A little bit about Dr. Loren Cordain:
Dr. Loren Cordain is the world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease. Featured on Dateline NBC, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, Dr. Cordain is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors. He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and abstracts, and his research into the health benefits of Stone Age Diets for contemporary people has appeared in the world’s top scientific journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the British Journal of Nutrition, and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, among others. He is also on the Advisory Board of Paleo Magazine the first, and only, print magazine dedicated to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and ancestral health.
Audio of entire interview below:
Transcript of entire interview below:
Gary Collins: Hi, this is Gary Collins, the creator of the Primal Power Method, and I am here with Doctor Cordain, the author of “The Paleo Diet.” Thanks for coming on today Doctor Cordain. I appreciate it.
Dr. Cordain: Hey, Gary. It’s my pleasure. Feel free just to call me Loren.
Gary: I will. Thanks a lot.
With “The Paleo Diet” some people are new to it and unfamiliar. Would you explain where the premise for it came from?
Dr. Cordain: Yeah. I sure would. I’ve just retired from Colorado State University. I’m 63 years old and I’ve been studying this concept for most of my academic life. I got involved with it in the early ’80s. “Paleo” stands for “paleolithic.” “Paleo” means “old.” “Lithic” means “stone age.” So what “paleolithic” means is the “old stone age.” That period goes from about 2.5 million years ago until about 10,000 years ago. During that period, all humans subsisted as hunter‑gatherers. We all foraged, hunted and gathered the food that we ate from our environment. Those were unadulterated wild plant, animal foods.
The concept in the 21st century is to try to mimic or emulate nutritional characteristics of the foods that our ancestors ate. They ate wild plants, fresh fruits, vegetables, wild animals, meats, seafood, fish, eggs, what have you from their environment. They didn’t eat grains. They didn’t eat processed foods, processed sugars, processed vegetable oils or any of the foods that comprise about 70 percent of the calories of the typical US diet.
Gary: That’s a pretty straightforward concept. What would you say are the core principles of “The Paleo Diet” template?
Dr. Cordain: I think what it is, is to try to emulate or mimic the nutritional characteristics that shaped the current human genome. Obviously, no humans ever ate white bread or doughnuts or any of the foods that, like I said, that 70 percent of the calories, refined sugars, refined grains, refined vegetable oil and dairy products. Those four food groups represent 70 percent of the calories in a typical US diet.
My point is, if we can replace those foods with real living foods, with fresh foods, fresh vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs, and nuts. What it does is it tends to displace those empty calories that we get from processed foods and it improves the nutritional qualities of our lives. That’s really the emphasis, and that’s what this whole thing’s all about.
Gary: Are there any foods that are definitely not allowed while on “The Paleo Diet?”
Dr. Cordain: You know what, we, Gary, we’re living in the 21st century. The idea here is to try and minimize the intake of those processed foods and eat more natural foods.
Gary: Yeah, of course. It’s a very valid point that some people seem to forget at times a lot of us have never really even seen a farm in America today during our lifetime. We are so far removed from our food, so explaining to them there was no Krispy Kremes and Winchell’s Doughnuts and Starbucks in the Paleolithic period. Trying to make them understand you actually had to go get your food, you had to go hunt it. You had to gather it.
But at the same time we are in a modern society, so there does have to be some sort of balance. Would you say with the Paleo diet, is the ultimate goal, since it’s about being healthy and obviously, for most of us, weight loss. Is the ultimate goal kind of controlling your blood sugar, would you say?
Dr. Cordain: I think you’ve brought some really good questions. When I first started researching this, my intent never was to make this a contemporary or popular weight loss diet. I feel that’s the model that has been used throughout the last, I don’t know, 30 or 40 years of popular diets is let’s do something that we can lose weight with. The idea that I always had was never to lose weight necessarily, but rather was to improve health and reduce risk of cardiac disease.
Gary: I always tell people I work with one on one, is that we’re not here for the main goal of losing weight. That just happens to be one of the side benefits of becoming healthy.
Dr. Cordain: Exactly. Gary, I think you as a practitioner and everyone else in the “Paleo sphere” realizes it. People eat in this manner when they take processed food out of their diet. When 70 percent of the calories ‑‑ refined sugar, refined grains, refined vegetable oils ‑‑ and you can tack it together in any kind of product you want ‑‑ a doughnut, cracker, pancake, you name it. That’s how you make these processed foods.
When we eliminate those processed foods and we start focusing on real foods, the foods that are in the outside aisle of the supermarket ‑‑ fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, seafood, fish, meat, what have you, their body weight starts to gravitate to where it should be.
It’s impossible to have 250 pound males. The offensive line in most football teams ‑‑ you can’t build 250 pound males without refined carbohydrates and crap. You can’t make women that are 600 pounds with those kinds of foods.
Dr. Cordain: People get to their normal weight. Most males ‑‑ I don’t know ‑‑ 250 to 200, most females 150 to 90, who knows? You can’t make these gigantic humans without processed foods.
Gary: Yeah. I explained that in my book as an example. I said, “If you are grossly overweight and slow in our prehistoric or paleolithic period of living, you would have been nothing but a tasty, slow moving snack.
Gary: It’s interesting. I think that’s the goal for all of us, I hope, is that it’s about health first and let the weight loss occur naturally. Now, I know that a low carb, “Keto/Paleo” they’re terming it is a way to lose weight faster.
What are your thoughts on that? It’s kind of a take on Paleo, but obviously it’s a lower carb version. It’s just to accelerate weight loss. What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Cordain: First off, the majority of Americans are overweight. You know that, Gary.
Dr. Cordain: Roughly 75 percent of all Americans are overweight or obese by the USDA and the CDC standard, the Center for Disease Control standards. This is nothing new. We all know that we’re all fat. So we’re all overweight. What do we need to do? Well, I am 63 and I remember a time when we weren’t all overweight. You may remember that as well. In the 1970s and ’60s and ’50s, Americans weren’t overweight.
What’s the difference? Well, we eat poorly, and we’re a little bit less active; there’s no doubt about that. I don’t know about you, but when I walk through the supermarket in the United States, the middle aisles don’t represent anything like I remember when I was a kid, or even a college student.
I think the take‑home point here is, for people that try to get healthier, is to walk through the outside aisles, and avoid the inside aisles. Healthy fresh fruits, let’s eat veggies, let’s eat meat, let’s eat eggs, and let’s avoid cookies and candies and cereal, all the rest of the crap that is available. Does that make sense?
Gary: It does. That’s the thing, we are, for the most part, not even obese but getting to the morbidly obese, as a majority now. It used to be around a third, but it’s climbing so quickly, that I think that’s where people have come up with this low‑carb keto/paleo for losing weight faster, is to accelerate it. I think that’s where that movement is coming from.
Then you also have the younger Paleo crowd, who’ve self‑proclaimed themselves as the new Paleo experts and have decided to take it in a different direction, and I think that’s where the low‑carb Keto/Paleo is coming from, but on the other side, some of them are also recommending foods that have not been, or have been banned, basically, from the Paleo diet, and that is dairy and legumes.
I know Chris Kresser went on Dr. Oz and said that, and caused a little stir. What are your thoughts on those foods that they’re trying to add in to the Paleo diet that were basically not allowed in your template?
Dr. Cordain: First off, I’m not the god of Paleo. I think this concept, this idea, ought to move forward with humanity and with everybody’s input and everybody’s ideas. The notion that legumes are not Paleo, that notion that dairy is not Paleo, ought to be examined critically and scientifically. What I can say to people like Chris Kresser, who is not a scientist, is that these ideas haven’t been examined in the scientific literature.
Humans didn’t eat dairy products until very recently, until 10,000 years ago, which may historically seem remote, but it’s only about 300 human generations ago. Humans didn’t eat legumes, because they’re toxic unless cooked. We didn’t have fire until about 300,000 maybe 250,000 years ago in Europe, entirely. The rest of the planet didn’t have fire. Until very recent times evolutionarily, humans couldn’t have consumed legumes and they didn’t consume dairy.
What does that leave us? Naturally, kind of the model that our group and other scientists from around the world looked at, is that when you take those two food groups, including processed foods, out of the equation, what can humans eat and what did our diet look like? That’s how we’ve modeled what contemporary humans should eat when they go to Safeway or the supermarket, is that they should avoid the…Chris Kresser says you can have a little bit of dairy and you can have a little bit of legumes.
Fine. Some people can, some people can’t. We know that legumes and dairy are associated with numerous health problems, and even a little bit seems to hurt some people. My point is, why do it?
Gary: That’s interesting.
Dr. Cordain: Why eat a little bit of poison when you can stay away from it? If you’re a cigarette smoker. Why have a few cigarettes. Maybe it won’t kill you. Maybe it won’t cause lung cancer or heart disease, but why not stay away from it, there’s a lot better things you can do. Naturally, the point is that there are much healthier ways to eat, and unless you have this absolute addiction to legumes or dairy, what’s the point?
Gary: That’s a very good point. It’s hard to do, and unfortunately we never got to speak, it was all Twitter. In 144 or 145 characters, whatever it is, I don’t even know. You can write a sentence basically, and that’s what I was trying to explain to Chris.
I think he took it very personally, but I was just…you know, Chris, I outlined in my book that, sure, you can soak, sprout and ferment grains and legumes and try and make them safer, but why do you want to put that much effort and time into a starch and a complex carbohydrate that’s still going to cause you harm, when you can eat something else that’s a lot easier to deal with and digest.
Also, for us, in the business, it starts to complicate the issue and starts to confuse people on what Paleo is. I like to use it as an elimination diet, because it has a strict form to it. It has got a little wiggle room, but I like to use it that way. Once you start telling people that they can add these toxic foods back in and still call it Paleo, they don’t look at it that way. They look at it and they go, “Oh, I can just keep them in, period.”
That was the point I was trying to make to them, is we’re trying to get people healthy, but if we confuse them, and we start labeling things that shouldn’t be labeled that way, an example I used is I said, “Hey, what happens if I stuck Atkins all over my website and all over my books,” and it’s in the title of everything, and then on the inside I’m putting in large pieces of the Ornish diet.
That’s what happens, that’s when people start to get confused. That was my point.
Dr. Cordain: I think you’re right on. I don’t want to tell people what to eat. I don’t want to tell people what not to smoke, or what not to drink. We live in the twenty‑first century. You can drink alcohol, you can smoke cigarettes, you can smoke pot. You can eat anything you want. But we have the knowledge to not do that stuff, and if you want to do it on an occasional basis, on a recreational basis, that’s fine.
Don’t do it on a daily basis to support health and well‑being. I think that’s really the point that I’m making, is that if you want to have a pot of beans once in a blue moon, have a pot of beans. If you want to have a shot of vodka once in a blue moon, do it. But don’t do it on a daily basis.
And that’s really the point. It’s that this is not something that our genomes, our physiologies are well‑adapted to. We can do it occasionally. We can get away with it, but we shouldn’t be eating legumes or dairy on a daily basis. That is really the issue. It’s knowing what is healthful and not healthful for the human physiology. And avoiding it. When you do have, just realize that it’s something that shouldn’t be done daily.
I think that’s the message that Chris Kresser and others haven’t got.
Dr. Cordain: Yes, we agree. This is not a Paleo soup.
Dr. Cordain: Hopefully Chris has enough science behind to realize that dairy and legumes and beans are not Paleo foods. Humans did not eat this stuff. So they did not condition human genes.
We can take a little bit of toxic compounds. We have the liver that has enzymes that can deal with toxicity, and that’s fine. But should the liver do this when you have the option of choosing other foods? It makes very little sense at all.
Gary: Yeah. We are in total agreement. I think that’s what me and some others were actually trying to relay to Chris. Why would you teach that ‑‑ we just didn’t get it. I wasn’t telling him ‑‑ I went, “Hey, I’m not telling you not to do it. I’m not jumping on you.” And actually a couple people called me a religious zealot for my attitude. I just was all, “No, all I’m saying is it’s not Paleo.” You can’t start twisting things and making them your own and then keeping the term in place. I also told him, “If you’re going to do that, which I have no problem with. I don’t agree with it, but that’s fine. That’s life. But you need to call it something else and not confuse people. That’s all.”
Dr. Cordain: Exactly. Gary, you’re spot on. And Heath (Owner Julian Bakery) is as well. I support you guys that have been involved in paleo from day one.
To me, it’s like what we’re trying to do; it’s a larger view plan. Maybe Chris ‑‑ I’m sure he’s involved in it as well. We want to make people healthier.
But I can tell you somebody that has autoimmune disease, that has type two diabetes should not be consuming dairy products, purportedly at any level. People that have other health conditions, this is a very ‑‑ or a piece of advice. For Chris Kresser to go on “Doctor Oz” and say that legumes and dairy are part of the normal Paleo diet, that really is not the message that I have tried to convey nor have other scientists worldwide that have actually studied this. This is not part of the gig.
Gary: I agree.
Dr. Cordain: He’s really done a disservice to us who have spent ‑‑ I have spent 20 years and longer, Staffan Lindeberg at the University of Lund, Jennie Brand‑Miller at University of Sydney. This is a disservice to us all when a person with no academic qualifications comes on board to do a program that 20 million Americans watch. And they think that this guy is a guy is spokesperson.
No, he’s not a spokesperson and it’s not consistent with the data or the science that we have developed this concept.
Gary: Yeah. What happened is he just handled it poorly. And in the interview that he had with Robb Wolf, he even said he thought of pulling the plug at the 11th hour, because he didn’t like the way they were fitting that piece in.
The context was lost. It just was taking everything a little bit out of context. But then they started laughing and saying, “Well, you know, you spend all this time writing a book and you have your opportunity. It’s better just to get your book out there and have people buy it, even though if you go and say something you don’t believe in.” I mean, that was the gist of it.
I was appalled. I want to give a disclaimer right now, too. Me and Doctor Cordain have never met. We have never spoken only on email in the last couple days to arrange this interview. Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf are longtime friends. And Chris Kresser, I gave him an open invitation to be interviewed by me. No response. I’ve asked Robb Wolf a couple times ‑‑ not recently, because I just gave up. Honestly I really don’t care to hear his opinion anymore.
Hey, if you want to come clear the air, let’s clear the air. And they just won’t do it.
That was another problem I had is hey, if we’re going to work together and we’re going to go and try and help people, well, let’s clarify when we make a mistake or maybe something was taken out of context, but that wasn’t the direction they chose to go.
For me, it really put some salt in the wound. That’s why I wanted to have you come on and do an interview, just to clear the air. We’re not here to bash people. We’re not here to necessarily divide, even though I think a divide is coming, because I think there’s two separate thought processes, which is fine. Hey, that’s the way it works, too.
But that’s what I think is most important is that we get the research out there and the science, because you’re the one who has the decades of experience in this realm. So I thought, “Wouldn’t I naturally interview Doctor Cordain? Wouldn’t it make sense on this subject? I’m going to go to the guy who is considered one of the foremost experts. Why would I not interview him?”
Dr. Cordain: Gary, thank you so much. That’s very flattering. How do I respond?
I think that people need to evaluate the information. The way in which we evaluate ultimately nutritional information as it relates to health is through randomized controlled trials and animal studies and epidemiologic studies. I kind of get into the science of this nonsense, but unfortunately, people like Chris Kresser who really doesn’t have ‑‑ you know, I’m not faulting him for that. He has not presented his ideas before the peer review process.
When Loren Cordain says that maybe you ought to not eat cereal grains or you ought to not eat legumes or you ought to not eat dairy products, because they weren’t part of the human dietary tradition for millions of years, we present data. We look in the archeological record. We look in the anthropological record. We look in the nutritional and physiologic records, why humans didn’t eat these and what adverse effects they may potentially have.
It kind of does a great disservice when a person with no academic or scientific credentials comes forth on a place like “Doctor Oz” or what have you and suggest that these are foods that we don’t have any problems with.
Where do we draw the line? How about cereal grains? How about refined sugars? How about processed foods? Where do you draw the line? Who defines what is and is not Paleo? I don’t want to define that. I don’t want to be the god of Paleo that decides that.
I want people to read the information and decide for themselves. That’s really, I think, where this whole thing comes from. And that’s why I’m very disappointed in that a single individual with no actual academic, scientific credentials can be making these, what I consider outrageous statements.
Gary: On my rant ‑‑ I had to have a rant ‑‑ that I put on YouTube because my head was going to explode at one point dealing with Twitter. And they wouldn’t talk to me.
That was the problem I had. It’s like if we’re going to have an honest conversation, let’s air this out. They refuse to do that. I find that to be actually highly insulting to me, in a sense.
Dr. Cordain: You know, Gary? I’m not sure “they” are, but I’ve known Robb for ages. And Robb is a pretty cool guy and he’s a pretty cool head. I didn’t listen to what he said about Chris Kresser. I haven’t followed it, and maybe I should, but…
Gary: You’re smart, because they take a couple digs at you to be honest with you, Doctor Cordain.
Dr. Cordain: And you expect that. It’s kind of like when you’ve been involved in this from day one, that’s fine. They can take some digs.
I like Robb. Robb is a cool guy. He was a graduate student of mine. He and I have corresponded over the years. Maybe what he was doing with Chris Kresser was simply kind of like “Larry King Live” or “Oz” or anybody else. You just throw out ideas. Here’s somebody and they’re thinking that, but I don’t know that these kinds of ideas are taken seriously, you know?
Gary: The scary thing is they actually are. They’ve got quite a bit of followers and people are actually following this.
That’s where I get agitated. It’s because they’re leading people down the wrong path. And I actually in that rant talk about people with no background ‑‑ that seems to be the new movement in this group is that you don’t have to have experience in anything related to health or nutrition, because everything that’s taught in the mainstream nutrition and wellness world is all wrong anyway, so you’re better just to have a blank slate and have no education in it whatever.
I just went off on that, because I get hit with that by these guys all the time. I made a clear point to say, “Well, that’s great. You’ve read a couple books and you think you’re a genius now, but you didn’t get the biology labs. You didn’t take biochemistry. You didn’t take chemistry. You didn’t take physics. You didn’t take anything that you really need to have the backbone and the basic fundamentals to understand the process. That to me is dangerous. It really is.
Not to say that everyone ‑‑ Paul Chek did it, but Paul Chek’s a brilliant guy. He’s an anomaly. He’s not the norm. He did it in a different time. He did that 15, 20 years ago.
Dr. Cordain: I have to tell you a story about Paul Chek if I can?
Gary: Go ahead.
Dr. Cordain: I’m 63, and I kind of know everybody who’s anybody. You know who Paul Chek’s wife is?
Gary: Yeah, Penny.
Dr. Cordain: Do you know who she did her master’s degree with?
Gary: Let’s hear it.
Dr. Cordain: Me.
Gary: Nice. [laughs]
Dr. Cordain: Penny did her master’s degree at Colorado State University. She was one of the brightest students I have ever had. I connected with Penny a few times over the years as Paul became famous and Paleo kind of fell into place.
When you look at the history of it you realize that I’ve been involved with everybody who is anybody. I try to remain neutral. [laughs] With this whole thing that’s coming down with the legumes and what have you, I wish…Chris Kressler was a graduate student of mine, and he participated in our laboratory and did experiments in our lab. I would love to have a conversation with him. Robb and I have conversations regularly. He and I have been connected over the years.
I would love to have a conversation with Chris, perhaps on your blog. Why don’t you do that? That would be wonderful.
Gary: I don’t know if they’ll respond to me anymore. I took myself out of the Twitter chain for the most part. I hit it a couple times. I think it’s a great idea for us all to get together and really hash it out and talk about it. I’m very open to that, no problem. Anyone who knows me in person, Dr. Cordain, knows that…
Dr. Cordain: Now that you’ve got me on board, the world will listen. Won’t they? You record my name, and let’s get that out there on your on your blog. Robb and I, of course, have no problems. Robb band I would talk immediately, but Chris Kressler, I didn’t know who he was.
Gary: I had heard the name, and I didn’t know who he was. I knew of him, because he runs in some of the same circles I do as far as professional groups and things like that.
Dr. Cordain: You’re very well known in the Paleo community. That goes without saying.
Gary: I don’t know about that. That’s very flattering. People are starting to get to know me. I’m pretty new as far as jumping in. I’ve been at this a long time as far as health and working with people, but I come with a completely different background in law enforcement and the military, but it directly relates because I was an intelligence officer .I worked for the US Department of Health and Human Services and FDA as an agent. I know how to investigate, and I know how our healthcare system, food system, and drug system work beyond anyone else in our genre. There’s no one with my background.
Dr. Cordain: I know that. When you came to me, I understood that you have this phenomenal background that none of us have that are involved in the Paleo diet. You mentioned your call with Heath Squier. Heath is so cool. Heath is involved in this entire thing too. I’m sorry that he wasn’t able to be on this podcast. Heath and his companies Julian Bakery and Paleo Inc., are amazing, and I think that you two both bring a new insight into this concept.
Gary: We’re trying. Like I said, I think we’re a little older than a lot of the people involved right now. There’s a gap. There are the younger people who are in their early 20s and low 30s. Then there’s your group that were kind of at the forefront and started a lot of it. Heath and I kind of fit in the middle of those two groups.
He’s doing some great things on the food side to really put out some really excellent foods for people. It’s a way of bridging the gap. We’re so out of touch with food today, that to try to go from the standard American diet into a whole organic based Paleolithic, primal lifestyle right out of the gate, is very difficult to do.
We always say that you have to bridge them. You have to give them something in between to take that step. That’s what a lot of his foods are made for. Not only that, I eat the foods, and I’m about as clean as it gets. Yeah, he’s doing some great things, but down the road maybe we’ll set something up to where all three of us can discuss some other issues as far as processed foods and where they are, where they’re hopefully going. We’ll figure something out.
Dr. Cordain: Gary, I think you’re right on with that statement . People that are adopting the Paleo lifestyle, they need a bridge. What Heath has done with his company is to help people with foods that they’re normally used to and make them in a manner that is less unhealthful.
I think between your philosophy and his we can move this whole idea forward. That’s really what I’m talking about. That’s really from the very beginning. I don’t want to rant or downgrade Chris Kresser. Robb and I are good friends.
I think what’s more important is establishing, to the average person, that there is an alternative way in which to eat that’s not low fat high carb which has been promoted for decade. It’s not the USDA My Plate. There is an alternative, and the alternative is to eat healthful foods and non‑processed foods.
You can call it Paleo. You can call it whatever you want. That seems to have become the earmark of healthy eating in the 21st century. I’m happy and gratified to be part of it. It takes on a wide variety of ideas and dimensions.
There are very few of us out there, yourself and anybody else, anybody, who says that whole, real, unprocessed foods are the way to go. That’s the message. I don’t think we ought to get caught up in some of these ridiculous arguments about what is and what is not Paleo. At my advanced age [laughs] , I’m just saying let’s just get back to the basics. Let’s be friends and work together against what was traditionally thought to be healthful eating.
Gary: That’s why I actually put together the Primal Power Method and my books that I’m putting out and I plan to write more in what I’m working on. I’ve always told people, as I did on Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast when I talked about this, I didn’t get in this to make money. If that was my main goal, it was a horrible goal.
It’s a great way to get poor quickly, to enter a field like this and to expect to be able to make a lot of money. I entered it because I spent quite a bit of time on the inside, and, not only that, but I had been a passionate athlete all my life. My goal, when I left to start this company, was to change this country’s view on food and health, period.
It’s a lofty goal. It’s huge. I told them, “That’s my goal, period.” We can all work together and get this done. I can’t do it by myself, and I don’t plan to. I do, I agree. We need to work together and not be divisive and move it forward.
With that being said, there are times when you really have to be careful with what you say and to whom and the information you’re relaying. There are a lot of people who don’t know any different. They take it and run with it. We don’t want to harm. We want to help. Not to say that he was wrong, like I said, he has his own view.
I just had issues with the way it was done, where it was done. I’ve also made it clear that when I see something that I don’t feel is the right thing and something needs to be said, I’m going to say it. That’s just how I am. It’s the Irish in me.
That just seems to me that’s one of the problems in our genre. No one will speak up when someone does something like that, because they’re afraid. They’re afraid to get ostracized or have the group turn on them. That’s not how it should be. We need to police our own. We need to correct them.
When you make a mistake, you go out there and admit to it. You stand up and tell people, “Hey, this is my belief,” or correct it, and that’s it. Then we’re done. Instead what we have now is a drawn out tit for tat thing going on. To be honest with you, I’m sick of it. I’m done. I don’t really want to be in this anymore.
Dr. Cordain: I get it, Gary. I think what you’re saying is mainstream. A lot of people agree with you, and we see the same thing. When we see things like with Chris here who now is turning Paleo into something that was never intended to be. He and Derick Garth eating beans, eating potatoes, eating processed foods, that’s really not the message.
I applaud you and Heath and others that are willing to stand up and say, “This is not how we perceived it. This is not the types of foods that we’ve been eating. This is not the type of food that we’ve been promoting and the idea that has drawn worldwide interest.”
Many thanks to you and Heath and people in your community for supporting me. I think people need to think for themselves, and that’s the bottom line. They shouldn’t listen to you. They shouldn’t listen to me or anybody else. They should listen to the best available data.
Gary: I tell them it’s about self‑sufficiency. I may provide something for them to educate themselves and follow, but they have to make the ultimate decision. I’m not going to make it for them. I’m not that person. I’m not that arrogant to think that I’m the all‑knowing.
If anything, I call myself the common man’s ancestral health/primal guy because my writings are very basic and very general. I do it that way because I feel that I’m not writing and giving my education out to my peers, I’m giving it to the common person who doesn’t know anything.
I don’t need to impress my peers. I don’t care about that. I’m old enough that my ego is almost nonexistent anymore. Do I have some pride? Yes, but I put my ego in check and it’s about helping people. How can I do that? That’s how I believe. We’re on the same page. With that, where do you think the future of Paleo is going in the near and distant future?
Dr. Cordain: Thank you so much for having me on your show and podcast. Let me finish this up with hopefully a little bit of advice, having been involved in this from the very beginning, for 25 years. Where is Paleo going? I think it’s going in a very good direction. I am very happy about what I’ve seen.
I think that the way people in the world saw this concept was first kind of as a fad. It’s like the latest Beverly Hills grapefruit diet. [laughs] Whatever, it’s like some kind of diet that somebody invented. I didn’t invented. Robb Wolf didn’t invent it. Chris Kressler didn’t invent it. None of us invented it.
What we have done is uncovered the way in which human species, our species, have eaten over the course of millions of years. These are the different factors that shape our genome. There was no single Paleo diet. There was range of diets that our ancestors ate.
When we recognize this and we try to shape our modern diets under that category under the range of diets that we ate, we do better. Our health improves. We do not develop obesity. We do not develop type two diabetes. We do not develop heart disease or cancer. We do not develop auto immunities, for the most part. We can’t escape those things completely. That’s the nature of our species.
But when we eat in a manner that mimics the nutritional characteristics of our ancestors and we eat fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, fish, nuts, eggs, what have you, and we avoid refined sugars, refined flours, refined vegetable oils, processed foods, as a species, as a group, we all do better.
We don’t all escape those diseases, but most of us do. That’s the take home message, so I will leave you with that, Gary. That’s the message. Let’s eat real living foods and avoid processed foods, and we’re going to all be in better shape.
Gary: I 100 percent agree. I think we’re all trying to do the right thing. I really appreciate you coming on and clarifying some of the recent issues that popped up. I hope to do it again sometime.
Dr. Cordain: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on. You are a real asset to the Internet community, because that’s how messages are delivered. I know that this recorded interview or however you want to do it will go out to millions. I hope that people will think about it. Thank you so much.
Gary: Thank you.
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