Tag Archives: Neanderthin

Jimmy Moore’s Interview of Paleo Diet Pioneer Ray Audette

Click to listen.

Ray Audette is the author of the classic Neanderthin book from 1995. He credited his Paleolithic-style diet with curing his type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chris Highcock published an interview with Ray in 2010. The Dallas Observer News published an article about him in 1995.

Steve Parker, M.D.

History of the “Modern” Paleo Diet Movement

Here’s a timeline, certainly not comprehensive, but probably more than enough to bore you. I’m trying to hit the major developments.

  • 1939 – Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price’s is published.
  • 1973 – Stephen Boyden’s “Evolution and Health” is published in The Ecologist.
  • 1975 – The Stone Age Diet: Based On In-Depth Studies of Human ecology and the Diet of Man is self-published by Walter L. Voegtlin, M.D.
  • January 1985 – “Paleolithic Nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications” by S. Boyd Eaton and M. Konner in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • 1987 – Stone Age Diet by Leon Chaitow (London: Optima).
  • 1988 – The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet and Exercise and a Design for Living by S. Boyd Eaton, M. Shostak, and M. Konner.
  • January 1997 – Paleodiet.com established by Don Wiss.
  • March 1997 – The Paleodiet listserv established by Dean Esmay and Donn Wiss.
  • April 1997 – The Evolutionary Fitness online discussion list is created. Art DeVany is its anchor and Tamir Katz is a regular participant.
  • April 1997 – Jack Challem published the article “Paleolithic Nutrition: Your Future Is In Your Dietary Past.”
  • 1999 – Neanderthin by Ray Audette is published.
  • November 2001 – Evfit.com established by Keith Thomas (“Health and Fitness in an Evolutionary Context”).
  • December 2001 – The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., is published.
  • April 2001 – Wikipedia’s page on Palaeolithic diet is created.
  • 2005 – Art DeVany’s first paleo blog.
  • 2006 – Exuberant Animal by Frank Forencich is published.
  • 2008 – Art DeVany’s Las Vegas seminar.
  • 2009 – The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is published. Art DeVany announces ‘The New Evolution Diet’.
  • 8 January 2010 – The New York Times features the paleo lifestyle in its ‘fashion’ pages.
  • 26 February 2010 – McLean’s (Canada) publishes a general audience review of the paleo movement.
  • February 2010 – Food and Western Disease by Staffan Lindeberg is published.
  • March 2010 – Paleolithic lifestyle page is created on Wikipedia.
  • September 2010 – The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf is published.

Contributors to this timeline include Keith Thomas, Paul Jaminet, and Ray Audette (the latter two via blog comments). Any errors are mine.

Of the folks above, my major influences have been Cordain, Eaton, and Konner.

What would you add? I’m tempted to include the Jaminet’s book (Perfect Health Diet) and Dr. Emily Deans’ blog. Paul Jaminet mentioned Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet of 1990 (or was it Optimal Nutrition?), but is that just “the Polish Atkins,” as some say? Very high fat.

—Steve

“NeanderThin” Now Available As E-Book on Kindle

I just learned that Ray Audette’s NeanderThin is available as a Kindle edition. Ray is one of the godfathers of the modern paleo diet movement. His book was first published in 1995. Here’s the book’s description at Amazon:

In a revolutionary approach to weight loss and improved health, author Ray Audette presents his groundbreaking “caveman” diet–an eating program that stems from the notion that what we ate before agriculture and technology evolved is still what our bodies need to function effectively, stave off disease, and stay lean and healthy.

Read NeaderThin and you’ll discover:

How to become a modern-day Hunter-Gatherer and give up the addictive foods and habits that have kept you unhealthy and overweight
How a high-calorie, high-fat diet can actually make you leaner.
Tips for getting started on the NeanderThin Diet, sticking with it, keeping a food diary, and more.
Becoming Neander-Fit, a five-week exercise plan to complement your new diet.
Dozens of delicious, easy-to-prepare NeanderThin recipes, including Chili, Cold Shrimp-Stuff Avocados, Lemon Thyme Pesto Chicken, and Coconut Ice Cream.

I’ve written about Ray before (here and here). Rather than this being a new edition, I think the Kindle version is simply a digitalization of his original book.

Check it out.

Chris Highcock’s Interview With Ray Audette

In a recent comment here, Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research mentioned his 2010 interview with Ray Audette.  Audette is the author of 1999s Neanderthin, one of the first popular press books about the Paleolithic diet and lifestyle.  I bring it up here only because I don’t want it lost in the comment section.  Read the brief interview to find Audette’s Bible quote and connection to the Dixie Chicks.  I spent many years in Texas and therefore feel a strange connection to Audette.  And we both like bluegrass music.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Who’s Ray Audette?

Ray Audette hunted with hawks

I ran across a 1995 well-researched online article about Ray Audette, author of NeanderThin and one of the modern paleo movement pioneers.  It’s in Dallas Observer News: http://www.dallasobserver.com/1995-07-06/news/neander-guy/

Audette apparently self-published his book in 1995.  (Publishing by a “vanity press” is probably more accurate for the mid-90s.)  The 2000 edition of the book from St. Martin’s Paperbacks has a foreword by Dr. Michael Eades, who is also quoted liberally in the aforementioned article.

Mr. Audette credited his diet for curing both his diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  I wonder how he’s doing these days.

1995 was only17 years ago.  It seems like ancient history to me.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Paleo Diet Revival Story

My superficial reading of the paleo diet literature led me to think Loren Cordain, Ph.D., was the modern originator of this trend, so I was surprised to find an article on the Stone Age diet and modern degenerative diseases in a 1988 American Journal of Medicine by S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., et al.  Dr. Cordain started writing about the paleo diet around 2000, I think.

What’s So Great About the Paleolithic Lifestyle?

In case you’re not familiar with paleo diet theory, here it is.  The modern human gene pool has changed little over the last 50,000 years or so, having been developed over the previous one or two million years.  Darwins’ concept of Natural Selection suggests that organisms tend to thrive if they adhere to conditions present during their evolutionary development.  In other words, an organism is adapted over time to thrive in certain environments, but not others.

The paleo diet as a healthy way to eat appeals to me.  It’s a lifestyle, really, including lots of physical activity, avoidance of toxins, adequate sleep, etc. 

The Agricultural Revolution (starting about 10,000 years ago) and the Industrial Revolution (onset a couple centuries ago) have produced an environment and food supply vastly different from that of our Paleolithic ancestors, different from what Homo sapiens were thriving in for hundreds of thousands of years.  That discordance leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and some cancers.  Or so goes the theory.

What’s the Paleolithic Lifestyle?  (according to Eaton’s 1988 article)

  • Average life expectancy about half of what we see these days
  • No one universal subsistence diet
  • Food: wild game (lean meat) and uncultivated vegetables and fruits (no dairy or  grain)
  • Protein provided 34% of calories (compared to about 12% in U.S. in 1988)
  • Carbohydrate provided 46% of calories (only a  tad lower than what we eat today)
  • Fat provided 21% of calories (42% today)
  • Little alcohol, but perhaps some on special occasions (honey and wild fruits can undergo natural fermentation) , compared to 7-10% of calories in U.S. today [I didn’t know it was that high]
  • No tobacco
  • More polyunsaturated than saturated fats (we ate more saturated than polyunsaturated fat, at least in 1988)
  • Minimal simple sugar availability except when honey in season
  • Food generally was less calorically dense compared to modern refined, processed foods
  • 100-150 grams of dietary fiber daily, compared to 15-20 g today
  • Two or three times as much calcium as modern Americans
  • Under a gram of sodium daily, compared to our 3 to 7 grams.
  • Much more dietary potassium than we eat
  • High levels of physical fitness, with good strength and stamina characteristic of both sexes at all ages achieved through physical activity

[These points are all debatable, and we may have better data in 2011.]

The article authors point out that recent unacculturated native populations that move to a modern Western lifestyle (and diet) then see much higher rates of obesity, diabetes, atheroslcerosis, high blood pressure, and some cancers.  “Diseases of modern civilization,” they’re called.  Cleave and Yudkin wrote about this in the 1960s and ’70s, focusing more on the refined carbohydrates in industrial societies rather than the entire lifestyle. 

Paleo diet proponents agree that grains are not a Paleolithic food.  The word “grain” isn’t in Eaton’s article.  The authors don’t outline the sources of Paleolithic carbs: tubers and roots, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, I assume.  Legumes and milk are probably out of the question, too.

The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet and Exercise and a Design for Living was published in 1988 by Harper & Row (New York).  The authors are S. Boyd Eaton, M. Shostak, and M. Konner. 

Eaton and Konner are also the authors of “Paleolithic nutrition: A consideration of its nature and current implications.”  in New England Journal of Medicine, 312 (1985): 283-289.

Mat Lalonde, Ph.D., in an interview with Jimmy Moore suggested that Cordain would credit S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., with the recent trendiness of the paleo diet.

Paul Jaminet wrote at one of my other blogs: “In 1975 a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin published a book called The Stone Age Diet arguing for a low-carb Paleo diet.  S. Boyd Eaton was second.  Not much happened for a time, then it picked up in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Ray Audette with Neanderthin was first to market…Oh, and I forgot Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet, which was first published in Poland around 1970.  Not exactly a Paleo diet, but close.

If you have evidence that the “modern paleo” diet goes back further than this, please leave a comment.

Steve Parker, M.D.

References:

Kuipers, R., Luxwolda, M., Janneke Dijck-Brouwer, D., Eaton, S., Crawford, M., Cordain, L., & Muskiet, F. (2010). Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet British Journal of Nutrition, 1-22 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114510002679.  Note that one of the authors is Loren Cordain.  Good discussion of various Paleolithic diets.

Eaton, S., Konner, M., & Shostak, M. (1988). Stone agers in the fast lane: Chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective The American Journal of Medicine, 84 (4), 739-749 DOI: 10.1016/0002-9343(88)90113-1

Cordain, L., et al.  Plant-animal subsistance ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer dietsAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71 (2000): 682-692.