Paleo Fantasy: Next time, try reading the research.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Mahatma Gandhi

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer
Note: apparently these quotes are not attributed to the correct people. Carry on.

One might think the paleo concept has been taking a bit of a beating from the scientific world, and by extension, the larger media scene. There is certainly no shortage of articles and blogs largely regurgitating material like that found in Dr. Christina Warinner’s Ted talk, but things are getting really….interesting. People, particularly folks in the academic scene, seem to really have their britches bunched over biochemists, MD’s, and others using this evolutionary biology concept to look at nutrition and health. Scientific American ran a recent piece explaining how folks like myself, Loren Cordain, etc have it all wrong, or at best our thinking is “half-baked.” This is based in large part on recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. What is intriguing, is both PNAS and Scientific American appear to have gotten the story wrong. Quite wrong. To the tune of completely mis-quoting primary researchers, and creating their own “Paleo Fantasy.” So misguided were these pieces that Prof. Cordain, myself, and a number of other folks felt it necessary to write a rebuttal which will be run in a subsequent PNAS. Interesting backstory on that: That chap who agreed to run this piece did so as HIS research was recently taken completely out of context by the media and he’s a bit fed-up with this type of thing. So, here is a link the the rebuttal on Prof. Cordains site, and here is the Rebuttal to PNAS 2013.

Please read that rebuttal carefully, and heck, why don’t you do something nearly everyone in the media and research community is not doing, read the original research:

1-Matt Sponheimer, Zeresenay Alemseged, Thure E. Cerling, Frederick E. Grine, William H. Kimbel, Meave G. Leakey, Julia A. Lee-Thorp, Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, Kaye E. Reed, Bernard A. Wood, and Jonathan G. Wynn. Isotopic evidence of early hominin diets. PNAS 2013 : 1222579110v1-201222579.

2-Jonathan G. Wynn, Matt Sponheimer, William H. Kimbel, Zeresenay Alemseged, Kaye Reed, Zelalem K. Bedaso, and Jessica N. Wilson. Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia. PNAS 2013 : 1222559110v1-201222559.

3-Thure E. Cerling, Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, Emma N. Mbua, Louise N. Leakey, Meave G. Leakey, Richard E. Leakey, Francis H. Brown, Frederick E. Grine, John A. Hart, Prince Kaleme, Hélène Roche, Kevin T. Uno, and Bernard A. Wood. Stable isotope-based diet reconstructions of Turkana Basin hominins. PNAS 2013 : 1222568110v1-201222568

If you are not familiar with the trophic implications of various nitrogen and carbon isotopes, don’t despair. Let’s look at a comment from Kim Hill, Professor of Anthropology from ASU, whose work on the Hiwi was so misrepresented in the Scientifica American article he took the time to write the following comment, which is #126 of the comments associated with the SA article. I’ll provide that comment below, and I’m going to bold certain sections that I think are particularly important:


A few quick observations since the work of my wife and I on the Hiwi is extensively cited here (as is our demographic documentation of hunter-gatherer lifespans). First, the Hiwi, like the other hunter-gatherers that we have worked with and visited, are much healthier in general than are Americans, but with the caveat that they suffer from maladies that we can cure with modern medicine (infections, parasites). They are lean and fit. Ache hunter-gatherers of Paraguay are even more fit than the Hiwi, they eat more and have extremely high exercise loads. High mortality of hunter-gatherers (mainly in infancy) is not relevant to the argument here because it mainly comes from violence and trauma. Warfare was a major cause of death among the Hiwi, nobody is suggesting we emulate that part of the paleo lifestyle. Parasites are unpleasant, and yes luckily we now have ways to eliminate them that our ancestors never achieved. But the point is that if Hunter-gatherers are lean, and fit (they look much more like serious athletes than do modern people), why? If not their diet and exercise regime, then what does make them lean and fit compared to modern people? Logic suggests that diet is part of the solution (excercise seems downplayed by everyone). So the discussion here should be focused on what we can learn from hunter-gatherers to improve our own health. How do “paleofantasy” critiques contribute to that discussion? Im not sure, I havent read the book. Yes there is significant genetic evolution in recent times, yes dietary variation in human foragers around the world suggest no single optimal diet, but still, what can be extracted by acknowledging that they are lean and fit? The paleodiet discussion has been very important for advancing our understanding of human nutrition — a field which has been dominated by the search for “minimal requirements” rather than “optimality”. But the bottom line is that the paleodiet critics need to contribute rather than just critique. And for the record, my wife Ana Hurtado and I have been eating a paleodiet (by accident because of fieldwork) for more than 30 years, because we grew accustomed to that diet (long before the fad). Meats, and unprocessed plant foods are a simple generalized ancestral diet and appear to produce better health than the current standard modern diet. As anyone who knows us can affirm, Hurtado and I are a lot leaner and fitter than most Americans in our age cohort (near 60). Why?


Before I make a few more points here is a link to Prof. Ana Hurtado’s site, also at ASU.

One observation I have is that Prof’s Hill and Hurtado are not simply institution based academics, they have spent YEARS living amongst hunter gatherers. They have seen first hand not only the health differences between these HG’s groups and westernized populations, but also the change in health amongst these HG’s as their ancestral life-way is eroded. This is reminiscent of Staffan Lindeberg’s work amongst the Kitavans. Yes, we need robust lab and biometric data for research, but that research happens because these people observe something interesting: a remarkable lack of disease in these HG populations. Evidence Based Medicine happens AFTER observing something TO research, not the other way around.

Another observation: The bolded points above should be the first chapters/concepts of every person studying health and medicine. The fact that this is not the case is very much the cause of our current predicament.

Another: Why are none of these “balanced” journalistic pieces interviewing Loren Cordain, Boyd Eaton, Staffan Lindeberg, or ANY of the other people who PUBLISH in this genre?

Another: The point about nutritional science being focused on the minimum vs optimization is too god-damned profound to even wrap my head around.

I’ll ask you folks to read all this, contemplate, and if it resonates, SHARE IT. Again, and again and again. If you have a blog make a page about this and put your own spin on this material. Media pieces like this are annoying, but they are also indicative of something: Success. The Paleo Diet/evolutionary medicine concept is on the radars of a lot of people. Some of those people stand to lose either money or ego if we win this campaign. I say, bugger those people. Because what we get out of this is better health for ourselves, our children and our world. In the past few weeks I’ve had reach-outs from some media and business entities that are, “huge.” They are interested not only in the paleo/EvoMed concepts, but also the sustainability angles ala Allan Savory. I’ll share more about those stories as they develop, but it is damn exciting. Game changing stuff.

Categories: Anthropology, Uncategorized


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

    When I initially saw the Scientific American piece being passed around by a group of dietitians who were very happy to celebrate what they perceived to be a blow to the paleo lifestyle. Though I am certainly not a paleo expert by any means, I do know that adding to the conversation is something missing from the other side as you suggest. Thank you for writing this and I look forward to continuing to deepen my understanding!

  2. says

    the first two weeks.. i will always remember them. the way your body feels when all that swelling from the inflammation goes down… maybe that’s not medically approved but it certainly felt and looked that way. and you can’t eat “normal” after that. i try to tell myself: for the next two weeks i will eat no sweetened stuff, nothing with too much starch ( i’m goinig on holiday and i will do “the whole 30” for 1,5 weeks) really tight tight paleo, only vegetables and meat, so i can eat pizza today! and i just don’t do it. i just don’t want to. it’s like trying to make myself eat chemicals and poison. in fact, that’s just what it is. no way.

    • says

      I feel the exact same way! Research proven or not, I can’t help but notice that I DO feel better when taking on certain diets versus others. Fact is, I’m feeling better, I’m losing weight, so it works for me. Try it for yourself is the lesson here.

  3. says


    I’ve seen Savoy’s TED Talk last month. Agree! Nasayers be damned. Rotation is key with all of this. Thanks Robb again and again! This stuff is a game changer. It’s ALL connected! The Paleo/Ancestral/Primal and now YOUR :) Evolutionary Medicine ways are perking ears. I see nothing but good from all of this. People are tired of being tired and sick. People are starting to question the establishment and taking note of what’s happening with food and health.

    Savoy lays it out there. People are listening. WE ARE!!

    Keep up the fight!

    Chief Trailblazing Officer

  4. Allison Iversen says

    I recently read an article from our insurance that included this gem,

    “According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, an evidence–based nutrition resource for Americans, beans and peas are the mature forms of legumes. In fact, legumes have been found to be the strongest dietary predictor of long life.”

    Um, excuse me people, but the idea of “Paleo” is that we need to abandon the government’s recommendations, clearly they aren’t working.

  5. says

    Rob, I watched your Ketogenic diet for Alzheimer’s video that is going around. It struck me that the neurologist in the piece could be any other academic. No disrespect to the man, but people like that are exactly the problem. They look at illness and believe that the problem lies in the lack of funding, research, new studies. They think we need to ADD to make our population better: new therapeutic targets, new sophisticated tests, more data. As someone who has two degrees and a handful of important-sounding certificates, I have come to realise that more knowledge does not guarantee wellness. I will venture a guess that a Kitavan does not know cholesterol fractions. The work from the people on the ground, like Linderberg, Eaton, Cordain, Hurtado, tells us what we really need is to SUBTRACT. Less junk, less drugs, less interventions, less “evidence-based” well-intentioned meddling. Because we clearly don’t know what the fuck we are doing.

  6. Monte Babilius says

    I believe it’s all the typical spend your money on pharmaceuticals, surgery, and diet programs that have no real lasting effects. I started the Paleo Lifestyle (I detest the word diet.) about three and a half months ago. I am 55 years old and 6’6″ tall and at the beginning of implementing Paleo into my life I weighed 300#, my bad cholesterol 750, blood pressure was 180/90, my sugar levels were astronomical, my knees ached I generally felt like an old, old man. Now to date my weight is 250#, my bad cholesterol is 88, my knees don’t hurt, blood pressure is down to 120/ 70, my energy level is out the roof. At my last Dr’s appointment he kept asking my age every few minutes because he could not believe how good all my readings were. He then proceeded to tell me that most of his patients half my age did not have such a good readings. PALEO WORKS. And I will provide anyone with my compared test results as proof.

  7. says

    What I struggle with is why is there such opposition to an evolutionary approach to health? We currently exist as a widely unhealthy species. Furthermore, our current modus operandi is furthering the degradation of our health. Regardless of whether or not someone’s wording or phrasing of a scientific theory, fact, hypothesis is 100% correct, I find it absurd that other scientists respond with vitriol. We, collectively as scientists, ought to try and fix our health decline and promote a better society. The gnashing of teeth at an idea aimed at fixing a problem, especially one that has evidence proving its efficacy, is unproductive and juvenile. The most important thing at the end of the day is that we come up with a correct answer. While I am placing my eggs in the “EvoMed/Paleo” basket, I will not hesitate to entertain, investigate, and test other theories. Robb, I genuinely appreciate how you have impacted so many individuals and the energy you put forth in the betterment of humankind.


    • says

      It is damn perplexing. I gave a talk for the Chico State Anthropology dept and pretty much painted these people as unsung heroes in the development of medicine. That anthropology should be at the vanguard of understanding health. About half the faculty saw what I was saying and was STOKED. the other half just shrugged and did largely what Zuck and Warinner have done…take thing out of context to nit-pick the bigger, effective message. I was talking to them about an alternate track of folks getting their RD’s and Pre-Med accomplished, largely pumping students through anthro, with the hard science handled as normal, but largely avoiding the nutritional “science” dept. This seemed like a win no matter what as more students means the program is safe…Anthro has been one of the programs on the chopping block multiple times. Not even this could light a fire under some of the faculty.

      We’ll just need to win this elsewhere.

    • BillP says

      “why is there such opposition to an evolutionary approach to health?”

      Two big reasons, the not-invented-here syndrome, and the ultra-conservatism of the medical profession. Possibly having its roots from back in the day when doctors were surgeons, and surgeons were barbers, and the need for legitimization, in lieu of actually understanding the biology of it all, led to the formality and strictures so nicely passed along in med schools. The ones making the breakthroughs these days are the hard scientists: biochemists, geneticists, chemists, etc., most of which probably haven’t been to medical school. But to be fair to the docs, medicine has always been a ‘crisis management’ kind of activity; healthy-living measures are more of a recent cultural phenomenon. And comparative anthropology is finally coming into its own, as it seems to have broken free from its elitist beginnings.

  8. Sonny says

    Misrepresentation of facts, holes in their arguments, not letting paleo scholars have their views expressed, what we have here is noyhing less than a deliberate attempt by the powers that be to suppress knowledge to make ppl healthier. I sincerely hope to god I’m wrong but my prediction is that in the end, paleo will not win, it will not be picked up by the mainstream. Time will tell.

  9. says

    Thank you Robb for your insightful rebuttals to all the critical literature that has been published lately against the Paleo Diet. I take much inspiration from your and Prof. Cordain’s rebuttals.

    I am a Paleo dieter and my health has benefitted greatly from eating the Paleo way (specifically, my HDL and triglyceride levels improved dramatically with the diet since January this year). I also happened to be historically minded. I hold a master’s degree in history and I have a keen interest in human evolution. That said, I can’t help but respond to the counterarguments that have been floating around a lot lately against the premise of the diet. I’d like to share my two cents: Setting aside the straw man and reductio ad absurdum arguments that have already been made by the likes of Profs. Marlene Zuk and Christina Warriner, the latest attack on the Paleo premise seems to be that contrary to what we Paleo people believe, our Paleolithic ancestors included grains in their diet, basing their counterargument on the three crucially misread scientific papers. Yet, the challenge to them still remains: Can these critics really prove that our Paleolithic ancestors ate grains as the staple of their diets in the same manner as our Neolithic ancestors? Virtually all prehistory books you can find distinguishes the Paleolithic diets and lifestyles with those of the Neolithic. There was indeed a transition, albeit a very gradual one, possibly spanning about 40,000 years (according to Colin Tudge) from food-gathering to food-producing. Pastoral nomadism, farming, and settled village life were mainstays during the Neolithic period. We Homo sapiens not only domesticated plants and animals during this period, we also domesticated ourselves. In this context, what is widely accepted by prehistorians is that Neolithic peoples had diets that were less varied and less nutritious, and were higher in carbohydrates than their Paleolithic predecessors. Their overall health suffered as a consequence despite the sharp increase in population. That undeniable fact matters crucially in this debate. Moreover, no one can really deny that, in our modern world, their is a sharp “disequilibrium” between our genetic endowment and our advanced culture – and that our culture is making us sick. On that note, a great book by geneticist Greg Gibson called _It Takes a Genome_ (2009) as well as the review of it by renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin in the New York Review of Books are well worth reading as insightful indirect support for the Paleo premise.

  10. Audrey says

    Allan Savory’s research is just mind-boggling. It’s wonderful that he has pictures, and terrific results (much more robust plant growth) to back up his claims. The destruction of herds has led to this desertification – and even DOMESTICATED animals can help reverse the problem! It’s eerily beautiful – the thought that a humble cow can help reverse climate change, while enriching the lives of the people who care for them and use them for sustenance. Gets me all misty-eyed. 😉

  11. Chris Young says

    The proof is in the pudding as they say and all this “noise” does is make more people aware of the paleo lifestyle. I hadn’t even heard of it a year ago. Now I can see my abs for the first time in my life and I’m 46! All my stomach issues have gone and I have even got competitive at parkrun regularly running under 20 minutes. Considering I was the boy that always got picked last for the sports teams at school that’s some achievement.

    Maybe someone should develop a website which shows before and after pictures of people on a paleo diet, a sort of “visual petition”, and then develop a badge that can be placed on everyone’s websites which says something like “Why Paleo Works” or similar. The website could also link to every one of the scientific articles that show the success of paleo as well as the arguments against with the responses? The reason I say this is because it took me about 3 months to listen to podcasts, read blogs, etc. before I was willing to try paleo as there was no one place that gave me all the answers I needed to be confident in eating that much fat, etc.

  12. Elizabeth McInerney says

    I find it really interesting to consider the economic impact as more and more people move to the paleo diet. The health care industry is such a huge part of our economy, that if the general population moves to paleo too fast, it could actually cause a recession or worse. I do think the backlash is coming from economic fear. Follow the money.

  13. Peter says

    It would have been far more scientific of Scientific American (and useful) to look at what we can actually learn about human nutrition from an evolutionary perspective, rather than just take cheap shots at paleodiet straw men.

    Will there be follow up articles in SA debunking the “half-baked” vegetarian diet, and the “half-baked” low-fat diet, etc.?

      • John says

        Actually, I think vegetarianism is a social movement, but the Scientific American editorial folks aren’t willing to take on foes who could make life difficult for them. SA is picking on people they think they can beat.

        Absolutely magnificent article, Robb. Thanks for everything you do.

  14. Supportive nit picker says

    Robb: thanks for this and I will re-post. One request: will you correct the small grammar error right after you cite Dr. Hill by name? The word should be “whose,” not “who’s.” Thanks :-)

  15. Joyce says

    Great article, I thoroughly enjoyed it!! Thank you for a great morning. :)

    (And by the way, for anyone looking for Dr. Kim Hill’s comment under the Scientific American article, it is actually #127, not #126.)

  16. says

    The minimisation vs optimisation is something I’ve tried and failed to explain many times, I think it’s a food-as-culture thing.

    We know that all we need is some protein and fatty acids and trace nutrients, beyond that it’s more helpful to consider food as a hormone stimulant/suppressant rather than focus on it as an energy source and getting caught up in the calorie hysteria.

    Figure out what source of food provides the best energy with the fewest hormonal complications – anything else you put in your body is up to you.

  17. Ray John says

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    Mahatma Gandhi”

    Please people, Gandhi DID NOT SAY THIS.

  18. Rose Marie Royster says

    I’m just 2 weeks into Paleo but feeling very committed to this new lifestyle. I had been gluten free and organic but have now eliminated all sugar, grains, dairy and legumes. Feeling great and very healthy!

  19. says

    As usual, Robb, you rock my world.

    “Another: The point about nutritional science being focused on the minimum vs optimization is too god-damned profound to even wrap my head around.”

    YES! Oh, man. So few people are familiar with the history and development of the U.S. government’s RDA/RDI/whatever they’re calling them this week. They were created as the rock-bottom levels required to prevent overt deficiency diseases, NOT to ensure optimal health. Just because you don’t have freaking *pellagra* doesn’t mean your B3 intake is adequate for robust physical (or mental!) health. Same with vitamin C, D, and everything else…the absence of outright scurvy or rickets should not be our end goal for crissake. (My gums don’t bleed and I’m not bow-legged — sweet! I must be in great shape!) 😉

    It’s exactly like you said — the powers that be can feel the wind changing, and they do NOT like it. They’re scared. They’re very scared and they’re defending their turf with everything they’ve got. (Which isn’t much, actually.) Clearly we’re smack-dab in the middle of the “then they fight you” stage of Gandhi’s quote. I guess next comes the win. (Hard to imagine what could happen to the U.S. economy if a couple million more people stopped eating wheat and soy.) =)

  20. Diana says


    I read the website. How is this not Paleo?

    “Systematic recording of dietary intake while living in the forest entirely off wild foods suggests that about 80% of the energy in the diet comes from meat, 10% from palm starch and hearts, 10% from insect larva and honey, and 1% from fruits. Total energy intake is approximately 2700 kcal per person daily, and males acquire about 84% of all calories consumed.”

    “bares almost no resemblance to what Cordain,” etc.

    Bares no resemblance? The idea!

    Paleo isn’t recorded in some bible, Melissa. Get off the high horse and read some of the documents in Pubmed, etc., which elucidate the foundational principle of discordance. That’s all they say. Not that Paleo can cure all disease, but that is useful in treating the specific diseases of civilization.

    “Drawing on modern studies of huntergatherers
    (HGs) and also on archeological and paleontological
    evidence, we argued for the discordance hypothesis,
    which in its simplest form states that our genome evolved
    to adapt to conditions that no longer exist (the environment
    of evolutionary adaptedness, or EEA), that the change has
    occurred too rapidly for adequate genetic adaptation, and
    that the resulting mismatch helps to cause some common
    chronic diseases.
    Among these “diseases of civilization” are atherosclerotic
    cardiovascular disease (most coronary artery disease
    and cerebrovascular accidents), type 2 diabetes mellitus
    (T2DM), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung and
    colon cancers, essential hypertension, obesity, diverticulosis,
    and dental caries. In another study, we to showed
    that serum cholesterol concentrations, aerobic fitness,
    and diabetes mellitus prevalence in nonindustrial, especially
    HG populations, revealed low risk of the diseases
    that most plague advanced societies.2 Indeed, by the time
    of our first publication, it had been shown that former
    HGs in Australia who were suffering from T2DM showed
    marked improvement in their carbohydrate and lipid
    metabolism when they were experimentally returned to
    their former lifestyle.3”

    And so on and so forth. From Paleolithic Nutrition Twenty-Five Years Later
    Melvin Konner, MD, PhD1; and S. Boyd Eaton, MD2

    Google it.

    And the studies by Frassetto, Lindeberg, etc., showing vast improvement in markers of metabolic health for subjects on a Paleo diet. Essentially these diets exclude the major agents of disease, but they are pretty commonsensical and not extreme.

    I like the moustache. It suits you.

  21. Diana says

    BTW, this research concerns Australopithecines, who lived before the Paleolithic era. So I don’t see its relevance to the Paleo diet.

      • Diana says

        Yep. Australopithecines weren’t even human; lived 400K years before the Paleo era.

        This is truly grasping at straws AND strawmen.

  22. brighteye says

    Great post, and I love that you linked Allan Savory’s talk. It had a deep impact on me.
    Robb you are my hero! Thanks for all your work and effort.
    …then you win

  23. BillP says

    Awesome post, Robb, and great links.

    Cordain’s response is a great example of succinct science writing and was a pleasure to read.

      • says

        Just read a few articles from CarbSane website…very disturbing. These are kind of people that end up coming to me for help. Unfortunately, they wait until their body is screaming at them for attention.
        Keep doing what you’re doing, Robb.
        BTW- I was a Anthropology major.

        Cleo Hartmann CN NP
        Amaya Natural Health

        • says

          I’m not sure what the back story is with the carbsane people. But like Cleo, I hopped over and read a few articles out of curiosity. Big waste of my time – hate, spite, and vitriol. Straw man and personal attacks galore. Not adding anything useful to the larger discussion of “what really makes people sick?” Seriously, the venom level made me feel faintly nauseated.

          Look, folks, living on a steady diet of hatred every day is not good for your long term mental health. Try focusing on something positive for a change. Maybe take a long walk in the park, or sit under a tree (or by the fireplace if it’s cold) and read some Discworld?

  24. keith says

    The Allan Savory video is remarkable. Professor Cordain’s rebuttal was well done. One of the draws I have had to paleo has been the reverence to properly executed and analyzed science. My little biology BS is not a vaunted as all your (meaning those such as Robb, Cordain, Kresser, Parsley, et al) advanced degrees and experience, but I greatly appreciate the collective paleo approach. So much of what we see today is PC oriented scientific technique in the service of either buckets of money or ideology. It really chaps my ass.

  25. says

    I’ve found the following interesting article about the “three stages of Truth”.

    In this document, they discussed the citation of Schopenhauer given on top of your post.

    “This dubious Schopenhauer citation has been used to support non-mainstream or controversial views on such diverse topics as the feelings of fish, megadose vitamin C therapy, drug legalization, network marketing, acupuncture, supranational government, repressed memory, libertarianism, anti-vaccination, and human cloning. It has been cited in a court case in Florida. A common feature of all these citations is the lack of any reference to where in Schopenhauer’s work the quotation can be found.”

    This should not diminish the quality of your work… keep the good job!.


    • Thomas de Bodt says

      For the sake of completeness, the second citation you gave is discussed on

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      Describing the stages of a winning strategy of nonviolent activism. There is no record of Gandhi saying this. A close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1918 US trade union address by Nicholas Klein:

      “And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”

      Proceedings of the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (1918), p. 53 *

      In Freedom’s Battle (1922), Gandhi wrote this:

      “Unfortunately for His Excellency the movement is likely to grow with ridicule as it is certain to flourish on repression. No vital movement can be killed except by the impatience, ignorance or laziness of its authors. A movement cannot be ‘insane’ that is conducted by men of action as I claim the members of the Non-co-operation Committee are….Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect….It will be admitted that non-co-operation has passed the stage ridicule. Whether it will now be met by repression or respect remains to be seen.….But the testing time has now arrived. In a civilized country when ridicule fails to kill a movement it begins to command respect…”

      Source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Freedom’s Battle, 2nd edition, by Mahatma Gandhi, 1922

  26. Audrey V says

    I’ve been a fan and student of Allan Savory and his Holistic Resource Management for years. I’ve been paleo and a Robb Wolf fan for 3 years. I just put Allan Savory’s message and paleo together … BAM! It all makes sense. Large herds of cattle and sheep grazing grasslands, solving the world’s problems while supplying us with what we need most – omega 3 rich grass fat beef and lamb… BAM! Exciting stuff indeed! Imagine returning the mid western US to grass lands, and away from grain and soybean growing cropland … BAM! Farmers could make more money raising grass fat beef and lamb without all of the herbicides, pesticides and fossil fueled powered equipment required for growing grains and soybeans … BAM!

  27. says

    I’m suspicious of any article, blog post or essay that begins with a fake Gandhi quote…As I read the comment threads I see that you were told that this was a fake Gandhi quote in June 2013: you said that you would fix the attribution and yet here we are in August 2013 and the fake Gandhi quote is still up there. I also think its really rather odd that you would write an entire rebuttal about a book you haven’t even bothered to read. “How do “paleofantasy” critiques contribute to that discussion? Im not sure, I havent read the book.” Scientists are interested in truth not the promotion of an agenda and they seek out truth even if it hurts their argument or makes them reconsider their opinions or embarrasses them. Fix the Gandhi lie, read the book and then get back to us…

  28. Janyce Hunter says

    Cordain only debunked some responses to the PNAS, not the PNAS themselves. I’m not saying you have to read all of Zuk’s book to respond, but the short introduction is available free of charge on the internet. From that short introduction alone, it seems that what bothers her is not paleodiets in and of themselves, but some of the dubious claims that people make to promote them (such as your frequent claim that modern agriculture is the main culprit for the rising rate of chronic, non-communicable disease.

  29. loving it says

    Ok, I just want to say that I used to believe the ‘you have to have grains and milk’ kind of health professionals and actively promoted this five foodgroups food propaganda, having been indoctrinated through university. I just came out of university being fully ‘informed’ in a nutrition minor, but not having critiqued anything, thank god we live in a wonderful digital age.
    I have to say working in Australia, one of the great injustices we did to our beautiful indigenous peoples is introduce flour and sugar. Fast forward a few hundred years and there was i as others, promoting a healthy low fat diet to remote communities, which meant that more refined carbs were being eaten and ‘ticked’ by the heart foundation as healthy, result is worse health and weight gain with diabetes in group of people who are very susceptible. I tested for myself whether I could get enough fibre and micronutrients without and grains and milk, and yes one can and whats more I am now a total convert and we have a fight on our hands getting the message out there that no one needs grains. I’ve never eaten better or felt better and finally i’m losing that post pregnancy weight after ten years, that things like low fat cereal breakfast and low fat yoghurts and so forth (chicken and low fat pasta dishes) could never shift. I don’t care what you call your diet, its the best thing i ever did for my body and my digestion and my weight. People can hate and argue all they like, there is very strong evidence it works very well to lose weight, and is better for diabetics. We consider a healthy diet as low fat milk on wheat cereal with white bread and vegemite and margerine. That’s what they serve in hospitals (agreement with Kellogs), and what our teachers provide to indigneous students for breakfast. Thanks Robb – just keep fighting. Ignore the cricisms about the quotes attributed wrongly, half of Amazon book writers get the Albert Einstein ones completely wrong too~

  30. says

    I’ve nothing against paleo at all. Or many of the diets that have come before. And if it works for you, great! But keep in mind that much of the reaction paleo (or anything similar) gets is likely due to some of the fanaticism it gathers around itself. Paleo is not a magic bullet. There are many diets or eating habits that would produce tremendous results and provide as many success stories which would all be held up as shining examples of success in the comments section of a similar blog post touting their benefits. I think of paleo like i think or organized religion–look for the common ground for therein lies the truth. In religion this is to ‘be good’. In terms of nutrition, it’s ‘less processed foods!’

    I also think of the Pareta principle–80% of the effect comes from 20% of the dogma. And my money is that the 20% of the paleo dogma that produces that 80% result has to do with that simple common ground of eating more fruits and veggies and less white bread and sugar. Well, and exercise.

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