally shown breast cancer and even colon cancer preventative benefits.    In keeping with this, CLA additionally exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects. The inherent stability of CLA also seems to maintain itself even when meat is cooked., One study pointed out the following, “Of the vast number of naturally occurring substances that have been demonstrated to have anticarcinogenic activity in experimental models, all but a handful of them are of plant origin. Conjugated linoleic acid is unique because it is present in food from animal sources, and its anticancer efficacy is expressed at concentrations close to human consumption levels.” CLA is highly abundant, too, in wild game. The implication here is that naturally occurring CLA in animal fat has always played an important role in our diets and may possibly even be a contributing factor to the near-zero incidence of cancer found in hunter-gatherer populations. For all you Aussies out there, one study reported unusually high levels of CLA in (of all things) kangaroo meat!
ONLY CLA from the fat of wild game and fully pastured animals has the real anticancer health benefits you want. Even though synthetic CLA is sold in capsules in health food stores, it lacks the beneficial form found exclusively in grass-fed meats and may even have potentially adverse effects. But I digress…
According to a research collaboration between Clemson University and the USDA in 2009, in addition to cancer-fighting CLA, fully pastured meat contains the following additional, potentially anti-cancer benefits:
Also, lamb/sheep fed exclusively on pasture vs. grain contains twice as much lutein (closely related to beta-carotene but more easily absorbed), which has shown possible preventative benefits with respect to both colon and breast cancer (while additionally reducing the risk of macular degeneration).
So…in a nutshell, this WHO declaration will not change the recommendations I have been making all along. 100% grass-fed and finished meat (not just red meat, by the way) consumed in moderate amounts along with quality, organic fibrous plant-based foods has been and will continue to be among my foundational recommendations for optimal health.
~ Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN
“Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT’S bad for you!”
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I spent this last weekend attending the Artisans of the Grasslands (Savory Institute) conference in the San Francisco Bay area. What a wonderful collection of speakers and attendees! I gave my talk on Sustainably Optimizing Human and Planetary Health to a terrific and highly receptive audience Saturday afternoon. I also managed to squeeze in some quality time with my friends, Allan Savory and his wonderful wife, Jody Butterfield. I do believe they have absolutely figured out “the” solution to a great many ills plaguing our world and encourage everyone alive on planet earth to support their efforts. For anyone that has not already watched Allan’s 2013 TED talk (among the most widely watched of all TED talks), I urge you to take a few minutes to do so.
I also believe that the answer to spreading this message (the message behind Holistic Management) en masse may just lie in the message of health. This is what clearly reaches people closest to where they live. According to a major new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013, published in The Lancet in June of 2015, over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than five health-related issues compromising them! In the year 2013 no more than one in 20 people were free of any form of illness (4.3%). And right now in the US the number one source of bankruptcy is simply a bad diagnosis. The WHO tells us that cancer rates are supposed to increase by 70% over the next 20 years (and frankly, I believe this number may well be low). Autoimmunity (the greatest, most insidious and most invisible health burden of our time) currently plagues an estimated 53 million Americans—more than heart disease and cancer combined. Also, according to the WHO, by the year 2020 “depression will be the single greatest health burden in the world.” And depression is anything but an outward (“big picture”)-focused affliction in those suffering from it (I know…I was once its victim). Given the economic climate worldwide currently (a trend so aptly predicted by Sir James Goldsmith’s 1994 warning about globalization—underscoring the reasons so many are leaving the land and seeking refuge that isn’t there in cities today) most people today are thoroughly preoccupied with mere survival. This is why I believe we all may sometimes feel as though we are spinning our wheels when it comes to reaching others. I believe that this is largely by design, as nothing is more malleable and controllable than a populace living in fear, economic strain, ill health and desperation. And if that bad diagnosis arrives (and more often than not today, it does) then how focused is anyone going to be on the big picture? How focused is anyone going to be on “saving the world” or addressing injustices when they are merely struggling to survive?
The beauty of what the Savory Institute promotes is that it potentially solves so much with its singular objective. I like to think I was able to successfully tie much of this together in my talk on Saturday. Ultimately, I believe that our combined objectives can not only be profoundly synergistic, but also extremely affordable and accessible for the average person— if done the right way.
You all already know from my book that although I advocate strongly for the importance of healthfully produced (100% pastured) animal source dietary meat and fat for optimal health, I also make a strong case for strictly moderating that protein intake—meeting but not exceeding our basic dietary requirements. This is not typical of most popularly promoted versions of the popular “Paleo Diet,” but instead I apply those basic “Paleo principles” to the modern science of human longevity, while also taking into account the uniquely challenging world we live in today. What this effectively accomplishes is the cultivation of a primarily fat burning metabolism, which is infinitely more efficient than a carbohydrate burning metabolism (albeit far less profitable for multinational industry). This also has the potential to make anyone’s grocery bill much more affordable while automatically leaving far more high quality nutrient dense food to go around for everyone. How much more effectively could we feed the world if industrialized nations only consumed what they truly needed to for optimal health?
Nothing in the wilds of Nature normally takes more than it needs in order to survive. We are the only species that habitually devours everything in our path, in perpetual excess of what we need. If the case can be made for cultivating a fat burning metabolism that eliminates the constant craving or need for replenishment and indulgence, then it’s easier to make the case for spending all that saved money on far better quality nutrition. And a more physically/mentally healthy and mentally stable population is in a position to make far better and more rational decisions, better choices and becomes capable of entertaining greater visions. Only then is it possible to see and more actively and effectively care about the bigger picture, and the future.
Not everyone is inclined to think about saving the world today (sadly), but literally everyone needs to eat. Most people in the world today are desperately concerned about their health and the health of their families. This isn’t just about reaching people in cities (even as that is where most of the population is moving to). I believe that there is an opportunity for new strength in our greater combined objectives.
The following is a testimonial graciously offered to me by Allan Savory, who experienced positive changes in his own health following the implementation of what he read in my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind a few years ago:
“Without question in my mind we owe a great debt to people like Nora Gedgaudas leading enlightened thinking about the food we eat guided by the millions of years of our own evolution in synergy with all other life forms on land and in oceans. Where reductionist science, biased all too often by corporate greed, has it seems persistently got our diets precisely wrong she is one of the few getting it right and providing a platform of sound principles from nature that we can build upon as knowledge increases. I cannot recommend her book strongly enough to anyone concerned with their own, or their children’s, mental and physical health.” ~Allan Savory
For more information concerning the objectives of the Savory Institute and what you can do to help, please go to www.savoryinstitute.org.
THE FOUNDATION FOR NUTRITIONAL WISDOM
Yes—the rumors you may have heard in the street are true.
Somewhat forged from the fires of controversy (a whole other story), this newly launched non-profit organization, the Foundation For Nutritional Wisdom (FFNW) emerges from a very real and encompassing need. Until now, both the Paleo/Primal communities and the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) communities have shared an awkward and strained relationship, at best. While many Paleo/Primal adherents have made an effort to find some sense of home within the WAPF, that effort has often been met with less than open arms. In fact, it has been made more than clear in the last year through an article published and comments made by the very longtime president of the WAPF, Sally Fallon-Morrell that we in the Paleo/Primal community are flat-out personae non grata.
I, for one have been a member of the WAPF (and/or Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation) for mostly the last 20 years. I have supported many of its aims and promoted its efforts and membership to many, many people in that time. I have even spoken at some it their conferences in the past. I have always valued the inherent wisdom in Weston A. Price’s work, and the work of other esteemed nutritional pioneers. I also greatly admired the early work and activism of Sally Fallon and particularly the now late Dr. Mary Enig, whom I had the honor of meeting and spending a couple of days with and learning from. Together they originally represented a revolution toward understanding our own nutritional ancestral roots and the ways in which the wisdom of our ancestors might very well hold the key to our health and future as a species. As consummate activists, they also represented a certain radical, if not revolutionary ethical foundation of truth in nutritional science; distinguishing themselves apart from misguided and misguiding mainstream health authorities otherwise incestuously bound to the interests of Multinational Industry. They were true heroes and health activists driven to make a difference. –And make a difference, they have. No one can deny this, nor take that away from them. We all owe a great deal to the many critical accomplishments of the Weston A. Price Foundation and its leadership.
But what started out as a seemingly open, inclusive and passionate exploration of and dedication to the truth has become increasingly tainted by more autocratic personal beliefs and agendas. There has been a growing rigidity with in the WAPF organization and–not unlike the current global political climate– a loss of democracy and a growing intolerance of philosophical differences within its ranks. Dissent or mere questioning has been met all too often with cold excommunication and/or legal threats.
Recent controversies concerning the questionable practices of one of WAPF’s most heavily and unquestioningly promoted “platinum level” sponsors have only served to underscore this cancerous problem. And far too many good people within the WAPF organization have been unjustly treated and tossed out by mere virtue of publicly telling their own truth out of a sense of personal responsibility, exposing untruths through reasonable scientific evidence (I suppose one could call it “whistleblowing”), or (god forbid) questioning WAPF authority.
To be candid, this really isn’t the kind of organization I signed up for– and I’m willing to bet it’s not what a lot of people have signed up for. As such, other top WAPF sponsors are leaving and there are many other now former members (whether by their own choice or by excommunication) that are trapped in a sort of lost limbo of disillusioned homelessness. This was once an organization focused on promoting the health of humans through rather diversely focused evidence put forth by a legitimately celebrated nutritional pioneer. It was once a unified front against the machinery of multinational interests. The WAPF has since somehow slipped into a mostly narrow, post-agriculturally focused nutritional agenda (with an added fixation on promoting a type of “fermented” cod liver oil not even recognized by Price, himself). It’s almost as though any focus on our human pre-agricultural dietary history has been relegated to the back of the bus and essentially marginalized in favor of other agendas.
Something new has been needed by many of us for some time.
I was contacted by my friend, Dr. Ron Schmid, naturopathic physician and author of Traditional Foods are Your Best Medicine, The Untold Story of Milk and his newly-released book, Primal Nutrition, for which I contributed a foreword. Although we have our minor philosophical differences, I have always respected Ron for his respectful open-mindedness, his thoughtfulness, integrity and tireless passion for doing the right thing– both as a healer and activist. His innovative product line, Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure is among the few I have felt comfortable recommending to others over the years without hesitation. When it comes to the details surrounding quality, Ron is the kind of stickler I genuinely value most. So when he contacted me to request my participation in the creation of a new, more inclusive Ancestral community, I was hard-pressed to say no.
This opportunity afforded by the Foundation For Nutritional Wisdom represents, for the first time ever, a true coming together of those seeking to embrace the work of nutritional pioneers such as Weston A. Price (along with other nutritional pioneers) and those embracing diet and health from a more evolutionary perspective. In such an overlap there is great power of unified principle and a spirit of unified activism that I believe has the potential to move mountains.
These two closely related, passionately idealistic and positive, activist-oriented communities cannot afford to work in a compartmentalized fashion. The stakes in today’s dangerously industrialized and corporate-controlled world are simply too high. Together we can have a more effective synergy not afforded by separatist attitudes. The social and political climate of the world we live in is overly polarized as it is, after all. And while many habitually choose to fruitlessly focus upon seemingly irreconcilable differences, it is the foundational commonalities between us that create the real power to transform that which desperately needs transformation. The very real possibilities here are truly exciting, refreshing and LONG overdue.
This organization will be more “officially” launched through an upcoming first annual conference designed to “Bring together the Paleo, Primal and Weston Price communities.” The date of the conference is this coming November 21st – 22nd, 2015. The location of the conference will be the Southbridge Resort & Conference Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
The organization’s stated mission and principles are as follows:
MISSON & PRINCIPLES
1. The Foundation’s mission is to bring together the Paleo, Primal and Weston Price communities, united by the belief that the writings of Dr. Weston Price form the core (but not the full extent) of the nutritional wisdom we need to live in optimal health. The research and ideas of current-day pioneers who have enlarged and updated nutritional knowledge for the modern world will be encouraged for presentation and open debate.
2. Democratic governance: Everyone present at the conference will become a Founding Member of the Foundation and have one vote. At the town hall meeting on Sunday morning, we will elect the Board for a one-year term. The Board will elect the officers, also for a one-year term. This procedure will be followed yearly at the annual conference.
3. The Board shall be responsive to the needs of the membership. Open discussion of any issue will be encouraged among members and the Board. Members will be encouraged to question authority. Board members shall make every attempt to see to it that authority is bottom up, rather than top down. We believe that thanks to email and iphones, democratic governance will not be difficult to achieve if we have the will.
4. The Foundation will under no circumstances officially endorse or promote any individual, product or company in any way, financially or otherwise.
It’s important to point out here that there is no dark agenda here or desire to tear down the existing Weston A. Price Foundation or its leadership. The existing WAPF certainly has its place and will most certainly continue. There IS a need, however to create a safe haven for otherwise disenfranchised adherents of these diverse philosophies in a way that provides an equal place around the table for everyone. The Foundation is not seeking to create some “melting pot” of homogenous philosophy, but instead a rich mosaic strengthened by its colorful contrasts. Any tapestry takes on a whole new depth with varying threads of different colors and textures. What the FFNW is shooting for here is a multidimensional meeting of diverse minds with a certain fresh pioneering spirit that has somehow otherwise been lost in the dust of petty politics along the way.
The Foundation for Nutritional Wisdom is an organization centered on respect for nature, respect for our ancestral roots and indigenous values, and (perhaps most importantly) respect for one another.
I hope many of you will find your way to this exciting and important historic event. For those that can’t make it, the FFNW will be offering live streaming. A vote will be cast by attendees toward the composition of the board of directors moving forward. The Foundation’s new web site can be found here: www.ffnw.org
The Facebook page is www.facebook.com/FoundationForNutritionalWisdom
THE CONFERENCE SETTING
The conference will take place in a beautiful and charming country setting in Southbridge, Massachusetts, at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. This small-town getaway in the heart of New England is surprisingly close in – less than an hour from Boston, Springfield, Hartford, CT and Providence, RI.
The hotel has set aside rooms just for our group at the price of $109/night (plus taxes), for single to quad occupancy. The hotel will reserve these rooms only until October 23rd, and then they will be released.
Even if you are on the fence, go ahead and make your reservation to stay for one or two nights! As we add more exciting speakers, and word gets out and attendance grows, you’ll be glad you did. Meet up with and make new friends. Bring your family and friends! Take some fun time while learning how to use nutrition to heal and move toward optimal health. Join us for a weekend retreat that could change your life. And ours.
Ah yes, the food! Wild caught salmon, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, fresh organic vegetables and fruit, golden ghee and butter, raw milk, coconut oil, and other nutritional and culinary delights including coffee and chocolate! This hotel hosted a WAPF regional conference last fall. We’re in good hands!
Extra care has been given to the creation of an outstanding menu and the finest ingredients.
Your registration fee will include three wonderful, delicious, nutrient-dense meals – Saturday lunch buffet and banquet dinner, and Sunday morning breakfast. Check out the menus and food donor links.
SPONSORS, EXHIBITORS & FOOD DONORS
Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics is graciously donating wild-caught salmon for our Saturday evening banquet.
US Wellness Meats is generously donating pastured chicken and grassfed beef for the lunch and banquet menus.
Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure, a platinum sponsor, is offering a wide variety of additive-free supplements, natural body care products, and educational materials, and hosting book signings with your favorite authors.
The early bird registration fee is just $157 and includes the educational sessions and exhibits on Saturday, the business meeting on Sunday and three meals—a lunch buffet, banquet dinner and breakfast Sunday morning. The early bird registration rate expires on Friday, October 23, 2015. After that date, registration will be $187.
The live streaming registration fee is just $47 before early bird date Friday, October 23, 2015 and $67 after.
As a Founding member of the FFNW, everyone that registers for this event will receive 10% off on all future conferences!
Wisdom, regarded as one of the four cardinal virtues, is defined as the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But how do we find wisdom? Why should we seek it? Perhaps Native Americans understood things that we have forgotten.
“Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom….
“Make me wise, so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the wisdom you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not that I may be greater than my brother, but so I may fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame. ”
– An Ogalala Lakota prayer translation
Let us seek strength and wisdom together.
Sincerely, the Conference Steering Committee:
Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD
Ron Schmid, ND
THE FFNW CONFERENCE:
SPEAKERS & TOPICS
Kaayla Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story and coauthor of Nourishing Broth
Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Kaayla, a certified nutritionist and acclaimed author, is the former Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and recipient of the Foundation’s 2005 Integrity in Science award. She is at the center of the ongoing storm over “fermented” cod liver oil. She will rock your world with the shocking details. Tonight, she’ll be part of our team of keynote speakers.
Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind and Rethinking Fatigue
Primal/Paleo Diets and Weston Price’s Teachings
Nora is a unifying figure in the world of alternative medicine and nutrition. Her best-selling book Primal Body, Primal Mind is meticulously researched, brilliant and innovative. Learn how the principles she has integrated can help you heal disease and move to optimal health.
Joan Grinzi, Executive Director of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
Gleanings: What Dr. Price Really Said
PPNF recently published in the Foundation’s quarterly journal “The Search for the Best Cod Liver Oil,” as well as a report cataloguing all of Dr. Price’s writings on cod liver oil and butter oil. Learn what he actually wrote – or didn’t write – about fermented cod liver oil, butter oil, and much more from an expert and outstanding speaker.
David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution and The Raw Milk Answer Book
Grassfed Dairy in Paleo, Primal, and Weston Price Diets
David is the go-to guy about what happens in the world of raw milk. His blog, The Complete Patient, is widely read and well respected. His objective reporting and discoveries about the fermented cod liver oil controversy led him to work with Kaayla Daniel and Ron Schmid in laying the groundwork for this new foundation. In this talk, he’ll address why grassfed raw milk and milk products may play an important role in healing diets. Tonight, he’ll share the keynote podium with Drs. Daniel and Schmid and others.
Randy Hartnell, Owner of Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics
Seafood in Paleo/Primal/Weston Price Diets
Randy is all you’d expect in an ex-fisherman, and more. He’ll share what Weston Price wrote about seafood in traditional cultures, and the role of seafood in a healing and health building diet. Learn the difference between pollock and cod, and a pollock liver and a cod liver. Hint: they’re not the same.
Ron Schmid, ND, author of The Untold Story of Milk and Primal Nutrition
How I Nearly Died But Then Recovered from Advanced Heart Failure
Ron’s dietary principles for recovery from chronic disease incorporate ideas from paleo, primal and Weston Price diets. Based on his 34 years in practice as a naturopathic physician, he reports, “Almost anyone following these principles experiences dramatic improvements in health. Often, serious chronic diseases disappear, and stay disappeared as long as the principles are followed. In this talk, I will spell out exactly what these principles are. I’m retired. I play tennis and write. I want to share what I have learned with anyone who will listen!” Ron will also explain why he is convinced that fermented cod liver oil caused the heart failure that nearly killed him in 2012.
Panel Discussion: What Can the Paleo, Primal and Weston A. Price Communities Teach Each Other
AND MORE EXCITING SPEAKERS AND DEVELOPMENTS TO COME…
Read more about the proposed mission and governing principles of this new organization at the website: www.ffnw.org
Registration for those physically attending is now available online or by mail. Livestreaming registration is coming soon!
A commentary by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN
On August 6th, a Science Daily article was released titled, “Paleo diet: Big brains needed carbs.” At the time I was coincidentally down in Florida visiting a close family member painfully dying from Alzheimer’s disease. Upon surreptitiously checking my iPhone for messages there I found I was suddenly receiving a barrage of emails from fans pointing out the just published article, wondering what I thought. My first thought upon reading the title was “Seriously? You have GOT to be kidding!” The article itself had me shaking my head in utter bewilderment and disbelief. This passes for science?
The premise of this article was clearly predicated on the mistaken idea that glucose is meant of absolute necessity to be “the” human brain’s primary source of fuel. In fact, most everything about the article was based upon this primary assumption. It is among the most commonly misleading foundational ideas taught in medical schools and to mainstream dietitians/nutritionists everywhere: that notion that the brain and body must of necessity rely upon glucose as its primary source of fuel. Unfortunately, this misguided assumption is in fact only conditionally true. It is only true if a human being has cultivated a rather unnatural dependence upon glucose as their primary source of fuel by what they choose to habitually eat.
Nature would never have been so stupid as to force a primary dependence upon so volatile and unreliable a source of fuel as blood sugar. Our brains are actually designed to make use of more than one type of major fuel: sugars (glucose) and fat (in the form of ketones). Fat is at base the human brain’s preferred and most efficient superfuel, but a diet significantly high in carbohydrates (anything close to and over roughly 100 g per day) forces the brain to adapt instead to a less efficient or dependable reliance on sugar. Thanks to aggressive government-controlling transnational Big Agribusiness interests, large multinational chemical industries (marketing fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, etc.) and corporate food industry efforts, our modern day diet is largely based in sugar and starch-based carbohydrate foods (refined and otherwise) – for the very first time in all of human history. We are officially told we need them in order to be optimally healthy—even though a distinct lack of actual science exists to corroborate such an assertion.
Glucose, a fuel otherwise meant to be an auxiliary or supplemental form of kindling/rocket fuel for bursts of emergency anaerobic energy (with only very small amounts actually required for fueling our red blood cells) has turned into something it was never meant to be. Today people everywhere are relying on tidal waves of insulin to manage unnatural, chronic blood sugar surges resulting from such diets, with decided consequences. Our otherwise overburdened stress management system (i.e., stress hormones) have been chronically and unnaturally tasked in modern times with dealing with the subsequent chronic insulin-induced plummets in blood sugar, leading to roller coastering moods, energy, neurological stability and, yes, cognitive function. We have our modern day carbohydrate-based diet to thank for the increase—not in our brain size- but in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and the progressive neurodegenerative characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and dementias.
It was never “protein” that was the source of our “initial accelerated expansion of brain size” in early humans/pre-humans (as the article contends), but instead high amounts of its accompanying dietary brain-building fat. The human brain is made up of at least 60 to 80% fat by dry weight and relies upon the dietary fat and cholesterol (yes, eeevil cholesterol) we supply it with in order to maintain its structure and energy-intensive function. Carbohydrates, conversely, provide zero meaningful brain structure. Fat supplies more than twice the calories per gram than even the starchiest carbohydrates ever could, and (when one is well adapted to doing so) provides a steady and reliable, efficiently stored source of fuel for this critical organ—even in the absence of regular meals. Glucose dependence derived from the chronic consumption sugars and starches, on the other hand, is a highly volatile and unreliable form of fuel that must be constantly and vigilantly resupplied and managed to prevent loss of function. This of course is a highly profitable form of metabolic enslavement for the industries that produce and market this type of food. The added problem, unfortunately, is that glucose (and other sugars, such as particularly fructose) also generates a form of cumulative damage known as glycation over time—something that the human brain is significantly susceptible to. Cumulative (non-enzymatically controlled) glycation and advanced glycation/glycosylation end-products (A.G.E.’s) are known to be responsible for premature aging, adverse metabolic changes and loss of tissue function in diabetes/aging and their various complications. Alzheimer’s disease (something rather close to home for me right now) is, in fact today being referred to as “type III diabetes,” and recent studies are clearly showing pathophysiological changes in the Alzheimer’s regions of brains in those having higher blood sugar levels—even in those presenting with supposedly “normal”, acceptable, non-diabetic fasting blood sugar ranges.
If starch in any form were so healthy for the human brain, then certainly more would be better and the human brain today—given the uniquely starch-based diet of our times—would be even larger–growing by leaps and bounds–and better than ever. But the opposite is actually true.
We humans have literally lost just over 10% of our brain volume over the last 10,000 years since the development of agriculture, where cheap and easy to produce starch became a much more prevalent part of the human diet. One might attempt to reason some manner of “improved brain efficiency” with this recently reduced brain size of ours – but this seems more of a rationalization than a viably supportable hypothesis.
That humans have consumed starch as seasonally/climatically available since the universal adoption of fire as a food preparation tool (much more recent in our evolutionary history), particularly in Neolithic times is not necessarily the subject of that much debate. No doubt our Neolithic predecessors spent many a night farting around the campfire during times when starchy tubers were plentiful. Since the advent of agriculture, however, we literally shifted from a diet comprised of close to 90% animal source foods rich in brain-building fats to as little as 10%, in favor of starch—and this has yielded some rather obvious consequences (case-in-point: the popularity of tabloids and “reality TV”).
Nonetheless, no human dietary requirement for any form of carbohydrate has ever been established by science in any medical textbook or textbook of human physiology. Seems like quite the oversight for something that is supposedly responsible in some fundamental way as THE primary fuel for advanced human intelligence…
I’m not buying it.
Stable isotopic evidence from human bone collagen remains representing vast periods of human history show an unmistakable (if not overwhelming) primary dependence upon animal source foods during the rapid encephalization of the human brain roughly two million years ago (well before we would have had universal access to fire for cooking), however, and have never shown evidence for a starch-based diet throughout ancient prehistory in any truly meaningful way. As wild humans attempting to eek out our existence in a harsh and uncertain environment, we would have certainly eaten whatever we had or needed to in order to survive. The fact that our Paleolithic ancestors were able to consume starches (or anything else we were able to put in our mouths in order to survive) by no means provides conclusive evidence that these foods were in any way optimal for our physiological or brain health, much less that we were even able to make meaningful use of them (one reason why the subtitle of my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind reads, “Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life.”). In my book I was able to demonstrate how human longevity research actually lends better clues toward what is and isn’t optimal relative to Paleolithic principles. But I digress.
Intense and prolonged heat is required to transform raw starchy tubers through a process called “gelatinization” into anything remotely digestible by us. Once converted into more digestible starch through extensive cooking, the rest of the process would have required viable amylase genes and their active genetic expression in order to actually process this available dietary starch within the human body in any meaningful way with respect to energy. We really didn’t even have that ability to cook with fire consistently until far more recently in our evolutionary past (not much more than an estimated 75,000-100,000 years ago). By that time our brains were already fully modern, if not even a bit larger than they are now. Non-gelatinized (a.k.a., “resistant”) raw starch-based foods may have provided significant fodder for certain types of gut microorganisms along the way (as does other simple fibrous plant material), but nowhere near in the capacity typically exhibited by those animals actually designed to eat a carbohydrate-based diet in the first place. Ours is a hydrochloric acid and not fermentative-based digestive system, after all. Also, raw starch foods would have lacked any real nutritional (much less caloric) value for us, given their exceedingly poor digestibility.
Unlike our Great Ape ancestors, we have a greatly expanded small intestine and greatly shortened large intestine consistent with a diet much higher in meat and fat. Where our ape ancestor’s brains utilize perhaps 8% of their total metabolic energy requirements, the human brain demands a whopping 25% or more of our total daily energy needs. Dietary (and ample stored) fat is effortlessly poised to supply this need with more than double the efficiency of any carbohydrate-based food, and the human body’s fat reserves (in a healthy state of natural, ketogenic adaptation) are far more readily able to maintain steady and ample fuel supplies than comparatively paltry glycogen stores could ever hope to. Our advanced brains would have required consistency of availability for their structural building/maintenance materials and fuel supply—something fat would have been in an infinitely superior position to provide.
The development of amylase genes in humans (along with the availability of starch-based foods) was far more highly variable throughout global people groups than basic human brain size or intelligence, yielding a rather poor correlation here. By far the greatest consistency throughout human Paleolithic history was a dependence upon—first and foremost—animal source foods. And ample dietary animal fat (and its critical 20- and 22-carbon fatty acids, arachidonic acid/AA, as well as docosahexanoic acid/DHA) consumed with such foods, more than any other source of nourishment, would have provided the necessary available substrate and energy to both construct and fuel the uniquely and voraciously demanding human brain.
The “expensive tissue hypothesis” postulating the importance of increased dietary meat and fat toward the rapid enlargement of the human brain during human evolution is a well-established and well-accepted concept in the field of paleoanthropology and (for good reason) isn’t particularly controversial. We are unique among all primates in our advanced adaptation to high meat and fat diets; and this, more than any other distinguishing characteristic has contributed to what (up until about 10,000 years ago, anyway) was an unprecedented explosion of brain growth and unparalleled functional sophistication. Although high amounts of protein are ultimately not necessary for optimal health (moderation seems to be significantly more beneficial), fat-based diets–in the absence of high sugar/starch–demonstrate significantly superior cognitive and metabolic efficiency over carbohydrate-based diets—something not accounted for in the weak hypothesis proposed by the Science Daily article.
Innumerable corporate interests stand to profit handsomely by investing in the promotion of carbohydrate-based diets for every man, woman and child on planet Earth. They are enormously cheap to produce, highly profitable and they keep everyone perpetually hungry. Certainly Monsanto and the unscrupulous, profit-hungry multinational Food Industry it supplies have got to LOVE that. Ka-CHING! Carbohydrate-based diets are also increasingly recognized as responsible for the modern-day explosion of metabolic diseases, obesity, cancers, heart disease and chronic inflammatory conditions (nice for the profit-based Medical Industry and Big Pharma that drives it). The chronic demand for endogenous insulin production—highly correlated with sugar and starch consumption–is directly correlated to premature aging and age-related decline, as well as many of the aforementioned metabolic diseases. Add to this the commonly addictive nature of dietary sugars/starches, and you have a recipe for officially sanctioned/popular ongoing carbohydrate fixation and cravings (regardless of the abundant evidence to the contrary) embraced by many wanting to rationalize them as either benign or somehow beneficial. And those promoting carbs are far more likely to win popularity contests than those questioning their health effects. It’s simply the nature of the Beast.
Let’s just say that SOMEONE is clearly benefitting from all this marketing, rationalization and promotion, but it isn’t the vulnerable consumers or their brains.
The bottom line is this: we were exquisitely forged by Nature as Paleolithic hunter-gatherers to be primarily “fat-heads” and not “potato heads” or “grain brains.”
I’ll personally skip the potatoes, thank you very much.
Not a day goes by where I don’t receive a heartfelt “thank you” email from those that have read my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind and whose lives were positively and immeasurably transformed by it. Still, there is the occasional email from a fan who read my book and found themselves not quite knowing what to do next. You see, I never really intended to write a recipe/meal plan book and although I do okay for myself in the kitchen at home, I have never had to cook for a large family and I have always just sort of taken the intuitive approach when it comes to putting things together at mealtime. It is clear, though, that some folks need more handholding than others, and many people really do want those recipes, along with the more detailed “how to” aspect, step-by-step, when it comes to implementing this lifestyle.
Well, this is your lucky day!
I have partnered with Australian TV star and celebrity chef, Pete Evans, Australian celebrity fitness coach, Luke Hines, and a whole team of first-rate experts in the creation of the first ever, fully comprehensive 10-week Activation Paleo online program, designed to hand-hold you through the process of adopting this way of life. It’s called The Paleo Way and there is absolutely nothing else like it anywhere on the Internet or on earth. No expense has been spared in creating the ultimate online health program for those wanting to embrace the most advanced and cutting edge available version of the Paleo lifestyle. In addition to unbelievably delicious, easy and affordable recipes, there is a well thought out step-by-step plan that is easy to follow, great articles written by each of us (with substantial new content each month), shopping lists, videos and more! We also supply a complete support program that includes a weekly live Q&A forum led by each of our experts (including me) where members can ask questions, plus an active and positive community support group (so you will never have to feel alone).
The cost for the 10-week Activation Program membership is just $89!
Nowhere else will you ever find more bang for your buck when it comes to this level of quality, hand-holding and comprehensive access to everything you need to know for taking charge of your health.
I am extremely proud of the quality of this program and the team we have put together to help bring it to you. Now there is nothing that can possibly hold you back. Go to www.thepaleoway.com today and join the tribe!
PS. Here is one of the awesome recipes we have on The Paleo Way program:
Chicken salad with green goddess dressing
Chicken salad is one of those dishes that just seems to bring a smile to everyone’s face. It is easy, delicious and very good for you. I love how you can make a chicken salad shine by taking inspiration from around the world, using spice rubs for the chicken or exotic dressings and sauces. Always use free-range organic chicken, as it not only tastes better but is also better nutritionally for you. Free-range chickens eat a natural diet, which translates to a healthier product for our own bodies. There are thousands of recipes for green goddess dressing and this is one of my all time favourites. Please play around with it and create your own signature version!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Allergens: Nuts and seafood
2 large handfuls lettuce, torn
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 handful of watercress
2 tablespoons walnut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and sliced into thick pieces
Green Goddess Dressing (see BELOW) to serve
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (activated if possible)
zest of 1 lemon
To make the salad, gently wash the lettuce and dry. Combine the lettuce, radish and watercress in a bowl and gently mix with the walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Smear a generous amount of green goddess dressing onto two plates. Place the salad next to the dressing and arrange the chicken on top. Season with a little salt and pepper then scatter over the walnuts, lemon zest and a little more walnut oil if desired.
Green Goddess Dressing
3 tablespoons coconut milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
125 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender and process until well combined.
With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and process until the dressing thickens and the herbs are finely chopped. Sore refrigerated for up to 5 days.