What foods did we evolve to eat?

“Great Apes and the Evolution of Human Diet” by Craig Stanford, PhD from Ancestry on Vimeo.

Here is Craig Stanford Director of the Goodall Institute talking about primate diets as a context for what our Paleo diet might have been like.

Posted in "Paleo", Context, Diet, Environments | Tagged

The Full Lindeberg!

“Food and Western Disease” by Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD from Ancestry on Vimeo.

Here are his slides – here is the link to his website.

Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Ancestry, Complexity, Context, Environments, Population, The Science, Theses | Tagged

Ancestry Foundation – A great centre of information – Videos from the conference

Earlier this month, the Ancestry Foundation hosted the first of what will be many conferences on Health as seen through the perspective of Evolution.


“Dimensional Mastery: How understanding where we’ve come from gives us valuable insights into where we’re headed” by Matt Wallden

“How to Triple Your HDL” by Jonathan Carey

“Bone Broths: The Missing Link in the Evolution of the Modern Superathlete” by Catherine Shanahan

“The Multifactorial Influence of Chronic Sleep Reduction on Body Weight” by Dan Pardi

“What Does the USDA Really Represent?” by Adele Hite

“Paleo Made Simple: A Template for Avoiding Common Errors When Adopting an Evolution-Based Diet” by Melissa and Dallas Urban

“Does physical activity impact dietary choice in a modern Western population to correspond to hunter-gatherer macronutrient profiles?” by Stephanie Schnorr


“Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way” by Steve Brown

“Declining Age at Menarche: An Indicator of Declining Public Health” by Meghan Gillette

“How psychological dysfunction arises from disparities between hunter-gatherer and modern lifestyles: A new theoretical and therapeutic model” by John Montgomery

“The Ancestral Classroom” by Steven Platek

“Neuroregulation of Appetite:  Paleo Nutrition Supports Homeostasis of Macronutrients and Energy Balance” by David Pendergras

“Grass Based Health: The Big Picture” by Peter Ballerstedt

“Ancestry: A Re-imagined Approach to Education” by Brian Geremia & Justin Park

“Game Over: Comparing the Childhood Play Style of Modern Western Societies with Hunter-Gatherer Societies” by Anna Floyd

“Foods from Our Past: Reclaiming the Paleo Diet Experience in Latino Communities.” by Armida Ayala, PhD, MHA

Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Ancestry, Context, Diet, Environments, Forces of Natural Selection, Physiology, Resources, The New Science | Tagged

Lierre Keith – Michael Rose from the Other side

When you hear a great idea told by very different people – it hits home even harder. Here Lierre Keith demolishes the Vegetarian myth – she was once a Vegan and adds power to Michael’s position.

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So when will you lose your health – Part 5 – What to do

As we all worry about the current fiscal situation – this is the time bomb. As so many of us age AND as so many of us who are not that old, get sick from the diseases of Modern Civilization, the costs of healthcare rise beyond the capacity of any nation to fund.

When the Boomers at in their 80’s, Medicare will cost the entire tax capacity of the US.  Of course it won’t, for we will be bust before then.

Many will demand that we get more efficient.

But this trend is unstoppable. And of course it’s not just aging.

42% of us are likely to get cancer. With 30% with Type 2 Diabetes, what will this be like in 20 years time. There are problems at the other end of the the population too. 20 years ago the Autism rate was 1 in 10,000. Now it is 1 in 160. Nearly one percent of the American Population will be unable to cope. And there is no reason to think that this trend will slow down.

So what to do? I think that our first step is to do all that we can to take care of our own health. Reduce the risk of illness and bankruptcy from our own lives. I am finding that my own example, is helping some of my friends take the same action. I have not been able to argue a single person into this. You my dear readers are the choir – it is our friends and family and colleagues that will not act if all we do is make the case.

I am finding that being the change is the best way. Once enough of us exist, then I think we will have enough power to persuade. What about at work. Health costs are killing your employer as well. What about at the state level? If some key workplaces, move then the power will build further. Then some states can move.

Then we will change the system. Then we will have the power to defend ourselves from those who make billions from making us ill and by treating our illness.

So this is very personal. By saving yourself and those that you love, you set in motion the forces that might make this apocalyptic future a lot better.

Good luck




Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Aging, Constraints, Context, Diet, Environments, Population | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

So when will you lose your health – Part 4 – How to get it back – Not from medicine

You are reading this post because you believe in a new understanding of how our health works. You know that you can take charge of your health. So why, if you know this to be true, is it so hard to persuade others? What is in the way? The quick answer is the medical profession and the vast majority of the people who believe that their health depends on the healthcare system are in the way. The good news is that you can also act to change this – even though you are only you and not the establishment.

Why should this be? And why can you have the hope that you can make a difference?

After all don’t THEY know best? Well as I am about to show you, they don’t and “They” have often stood in the way of real change. The medical profession tried their best to stop the last revolution. But in the science won.

Let me show you a few examples.

Back in 1850, EVERYONE believed that disease was spread by smells. This was called the Miasma Theory. It had a logic to it. Corruption does smell. This well-established belief was of course held not only by the public but by the establishment. All the top doctors knew this to be true. Miasma was the foundation of the medical system at the time.

So when Dr John Snow discovered that cholera was spread directly in water and could prove that one pump was the source and showed how the pump had been contaminated – the establishment shut the pump but dismissed his findings. If you have a look at the map above you can see what Snow and everyone could see. The black marks are deaths by location. All Snow could measure was deaths. He did not know what he was looking for.

Can you see it? Can you see what he had the openess to see?

The deaths cluster around one pump. (The Broad Street Pump)

The establishment could see this too. They closed the pump. BUT they would not allow themselves to go the next step and see this link as a link. They could not accept that cholera was spread by direct contact with the water and some unknown thing in it. They held to the theory that it was smell.

When Ignatz Semmelweis discovered that if doctors washed their hands after autopsies and then helped women give birth, they did not die of fever, he was hounded out of his position.

Neither Snow or Semmelweis knew of germs. But they both were real scientists. They saw what was there and what was real. The establishment was captured by a theory. Worse, their careers and reputation all depended on the theory. So they had to deny and punish the people who could challenge them.

One last story about Florence Nightingale. She arrives in the Crimea with her nurses, an alien idea on its own, and finds the hospital at Scutari a scene of desolation. What you may not know about her was that she was one of the first ever to use statistics. Argument with the senior medical staff failed. After all who was she? Only a woman! What did she know compared to them – the male doctors? So she fell back on statistics.

In this chart, the areas in red are deaths are from wounds. The area in blue from disease. She was able to show that in time, the entire British force would die from disease. This was what she used to persuade the people above her that she could try a few novel things – like clean the place up!

She too knew nothing about germs. But she could see something what we have lost today in hospitals that making them immaculately clean was a good thing.

These stories tell me that the real pioneers in health always start out as rebels. They have to be this to be pioneers. That the real pioneers use the power of observation. Galileo did too!

That the establishment don’t. They hold onto the dogma. And they punish observation when it contradicts the theory. The Dogma has to prevail to help them keep their status, their power and their income.

These stories show us where we are today in the new Health Revolution. What we have now are results that don’t fit the theory. Paleo and Crossfit deliver results. Better, the science id there too. Taubes, Lustig are showing the fallacies in the Fat makes you fat Dogma. Lindeberg showing the population effects if diet. Marmot and Sapolsky showing the social drivers and Michael Rose, like Pasteur, has the big overarching umbrella – that all disease is environmental (as of course is infection) and that if we live in the right environments we will be healthy. That this is not a mad idea but a product of the process of Evolution.

This idea changes the foundation of how we see health today. The Miasma of today is that each disease is separate and has a pathway. So your heart is one area and you lungs are another. That heart disease is different from dementai. That each problem can be cured by a specific treatment. That medicine is transactional – each problem is a stand alone. And all of this mechanistic thinking has created a vast system based on this wrong view of how nature works. Made worse by how confusing this approach is. For it has no context.

Here is what we are up against:

Why is it that doctors are so fiercely resistant to change? Particularly at the cost of so many lives lost. Particularly when any honest physician must see they don’t have the answers when it comes to healing chronic disease.  What is it about the medical profession and the way it is structured that makes it such a depressing and bankrupt picture for the future? Yes there are villains. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for in the way it has co-opted and co-erced doctors. Yes, there are always those physicians who care a lot more about maintaining their authority and standing than about healing people, but the great majority of doctors are concerned and try their best. So why isn’t it working?

I believe the answer is twofold.

First there is simply so much scientific information out there that it is very hard to keep up with it all.

Second, the major pharmaceuticals have taken advantage of this fact. They make drugs. Drugs don’t cure people, but they can and often do relieve the symptoms. The drug companies bombard doctors with the information which says “this” drug for “that” disease. All the doctor now has to do is select which drug from the competing drug makers who duke it out amongst themselves to divide the spoils. The doctor is not in the business of healing any more, he has become a glorified pharmacist. When the drugs don’t hack it, he passes his unfortunate patient on up the medical food chain, to a specialist, a surgeon and finally a hospital.

A Legal Solution…..?
I’m not overfond of lawyers, but if you’ve got the money a reputable legal firm will go a long way to win your case for you and earn their share of the winnings. The medical profession ain’t like that. They don’t get paid any more or less if you live or die. What they get paid for is the number of people they see in a day. Even if you’ve got the money and you’ve got a life-threatening cancer, do you reckon your doctors would pull out all the stops to get a winning result in the way a team of attorneys would? I don’t think so.

So this is the Miasma Theory of our time.

So how can I be so hopeful that you and I can take this on and change it?

We need only have 15% of the population onside and the system will tip. This is at the heart of what is known as Adoption Theory. You may know it as the Tipping Point.

So how do we get to 15% and what is in the way? What is in the way is the system as it is now. I think it is to show our story to others. Be an example of health to you family, friends and colleagues. For now they believe the dogma. But as they see YOU. They will start to question it.

I am finding that I cannot convert by words. Only by example. So my friends “Be the change” and it will happen all around you.

It took the pioneers about 50 years back on the 19th century to tip the system. Look at the growth of Paleo and Crossfit now? We have come from nowhere in 10 years. People are noticing us. The epidemic gets worse every year. Weekly there is more evidence that our system does not work. It does not make us healthy.

The money to fund the Miasma is running out too. My hope is that in 10 years, we will have won. The Miasma will be on the back foot fighting for its life. In 20 years it will be gone.

So, it is up to us. You can truly be a real hero. By being the change, you will have bene part of this movement that will change the world for the better. More on this in my final post in this series.

Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Context, Resources, The New Science, The Science, Theses | Tagged , , , ,

So when will you lose your health? – Part 3 – When you don’t know this

Every day we read of a new study that says “This is bad for you” and “This is good for you”. No wonder when it comes to taking control of our health, we are confused by science. I read a post today that said that there are “No perfect foods”. This is rubbish. There are – if you have the right perspective.

In this post I will be as clear as I can about the simple idea that can give you this power.

So what then is wrong with the perspective that most science and all of medicine uses that makes it all so confusing and contradictory? Let me tell a few stories and I think you will see.

Imagine that she is you.

You see your GP. She of course sends you to a dermatologist. After all, what is wrong is your skin – right? Well not really.  He will talk in a limited way about diet but he has no deep diet context. He will treat your skin mainly topically and if all fails, he will prescribe Accutane.  A drug that can have very serious side effects. Accutane is like chemo – it is a brutal treatment. But even through you may clear up – you are not cured. Your acne is in abeyance.

You are severely depressed. Your GP sends you to a Psychiatrist who no longer will talk through what has gone on but will prescribe one or more drugs that will interrupt the mechanism of your thoughts. For a while. Over time the risk is that you will get worse and even suicidal. He will raise the dose and add new drugs. You are on a treadmill.

You have cancer. Your GP sends you to the Surgeon who adds in the Oncologist and the Radiologist.

They remove the cancer cells that they can and then give you chemo and radiation. You look and feel like this. (My wife went through all of this and I dare not show you what she looked like)

You may be “cured”. My wife is still here after 9 years. But this is not a CURE. It – like Accutane or Antidepressants has knocked the disease back on its back foot.

So what then is the pattern here and how do we do better than this?

Note how all these stories start the same way. You notice something wrong and then you go to the gatekeeper the GP. There has been no work done before you are ill. For medicine has no answers to WHY you get ill.

You might know this. But what you don’t know maybe, is that NONE of these diseases effect in a major way populations that don’t eat the modern diet.

Note how each of these “specialists” deal with a silo of you and few or none expand this silo to includes the wider you of your entire bodily system – your social world – your ancestry – and how you inhabit your body and the physical world. They only know their bit. This is what I mean:

This is the ignition system of an engine in a car.

This is a broader context – we drive cars on roads with people in them in varying conditions. To understand CAR – you have to work back from this and not up from the ignition system. If all the context you have starts from the parts – you MUST get lost. So it is with medicine and cell biology. They fuss about the working parts and the direct linkages. Worse, because they focus on direct linkages, they miss the side effects.

For we are NOT MACHINES. We are complex systems nested in complex systems. Their basic metaphor is wrong.

This is why they miss WHY we get ill as we do. They miss the connection between their areas and all others. They miss the truth that there is one simple big idea as to why we get the diseases of modern civilization. And that is this –

We are designed to be naturally healthy – all living beings are – so long as we live our lives inside the parameters of how our nature has evolved. That means that if we eat what we are designed by our nature (How we have evolved) to eat AND if we live in social systems that suit our nature best (Think of how all our hunter gatherer ancestors lived) and if we inhabit our bodies and the natural world as we have evolved to do ( Be active and outside a lot) The we will be healthy.

This is true because of the systems aspect of our context. Get the optimal systems fit and our system will do fine. We are NOT machines with simple direct causes and effects.

Simple isn’t it? You and I can all use this simple and huge idea.

Just as 150 years ago, we also learned how to combat infection. Also behind that was a huge but simple idea. If we lived in large numbers in a concentrated space, we would set up the ideal systems conditions for infection. Once we learned how germs and vectors like mosquitoes and fleas worked, we could change the systems conditions. At a large scale such as in a big city and on a small scale such as in the OR.

All the mumbo jumbo of pre germ medicine was swept away. Only to pop up in how medicine works on chronic disease today.

They will tell you that only if your kid is vaccinated, will you be able to protect her from infection such as measles. But they have missed the history.

We defeated infection not by drugs and not by a speciality in a disease. But by smart use of the knowledge of the systems issues and clever public health.

All these infectious diseases are the product of the modern world. They arise from our living in close contact with animals and other humans. They are novel to all who have not lived a modern (defined as agricultural and urban life). So when they were introduced to people who did not share this life and who therefore had low immunity, they killed millions. Western man killed of most of the natives in the Americas.

All infectious disease is related. It takes hold inside the crucible of close contact between man – animal and man. The plague came from this and so does flu. The breakthrough is not a drug, for the germ or virus will adapt. It is to work in a systems way to break the cycle.

So it is with chronic disease.

All are related. All stem at first from a mismatch in diet and then are amplified by a mismatch in our social and natural environments.

So if you have bad acne, depression and cancer – or arthritis – or IBS or crohns – or worry about alzheimers – or have heart disease – or have their marker and best pathway type 2 diabetes – then know that all are related.

On PEI, the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives on in this state for 9.7 years. The main cause for this is Type 2 Diabetes.  It is estimated that by 2030 1/3 of the population will have it. So, as more people hit their 60’s and more suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the need to respond rises exponentially. We live in a time of epidemic and medicine as it is practised today cannot help you.

Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. PEI adults in 2006 with diabetes had to be hospitalized much more often than those without it. 16 times more often for lower limb amputations. 6 times more often with kidney disease. They had 5 times more heart attacks. 4 times more heart failure. 3 times more strokes. They stayed 3 times longer in hospital. Had 2 times more visits to physicians and 2 times more to specialists

Most diabetics don’t just take one medication, but several. A typical regimen for an adult diabetic after a couple of years of treatment and following the dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association includes Metformin, Januvia, and Actos, a triple-drug treatment that costs around $420 per month. Two forms of insulin (slow- and fast-acting), along with two or three oral medications, is not at all uncommon

You can help yourself by understanding the ideas on this site and on our sister site The Missing Human Manual

Now how you apply this knowledge is not simple. Changing your diet in a system that pushes the wrong choices on you is hard. You don’t just “Buck Up” when depressed. You don’t just get cured with cancer either.

But knowing what we do now – gives us the kind of start that we all had back in 1880 when the pioneers took on infection and rolled it back in a generation.

Michael and I are working to provide you and policy makers the best context so that you can make the best choices.

Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Complexity, Context, Diet, Environments, Evolutionary Novelty, Experimental Evolution, Physiology, Population | 1 Comment