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Podcast: Pure Paleo Values and Ancestral Health with Bob Culbertson

By The Paleo Diet Team
February 27, 2014
Podcast: Pure Paleo Values and Ancestral Health with Bob Culbertson image

Dr. Loren Cordain: I'm Loren Cordain, Founder of the Paleo Movement.

Shelley Schlender: I'm Shelley Schlender. This is the Paleo Diet Podcast for July, 2013. Coming up, Loren will talk with one of his favorite musicians. He's Bob Culbertson, the artist performing this song. As for how Bob and Loren got acquainted, it's thanks to the Paleo Diet. Bob's wife, Andy Culbertson, is a dietitian. She's found that eating Paleo helps her whole family be healthier, along with her clients. By exploring more about Paleo eating, Andy met Loren. Let's listen in. Loren Cordain, when you first decided to do a podcast, there was one person's music that you wanted above anybody else's.

Dr. Loren Cordain: You know, that's Bob Culbertson. I have been listening to his music for years, and I had the pleasure of meeting his wife at a conference and a talk that I spoke at, and we got to know one another, so this is very cool. In all of my podcasts, Bob's music opens it up and finishes it off, and I can't think of a better musician or a person to be part of this. I grew up in the 60s of all places, and I listened to all the famous rock and roll groups.

I think as we age, we look to music to do many things, to not only entertain like rock of the 60s did but also to soothe us. Bob's music is very soothing. He's not just soothing but he's also jazz. In the music world, he's known worldwide.


Shelley Schlender: Plus Bob and Andy Culbertson, you all love Paleo. Can you tell some of that story about how you found out about Paleo Diets and Loren Cordain?

Andy Culbertson: Oh sure, I would love too. I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist. Fifteen years ago, I came across S. Boyd Eaton's book, The Paleolithic Prescription, and also came across in graduate school Loren's publication, “Cereal Grains: Humanity's Double-Edged Sword.” I was fascinated by it and very validated, as I had traveled to many countries when I was a child. My dad was a doctor, and we would travel to countries where the people there still had many indigenous food patterns and ways of living.

That really stood out to me as a child, and it seemed to blend so well with a lot of this evolutionary research that Loren and Dr. Eaton, have brought around in this past couple of a decades. As a child, I had problems with childhood obesity and some other minor health issues, as many children did that were on a standard American diet, and found nutrition and exercise to become a healthy weight.

That worked for a while. It was very food guide pyramid type of eating. Later on, after I had two children in my 30s, I found myself even though I was "lean and fit,” my health was not good. I had chronic sinusitis, trouble sleeping. I started to feel achiness in my bones. I had never had that before. That was a new thing, and some other health issues that were coming up that weren't major yet, but I was very into prevention, as I am now, so I revisited the Paleo Diet.

I said I have to do something. This was two and a half years ago. As Loren mentioned, it was at Living Fitness. We spoke and met at a conference, and immediately the missing link was there. His wonderful presentation just made everything come alive to me personally as well as for my family. Ever since then, I've really shifted to a Paleo based lifestyle for us and then helping other people through educating them and helping them to learn the Paleo principles.

It's been a wonderful journey, and I really want to take a moment just to thank you so much for all the amazing work you've done and how you've affected our family and other people around me.


Dr. Loren Cordain: You know, that is so cool. That's so kind, and getting introduced to your husband's music, it's like a musician. I'm very interested in music. That's been part of my life, which many of my readers don't know, is that music is very important to me. Your husband has done some really wonderful work. Part of the Paleo movement is the sustainability movement, the green movement of this next generation. I think that that hopefully can be reflected in the music itself. The music of your husband, Bob, is right on. It touches our souls like good food.

Bob Culbertson: Thank you so much for that compliment.

Shelley Schlender: Bob Culbertson, do you think of your music as Paleo music?

Bob Culbertson: It's definitely Paleo inspired in a way, but like how we came upon it. There's going to be the obvious, I got it through my wife, which is true. However, in the past, I have always tried to eat at least somewhat healthy, never totally, but I just tried to eat as healthy as I could. Funny things like eating toast without butter because I thought that was better to eat it than with butter.

Then we got married, then she furthered my healthy eating. About two a half years ago, whatever it's been now, two years ago, we started doing the Paleo Diet. I weaned, cut out some of my breads. After that, I started to eat closer to a pure Paleo Diet. My dad is diabetic, was diabetic. He's passed away. I knew that I had that in my family, and I would feel little things like my feet tingle a little bit or my fingers would be a little bit stiff but, again, trying to staying in shape, just kind of okay.


Then after since I've been eating the Paleo Diet, I would say not all but most of that has gone away. Then when I went back to have my tests about diabetes, I went from being just in the beginning of pre-diabetic, and then I went from that to what would be basically called normal.

Dr. Loren Cordain: Bob, that's a wonderful story. Your music touched me. I've got all your albums out here Celtic Waters. We're both artists. You're an artist in a musical sense. I'm an artist in the literary sense. I'm a wordsmith, and you are a music-smith. I can see that you're a very peaceful person too, from the music that I hear. A couple of songs on Celtic Waters are incredibly peaceful. Can you give us a little bit about how a musician gets into this, and what you're thinking about, and what you're writing, and ... not writing, but what you're playing?

Bob Culbertson: Yeah. No, that's a good question. Really, the answer, it comes from different sources and it comes in different ways. I always get asked the question, what do you read? Do you do it from sheet music? Do you do it through your own imagination? Do you improvise? These kinds of questions I get a lot. Where a lot of the music comes from, again, are the different sources. Now Celtic Waters, basically that is because I started listening to Celtic music about 10, 12 years ago.

It was really started getting into what it represented and the sounds. Celtic music, kind of like and a lot of people I'm sure would say the same thing, it takes you there. You go to these places in a sense. An obvious one would be like, oh, I'm in Ireland in the green fields or whatever, but it basically takes you on a little vacation through auditory, through music.


Then the more I got into the Celtic music, I started discovering different forms, like not only is there the Irish, and the Scottish, and those types of things, but there's also Breton music, which I really, really got into. That music is from Brittany, which is the northwestern corner of France, so it's kind of French Celtic. There's even Celtic that goes down as far as Portugal.

For me, where my music comes from, that particular CD comes from wanting to go to these places in my mind and going on a little vacation or another place that it takes me, Star of the County Down, and I feel like I'm in this little town. Or I listen to the Breton music, and I see walls, brick walls and things, so I go ... It's like going on a little trip, a little fantasy.

Shelley Schlender: When I listened to Celtic Waters, I was thinking about Paleo people because Celtic music is one of the most ancient kinds of music. I imagine that people initially playing this kind of music may have been eating, Loren, just the way that you say that people ought to eat.

Dr. Loren Cordain: That's a good point, Shelley, is that there's some evidence that comes out of some historical writings of what people in Ireland, and Scotland, and that part of the world were eating. Clearly, they had grains. There's no doubt about it, but the balance of their diet seems to have been much healthier than what we're all eating now. The music and the traditions that come from those times I think are reflective of a more peaceful, a more serene time that we all lived in which we didn't have electronics, and cars, and all the crap that we do now.


We had a small group of people that we grew up with in a local community, and we know everybody. We knew our parents. We knew our uncles and aunts. I'm not trying to say this was an ideal life. Obviously, they had all kinds of problems that we don't have, but there are certain elements of that that I think that we need to recognize, and what we can do in our modern life is we don't have to answer our email five times a day. Look at your email once a day. There are elements in our lives that what we can do to help make it more serene and more like it used to be there.

That's all for this edition of The Paleo Diet Podcast. Visit my website at for past episodes and for hot links to the experts and studies that we talked about today.

Shelley Schlender: Our theme music was written and produced by Chapman Stick soloist Bob Culbertson.

Dr. Loren Cordain: If you want to send me questions or comments, the place to go is the

Shelley Schlender: We'll talk further with Bob and Andy Culbertson in our next episode. For The Paleo Diet Podcast, I'm Shelley Schlender.

Dr. Loren Cordain: I'm Loren Cordain.

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