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Paleo Marketing 101: How people make money using shameless megadoses of self-promotion

15 Aug

Hi! Kamal¬†here, with some commentary about the business of paleo. There are only two kinds of people in this world: those that make a living off of paleo, and those that don’t. An increasing number of people in the latter camp want to get into the former camp. In the past year, several paleo books have cracked the top 10 nutrition best-sellers on Amazon. It’s a good time to get in the game.

Do you want to cash-in on the “paleo” concept? If so, I’ve got just one question for you: how good are you at schmoozing?

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

The paleo industry isn’t quite like big pharma, tobacco, or oil. It’s an industry where the “leaders” often got there because they discovered substantial health benefits from this way of eating and living. Enthusiasm for nutrition can lead to desire to help others, and the natural desire to make a living off of it. Heck, I briefly considered this path to help pay the rent during my nutrition PhD program, until I realized how bad I suck at networking. Although the market for “paleo” isn’t greasy and disconcerting like the aforementioned industries, you should follow these steps if you want to succeed.

Step 1: Make friends in high places

See this list here? Make at least two friends from people in the top ten of the list. The list is old and subject to change. For example, Paul Jaminet was busy writing a book, so he dropped much lower. And you don’t want to make friends with him anyway, because he is too nice and genuine and soft-spoken, which combined makes him a terrible self-promoter. Thatpaleoguy, aka Jamie Scott, is way down there. He’s very smart and is a funny dude, but he will not help you get customers or book sales. And he doesn’t live in the US, which makes it MUCH harder to use him for networking purposes.

Step 2: “Use” social media

Why is that in quotes? Well…there’s “using social media” and “USING social media”. The one in caps seems like this to me: post things on twitter and facebook every day. Repost things from your archives. If you don’t have something new or creative to tweet, retweet a bunch of shit. A little disclaimer: if I were trying to make a living by being a nutrition coach or author, I’d probably do the same thing ūüôā

Step 3: Don’t get too sciencey or controversial

First off, don’t write posts like this one. Also, don’t get too into complex issues. You know that online battle between Stephan Guyenet and Peter from Hyperlipid? Or Guyenet v. Taubes? Or Lustig v. Everyone? Total waste of time. You gotta spend that time marketing yourself. This only half-joking though, because your target market is just trying to get healthy and maybe lose some weight. They don’t care so much about Neuropeptide Y or Glucagon-Like Peptides. On the flip side, this means you’re likely not bringing anything new to the table. Maybe a mishmash of recipes and paleo guides. So I guess you pick your target: helping the average Joe or informing the curious already-paleos.

Step 4: Don’t ever, ever say you don’t know

You can’t put stuff like this into your book “I haven’t done a systematic review of the effect of omega-6 on autoimmune disease, but I suspect that for some people this may be an issue.” Or “Perhaps, for some people, this may aid weight loss. But for most, weight loss is complex and prone to failure, and even paleo dieting may fail.” You have to sound like you know what you’re doing. Don’t show weakness–you’ll get killed in the Octagon. Personally, I’m a fan of books that cite every single thing, and not just with a reference list at the end. The mass media doesn’t like that kind of thing, so it won’t help book sales.

Step 5: This is not a step, but a gratuitous list of non-marketing smart nutrition bloggers

If you’ve been “paleo” for a while, your thirst for knowledge might take you out of the mass-market territory and into the subtle and technical territory. My first online exposure to paleo, in 2007, was to Big Daddy Sisson and Chris Masterjohn. While Sisson can market for sure, he is smart as hell and has churned out an amazing amount of helpful information. And is anyone really smarter than Masterjohn?

Well, these three guys are right up there: Paul Jaminet, Prof. Dr. Andro, and Lucas Tafur. ¬†In case I somehow get called out for not listing any women, let me say that Melissa McEwen’s site is loaded with practical info, science, and social observation. ¬†And obviously Denise Minger with her insightful study tear-downs.

Even though Jaminet has a book, and Denise will have a book, I’ll just say it flat out: the most interesting blogs are from people who market themselves very little or not at all. That’s just the nature of the beast, since they address different audiences and can blog about whatever the hell they want to blog about. For more information about this post, please check out my linkedin profile. (kidding! how dumb is linkedin?)

Weekly Round Up

23 Apr

Here’s a recap of links and photos from the HBP discussion group. (Note: Meredith is fully aware that “Roundup” can be used as one word but separated it into two the first time she used it on this blog. Therefore she is stubbornly sticking to this incorrect version. Suck it if you don’t like it!).

Dennis has some nice purple kraut going!

Thanks to Pat (@nutritionator)¬†Highbrow Paleo has a newspaper based on some #Paleo tweets. It’s a neato idea and you, YES YOU can subscribe if you’d like.

Supplement with red meat for your health.

Paleo Republic has nearly all your Paleo food ideas covered (except for Check out this meatza.

It’s been badmouthed for years, but caffeine is making a comeback. So many interesting uses – treating dry eyes for example.

Some members are tackling this list of 45 foods to never buy again but dreaming up Paleo versions.

Light pollution is now considered as carcinogenic as smoking.

Julia's egg salad, Bubbies pickle, some local bacon & U.S. Wellness liverwurst

Superhuman Radio interviews Loren Cordain.

Should kids go vegan? 

Who else out there is having this issue? Lately our bulk turmeric is VERY dark. And this is from those of us who live on totally different sides of the US. Some think it's a soil PH think other attribute it to copper. Anyone else seeing this?

J. Stanton gives us something more to think about in terms of food reward.

Ancestral Momentum tackles the controversial (who knew??) subject of cold thermogenesis. 

Need a cookbook devoted to insect recipes?

Our buddy Tony was on Low Carb Conversations, a Jimmy Moore podcast.

The diet world is getting weird, or weirder.

Cholesterol just may be the thing to help us fight cancer.  

People who eat a lot of flavanoids, particularly blueberries, have lower rates of diabetes and mortality and they raise adiponectin levels. Hear more here.

Aspirin increases AMPK.

What‚Äôs crazier: eating plants and animals (aka ‚Äúpaleo‚ÄĚ) or eating beaver anal gland secretions?

Russ's lettuce chips.

Another variable to add to the pointless chase for eternal life we are all compelled to partake in.

Why are Asian rice eaters thin? 

Shift work and diabetes.

Hunger and it’s ability to help partition your calories where they need to go – away from fat and into lean tissue.

Stabby’s Corner (direct quotes from the Raccoon itself in response to this article about science failing us):

¬†“The scientific method is great, it is just that when there’s lots of money involved it kind of disappears out the window. Clinical trials are great and teach us a lot, and people just need to have a view of the context of things. There are too many myopic specialists and not enough generalists to put the whole picture together.

I think that a bunch of passionate people who can read and think without bias, like Highbrow Paleo, yay, is the best way to use science to get to the truth of the matter. Couldn’t we slash cardiovascular risks using science if we came up with recommendations? I’d like to hope so.

Most epidemiology should just restract itself and go home. Give the money to people who are going to do clinical trials that are smartly conducted and based in evidence.”

Carly's wild smoked salmon fillet with ginger, garlic, lime, gf soy sauce and chilli flakes, kale pan fried in butter and rice with butter. ūüôā

Fire Adaptation: Activate Your Ancient Pathway for Optimal Health!

7 Apr

“Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire. My love is strong…can’t you see my desire?” ¬†–Janet Jackson, “All 4 U”, April 21st, 2001

Why is fire so important?

Hi, I’m Kamal, from For as long as I can remember (meaning this morning…it was a rough night last night), I’ve been obsessed with fire. Last week, I was excited to see that researchers have found evidence of humans using fire one million years ago. So don’t TELL me we’re not adapted to fire. Nuh-uh. I will burn you.

So that’s the con of fire: it can burn you. The pros? Let’s do a “Being John Malkovitch” and enter the mind of an early caveman using fire. We’ll call this specimen “Brendan Fraser” for ease of discussion, or Fraser for short. There likely weren’t quite as many websites around back then, so Fraser would be really into obtaining food and having sex, but not always in that order. A popular viewpoint among researchers is that Fraser would have been able to eat more delicious, grilled meat and tubers than he would raw foods, leading to all kinds of changes with brain size and other physiological characteristics. At night, Brendan would be sitting around a campfire under the stars with his lovely, natural, hairy-legged better half. What next? Sex. I hypothesize that there would be even MORE sex than before fire. Spoon when it’s cold, copulate when it’s warm. That’s my motto.

Okay, let’s get serious. What are the physiological benefits of heat?¬†

Let’s talk heat shock proteins. First, let me admit that all I know about heat shock proteins is what I could gather from half an hour of research. Next, let me tell you that they are quite interesting: when cells are exposed to elevated heat or certain other stressors, heat shock proteins do all kinds of cool shit. Like regulate tumor response, prevent cell death from excess stress, and influence aging through hormesis. Is this important for humans in warm vs cold climates? Ehhh…as you can imagine, our internal temperatures are quite well regulated, although environment/diet/hormones etc do play a role in core temperature. And you can influence heat shock proteins through other things such as exercise and fasting. But all this is pretty interesting nonetheless.

Infrared saunas to the rescue?

A regular sauna heats your body by circulating warm air. An infrared sauna transfers heat more or less directly to your body using special lamps or bulbs. It’s like the sun, but in a smaller, closer package that doesn’t provide you with vitamin D. Did you know that there is actually a decent amount of evidence supporting the use of these heaters for chronic fatigue, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and some other stuff? It’s actually quite a good adjunct treatment for dialysis patients, to boot. The mechanisms are up for debate. Sweating out toxins? Maybe. Increasing core body temperature? I dunno. But yet again, something to think about.

Core body temperature, lifespan, and everything else

So now that I’ve convinced you of nothing, but maybe given you something to chew on, let me wrap this up with a couple more thoughts about heat and humans. Will living in a warm climate, let’s say Hawaii, make you live longer or kill you a few years earlier? If hypothetical effects of ambient temperature on lifespan are a driving force in your life, well, that sucks for you! Hawaii is awesome, and I’m 82% certain that living in a balmy climate would extend my life through not having to deal with cold weather (but to each his own, as always).

Creating mutant mice that have much lower core temperatures leads to a 20% longer life. Great! But I try not to base my life on studies of mutant lab mice. I found a bunch of weird studies supporting the opposite argument, like this one hypothesizing that babies gestating in warm years suffer health consequences when living in cold climates. But really, study-battles can only get you so far. It doesn’t take a formal study to show that people generally like warm temperatures. Brendan Fraser certainly tried to avoid the cold, by huddling near the fire, using blankets, and having hot hot sex. And you can live to 121 years of age living in the sweltering Amazon, eating bananas, grilled meat, and tubers.

So while the historical roots of the human genome are fascinating, I personally strive for happiness over hacking influenced by potentially¬†erroneous¬†hypothesizing. Sure, the Earth’s temperature has fluctuated wildly¬†up and down in the past few million years. But just because it was sweltering hot when mammals began to diversify, doesn’t mean I’m going to wear an infrared sauna suit three hours a week. And while I’d use cold baths if I get neurotic about burning a few more calories, or as an adjunct experiment for difficult-to-treat conditions, I’m not going to do four hour ice baths to get in touch with my single-celled ancestor from two billion years ago. Keeping things hormetically fresh by changing up the temperature…fine. But I get a pass on this one, because of my Indian ancestry. My predecessors haven’t seen snow in (???) thousand years. So to emulate my ancestors from Gujarat, India, all I have to do is keep the thermostat between 75 and 101 degrees. (!) Now it’s time for me to resume dreaming about living on the beach. Until next time…stay thirsty, my friends.

Word Vomit – Episode 1

5 Apr

I’m Pat from¬†¬†I suck at blogging.

I need to write more often. It’s the only way I’m ever going to get better at it and reading as many blog posts, articles, journals, updates and tweets as I do these days, I need to up my game.

Of course I googled “how to be better writer”. I google¬†everything.¬†One of the suggestions was to just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Deal.

Word vomit is a very fitting title for what this post is probably going to end up resulting as…

There is some drama going down in the paleo community.

And it needs to stop for things to move forward.

The Jack Kruses and Richard Nikoleys (intentionally lacking links since enough people find their way to these guys anyway) of the paleo world just need to be ignored because they are lost causes at this point. Every movement has its crazies and these are just two of them that have unfortunately had their names branded along side the paleo, whole-food, back to nature, mindfulness movement that has been helping so many people get healthy. Why some people have to go at it from such an ass backward direction I will never know but I think all that time and energy should be put to better use. I honestly am not smart enough to comment on what these guys are talking about most of the time but thankfully I have¬†friends¬†that are. But I do know that lying about massaging yourself with MRSA before surgery or calling women the C word are things that I’m doing my best to avoid on my journey through life and I think everyone else on the planet could benefit from avoiding those things also.

There’s just no reason for such outlandish claims and extreme behavior and we’ll have a much easier time selling people on whole food and proper exercise if we don’t approach it so radically. Yeah it’s cool to be popular, and maybe that’s what the Paleo¬†Jersey Shore¬†folks are going for. Do and say whatever it takes to get more fans, more devotees, more $$$? It’s sure starting to look that way with how some people behave.

I do my best to avoid needless drama and I think I might be fighting a losing battle. Is this just human nature? People eat drama up, they love it. Teen Mom and any other show on MTV feed this craving and all these shows are about is people that have messed up their lives. And millions of people watch for¬†ENJOYMENT! There’s something seriously wrong with the human condition if that many people enjoy watching men degrade women and women degrade each other i.e. Jersey Shore and any Real Housewives show.

Drama sells and I think some people are just smart and soul-less enough to make a profit off it. I guarantee Nikoley’s most recent post is one of, if not the most popular post he’s ever done and it’s because of the religious talk, name calling, accusations and flippant use of curse words in the comments section.

That post is¬†Jerry Springer. Somewhat staged starring a bunch of trash people while a few Jerry’s try to talk people into slowing down and actually think about this stuff before they come out swinging. Too few Jerry’s and too much trash make for an entertaining show but it’s not going to make anyone any smarter for watching. Time to turn the channel back to that documentary you were watching or better yet, get off the couch and go outside. The drama doesn’t stop if you stop watching, it just has one less person feeding into the viewership, and this is a very good thing.

Remember what you do to really get on someone’s nerves or show someone they’re being ridiculous? You ignore them, and that’s what we need to do here. Ignore the crazies. Take them off your blogrolls, friends lists, twitter feeds, email lists and contacts and just ignore them. That’s all we can do.

It’s scary. SO much time and energy is wasted by and on people that are just out to make a buck or see their name in headlines and will do whatever it takes to do so. WHY can’t we focus this energy on ACTUALLY helping people instead of knocking what the general public thinks of a whole food, ancestral lifestyle back down a step or two so often?

I guess I’m just asking people to really evaluate what people are saying.¬†Mark Sisson,¬†Robb Wolf,¬†Chris Kesser,¬†Paul Jaminet¬†and so many other super knowledgable people have free resources available and don’t curse at women or require 6 hour ice baths. Read and promote these people, not the drama generators.

This is just my plea to decrease the crazy. We already have to deal with governments run by grains, doctors funded by pharmaceuticals and unimaginable things like raw, pastured dairy being illegal. Let’s put our energy into remedying those problems, not the he said, she said BS that keeps popping up the paleosphere.

I’m going to do my best to avoid, ignore and disprove the crazies and I think you should too.

Now, someone that actually knows how to write needs to put something up so this isn’t HBP’s featured post for too long…

Weekly Round Up

2 Apr

A weeks worth of links and info from the “pool of idiots” (we’re really very nice but very human people thank you very much).

Matthew's motto should be "Always Sit Down to a Pretty Plate." Nice work here!

Kids like to get dirty, and it looks like they NEED to get dirty for good health.

This taco shell idea just may be the worst, or best thing ever?

April is Best Your Stress Month Рso try some of this for free. 

H. Pylori, ulcers and diabetes.

Julia's lamb burger with feta and zucchini.

Whey protein may not be on the top of many “Paleo” shopping lists, but we discussed the many benefits of both whey and casein in the context of a healthy highly active person’s diet. Also, dairy in and of itself probably won’t “make you fat.” ¬†

Can Talk Therapy benefit Chronic Pain? 

Cooking with Olive Oil doesn’t HAVE to be totally off the table.

Don’t totally freak out…but there are some demonstrated benefits to ingesting your encapsulated placenta.

Beef and green veggies to treat subclinical hypothyroidism.

BPA accumulation in fat is another underlying factor to obesity – when will we just make it illegal already! ¬† Oh wait…the FDA rejected that petition.

Correlation between chocolate consumption and lower BMI (correlation does not equal causation…who cares! Pass the fudge!)

Matthew eats da foodz.

First of a series of how to implement your own workout routine based on your personal goals. Follow the series, its worth it!

Paleo women + body image +fear of judginess = excellent rant.

Speaking of excellent rants, who does it better than Mistress Stumptuous?

This is a VERY odd exercise phenomenon.

Our very own Russ gets picked up by Free the Animal with this guest post.

Getting in tune with out biological clock can be as effective as pharmaceutical avenues.


Raw milk will make you super human! Okay, maybe not, but it does awesome stuff for you glutathione production.

Melissa McEwan’s first in a series on Evolutionary Biology, complete with informative comments from industry experts.

The Honey Guide blog has a menu of John Hawkes lectures posted. Soooo interesting. Don’t miss the one on enamel!

A new FREE paleo links and resources site dedicated to all things free. Submit your free resources today!

Beef and bison stew with a big 'ol marrow bone by Julia.

Weekly Round Up

26 Mar

Here’s a sampling of just a few of the things we’ve discussed in the HBP group this week, oh yeah, plus some food porn:

Londoner Carly's lunch: Smoked bacon with homemade guacamole.

Matthew says, “I don’t have a problem with any of these foods and its great to make tasty gluten free stuff if people want it. It just doesn’t have anything much to do with how our ancestors ate and is probably quite capable of tripping out your food reward circuits,” in reference to this post.

Use your slow cooker to combat chronic pain!

Elizabeth shares the fact that 110 new fake meat products were introduced in 2010/11.

Matthew might be a student bachelor, but he sure doesn't eat like one!

Mash wants to start a barefoot running program. We gathered some great tips and fails: start slowly, consider minimalist runners instead of going fully bare and run on just grass or sand first.

The New York Times hosted an essay contest titled, “Tell Us Why it’s Ethical to eat Meat.” Our rants are just too long to post here, but rest assured, we tossed this one about.

Matthew shares this novel therapy,¬†CLA for Crohn’s disease.

Mal shares this Suppversity article that delves into some of the possible mechanisms for why gastric bypass surgery has such powerful metabolic effects, and how you can perhaps mimic these results through diet, (hint…GLP-1).

Pat's fish head stock.

Lucas shares some interesting findings about the effects of music on the brain.

A new blog with but one post, but a good read: The Leptin Marketing Miracle.

The BBC aired a special titled “The Truth About Fat” for those not in the UK you can see it on YouTube.

Andrew has been planning this treat all week. He didn't get sick, but overall it was meh.

Our supplement fetishist club led by Stabby endorses Astaxanthin! Just 2mg are shown to have benefit.

Dr. BG talks about the effect that pesticides has on our mitochondria, which we should ALL know by now are those little energy producing organelles.

Giulia shares the four things you should never buy at Costco.  Bad news folks, shrimp tops the list.

Lamb shanks.

JuBa has a new web presence that she launched this week.

Russ composed a great post right here on this blog about the difference between “being” Paleo and eating Paleo.

Devika shares some good news regarding red meat and depression.

Russ's BBQ setup. Catching the goodness of drippings.

What? Popcorn has more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables?

This Friday, March 30th is our group’s deadline for submitting our first HBP Iron Chef Paleo Challenge. This round we must use egg, kale, mushrooms, onions and a tuber. No more than three unpowered kitchen gadgets and no more than three seasonings. Future rounds to be announced via our facebook page and here. Be on the lookout because we are looking for submissions from outside of the group!

Bree's eats up some birds (duck). She better be saving that rendered fat!

Weekly Round Up

18 Mar

This week was #paleoFx or #pfx12 or #paleoFx12, so many of us were busy gossiping about the great tweets coming out of that conference in Austin, TX (not surprisingly, Paul Jaminet’s talk was well received…but someone brought some TNT to the party…sounds like an interesting time). Anyway, here are some of the other things we discussed in the Highbrow Paleo group.

Julia's carnitas.

We have had our first HIGHBROW PALEO BABY! Welcome to the world Elwood!  Congratulations Barb, and great work! That is one beautiful baby!


Elizabeth shares this YouTube of a kid telling Monsanto to shove it.


Pat cooks fish heads and loves eating the EYEBALLS. He illustrates this adventure on his blog.


Adam shares this article about the evolution of the taste for sweet – use it or lose it may be a good thing in this case.


Carl shares this photo of ants eating the real butter and shunning thetwo other globs of margarine.

Ooooh the red meat scare this week. Just in case you haven’t heard about it, here are a few links for your reading pleasure: original journal article, here is what Zoe Harcombe has to say, Gary Taubes says this, Anthony Colpo weighs in here, ¬†Dean Ornish does his thing here, Mark Sisson hires a Minger to weigh in here, the savvy J. Stanton preaches it here¬†and finally, Chris Masterjohn brings us some sanity here. ¬†Stabby sums it up for us with this comment, “All in all I’m not impressed. The lady who wrote the critique suspects bias because one of the authors is a well-known vegetarian zealot and Dean Ornish peer-reviewed it. Before they did the multivariate analysis red meat up to the 3rd quintile was actually protective against mortality, and in my view the multivariate analysis was biased because it ignored important factors, only controlling for enough to get a statistic that the authors wanted.


Amanda shares this interesting story about Stoneage written communication. “They seem to have found evidence that some form of written language was being attempted by our Stone Age ancestors, an idea that ‚Äď if substantiated ‚Äď would push back the recognised birth of writing from about 6,000 years ago, as produced by the first agrarian societies, to an incredible 30,000 years ago.”

The very beige looking UK "sustainable" diet.

Mary offers up this story that explains that most research findings are actually FALSE!


Despite our pro-red meat stance, cooking meat at high temps does not look to be a great idea. Matthew shares that liver and eggs do not form these heterocyclic amines when they are fried, however there may be other chemicals formed.  Stabby shares that rosemary has been shown to reduce these chemicals in grilled meats. Yum!


It looks like babies are exposed to beneficial bacteria while still in utero, which is interesting since the common belief was that only babies born via vaginal delivery were exposed.

Party food.


Kamal has launched his new website:  Add it to your feed to get frequent informative and funny updates!


Chicken Nugget Paste. (Click for article on this subject. Frickin' grody!)

Stabby reminds us that even though we don’t hear much about trans-fats anymore these days, it’s still good to add to the pot of knowledge about these toxic fats – they cause increased visceral fat and are highly correlated with Type II Diabetes.


Inga shares that honeybee deaths are linked to corn insecticides.


Finally, as an answer to all those complicated candy cigarette Paleo cooking blogs out there, we are launching the first Highbrow Paleo Iron Chef! The rules are going to be centered around simple easy to access food, minimal kitchen processing and few seasonings. First up: BATTLE EGG! Keep watching for an upcoming post with our creations. Future battles will involve submissions from YOU, and other Paleo cooks.


Matthew's supper - all steamed together.…Gene Testing for the Endlessly Curious

12 Mar

Hi, I’m Kamal. Me and my highbrow paleo friends love exploring personal health issues. When we get to talking, it turns into the intellectual equivalent of Muppet Babies–excitement and intrigue abounds, and everyone has a different perspective! A couple years ago, I got a 23andme gene test profile on sale for $99. Part of the reason was general curiosity, part of the reason was to see if I had genes for pain sensitivity. (Shameful plug–I run, a website covering pain/nutrition/stuff). Turns out a few highbrowers also ordered this test, and more are considering ordering it. We so excited…we we we so excited. Blog post time!

What to expect

It’s super easy. You get a tube by mail, spit out virtually all of your spittle into this tube, then mail said tube away. You get results back in a little over a month. They analyze millions of SNPs to find things related to health. The most important results are “Carrier Status”. This tells you if you are a carrier for some crazy diseases, like Bloom Syndrome, which increases yours and potentially your child’s risk for lots of cancers and other bad stuff. The next most important results are for “Traits”. These tell you things like: do you have the gene for wet ear wax? Is your hair likely to be curly?

What to really expect

Okay, that was a joke. Well, not really, as these are actually reported right on the front page of 23andme. And true, many of these are not useful at all. But some are interesting. Like I have the “bitter taste sensitivity” gene, which makes sense because I don’t like coffee, brussell sprouts, and other bitter things. Hold on, that can’t be how you spell brussell. Looks like Brussell Crowe. Anywho, it’s hypothesized that tasting bitter strongly was an advantage to avoid poisonous plants. Also included in “Traits” is pain sensitivity–I didn’t have the gene, thank goodness, but that means that my rather complex pain issues are not easily explained. In addition, I don’t have the” alcohol flush” gene (makes sense as I’m Indian Asian not Asian Asian).

The next two categories may be important to you, especially if you have a disease or are doing some amateur genetic counseling for your not-yet-conceived children. Like metformin response is totally important if you’re a type 2 diabetic on metformin (although you should be doing paleo as an adjunct treatment at the very least!). I was interested in naltrexone response, since it may relate to pain. In fact, I printed out some pain-related responses to take share with my pain doctor. Guess what? He didn’t give a shit. One of the cooler drug responses is the caffeine metabolizing rate gene–might explain why you are or are not sensitive to a cup o’ joe. The category “disease risk” is a toss-up. The folks at 23andme triangulate your risk of certain diseases based on some gene studies. I asked the genetic epidemiology PhD at work, and he called shenanigans on almost all of this. Too many genes involved in most diseases to make these kind of conclusions. So don’t place too much emphasis on your 23andme risk of heart disease, but maybe pay attention to your Ankylosing Spondylitis risk (the former likely has many more factors than the latter).

The final category is ancestry. Some people will find this useful and others will find it useless. It told me that my ancestors were from India. Yes, I am aware of that. It also may help me locate my third to fourth cousin. They are both last-named “Patel” like me. Kinda cool, but only kinda. For those with more mixed ancestry though, this section might be very neat.

Should you buy this?

If you have some disposable cash, get it when it’s on sale. Don’t get it at the full price ($399 or so?). Also keep in mind that they might make you subscribe to updates to get a special price, which is an extra $5 a month for a year. Also also, keep in mind that updates are kind of cool, in that when new research comes out, they will send you updates about how your genes match up. How bout the usefulness of the results? That’s a mixed bag. Part of my day job in 2010 was helping compile a database of gene tests for the federal government. I can say for sure that the associations are more unpredictable than a single “You have a 13% greater risk of glaucoma!” would lead you to believe. Here is a good strategy: buy someone in your family a 23andme test for their birthday or Christmas…there’s a 50% chance they’ll buy you one back! That way, double the people get information about there genes, you can compare results, and you won’t feel quite as much buyer’s remorse if you aren’t impressed with the information you get. Peace out homies, and remember, don’t believe everything that you hear (unless you hear it on highbrow paleo).

Weekly Round Up

6 Mar

Here it is, the Highbrow Paleo group’s rants, links and eats from the past week.

When the group is asked whether a sucky chicken stock can be saved, we wind up talking about the advantages of fanny packs over man purses, (BTW fanny DOES NOT mean buttocks in the UK). In the end, Katherine recommends this chicken stock recipe. 

Vicki has been collecting vintage cookbooks. She shared a few recipes including:


Beat four eggs. Add to them four tablespoonfuls of stock, four tablespoonfuls of cream, a saltspoonful of salt and half a saltspoonful of pepper. Turn them into a saucepan, stand in a pan of hot water, stir with an egg-beater until they are thick and jelly-like. Turn at once into a heated dish and send to the table.

~ Many Ways for Cooking Eggs, by Mrs. S.T. Rorer

Pat is a little stressed and requests some good meditation sources. Amanda like Yoga Nidra, Andre delivers with Diana Lang guided meditation, and Kamal recommends Jon Kabat -Zinn as a resource.

Blood orange, berries, kale, Japanese sweet potato, chicken sausage, eggs in pepper rings.

We listened to a whole bunch of Paleo Summit presentations. Can’t say that we discussed very many of them, but the ones that seemed to top our list were Dr. O’Bryan, Paul Jaminet, and Chris Kresser. We have to commend Sean Croxton for doing such a great job. Those were A LOT of interviews and it took a tremendous amount of work to pull all of them together to be sure.

Meredith took a very informal and tiny poll of HBP members and people on Paleohacks to gauge which three macros are at the top and bottom of Paleo eaters nutrient intake. Tops were B12, Vitamins A/K (these tracking sites do not always differentiate between K1 and K2 or between retinol and beta carotene – so take that into account), and Selenium. Coming in under the RDI mark are Calcium, B1 and Potassium.

Jennifer shares this story about a boxer who goes vegan in preparation for fight night.

Amanda shares this REALLY interesting story about the hormones in milk.¬†‚Äé”In a study of modern milk in Japan, Ganmaa found that it contained 10 times more progesterone, another hormone, than raw milk from Mongolia.¬†In traditional herding societies like Mongolia, cows are milked for human consumption only five months a year, said Ganmaa, and, if pregnant, only in the early stages. Consequently, levels of hormones in the milk are much lower. “The milk we drink today is quite unlike the milk our ancestors were drinking” without apparent harm for 2,000 years, she said. “The milk we drink today may not be nature’s perfect food.”¬†Earlier studies bear out Ganmaa’s hypothesis that eating dairy heightens the risk of some cancers.¬†One study compared diet and cancer rates in 42 counties. It showed that milk and cheese consumption are strongly correlated to the incidence of testicular cancer among men ages 20 to 39. Rates were highest in places like Switzerland and Denmark, where cheese is a national food, and lowest in Algeria and other countries where dairy is not so widely consumed.”

Roasted carrots = cumin cayenne chili coriander finished with lime juice Steak = seared in bacon fat Guac = lime juice scallion jalapeno cilantro And those little puffs at the back? Japanese sweet potato!

Matthew is totally RIGHT! Epigenetics is cool! 

Mallory shares this piece about a simple, cheap and readily available supplement that works: baking soda!

Some of us are gearing up for the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium. ¬†Tickets are being purchased, rooms are being booked, and most importantly, Stabby’s binge drinking protocol is being implemented in preparation of the event.

Bree and Rose shared some links regarding false findings in research as well as wonky stats.

Marissa shares this tidbit of information regarding Omega 3s and brain health.

Drowsiness, sluggishness, irritability, severe headache, bone pain, blurred vision, vomiting, peeling skin. Hypervitaminosis or gluten exposure? Click here to find out! 

For you Food Reward peeps, looks like aerobic exercise may reduce reward. #ChroniccardioFTW!

RIBS (period).



For those not too phobic of fructose, looks like raw buckwheat honey had many great properties. This is one alternative to cough medicine that would be EASY to get kids to take.


Vitamin D: so many ongoing trials, so much hype and so many letdowns. But as Stabby says, why aren’t we seeing trials conducted that include Vitamin D co-factors like magnesium and k2.


Andrew shares the Metabolic Effect’s video about the Carb Tipping Point for fat loss.


Colin may have stumbled upon a deadly delicious concoction of lovelee time. This is what he made:

Pumpkin Pudding: 

2 big cans of organic pumpkin puree.

2 whipped eggs

1 cup cream

1/2 cup Bailey’s

1 TB of pumpkin pie spice

3 big pinches of Celtic Sea Salt

2TB of melted pasture butter

2TB of unfiltered raw honey….Heated on the stove in small saucepan over Med heat, blasting occasionally with immersion blender until thick and smooth.

Then top it off with a little fresh whipped cream made with Jersey cream, baileys and a splash of cointreau

You’re welcome.


And finally, coffee linked with gluten intolerance? Say it ain’t so!!!

Weekly Round Up

19 Feb

Here a recap of the strange, funny and smart things we discuss in the Highbrow Paleo group.

Cauliflower fried "rice" mise. Roasted chicken marinated in goat yogurt and citrus, seasoned BaltiCurry style

Stabby shares this video – oh the perils of going Vegan! We want to know why she is shopping in her undies? Why can’t she find a neck brace that actually fits? Why is eating meat not okay but violent sex in which one person is hurt is?

Our Finnish friend Jan tell us that his ancestors probably ate more than 1 kg of fish daily!

Check out this blog for more of the same goodness -

Matthew shares some great FREE online lectures by John Hawkes.

One of our resident nutrition students Pat has a few new posts up on his blog.

Check out this blog if you lust for more...

Even though artificial sweeteners aren’t “Paleo” we still talk about them and the additive maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is one of the FIRST things added to weight gainer powders and has a glycemic index of 105. Table sugar has a GI of like 59 and honey can be as low as 31! So, check out your stevia to make sure this additive isn’t in there, unless of course you are using it in your bodybuilding drinks.

There were a few great podcasts this week. Sean Croxton interviews Chris Kresser. ¬†Chris Masterjohn is on Jimmy Moore’s podcast as well. Both are worth a listen.

Chili-salted duck's egg crab with grilled oysters.

Will this microchip be the next bone loss drug????

Matthew's balls of meat.

We talk about this graphic:

and Amanda roots out the source: PCRM, the vegan doctor group. Maybe not an unbiased source of such information, eh?

Finally, some more horrifying stuff about the future of chicken farming. Is this for real?