In this episode, Robb Wolf joins Dr. Wolfson to discuss how the industrialization of food has left us with an overabundance of calories but a severe deficit of nutrients.The author of The Paleo Solution, Wired To Eat, and co-author of Sacred Cow discusses how agriculture and food has evolved and its impact on human health. Robb also dives into the polarization of public health and the loss of critically thought-out discourse.
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Robb Wolf Shares Why Modern Industrial Food Is Destroying Our Health
We believe everyone deserves a 100-year heart. For that, we bring in some of the best guests in the entire world to give you that information for us to be able to prevent, treat, reverse cardiovascular disease, reduce or eliminate pharmaceuticals, and again, try and make it to the 100-year point and beyond. With that, I’ve got a fantastic guest for us. His name is Rob Wolf. If you don’t know Rob Wolf and you’re in my ecosystem, I would be surprised because I wrote my book, The Paleo Cardiologist.
Prior to that, he wrote a book that was all about paleo as well. It was called The Paleo Solution. Since then, he has written a couple more books. One is called Wired to Eat and then he was the co-author with Diana Rogers on a book called Sacred Cow. We’ll dive into all those things and what all that means. He was also a former research bioscientist and a two-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. He’s a CrossFitter. He’s on the discovery channel’s I-Caveman series. Also, maybe he can tell us a little bit about how he took down a 650-pound elk with a hand-thrown spear. Rob Wolf, welcome.
Thank you. The answer to that is extreme hunger.
Tell us about that. That’s how our ancestors have been living for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. Maybe dive into that a little bit about hunger shows us what we need and how to survive in order to achieve it.
This reality show is about ten years old. It’s been out for a while. What they did is they collected ten people, five men, five women and a few of the folks had some decent survival and primitive skill sets. A lot of the folks are random person off the streets of Los Angeles, usually aspiring actors and actresses. They outfitted us with paleolithic gear, clothing, a basic stone tool kit and raw materials. They wanted to know how long we could make it do that.
We were able to put together an atlatl, which is a long dart. If you imagine an arrow, but about six feet long with a big arrowhead on the front, it’s quite flexible. The atlatl has a base that you attach it to and you throw it. If people are familiar with the game, where you use a launcher to throw a ball, it’s a similar deal. You get this mechanical advantage. This is the weapon system that predates standard archery, like bow and arrow archery.
Although the atlatl is not nearly as accurate as a bow and arrow, it can launch these things with remarkable force. The first eight days of the show, people would go out hunting. Initially, we didn’t have atlatls. They were trying to corner different games with hand thrusting spears, which would be much similar to Homo erectus and some of our early ancestors, and not a lot of success with that. They were also dragging a camera crew with them.
On about day 8 or 9, the camera crew had given up on whether or not we would succeed. We went out with a very small group. It was myself and two other people and then two camera operators. We asked the camera operators to set up quite far away from us. We agreed to wear some GoPros, so that would be the closeup stuff. They would be set up to be able to see things from a distance about a mile away, with the powerful lenses that they have to zoom in.
We managed to stock up on a herd of elk and the sun was coming up behind us. The animals were blinded from the sun coming up and there was a ridge of bushes between them and us. The wind was blowing from the elk towards us. The stars aligned. In my first shot, I missed the elk. It is about a 35, 40-yard shot. The second one, I managed to get the elk in the neck and then we were able to get up on it and get a few more of these atlatl darts in it and took it down.
As far as I know, it’s still the world record for animals hunted in the modern age with an atlatl. That may have changed. It’s not a real popular hunting genre, but it was a fascinating story. At that point, we went about ten days with zero food or very little food that we were able to forage in this area. It was quite cold. I ended up losing more than twenty pounds in the two weeks of this show.
It was interesting how much focus and tenacity you end up developing when you’re literally drifting into that starvation mode, where you’ve not eaten in a long time, you’ve been burning about 4,000 calories a day to survive, collect firewood and all that type of stuff. It was a very interesting experience. We ended up butchering and parting the animal out with stone tools.
I had to hobble that meat back to the camp, but we ended up succeeding so well there was so much food there with this one kill that they cut the series at that point, because we weren’t going to do anything after that other than sit around and eat elk until it was all gone. It was in a high mountain area of Colorado. There were glacier-fed streams that we could case the meat in water that was at freezing. We were able to store all of this meat and eat it at our leisure. We told the producers that we were going to do nothing else interesting other than eat and sleep. They wrapped it up there.
You have to find something that’s just interesting and compelling and that you really want to do.
When I talk to people about the healthiest way to live and why there’s so much debate in the medical community about such, what to eat or how to live? If we go to some of these TV shows, like the one you were on and we talk about survivors or alone, or naked and afraid, that shows us that we are hunter-gatherers, the people who show up in those places that are vegan, quickly ditch that philosophy. It shows that everybody is on the hunt, looking for seafood and animal products. I use that to springboard people and to say like, “There shouldn’t be much debate. It’s common sense.” Tell me again, why are we as a society, why have we lost the common-sense approach.
In my third book, Sacred Cow, we talked a little bit about this. Once civilization developed and we started using agriculture, you could make the case that humanity was on this train of feast and famine. This is something that is in stark contrast to hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers were crafty at being able to extract resources out of their environment. There was almost always something available that these folks could eat. If they couldn’t find something in their immediate area to eat, they could move somewhere else.
When we look at the archeological record around hunter-gatherers, there is very little evidence of prolonged bouts of starvation, whereas when we shifted into agriculture, when we had food, we had a surplus of it oftentimes. Then we had lost a lot of the skills to be able to extract a lot of nutrition out of our environment. Our population had increased. Maybe we had gone beyond the hunter-gatherer carrying capacity.
In the late 19th century, early 20th century, there was a lot of concern around humanity going into some significant, global situations of food scarcity and famine. It was a work from people like Norman Borlaug and some of these other people that launched the Green Revolution that forestalled at least for a period of time, this potential of a global famine type of experience.
The Haber-Bosch process of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and turning it into ammonia, which was used during World War I and then clearly got ramped up in World War II. That was the beginning of our modern industrial root crop food system because we had a way of, very energy-intensive, but we could produce, cheap and very effective fertilizer and take land that would usually be very marginal and bring up its capacity.
The thing is the bulk of the food that was being produced in this low-nutrient density, starchy food crops. It has bled over into our animal food production because prior to World War II, the chicken wasn’t the mainstay. The chicken was a very rare treat because, from an ecological perspective, ruminant animals are where people have historically gotten the bulk of their animal protein sources because they are the ubiquitous animal out in the environment.
Things like pork were very secondary, bird or fowl were tertiary. They played a role in cleaning up the other foods that we weren’t able to eat. They have animals like cows that they were able to take foods that are completely unsuitable for human consumption. We can’t do anything with grass, but because cows have multi-multiple stomachs and they have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that are able to break down the cellulose in plant materials and then convert it into interestingly short-chain saturated fats, which is mainly what gorillas, horses, and cows run on. They don’t want carbohydrates. They run on fats. They’re great at doing that.
Our food system has changed a lot. I believe that there was a shift in which industry capture the government. This probably happened around 1970, 1975 when the junk food industry started ramping up. We saw a shift. When you and I grew up, there were the four food groups. That gave way to the food pyramid, which was shockingly different. The four food groups, when you look back was meat, fowl, dense animals, protein sources, some grains, fruits, vegetables and some dairy.
Looking back at it, it was a pretty balanced affair. In the shift towards the food pyramid, we had these layers and layers of grains and sugary sweetened items. There was a tendency towards, as long as the food was low in fat, then it was good for you. This was a period of time when the American Cardiological Society had its stamp of approval on things like cocoa puffs and stuff like that.
There’s interesting confluence there between the industrialization of our food system in a will intention way. We don’t want people to starve to death. We want food security. We succeeded in that, but we succeeded at the cost of overall human nutrition. We produce monumental amounts of calories, but arguably people in the developed countries and even developing countries, it’s somewhere around 2004, 2007, more people began dying from over nutrition than from starvation or undernutrition.
This is the first time that this has ever happened in history that people began dying in larger amounts from diseases of modernity from overconsumption of pork calories than from other factors. There’s a lot that goes into it. In our third book, Sacred Cow, we dug into a lot of that social-political history around that because it’s complex and understanding the mechanisms of how we got to that spot can better inform what we do as we move forward.
When we look around with things like impossible foods and impossible burgers, the movement to further industrialize our food and further move us away from food that looks like something that humans have eaten in recent history is super sexy. There’s a ton of money that’s gone into these startups for lab-grown meat and taking industrial root crops, foodstuffs and trying to turn it into something that looks like meat. The scary thing about that is people are excited about it. It looks like an interesting or good alternative, but it’s neither good for sustainability and it’s certainly not good for human health.
Thankfully, impossible foods, even though they did a very robust IPO early in 2020, they’re getting absolutely shellacked because they can’t make this thing scale. It’s incredibly expensive and wasteful to produce this stuff. I’m hopeful that impossible foods will be a relic of history here pretty soon, but it shows how much money and how much interest is put into this industrialization process versus encouraging people to eat local and eat minimally processed foods largely.
Those are all fantastic points. As it comes to mass agriculture and what we’ve done to industrialize and put agriculture on every corner of the Earth, it is about the survival of the species as opposed to how do we best thrive. What is the most optimal way for us to exist? Some of the pushbacks are their own limitations with impossible foods and some of these other vegan propaganda companies embed with venture capitalists and all looking to exploit the next big thing.
The pushback, maybe in some ways, is from people like you, myself, a lot of these other authors, and health authorities and talking about the benefits of eating animal foods and the benefits of eating seafood. You get a lot of people these days that are talking about certainly paleo, keto, and even carnivore.
When I read your book, The Paleo Solution, and when I wrote my book, The Paleo Cardiologist, we were pushing the benefits of meat and seafood, ethically raised and the best of the best product, but we were never condemning the vast majority of vegetables. What do you think about the concept that vegetables are dangerous to us?
I was invited to do a talk at California State University, Chico back around 2010. It was a cardiologist there at the hospital that is associated with the university that invited me to do this. He had started using a paleo template with his patients and saw amazing results for these people. He wanted me to give a talk and the dietetics department lost their minds. They’re like, “This guy cannot speak here.” What the cardiologist wanted me to do was to speak to the group of cardiology patients that they had that year.
Each year, the folks that go through stinting and different processes, have some in-house education. They shut that down, but then there was some back and forth, and eventually, I was able to give a presentation, but it went to the hospital staff instead of the patients. They wanted a layer of buffer between myself and the patients.
One of the other doctors there was saying, “That’s the guy that says to only eat meat.” I railed against that. I’m like, “No, this is ridiculous. Look at all these plants that I eat. I probably eat more plants than you do.” I got into all of this stuff because of a terrible case of ulcerative colitis. I nearly died from it. I’m about 170 pounds now. At the low ebb of my ulcerative colitis, I was about 125 pounds, 130 pounds. Imagine 40 or 50 pounds less of me, I was emaciated, in terrible health, depression, on and on.
This paleo-type template was a lifesaver for me, but I always was diligent in including a lot of plant material. My digestion was better, but it wasn’t perfect. Looking back, it wasn’t great in many regards. Fast forward to 2012, 2013 and I started seeing people talk about these carnivores, zero carb approaches. What I saw almost uniformly were people who had suffered from terrible autoimmune and gut issues who had done everything.
They tried vegan, then they went paleo and they saw a little improvement and then they went keto and they saw further improvement, then autoimmune paleo. Eventually, they tried cutting out all animal products and like magic, these people reported massive improvements in their digestion, the niggling GI disturbances that they had, gas, bloating, IBS, systemic, inflammatory issues, and neurological issues, it seemed to be gone. I was stunned by that. I’m like, “This is crazy. I couldn’t believe this.”
I was the heretic that, in the beginning was suggesting pulling out grains, legumes, and dairy, at least for a while to see what would happen. I saw this amazing improvement. What I was seeing in these carnivore communities were people who were the sickest of the sick and they had tried everything, then they tried this different iteration of a carnivore, which oddly enough, there’s like a million different iterations on that. They tried something which is very low in plant material and they were thriving on it, doing well, and nothing else that they had done seemed to work.
I started tinkering with that. Lo and behold, what I found was that the vast majority of my remaining gut issues were probably plant-driven. I don’t know if it’s fiber or particular types of fiber, but it took me a while to figure out that I can have a little bit of broccoli so long as it is cooked to death and it has enough bacon fat on it and all that type of stuff.
I can do some asparagus, artichokes, and carrots. I do okay with root vegetables as long as there’s not a ton of them, but what I found is that to feel good and did not have these extenuating GI problems that I had suffered my whole life, I have to narrow a pallet of plants that I personally could consume on any type of a regular basis and be okay. The closer that I was to this carnivore template, I did quite well. Interestingly, I used to always get acne from different dairy products like cheese or yogurt. What I’ve discovered is so long as I’m not eating many plants, I don’t get acne from dairy.
That’s a whole interesting thing. Clearly, there’s some systemic inflammatory response that I get from the plants that they can get further exacerbated from the dairy. It’s very observational, but I’ve been impressed with what the carnivore-type approaches can do, particularly as a reset. Using that as like, “Let’s find something that gets this person healthier and then we can start playing with these things on the edges.” We don’t have to turn it into religious dogma.
Maybe this isn’t the way that the person eats forever. I’ve seen a good number of people in our healthy rebellion community who have metabolic dysfunction. They don’t handle carbohydrates well. They do a carnival reset and begin strength training. They get on top of their sleep and some other aspects of their lifestyle and they’re able to reintroduce some of these foods.
The world needs smart and critical thinking people.
It’s all over the map, but I’ve been impressed with what carnivores can do from like the interventionalist standpoint. Some people need to stay that way pretty much the rest of their lives and a good number of people have to use it as a reset and then figure out from there what things they do well with and what things they need to avoid.
At our company, Natural Heart Doctor, we’ve got about 800 people going through a seven-day carnivore challenge, as you pointed out. “Try this out. See how you feel. It’s a fantastic reset.” What is great about any challenge is that it breaks a lot of these food addictions. We get on board and we’re all doing this together.
Therefore, we scrub out the sugar and for people that have grain issues, “No, they’re not eating the grain.” It is this cleanse. People do vegan cleanses and I’ll do the juice fast. I am a fan of water fasting as a way to accomplish this, but when you go carnivore, it allows you to have all those calories, have all those nutrients, yet you’re breaking the addictions. That’s a great way to go.
People can eat a whole host of ways and get away with it for extended periods of time. I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest one of these protocols. Look at it after 7 days or 14 days or 1 month, how do you look? How do you feel about having it perform? Maybe we do some blood work before or some afterward. Maybe you can assess. If you’re crushing it and you feel great, then maybe you stick with that.
If you discovered that you’ve got a little bit more latitude, then you can play with that. If we don’t do something fundamentally and oftentimes remarkably different, we’re never going to know that one piece of bread that we have every other day or what have you is the thing that keeps our gut inflamed and keeps promoting all the problems.
If I was to be critical and I have been about some of the people that would be the foremost popular people as it comes to carnivore. Paul Saladino is a friend of mine, a great guy. I’ve said this to Paul too, they push the land animal aspect, but they missed the seafood. To me, nobody will ever be able to convince me any other way, except to think that seafood is specifically wild seafood, sardines, anchovies, wild salmon and shellfish that there’s healthier food on the planet than whole seafood. Anyone who goes carnivore, I make sure that, if we call it like a carnivore pyramid, that pyramid is a half land animal and the other half is seafood. What do you think?
That’s brilliant. If we do a very dispassionate analysis of nutrient density, the total nutrition provided per calorie, the most nutrient-dense items that we can consume or herbs and spices, although there are potentially immunogenic problems with the plant material, so we’ll ignore those for a minute. Then when we get into animal products, seafood beats the pants off of meat and other organ meats.
For a host of reasons, not the least of which is palate fatigue, having some options on there. The biggest challenge that we see with people is getting them to eat enough protein. We have never had somebody start one of our resets that have body composition goals that were unmet that was eating adequate protein before. Getting them ramped up on protein is important, but folks will be like, “I can’t do another steak. I can’t do another hamburger.”
What we ended up recommending is, “Cook some steak, hamburger, salmon, shrimp and have some scallops.” When you put your plate together, instead of it being 50 grams of protein from steak to maybe 20 grams from steak, 20 grams from salmon, a little bit from something else, it’s quite easy for people to eat that from a palate fatigue perspective.
I guarantee you if you run that through a nutrition analyzer chronometer or whatnot, you’re going to have a much better nutrient profile like the omega-3s, iodine and some other key nutrients in there. That’s fantastic. I do think the recommendation for good quality seafood is underplayed throughout all of the ancestral health space.
One of my favorite foods, Rob, is salmon roe. We would always say, “A chicken egg is a cocoon for a baby chicken. It contains everything a chicken needs to come to life. You can’t raise a chicken on oatmeal.” If you think about salmon roe, each one of those is an individual egg that grows the salmon and then ultimately too, is that people with the highest levels of omega-3s have the lowest risk of everything.
You get the omega-3s from seafood, you’re not going to get it from chia seeds, walnuts, or flax seeds. You got to eat the seafood, as it pertains to this global pandemic going on, COVID. There’s literature that talks about how a high level of omega-three is most predictive against the symptoms of whatever COVID is from.
Loren Cordain did some great work on that, early in the paleo diet scene, looking at the proposed omega-three to omega-six intake of hunter-gatherers. Modern diets, in particular, tend to be maybe a 20 to 1 out of balance skewed towards that pro-inflammatory, omega-6 side of the equation due to seed oils and some of the feeds that animals are consuming.
Pretty much our positions on nutrition are totally in alignment. Let me ask you this. Suppose that I’m a 51-year-old guy who played high school football and was very active. I’m playing tennis. I used to do all these different physical activities, but now I’ve been a couch potato for many years. How do I get back into the game? I know that you’ve got CrossFit and you’ve been very popular in that movement. I’ve done CrossFit and I love it.
When I was doing CrossFit and I go in and out, but when I go and then I say something to my wife, “I’m going to CrossFit.” She’s like, “No, you can’t go. We got this.” I’m like, “No, I got to go. They need me.” She’s like, “No one needs you. They don’t even know who you are. They’ll survive.” I’m like, “No, you don’t understand. This is my tribe. These are my people I got to go.” Take me through this. How do I get back into the game safely and effectively?
The standard big box gym scenario is honestly pretty boring. Going and doing three sets of ten of selectorized weights on a machine or bench press. It’s okay. It can be enjoyable, but the interesting thing about CrossFit is you tackle it more like a game. It’s almost more like an obstacle course. You’ve got this list of things you’ve got to get through. You try to get through it as quickly and efficiently as you can. It’s time-efficient. You get a broad number of physiological inputs. There are strength, endurance, and anaerobic components to it.
You touch on this thing, your team or tribe. There are people there who care about you and want to see you. You miss seeing them. That community part is huge. That is underappreciated. I mainly do old guy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I do a little bit of weightlifting peripheral to that, but you Jiu-Jitsu is great exercise. It’s a great stimulus for my mind because it’s this constant challenge, but it’s the enjoyment of being there with people. It’s like towels snapping at each other all the time. Make fun of each other and have a lot of fun. People are there to care for you. When somebody’s considering how to get back into this stuff, you have to look at, “What is compelling? What’s going to be interesting?”
I know for some people, the notion of working out indoors, they’re like, “I would rather get super fat and die.” I can’t do that. These are the folks that are the consummate mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, road cyclists and all that type of stuff. Other people enjoy the group fitness thing, something like CrossFit or some of these online fitness things where there’s a little bit of a virtual community to it.
The key to that is knowing what is going to be compelling for someone. If they don’t know what that is, then they probably need to pick 5 or 6 different things and go check them out. Give each one, maybe 1 week to 2 weeks and give it a shot. The most important thing is that folks find something that they stick with. I’d love to see people do some sprint work, some aerobic work, and do some type of high threshold strength training a couple of days a week because from a health span perspective, maintaining muscle mass and ability to produce power is arguably one of the most important things that we could do.
If somebody hates strength training, I would rather them do something versus nothing. I don’t know if it’s too slippery of an answer, but I think that folks have to look at themselves and be honest about what will be compelling to them because there aren’t that many people that will lift weights or go on the treadmill even if they hate it. There were a few people that do that and it becomes habituated. That’s good, but beyond that, you have to find something that’s interesting and compelling and that you want to do. If you can dovetail in that community piece, so that people are accountable to you and you are accountable to them, it’s much more likely that the individual will stick with that.
Make it fun. When you have fun doing it, you’re going to stick with doing it. If you’re not having fun with it, then it’s a problem. Going back to that ’70s and ’80s mentality, the’80s was the birth of the treadmill. Going to the gym and on the treadmill, you’re watching television, you got your headphones in and you’re in the bright fluorescent lights. It is such an unhealthy environment. I tell people, get outside. The more you can do outside, the better.
If people are beating themselves up because they’re not excited about doing standard gym work, this is an interesting historical observation. At the very beginning of the industrial revolution, we as humans started figuring out ways of harnessing the energy from animals and the steam engine to run things like cotton gins and different machinery. One of the things that were done is that prisoners in prison were forced to walk on treadmills to provide the power to spin like cotton gins and different things like that.
The prisoners started killing themselves in masks. It became so conspicuous that it became illegal to force prisoners to walk on a treadmill. For somebody who’s locked up and has nothing that they’re allowed to do, it became better for many of them to kill themselves versus walk on a treadmill. If you don’t like going to the gym and walking on a treadmill to get cardio, you’re probably in pretty good company.
Find something else that you could do. There are simple things, though. You can get a set of kettlebells and you either find a coach to teach you some good movement with that. The swings, the snatches, the pressing and the rowing, a good weighted vest to be able to increase the demands of going on a walk or a hike, you can get a phenomenal workout with that. You don’t need an extensive gym.
If you could grab a neighbor or a family member or someone to do that with you, my nine-year-old daughter now is excited about doing some basic gymnastic stuff, which we do at the gym and I’m teaching her how to throw medicine balls. She’s in Jiu-Jitsu and judo. We’re doing a little bit of training specifically for that, but she loves it and we make it fun. I make it game-based. When I can tell that she’s getting a short attention span, I’m like, “We’re done. Let’s go do something else.” We’ll go jump in the pool and play sharks and minnows or I’m chasing her around the pool.
Even these seemingly onerous gym sessions, you can liven them up, make them fun and gamify them. Circling back to that CrossFit scene, the volume and the intensity of CrossFit can be difficult for folks to deal with. There aren’t enough coaches that are savvy about how to make that a more approachable on-ramp for people. That said, if you can find someone who’s smart with that stuff, you can take someone that’s in almost any degree of decondition and gamify what they’re doing so that it’s not just this boring process but it’s been fun. It’s more like running an obstacle course or something like that.
We all eat differently from others and we can have reactions in our bodies unlike other people.
We had clients that were 450 pounds, 5’9 and there wasn’t much we could do with this guy in the beginning. Over the course of working with them for five years, we got them down to 195 pounds. At that 195 pounds, he was like barrel-chested, a 28-inch waist jacked. He went from being enormously overweight and obese to a hell of a physical specimen. He’s continued to do this stuff for the better part of many years.
When we started with him, it was super simple. We would take him on a walk and then he would do pushups against the counter or against the wall. He would have to catch his breath to do that. Then we would do another walk and another set of pushups against the counter. You can modify this stuff for anybody’s fitness level but I think all too often, coaches try to take whatever the workout is that’s on the board and apply that to a person versus, “What does this person need so that we keep them coming back?”
Back to your story about people on the treadmills and killing themselves, can you imagine if it was fast forward to now and now you’re on the treadmill? You force him to watch CNN or other mainstream media and all they hear is fear, gloom and doom. They can’t sleep and don’t eat well because of all of that. Therefore, they’re looking for the pharmaceuticals that they’re offering mainstream.
We had a comment that came in on Facebook that stuck with me. I was showing pictures of myself, my wife, and our four kids, somebody said, “You would have to be crazy to bring a child into this world.” I know you’re a father, you’ve got children, what do you think about bringing children into a 21st-century world?
I’ll be honest, it’s scary in some ways. I don’t know if my kids are going to have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities that you and I had growing up. It’s a scary, concerning thing. I also remember my grandmother talking about living through the Great Depression. They were an extremely poor family that left Arkansas. They’re born in Oklahoma, but they were in that Dust Bowl area. With six kids, a cross-country trip to California and my grandfather worked in sawmills and some fishing. They were on the California coast and lived in community housing around the sawmills.
It was very hard, but they loved each other a lot. My grandmother was such a tough, awesome woman. The staff was so cool about her, because of the experience that she had and the stuff that she went through. My mother, how many even know if I’ve ever related this publicly, but my mother ended up almost being forced to get married at age sixteen and had a baby before she was seventeen. Her first husband was incredibly abusive. My mother, with three kids, ended up escaping this guy.
Before welfare or anything, she raised the kids on her own. It happened many years later as a surprise. A lot of that is selfish of the individual because I have sleepless nights at times. My kids are 7 and 9, so I don’t even have the anxiety of them learning to drive. When that part of the world starts kicking in, I’m going to be concerned. Also, the world needs smart, critical-thinking people. I’m doing my best to do that with my girls because I don’t see great, common sense or the ability to think critically and to question what these dominant paradigms are out there.
The dominant paradigm for ages has been that a high-carb low-fat diet is a cure for all ills, particularly cardiovascular disease. We’ve done that and it hasn’t worked. It’s made things worse. There’s clearly something not right there. We have all kinds of narratives around grazing animals are the most injurious thing to the environment. They’re the worst feature of climate change. When you dig into the literature on that, it’s patently false. There are too few people that have the basic critical thinking abilities to discern all that.
I don’t know what my kids are getting get into, but at a baseline, II feel like even now, my nine-year-old asks amazing questions super insightful, thoughtful questions. Although I have some deeply held beliefs and thoughts about the world, when she asks a question, I do my best to give multiple angles on it. “Some people think this and some other people think this. What’s the most important thing when we’re thinking about this?” She’ll be like, “We need a model that reflects reality.” I’m like, “Bingo.”
If a nine-year-old, if somebody’s telling you something and you’re like, “Explain your model to me and how does this predict what’s going to go forward and how do we modify things? The person’s got nothing for you. You’re already like, ‘I don’t know that I’m going to buy into this.’ Whereas if somebody has a robust model and it represents reality in a significant way that can be refined over time, then we’ve got something good there.”
Personally, having kids has been the greatest joy in my life. Some days I’m like, “I wish I had had them twenty years earlier. I’m going to be fifty in January. They’re full of piss and vinegar. Some days I am not full of piss and vinegar.” There are some challenges there. I am anxious about where the world will go, but we need good people in the world. We need another generation of critical thinkers and honestly, not to make it political, but we need a group of people that are to their death big committed to freedom and access of information and ability above all else.
We have to put that forward. This COVID pandemic has done a fascinating thing, which has weaponized health and public health in particular against us in a way that Pol Pot and Nazi Germany couldn’t have even dreamt of. It’s such a compelling thing. We’re going to do XYZ to save one life. What are all the knock-on consequences? We’re in a spot where we’re unable to question those things. It’s important to have kids who can carry that banner and ask those questions. Hopefully, we’re still in a world that still allows, facilitates and fosters that.
As it pertains to taking away our freedom and even talking about freedom of speech for that matter, if you are speaking out against the common narrative or questioning the narrative, you’re getting silenced. “Where does it go next?” If you’re one of those people, who wants to silence people for alternative thoughts on any particular topic, “What’s next?” Maybe you’re someone who is a pro-government intervention in our healthcare freedoms, as it pertains to COVID and shots, but what’s the next thing?
Is the next thing, “Since we’re the government and we’re sponsored by big pharma, people like Rob Wolf and Jack Wolfson, they can’t put that message out there about paleo, keto, and about carnivore,” because it’s not good to their business. “Rob Wolf was on the show with Jack Wolfson and he was insulting impossible meat. I’m a venture capitalist who also, by the way, is involved with Facebook. Let’s shut him down for that conversation.” People, be careful what you wish for whenever we talk about removing the freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of healthcare decisions, because the next decision that’s made, you may not be in favor of.
This is something that is crazy to me that folks don’t get it. You may be in favor of the intervention now. People might think that you and I would love it if Facebook and Twitter would silence all of the vegans, I would be horrified by that. I would be absolutely horrified by that. What I want is for them to make the best case that they can and present the best model that they can. Then you and I are tasked with doing the same and letting the models battle it out late. Let’s see who does the best work and helps the most people, and an evolutionary process that moves forward.
Bret Weinstein made a fascinating observation around all this, which takes the censorship thing an interesting step further. It’s not so much about your and my ability to say what we want, this intervention is making it such that the people listening to us, they’re assuming that they are so weak-minded and addle-brained, that they shouldn’t be allowed to see what we have to say. If people look at all this from that perspective, it hits home a little bit more because it’s suggesting that most of the people out there are incapable of making a good decision. You can’t be allowed to see any of that stuff.
We, as Facebook and Twitter, who have connections with the government and connections with pharma, we’re going to curate what is allowable for you to see and experience. If that doesn’t raise your hackles, then I don’t know that anything is. We fundamentally have very different worldviews. If somebody is okay with that, I think they’re okay with almost anything happening to themselves and their family.
My guest, Rob Wolf and, you can find Rob. He’s got his books, Sacred Cow, The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat. They’re all fantastic books. Rob, maybe some other time in the future. We’ll come back. We’ll do a deep dive into electrolytes. I know you’ve got a fantastic company Drink LMNT. For those of you who are reading, Rob is also supporting the shirt, “It’s not the cow. It’s the how.” Rob Wolf, thank you so much. We’ll see you next time. Be well.
About Robb Wolf
Robb Wolf, is a former research biochemist and 2X New York Times/Wall Street Journal Best-selling author of The Paleo Solution and Wired To Eat. He and co-author Diana Rodgers recently released their book, Sacred Cow, which explains why well-raised meat is good for us and good for the planet. Robb has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world via his top-ranked Itunes podcast, books and seminars. He’s known for his direct approach and ability to distill and synthesize information to make the complicated stuff easier to understand.