Ancestral Health Symposium roundup

August 13th, 2011  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  30 Comments

I had the privilege of attending the Ancestral Health Symposium, held in early August, at UCLA.

Imagine, if you will, a huge rock concert of primal health nerditude: Gary Taubes, Boyd Eaton, Robb Wolf, Melissa McEwen, Erwan LeCorre, Staffan Lindberg, Frank Forencich, Craig Stanford, Mark Sissonand many more, all under one roof.

Oh, and preservative-free grass-fed beef jerky. (Thank heaven for you jerky people because the food options at UCLA on a Saturday eat the proverbial plate of penises. Luckily I packed kale. Have cruciferous veggies and dehydrated cow, will travel.)

Several bloggers have covered the obvious highlights of the conference well. For instance:

And there’s the trenchant observation that this was probably one of the sexiest, most attractive, fittest groups to grace the UCLA conference circuit recently. Body by Meat, Veg, and Sprints — it works.

So I won’t waste too much time on a blow-by-blow account. Let’s get bigger than who said what about carbs, and who had the most barefootish shoes (or who wore no shoes at all — by the end of the conference about 20% of attendees were barefoot, but then again, it was California so they may have been hippies who just got lost on the way to the bathroom).

Frank Forencich made an excellent critique, which will form the basis of my own observations.

Basically the question is:

What is the fucking point of all of this?

Aha. Now we get interesting.

Why is studying ancestral health and primal diets important? And what do we plan to do with that knowledge?

Well, let’s back up.

Here are a couple of fundamental concepts behind the notion of “ancestral” or “primal” health.

Concept 1: Hominids evolved to eat a particular range of foods, in a particular context.

There is no ONE “ancestral” or “primal” diet. Humans do just fine on many diets that vary by region and seasonal availability. That can mean anything from all-tubers-all-the-time (as in Staffan Lindberg’s research on the Kitavans) or the blubberiffic no-veggies-no-problem diet of indigenous northern peoples.

Humans did not dominate the globe by being picky eaters.

We did, however, get very used to eating stuff that we could hunt, gather, and/or dig up. We got used to working for our dinners. We somehow forgot to invent TV right away, so we ended up getting riptshizzled by climbing trees, running from tigers, hauling logs, playing (more than you’d think) and trying not to die.

Concept 2: We lived for millions of years with this primal diet and lifestyle. High-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the mid-20th century. Hilarity ensued.

The mismatch between 99.99% of our genetic history and our currently 21st reality causes most “diseases of civilization”.

Now, most folks focus on the content of the diet. Which makes sense. You are what you eat.

Thus, many presenters covered things like the conversion of fructose to craptabolism and why that matters; how vitamin D will make you immortal; why inadequate fat will make you insane; or the importance of understanding the specific molecular structure of lectins (giant geek boner for Mat Lalonde!! *making “call me for o-chem study sessions” thumb-and-finger gesture*).

Other presenters added context by focusing on specific health effects.

Frinstance, is your GI tract healthy and are bacteria our overlords? Did you know that some people have juicy white plaque sausages in their arteries? Why are Westerners such diabetic lazy bastards? and so forth.

All of this was entirely awesome. You know that feeling (any of you born earlier than 1980) of eating Pop Rocks fizzy candy? Well that was my brain.

Still, despite the often crudely drawn nerd-porn of molecular structures and chemical conversion pathways, the overall vibe, at times, lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Actually we do sais quoi, and it came from Frank Forencich. Which is this.

It’s great — crucial, even — to focus on what we ate, and eat. This knowledge alone, if put into practice, could save millions of lives.

But humans did not live by bread organ meats alone. It is also essential to understand:

  • how we ate — with others, in a structure of mutual interdependence
  • how we got what we ate — hunting and gathering communally, reading the signs of the land and the animals, moving in all kinds of ways
  • that we played as well as worked
  • that we were intimately connected to our group, tribe, community, ancestors, stories, land, and other organisms; and our sense of self was derived from a deep relationship with all these things
  • that we lived in and through our bodies as well as in and through our perceptions and foci — our realities were comprised of what we paid attention to (think about that as you’re diddling with your Blackberry)
  • that we lived in a physical and geographic context with changing seasons, temperatures, physical sensations, light levels, vegetation, and animal populations

By the way, although hat tip to Boyd Eaton for the discussion of egalitarianism and gendered divisions of labour, next year I’d like a little less on “Man the Hunter” and a little more on “Woman the Gatherer”. Hello, did women even exist in the Paleo period? We know from studies of modern foraging societies that even top-notch hunters strike out more often than not, and women’s foraging labour typically sustains the group more consistently.

Anyway, you see where I’m going, I hope.

Don’t get hung up too much on the “what”. Ask also about the “how” and the “why”. Don’t miss the ancestral forest for the carb-and-protein trees. Human history offers us a tremendous, rich, diverse, nuanced narrative. Dig in to this conceptual buffet.

Think big. Bigger.

This primal/ancestral stuff is huge. Let us not constrain ourselves to amino acids and carbon groups (as delicious as the debates may be). Let’s not focus on whether coconut flour is “Paleo”. Let’s get contextual all up in that shit. Let’s dive into the exuberance of the big, big, BIG picture.

Let us get over ourselves and find out what our ancestors have to say. Let us shut up and listen to their histories, their stories, their bones, their insights, their genes, their movements, their social and physical geography, the undulating rhythms of their seasons and lives, and their dancing bacterial overlords.

Oh, but the grass-fed beef jerky can stay.

Did you go to AHS11? What did you think?

Are you a primal health nut or simply ancestral-curious? Tell me your thoughts.

Hit “Reply” and share!


  1. Justin Cascio says:

    August 13th, 2011at 6:04 am(#)

    I followed the AHS11 hash tags last weekend, wishing I could also see the presentations. Instead, I had the cheapo version: reading people’s blog reports of it, and watching anthropology documentaries on Netflix. I recommend “Walking with Cavemen” to get an extended visual on what we may have looked like, and how we probably moved and hunted. (The Nova one is hideous, with awful CGI: don’t bother with it.) It also helped to be reminded that while, by some scales our ancestors have been here for 7m yrs, our own species has been here for only about 500K yrs, and even in that time we’ve been changing at increasing speed. It puts us in the ancestral health camps into a position that can look pretty funny, arguing about whether we’re sufficiently adapted to milk and wheat–on our laptops. I’m even wearing shoes and glasses as I type this.

  2. Roland says:

    August 13th, 2011at 7:30 am(#)

    Sounds like a fun time.

    Were there any presentations specifically addressing ways to get this thing more mainstream?

    Was there any media presence there? What was their impression?

  3. Tony K says:

    August 13th, 2011at 8:29 am(#)

    Hi krista, it was great to meet you at AHS. I missed Frank’s talk, but now I’ll have to watch it.

    I hadn’t picked up on these contextual elements.

    @Roland not really any presentations that I recall. Minter did how to argue with vegetarians.

    Apparently CBS had a crew there.


  4. Alaina says:

    August 13th, 2011at 9:38 am(#)

    You know what I think they need? More Krista.

  5. Josh Leeger says:

    August 13th, 2011at 10:15 am(#)

    My sentiments precisely! (almost literally –

    Important to list and address these, but what is the path to reform this movement, to make it more “real” (and less fad)?

    Any thoughts on that?

  6. Travis McBride says:

    August 13th, 2011at 12:14 pm(#)

    Well said. The well-rounded picture is lost upon the paleo/primal community too often. I love science and the details, but I agree that play and social aspects are too often glossed over or ignored. The role of music and art (forms of playing) as important aspects of being human is something that I haven’t seen explored.

    I didn’t go to AHS this year, but I’m considering going next year.

  7. Stephen says:

    August 13th, 2011at 12:35 pm(#)

    But man with his soul, his lips, his bones.

  8. Deb says:

    August 13th, 2011at 1:42 pm(#)

    Hey There! So nice to meet you at AHS! I posted about it on my blog

    It was a super event and yes, the food choices sucked balls so I hoofed over to Whole Foods in the village for some lunch.

    Next year, More jerky, more food in general and how about some cool t shirts/tanks for us uber fitties?

  9. michele says:

    August 13th, 2011at 2:16 pm(#)

    i’ve read at least 20 writeups of AHS and have been voraciously consuming the output of the paleo blogosphere for over a year. This was one of the best things I’ve read on the entire issue of ancestral nutrition in that whole time. Thank you.

  10. Mistress Krista says:

    August 13th, 2011at 3:11 pm(#)

    @Josh: First of all, consider yourself now included in the geek boner category. Thank you for introducing me to your work! (IM ON UR WEBSIT CRUZN UR THESIS)

    Robb Wolf talks in his podcasts and book a bit about how to make “paleo” more accessible. I like the way that Frank Forencich is starting out, simply with grassroots actions of small group activities.

    One question to ask ourselves is: What is the critical “bottleneck” in creating public acceptance/adoption?

    For instance, is it the paleo “image”? (Whatever that is.)

    Is it the way the movement has become interpreted (and perhaps promoted) as a gang of voracious bacon-eaters? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have many friends who are bacon.)

    Is it a failure to capture the zeitgeist of public imagination? (Debatable. Cavepeople have always held cultural fascination.)

    Is it the way this movement has largely originated and been sustained on the interwebs, rather than in real-life practice? (Possible. To me there is a lot of circularity in the discussions.)

    I would argue, now bear in mind I’m just sorta pulling this out of my ass, that a la Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, we need to make the process multi-faceted. They use the metaphor of a left-brain Rider on a right-brain Elephant.

    We need to direct the Rider so that logic, reason, and scientific inquiry are sent to the right destinations.

    We need to appeal to the Elephant — the passion and care that so many primal-researching people feel for their work. Robb is almost manic about his mission to cure people, and rightly so. Frank is like a ball of positive groovy energy wearing a mustache. We need to shape that emotional investment into productive tasks for everyone who feels likewise about this project — rather than dissipating that mojo too much in debate.

    We also need to help people be inspired by the vision that we feel. I think primal health as a concept is very exciting and freeing. It feels like stuff my body already knows but has forgotten. Rather than becoming the grain nazis and the Celiac Cassandras, I’d like to think we can point the way to a positive future, away from the disciplining paradigm and the houses of pain (aka gyms) that everyone already hates. We need to highlight how great people feel, and how fun stuff is. (And of course how sexy we all are.)

    We need to shape the path — to give people a clear, practical course of action, both primal advocates and potential adoptees. We need to SHOW not TELL.

    We need to give do-able, small and concrete steps that anyone can implement. We need a short, understandable, applicable, realistic answer for “OK, I’m convinced, now what?”

    We also need to bring more voices into the fold. In my survey response I asked for broader representation in speakers –from indigenous groups, from various regions, from various disciplines, etc. etc. — so that we can continue to develop a broad and holistic approach. (There was a good range of speakers this time round; I just think it could be more awesome.) Thus as advocates we should actively seek deepening and broadening of our own views and perspectives, lest we ossify or get too myopic.

    We need to think about WHERE and WHY people might be concerned. Have we done the best possible job representing ourselves? Are we advocates for this approach in our own lives? How could we be better? Again how can we SHOW, not TELL?

  11. linda says:

    August 13th, 2011at 11:19 pm(#)

    I attended AHS11 last weekend. The question that was never really answered (even at the presentation by Matt Metzgar) was, Is this movement sustainable on a global level?

    Can people who can’t afford plane tickets to a symposium in L.A. (most of the people on this planet) embrace and benefit from the paleo movement?

    I believe in the health and social benefits of partaking in paleo. The science proves that it works. I just have a lingering guilt that this, like a lot of health-and-fitness-related things, is relegated to those with the luxury to embrace it.

  12. linda says:

    August 13th, 2011at 11:33 pm(#)

    Although, at Metzgar’s talk, Mark Cohen from SUNY Plattsburgh asked this question and there was really no convincing answer that was offered. Someone in the audience said that the population on this planet is not what’s optimum for Earth to sustain, but to me, that’s a moot point, since we’re working with the population we have right now and not fantasizing about what the population _should_ be.

    Plus, it’s not really about population numbers, it’s about consumption. ‘Mericans, for instance, just make up 5% of the world’s population, but consume nearly 30% of the planet’s resources.

    I did ask Dr. Cohen about what he thought the solution should be, and he offered, “Give land back to the people to use.” I loved that.

  13. Mistress Krista says:

    August 14th, 2011at 1:54 am(#)

    @Linda: I think that is only true if we conceptualize “paleo” as it’s currently understood by many people — as essentially a better way to see our abs. (I’m hyperbolizing but you get the gist.)

    But much of the world’s population is still living — or lived, in recent memory — a more ancestral way of life. This is why we need the bigger picture, and a concept of the “ancestral continuum”. How can we blend the wondrous advances of our modern world with the deep knowledge of millions of years of evolution, as well as the hard-won insights of those who came before? And how can we do it in a way that isn’t (I agree) affluent narcissism? What is one small step we could take in that direction? It could be as simple as revising our concept of what humans need to thrive. Or thinking about how to reconstruct built environments on a human scale. I see ancestral concepts emerging in the reclamation of indigenous lands or knowledge, and other struggles to preserve vulnerable people (e.g. language). I see a concern with earth preservation emerging in design and architecture, including in low-income regions.

    But yeah, there is SUCH a long way to go and a lot of work to be done in between.

  14. Malin says:

    August 14th, 2011at 3:25 am(#)

    I’ve been interested in the paleo movement for a while now and while I agree with a lot of it and find it uplifting and inspirational I have also run into issues. Keep in mind though that this is just my personal, limited experience of the paleo community.

    I’m a vegetarian. I do not plan on stopping being a vegetarian any time soon, and I see no compelling *ethical* (not health-related) reasons to stop being one. It is a choice I have made, I am happy with and I stand by it. I am used to living in a world where I need to compromise and interact with people around me who do not share this belief. My own mother worked for ten years producing and marketing new types of sausage and cold cuts for a major grocery store-chain. I can count the number of fights we’ve had on this issue on one hand so I know for a fact that vegetarians and meat eaters can interact quite peacefully.

    It frustrates me that a major part of the paleo community seems to treat vegetarians and vegan with disdain or like people who need converting (ironic because it’s the same quality a lot of these people disdain in vegetarians/vegans i.e. crusading). Does everyone do this? No, of course not, but it’s been a major turn-off for me. It’s not necessarily an easy truce to make, but I can tell you this, that while these two communities squabble over who is the most ethical/healthy/righteous big corn and big meat are high-fiving each other and congratulating themselves on their spectacular dividing-and-conquering-abilities.

    I also see some troubling indicators of machismo in the paleo community. I’m a feminist, and it troubles me that some people takes a paleo-minded lifestyle as an excuse to throw themselves head-first into stereotype land (as a historian I wonder how they’d feel if they knew that much of their ideas of what is “natural” for women and men is just fucked up, left-over, 19th century propaganda). Why is bacon more rad than celery? Yet again, not everyone does this, but I do think that this is something the paleo community needs to be mindful of, or it’s going to turn into an actual big honking problem.

  15. Jen Young says:

    August 14th, 2011at 8:40 am(#)

    Thank you, Mistress Krista, for bringing up Woman as Gatherer! As a woman and physical trainer that focuses on women, this is something I think a lot. Was it up to women to figure out if that pretty purple berry would nourish or kill the tribe? What about the evolution of using plants as medicine? What about child care?

    I am huge fan of the natural movement guys, but that’s just it, it’s being led by guys. How did paleo women move? How did they adjust for pregnancy? If they survived childbirth, how did they adjust to having infants and toddlers swinging from every limb? In some cultures, women balance heavy loads on their heads. How did that start?

    Thanks for starting the discussion.

  16. The Great Ancestral Health Symposium Blog Post Roundup #AHS11 | Free The Animal says:

    August 14th, 2011at 11:08 am(#)

    […] 10th, 2011 · 26 Comments · Primitive Wisdom those new, just Stumbling, googling in or, linked here, this is a roundup of blog post […]

  17. Michelle Davis says:

    August 14th, 2011at 11:30 am(#)

    What a great sounding conference! I didn’t go, but in hindsight wish I could have because I’m sure I would have utterly nerded out the whole time.

    @Jen – good point about bringing the discussions/research to some different areas, especially adjusting for pregnancy. A family member who recently gave birth was advised early in her pregnancy to keep her heart rate below about 120, and her response had been, ‘well how did cave-women survive and keep living’?

  18. The Ancestral Health Symposium, 2011 « Theory to Practice says:

    August 15th, 2011at 1:46 am(#)

    […] to do so, as all the presentations were top-notch.  But more to the point, so much good coverage (this piece, for one example) has already been written on the event, anything else would simply be rehash. […]

  19. lauren says:

    August 15th, 2011at 3:18 pm(#)

    I’m quite interested in trying Paleo, but I’m not entirely sure how or where to start. Any suggestions (which would be very much appreciated)?

  20. Roland says:

    August 15th, 2011at 5:17 pm(#)


    It’s too bad that the AHS didn’t have a presentation and/or roundtable on making paleo more palatable to the people who weren’t at the AHS. It’s a missed opportunity for the most outspoken among us to be convinced to start marketing more appropriately.

    Granted, the AHS was likely great at sharing info and teaching the teachers about their own movement, but with 40 hours of video clips and soundbites now coming out, how many of those 40 hours will be used to promote this diet and lifestyle to newbies vs just preaching to the choir?

    On “paleo” going more mainstream…

    “For instance, is it the paleo “image”? (Whatever that is.)”

    Partially, mom and pop watching tv and reading the news will never take it seriously when it’s jokingly referred to as the caveman diet. Even the newscasters can’t stop joking if wearing animal skins and women being dragged around by the hair is a requirement for eating paleo.

    I’ve eaten this way for a couple of years, and I never tell my friends I eat paleo. I might say what I eat, what I don’t eat, and the whys behind my decisions, but even if they are dazzled by my wisdom, knowledge, and incredible good looks, using the term “paleo diet” would bring that conversation to a close.

    “Is it the way the movement has become interpreted (and perhaps promoted) as a gang of voracious bacon-eaters? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have many friends who are bacon.)”

    It sure doesn’t help that many of us highlight and actively flaunt eating vast quantities of the foods that most people in the world mistakenly believe are bad for us. We are marketing to the believers, not the non-believers.

    Healthy, lean paleos aren’t the only population shouting BACON and MOAR MEAT from the top of their lungs; low carbers, the people who “tried Atkins but it didn’t work for them,” people at the Fair, and even the unabashedly fat crowd also love to brag about eating lots of it. It’s not exactly a perfect marketing plan.

    “Is it a failure to capture the zeitgeist of public imagination? (Debatable. Cavepeople have always held cultural fascination.)”

    True. Maybe it was a good way to get a good head of steam, but it’s time to change the name to something that can be taken more seriously. Ancestral is a long word, but it can speak to most anybody, even people who don’t believe in evolution. We also tend to revere our ancestors, and most realize that, by the very nature of our own population’s health getting worse over time, that our ancestors likely did food better than we do.

  21. Mistress Krista says:

    August 16th, 2011at 4:18 am(#)

    @lauren: My advice is just start small. In this order:

    1. Add more fresh fruits and veggies to your diet.
    2. Make sure you have a good roster of lean, ideally animal-based protein sources: chicken, fish, eggs, seafood, lean red meats, game, etc.
    3. Eat only whole foods — again, fresh fruit/veg, fresh meats/fish/poultry, etc. Get used to eating unprocessed foods.
    4. Once you have #1-3 solid, THEN remove ALL sugar.
    5. Once you nail #4, THEN remove ALL wheat and wheat gluten. (Read labels. But if you’re eating whole foods, there should be no labels.)
    6. Take out all other grains — oats, rye, barley, etc. Rice is usually well tolerated so the occasional sushi won’t kill you.
    7. Take out all non-fermented or non-raw dairy (e.g. raw milk cheese). Some purists say “all dairy” — I say take it out, add it back in slowly, and see if your skin breaks out or you get sniffly.

    I suggest doing it this way because it’s easier to add first, then take away. It’s also easier from a practical standpoint to learn one small step at a time. I suggest one week per step.

    Understand that you won’t really be rocking “primal” till step 6, but that steps 1-5 are a “primal warmup”, if you will. And understand that you will see improvements but not massive changes until you get rid of grains, sugar, and dairy.

    Other folks advise just leaping in and going full-on primal for a month. If you like that “cold turkey” approach, go for it. Check out and grab the Quick Start guide.

    In any case, give yourself time to “warm up”, learn the ropes, and prepare. Then let ‘er rip. Set yourself up for success with this experiment!

  22. Josh says:

    August 16th, 2011at 7:58 am(#)

    Hi Krista,
    Thanks for your response! And for taking a look at my thesis (definitely interested to hear your thoughts, let me know)…

    I agree with your points…1. Make it less fad, more real. 2. Show don’t tell (or show at least as much as you tell)…i.e., lead by example. 3. Shape the path. 4. Expand the community.

    Sounds like the Obama campaign! hahaha! Kidding (sort of).

    I feel like the Paleo path is missing a common “handstone” to the many individual “striker stones” needed to catch a spark and start a fire.

  23. Nancy says:

    August 17th, 2011at 4:48 pm(#)

    OK, “hilarity ensured” made coffee shoot out my nose.
    I’m fascinated by the power of place – the connection we have to the geographic area where we were born or spent our early years – and the importance and effect of belonging (community) on a person’s health. Some Russian Babushkas (older women) living in Chernobyl have refused to leave their ancestral homes located in the “exclusion zone” – the highly contaminated environment near the site of the disaster in 1986. They eat radioactive livestock and plants, a few get sick, many have not. Their health may very well be the result of additional factors, but it’s interesting to note.

  24. Trishy says:

    August 19th, 2011at 9:18 am(#)

    Great comment thread, I really like the discussion on how to bring this to the masses. I am curious to hear some feedback on Malin’s point: where do vegetarians fit into all this? As Krista has eloquently explained, context is as important as the details, and there are examples of ancestral diets that were mainly vegetarian or vegan. So how does the modern paleo lifestyle accommodate vegetarians?

  25. simma says:

    August 19th, 2011at 6:57 pm(#)

    Just a quibble here–

    There are no vegan ancestral diets.

    Other than that, I agree that there should be a place at the table for many different approaches to primal eating, including those that are meatless or largely meatless. Primal eating is more than the eating of large roast beasts (and I say this as a lover of roast beasts).

  26. Mistress Krista says:

    August 20th, 2011at 2:10 am(#)

    Hey folks, I’m working on a handy guide to primal-style eating for various types of eaters, which will address the vegetarian question. Stay tuned… and in the meantime, keep digging up those tubers, LOL!

  27. Toppmötet, Ancestral Health Symposium | Primalisten says:

    August 21st, 2011at 3:23 am(#)

    […] Karen De Coster, LewRockwell Keith Norris, Theory to Practice Kevin Koskella, Healthy Mind Fit Body Krista Scott-Dixon, Stumptuous Kyle Knapp, Bare5 Laura Dolson, Low Carb Diets Lindsay Starke, Wildness and Wonder (1) […]

  28. Julie says:

    August 24th, 2011at 8:56 am(#)

    The vegetarian question is an interesting twist to paleo. You could gather your own plant foods, and makes sure the bugs get included (mmm buggy goodness). Most people feel the need to evangelize and prove what the best approach is. I’ve been considering this dietary choice a lot lately, and I’ve come across a couple of books that I really enjoyed reading and considering: The Omnivore’s dilemma by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover have some interesting takes on the ethics of vegetarianism vs omnivory. Spoiler: both are pro eating humanely raised/slaughted farmed animals (Michael includes hunted game as well), their arguements are well thought out and compelling, at least to me, as someone who has considered health and ethical implications of eating (or not eating) meat.

    Luckily it is a choice, and there is no “more ethical” choice. Just what’s right for each person.

  29. Mark says:

    September 14th, 2011at 3:27 pm(#)

    I was perusing the speaker list, and I saw that Tucker Max, of all people, spoke about how violence is a basic human behavior, and we should participate in combat sports because of it. And what’s weirder, he did a good job.

    Video is here:

  30. Peter says:

    October 19th, 2011at 10:10 pm(#)

    It will be in my backyard next year so I will attend, good that they’re moving it around and would hope it keeps moving in the future.

    I don’t think folks realize how small this “movement” really is. I’m just some guy from Boston who took this up a year ago and I’ve already met, spoke to and in one instance had dinner w/ Mark, Sisson, John Durant, Julie Mayfield, the Jaminets and have had a personal email back and forth w/ Dr. Davis. Going to hear Lustig tmw and the event still isn’t sold out. All quite by happenstance. I hope things expand soon to the point where this would be considered extraordinary.

    I will say that my own transformation has been dramatic and evident enough that folks genuinely concerned about their own situations have been coming to me for a real conversation and I’m happy to recommend or loan books and try to soft sell because I could really get going if given half a chance. You want to change the world, you start with yourself and the hard part is done.

    As for the veg/vegan hostility, no apologies, from me anyway. I did it, seriously, for 8 years. Unhealthiest I ever was. And the extent to which they dominate the discussion and policy making in this country has got to be vigorously opposed. The fact that it is the go-to diet for people looking for personal health salvation (paging Oprah and Bill Clinton for a start) is causing real harm.

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