The Paleo Solution – Episode 92

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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This episode features guests Mat LaLonde and Mark Sisson

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Categories: Podcasts


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


    • says

      To be fair, it sounded to me more like “I have been known to eat raw meat” which I do often (ie: in the middle of a steak or in sushi or a tartar). Matt may very well gnosh on raw pork chops (and he shoots fire from h is arse if he wants) but it wasn’t the impression I got.

  1. Lindsay says

    Excellent podcast! I really liked the sustainable agriculture discussion. I did a very rough back-of-the-envelope calculation a few days ago, and there are currently about 3 acres of land dedicated to agriculture (both pasture and crop production currently) for every person in the United States. With appropriate grazing and growing methods it seems that enough grass fed meat, vegetables, and other “treats” (fruits, nuts, some dairy) could be produced on as little as 1 acre per person per year. This is before you take into account back yard vegetable gardens that produce food on a small scale, but that do not count as “agricultural land” in the census data.

    Like I said, these are all just rough, unscientific estimations, but I think that it is a good indication that a paleo/primal/ancentral diet is sustainable for the general population if the right infrastructure is in place. Unfortunately, the current agricultural system is so inefficient at producing actual nutritrion (as opposed to just calories)that getting the right infratructure could take long time.

      • Lindsay says

        Okay, like I said, super un-scientific, but:

        1. I googled “acres of agricultural land in United States” and got to this website:

        2. I took the line “Total farmland (acres)” from 2007, which was 922,095,840

        3. I divided it by the line from the 2010 population figure from the very top 308,745,538, so it’s not even numbers from the exact same year, but close.

        4. I got ~2.98 acres of agricultural land per person in the U.S.

        5. I figured the average paleo person would eat slightly under the equivalent of 0.5-1.0 beef steer(~200-400 actual meat) per year. Of course, it probably wouldn’t be all beef, but we’re assuming Joel Salatin-esque rotational grazing where the beef, chicken, pork, and maybe lamb are used on the same land at different times to maximize grass production/ land fertility.

        6. From Joel Salatin’s book “You Can Farm”, I figured that you can finish about 1 grass fed steer per acre/year. His formula is kind of complicated where you figure “cow days” based on the quality of the pasture, but this seemed like a good average.

        7. So essentially, a person wouldn’t need to eat a whole acre’s worth of meat/ egg production in a year, so the rest of that person’s “acre” would be for their year’s worth of vegetable/fruit/other.

        8. It might be slightly over an acre, because you have to account for some grain production (hopefully small-scale, non-gmo, as sustainable as possible) to supplement the chickens and hogs if one eats chicken, eggs, or pork. Also per, “You Can Farm” chicken still require 80% of their diet to come from grain, even on pasture, and hogs require 50% grain, even on pasture.

        I’m sure these numbers aren’t exact but the main point is there is more than enough land currently dedicated to agriculture in the United States to produce healthy/sustainable meat for everyone.

  2. Ollie says

    Great podcast! This symposium is a huge success in my book as it brought the three of you together in a single podcast. Mark’s work was my introduction to this ancestral lifestyle movement. Robb has satisfied the urge for the geeky science behind it all. Matt has been critical in keeping this whole thing grounded and ensuring that it gains/maintains credibility. Thanks to all you guys as well as the other voices out there for what you do!

  3. says

    Guys, great podcast. I really liked all the insights you guys came up with about the symposium, and I thought this was the perfect combination of viewpoints!

  4. Joe Brancaleone says

    Great info there about a lot of topics.

    The mandate to play resonates deeply with me lately. I’ve seen the benefits in implementing more play habits in my daily life. A big difference in the quality of my sparring time in jiu jitsu class, once being detached from the outcome and just having fun.

    Or very recently at the beach I got pimpslapped off a jettie rock by a mongo wave and drug out to sea (this was minutes before the lifeguard closed the jettie due to unsafe waves!). Things happened so fast it was initially very harrowing – “is this how it all ends?” – but I think already being in that playful active mindset at the beach, probably enabled me to not panic but assess the situation quickly and utilizing all energy reserves to get the heck back on that jettie. Talk about high intensity workout :>

    good stuff

  5. Mark R. says

    Hey Guys,
    Great podcast, love the perspective provided. I have two questions if you don’t mind taking a look. Sorry if you already covered these in your AHS presentations.

    1. Carbohydrate Intake
    -Do you follow the general perspective that many put forward in that a low carb approach, say around 50g per day of whole food sources, is optimal until one reaches desired leanness (say 7-11% for a male)? This is assuming that workouts are pretty close to what Mark prescribes and not 20-minute met-con beat downs everyday. The background behind this question pretty much comes from the position put forth that insulin sensitivity isn’t good enough to handle carbs until you are lean. And also that carbs should also only be paired with activity (i.e. little to no activity, no need to eat carbs). Essentially, I just think that it would be great to eat some potatoes whenever I want and not have to worry about the carbs imparing my effort to lean down that last little bit to the 7-11% range.

    2. Protein Intake
    -Do you feel that there is merit in eating more protein than naturally desired, for example using whey protein and/or extra chicken breast just to get “some extra protein”, or is it better just to stick to whole foods and not worry about the breakdown? Just didn’t know if the perspective that many throw around of 1g/lb of bodyweight is just based on satiety and TEF or if there are any real benefits there.

    Lastly, thank you for being part of AHS. It’s incredible that these videos and presentations are going to be released for all to see.

  6. Lawrence Louis says


    That was a great podcast. Having you, Mark Sisson, and Dr. Mat Lalonde on the same podcast is something that I have desired for a long time, considering you three guys are probably some of the most respected advocates of the Paleo/low carb lifestyle. The only people that were missing were Chris Kresser and Gary Taubes.

    You mentioned that we can see Mat’s presentation, at the Ancestral Health Symposium, online (1:45 – 1:55). Where is it? Could you post a link to it? Thanks.


  7. Ian F says

    Mark Sisson rocks! I love his program, Matt LaLonde has some great insights so its always good to hear him talk about how his theories on paleo/primal evolve.

  8. Jeremy says

    Wow that was a fantastic show! My fiancee and I started with living primally about a year ago and have been talking lately about trying to get better at some of the other elements such as play. Thanks for the great reminder about how important lifestyle and enjoyment are in addition to nutrition and exercise.

      • says

        Robb – WHERE? and WHEN? I spent a lot of time today GOOGLING for the AHS lectures. I guess it’s a relief to find out that they aren’t ‘out here’ yet, but I’m still very anxious to know how I can hear or see them.

        It sounded like they plan to put hte program into the public domain.

        If that’s the case, I really admire them (and you, Robb Wolf) for their dedication to public education.

          • says

            Hey, thanks, folks!

            There’s 22 up there now!

            Unfortunately, not all the slides are available yet but this is a monumental project.

            I know from experience how had it is to do work like putting videos and slides up on the web after organizing and hosting and executing a large conference!

            While I’m going crazy to see the presentations, I sure appreciate the work that the organizers are doing to make this material to those of us who couldn’t come to the actual event.

            While I’m at it, I want to say how much I appreciate the number of teachers in this movement who are doing what they are doing primarily to help other people become more fully human (or more fully Well). It’s very impressive.

            -Allan in WV

  9. kem says

    Fantastic podcast. Ta.

    BTW, cattle do like to wrap their lips around vegetation and rip the leaves of grass as they have teeth only on their bottom jaw up front. The leaves generally break and the roots remain in place. There seems to be some myths about how these animals eat… I suggest watching them. Not only educational, but pleasant and relaxing.

    We don’t allow our animals to eat the paddock down to the boards (we move them at ankle height) as this slows pasture regrowth (some of the herbs might not regrow if this happens) and isn’t really good animal husbandry either. Electric break fences are a wonderful thing.

    And if you want to find out what they really want to eat, leave a gate open. Your apple trees won’t love you for it!

    Time to shift that break and continue listening.

    • kem says

      … hang on. We’ve had to do the numbers here and if you take in all the energy expenditure, NZ lamb is MUCH lighter on the planet when compared to locally grown product in GB. I’d suspect it’s the same with meat exports to the US. We invented refrigerated oceanic shipping.

    • Grass Farmer says

      Have to say I agree with Kem, cattle pretty much eat the same as bison. True, cattle (AND bison) some times pull up a few plants as they are grazing, but these are usually poorly rooted annual plants on ploughed soils. Key to sustainable grazing is to allow perennial grasses to establish by rotational grazing.

      In a natural setting, ruminants graze in herds (they stick together as defense against predators). Farmers can mimic this with wire and fences. A mob will move onto fresh pasture, eat all the palatable grass, defecate everywhere, then move on. The critical part is the moving on as it allows the (now organically fertilised) grasses to recover. This graze then recover cycle encourages healthy grasses as ungrazed grasses become stale and eventually die, leading to bare soil. It also pumps carbon into soils as roots wither after grazing, depositing organic matter deep in the soil, as the leaves and roots regrow using atmospheric CO2, some of which in turn ends up in the soil.

  10. says

    Really enjoyed the podcast! Very sad that I missed the AHS. Hopefully, this happens again next year.

    I do have a pet peeve that came up in some of the evolution comments, though.

    (Preface: Apologies, you guys are getting the brunt of the gnawing dissatisfaction that has built up over dozens conversations in which people have told me that “humans are no longer evolving, because medicine = no more selection pressures for our species.”)

    The fact that not everybody who eats grains either a) dies immediately or b) is completely sterile does not mean that there is no longer any selection pressure against it. Fitness is *relative* reproductive success, and as has been discussed ad nauseum in other podcasts and elsewhere, all else being equal, paleo peeps are far more fertile than non-paleo peeps. This is a fitness advantage.

    At most, one could argue that the selection pressure against eating grains is weaker today than it was a few hundred years ago. And crucially, over many generations, even a weak selection pressure favoring a gene or behavior creates a huge fitness advantage for it, because the effect is multiplicative.

    Our species is awesome, but we don’t have the power to halt universal biological processes, no matter how many twinkie fans we “heal” with medical miracles.

  11. says

    Robb, when you say vegans argue for just a moral reason there is more to it: (watch for 11.5hrs)

    Can someone pass those 2 links onto Lalonde, and maybe he can take this on:!/rmorranis/status/97354379929198592 is bacon full of AA? I am also interested in Lalonde’s take on *tomato paste* lectins (I have been eating the paste with fat source, uncooked out of can).

    And LOL at the grub/insect eating (reminds me of Man Vs Wild frying them) I bet there are some processed/crushed maggots in tomato paste.

    But how much have we been eating marrow, brains, blood for the past 10,000 years? Are we now more adapted to processed olive oil, cocoa, coconut, rice, legumes, alcohol, and fermented foods because we’ve been eating more of these recently for several thousands of years?

    I saw this recently on dairy and whey:!/DrEa​des/status/100600941677514752
    “Individuals with Laron syndrome who carry mutations in the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene that lead to severe congenital IGF-1 deficiency with decreased insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) exhibit reduced prevalence rates of acne, diabetes and cancer. Western diet with high intake of hyperglycemic carbohydrates and insulinotropic dairy over-stimulates IIS. The reduction of IIS in Laron subjects unmasks the potential role of persistent hyperactive IIS mediated by Western diet in the development of diseases of civilization and offers a rational perspective for dietary adjustments with less insulinotropic diets like the Paleolithic diet.”

    Future efforts should be undertaken to lower the high insulinemic index of milk (I.I. 140) and other whey-based milk products to reach values of beef (I.I. 51) or cheese (I.I. 45) [16,29]. Furthermore, combinations of hyperglycemic carbohydrates and insulinotropic dairy with potentiating effects on IIS should be restricted. ”

    Did paleo men have signs of cancer (have we evolved to get cancer [and not live forever])?

  12. Em says

    I know you already aren’t a huge fan of meal replacements. A friend of mine is now selling/”coaching” a shake call Shakeology. It is from the BeachBody group. Reading the ingredients it doesn’t SEEM like it would bad. But is this another Slim-Fast type product promising awesome results from little effort? Just wanted to get your opinion on the subject. Thanks for all of the great info and support!


  13. Chris says

    Very interesting podcast.

    FWIW or not – I believe anyone who thinks we consumed other animals milk pre-agriculture is living a life of urban based ignorance. Maybe they’re just trying to take folks to the cleaner$!

    There’s free ranging cattle in the mountains around my home. They are as aggressive and as dangerous as the wild ungulates who live here. Any of those folks are welcome to come try to milk one.

    • kem says

      Sheep were domesticated well before cattle, likely before the advent of agriculture. Mark Sisson pointed out, milk would have been easily accessible from a recently killed lactating mammal.

  14. Amy says

    Interesting and informative, especially the discussion surrounding dairy. I’m new to this whole paleo thing, and it’s already changed my life. And it strikes me that those who are courageous enough to participate in educating the public about these things will some day be seen as heroes. Don’t hold your breath though!

  15. says

    Hands down one of the best podcasts EVER! I think it must have been fate that Mark talked at length about the importance of “Play” in our lives. Recently I noticed my, usually “balls to the wall”, attitude toward health & fitness waning severely. I belong to a typical “chain franchise” gym in Ontario Canada and was going in every day bored and generally unhappy. So I started a blog ( to map out this experience and figure out what else I could be doing. Mark’s encouragement to play solidified the feeling in me that something was inherently wrong about how I was going about things and has given me a lot to think (and blog) about. Can’t wait to DL his talk from the AHS and get my grubby little paws all over “The Primal Connection” (I think that’s the name).

    Anyhoo, thanks again guys for putting your time in for “the little guys”. We sure do appreciate everything you do.
    Erin Minács

    • kem says

      I agree. It was like being the proverbial fly on the wall. An intellegent, casual and considered conversation. Can we have another sometime soon, please?

  16. says

    I was totally impressed that each of you had taken interest in the sustainability issues and the issues surrounding monocultures in the agricultural industry in general. Most people in the Paleo Community never make mention of sustainability at all, or even think about the future consequences of relying on imported meats. As I see it, combatting these issues will be the next step for the Paleo Movement. To preserve our way of life, we have to take a good, hard look at the agricultural industries and systems which surround us, and make a concerted effort to do our best to positively impact the outcome of our food supply.

    Well done, fellas.

  17. Daniel F. says

    What if the insects are not fed an ancestral diet?

    Also they’ve had a lot more evolutionary generations than the 333 we’ve had since the advent of agriculture. There could be some radically different changes in insects since then.

    • says

      I think we are simply talking biomass here. That is a lot of potential food stuff gone…especially when considering all the handwringing vegatarians concerned with feeding the world.

  18. says

    I really like Mark’s focus on play, he’s definitely right in that it’s a severely neglected thing these days, and essential to happiness, learning, and health IMO. I think it’s great he’s coming out with a book talking about all the other lifestyle factors besides diet, as many of those other things are being overlooked. Like you said, let’s get that book to the top of the charts!

  19. Matti says


    Great podcast nice to see all the big guns at the same place :)
    I noticed that Mat Lalonde’s nutrition seminar video is no longer available at academy of lions website, but that a new one will come available at Any news on when exactly can we expect it to arrive there and will it be available for puchase to non members of the site?

    And Robb thanks for everything you are doing, can’t emphasize that enough. I’ve lost about 50 lbs during the last 5 months or so and feel great. A high percentage of my success is due to your book and podcast.

    Thanks man!

  20. says

    Hey guys,
    Very small nit to pick with the genius Matt Lalonde. He mentions that you are not what you eat but what your mother and grandmother ate. I totally agree, except that such a good scientist should have said “you are what your parents and grandparents ate”. Guys, it is not just the women. Traditional cultures all over the world knew that special foods should be provided to young men upon matchmaking to ensure healthy children. The Foresight Preconception work done in the UK is very clear showing that the nutritional status of the sperm-bearers is important to the health of the baby. Just a friendly reminder to take your share of the responsibility for the birth of healthy children!!

    • says

      I’ll offer a reposte nit-pick: the mom environment is MUCH much more influential than the father as epigenetic signals are set in motion y the maternal uterine environment. Not so with pops. That’s the critical point here.

  21. says

    Just out of curiosity, what is it about wallball that is asstastic? I currently have some built into a crossfit style workout that I built for myself (not main page, but using the crossfit template with m ore downtime and less insanity). Am I doing myself a disservice by doing it?

      • Denny G says

        Hey Robb!
        I have been trying to get a serious question out to you but have had no success.
        30days into the challenge and my Ulcertive Proctitus has flared way up. Running tight A.I. diet and style a reaction.
        What to do?



      • says

        I get that. How about a good old fashioned MovNat style “throwing a rock”? That’s what I’ve been doing in place of it (since I’m working out at home now).

      • Trevor Frayne says

        I had no idea. Not that I do wall balls anyway. Kind of hard in an apartment living room. I’m assuming that basketballs being far lighter are less of an issue with this. Although, I might not be thinking of the movement correctly in terms of shooting a basketball.

        Also, are there good exercises (depending on fitness level I realize) for metabolic workouts? That is are safer for 100s of reps (for argument sake). Although, really I just like short conditioning workouts.

  22. says

    HIGHLY informative podcast!(aren’t they all??) LOVED hearing the 3 different perspectives on the Paleo/Primal lifestyle & I agree most with you, Robb, that absolute removal for 30+ days is critical to the process. Giving the body time to heal from inflammatory foods is key & then being able to have a “blank-slate” to reintroduce them into so you can see what happens. The potential problem I see with the notion that Paleo/Primal is not ‘one size fits all’ is that it leaves major grey areas for people to sneak in unhealthy stuff (even if the unhealthy thing is just corn tortillas…seemingly not unhealthy vs a triple chocolate espresso brownie, but we know about that any grain may be damaging to a persons’ health) or never really adhere to what’s best for them. We are generally addicted to crappy foods prior to overhauling our lives to be Paleo/Primal, and w/o that 30+ day complete removal period, a person may never really “get there” with the evolutionary nutrition stuff.
    PS – I love blogging about what I’ve experienced & learned about Paleo, but I start to feel like Matt’s talk was directed at people like myself who are NOT scientists in the field, but can interpret the info & share ancedotal evidence about how it has worked for myself & others…that I should be careful about blogging/teaching about Paleo so that I don’t discredit others with my lack of scientific volume in my blogging/teaching. Maybe that’s not what he meant? I think it is what he meant though.

      • Multibomber says

        Mat was simply refering to what needs to be done to convince the scientific/medical communities specifically. Convincing them through peer-reviewed scientific data is completely different from convincing the lay person.

  23. Ron says

    Robb: any chance your slides will be posted on the Ancestrial Symposium website? Since you have Mat’s ear, could you ask him to post his as well. Thanks Ron

    • says

      I will likely post mine, the Kracken will NOT be posting his, unless he has changed his mind. He has had some folks make…poor decisions in how they used his material, so NO SOUP FOR US!

      I had something similar happen so I’m back and forth on the slide issue.

  24. Stan says


    Wondering why you recommended the girl to not eat so much coconut milk in order to lose weight? I thought fat didn’t equal stored body fat. Would love if you could clear that up.

    • says

      Stan! You are killing me. At some point calories matter. This gal was eating 2-4 cans of coconut milk per day…she was following the “mass gain” protocol for some reason.

  25. DrPaula says

    Yes, this was a phenomenal podcast. In support of endurance athletics, though, I listen to your podcasts during my training runs since I can’t listen to my iPod when I drive. Sometimes I go for a run just to listen to a podcast.
    I’ve been good with having no dairy or grains/legumes/beans/potatoes
    for 1 1/2 years, but my paleo son is leaving for college in a week and the college meal plan could be a challenge for him. Being able to eat some cheese and maybe some beans or gluten-free grains in moderation should help, since he is also an athlete (lacrosse player) and burns tons of calories. I plan to be sending him care packages of grassfed beef jerky and some other stuff I make, but I wonder what cheeses are okay (he was excited he can eat blue cheese!), and rice? corn?
    It’s good that if science doesn’t support earlier claims, like the acid-alkaline stuff, that you guys are willing to amend your recommendations. I love hearing the biochem-geeky explanations- I have forgotten most of the physiology I learned in med school back in the Stone age. Thanks for doing the research. I try to guide my patients to a healthier diet, as best I can, but they mostly don’t listen.

  26. Trey says

    Robb – Great podcast, as usual. I watched the Kracken’s AHS presentation last night on vimeo. If I understood him correctly, he said that the lectins in legumes (and he specifically referred to soybeans and one other type of legume that I can’t remember) are “virtually nil” after cooking. Is that correct? I was under the impression that cooking could only reduce, but not completely eliminate, lectins in legumes. Relatedly, if cooking eliminates the lectins in legumes, are there still other anti-nutrients in them that are concerning (I’m assuming the answer is yes)? Thanks!

    • says

      The point of mat’s talk was in the last slide…that we still have the vast majority of the population with significant problems eating these foods. Mat’s talk is helpful if you have a technical background, damn confusing if not.

  27. Jordan says

    I went to the Paleo Solution Seminar in Toronto and loved every minute. Mark Sisson’s work led me here a while back. Just want to say thanks for everything, and the next phase of this movement will be great. We have great leaders! I teach physical education in a Canadian highschool, and it’s difficult to teach the text book material…..Can’t wait till it’s mainstream and government supported.


    p.s. The Katy Perry comment was classic Robb!

  28. PJ says

    Rob and others – absolutely brilliant podcast. I think it shows huge maturity on the parts of all involved, to open up their ideas in such a way.

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