The Paleo Solution – Episode 112

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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Features guest Dr. Loren Cordain

Grab a copy of Prof. Cordain’s new book, the Paleo Answer, here. 

The Paleo Answer

Robb Wolf's 30 Day Paleo Transformation
30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you 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? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

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Categories: Podcasts, Podcasts-Start Here


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.


  1. says

    re: vegetarian

    What about low-carb vegetarian beats low-carb Atkins: and proper vegetarian diets of Fuhrman, and ‘Blue Zone 7th Day Adventists’ who eat beans and grains and how do we know animal heme iron isn’t pro-oxidative Kresser mentions Colpo and talks iron buildup in older age men and insulin resistance. And they say in nutrition class vegetarians can get iron from iron skillet and also molars are for grinding grains

    And IGF-1 of high protein diets suppressing p53 (the reason I take VitD):

    @29min you say whey out for 30days…. I take BCAAs and ON whey protein (soon cold filtration isolate) for workouts – if I take it out for 30 days what should I notice because I’m assuming it increases my growth and recovery and IGF-1 and can this be felt (and no acne from these -4th of July fireworks looking/advertised- supplements). Won’t people who don’t want to be “neurotic” not seek out “sustainability” and the paleo diet just lead to increased sales of conventional food?

    And there is a lot of talk in the paleosphere of Cordain not looking lean enough a lot of links I can provide. Is this from a high protein, high iron diet or from eating “living foods” as he says in 43min? Also I eat tomato paste with fat filled meals… is tomato *paste* bad because of lectins still?

    • Jen says

      Oh, lordy be, if you want to be a vegetarian, then go be a vegetarian instead of demanding that the same old vegetarian “myths” be constantly addressed. Do a little more research and you’ll find out why all those links have very flawed info.

      For example:

      That Dr Greger video that you linked to references all kinds of flawed studies and he works for the National Humane Society. There’s all kinds of hidden agendas going on there. He’s creepy on top of that.

      Go watch the video of Densie Minger’s presentation at the Ancestreal Health Symposium “How to win an argument with a vegetarian.” One of the things she addresses is how the healthiest of the 7th Day Adventists actually included fish in their diet.

    • Tyler says

      I wouldn’t say that one reader’s comment on a single blog doesn’t really qualify as “a lot of talk in the paleosphere”.

      Especially when that comment is followed by another reader’s: “They look like perfectly normal older people to me not sick and bloated at all. What makes you say they don’t?”

      • terrence says

        Tyler – do NOT expect fundamentalist vegetarians or, even worse, fundamental vegans, to understand an argument or logic. These people see themselves as SAINTS and ENLIGHTENED and in no need of logic, reason, real, honest citations, and least of all facts.

        I will look for the book and get it ASAP.

          • J says

            Actually, he looks like an academic.

            Cordain’s not an athlete- he’s an anthropologist. If he doesn’t work out, he’s not going to be “in shape”. Whether or not he’s muscular changes absolutely nothing as to whether or not his diet works- Diet alone doesn’t build muscle.

            If you want to see an athlete who’s Paleo, might I suggest Aaron Rodgers? You know, Green Bay Packers, about to smash a bunch of single-season passing records, Aaron Rodgers? Having one of the best single seasons in NFL history, Aaron Rodgers? Big Paleo advocate- was reading Cordain’s book to relax before last year’s Super Bowl, and has talked about using the diet several times.

            There’s others, of course: Olympians Apolo Ohno and Christian Vande Velde, MMAers Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, Allistair Overeem, and Shane Carwin (who eats a vegetarian diet- “except for Poultry and fish”- that looks an awful lot like a Paleo diet that restricts meat to just chicken and fish), tennis star Novak Djokovic, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, and NHLer Mike Cammalieri have all eaten some form of Paleo program- be it full tilt or targeting gluten-free- in the past few years. They may not call it Paleo, but their stated diet mimics what Paleo advocates: No gluten, grain, and processed-foods, no sugar, a balanced diet heavy on meats and veggies, high fat, etc etc. Some of them- like Ohno- eat rice before a race, but otherwise are Paleo.

            In fact, Mir came off of being a vegan/vegetarian, because, if memory serves, it wasn’t adequately serving to prepare him for his training. And that’s a dude who would have a dietician and whatnot at his side, telling him exactly what to eat.

            Or, if you want an educated opinion, you could just try Matt Lalonde- Dude’s in shape, AND will be happy to take you to school on the science of the matter. Be warned: It will be heavy on that pesky science stuff, but enlightening- Folks with Organic Chemistry PhDs from Harvard have a tendency to drone on about things, you know. Plus, the six eggs and a pound of bacon he eats for breakfast give him lots of energy, so he’ll talk forever.

          • says

            Cordain wrote Paleo for Athletes and shuns fat, and goes high protein I believe. Need something sustainable for everyday life that won’t turn us semi-obese (that I was I meant by not lean… didn’t mean muscle — he looks muscular to me yet semi obese — My mom remarked a year ago “Jabba the Hut” when looking at him), and we should not have to be supernatural athletes in our 20s (athletes who might even dope and do hormone injections — see movie “Bigger Faster Stronger” on Olympians).

            I bet Mir got off it because BrockLesnar beat him up in MirVLesnarII — did he add red meat back because I remember he cut it out after MirVLesnarI. Carwin looks a bit heavy too… these guys are heavyweights who probably have some insulin resistance whereas Overeem was much leaner and built muscle on a smaller frame (insulin sensitive).

            And I already mentioned *Mat* Lalonde here

  2. says

    You will be hard pressed to find a vegeterian or vegan that is not defficient in iron. A defficiency in iron is responsible for turning protein into neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It is important in athletic performance, immune function, and other metabolic processes. Here is a good article to further understand the concepts of iron in the body from the Journal of Nutrition, Toxicity is not always caused by consuming more meats. Most cases of toxicity are from supplementation. Other factors effecting iron absorption are vitamin c, vitamin e, phosphorous, and copper levels. This means it could be your daily multivitamin that is causing ferratin overload! Hemachromatosis is a disease that can lead to iron toxicity as well. Here is an article explaining some stuff in regards to that, In general eating a paleo diet is not going to give you a toxic level of iron. If ferratin levels are high give blood. I have never seen any clients run into an iron problem while following a paleo diet.

  3. Sarah says

    I am curious about his comments on supplementation and how we should be able to get all our nutrients from the soil. Wondering about this take on soil de-mineralisation and local soil differences that can and do exist outside of industrial farming practices. For example selenium levels vary dramatically from state to state in the US, and how high levels of common cancers track with low levels of selenium in soil, even globally. South Dakota vs Ohio for example. Or how soil deficiency of molybdenum in China’s Hunan Province was responsible for the highest known incidence of esophageal carcinoma over many generations (that was fixed by supplementing the soil). Of course you cannot take a single nutrient like that and not consider many other factors involved, and it stands to reason that paleo man lived in a very different world to where we do now… but I am curious how Cordain looks upon these kind of issues in light of modern constraints.

    Looking forwards to the read, especially on vegetarians in India!

    • says

      Back in the 40’s soil scientist William Albrecht tracked the nutrient values of foods based upon soil mineral deficiencies in regions of the United States and how the health of WWII draftee reflected those deficiencies. Some areas of the South produced a lot of 4F guys, folks to poorly nourished – – not by what they ate (this was pre-fabricated food era! – – but by how deficient in some minerals the soils they ate from were. There are many other examples. that’s why a lot of sustainable ag food-as-medicine types take a lot of supplements: once you know the level of minerals and vitamins the human needs to be healthy and how far those needs are from “most” whole foods, you have to supplement to make up those differences. Of course, other than the fact that the Open Market never pays farmers for nutrient content, only volume, weight or count, it’s possible that food could be grown to nutrient perfection and then, of course, there’s be no reason to supplement.

  4. woody48 says

    Hey Robb, are the studies done on excess antioxidants done with synthetic or whole food vitamins? Also Dr Cordain still does not address raw dairy which is a whole different product.

    • Garland Auvigne says

      He never differentiates between raw/unpasteurized and regularly processed milk. Are his views for both? Also, I’m not sure about the comments about artificial insemination. I’ve heard him speak to this twice and the first time I thought I misunderstood what he was saying. Why would a female dairy cow require AI to continue producing milk? Don’t mammals continue to produce milk as long as it is being used? I drink raw milk obtained from a small local producer and this is not the practice at this farm and I can’t find any info describing this and/or the reason for it. Does anyone have any info on this?

  5. says

    I second the questions woody48 asked. I would also like to ask about deficiencies related to disease/disorders. For example, I am T1 diabetic, and there are a lot of supplements that are recommended for me related to that. Now, I take ALA more consistently than anything else. I would be interested to hear some feedback on supplemental recommendations for people with specific health problems.

      • says

        That sounds awful! Sorry, I have diabetes– that’s why I eat like a little baby still! My dad was diagnosed 50 years ago, and his MD told him to just eat lettuce for meals. We’ve come a long way.

  6. says

    Robb – Thanks for a great podcast. Loren is awesome and I’m looking to pre-order his book this evening. One thing concerned me, though. Loren took the position that if you buy your food from a local farmer you will not have to take supplements. This, of course, could be true, if you sought out a nutrition farmer. To simply say that LOCAL FOOD is nutritionally sufficient is looking for trouble. Here’s a link to RODALE head research scientist Dr Elaine Ingham on nutrition in today’s food: <Folks, ignore the page this clip links to. It looks like a SCAM to me, but the Ingham clip is for real.) Most food doesn't contain the nutrients food contained just a few years ago. I have no idea which USDA nutrient charts Loren would draw his info from (most people draw from standards set in the 30s) but food has a lot less nutrients now then it did then.

    There are several eco-ag movements in this country right now that look at restoring soils to their ideal states. When the soils are restored to their ideal natural states, foods produced on them (particularly plants with heritage genetics (e.g. heirloom vegetables) may have HUNDREDS of times as much of some minerals as typical farmers market local foods will have. Similar things happen with properly maintained pastures. you get healthy beef and healthy people. Poor pastures produce unhealthy beef, high vet bills and, one would assume, unhealthy consumers.

    I was talking to Joel Salatin last night (BEAT THAT, ROBB!!) and he mentioned that there is a study of Australian soils from around 1820 that shows that the organic matter (OM) was at about 20%. Now, after a couple of hundred years of tillage, Australian soils have around 1% OM. Organic matter is essential for healthy nutrient retaining soils, the sort of soils that produce nutrient dense foods. We don't have a similar study for US soils but suffice it to say most organic farms with a 7%OM brag about it. What I'm getting around to is that civilized countries have long histories of poor farming, farming practices and MARKETS that have extracted the nutrients from the soil and have not replaced them. Soils that once produced very health promoting foods now provide foods with a shade of those nutrients.

    Bob Cannard, of Alice Waters fame, and a leading 'ideal soil' advocate, likes to say 'If you doctor tells you you need the nutrition of one tomato a day, what are you going to do? Eat one of mine or four of my neighbors?'

    From an evolutionary perspective it seems to me that this is very important to note: we may adapt the same foods but due to soil depletion those foods will NOT be as nutritionally dense as foods were before tillage (or intensive farming) This should be a basic Paleo tenet, I would think.

    So, all is not lost. Science has a fair idea of what 'natural soil' (ideal soil) was like and it can be restored by adding crushed rocks for missing minerals and appropriate biology (compost etc) and through appropriate cultivation techniques. Plant and livestock genetics are important, as well. (Old fashioned food plants tend to accumulate more nutrients than modern commercial hybrids because hybrids were bred for economic benefits (weight, yield, etc))

    You just have to be sure to buy your LOCAL FOOD from local growers who are making a focused effort to grow truly nutrient dense foods. They don't just happen. You can't just go to the farmers market and think that Local foods are all going to be good enough for your long term health.

    On the other hand, understand that Nutrient Dense REAL FOOD costs the grower a lot more to produce (think about it!) because he is not paid for nutrition and yet he has to put it into the soil. There's a very obvious Paleo eater tendency to push for CHEAP. The easiest way for a producer to produce CHEAP is by cutting corners. Chemicals produce CHEAP very well. Be willing to support the efforts of we farmers who are actually growing for your health.

    Ok, Robb, smack me!

  7. Evan says

    A lot of you folks need to calm down. If you don’t agree with paleo, then go to google and search “Vegan.” There you can visit the vegan sites and never have to deal with paleo ever again.

    Talk about open minded healthy people..

  8. Lancaster says

    Cordain argues that we should not isolate single compounds in foods to determine if a particular food is beneficial for our health, but rather, look at the whole food. I agree completely. Then he turns around and proposes that the calcium content of milk may lead to heart disease. Has he not looked at studies showing that whole milk reduced heart disease risk in woman and men?
    Whole milk is not a calcium supplement. Maybe I am missing something?

  9. Jeff says

    Great podcast. Question: Where can I view the Cordaine-Campbell debate on vegetarian diets vs. paleo diets? I’ve been searching around for a while now, and can’t seem to locate it on YouTube or this site. Cheers!

  10. anya says

    what if you bypass labels like vegetarian and vegan and use the concept of eating with a goal of nutrient density …high nutrient per calorie ratio. mostly plant based with limited lean/lowfat animal products.
    It may be important to look at how our ancestors ate- especially when contrasted with the crap that comprises the standard american diet nowadays…but ancient man didn’t live very long….they ate for survival. lets just call it what it is…the paleo diet makes some good points (especially when contrasted with how most americans eat), but all in all the people I’ve seen advocating any of the popular diets nowadays seem to be more interested in selling books and services than helping people live healthier lives!

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