Episode-800- Robb Wolf on Paleo Nutrition and Permaculture — 48 Comments

  1. Jack:
    This is an awesome early Christmas present for me. To have an hour+ long podcast with 2 guys who have changed my life so much in the past 2 years is making me do a happy dance at my standing desk! 🙂
    Thanks for all you do,

  2. For anyone who has trouble embracing the concept of evolution via natural selection: Evolution and your religious beliefs can co-exist, if only you let them. Just think of evolution as a basis for approaching biological questions (e.g. how come this animal looks different from it’s cousin two states over?), and religion as a basis for the principles by which we live our lives. Both are useful and very effective at doing different jobs – they need not conflict.

    • @Norcal Mike, man brother I hope a lot of folks read that before commenting on the subject. Well put!

    • Evolution and religion need not conflict — except when they do. For instance, there are many opportunities, concerning “the principles by which we live our lives,” for the two realms to make starkly different claims on our beliefs, loyalties, and practices. But is it possible for one’s biological and religious commitments to coincide? Definitely. Much evidence, however, as to how these realms do not correlate, for many.

    • From one former fundamentalist Christian to another, if you try to take the Genesis story of creation literally, you end up turning it on it’s head. Not to mention that if you truly believe in an infinite God as I do, you have to realize that He’s also infinitely creative. To say that He stopped creating after 6 days really is disrespectful.

      Ok, I’ll stop talking religion now.

    • Or as my biology professor (at a religious college) put it, “If you want to have any tortured discussions on the origin of life aside from evolution, go to the Abbey. This is a science classroom. That said…”

  3. oh just forget Dr. Oz he is a idiot as so many Drs. are. He is there for one reason and one reason only to make money by keeping his sponsors happy. Come on they all tell you you need to have check ups to keep you healthy. I call BS on that. How in hell is being poked and prodded in every orifice going to keep me healthy? They are on a mining expedition and if they are lucky they hit the mother load cancer. Try to talk them about real health and they say well you could try it but if you really want to lower your cholesterol you need this pill. I even had a Dr tell me once that since I am a woman I need extra calcium so I should eat 4-5 tums a day. I said what about eating broccoli nuts or fish. The response was same old same old oh that wont work Tums is better. Oh I could so go on and on about all that bull but I will choose to forgo that.

    I haven’t flipped the switch to 100% Paleo yet about 75% 60% of the time. Even that much or little however you want to look at it is great. I know I am not getting the full benefits and maybe I don’t realize how much better I am feeling. But man do I feel like crap if I load up on bread or have noodles for lunch. I think it is normal for people to not realize they are feeling better as the changes happen. It’s more of a memory of how bad I felt. I don’t see myself loosing inches (I very seldom weigh myself) but as my pants are getting looser or I can bend over to pick something up and it hits me hey 2 weeks ago I couldn’t have done that. Then wow I wonder if my smaller pants will fit now. Why yes they did! Then I remembered this time last year you were taking 2-3 naps a day and now not even one. I suggest to any one go head go head try it you might like it.

    Please Jack you just gotta have him back on. Thank you so much for this last week it has been perfect for me!

    • I’m about 80% paleo right now and have stopped taking my cholesterol meds. I’m active and even enoy Red wine or light beer. If i feel I need more carbs I will have a grapfruit or other fruit but I limit those.

    • @Robb Wolf, the honor was mine man. Sent you some stuff just tell me when you want me and I will be there. When Dorothy and I lift a Nor Cal Margarita tonight over a plate of home grown veg and some really nicely marbled rib-eye, we will do a toast in honor of you and your book.

  4. I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I read The Paleo Solution 3 weeks ago (right after reading Dr. Ellis’ Glycation Factor), and it has to be nearly the best most important book I’ve ever read (not including Bible). Its been 3 weeks so far with a couple of cheats but I feel much better, 3.5 inches effortlessly disappeared from my waist (1″ more to go before I’m at optimum circumference), and many chronic conditions are greatly improving. I love cooking all this non-processed delicious food and feeling good afterwards. I even skipped breakfast this morning and feel FINE… I would normally have been going nuts if I tried that while high-carb.

    Jack, thanks very much for bringing up paleo eating, which I had never heard of before, and the terrific guests you are bringing on the show.

  5. I love to see two seemingly-different paths intersecting the way they did on today’s show. There are a lot of survivalists/preppers who’d never heard of low-carb/Paleo, and there are a lot of low-carbers/Paleo folks who’d never given a second thought to prepping. I couldn’t be more thrilled by today’s show, and I’m looking forward to another duo of awesomeness on Robb’s show. 🙂 Great work, guys!

  6. This was a great episode! I find it awesome that many of my formerly niche interests are converging. I’m also glad theres a way to communicate with others like me.

    Thanks Jack & Robb!

  7. Of course this deals with survival when you consider the fact that “You are what you eat”. And you can be killing yourself if you eat too much of the wrong stuff.

    I have to say, if it wasn’t for Jacob Fisker from Early Retirement Extreme I never would have found either of you guys. I learned about the Paleo diet on his forums about a year ago, and started delving into permaculture a few months ago from a post Jacob had on his site.

    I just love how this all interconnects and I just want to say keep on bringing in people who can help us improve our lives. All the interviews are much appreciated by me.

    Cause after all, you are simply helping us to live the life we want to live.


  8. Pingback:Permaculture Plus Paleo Diet = Greatness | Jeremy M. Day

  9. Alrighty then, there’s no way to say this without sounding like a sappy twit, but today’s podcast was with two people who radically changed, probably even saved, my life – Robb Wolf & Jack Spirko (not necessarily in that order). I was a half-assed prepper before Jack and a half-dead old crone before Robb. I’m now pretty set with my preps and also feel I could kick the ass of anyone trying to take ’em. You guys are my heros and if that’s too sappy for you, deal with it.

  10. Thanks for bringing Robb onto to the show.

    I got into the Paleo way of eating about 10 months ago to help put on (normalize) my weight and reduce my body fat percentage. An unexpected benefit of eating this way was the reduction, and subsequent elimination, of the migraines I use to get. I’ve now been migraine free for 6 months – this after having suffered migraines (about) once every 2-4 weeks.

    The only, minor, problem I found with the diet was a period of about 2 weeks during the first month when my energy level plummeted whilst adjusting to the new diet. After this two period it was all increasing gains in stamina, strength and general health.

  11. amazing podcast!

    sidenote – I was kinda – very drunk and I posted in another podcast link. apologies 😀

    I first heard about Robb Wolf on Superhumanradio. very familiar with him.

    I feel so happy you introduced him my fellow TSP listeners.

    I know Jack just wanted to get the paleo diet basics out no offence from the horses mouth. Maybe in the next podcast you two can go deeper on the things you refrained from talking about in this podcast.


  12. There are some interesting things here and much I agree with .. but here is my take from many various books and how I try to live my life and what I have observed.

    You need protein because your cells break down. However your cells tend to break down due to in large part from physical or psychological stress. How much stress you experience can depends on your lifestyle as well as possible cultural factors such as you can’t find a decent job where the boss or coworkers don’t cause you too much stress.

    There are vegetable sources of protein, but there is not enough demand to create a truly wide range of places where really healthy vegetarian food is available or for chiefs to create such healthy dishes or investigate the cultures of the east to bring them out. Society is not interested in bringing out more varieties of plant foods as we are stuck on monoculture as everyone is aware of obviously on TSP.

    As far as vegan and all that, I have no idea because none of that ever made any sense to me and I have never looked into it despite that my diet tends to be heavily vegetarian, though not strictly.

    Some people say don’t like to eat Asian or veggie food because it doesn’t fill them up or they say it makes them have to go to the bathroom. Obviously everyone is different and some bowel conditions are undesirable, but your body needs to detoxify which excreting waste is part of that. Despite that having to go to the bathroom may be inconvenient I think it is healthy if you have to go even 2 or 3 times a day sometimes but I have heard that at least once a day. If you have too much stuff in your intestines that is not coming out, this can result in disease.

    The Elephant is an example of the very many large animals of the world that are either herbivores or omnivore. On the African plains, there are huge herds of wildebeasts and other plant eaters who vastly outnumber the lions and others meat eaters.

    You need carbs as a source of fuel, but if you are not hungry or haven’t burned alot of calories, there is no reason you have to eat alot of carbs and not eating alot of carbs doesn’t mean you need to eat meat instead. If you are not hungry, you can eat lightly or skip a meal altogether. Maybe you ate too much the day before or whatever it may be. When you do eat, just try to eat healthy.

    I have heard alot of red meat may be associated with higher cancer incidence

    Muscle mass seems to have a sort of sex appeal with women, but the old school martial arts are probably the most effective self defense and ways to stay healthy. In kung fu, it is considered undesirable most of the time to raise a sweat. You need some amount of exercise, but according to Chineese and Vedic medicine, too much exercise may shorten your natural lifestyle and cause your joints and body to burn out. I suspect this is probably born out with a number of professional athletes.

    The chimp not only has a smaller brain and bigger stomach, but I have heard has a much greater athletic ability than man.

    It seems like many native American cultures ate meat, but also quite alot of plants. If early white people where shorter, could this have also been caused by the hard life of early pioneers or the recent dark ages of Europe ?

    Evolutionary biology is built on some hard facts and alot of subjective theoretical stuff and inductive reasoning. According to Yoganda, inductive reasoning goes like: one crow is black, two crows are black, therefore all crows are black .. but this is wrong because there are white crows in Australia.

    The same thing in climate science is seen in other areas and in archeology I am told as well. When the dig up something that doesn’t fit their model, they classify it as “an anomaly” and I guess there are alot of those. So the argument goes that we have lots of knowledge and the best rational explanation out there.

    In the area of conventional Egyptology some seem to saying there are too many unanswered questions and flaws; That the Pyramids are 12,000 years old and the Sphynx is older than that. There are many other stone structures in parts of the world where these “hunter gatherer cave men” moved stones that weighed 200 tons into places that modern machinery can’t do apparently or that where cut to precision that would need lazers or diamond saws.

  13. It’s like Christmas in July, except it’s December, so it’s like Christmas for real!
    There is a Santa Claus!

    But seriously- Awesome episode Jack!

    Thanks Robb for all that you do.

    Today I am pleased. This won’t last long, so keep up the inspiring kick ass work men.

  14. I’m new around here, coming in after Robb mentioned the podcast on Facebook. Lots of common-ground potential here. We have several chickens as a result of going Paleo. I didn’t really consider them as preps (which I had dabbled with in a very embarrassing, half-assed way a few years back), but I do now. Judging by the comments you’ve received, Jack, it seems like you didn’t need to lay on the “please hear me out” stuff quite so thick at the beginning. I’d say that’s pretty cool. If you really did go out on a limb by having Robb on, then thanks for taking the risk. I’m looking forward to learning more about permaculture as I poke around your site and podcasts.

  15. Below is an link to an episode of another podcast that I listen to that dovetails with TSP’s 800th episode on the Paleo diet with Robb Wolf. Talk about synchronicity!! This is all new information for me and I am completely rethinking my diet in relation to some health issues I have been having. This information comes at the right time. It just amazing how all this is fitting together.

  16. I listened. It’s interesting and I might make some changes. been trying to eat healthier. The few concerns I have are the depth of credentials -a BS degree and a few years working as a research assistant isn’t a great resume. Add to this a dramatic “almost killed me” anecdotal account of vegetarian/vegan diets for someone with a rare gluten/legume disease. this doesn’t apply to most people.
    I want to like the guy, but support your ideas without just slamming every other other idea and you’ll get more respect.
    I disagree with the try it for 30 days idea. I think you need to try something longer than that- 90 days or more – any diet will have you lose weight in 30 days just because you are new and adjusting to it
    I will second the requests to get back on track with survival topics. This show is starting to get a marketing theme to it lately with jack as the salesman. I like the show a LOT! Please just tone down the pumping products and books stuff a little bit.

    • @Rich Fairfield you are entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to keep doing things the way I have for 800+ episodes. There was NO MARKETING here we mentioned Robb’s site ONE TIME at the end.

    • @ Rich – I can kinda see what you mean about the marketing feel or sales pitch sometimes, but I think it’s more that Jack is just passionate and excited about some of this stuff. I think He’s the real deal – or I hope he is and would be really disappointed if the motivations are monetary and not from the heart.
      @ Jack – I eat vegan, but I still listen and enjoy the show. I roll my eyes a lot, but different strokes for different folks. It would be nice if you could be less abrasive with your comments sometimes because you come across as angry toward vegetarians and I don’t know what that stems from. I’m not your typical vegan, I’m not a hippie, do gooder liberal socialist minded hand wringer. I’m a conservative libertarian preparedness and self-sufficiency minded gun enthusiast that happens to not want to eat animals. I fail to see how that could bother someone else.

      • @MikeZ, dude I appreciate your view and even thank you for it but on the abrasive issue, sorry dude that is the way it is. I personally feel at this point wheat is POISON, I also don’t get the vegan thing (as opposed to the vegetarian thing) that doesn’t mean I don’t respect you. I speak passionately as you state, I also notice it only seems to rub people the wrong way on the subjects they disagree with.

        • Maybe you should have someone like MikeZ on your show (at least for a small segment) to explain why he is vegan so you get him. If not that, maybe you could have a phone conversation with him. Better yet, you could get Helen Atthowe (Paul Wheaton’s friend) on to discuss her permie methods ( and also ask her why she is vegan. You can get something without agreeing with it. Paul Wheaton gets it but he doesn’t agree with it. I am not a vegan (I do eat very little meat though) but I get them.

        • @TimE, and what purpose would it serve. I know why vegans are vegans. Because they BELIEVE in it. It is a faith thing. The science and historical records both don’t check out. They also BELIEVE it is sustainable which also doesn’t check out. Helen is a good gal, she is smart about soils but she honestly jades me just by speaking, listening to her talk about being a vegan would be like listening Freddy Kruger scratch a black board.

          I respect vegans but I am not interested in listening to them explain why they are vegans. It serves no purpose. Now if you can tell me to what end this would be for, perhaps I could consider it but it if it is “to understand their view” it ain’t going to be enough. I do understand their view, it is literally who they are, it is a faith. Nothing about being a vegan is even remotely rational.

          Not eating factory meat, THAT understand and respect.

          Being a vegetarian, I disagree with but fine, it isn’t totally irrational behavior. Some people just don’t want to be part of an animals death. This I understand, you are not killing a chicken when you eat its egg, specifically a sterile one. Not killing a cow when you drink its milk, not harming a goat when you eat cheese, etc. To me veganism is completely irrational, it is misguided belief and misguided faith. It serves no purpose either for the environment or for health. There are so many health concerns that go away the second you add some cheese and eggs, etc.

        • It wouldn’t let me reply to your last comment so I am doing it here. I think we are interpreting ‘to get’ differently. To me it means ‘to understand’. It sounds like it means ‘to agree with’ to you. I thought you were saying you didn’t understand them. Once again, I am not a vegan either. I wasn’t trying to pick a fight with you. Doesn’t all faith seem irrational to those who do not believe it?

    • At the risk of sounding snarky, I won’t hold my tongue. I get SO tired of folks who use the “credentials excuse” when they run across someone who’s sharing info that runs against the mainstream. Without fail, if a person talks intelligently about a contentious topic, no matter what that person’s credentials, folks instantly start yelling, “What makes HIM the expert?” And the answers are never good enough.

      For instance, many of you have probably heart of Dr. Robert C Atkins, author of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (among others). While he was alive, it wasn’t enough that he was a physician. It wasn’t enough that he was a cardiologist. It wasn’t enough that he was articulate and the ideas he communicated changed the lives of thousands of people. Many argued that his credentials didn’t qualify him to push his high-fat, adequate protein, low-carb diet on folks.

      Just because Robb’s credentials may not seem satisfactory to those who’re resisting the idea that neolithic foods like wheat are causing horrific health issues for a lot of folks doesn’t mean he’s a loon. Dr. William David (cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly) has awesome credentials, he tries to tell folks that wheat in particular is poison, but still folks won’t listen. Our American culture is too deeply embedded in the grain/sugar/unhealthy veg oils lobby, and it’s killing us.

      Also, Rich’s assertion that 30 days aren’t enough time to make BIG changes in a person’s life leaves me stunned, quite honestly. Think of the positive changes that can happen when a person stops smoking for 30 days or when they stop drinking for 30 days. Now, you might argue that drinking and smoking aren’t the same thing as eating sugar and wheat, but there are a LOT of us who didn’t think we had issues until we ditched those “drugs” (grain and sugar). It’s amazing to hear Dr. Davis (see above) talk about his efforts to regulate his patients’ blood sugar by eliminating wheat. In record time, folks were seeing what seemed like miraculous healing of long-term health conditions like arthritis, skin conditions, GI issues, and the like. Thirty days IS enough time, because many of us have a lot of issues going on that are directly related to the inflammation and insulin resistance that are caused by the crappy foods we eat that simply weren’t meant for human consumption.

      There is none so blind as he who will not see.

      • @Sarah, great post!

        I will add on the 30 days the original objection was total nonsense. It would infer that you do it for 30 days and stop. Robb proposal is “try it for 30 days” not because that is going to be a finish line, simply because it will be enough to show you what is possible.

        The vehement opposition on this subject is much like when you explain money creation, despite it being true the mind is repelled by the thought.

        Tell people that “all money is debt” an they can’t accept it. Even when you show them where the people that create the money say so.

        Tell a person wheat is poison and they can’t accept it. Doesn’t matter how much biological evidence you provide, they believe the marketing of “amber waves of grain”.

        Honestly attacking credentials is pointless. I don’t really care about Robb’s degree, the results he has had with hundreds of personal clients and tens of thousands of followers is more proof and creditable then any number of initials after a name.

        Besides if you get a PhD in nutrition today, all it means is you have swallowed a ton of bullshit and are an expert in spouting the crap we are told by the system, ie, gruel is good for you.

  17. Jack, you mentioned in a previous episode that your wife is not quite on board with the paleo diet. I talked to my wife a bit tonight about it and she said it sounds like a great way to eat but she could never do it because she loves her carbs too much (that’s her wording, not mine)

    What I want to know is how did you work it out in your household? How does one do this without making two separate meals every time the family eats? I’d like to try this for the other health benefits. I need to lose weight but being around 180-185, I don’t need to lose much.

    • I’m not Jack, but I can tell you how I used to handle it. There was a time when I was the only low-carber in my house. And since I’m the one who does the cooking, I didn’t want to be a short-order cook making separate meals for me, my husband, and my kids.

      I based all our meals on meat and non-starchy veggies, and then I added “accents” for the carbivores. For instance, I’d make fajitas, and I’d eat the meat and veg on a big salad while the fam would eat it with tortillas. Or maybe I’d make a stir-fry that I’d eat plain but the fam would eat with rice.

      Before my husband was diagnosed with candida, he lived on the craziest junk out there. I didn’t make junk for him. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, and since I’m blind and don’t drive, I didn’t want to be held captive in a house that was full of junk. So if my husband wanted to eat the really unhealthy stuff, he did it on his own time.

      Fortunately, my oldest two kids were pretty young at the time, so they ate whatever I gave them. 🙂 After my husband was diagnosed with candida though and told to go on a low-carb diet, he noticed the changes to his health that were immediate.

      I think it can be harder for us women who tend to have more issues with food addiction. My husband eats low-carb no problem, he can “cheat”, and then he gets right back on track. I, on the other hand, can’t do that. One cheat causes issues for weeks.

      I’m not sure how a family would handle it if the one wanting to switch his eating plan isn’t the one doing the cooking (other than learning to cook your own food. *grin*)

      I’m lucky. Before my husband started eating low-carb, he’d respect my requests. “Honey, I’m trying really hard to get healthy, and I just can’t do it when you bring donuts into the house. Can you have donuts someplace else, please?” It always worked, although I realize not all spouses are so obliging.

      • Well, this should be easy since I’m the one who does all the cooking. Although, my wife tends to be the one who does most of the meal planning. That may have to change.

        • I consider meal planning to be a prepping topic. 🙂 Planning meals allows you to get JUST what you need at the store, you don’t waste money, and then you have extra money to pay off debt or add to your preps.

          I do the meal planning AND the cooking here, but my family has input regarding what we eat. I make up a list of entrees that we all enjoy, I make sure that DH has a shopping list that includes the items needed to prepare those foods, and then I put the list on my fridge. I let my husband and the kids pick supper so I know what I’m cooking, and I don’t have to worry about a last-minute trip into town to grab some asparagus. 🙂

          Now that my husband eats low-carb too, I don’t have much in the way of sugar/grain here at home (aside from some rice, corn, and beans in some long-term storage.) The kids are even accustomed to eating the way that DH and I do, so I don’t have to pepper in things like bread, rice, and dessert anymore.

          Also, I make some low-carb dishes that are so delicious on their own that folks don’t feel like they’re missing the real thing. Learning those sorts of tricks helps when you’re preparing meals at home also.

    • @Nate it is so simple. I cook, done. If she chooses to add some bread or crackers she does so. This has her slowly transitioning. It is easier to eat what I cook then to make your own carbs to go with it.

  18. One other thing:
    When I was in college, I had to take a biology class (because you know that a music student has so much use for being able to label the innards of a frog) and the professor brought up an interesting point. I can’t remember what we were talking about, but she started talking about intestine length. Herbivores have longer intestine so they can break down the plants they eat while carnivores have shorter intestines because they don’t need to process the meat nearly as long. She said that humans have relatively short intestines and then posed the question about what that meant that humans were built to eat.

    I had never heard of any kind of low/no-carb diet other than Atkins at that time but it still made me think.

  19. The Paleo diet helped me to survive in the corporate jungle and now it is helping me survive Lyme Disease. (Thanks for the info, Bryan!)

    Here is a great article on how diet and glycation affect genetic expression from the excellent Food Renegade. (It’s great how my interests are converging!) Here are some highlights:

    “Until recently, for example, we used to think of genes as set in stone. You either had good genes or bad genes, and they determined whether or not you would get breast cancer, have crooked teeth, or get an astigmatism in your middle age. Modern genetic research has shown us otherwise. It turns out these things are more heavily influenced by nutrition — yours, your parents’, and your grandparents’…Now, rather than talking about whether or not you “have” a particular gene, genetic scientists talk about how the genes you have are expressed. The study of how inherited genes are “turned on” and “turned off” is called epigenetics.”

    “The Standard American Diet (SAD) has accelerated the processes of genetic wealth being spent down, genetic momentum petering out, and the current generation getting sick earlier than their parents and grandparents. This is a real, extreme tragedy on the order of end-of-the-world level losses of natural resources. Genetic wealth is a kind of natural resource. And loss of genetic wealth is a more urgent problem than peak oil or the bursting of the housing bubble. But of course nobody is talking about it directly, only indirectly, in terms of increased rates of chronic disease.”

    “Fortunately, most disease is not due to permanent letter mutations and therefore a good diet can rehabilitate a lot of genetic disease that is only a result of altered genetic expression.”

    Other examples of how a ketone diet can restore kidneys in a PBS Science Bytes video (by way of Mark Sisson who noted researchers want to turn it into a drug rather than recommend it for humans), cure MS in a Ted Talk (also from Mark) and treat cancer .

    I am also wickedly gluten-intolerant. The latest research from the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research is that Gluten Intolerance is distinctly different from Celiac’s disease (the tests for Celiac’s are notoriously inaccurate, btw). In any event, I cannot tolerate even the smallest contamination of gluten. So, those who are negative on Celiac’s tests and biopsies may still be reacting to gluten in the diet and contamination- so give Paleo an earnest shot.

  20. Livestock eat feed we can’t. If the environmental crew want to preserve natural environments, we need livestock to use those areas to produce food. Plus crop residues that we can’t eat can also be fed to livestock.

  21. Good grief Jack! Why can’t you be everything to everyone and treat me with kid gloves? And why can’t you do the show the way I want you to do it with the topics I want to hear. I know you think it’s your show but it’s about me! And how DARE you try to make a living off your work on this podcast! Just way too commercial! I mean there are mainstream people starting to talk about prepping, it’s crazy!