Paleolithic Macronutrient Ratios and Profiles

Recently I came across discussions of Paleolithic macronutrient ratios at Matt Metzgar’s blog and at My Carb Sane-Asylum. The questions center around why do many Paleo dieters seem often to lean towards high-fat, low carb diets.  There is interesting discussion in the comments at each of these websites.

Below are links to the scientific papers that have been mentioned and are available online. I abbreviated down Table 4 from the Kuipers, Muskiet, et al paper to give a general overview.


Modified Table 4 from “Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet”
Meat based (non-selective; Eaton et al.) Meat based (non-selective; Cordain et al.) Meat based (selective; Model 1) Fish/meat based (non-selective; Model 2) Fish/meat based (selective; Model 3) Fish based (non-selective; Model 4)
Protein 37 30 25 29 27 29
Fat 22 36 39 30 34 34
Carb 41 34 40 40 40 39


Links to the Full Papers:

Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet – Kuipers, Muskiet et al (available in PDF format courtesy of  Canibais e Reis )

Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets– Cordain, et al

The ancestral human diet: what was it and should it be a paradigm for contemporary nutrition? – Eaton

Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications – Eaton, et al

Natural Movement Workouts: Hang Time

Natural Movement Workouts: Hang Time

The Journal of Clinical Psychology reported jungle gym pastimes are a thing of the past, and gone are the days when swinging from the monkey bars is a safe activity on the playground.1 But is the related danger really something adults and children should be overly concerned about? Exercise today neglects to include many functional movement patterns, like hanging or brachiating (swinging from rung to rung on an overhead ladder or bar).2 “Hanging and the much more challenging action of swinging from object to object, uses upper body strength in a general sense. Swinging requires the full participation of every bit of tissue from the fingers to the lower body,”3 said Katy Bowman, a biomechanics specialist on natural movement and development.

Although our physical exercise capabilities have not changed from our Paleolithic ancestors, we have mechanically engineered the functional movements of climbing and carrying very heavy loads out of our modern life.4 Our bodies are paying the price. Increased rates of osteoporosis, osteopenia, and sarcopenia,5, 11 in addition to common shoulder and back problems can be attributed to muscle and joint weakness or imbalance. In 2006, approximately 7.5 million people were treated for shoulder injuries,6 and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases estimates 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain in their lives.7 So, how might we incorporate hanging and brachiating into their exercise regime?

Our bodies were genetically designed for these kinds of movements. Paleoanthropologists suspect bipedalism in humans was directly correlated to swinging and suspensory climbing, rather than for walking.9 Just look at all babies today. The palmer grasp reflex that enables them to grab a finger is the very same mechanism our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to grab a branch.8, 10 In fact, babies are even strong enough during their first six months of life to be able to suspend their entire body when gripping a bar.12 The grasping reflex begins to disappear at 6 months of age, however research suggests it is only the lack of cultivation of the capability that reduces its appearance.8 For this reason alone, we should encourage our children to hang on their arms, and join in on the fun.

Where to get started?

Begin to add isometric hangs and brachiation movements to your fitness routine a few times a week, working up to daily sessions of up to 7 minutes.13 You can install a pull-up bar in your home for convenience or visit your local playground.

Passive hang

Begin by holding onto an overhead bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, and your arms completely straight. In this passive position, your shoulders are relaxed and up close to your ears. Ideally, you are able to support your full body weight.

However, if you are a beginner or rehabilitating a shoulder injury take some of the weight off of your arms by placing your feet on the ground, either by using a low bar at playground or placing your feet up on a bench. In the supported position, your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and hips will be in alignment, and your knees and feet will form a 90° angle.

Active hang

From the passive position above, retract your shoulder blades back and down towards to the ground. Return to the passive position and repeat for your desired amount of time.

Active Hang

Brachiation Basics

Once you have built enough endurance to successfully perform passive and active hangs, experiment with brachiation. Test your strength to see if you can perform passive or active hangs on one arm at a time before adding in the momentum. Try swinging from side-to-side, using each arm as you move across an overhead ladder, like monkey bars at a playground. As you become more skilled, the options for where you can go with your arms are unlimited.


1. Schwebel, D. Safety on the playground: Mechanisms through which adult supervision might prevent child playground injury. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 2006:135-143.

2. Available at: Accessed October 7, 2014.

3. Available at: Accessed October 7, 2014.

4. Gordon AM, Forssberg H. (1997) Development of neural mechanisms underlying grasping in children. In: Connolly KJ, Forssberg H, editors. Neurophysiology and Neuropsychology of Motor Development. Clinics in Developmental Medicine No.143/144, London: Mac Keith Press. p 214–31.

5. O’Keefe J H, Vogel R, Lavie CJ, Cordain L. Exercise like a hunter-gatherer: a prescription for organic physical fitness. Progress in cardiovascular diseases 53.6.2011: 471-479.

6. Available at: Accessed October 7, 2014.

7. Medline Plus. Back Pain. . Accessed October 7, 2014.

8. Crompton, RH, Vereecke EE, Thorpe SKS. Locomotion and posture from the common hominoid ancestor to fully modern hominins, with special reference to the last common panin/hominin ancestor. Journal of Anatomy 212.4 2008: 501-543.

9. Jones, D., Hoelscher, D. M., Kelder, S. H., Hergenroeder, A., & Sharma, S. V. (2008). International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5, 42.

10. Hadders-Algra M. The Neuronal Group Selection Theory: a framework to explain variation in normal motor development. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2000: 42: 566–572.

11. Cotter M, Loomis D, Simpson S, Latimer B, Hernandez C. Human Evolution and Osteoporosis-Related Spinal Fractures. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26658. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026658.

12. Pennock E. From Gibbons to Gymnasts: A Look at the Biomechanics and Neurophysiology of Brachiation in Gibbons and its Human Rediscovery. 2013. Student Works. Paper 2.

13. Available at: Accessed October 7,2014.

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Almond Lime Kale Salad

Almond Lime Kale Salad

During the past several years, kale has become a favorite “superfood” vegetable around the world. Despite its meteoric rise to prominence, kale has always been a favorite food of farmers because it grows fast, resists frost, and requires very little fertilizer.1 Kale is a winter vegetable, so now is a great time to start including it in your meals.

Nutritionally speaking, kale is a rock star, boasting high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It’s also a rich source of phytonutrients, including the flavonoid kaempferol. Epidemiological studies associate kaempferol consumption with reduced rates of several degenerative diseases and numerous preclinical studies have shown kaempferol to have a wide range of pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective.2

In this recipe, we’re pairing kale with almonds. Like all seeds, almonds contain phytic acid, a chelating “antinutrient” with a propensity for binding with calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, thereby inhibiting the absorption of these critical minerals.3 You can reduce the phytic acid by soaking the almonds in water for at least eight hours or, preferably, 24. From a culinary perspective, this also improves the taste and texture of the almonds.

Helpful hint: Soak one or two cups of almonds, then discard the soaking water, pat-dry the almonds with a kitchen towel, and store them in your refrigerator for 5 – 7 days. Not only will you always have some handy for a recipe, but also for a quick, nutritious snack.


Serves 1

  • 3 – 4 kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • ½-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ cup almonds, soaked at least 8 hours
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil



Remove and discard the stems from the kale leaves. Chop leaves into bite-sized pieces.


1. Straight, K. (July 20, 2014). Rub of the Greens. ABC News. Retrieved from

2. Calderón-Montaño, JM, et al. (April 2011). A review on the dietary flavonoid kaempferol. Mini Reviews in Medical Chemistry, 11(4). Retrieved from

3. Torre, M, et al. (1991). Effects of dietary fiber and phytic acid on mineral availability. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 30(1). Retrieved from

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Paleo and Breast Cancer Prevention: Is There a Link?

Paleo and Breast Cancer Prevention: Is There a Link?

It’s no surprise that eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean meats, wild fish and natural fats, and getting regular exercise is a healthier approach and will lend better odds to your longevity than what has, unfortunately, become the Standard American Approach.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you might wonder if eating Paleo can prevent something as widespread as this disease.

Sometimes we need to read between the lines and set the word ‘Paleo’ aside for a moment. Return to the basics, precisely what “True Paleo” is all about.

So, rather than trying to find studies that prove “Paleo prevents breast cancer,” we can discover fact simply by referring to the natural foods that are the essence of the approach.

For example, Dr. Kristi Funk, a board-certified surgical breast specialist and founder of the Pink Lotus Breast Center discusses the ‘superfoods’ that may help prevent cancer as well as help patients while undergoing treatment in the Ultimate Breast Cancer Prevention Guide:

  1. Three cups of green tea a day can prevent breast cancer by as much as 50% because of its high EGCG antioxidant content. Squeeze a little lemon into your cup and increase the antioxidant power of your tea.
  1. Garlic is a good immunity booster that also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  1. Olive oil, borage oils and flaxseed oil contain monounsaturated fat, which can help suppress breast cancer.
  1. Turmeric helps decrease estrogen. As little as one teaspoon a day has been shown to reduce tumor growth. Get your daily dose by mixing it into salad dressings, rice or vegetable dishes.
  1. Cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, bok choy and Swiss chard bind estrogen in your GI tract and reduce tumor stimulation. They also detoxify the liver, which helps reduce the toxins flowing through your body that can irritate cells and turn them into early cancers.
  1. Seaweed/Kelp are high in iodine, this is another estrogen reducer.
  1. Vitamin D (2000 IU) Calcium-rich foods, such as sardines, salmon, milk and cheese are also highly recommended. Or, 15-20 minutes of sunshine every day can help every day can help you in getting your daily dose of Vitamin D, which can prevent tumor metastasis, reduce cancer cells and aid estrogen inhibitors.

In summary, Dr. Funk said, “All of these combined can decrease your breast cancer risk by up to 50%.”

Notice anything interesting about all the bullet points?

They’re all food. Real, fresh, unadulterated food that also happen to be Paleo-friendly.

We can also refer to The Paleo Diet, in which Dr. Cordain points out that grain and starch-based diets, which are the antithesis of a Paleo approach, may elevate the risk of breast cancer as they “elevate insulin, increases IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor one, a potent hormone in all tissues that regulates growth), lowers IGFBP-3 (insulin-like growth factor binding protein three) which causes the body to become less sensitive to one of its natural signals which limits growth.”1

Sadly, all those confusing messages in the media that ‘meat causes cancer’ or that we should ‘rely on a model such as the MyPlate template and be sure to include whole grains in our regular regime’ are just that – confusing messages that get easily taken out of context and may end up increasing your risk of becoming sick, despite the best of intentions.

So is Paleo the way to go?
I believe so.

Dr. Cordain sums it up best. “It’s almost certain that no single dietary element is responsible for all cancers, but with the low-glycemic Paleo Diet, high in lean protein and health promoting fruits and veggies, your risk of developing many types of cancers may be very much reduced.”2

It’s hard to imagine not being the healthiest you could potentially be when you’ve armed yourself with all the goodness of an eating plan based on those local, fresh, seasonal veggies, wild proteins and good fats, with a bit of those ‘superfoods’ thrown in for balance.

Collectively, they’ll all serve to create a strong immune system, balanced blood sugar levels, and a higher likelihood that you can remain cancer free.

I’ll leave you with a testimonial and let you make the call for yourself.

“Dear Paleo Diet Team,

I am a breast cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer on May 25, 2001: T1, Node Negative, Her2 positive and nuclear grade 3. I had a lumpectomy, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. On March 26, 2004 my breast cancer returned to my L-1 disk in my spine. I had 6 months of weekly chemotherapy and radiation. By December 15, 2004 I was declared in remission.

Herceptin was part of the chemo protocol that I had received in 2004 and have been receiving it every three weeks since the beginning of January 2005. Tumor marker tests are also conducted every other month. Unfortunately, my tumor markers started rising and by the end of May tests the upward trend was disturbing.

I share this news with my pharmacist who is also a certified nutritionist on May 28th. He recommended that I immediately eliminate sugar and grains from my diet. I found your book, The Paleo Diet, and started to eliminate sugar, grains and dairy from my diet that day.

The results have been astonishing to say the least. On May 24, 2005 my CA 27 29 marker was 43 and as of October 24, 2005 is 24. My CA 15 3 marker was 28.6 on May 24, 2005 and is now 22.9. I am 100% convinced that it is a result of being a very compliant follower of the Paleo Diet. Cancer likes sugar. Sugar is not my friend and is an enemy to my health.

I am very thankful to a very astute and pharmacist/ certified nutritionist who is on top of the current diets and the effects on one’s health. We are what we eat. I do not miss any of the sweets that I craved so and love the fact that I have finally lost the 25 chemo/radiation weight that I could not lose no matter how much exercise or dieting I did since 2002. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and lean meats and fish are the mainstay of my current good health.

I continue to emphasize to my incredible team of physicians at Duke that the wonderful lower tumor marker results are a result of my new diet. Thank you for your book and I will continue to spread the message to my support group and other women I meet who have breast cancer. Mind, body and soul-keeping each healthy is essential to survive this terrible disease. The diet recommended to me on May 28, 2005 empowered me to continue doing everything possible to win this battle.




1. The Paleo Diet, by Dr. Loren Cordain (Wiley & Sons, 2002) pp 78-79

2. The Paleo Diet, by Dr. Loren Cordain (Wiley & Sons, 2002) p 80

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Mackerel Tartare: A Paleo Recipe for Common Cold Prevention

Mackerel Tartare: A Paleo Recipe for Common Cold Prevention

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by some 200 different viruses, the most common of which are rhinoviruses. While there are not scientifically vetted cures for common colds, there are many proactive strategies both for preventing them and dampening the severity of their symptoms.

One effective strategy is maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Emerging research, including both interventional and epidemiological studies, suggests that vitamin D plays a major role in regulating the immune system, including theorized direct anti-viral effects.1, 2 Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows vitamin D status to have a linear association with respiratory infections, though further research is needed to establish the underlying mechanisms.3

More than possibly preventing common colds, vitamin D may also accelerate your recovery once a rhinovirus infection takes hold. Rhinoviruses induce inflammatory responses in the airway epithelium by increasing pro-inflammatory cytokines.4 Research shows vitamin D can reduce this inflammation, though further research is again, required.5

While daily sun exposure is an ideal, it is not always feasible to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. Luckily, many Paleo foods are rich in vitamin D, particularly fatty fish. Mackerel, salmon, halibut, and herring are all potent sources of vitamin D. Just 3.5 oz. of mackerel has 360 IU vitamin D, or 90% of the USDA’s recommended daily value.6

With this recipe, you’ll also be getting a healthy dose of vitamin C from juiced limes. Vitamin C also boosts the immune system and may also protect against viral infections. Whether vitamin C reduces the incidence, duration, or severity of common colds has been a controversial, yet enduring hypothesis for over 70 years.7 Nevertheless, based on its low cost and low risks, many researchers recommend increased vitamin C consumption, whether from supplements or high-vitamin-C foods, for common cold prevention.8

With winter just around the corner, now is a great time to start increasing your consumption of vitamin D- and vitamin C-rich foods. Our delicious Mackerel Tartare will whet your appetite and amp up your immune system.


Serves 2

  • 2 whole mackerel, scaled and cleaned
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 small purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 mild red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly milled black pepper



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Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
Nutritional Grail

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

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1. Grant, DB, et al. (December 2010). Ample evidence exists from human studies that vitamin D reduces the risk of selected bacterial and viral infections. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 235(12). Retrieved from

2. Beard, JA, et al. (March 2011). Vitamin D and the anti-viral state. Journal of Clinical Virology, 50(3). Retrieved from

3. Berry, DJ, et al. (November 2011). Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(9). Retrieved from

4. Chu, WC, et at. (2013). Vitamin D Reduces Inflammatory Response To Rhinovirus In Human Airway Epithelium. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 1(87). Retrieved from

5. Ibid.

6. Nutrition Data. Retrieved from

7. Hemilä, H, et al. (January 2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1(CD000980). Retrieved from

8. Ibid.

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