Episode 190

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [6:10] Climbing Kilimanjaro With A Sensitive Gut
  2. [10:30] Bunions
  3. [14:35] L-Tyrosine
  4. [20:32] L-Glutamine And Sugar Cravings
  5. [26:36] Cat Allergies Effects On Health
  6. [31:52] Gluten And Drinking Causing Shrimp Allergies
  7. [38:56] Hierarchy Of Meat
  8. [43:28] High Rep Hypertophy And All Night Boozing
  9. [54:54] Lack Of Back Squat Progress



1. Kilimanjaro, Altitude and G.I. function

Jessica Zaneis says:
Hey Guys!
So you featured me as a testimonial recently.  http://robbwolf.com/2013/02/04/paleo-lifestyle-chance-avoid-surgery/
I am doing quite well.  A few minor issues still being ironed out but it has been about a full year that I have been grain, dairy, and legume free. Still climbing mountains like a madwoman and keeping my strength training on a very solid, regular schedule.  Feeling like a million bucks.

So… in this journey of making up for lost time I had the stars aligned and am going to climb Kilimanjaro – I depart late June (roughly two months away).  I know… there are so many reasons for my G.I. to NOT go there but this is something I must do for many reasons- if you want me to list them so you aren’t too hard on me I would be happy to go into the details haha!

I am working against many factors here obviously.  Altitude, foreign foods, you name it- and I am sure you will!

I am looking for any advice you think would be helpful to keep me in good health on the mountain.  I will be physically on Kilimanjaro for 7 days to acclimatize.  I will get a prescription from my doc for the emergency situations that could arise, Flagyl and Cipro on hand just in case.  I would really prefer to use something more natural that could be preventative in hopes that I don’t have to dig into those pill bottles.
I will be spending the first couple days of my trip at an orphanage in Tanzania volunteering my time in their dental clinic for the kiddos.  From there we head to the mountain for the week.
The charitable organization I am climbing with is aware of my dietary restrictions and has gluten free and other foods to meet my needs.  I will also be shipping over plenty of ‘safe’ snacks and trail foods for myself.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I promise to place a “RW” flag at the top of Kili for you!
Jessica Zaneis


2. Caveman Bunions

Rich says:

I am 1 year into my caveman metamorphosis but…..following 40 years of being a zoo human, (and some time in the infantry) I have 2 rather unsightly bunions.

They only hurt mildly some of the time, but they do restrict what boots I can wear without exacerbating the problem.

I am thinking of bunion surgery but I was wondering, before I go down that road, whether there are any paleo esque interventions/alternatives?

And what do you think about bunion surgery?

Thank you in anticipation of your answer

Rich from Wales!


3. L-Tyrosine question for the podcast

David says:
Hi Robb,

long time listener here, thanks for all the information, you’ve helped change my life.

Recently had an organic acids test done, and the results indicated that I should supplement L-Tyrosine. Thought what the hell and picked up some 500mg capsules. Wow and wow. Instant energy pick me up from one capsule in the morning that lasts most of the day. This boost feels “natural” and not like the buzz that borders on nausea on the odd occasion I drink coffee.

I get that L-Tyrosine is used in the synthesis of dopamine and that this might explain my better energy levels, but I also understand that this amino acid is commonly found in food.

My question: Why is supplementing a small dose of L-Tyrosine so helpful when I eat lots of protein? Should I also supplement 5-HTP or any other amino acid to “balance” my neurotransmitters (as some people recommend online)?

I used to have microscopic colitis, but thought I had fully recovered, perhaps this experience suggests otherwise.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.





Olivia says:
Hi guys!

I am a 41 year old female. 5’5″ 130lbs would like to lose 5lbs.. And mostly want to stop my cravings for sugar. Mostly Paleo diet…80% for the last few months. Snacks of corn chips and corn tortillas few times a week.  Wine 2 glasses per month max. 100% gluten free as I am gluten intolerant probably celiac (I didn’t have the intestinal biopsy)

My question: Is a short-term (3 month) round of L-glutamine okay to help with the intense sugar cravings that I experience? On average I take 3g a day (three 1000 mg pills). Some days are 2g.

In addition I am taking chromium and also magnesium. The combination in these 3 things is really helping me stay away from the Snickers!

I have heard that after years of gut permeability that l-glutamine may help to repair my gut. After a few months I can ween off of it and may not need it.

I understand that L-glutamine is given to patients who have intestinal problems after celiac diagnosis, as well as cancer patients undergoing chemo. I’m assuming this is not the worst thing that I could be taking – but I would love to hear your fancy medical explanation as to what this is doing to my body.

When I take 3g a day I am able to eat a very healthy diet with little to NO cravings for sugar.  As a side note I have craved sugar since I was 10 years old.  And from what I can remember I have been gluten intolerant from that age as well. If I could just eat chocolate and trix cereal all day I would..I don’t but I would.

I guess I just hope you’ll tell me that it is healthier to take 3g of L-Glutamine then to eat the equivalent of 1-2 full size candy bars every day of sugar and chocolate. And again I am just doing 3 months and then I will go off and hope I can do without.

Thanks guys!


5. Am I killing my boyfriend?


As I know you can understand affection toward feline critters (and my condolences to you regarding the late Keystone), I thought I might ask about my own. My boyfriend has asthma and cat allergies. Not a great combination when he and I both love cats. I purchased two Siberian kittens this spring because I did some research and found that they can be hypoallergenic for some people because they are supposed to lack the enzyme in their saliva that we react to when their dandruff flakes off. Sadly, despite my best efforts, my boyfriend is reacting to them.

I’ve heard that owners can become more accustomed to their cats overtime, but whether or not this happens I’m wondering how bad this is for his health. Am I taking years off my boyfriend’s life due to the chronic inflammation of his asthma? I feel shitty about this, but love my cats.

We’re paleo and I try to implement cod liver oil, bone broth, probiotics, and an anti-inflammatory diet to try and reduce his asthma (although, he still parties like a hero so my efforts are thwarted to some extent). We haven’t had much success reducing his asthma at this point. Do I need to drown my cats….just kidding.

One more question: I’d love to feed my cats a raw paleo diet (ground meat, bones, liver..the whole schpeel), but we travel a lot and kibble is so stupidly convenient. Did you feed Keystone a raw diet? Is buying grain free kibble and gluten free canned meat/pate any better (they often put sweet potato and other fruits and veggies in the food, likely to add micronutrient content, but I know cats are obligate carnivores, so I’m not sure how this fares on their digestive tract)?

Your work is immeasurable. Thank-you!

And Greg’s voice is super sexy, FYI.


6. Scary

Corrie says:
Hi, guys.

My husband and I went Paleo about a year and a half ago, and love it.  We’ve each lost about 35 pounds!  The other day, though, something very scary happened.  My husband suddenly broke out in hives, and within several minutes his entire body was covered.  He looked like he’d been attacked by a swarm of bees.

About thirty minutes earlier, he’d eaten a bunch of shrimp for dinner.  I hung up with my husband, and called my uncle, an intelligent biochemist who’d developed a shrimp allergy a few years back.  He said, “well, for one, he’s lucky to be alive,” and then went on to explain what was going on in my husband’s body.

Both my husband and I then began googling away, and after following a trail that led me to Loren Cordain’s website, here’s what I concluded (please let me know if I’m kinda sorta right):

My husband, who had eaten shrimp with no reaction as recently as one week earlier, and who’d eaten the same meal about a month earlier, had “kicked up his heels” a bit in the 36 hours prior to this shrimp meal.  He’d had a night of drinking, followed by a day with two gluten-containing meals.  Could this have left his gut punched full of holes, which then allowed that lectin-y shrimp to seep in and cause the reaction?

I listen to the podcast, and remember you mentioning leaky gut being the culprit for an allergy to all sorts of normally benign foods.  And also, hearing of people who’s appendix had burst after going out for a huge pasta dinner…

Along with the shrimp, he consumed raw broccoli with ranch dressing, and the sauce on his shrimp was garlic, butter, Worcester, and Tabasco.  Since shrimp is on the list of the 10 most allergenic foods, we concluded it was the shrimp.

He’s going in next week to be tested for a shrimp allergy.

What happened?  Could he have just as easily had the same reaction if he’d gone to town on some peanuts?  Should a general warning be issued to the Paleo People to proceed with caution when eating these foods if their gut has recently been compromised?

Regarding anaphylactic shock, my husband said, “it’s ironic, that in an effort to save itself when exposed to a threat, the body could take it too far, and kill itself.”  I responded with this theory, “well maybe it’s like the runner’s high-predator attack-Lights Out thing, where the body says, ‘um, yeah, this is going to be really painful, and in the end you’re going to die, so we’re going to ease your suffering…’ Only, with anaphylactic shock, your body just goes ahead and completely relieves you from experiencing a long, slow, painful death.”  What do you think of that?

Thank you, in advance, for tackling this.


7. Hierarchy of Meat?

Beth says:
I’ve listened to and loved every one of your podcasts, and always feel that I learn something new.

Here is a question that my husband came up with, and I thought we should ask Robb.

If you had to list meats in order of how nutritious and desirable they are in spite of how bastardized they have become from modern agricultural practices… how would it go?

Some examples would be:
Pastured chicken
Grass-fed beef
Wild caught fish
Pastured pork
CAFO beef
Poultry-house chicken
Standard pork
Farmed fish

—————————————-(more info, doesn’t necessarily need to be read out loud:) The reason we are asking is that we read this post: http://www.gnolls.org/1141/eat-like-a-predator-not-like-prey-paleo-in-six-easy-steps-a-motivational-guide/
In step one he talks about favoring ruminants for various reasons.

This got us wondering if beef is so preferable to chicken or pork, might CAFO beef might even be the choice to make over pastured chicken? Or does pasturing chicken put it right up there with beef as far as desirability?
I hope this makes sense, and thank you for your podcast!


8. high rep hypethrophy, all night boozing

Frederik says:
Hey you guys are the best infotainment on the web, etc.

2 questions –

1. Duet to a congenital arterial malformation (coarctation of the aorta – my aorta is narrower than iy should be – and I have two stents in place widening it somewhat)my doctors recommend that I don’t do any strength training that puts too much pressure on the artery at any one time – in more detail they don’t want me to do any exercises where a vasalva is required or where I can’t do at least 15 RM.
So my question is: should I give up on any dreams of hyperthophy – or can a reasonable amount of hypertrophy be acheived with a 15 – 20 rep program – if yes – how would you construct such a program (any differences than other programs). I am thinking maybe some sort of HIIT style circle training?

Additional background info – I am somewhat trained – with a PR of 14 chinups and (parralel bars) dipps – but a fairly small guy (178 cm 68 kg).
I have a visible four pack.


When I wake up in the morning (or later) don’t know where I am, have been drinking and dancing all night, and have only one hour of sleep under my belt in some random girl’s bed – how do I best recover?

Should I try to sleep as much as possible as quickly as possible? – or should I use power naps and other techniques to try to reset circadian rythm as qucikly as possible? – some goldilock zone?

Also how do I prevent damage as much as possible?

Bonus question (it’s your lucky day) – how long should I wait before writing a girl from the night before if I want to see her again ? does it depend on whether we just met and talked – or ended up at leaving together?

Thanks for everything you do – you guys are awesome 😀


9. why do my squats suck?

Brian says:
Jambo.  I was hoping you could possibly offer some ideas for why my squat numbers have always sucked, be it a power-lifting style squat or Olympic style.  I’ve almost given up on them ever being respectable (2x body weight), but I feel like my body deserves an explanation at the very least.
I used to follow a west-side style template with my training.  Louis Simmons has on more than one occasion revealed that his lifters never do back squats in training like they would in competition.  Instead, they do various forms of box squats, and then always are able to squat more in competition without the box.  In theory this makes sense to me, since in a box squat the hamstrings and glutes are really being emphasized, and pausing on the box removes some of the stored energy you would use in a conventional power-lifting squat.  However, I’ve never come within 70lb of my 425 box squat and can’t figure out why.
Fast-forward to the past 8 months since I’ve switched to an olympic-style squat to focus on more carry-over to the clean and snatch.  I spent several months just working on the technique outlined in both of your lifting books.  I then tested out at a humble 140kg before embarking on a 12-week structured program mimicking the template outlined in the Olympic Weightlifting for Sports book.  At the 6-week mark I tested out again at 140kg, and then 142.5kg at the 12-week mark.  I obviously don’t blame the program.  It just seems like with good technique (which several coaches have confirmed I have) and consistently following any type of structured program, I’d make more than a 2.5kg jump after 12 weeks, especially with such a low starting point.  I’ve heard you talk about body proportions before and how that could be a limiting factor.  How do you measure that?  I’ve never walked down the street and felt like my femurs were particularly long, but I’m willing to look into it if it provides some answers.  Here are my other numbers:
11% body fat
Deadlift: 435lb
Power Clean: 122.5kg
Power Snatch: 87.5kg

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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

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  1. Mike says

    Hey guys,
    There seemed to be some confusion about the meaning of 1st world, 2nd world, 3rd world countries. This is a left over terminology from the Cold War, with 1st world referring to NATO aligned countries, 2nd world referring to Communist Bloc countries, and 3rd world referring to non-aligned, generally developing countries. It seems likely that the reason this terminology isn’t used anymore is because the Cold War has been over for more than 20 years. Like saying “Nazi Controlled Poland” in 1960.

    Love the podcast,


    • Edward says

      Actually, this terminology originated in the colonial/exploration era. Europe was referred to as the Old World, the US and Canada were referred to as the New World and subsequently other “newly discovered” countries that were outside the West were referred to as belonging to the Third World. So there never were “first world” and “second world” countries, until the usage you describe in relation to NATO and the former Eastern Bloc began to be dominant.

      For instance, when Anton Dvorak came back to Europe from a visit to the US, he wrote a symphony called, “Symphony for the New World.”

  2. says

    Are you serious about listing bacon as your no1 meat choice? It seems that omnivorous animals have very poor omega 3:6 ratios and should not be a staple of the diet. Especially if you are eating fatty cuts. Pork seems to be particularly bad. ” Chris Masterjohn recently reported that the lard used in the “high-fat” research diet was 32% polyunsaturated, nearly all of it omega-6, Chris further reported that feeding the pigs a pasture and acorns diet would reduce lard PUFA levels to 8.7%, and feeding them a Pacific Islander PHD-for-pigs diet of coconut, fish, and sweet potatoes would reduce lard PUFA levels to 3%.” – http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2012/02/the-trouble-with-pork-part-2/
    Seafood and grass fed ruminants seem to be the better way to go.

  3. says


    I climbed Kili in February and it was an amazing adventure. It was tough to stay purely Paleo, since you’re really have to get as many calories in as possible and there isn’t much meat or fresh fat available. The cooks were great about accommodating a gluten-free diet, though they mostly replaced it with corn meal, rice, and plantains, but I never got sick, and I usually struggle with my digestion quite a bit. In addition to the Cipro and Flagyl, make sure you have Immodium, but if you take it, you need to take in a lot more water, so don’t overdo it.

    And don’t worry about farting more, that’s totally natural as you increase altitude :)

  4. says

    Maybe if the paleo thing doesn’t keep panning out, you two could become a dating podcast for men. You guys are hella entertaining!

  5. Chris says

    I’m curious about the usage of chromium & magnesium along with the L-glutamine to curb sugar cravings. What dosage of chromium & magnesium would be good to start with to tinker with this approach?

    Alternatively, if sugar cravings are caused by stress aside from avoiding the stressor that triggers it, which might not be possible, can anyone recommend any strategies for coping with the craving because just ignoring it doesn’t always work.


  6. says

    Here’s an oldie-but-goodie from Katy Bowman at Aligned and Well on the biomechanics of bunions:


    There is a lot one can do in a “Paleo” style by focusing on body alignment. Her book, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief is a gem, too, and applies to men as well as women.

    And, Robb, her Advanced Foot Mechanics video can likely explain why you’ve got those flat arches … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTZREaLhV28&feature=player_embedded

  7. Steven says

    Hi Rob,

    My question is kind of related to L-Glutamine. I have heard you say that for Seborrheic Dermatitis, you recommend your elimination diet(I do have your book). Does the elimination diet have to be a Ketogenic diet, I would imagine without carbs/nightshades it sort of becomes Ketogenic right?
    I was suggested to take 50g of Glutamine twice a day for a Month to heal the gut, what do you think of this amount?
    If you are unable answer this question here, how do I email this question to be asked on the Podcast?

    Thank you.

  8. Steven says

    I guess Yams are not nightshades, so I can eat Yams right on the elimination if I do not want it to be Ketogenic.

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