Tag Archives: The Paleo Diet

Running in the snowWith the holidays behind us, you may be rethinking those excuses that it’s “too cold outside.” We’ve all been guilty of using the dark morning and the bone-chilling weather as an excuse not to workout during the winter. You’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean you should go with the flow.

Studies (1) show that  not exercising in winter leads to:

  • A 20 percent decrease in cardiopulmonary fitness within just three to eight weeks of not exercising
  • A loss of whatever advantages they gained over time
  • A Higher rate of reverting to a sedentary lifestyle within three to six months of not exercising
  • Difficulty losing the winter weight gained even when they start exercising again

Now that we’ve covered why not to cease exercise let’s talk about some innovative ways to get a move on when your normal go-to might not be the most appealing:

  • Start small with a goal of just trying something once: get up early, dress warmly and go for that jog or take your dog for an early morning run around the neighborhood. Or try that new spin class you typically avoid in the summertime when you’re too busy outside running on the trails.
  • Rather than fight the climate (a losing battle), use the climate to your advantage! Embrace the cold snowy weather and learn to snowshoe or cross country ski. Not only will you keep your mind busy, your body will respond well to the opportunity to cross train.
  • Be creative. One client who was snowed in and couldn’t get to the gym opted to make snow shoveling the driveway his workout for the day, rather than using the family’s snow-blower.
  • Challenge yourself. Don’t let fear of getting too cold allow you to skip your workout all on its own. Invest in some of the great new gear out there that will keep you warm while wicking away moisture, keeping you dry and warm even while you sweat!
  • Don’t forget the small stuff. That 15 minute walk you do around your office building in both the morning and afternoon can add up to 10 miles over the course of a work week and 10 miles is far from nothing!

Don’t forget the extra benefit we get when we exercise in winter compared to when it’s oh so easy to hop out of bed in the summer to workout; as many people report feeling that they have a touch of the blues during this time of the year, either due to a post-holiday lull or lack of sunlight, exercising can help boost our mood and set the day off on the right foot.

Studies (2) have shown that exercise can be more effective than prescription anti-depressants; not to mention, exercise doesn’t have any side-effects!

By allowing ourselves to be a little less regimented in our typical exercise routines, we open up the possibilities of how to keep fit all winter long.

So, bundle up, get out there and go!




2) Publishing, Harvard Health. “Exercise Is an All-Natural Treatment to Fight Depression.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression.

3) Blumenthal, PhD James A. “Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients With Major Depression.” Archives of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, 1 Oct. 1999, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/485159.


Apple and a Donut


There is a natural energy cycle to a normal working day. Everyone has a morning routine that ends when they get to work. Then they pick up speed into late morning and by lunchtime, they are ready to recharge on some hopefully tasty food before finishing a few projects. But by mid-afternoon, everyone starts to feel a little tired. Their eyes droop and it gets harder to focus. In order to continue working efficiently, most people reach for a coffee, that candy bar in their desk, or head for the vending machine for a packaged pick-me-up.

But as you probably know from experience, some snacks are more effective at perking you up than others. The problem is that most people get their afternoon pick-me-up from the vending machine or an indulgent stash of desk snacks. Let’s dive into the three most tempting but least helpful snacks in the vending machine that will leave you tired all afternoon. More importantly, let’s talk about how to choose more energizing Paleo alternatives that are equally satisfying and will energize you for your day.

1) Snack Cakes

Snack cakes are by far the most tempting item in the vending machine. They look like a great option for people who are hungry again after lunch. Snack cakes seem like more food per package than other options and the sugar provides a temporary energy (and motivational) kick on a hard day. However, that energy doesn’t stick with you for long.

Alternative: Instead of refined sugary carbs, sate your sweet tooth and get that energy boost the Paleo natural way with energy balls, usually made of blended nuts, shaved coconut, raw cocoa powder, and fresh fruit. These will satisfy your sweet craving while actually filling you with energizing proteins that will help you make it to closing time.


2) Potato Chips

For many of us, feeling sluggish is easily answered with the taste of salt. Potato chips are a common afternoon solution when it’s hard to focus because salt granules on your tongue can effectively perk up your brain. However, chips are made of refined, pressed, and oil-fried starch and just like the snack cakes, the energy provided is only temporary. Worse, potatoes are very high on the glycemic index and have the same effect as consuming straight sugar with all the usual implications.

Alternative: If you crave a savory snack, there are tons of great Paleo alternatives. Try a small handful of salt-free mixed nuts instead.


3) Candy Bars

The candy bar is one of the least healthy vending machine options for your 2pm pick-me-up. But boy is it satisfying. Candy bars often have several tempting elements from the caffeine-laced chocolate to the protein-rich nuts inside. But a candy bar is also packed with unnecessary calories in sugar and fat. Not to mention the predictable sugar crash an hour later.

Don’t set yourself up for negative consequences by grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine or keeping a stash in your desk. You’ll only find yourself hungry and tired no matter how satisfying the chocolate was at first.

Alternative: A candy bar craving often signifies a need for calories and nutrient variety. Especially if you crave nuts in your chocolate. Instead of heading to the vending machine, try packing yourself a healthy trail mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. That will definitely hit the spot without the diet-guilt of munching on a candy bar full of empty calories. It’s not perfectly Paleo, but a far better alternative to candy bars.

Many professionals make the wrong choice when looking for snacks that will keep them energized and efficient at work. And the vending machine options aren’t doing them any favors. If you want your team to face the usual afternoon drowsiness head-on, consider providing healthy snacks that are long-term sources of energy like nuts, some trail mixes, and of course fresh fruit and vegetables.


The BEST Fat Loss Diet in The World | The Paleo Diet

It’s officially 2020, the New Year is upon us, and with it maybe you’ve made many resolutions to lose weight and get into shape. With so many magazines and websites filled with the latest fad diets, how do you know which diet really works best? The good news is the scientific research is actually quite clear with respect to the ‘best diet’ for not only promoting fat loss but also improving your overall health.

A low-carb diet (LC), or its cousin the very low-carb ketogenic diet (VLCK), are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to promoting weight loss and upgrading your health. A low-carb diet is typically classified as a diet consisting of 100g of carbs or less per day, whereas a very low-carb ketogenic diet is generally 50g of carbs or less. (It’s called a ketogenic diet due to the ketone body by-products produced when the body switches over to primarily fat- burning for fuel.)

Practically, adopting a LC or VLCK diet entails decreasing your intake of starchy carbohydrates while increasing your consumption of tasty lean proteins, healthy fats, nutrient-dense veggies and whole fruits.

For some this might be a whole new approach to eating, for others something you’ve experimented with in the past. How do low-carb and very low-carb ketogenic diets work to promote weight loss? There are numerous physiological mechanisms at play. Let’s take a closer look.

A low-carb diet dramatically improves your blood sugar control and the function of your blood sugar hormone insulin.1 After you eat a meal, insulin’s job is to get the sugars from your bloodstream into your cells.  The more overweight or out of shape you are, the greater the amount of insulin your body produces to get the job done. This leads to higher insulin levels in the blood, which directly blocks your capacity to burn fat via the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) enzyme. This person would be called insulin insensitive and if the condition persisted they would eventually become insulin resistant and develop type-II diabetes.

How does this relate to carbohydrates? Carbohydrates exert the greatest impact on your insulin output, therefore by reducing your carb intake (and increasing your consumption of healthy proteins and fats) you’ll improve your body’s insulin sensitivity or efficiency at shuttling the food you eat into your cells where it can be used for energy.

A recent meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition of 1,400 people adopting a very low-carb diet showed significant reductions in bodyweight, as well as lower triglycerides and improved good HDL cholesterol.2 Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine of 322 obese patients revealed that the low-carb group on an unrestricted calorie diet lost more weight than subjects on a calorie-restricted low fat diet, or a Mediterranean diet.3 The beauty of a low-carb diet for weight loss is that you don’t have to bother counting calories and you’ll still see results.

It’s not just the hormone insulin contributing to all the positive outcomes. Low-carb diets increase your body’s satiety signals via the increase in protein consumption and improved efficiency of the satiety hormone leptin.4,5 Low-carb diets also trigger greater lipolysis – the breakdown of body-fat – as your body shifts to burning fat as a primary fuel source.6 There is also an increase in the metabolic cost of producing glucose (gluconeogenesis) when on a low-carb diet, which requires your body to burn more energy and translates into a slimmer waistline and better health for clients.7

A Paleo dietary approach fits perfectly with a low-carb or very low-carb ketogenic diet due to the inherently higher intake of lean proteins, healthy fats, and abundant vegetables.  The natural elimination of grains on a Paleo diet quickly and easily reduces your total carb intake (although it’s important to remember that not all Paleo diets need to be low-carb, particularly in athletes). The goods news is you’re replacing the nutrient-poor starchy grains with nutrient-dense veggies and fruits. This promotes not only superior weight loss but better overall health.

The latest research shows a low-carb diet also comes with a myriad of other health benefits, such as; improved blood pressure, triglycerides, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and reduced inflammation.8,9,10 These are profound and dramatic changes that stem from simply eating more in-tune with how your body has evolved. (Not even best drugs in the world could improve these parameters so significantly!)

So, why isn’t everyone who is overweight or out of shape on a low-carb Paleo diet? Unfortunately, even many old diet and nutrition myths still persist in doctor’s and dietician’s offices across the country.

One of the most common mistakes is avoiding saturated fats for fear they will worsen a patient’s cardiovascular health. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies continue to pour out of the scientific literature confirming that your dietary intake of saturated fat does NOT impact your blood levels. In fact, the study goes on to show that carbohydrates are the real culprits (if you are overweight or out of shape), increasing blood levels of saturated fats alongside a key marker associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes.11 In short, cut the carbs to get your health and bodyweight back on track.

Now that you know why a low-carb diet is best way to lose weight and improve your health, the next step is implementing the diet into your day-to-day routine.

If you are new to the Paleo diet or have a lot of weight to lose, start out slow and scale up. Remember, whether you’re just starting out or have been following Paleo for sometime, our 85:15 Rule permits the inclusion of three ‘cheat’ meals per week, where you can loosen the rules, not feel too restricted, and ease into the Paleo lifestyle.

Here is a sample day of meals for beginners with recipes to get you started!

By following this approach many will lose weight gradually, feel satiated and content, and not compromise health or performance at work or in the gym.

Make 2020 a year to remember, transform your body and mind with a low-carb Paleo diet, and unlock your weight loss and performance potential.


[1]Ballard, K et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves insulin sensitiv­ity, blood pressure, microvascular function, and cellular adhesion markers in individuals taking statins.Nutr Res.2013 Nov;33(11):905-12.

[2]Bueno, N et al. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v.low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.Br J Nutr.2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87.

[3]Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359:229-41.

[4]Veldhorst M., Smeets A., Soenen S., Hochstenbach-Waelen A., Hursel R., Diepvens K., Lejeune M., Luscombe-Marsh N., Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein-induced satiety: Effects and mechanisms of different proteins. Physiol. Behav. 2008;94:300–307.

[5]Sumithran P., Prendergast L.A., Delbridge E., Purcell K., Shulkes A., Kriketos A., Proietto J. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013;67:759–764

[6]Cahill G.F., Jr. Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2006;26:1–22.

[7]Tagliabue A., Bertoli S., Trentani C., Borrelli P., Veggiotti P. Effects of the ketogenic diet on nutritional status, resting energy expenditure, and substrate oxidation in patients with medically refractory epilepsy: A 6-month prospective observational study. Clin. Nutr. 2012;31:246–249.

[8]Perez-Guisado, J.Munoz-Serrano A.A pilot study of the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: an effective therapy for the metabolic syndrome.J Med Food.2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):681-7.

[9]Crane P.et al.Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia.NEJM.Sept 2013 Vol 369.

[10]Heilbronn LK et al. Energy restriction and weight loss on very low-fat diets reduce C-reacctive protein concentrations in obese, healthy women. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2001;21:968-970.

[11]Volk B et al. Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. Plus ONE 2014, Nov 21:1-16.

Following The Paleo Diet® means including plenty of Omega-3s in your daily meals.  We like to think of fish as the perfect food to help us avoid illnesses and inflammation.  Cook up this fast and easy recipe to get everything you need for overall health and wellness.  The unique combination of flavors in this dish compliment the mild flavor of the salmon for a fresh-from-the-ocean taste. You can almost hear the waves!


Broiled Salmon with Scallions and Sesame

Broiled Salmon with Scallions and Sesame

Broiled Salmon with Scallions and SesameFollowing The Paleo Diet® means including plenty of Omega-3s in your daily meals.  We like to think of fish as the perfect food to help us avoid illnesses and inflammation.  Cook up this fast and easy recipe to get everything you need for overall health and wellness.  The unique combination of flavors in this dish compliment the mild flavor of the salmon for a fresh-from-the-ocean taste. You can almost hear the waves!

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 People 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, divided
  • 3 8-ounce skin-on center-cut wild caught salmon fillets
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced


  1. Whisk garlic, lime juice, 1 Tbsp. oil, and ½ tsp. sesame seeds in a small bowl.
  2. Place salmon fillets in a plastic bag and add half of marinade. Seal bag and let salmon sit 30 minutes.
  3. Reserve remaining marinade.
  4. Preheat oven broiler.
  5. Toss scallions with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil on sheet pan and broil until lightly charred; about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove salmon from marinade and set on top of scallions.
  7. Spoon some reserved marinade over top and broil until salmon is charred around edges; about 6 minutes (watch closely to keep it from burning.)
  8. Spoon more marinade over the fish; top with chile.
  9. Broil until salmon is charred and medium-rare at thickest part; about 2 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds.


Broiled Salmon with Scallions and Sesame

Keywords: paleo, omega-3, salmon, fish

Check out our first in a series of videos we’ve created to give you an update on the science of the Paleo Diet and what’s going on at thepaleodiet.com, including some exciting changes in the upcoming months. In this episode, Dr Cordain talks about what’s currently happening at The Paleo Diet® and then he goes into what you can expect next:


Dr. Loren Cordain:
Hi, I’m Loren Cordain.  I’m the founder of the Paleo Diet movement.
Shelley Schlender:
I’m Shelley Schlender.  This is The Paleo Diet Podcast for January 2013.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
For our first podcast ever, we’re going to talk about the history of the Paleo movement, and how Paleo became a household word.
Shelley Schlender:
Loren’s also going to share some new parts of the Paleo movement, plus ideas for future podcasts.
Shelley Schlender:
Loren Cordain it’s good to talk with you again, and at this point you are very famous.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Shelley, I don’t know about that.  Somebody said everybody’s famous for five minutes, but my name is fairly well known in the Paleo community.
Shelley Schlender:
It’s not only well known in Paleo community, but there are documentaries about health and living where you are a featured person of them.  You’re sought after by a lot of the major news groups when it comes to talking about health and diet.  You’re not a doctor, but a lot of people credit you with helping their health or their athletic performance get to new high levels.  That counts as a lot of fame to me.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Thanks, Shelley.  What I really want to do is get this message out to a larger audience, and hopefully that’s what these podcasts are going to be all about.  This is our very first podcast, and this podcast we’re going to look at the history of this Paleo Diet movement, how it all came about.  For the listeners I’d like to introduce you to Shelley.  She has interviewed me many times before on radio and other media.  She’s a great person, a great resource.
Shelley Schlender:
I like the fact that when I talk with you I get to learn some new stuff.  I’m glad to get this opportunity as well.  I remember back to maybe the first time I interviewed you, which may have been 10, 15.  When not many people knew who you were there at Colorado State University.  You had this office that was packed with information about Paleo Diets.  It was kind of a frustrating time, exciting but frustrating, because you were pretty sure that this could help a lot of people, this information, and not a lot of people knew about it.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Shelley those were the early days, you know.  If I look back a decade ago to 2003 Paleo was just kind of a cupboard idea that was known by a few scientists and anthropologists.  Very few lay people, or common people, that were interested diet, fitness, and health knew of the concept.  What I’d like to really do today is talk about how Paleo came about.  I think one of the best ways to do it is to really look at where we are now.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Paleo has become absolutely enormous.  It’s a household word.  You need to look no further than the internet to see how big this thing has really become.
Shelley Schlender:
That’s right.  There are so many people now who know why they want to search for the word Paleo.  For people who don’t know what it is, for people who think Paleo just means cave drawings on walls in France, what do you eat when you’re on a Paleo Diet?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Most of the people that are listening to this podcast are probably pretty aware of what you eat.  The word Paleo came from the word Paleolithic, which means old stone age.  What we’re trying to do with this diet is to replicate the diet of our ancestors, our stone age ancestors, using contemporary foods.  It would be impossible to try to eat precisely the way they do, but what we’re trying to do is using modern foods that are available at the supermarket to emulate the nutritional characteristics of these foods.
Shelley Schlender:
While it’s modern foods, it’s not foods like dairy.  It’s not foods like grains.  Sugar, sugar is not in a Paleo Diet very much except for through fruit.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s right.  I think sometimes we talk about fruit, fruit can be a little bit problematic particularly with people with diabetes or who are overweight or have obesity.  We can talk about that on a future podcast.  What I really want to get into is where this whole thing started, and how it began.  I feel very fortunate in having been at the center of this Paleo movement.

As you mentioned, it started off with just a few scientists, anthroplogists, and some interested people on the internet.  I first became aware of this in 1987, and that was two short years after Boyd Eaton published his very famous paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985.

Shelley Schlender:
What was his paper?  What did he do that broke open this whole world?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Boyd is really the godfather of the Paleo movement.  I think the way we should look at it historically is pre-Eaton, which was the publication of paper in 1985, and post-Eaton.  This paper was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and it’s called “Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications.”  It got everything going.  It made the medical and the scientific community aware of this notion of trying eat, or emulate the nutritional characteristics of our ancestors.
Shelley Schlender:
Was it that was Boyd was saying guess what folks, the Paleo world, our ancestors, they did not eat at supermarkets.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s right.  As simplistic and as easy it is to understand now, it makes a lot of sense, is that that concept was revolutionary in 1985.  It didn’t really take off.  Here we are almost 30 years down the road, yes, now it has taken off.  We see tens of thousands of websites if you Google the Paleo Diet, you get what, five or six million hits.  All kinds of websites devoted to this.  Robb Wolf’s website, Mark Sisson’s, Mark’s Daily Apple, PaleoHacks. The number of books that are devoted to Paleo is literally staggering.  If you go to Amazon, there’s what, 7 or 8 hundred books have something to do with Paleo and Paleo lifestyles. When I wrote my first book in 2002 there was about two books that were still in print.  Boyd’s first book The Paleolithic Prescription, which came out in 1988, and my book.  That was pretty much it.
Shelley Schlender:
What you both were saying that if people change to how their ancestors ate, it might deal with a lot of health problems and improve athletic performance.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s absolutely right.  I think that in future podcasts we’re going to hone in on that.  I think we can have a podcast on why some people shouldn’t be eating fruit, particlarly modern day fruit that can be high in sugar.

Going back to that pre/post Eaton paper is that Boyd really got things going.  Prior to 1985, there were a couple of books and scientific articles.  I just want to list a few for our readers, is one of the very first guys to ever get involved with the Paleo concept was Weston Price.

Shelley Schlender:
Weston Price was a dentist, but I’ve got to tell you Loren that I’ve asked almost every dentist I’ve ever met if they know who Weston Price was.  Nobody does, if they’re a dentist they don’t know who Weston Price was.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s right.  It’s like a lot of the pre-1985 literature on this concept.  It was out there, it was simmering, but nobody listened to it.  Weston Price’s book is just a wonderful resource.  He was, as you mentioned, a dentist that travelled the world in the early part of the 20th century.  He went all over places where people were non-Westernized.  Took photographs of their facial structures, their jaws, their teeth.  Recorded what their diets were.  Wherever he travelled, he found people that had magnificent dental health, and these people didn’t brush their teeth and didn’t floss, but they were eating the natural the foods that are available to them.  That book was a wonderful resource.
However, the evolutionary concept, the notion of evolution by natural selection, really wasn’t in play very well in 1939.  It was kind of an obtuse concept that scientists used, but the average person on the street didn’t pay much attention to it, particlarly with nutrition.
Shelley Schlender:
The other thing about that book though is that it wasn’t just about teeth.  He observed that women give birth more easily if they’re not eating a Western diet.  There were a lot of things that he saw that told him health in general would be better.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Shelley that’s a really good point.  I think the notion that when women are on this diet, female reproductive problems, dysmenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, painful periods and so forth I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it anecdotally that women who have had these problems throughout their lives, they can’t get pregnant, bingo this really works.  Boy, wouldn’t that be, maybe we should, maybe we should do a podcast devoted strictly to that.  That’s a great idea, and that comes out from some of this early literature.

There’s a couple other interesting books that came out afterwards.  For our readers that may want to go to the library, or even try to get these on Amazon, there’s another guy named Arnold DeVries, he wrote a book called Primitive Man and His Food.  That was published in 1952.

Shelley Schlender:
I’ve never heard of that one.  I don’t know what that is.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
It’s a rather obscure book.  Believe or not, you can get the entire book online.  If you Google that book, there is a website that has produced a PDF of that entire book.  I have one of the two or three extant copies.  I don’t think … I think I lent it somebody, and they xeroxed it and made a PDF out of it.  It is available online.  It’s a great resource.  It’s kind of similar to Price’s book, not nearly as lengthy, with no photographs like what Price did.  It was the same concept.  These guys, non-Westernized populations are eating the foods that were available to them, and they were very very healthy.

The next book that came out was Walter Voegtlin.

Shelley Schlender:
I’m glad you pronounced his name for me, because I never would have tried.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
(Laughs)  Voegtlin.  I think, if you do the correct German pronunciation.  I’m not that good, we should have one of our German listeners come on in and give us some correct pronunciation.  He wrote another book called the Stone Age Diet.  For those of you that are looking for new titles for Paleo books, the Stone Age Diet is already taken.  This was published in 1975.  Not much really knew with this concept.

Those are three popular books that predated the very thing, this 1985 Boyd Eaton article.  There are other scientific papers, and there’s a fellow, a physician from Australia, and his name is Shatin.  In all the scientific papers he just listed his first initial R.  We’re not sure if he was Richard or Robert or what.  It was R. Shatin.  If you go on Medline, you can find all of his papers.  He wrote some just incredible stuff, starting in the early 60s.  I think his very first paper was 1962 or 3.  He had it right on, it’s amazing.  If you read this stuff, it was like wow, he pre-dated Boyd Eaton by 25 years. (Laughs)

Shelley Schlender:
That’s a lot.  He was on this topic early.  Loren Cordain, it seems to me that a lot of us always look for the latest news.  It’s sometimes fascinating and humbling to see that people 40, 50, 60, 100 years ago already were figuring this out.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Isn’t that true Shelley?  It’s almost as if we’re reinventing the wheel.  We really do need to give recognition to those that came before us, because in 1961, I mean if Boyd’s paper was cutting edge, ahead of the envelope, you can imagine was Shatin was doing in 61.  He published this stuff in just obscure journals.  He was in Australia, and he really didn’t get into the New England Journal of Medicine like Boyd did.  His stuff was buried in the literature and you rarely see it cited.  I found it it years ago and was just amazed.
There’s another too, HL Abrams, who actually was involved with the Weston Price people.  In 1979 he wrote another paper called The Relevance of Paleolithic Diet in determining contemporary nutritional needs.  What a great title!  The relevance of paleolithic diet in determining contemporary nutritional needs.
Shelley Schlender:
It kind of says the point of it, yes.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Once again, where was it published?  It was published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition.  That’s an obscure journal, you probably can’t even find it anywhere, except for major university libraries.
Shelley Schlender:
Maybe in your list of files that you have there in your office, I bet you’ve got it.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
(Laughs)  Yeah, I do.  Indeed I have all of these.  Where I got all of these, and how it all began was in 1987.  I read Boyd Eaton’s New England Journal of Medicine paper.
Shelley Schlender:
That’s when you were 36 years old.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Yeah, I was like a lot of our CrossFit people, and I’m 62.  A lot of the younger folks that are doing Paleo it’s like, my world revolved around fitness and health and diet.  I was looking for a diet that could help me personally.  I hate to say it, I don’t have any ulterior motives to improve the world or this or that or whatever.  I was just looking for something that would help me out.
Shelley Schlender:
You were an athlete?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
I was an athlete in college.  I was a high jumper, of all things, at the University Nevada-Reno.  Then I was a lifeguard at a major open water beach at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor.  Diet and health and fitness, we were always interested in this stuff back in the day.
Shelley Schlender:
You know what, Loren Cordain, if I recall you haven’t always been a meat eater. There was a time where you actually were a vegan, and it didn’t work very well for you.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
You’re absolutely right Shelley.  Along with the evolution of this concept of Paleo was the evolution of Loren Cordain.  Having grown up in Southern California, we all thought that the healthiest diet in those days was a vegetarian plant-based diet.  Believe me, Shelley, I went through that phase of beans and brown rice.  I can tell you, it was some of the worst health phases of my entire life.  I’ve been a runner my entire life, and a swimmer as well.  I can’t tell you how much I was injured.  Continual injury and upper respiratory problems.  Seems like every winter I caught the flu or this, that, and the other.  Once I went Paleo it completely changed.
Shelley Schlender:
We know that there are people who are vegans and vegetarians and eat dairy and grains and they seem to do just fine.  The world may be a better place in terms of people’s health because for you that kind of eating didn’t seem to fit.  You started looking into it.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
I would never be one to say that one size fits all.  I think that that’s very important.  You and I will get into this in subsequent podcasts.  God, we’ve really hit a lot of topics we’ve got to cover.  Women’s reproductive health, vegan/vegetarianism.  In my new book The Paleo Answer I devote chapters to these.  If somebody wants to get a little bit ahead of the curve you can read that book, and we can talk about it.

Going back to my personal evolution on diet is I did read Boyd’s paper in 1987.  I thought it was the best idea I had ever heard.  What I did, Shelley, is I went out.  In those days we didn’t have the internet, or we had it but no one used it and it was something that was an obscure tool used by computer scientists.  I looked at all the references in this fantastic paper by Boyd Eaton.  I went down to our local library, Colorado State, and over the course of the next couple of weeks I xeroxed every single citation in that article. There was about 80 of them.  I got all of those papers, and I read all of those.  Guess what, everyone of those papers has a cite.

Shelley Schlender:
Dr. Loren Cordain:
20 or 30 or 40 or 50 citations.  I started getting those.  I started to see patterns develop.  I had these filing cabinets, and I had the file folders and so forth.  I ended up putting all of these articles in file folders.  I started to see patterns emerge.  Stone Age people didn’t consume dairy, they didn’t eat grains, they didn’t eat processed foods, they obviously didn’t eat sugars except for honey.  I pursued each and every one of these topics.  That’s kind of how the whole thing evolved, and that’s how I ultimately met Boyd Eaton.

Let’s just go back to that 1987 paper.  Let’s fast forward a little bit, and by 1991 I decided I’m going to do a modern day Paleo.  I’d just been recently married to my wife Lorrie.  She says let’s give it a shot, because she had also done the vegan/vegetarian thing like me.  We started including meat in our diet.  We cut all grains out and all dairy.  Low and behold I thought we’re going to have all kinds of health problems.  It was exactly the opposite.

Lorrie was a triathlete, her times improved.  I could train better than I ever could.  The lifeguard on the beach, my time’s improved for time paddle swims and runs that we did as these lifeguard activities.  It was absolutely wonderful.  I continued to read and read and read in the scientific literature.  Now I’d accumulated probably 10,000 papers, put them into my cabinets, and finally, guess what Shelley, I got up enough courage to call Boyd Eaton on the telephone in 1994.

Shelley Schlender:
Wow, okay.  Let’s do some math here.  You first read his paper in 1987?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Shelley Schlender:
When was it that you called him up?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
1994 is when I called Boyd.
Shelley Schlender:
Seven lucky years later you called up basically the god of Paleo science.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
He was my hero.  I couldn’t even believe it.  I’m talking to Boyd Eaton.  (Laughs)  He was my hero, because he had published a number of papers after the New England Journal paper, that followed up on his original idea.  Nobody in the world was listening to Boyd.  Or very few people were.
Shelley Schlender:
Was he someone who when you called him he said oh yes, you’re one of my underlings and all of this.  Or did he say finally there’s somebody who wants to know what I’m saying?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Are you kidding?  Boyd Eaton is a complete gentleman from the word go.  I have never met a kinder, nicer human being than Boyd Eaton.  We had the most wonderful conversation.  He actually is a radiologist in Atlanta.  He does a little bit of teaching in the anthropology department at Emory.
Shelley Schlender:
This is a side-interest for him.  He’s a world scholar in this, but he’s like a lot of other people who approach this by being just terribly curious about it.  He wanted to figure it out.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s right.  Boyd is Harvard trained, and just an incredible intellect.  He came up with this notion of Paleolithic nutrition, he must have been thinking about it for years, and he finally published it in this incredibly prestigious journal, the New England Journal.  What an intellect.  He’s not in a university or an academic environment, and he’s reading all these scientific papers.  He’s a radiologist.  You really have to hand it to Boyd for getting everything going.

Going back to that telephone call in 1994, we spoke for over an hour.  He’s a working radiologist, and I called him in the middle of his shift.  Instead of saying “Loren, I’ve got patients, I’ve got this blah blah blah,” we talked.  At the end of the telephone conversation he gave me, Shelley, probably the greatest compliment of my entire life.  He said it sounds to me like you know more about this than I do.  (Laughs)  I thought wow, that is so cool.

Anyway, I invited him to come up to CSU, and he ended up coming up to CSU I believe it was 1995.  Yes, it was in April.  That was the first time we met.  Boyd spoke in our department.  We hit it off.  We started publishing scientific papers together, in the mid to late 90s.
Shelley Schlender:
One thing that’s happened with your scientific papers, they’re at Colorado State University, this isn’t all just a matter of xerox papers and looking at the studies that other people haven’t noticed.  You had this thing called a laboratory.  You’ve actually been testing out some of the molecular ways that food works inside of people.  Also doing other things to not only look at what the history of Paleo has been, but what the physiology is inside of us today.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That’s right Shelley.  As I became more and more immersed in this field, my training is science, PhD in Health Sciences from the University of Utah, 1981.  I was trained in statistics, I was trained in research design, and trained in chemistry, biology, molecular medicine as it stood at the time.
Shelley Schlender:
Yes, those modern things.  Those things that aren’t Paleo, they’re called science.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Right.  What I did is instead of becoming an exercise physiologist for my career goal, I ended becoming an evolutionary nutritionist.  At the time, there was no such thing.  Boyd and me and a few others, Stefan Lindenberg at the University of Lund in Sweden.  We kind of were instrumental in creating this whole thing.

Going back to this historical thing, is that after I had connected with Boyd, Boyd said you got to connect with other folks.  He invited me to go to Greece with him to meet Armis Semopolis, who was running an international conference on diet and nutrition in Athens just before the Olympics.  I got to meet virtually anybody who was anyone in that two weeks in Greece.  Spent some very incredible, enjoyable time with Armis and many other nationally known nutritional scientists on a bus, and we toured the Peloponnese in Greece.  Armis is a wonderful woman.  She’s an MD from Greece.  Her area of interest is in omega-3 fatty acids, and she said Loren, this idea about cereal grains is great.  You need to publish this.  She was the editor of a scientific journal, and she agreed to do it.  That was really my first solo, major publication.

Shelley Schlender:
What was the name of that one?
Dr. Loren Cordain:
That was called “Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword”  All of the listeners, you can pull any of these articles up at my website as PDF files.  That’s what really got things going.  Then Shelley, there’s one other really important event that I think we ought to let the readers know about, so they can kind of understand the history of this Paleo Diet concept.

It really didn’t have a name.  It wasn’t called the Paleo Diet.  It wasn’t even called Paleo at the time.  The only real moniker that had been put on it was Boyd’s Paleolithic Nutrition from the New England Journal.  We really didn’t call it anything, we just looked at it as this idea.  By 1997 it had snowballed to the point where people wanted to talk to one another about it, but it was a very small community in 1997.  In those days we didn’t have blogs, we had something called a listserv.  You know what a listserv is, Shelley?

Shelley Schlender:
I think it has to do with the internet.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
It was kind of like this group of people that got together on the very, very beginnings of the internet, where people were actually using it.  There was a listserv devoted to Paleolithic diet symposium list.  Believe me, this is where it all started.  I actually have the entire thing recorded, so anybody who’s interested in it, I’ve got PDFs of very single submission from 97 until about 2002 or 3 or something.
Shelley Schlender:
That’d be like pulling up the tablets of Moses or something.  That’s a ways back there.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
It was really pretty cool. Then people started doing blogs, and it kind of fell away.  Everybody who was anybody interested in this Paleo concept was talking to one another on this listserv.  This is where I met everybody.  It was actually moderated, there was a guy named Dean Esmay who now has got all kinds of famous blogs and doing other things.  He was the moderator of it.  We had a wonderful time.  This is where I met some of the players that many of our readers will recognize.  This is where I met Art Devaney, Jennie Brand Miller from the University of Sydney, who has done all the great work on glycemic index and glycemic loads.  This is where I met Stefan Lindburg, this is where I met Mike and Mary Dan Eaves of Protein Power.  We all talked to one another.

Then, if we go from 1997 to 2000, we start to kind of come into the modern era, where we start getting close to where Paleo now is becoming … It wasn’t a household word by any means.

Shelley Schlender:
It wasn’t a household word, people were still stumbling on it in unexpected ways.  You ended up with a student there at Colorado State University whose name is Robb Wolf.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
You better believe it.  I think it was 2000, Rob might want to correct me on this.  Rob came down from Seattle, he was living in the Pacific northwest.  He had prior to that time all kinds of health problems, which he’s documented on his website.  He had done the vegan/vegetarian thing to the point where as he puts it it almost killed him.  He got online, and he found Art Devainy’s website, and he finally found my stuff.  He started to read, and then he changed his diet.  He went basically from full blown vegan/vegetarian to Paleo.
Shelley Schlender:
He went all the way from that beautiful west coast to Fort Collins, here in Colorado, just to be with you.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
I think that’s what it was all about.  He wanted to come down and study with the guy that was kind of at the center of this whole thing in that point in time [00:26:00], ten to fifteen years ago.  What a great, wonderful person to come down.  I remember him coming into my office, and we spoke for an hour or so.  I knew that this guy was right.  This guy was somebody that we really needed to get going here as an ally.  His objective at the time was to get a PhD from CSU in either biochemistry or physiology.  I can’t remember precisely.  Maybe it was nutrition, I don’t know.  Fort Collins didn’t work out for his girlfriend at the time, didn’t work out for him.  After a month or two he ended up moving on.  We still kept in contact.

Little did I realize, Robb would become one of the major players in this whole idea.  We finally reconnected in 2009, some nine years later, when Rob and I finally reconnected.  We’d been really close ever since.  That was wonderful to see that Rob, he’s one of the major players pushing this thing forward.

Shelley Schlender:
A lot of this, Loren, that you’re talking about, I think about Paleo communities at crossfit gyms, where people talk with each other and slowly build their networks enough to have the courage to try a new way to eat.  Find out that, for many of them, they feel better.  Or a mom at a school, where she’s worried about her child who’s always getting ear aches, and that mom starts talking with other people and networking and hearing something that’s not being discussed at the doctor’s office, which is to eliminate grains and dairy and see what happens.

It’s similar to the process that you went through to be a scientist looking at these things.  Your curiosity, your concerns for your own health, your desires to be the best athlete you could, and your desire to seek out these things in a scientific way.  It’s really fascinating how much they resonate with each other, the local experiences and what’s happening at the cutting edge of this.

Dr. Loren Cordain:
You’re actually right.  Many times people have health problems or the desire to be fitter, to train higher, or whatever, lose some weight.  They kind of come upon this.  What they find anecdotally is that this is a type of a diet and lifestyle that is therapeutic for many, many, almost all people seem to benefit from this.
Shelley Schlender:
You know what else is that there’s more to learn.  It’s not like everything that was said 50 years ago or 100 years ago or 20 years ago is staying cast in stone, because you guys are scientists.  I get to be a journalist here and ask you some hard questions.  It’s not as though everything is for sure, we’re still trying to figure these things out.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t have everything right when I wrote my first book in 2002.  We’re constantly refining these ideas.  The basic concept of the Paleo Diet, that humans are genetically adapted to eating the diet that their ancestors ate, that concept will never leave us.  That concept transcends not just humans but all organisms.  We occupy these ecologic niches, we do well when we emulate as humans the niche that we occupied for most of the time on our planet.
Shelley Schlender:
The fascinating part of this is that even though Paleo Diet makes sense, there’s more than one way that people ate way back when.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
You’re absolutely right Shelley, and I think that that’s kind of we’re finding is.  At the very beginning of this podcast I said one size does not fit all.  I still believe it.  Some people can do just fine with a little bit of dairy in their diets.  What I’ve built in to all of my books is what I call the 85-15 rule.  What that allows people to do is to go off Paleo a couple times a week, they want to go out and have a pizza and a beer with friends on a Saturday night.  Do it.  If that’s going to help you stay on it all week long.
Shelley Schlender:
For some people that helps them stay on it, but for other people they discover that they have genetic celiac disease, which means that they can’t have a piece of bread for six weeks unless they want to start ravaging their gut.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Shelley, you have hit the nail on the head.  What I found anecdotally from people all over the world, they say look Loren, I don’t want to do your 85-15 rule because if I go out and have a doughnut it makes me feel so bad for so long that I get it, I get the message that I don’t want to do it.
Shelley Schlender:
It shows that people have take their attention, and they have to look at this with their own observations to see how these pieces fit together for them.  Boy, I would love to talk with you more.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
We need to wind it up right now, and I think what better way to wind it up than back to the future.  Back to the future is wow.  This is 2013, welcome to the new year podcast listeners.  Paleo is now a household word known by millions.  It’s way bigger than Loren Cordain or Boyd Eaton or even Robb Wolf.  The whole world knows about it.  I just want to thank all of the podcast listeners, everybody that’s been involved in Paleo.  Scientists, lay people, and everyone.  Journalists, Shelley.  For promoting this idea.
Shelley Schlender:
You know what Loren?  Thank you for what you’ve done.  I can’t help it, I’m itching it hear what you say next.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
All right, well, the next podcast is going to be fun Shelley.  We hit on a bunch of topics that I think our listeners are going to be interested in.

That’s all for this edition of the Paleo Diet podcast.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Shelley Schlender:
Our theme music was written and produced by Chatmans Stick Soloist Bob Culbertson.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
Visit my website, thepaleodiet.com for the hot links to the experts and studies we talked about today.  If you want to send me questions or comments the place to go is thepaleodiet.com.
Shelley Schlender:
For The Paleo Diet Podcast I’m Shelley Schlender.
Dr. Loren Cordain:
I’m Loren Cordain.

Who I Am, and How I Can Help You Live Smarter

Welcome to my new column, “The Livable Lifestyle”. I’m here to tell you how you can live a Paleo lifestyle without cramping your existing style, so you can sleep sounder, exercise smarter, and most importantly, feel better on a daily basis.

I’m not someone who was born to innately embrace the Paleo lifestyle, and I bet you aren’t, either. I’ll start by telling you a little bit about my background, so you know my advice is coming from a nonjudgmental place where I truly understand the struggle to live better.

My Pre-Paleo Life

Before I even heard of the Paleo Diet, I was living a fast-paced, obliviously content life in New York City. I didn’t think much about my nutrition. I had no idea how to cook, and no reason to learn how to do it. Every morning before a long day of work at the office, I went to the same spot in midtown for my bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant. The grill guy knew my order by heart and would toss me my wax paper-wrapped breakfast sandwich over the heads of the other impatient New Yorkers waiting their turn for quick grub. Then I’d head up to my desk, where I sat hunched over a computer, trying to write reports while stressful emails from bosses and clients steadily streamed in.

I loved it and I hated it. In New York, I felt like all my needs were met without my ever needing to try—but it was also killing me. When I was hungry, I popped into a bodega for a quick snack that I’d eat while walking. My exercise was built into my commute, rushing past hoards of people on the stairs underground to make my subway. When I needed to vent my frustrations, there were more than enough bars to meet up with friends, and if I drank more pints of beer than usual, I could just stagger out into the street, stick out my hand to immediately hail a taxi, and have it drive me straight to my Brooklyn walk-up. (Ah, the days before Uber!)

As much as I loved those carefree days in my 20s, it was a lot harder on my body and mind than I ever realized. I spent much of my time sitting at a desk, eating $1 slices of pizza for lunch, soaked in unnecessary stress from a corporate job that didn’t suit me. I didn’t consider my lifestyle when I started taking Xanax to cope with the rising feeling of dread that I wanted to ignore. My life felt fun and fulfilling, and if that came at a price of unmanageable stress, I was willing to take that trade. Anything but move to the suburbs, buy a house, and be bored!

How I Found Paleo (by Accident)

If I’m being honest, I would have stuck with that unhealthy, fast-paced lifestyle forever—or until it caught up to me. But the truth is that it never did. Instead, I left New York of my own free will to support my husband as he pursued a Ph.D. in Washington. And when I say Washington, I do not mean Seattle. I mean the oft-forgotten, very rural Eastern part of the state that was only a jog (and yes, that means I eventually did learn to jog!) away from the Idaho state border.

I moved to the town of Pullman in the summer of 2013. All my creature comforts of New York gone, I slipped into a depression very quickly. I had no friends to catch up with, no fancy restaurants to visit for 16-course meals on the weekend, no subways to catch. My new life was forcing me to slow down. I didn’t love-hate it, like in New York. I truly detested it.

There were no marketing jobs in that small town, so I kicked the power-suit career and made minimum wage by pouring beers at a sports bar, answering the phone at a counseling center, and, very briefly, even working at the university veterinarian office to maintain a spreadsheet about which local cows from which local farms had mastitis. (I did mention I was living near Idaho, yes?)

Feeling terribly unhappy and sorry for myself, I went to the local library one day in search of some cheering up and found myself picking up “Practical Paleo” on a complete whim. I’m not sure why, but I checked it out and brought it home with me. I think it had something to do with the dessert recipes in the back that I could actually make with my limited cooking skills. No-bake coconut oil melt-aways? Sign me up.

The thing that really intrigued me about these new Paleo ideals was that it challenged so much of what I thought I knew about nutrition and took for granted. Wait, oatmeal was off-limits? But steel-cut oats was one of the few “healthy” breakfasts I’d learned how to make by heart—my mantra of “2 cups of water, half a cup of oatmeal” ringing through my head as I turned on the stove-top each morning.

And no grains are allowed? Isn’t that the whole base of the food pyramid?

In my New York days, I probably would have put the book down and forgotten all about it. But in this new rural life where everything was upside down anyway, suddenly these contradictions made sense to me. Maybe everything I thought I knew was wrong.

All of a Sudden, Paleo Was My New Career

My unfulfilling jobs serving drinks to alcoholics and answering calls from meth addicts at the counseling center seemed hopeless and pointless at the time, but it guided me towards where I wanted to go—a place yearning for mental clarity and physical healing.

I spent my lonely time looking for side jobs where I could start writing again—about anything. A few weeks after I picked up “Practical Paleo,” I saw a posting from PaleoHacks.com looking for contract writers, and I confidently applied with my scant new knowledge about the diet under my belt. I got the job immediately.

So, in my spare time, I wrote recipe compilations, lifestyle articles, and tested Paleo products. After a year of putting in my dues researching Paleo ingredients and the science behind it, they hired me on as a full-time remote employee, saving me from those back-aching hours on my feet at the sports bar. Eventually, I became the editor, and I was the one creating new Paleo content, setting deadlines for the writers and managing the whole blog.

How I Tweaked the Paleo Ideas to Work for Me

If I told you that I went 100 percent Paleo the day my health career took off, I would be lying. I don’t eat bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches every day anymore, but the way I’ve approached my mental and physical health has switched dramatically.

For me, a lot of it is just being aware. I’m not scarfing down greasy food and multiple cups of coffee while I work through my lunch hour. I take the time to cook healthy food on Sundays so I always have something nourishing on hand. I clear my evening schedule twice a week to go to yoga class. I’m mindful about my stress levels and take my dog for long walks instead of saddling up at the bar until the room feels tipsy. I use an app on my phone that tracks my sleep quality, and I make it a priority to get at least eight solid hours every night.

When I need a good reset, I jump into 30-day Paleo challenges and kick sugar, grains, and dairy for a full month. I’ve met some inspirational women that can “Paleo” way better than I ever could, and they’ve compiled impressive meal plans that make sticking to a short-term goal easy and accessible.

I’m not a fitness fanatic or a diet guru, and I’m not planning on becoming one. But over the last few years, I’ve learned lots of tricks about how to maintain balance in my life, and I’m excited to share my tips with you in the coming editions of “Lifestyle Lauren.”

In Health, Happiness & Mental Hygiene,


Dr. Cordain did an interview answering ten questions about the basics of The Paleo Diet®. To start your New Years out right, we wanted to share his answers with you. We hope you enjoy!
– The Paleo Diet Team

1. The Paleo diet can be traced to a 1975 book by Walter Voegtlin, but, correct me if I’m wrong, you are responsible for bringing this diet to popularity in your 2002 book “The Paleo Diet.” Can you tell me about your research journey as a professor and what lead you to writing this book?

I have written a blog post on my website (www.thepaleodiet.com) outlining the beginnings of the contemporary Paleo Diet movement and my involvement in it at the early stages before the concept became commonly known.

Although the 1975 book by Walter Voegtlin is frequently claimed by many in the Paleo community to be the seminal book that was the birth of the Paleo Diet idea, a number of important, and more relevant books were written earlier and later to which the Paleo Diet movement can be traced, including:


  1. Price WA. Nutrition and physical degeneration; a comparison of primitive and modern diets and their effects. P.B. Hoeber, Inc., New York, 1939.
  2. DeVries, A. Primitive Man and His Food. Chicago, Chandler Book Company, 1952.
  3. Eaton SB, Shostak M, Konner M. The Paleolithic Prescription. New York, Harper & Row, 1988.

Additionally, a number of key early scientific papers were responsible for today’s Paleo Diet notoriety, including:

Scientific papers:

  1. Shatin R. The transition from food-gathering to food-production in evolution and disease. Vitalstoffe Zivilisationskrankheitein 1967;12:104-107.
  2. Yudkin, J.  Archaeology and the nutritionist. In: The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals, PJ Ucko, GW Dimbleby (Eds.), Chicago, Aldine Publishing Co, 1969, pp. 547-552.
  3. Truswell AS. Human Nutritional Problems at Four Stages of Technical Development. Reprint. Queen Elizabeth College (University of London), Inaugural Lecture, May, 1972.
  4. Abrams, HL.  The relevance of Paleolithic diet in determining contemporary nutritional needs. J Applied Nutr 1979;31: 43-59.
  5. Eaton SB, Konner M. Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications. N Engl J Med 1985;312:283-9.

My book “The Paleo Diet” was published in 2002, and I may have coined the term “Paleo Diet”.  However, the concept is certainly not mine, but rather came as a result of numerous scientific writers before me.

2. How would you describe the Paleo Diet to a beginner?

The essence of the idea is to emulate the nutritional characteristics of our hunter gatherer ancestors with contemporary foods and food groups generally found in supermarkets, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.

3. For those unfamiliar with the Paleo Diet, where is the best place to begin?

I suggest visiting my website and read many of the beginner articles, including What To Eat on a Paleo Diet.

4. Some say the Paleo Diet as an ‘extreme’ high-protein, low-carb, fad diet. I know how I would respond to these people. But, I’d like to know how you would respond to these people?

My colleague Boyd Eaton, who generally is considered to be the father of the contemporary Paleo Diet movement, once said, “If this is a fad diet, then it is humanity’s oldest fad diet, because it is about 2 million years old.”

It is true that The Paleo Diet is a high protein diet compared to the standard American diet, but this is not a bad thing, as higher protein diets have been clinically shown to suppress hunger, increase metabolism and be more effective in reducing body weight than low fat, high carb diets. Additionally in randomized controlled human trials, higher protein improves blood lipids, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk for the metabolic syndrome.

5. There are several ‘versions’ of the Paleo Diet. This can be confusing. Which version of the Paleo Diet is the ‘right’ version?

Any contemporary version of The Paleo Diet which discourages salt consumption is probably pretty close to being accurate.  As far as I know, none of the charismatic bloggers or popular Paleo Diet Recipe book authors prohibit added salt. Many advocate regular consumption of honey, dairy, and legumes.  These “versions” of the Paleo Diet drift quite far from the original scientists who analyzed the nutritional characteristics of hunter gatherers and determined the range of foods that they consumed, and those in contemporary societies which mimic these foods.

6. What are the most significant health benefits that may occur with the Paleo Diet?

Improved health in almost every regard.  One of the first parameters people accustomed to eating the typical U.S. diet is improved energy levels throughout the day.  Improved blood lipids can occur with days to a week. Sleep is better, particularly when salt and alcohol are reduced. Over the long haul, weight is normalized, and many illness and disease symptoms are ameliorated or improved.

7. A lot of social media followers wanted me to ask you your thoughts on the ketogenic diet. I know this is a diet that has skyrocketed in popularity. As a research professor who I admire and respect, what are your thoughts on the Ketogenic Diet and the differences between the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet.

The ketogenic diet has been with us in one form or another since Dr. Atkins first wrote about it in 1972.  For most people to enter a ketogenic metabolic state, they must consistently eat 50 grams of carbohydrate a day.  This diet may be helpful in the short term for losing weight or for certain people with epilepsy. By restricting healthful fruits and vegetables, the primary source of carbohydrates in The Paleo Diet, your diet will become net acid producing, rather than net alkaline producing which promotes bone loss and osteoporosis over extended periods.

8. How can the Paleo diet affect your skin?

For people with acne, diets similar to the Paleo Diet (high protein, low glycemic load, free of dairy) have been clinically proven to improve symptoms.

9. How do you feel about elimination diets such as the Whole30?

I was not familiar with this diet until you mentioned it.  From a brief on-line search, I see that it looks remarkably similar to The Paleo Diet, so my initial response would be to be supportive.

10. More and more research is showing the negative effects of sugar. Some argue that sugar derived from fruit, ‘natural sugar,’ is processed by our bodies and affects us differently than refined sugar. Is this true? I feel that there is a lot of misinformation out there on this topic.

At my website, I have an area showing the sugar concentration of fresh fruits compared to refined sugar products.  As you can see, fresh fruits contain considerably less sugar than sweet, processed foods. Additionally, the glycemic (blood glucose) response to most fruits is generally quite low.   Very obese or diabetic subjects should reduce consumption of high sugar fruits but shouldn’t restrict low sugar fruits.


When it comes to living a Paleo lifestyle, effectively preparing meals is one of the critical factors in your success. One of the most common reasons many of us fail to execute on a healthier lifestyle is we remove all of the unhealthy recipes from our diet and forget to add in the healthy ones. As a result, we eat the same meals over and over again, getting sick of what we are eating, until finally our cravings get the best of us and we go back to our unhealthy ways.

This year we’ve got you covered. We decided that the best way we could help is by selecting what we feel are the 20 best Paleo Recipes for 2020. In this digest we’ve featured everything from breakfast, to dinner, to dessert recipes that will have you covered for all parts of the day.

For those who are new to The Paleo Diet, use this list to add a new recipe to your cookbook for every unhealthy one you’ve had to remove. And for those of you who are back for another year of good health, look to this list the next time you feel you’ve used the same recipe just one too many times!

Paleo French Poulet Skillet

Cooked chicken is convenient to have in the refrigerator for a quick protein-rich breakfast. Whether it’s from leftover roast chicken with saffron and lemon or simply from baked chicken you make specifically to use in dishes such as this one, it’s great to have on hand.

Find The Recipe Here


Paleo Breakfast Casserole

The most important meal of the day is the most delicious meal of the day with this Paleo dish. The combination of meats, eggs, veggies, and spices will wake up your taste buds and keep you energized throughout the busy morning hours. This casserole is so impressive that it can be prepared for special occasions as well as casual get togethers. Best of all, it’s perfectly Paleo!

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Paleo Bring-It-On Beef Stew

Winter days are upon us and this hearty beef stew is the perfect Paleo comfort food. It’s packed with nutrients. You can easily double the recipe, and then have it for lunch or a quick dinner the next day.

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Paleo Slow Cooker Meatballs & Marinara

A favorite dish at The Paleo Diet® is this slow-cooked creation of meatballs with marinara sauce. Pair with your favorite Paleo veggie noodles or a fresh salad and you’ve got a nutritious and delicious meal to be enjoyed by all. Leftovers can be served with eggs at breakfast, taken for a midday lunch on a busy workday, or heated up the next evening for dinner. Better make double!

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Paleo Peach Cobbler

Paleo Peach Cobbler Ready To Eat

Unfortunately it’s hard to find peaches all year round, but at The Paleo Diet®, we count the days until this incredible treat begins showing up at our local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. The taste difference between peaches that have been sitting in cold storage waiting to be ripened and the just-picked ripe and ready fruits makes the waiting and anticipation well worth it. Once fresh peaches arrive, it’s important to eat them within a day or two. Our team loves to top off our dinner menu with this delectable treat. The best part is that it’s fast and easy to prepare, so no long hours sweating away in the kitchen.

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Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Gremolata

Beef Tenderloin with Gremolata

In the mood for Italian food over the holidays, but want to avoid the traditional pasta laden dishes? This dish is pure Paleo and will satisfy your cravings for the taste of Italy. The blending of fresh herbs and spices, with the flavors of the tenderloin steaks, pairs well with a green salad and seasonal fruit of your choice. Salute!

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Ultimate Antioxidant Paleo Breakfast Bowl

At farmers markets, you can speak directly with farmers and understand their philosophies regarding pesticides. Sometimes you’ll meet farmers committed to minimizing pesticides, natural or otherwise, and others whose products aren’t necessarily USDA Certified Organic, but nevertheless are high quality.

The following recipe features many antioxidant powerhouses, including cloves, the number one dietary source of polyphenols (the most common type of antioxidant). Yes, you can eat cloves! Soften them and they’re delicious. Berries, plums, almonds, mint (especially peppermint), and cacao are also exceptionally potent sources of antioxidants.

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Paleo Banana Pancakes

Substituting non-Paleo favorites is always tricky, but Banana Pancakes are one of my favorite things to eat! You can also do this with a grated apple too. Enjoy and look forward to breakfast the Paleo way as much as I do!

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Pan Seared Cod With Tomato Basil Sauce

Fresh, wild-caught cod fillets are a favorite at The Paleo Diet. The mild white meat of this ocean fish, conveys a delicate taste of Italy when cooked with this delicious sauce. Pair with fresh greens and a side of grapes for a delightful summer meal.

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Sheet Pan Flank Steak with Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato

Get ready to indulge your taste buds with this protein and nutrient packed meal. The natural color combinations alone, make this a dish with an impressive presentation you will be proud to put on your dining table. If you are looking for a complete Paleo meal, this recipe does the job with the perfect combination of protein, greens, and carbs. Enjoy!

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Chicken and Mushroom Ramen Soup

Since January is National Soup Month we are celebrating with this mouthwatering recipe from our cookbook, Real Paleo Fast & Easy. This warming, aromatic bowl of goodness proves that even Paleo enthusiasts can enjoy a big soupy bowl of Asian-style noodles. This noodle bowl is so fresh and delicious, you won’t miss the grain-based variety a bit.

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Paleo Chicken Fajita Bowl with Cauliflower Rice

When it comes to chicken, the preparation options and flavor combinations are endless. Meals served as “bowls” are popular choices in many restaurants as they are quick and convenient and can be a complete meal all-in-one dish. The combination of flavors in this Paleo dish will wake up your taste buds in no time. Take it with you to work or school for a delicious lunch time treat!

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Paleo Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread is a favorite of the holiday season. But rather than reaching for a typical gingerbread cookie, made with floursugar, and vegetable oil, you should try our Paleo gingerbread cookies instead. This wholesome Paleo snack is sure favorite whether you’re hosting or going to a holiday party.

Click Here To Learn How To Make Them!


Slow Cooked Paleo Pork Ribs and Roots

Slow Cooked Paleo Pork Ribs and Roots

Paleo pork ribs, cooked slowly to perfection, are truly one of the most delicious foods out there. For too long, however, they’ve unrightfully demonized as an unhealthy food. Because they contain saturated fat, many institutions are still advancing the outdated and disproven theory that saturated fat increases your risk for heart disease.

Try our Slow Cooked Paleo Pork Ribs and Roots recipe, paired with a fresh garden salad, for a delicious, nutritious, complete Paleo meal.

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Paleo Jerk Chicken

Paleo Jerk Chicken | The Paleo Diet

Special thanks and congratulations to Alison Rost, The Paleo Diet Recipe Contest Winner!

Paleo jerk chicken adds a punch of fragrant and fiery spices for added kick to your menu. This recipe makes for a perfect snack or can be used to put on top of a delicious stir-fry or salad!

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Paleo Kale Cucumber Smoothie

Spicy Kale and Cucumber Smoothie

Smoothies have become a popular drink across all generations, and we are often asked if these concoctions adhere to The Paleo Diet ingredient guidelines. Learning how to check the ingredients before imbibing is key, and of course making your own is the most fool proof way to ensure your smoothie is fully Paleo.

There’s really nothing complicated about it and the results are a delicious and nutritious treat to satisfy your hunger without sacrificing your health. This original recipe from our team is packed with flavor and nutritious ingredients. From prep to done, it takes about five minutes. Just throw the ingredients in your blender and power it up!

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Vegetable Coconut Curry

If you’ve been craving some international flavor in your dining adventures, look no further than this amazing dish.  The cooking aromas alone will have you planning your next trip to Marrakesh!  We don’t think we could pack more nutritional benefits into one dish with its spices and endless bounty of veggies.  Our Paleo warriors like to serve this one up as an all-in-one meal in a bowl.  Simple and Delicious!

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Salmon With Cilantro Pine Nut Sauce and Creamy Zoodles

Omega–3s anyone?  We are fortunate to be living in a time when fresh, wild salmon is fairly easy to find at your local market.  This delicious fish is certainly a Paleo Diet favorite due to the versatility in preparing it and the mild flavor.  The high Omega–3 content can’t be beat when you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  This simple to prepare dish paired with its sidekick, Creamy Zoodles, will impress everyone around your table.

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Lamb Chops With Paleo Pesto Sauce

Lamb Chops with Paleo Pesto

At The Paleo Diet, our team loves to experiment with a variety of recipes and methods for cooking lamb, one of our favorite meats.  Typically, less is better when choosing spices and ingredients as lamb is best when its prepared simply.  This lamb chop recipe is a great example of minimum spice resulting in maximum flavor.  This is the perfect dish to serve up at the end of your active day.

Discover How To Make The Recipe Here!


Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Peppers

Searching for an easy veggie dish to pair with your Paleo protein? Look no further. This tasty and quick cauliflower recipe is the answer. With just a few fresh ingredients, and minutes to prep, you will soon be adding this side dish to your list of favorites. Serve it up with chicken, fish, pork, beef, or any other protein. At The Paleo Diet we love the versatility of this delicious and nutritious recipe. Enjoy!

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It’s a new year and that means the time for making healthy lifestyle changes is upon us.  Whether you are new to The Paleo Diet®, a long time faithful follower, or somewhere in between, we’ve put together some delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner to help you start this year off right.  Whatever your resolutions, the Paleo lifestyle is a proven way to reach your goals and stay committed.  So, let’s get cooking!

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.04.30 AMChampion’s Breakfast

Start your day off right with this healthy combination of Omega-3 eggs, veggies, and fruit.  This delicious meal is packed with protein and vitamin-rich nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the morning.  You’ll feel like a winner after starting your day off with the breakfast of Paleo champions!


  • 2 free-range organic chicken eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green onion, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup each fresh kale and chard leaves
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

Poach eggs in nonstick egg poacher until desired firmness is reached. While eggs are cooking use a separate, nonstick fry pan to heat olive oil on medium flame.  Add carrots and sauté about 5 minutes.  Toss in spinach and kale leaves and sprinkle with pepper and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer greens and carrots to plate and top with poached eggs.  Pair with your favorite fresh seasonal fruit and herbal tea for the perfect Paleo combo.  Enjoy!


Power Lunch

Lunchtime can be a challenge for those of us whose workday is hectic and busy, but midday is an essential time to stop and refuel.  This nutrient packed salad will give your energy a boost and keep you from hitting that afternoon slump. Pack the chicken separate from the greens and combine them when you are ready to eat.  


  • 1 cup precooked chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ slice of a bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Omega 3 Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Paleo Smoky Seasoning
  • 2 cups fresh salad greens or butter lettuce.

In small bowl, combine chicken, celery, onion, and pepper. Mix with mayonnaise until well blended.  Sprinkle the mixture with seasoning until evenly distributed.  Store in refrigerator until ready to eat.  Serve on a bed of greens or wrap it in large butter lettuce leaves for a Paleo style wrap.  Add your favorite fresh fruit for an easy and complete meal.


Super Supper

At the end of the day, sitting down to this nutritious meal is the perfect way to wind down your evening.  Wild salmon is a Paleo fan favorite and simple to prepare. This recipe comes from one of our cookbooks: Real Paleo Fast and Easy.  Pair it with your preferred salad, steamed veggies, and fresh seasonal fruit for a satiating feast.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons Smokey Seasoning (recipe below)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 5- to 6-ounce package pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup packaged shredded fresh carrots
  • 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Searing the salmon at high heat gives it a beautiful crust on the outside. A quick turn in the oven finishes it off so it remains moist and buttery-textured inside. Buying the pomegranate seeds, or arils, already taken out of the fruit saves time and mess.

Preheat oven to 400®F. Rinse fish, pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salmon with Smokey Seasoning; rub into fish with your fingers.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add salmon to skillet, cook about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once halfway through cooking. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven. Roast about 10 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, for relish, in a medium bowl combine pomegranate seeds, parsley, carrots, shallot, orange juice, vinegar, pepper, and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss to coat. Service with salmon.


Smoky Seasoning

(Real Paleo Fast & Easy p. 296)

  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons dried orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

In a small bowl combine smoked paprika, orange peel, garlic powder, onion powder, cloves, and dried basil.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 6 months.  Stir or shake before using. Makes about ½ cup.

If you enjoyed these recipes and would like to find more like them, check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook on our website!

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