Hunter Gatherer

Brimming with ideas and a fascinating read. STEVEN PINKER, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Buy Now on ABC Primetime Celebrity Diets

Welcome to anyone who saw the paleo diet on ABC Primetime.

I don't know about celebrities, but cavewomen don't get fat.  Here are three ways to learn more:

1. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, Live Wild, at right.  The very best in Homo sapiens health.

2. Like on facebook and follow me on Twitter to hear about updates and blog posts

3. Or you can learn right now…

Despite everything you've been taught, you are a wild animal.  And you will be healthier when you start acting like one.  Replicate the most beneficial aspects of living in the wild.  Eat the foods humans have been eating for millions of years (books), move in the ways we are adapted to move (MovNat, CrossFit), go barefoot or wear minimalist shoes, get some sun, and so much more.

January Paleo Challenge

It's almost 2011.  And since so many people make New Year's resolutions to improve their health, we're going to do a Paleo Challenge for the month of January.  I'm going to blog it, as will Melissa McEwen.  If any other bloggers want to join in, feel free.  And for those in NYC, we're going to schedule a different event every week.

  • A kick-off beginner's session early in January
  • Art De Vany is giving a book talk on Thursday, January 13th at 7pm.  As most of you know, Art is one of the pioneers of the ancestral health movement, and his new book is out: The New Evolution Diet.  Sign up for the talk here.
  • Fred Hahn will give a fitness lecture and demonstration of the Slow Burn method.  Lifting extremely slowly, heavy weight, for only 2 to 4 reps, to exhaustion.  I gave it a try recently, and it was intense.  The Eades co-wrote Fred's book. 
  • On New Year's Day, come join us at Coney Island for the gigantic Coney Island Polar Bear Club swim.  It's quite a spectacle.
  • …and more

Maybe you're read about paleo but haven't quite given it a shot?

Or doing it 60% but want to try 100% for a month and see what results you get?

Have a friend or a relative who needs a nudge?

January is your month.  And here's the thing.  You don't have to make a resolution for the whole year.  Just make a resolution for one month.  Take that month seriously.  And you can decide at the end of that month whether you want to keep doing it.

Stay tuned…

Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig don’t appeal to men, never will

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are both trying to market themselves to men.  Good luck with that.  The only question is which effort is more doomed to failure.  You decide.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has new ads out, saying: "Eat like a man, not like a rabbit."  But the macho tone is so forced — it's Weight Watchers, people.  That's like Victoria's Secret coming out with a line of men's underwear. Victoria's Secret for Men: "Be her hunk, not her hubby."  (Pretty good tag line actually.)


Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig is in an even tougher position.  The company is named after a woman, which further reinforces all the female associations with weight loss programs and dieting.  So who do they hire as their spokesman?  Maybe some real macho guy to counteract the existing brand equity?  No.  They hire Jason Alexander.  Better known as George from Seinfeld — brilliantly funny, but bumbling, incompetent at work, physically unfit, unattractive to women (except for women who boss him around), neurotic, and generally pathetic in all things.  Pretty much the exact opposite of what any man should strive to be: self-respecting, decisive, emotionally solid, physically healthy and strong, and confident in yourself and your life's purpose.  (Do all of the above and you will be attractive to women.  Strive for their approval, like George, and they'll either ignore you or walk all over you.) 

Actually, come to think of it, Jason Alexander is a brilliant choice.  Jenny Craig for Men is a weight loss program for men who can be nagged into doing half-measures.  For men who can't decisively do one of two things: 1) Say, "I'm fat.  So what.  Deal with it." or 2) Take their health into their own hands.

Jason Alexander: King of the Pushovers.

Look at the pic they have up of him.  He's wearing a lavender shirt that matches the lavender paisley wall-paper.  (Is that paisley?  I don't know.)   Look, I've got nothing against any particular color — with the possible exception of Funeral Home Lavender that matches the upholstery.  Wear some purple, man.  And does he look confident?  No.  He looks just as awkward and pathetic as he did on Seinfeld, except this time it's not funny.  Caption contest for what is going through his head in that picture.

If I ran Jenny Craig, I would have created a separately branded sub-line called Daniel Craig.  Or better yet, how about eating and moving like hunter-gatherers in the wild?

My book will be out next year.


Assorted links

1. The military exposes the myth of the modern running shoe

2. Raids are increasing on farms and private food-supply clubs

3. Former vegetarian rips into the religion of veganism

4. Do men and women have significantly different dietary requirements?  Maybe, maybe not

5. The Barefoot Bandit movie

6. AM New York (free subway newspaper) covers the caveman diet (pg. 20)

Healthy is the new normal

I took biology during my freshman year of high school.  The class came right after lunch, and I struggled to stay awake.  It should have been easy.  Our teacher, Mr. Otto, was a rock star.  He had studied gorillas in Africa (Lesotho), rocked a pony tail (and pulled it off), and was just one of those cool teachers.  But day after day, I'd nod off in class.  I just accepted it as normal — people get sleepy after lunch.  No different than people getting sleepy at night.

It didn't help that I couldn't see the blackboard.  It was a large, lab-style classroom and I sat near the back.  As I would squint at the board trying to take notes, I thought, "Huh, it's a little odd that they would build a classroom so long that you couldn't see the blackboard from the back."  As if the classroom were defective, not my eyes.  (My delusions of grandeur started at a young age.)  I asked the girl sitting next to me if she could see the blackboard.  She said no, it's fuzzy for me too.  So we both continued squinting, confirming each other's belief that we each had normal eyesight.  Turns out, of course, that both of us needed glasses.

The moral is simple.  Don't define "normal" by looking at the people around you.  We understand this concept in the case of the girl with bad eyesight sitting next to me in class, but we forget it elsewhere.  We think that if everybody in our family has bad eyesight, then it's normal to have bad eyesight.  Or if everybody in the country is overweight, then it's normal to be overweight.  Or if all the kids in class fall asleep after lunch, then it's normal to be tired after eating.

But when you widen your frame of reference to include other people (like other cultures) and periods of time (like our hunter-gatherer ancestors), you see normal in a whole new light.  The body's natural condition is to be healthy.  That is normal.  And to be overweight is abnormal, to have acne is abnormal, to have flat feet is abnormal, to have allergies is abnormal, to get sick every month is abnormal, to fall asleep after every meal is abnormal, to be weak is abnormal, to be depressed is abnormal, to be unhealthy is abnormal.

Well, it's time to take back normal.  Healthy is the new normal.

Famous last meals

This post is a little grim.  Don't ask me how I ended up on the Wikipedia entry for "Last meal".  The last meal is an ancient custom of granting a final meal to a condemned man.  Some states now put limits on last meal requests, but nearly all still arrange for a meal of the inmate's choosing.  You will see that inmates take very different approaches to the last meal.  Read enough of these, and a few groups emerge.  Could there even be a paleo meal or two?

Note that these are the requested last meals — not all were fulfilled, or exactly so.

Sugar Fiends (These are just painful to read.  I can almost feel the insulin shock.) 

  • Dobie Gillis Williams: Twelve candy bars and some ice cream.  
  • Robert Alton Harris: A 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino's pizzas (no anchovies), ice cream, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes.
  • Timothy McVeigh: Two pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream.
  • William Bonin: Two pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three servings of chocolate ice cream, and fifteen cans of Coca-Cola.
Abstainers (I wouldn't exactly call this intermittent fasting.)
  • Adolf Eichmann declined a special meal, preferring a bottle of Carmel, a dry red Israeli wine. He drank about half of it.
  • Ángel Nieves Díaz declined a special meal. He was served the regular prison meal for that day, but declined that as well.
  • James Edward Smith requested a lump of dirt, which was denied. He settled for a small cup of yogurt.
  • Victor Feguer requested a single olive with the pit still in.
Standard Fares (I can't say that I'd choose prison fare, but there is a stoicism to it.)
  • Aileen Wuornos declined a special meal, but had a hamburger and other snack food from the prison's canteen. Later, she drank a cup of coffee.
  • Desmond Keith Carter declined a special meal, but had two cheeseburgers, a steak sub, and two Cokes from the prison canteen, for which he paid $4.20 from his prison account.
  • Michael Bruce Ross (of Connecticut) declined a special meal, but dined on the regular prison meal of the day: turkey à la king with rice, mixed vegetables, white bread, fruit, and a beverage.
Greater Causes (Eating "Justice" and "Jesus" sound equally unappetizing to me.)
  • Odell Barnes: "Justice, Equality, World Peace."
  • Joan of Arc: Holy Communion (Jesus).

The Vegetarian (who is, as you'll see, the most self-righteous of the bunch)

  • Philip Workman: He declined a special meal for himself, but he asked for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a homeless person in Nashville, Tennessee. This request was denied by the prison, but carried out by others across the country. 

Paleo (could it be?)

  • Charles Frederick Peace: A hearty breakfast of eggs and a huge amount of (very salty) bacon. 
  • Gordon Fawcett Hambly, who suffered from indigestion, a lobster salad.

Charles Peace lived in 19th century Britain, when meat was much more of a luxury — so I'm not inclined he typically ate paleo.  Hambly, on the other hand, clearly had IBS or some other digestive disorder — just like some paleo folks I know.  He seems to have known what upset his stomach.  I'd love to see profiles of people throughout history who arrived at paleo by accident, with no scientific background, no evolutionary perspective — simply through trial and error. 

What would your last meal be?  Would you splurge?  Put your answers in the comments.  

And check out the whole list here.

Paleo Exception #17: The Barista

We all face decisions when to make exceptions.  Here's one scenario.  Say that it's Friday night and, as a fun, young social person in Manhattan, you're holed up at a coffee shop doing some writing.  The very sweet girl who works there asks you out, giving you two cookies and her phone number.  The question is: Do you eat the cookies?

The epidemiological studies give conflicting results, but my review of the anthropological record indicates that every hunter-gatherer male would, in fact, have eaten the cookies.  I ate the cookies.

My interview with Jimmy Moore

I did a fun interview with Jimmy Moore on The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show.  You can listen to it on iTunes, play it from your browser, or download the mp3.  

We talked about: 

  • How a break-up with a college girlfriend showed me the importance of healthy living
  • How I psyched myself up just before my Colbert Report taping
  • Morning sickness (???)
  • How a gourmet hot dog party changed my life
  • A sneak peak at my book

Huh?  Yeah, all that and more.  Enjoy.

Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution

Ever since I attended Robb Wolf's seminar in Brooklyn a few months ago, I've been excited for his book to come out.  Well, just a few days ago he released the new cover, and The Paleo Solution is up on Amazon.  Pre-order this book.

If you know Robb, read his blog, listen to his podcasts, or have attended one of his health seminars, then his book is self-recommending.

Two thoughts on why he chose a great title:


  • I love that he uses the world solution (The Paleo Solution).  This evolutionary approach to health really is about solving problems.  We do this because it works, not because of ideology.  Plus, the word solution conveys that paleo can help a wide variety of health problems (osteoporosis, acne, IBS), it's not just about a diet to lose weight. 
  • Okay, okay, the word DIET is in big red bold letters just below.  I'm quite sure the publisher insisted on it.  Even so, the usage is brilliant if you see what Robb has done.  He's used the word diet as part of the phrase "The Original Human Diet".  I've always liked "The Human Diet" because this usage of diet is actually the proper way to use the term — the types of foods that a person or species eats, not necessarily for weight loss.

So Robb gets a title that doesn't use the word diet, he still puts DIET on the cover, and he actually uses diet in the proper sense of the term.  Love it.

Buy the book.  


Robb Wolf seminar at CrossFit South Brooklyn

The China Study exposed: actual data does not support vegetarian health claims

Many of you may have heard of The China Study — an extensive 20-year study of millions of Chinese, their diet, and disease.  T. Colin Campbell, the lead research from Cornell (and outspoken vegan advocate), concludes that we should be eating a plant-based diet devoid of beef, poultry, eggs, fish, and milk.  The China Study has even influenced John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and new Whole Foods dietary recommendations in stores. 

Well, the raw data is in, and the story ain't so pretty.  See the breaking news from Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal, and go straight to the take-down (warning: long!) from former vegan/vegetarian Denise Minger at Raw Foods SOS.

More to come…