It’s The Crap; Just Eat Real Food

From my post yesterday at the never-ending Amazon discussion forum focussing just now on The China Study author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and his insistence that we need to at least try his no-added-fat plant-based diet.

…Never tried it, and I stated so long ago, back around the last time these discussions heated up. And I never would and, of course, why would I? I’ve achieved marvelous results as I’ve pointed out too many times.

Look, I’m not going to question that Dr. Campbell’s chosen foods work well for him. I believe it. I believe it can be workable, perhaps ideal for others. I’m not in the least threatened by that. But Dr. Campbell seems threatened by the notion that a WHOLE FOODS eater that includes lots of meat (and sauces from marrow bone & chicken broth I make myself) is just as health and well-being promoting. He doesn’t seem to get that the most likely explanation that his diet, Ornish’s and mine can prevent and reverse heart disease (see Dr. William Davis’ Track Your Plaque website) is because they all have one thing in common: elimination of modern processed foods.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Doc on that point, and we really ought to get on that focus. It’s just like Pollan. I respect him immensely for the education work he does. But mostly plants? Nope. Mostly meat for me. It’s the crap, folks. It’s that crap "food" of modernity, and even the Chinese eat it. Hell, I lived in Japan for 5 years in the latter half of the 80s and they too were already very big into junk. I used to joke (but it’s true) that you could sit at the window in a McDs in Tokyo and see 1-2 other McDs down the avenues.

It’s the crap, not WHOLE FOOD animal products.

Here’s real food. First, you take care and prepare it yourself.

Lamb Chops
Lamb Chops

A little seasoning, rosemary, and you’re on your way. Gather some veggies and cook them up in high quality pastured butter for Christ’s sake. I kinda got carried away with the reduction  of the bone marrow stock on this one, a bit too thick but tasty and densely nutritious nonetheless. I did these sous vide, but unfortunately it was a while back and I can’t recall what temperature and time I used.

Lamb Chops Sous Vide
Lamb Chops Sous Vide

Now I ask you, is this really the sort of thing that’s destroying America’s health, or, is it more likely something like this?

Junk Food

And have you seen the blog by the school teacher who’s eating the school "lunches" every day for a year and photographing the "meals?" Go check out Fed Up With School Lunch, but you’d better not have recently eaten. And hey, if ever you’re fasting, get hungry and need a helping hand to completely lose your appetite, just keep that site bookmarked. Here’s a sampling of school lunch "food."

School Lunch Frankenfood
School Lunch Frankenfood

That crapshit makes airline food look gourmet. You know, when I was in grade school I did my time in the kitchen, and it was a real kitchen with real laddies cooking hot meals each and every day. There was always real meat, real vegetables, and so on. It was served from the lunch line onto plates with spoons, forks & tongs, not in sealed containers. Disgusting. And look how we generally fare in comparison to school lunches from around the world. Or, how about this one, from France.

School Lunch in France
School Lunch in France

As the author of the article where I nabbed this photo identifies, "In France, schoolchildren are served guinea fowl instead of chicken nuggets." And she goes onto describe her experience.

At one school, students were served a choice of salads — mâche with smoked duck and fava beans, or mâche with smoked salmon and asparagus — followed by guinea fowl with roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed broccoli. For dessert, there was a choice of ripe, red-throughout strawberries or clafoutis. A pungent washed-rind cheese was offered, along with French bread and water. Yes, the kids took and ate the cheese. […]

In addition to the goodness of the food, there were other good things about these school lunches. First of all, they weren’t rushed. About two hours are given for lunch, a portion of which is used for very loud and active exercise. Second, they were civilized. Food was served on heated plates; real silverware and glasses — not plastic — were used; and the lunchrooms were pretty and comfortable for the kids. […]

What impressed me most of all about the French school lunch was not just the deliciousness of the food, but that everything about it — the brightly decorated lunchrooms, the gorgeous kitchens, the lunch moms, the chefs — sent such a deep message of caring. To my ears it fairly screamed, “We care about and love our children. They are us, after all, and we want them to eat well and be nourished.”

Unfortunately, that is about the last message American school lunch sends to our children. Instead, we’re saying, “We have to feed you something; it’s gotta be cheap, and we don’t really care about it or you.” This doesn’t mean that those who put the meals out feel that way, but they are mostly given nothing to work with, be it pots and pans or the knowledge about how to do things, like ripen fruit so that it tastes good when it’s offered.

Shameful, isn’t it? …and by that I mean just doing an all-around crappy, not even half-assed job. You know what I think about the state, in general, but everyone with anything to do with this disgraceful mess ought to be made to eat this school lunch crap 365×3 until they clean up their act.

Sticking with France for a bit — since I lived there and understand very well the French relationship with food — I was happy to have been sent this article in Time by a reader: School Lunches in France: Nursery-School Gourmets.

"The food is very good, Madame. The meat is 100% French," the official said, picking up a brochure from her desk. I knew this brochure well, having e-mailed it to friends in the U.S. last year as a this-could-only-happen-in-France conversation piece. It lists in great detail the lunch menu for each school day over a two-month period. On Mondays, the menus are also posted on the wall outside every school in the country. The variety on the menus is astonishing: no single meal is repeated over the 32 school days in the period, and every meal includes an hors d’oeuvre, salad, main course, cheese plate and dessert. […]

I finally saw the system in action earlier this month. Caught short by a sick nanny, my son, who was accustomed to eating leftovers from the refrigerator, sat in silence with his 25 classmates at tables in the nursery-school cafeteria, while city workers served a leisurely, five-course meal. One day, when I arrived to collect him, a server whispered for me to wait until the dessert course was over. Out in the hall, one of the staff shouted for "total quiet" to a crowd of 4-year-olds awaiting the next lunch seating. "I will now read you today’s menu," he told them. "First, you will begin with a salad."

Americans struggling with obesity epidemics have for years wondered how the so-called French paradox works: How does a nation that ingests huge quantities of butter, beef and cakes keep trim and have such long lives? It could be the red wine, as some believe. But another reason has to be this: in a country where con artists and adulterers are tolerated, the laws governing meals are sacrosanct and are drummed into children before they can even hold a knife. The French don’t need their First Lady to plant a vegetable garden at the Élysée Palace to encourage good eating habits. They already know the rules: sit down and take your time, because food is serious business.

And that’s it folks. Food is serious business. It’s your first line of "pharmaceuticals" and the way we’re doing it here is about like feeding kids the equivalent of crack, by comparison.

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  1. Ryon Day on February 26, 2010 at 15:58


    Great article. I was mulling over this exact topic this morning as I prepared my breakfast in a ScanPan nonstick Skillet that Paleolithic man didn’t have, after having sliced my fingerling potatoes on my Cuisinart Mandoline slicer that Paleolithic man didn’t have, and slicing up onion and bell pepper with my Kyocera Ceramic knives that… Well, you get the point. Paleo is nice and all, and it’s an appealing neo-Rousseauean vision, but I hardly see that that rationalization is necessary in order to live a life that’s not saturated with industrial garbage food.

    I prefer to do what Bruce Lee said – Take that which is useful, and discard that which is not.


  2. Matt on February 26, 2010 at 16:27

    I’m sure I’ve had more productive discussions with walls, but I’ve been posting comments in the public comment database for the Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion … since we all know the school lunch program, as other federally funded programs such as prisons, must follow the USDA guidelines.

    • Michael on February 27, 2010 at 00:50

      So I go look at his the first comment:

      So far the dietary guideline have made no meaningful impact on the health of Americans. Please spend time looking over the benefits of a diet based on the starchy foods that have caused billions of people to be trim, active, young and healthy. For example the Asians on rice, people from rural Mexico on beans and corn, the Peruvians on potatoes, the people from New Guinea on sweet potatoes. Americans are sick because the focus of their diet is not on starch, but instead on meat and dairy products and refined foods. Only a serious change in our diet will cause serious change in people’s health. I would be happy to share more thoughts on this if you would like.

      John McDougall, MD

      Notice the conflation of meat and dairy products with refined food. He and Campbell seem to be reading from the same playbook.

      • Patrick N. on February 27, 2010 at 20:21

        This is so backward that it’s scary.


      • Matt on February 28, 2010 at 14:25

        WTF McDougall, rural Mexico is where we strive to be health-wise?

  3. 02/27/10 – Free Saturday workout @ 11:30am on February 26, 2010 at 22:07

    […] Just eat real food Group Fun! […]

  4. Matt on February 27, 2010 at 02:07

    Ran across this just now…

    …at Shorpy, of all places:

  5. Dan Linehan on February 26, 2010 at 15:55

    Great post.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading about ‘unschooling,’ because I think it’s disgusting the way we treat our children in U.S. schools.

    It’s sort of a revelation to realize how much better things could be.

    • Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life on February 26, 2010 at 18:20

      Dan, I’m a fan of unschooling and am unschooling my two young children because that’s exactly how I feel. On a rare occasion I’ll spend a moment considering sending the kids to school, but within 60 seconds I can think of several very good reasons not to. For now they will get a real education–and plenty of real food–at home.

    • Melissa on February 26, 2010 at 18:58

      I was homeschooled. It was good, but I think we can do better. An ideal private school would have lots of time outdoors, the involvement of extended family members in tending children, mix age groups, healthy food…. I was raised in a religious community, but my own family was small and I was always jealous of the quiverful people with their bazillion kids all learning and playing outside together.

      • Michael on February 26, 2010 at 20:24

        Most homeschooling groups today provide plenty of that kind of interaction for homeschooling families. It is juts amazing, at least in my state, how much there is for a family to do and partake of if they are so inclined.

      • Melissa on February 27, 2010 at 06:41

        Yeah, we were a member of many homeschooling play groups and sports associations. It was fun, but the school part of our day was just me and my sister.

    • Amy on February 27, 2010 at 13:48

      We’re an unschooling family. Homescooling has the potential to be what you make it. Its wonderful for us-no structured learning-just learning all the time. I was thinking the other day how the food pyramid is pounded in at public school and thankful we have the opportunity to explore what works for us in terms of eating (as well as everything else).

  6. epistemocrat on February 26, 2010 at 16:04

    Thanks, Richard, for posting the school lunches.

    That illustrates things clearly; it’s a scary picture, unfortunately. Hopefully, we can turn things around for kids’ sake.



    • Aaron Blaisdell on February 26, 2010 at 16:45

      Yup, it’s just the kind of advocacy for the Ancestral Health Society (coalescing as we type) is preparing itself. If Whitney Houston is right (she believes that children are the future), then I’m afraid to look into my crystal ball!

      • Dave C. on February 27, 2010 at 06:30

        Link to Ancestral Health Society?

      • epistemocrat on February 28, 2010 at 00:05 (temporary site)

  7. Heidi on February 26, 2010 at 16:11

    This article makes me heartsick for our kids. My grandma was a school lunch lady, as was my mother-in-law. The arrived in the kitchens early in the morning and baked bread, prepared the meat course, salads, sides–all real foods. I remember the wonderful smell of their food wafting through the air mid-mornings! Now I can’t allow my children to eat the garbage that is served in the school cafeteria. Most meals are things like “pretzels with cheese sauce” and “nachos with cheese sauce” and I can assure you that the “cheese sauce is NOT actual cheese; it doesn’t even resemble cheese. I am considered odd because I send lunches with egg & bacon fritatas, homemade soups, etc for my kids’ lunches and laugh when the teachers ask me to be sure and slather the kiddos down with sunscreen before sending them to school. What a world!!! Thank you for continuing to get the word out!

  8. Dave C. on February 26, 2010 at 16:15

    Richard, this was bloody brilliant! The bit about the teacher eating the school lunches really drives the point that Jamie Oliver was making with his TED idea.

    I wonder, those lunches that they have in France, is that pretty standard for all of their schools? Or is it mainly like that in upper-class type schools?

    ~ Dave C.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2010 at 16:18

      Knowing egalitarian France as I do, probably universal or nearly so. When I was in France it was as a US Navy exchange officer and I spent two years on their ships. Everyone eats the same wonderful meal from the Captain on down to the lowest ranking person, and it’s excellent and highly varied, including an organ meat meal at least once per week.

      I ate like a king there.

    • gallier2 on February 27, 2010 at 03:08

      Yes, mainly yes. Of course there’s difference in quality depending on the school budget and skills of the personel. Having eaten in a lot of different cantines from school to the military through university, it was often like that. The essentials of a meal in France are always an entrée (typicals sardines or maquerell or slices of paté or other sausages, a half cantaloup with ham and Porto is also common) a “plat de résistance” (main course) which is always some meat and vegetables or some starchy thing(potatoes count as vegetables), then a bit of cheese and a dessert which can be a piece of fruit (apple, pear, nectarine or whatever) or a slice of cake or a joghurt or something else. The meal is accompagned with liberal amount of bread, but it has more a purpose of a handling tool to get the sauce or push things on the fork. Don’t finishing a plate is not seen as a problem, it’s even sometimes appropriate to not finish everything (as in Danemark where it is seen as impolite).
      The portions are normaly not huge.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 10:34

        Uh, gallier2, didn’t you forget the salad after the main plate? I love the French style of vinaigrette I make with Maille dijon mustard, EVOO, and vinegar — usually apple cider but I don’t think it makes much difference. I usually serve it on butter lettuce, sometimes with a bit of onion but not usually.

        When ever I have dinner parties I almost always follow the French model.

        Oh, and other night I made a tomato, onion and anchovy salad using the same vinaigrette. They often served that on the ships I was on for the midnight snack for those coming off the 8-12 or those going on the 12-4.

      • gallier2 on February 28, 2010 at 11:44

        Yes indeed, I forgot the salad, you’re right, but as I tend to not eat that much salad, it was not on my mind.

  9. bart on February 26, 2010 at 16:46

    Your pictures are top fucken notch these days

  10. djinn on February 26, 2010 at 17:18

    The other day at my favorite grass-fed butcher shop I fell into conversation with the butcher – an attractive young woman. (one of my weaknesses)

    As we talked, I somewhat smugly quoted hypocrates. ” Let your food be your medicine….. ” To which she replied “…..and your medicine be your food.”

    Turned out she has two masters degrees; nutrition and history. I admitted to being surprised to see her working as a butcher. Why? she asked. Don’t you think the work’s worth doing?

    A truely French attude about food, no?

  11. Michael on February 26, 2010 at 17:50

    Wow! What great pictures. :-) I have actually been commenting on her site but it wasn’t until now that I realized when I was in public grade school we had great meals, relatively speaking. All the food was cooked on site and hot and hardly any packaged stuff. Of course once I started working in high school and could afford to go down the street to the local Mickey D’s………

  12. Melissa on February 26, 2010 at 18:53

    Some of us HAVE tried low-fat vegan diets. I guess according to him, those of us who don’t thrive on such diets are freaks. In my experience lots of people on them refuse to go off them even if they have a giant spare tire around their waist because they are so wedded to their ideology. If paleo did that to me I’d ditch it.

    • Melissa on February 26, 2010 at 18:56

      Also, as a professional food advocate it’s very frustrating when the Veg crowd denigrates meat alongside Fritos. It drives the local meat farmers/WAPFers/paleos into the fringe. I saw that happening very vividly in NYC after a certain food conference which led NYC to propose doing meatless Mondays at the behest of HSUS. I think farmers wouldn’t have been so angry if HSUS wasn’t involved. HSUS really on the side of health, they just want to make animal production as difficult as possible.

  13. Nathaniel on February 26, 2010 at 20:06

    Richard, I have only recently discovered your blog, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. You have a great take on things, and your passion is obvious. Your updates are always thought-provoking and often educational, and I have gained a lot from reading them already.

    Keep it up, man!

  14. Unamused Mouse on February 26, 2010 at 20:18

    What happened to packing a nutritious lunch for the kid(s)?

    • Michael on February 26, 2010 at 20:27

      So we can trade it away at school? ;-)

    • Travis on February 27, 2010 at 18:27

      Unfortunately, what is nutritious is not clear for many parents. They’re eating the equivalent of the same crap the kids eat in the school lunches.

      My daughter won’t touch the lunch food at her preschool. She says it’s “yucky” and prefers that we pack her lunch for her each day. I’ve seen the menus and I don’t blame her.

  15. Jorge on February 26, 2010 at 21:54

    But I’m sure the frankenfood has healthy lowfat 2% milk with added vitamins A+D; no artery-clogging-saturated fat, but cholesterol-free partially hydrogenated vegetable margarine; healthy whole grain baked chips with no frying and no trans-fats; healthy pediatrician approved fruit juice with 100% vitamin C; pizza made with healthy low-fat cheese and cheese substitute; extra-lean reduced fat ground beef burgers … plus they meet the recommended daily requirement of healthy complex carbs for lots of energy for the kids, otherwise they may feel slugish and tired, besides is fuel for the brain so they can learn. I bet there’s even a nutrionist supervising the school lunches such that they meet the healthy food pyramid guidelines.

    Also, notice that the french school has only a glass of water … no juice to help them meet the healthy number of recommended fruit servings per day .

  16. Ben Wheeler on February 26, 2010 at 22:17

    My g/f took an exchange to Marseille, France for a semester. When I went to visit I had lunch at the schools cafe and it was literally gourmet. Also, in the mall underneath the Louvre, the food court is unbelievable. One could easily eat Paleo their, where it is literally impossible in the food courts at malls here in Canada.

  17. Dragos on February 26, 2010 at 22:57

    No wonder that France is ranked first in the 2010 quality of life index:

    Nice w/e!

  18. gallier2 on February 27, 2010 at 01:12

    Hi Richard,

    good post and good timing. It’s funny that I wanted to comment recently, while you were arguing with the Lyle McD sycophants who were so hung about the “paleo” moniker, that you could use another guiding principle for what you’re doing here and that is the tradition french food culture.

  19. Ann on February 27, 2010 at 02:19

    As I am currently in France on holiday I will contest to the absolute fabulousness of French food. But I will admit to being tormented by my desire to indulge a little on the bread & pastry while I’m here.

  20. steveyyz on February 27, 2010 at 05:58

    I like the photo of the lamb chops! They are quickly becoming my favourite dinner meal. This is the one meat that is commonly available that is always grass fed (NZ imported but never frozen).

    Last year my daughter spent two months in Marseille as an exchange student and really enjoyed the food that she was served at the high school as well as everywhere else!

  21. Mallory on February 27, 2010 at 08:09

    ahem to this post…i feel incredibly sorry for the teacher eating that crap for an entire year- ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  22. Steve D on February 27, 2010 at 08:23

    “How does a nation that ingests huge quantities of butter, beef and cakes keep trim and have such long lives?”

    The dry red wine IS part of this though. It’s a good way to get a lot of the benefits of fruit while controlling the sugar level.

    A few years ago I lived in Paris for a while and I can attest to the quality of the food. What I liked the most is that they served wine and beer in the university cafeteria for lunch. They generally get a lot more exercise than American’s do and this is also a key part of maintaining health. You need to get a lot of good natural exercise without unduly stressing various parts of your body (the lifestyle of many professional athletes is really not healthy in the long run).

    However, the amount of food is also a crucial factor, possibly the most crucial factor. Take the pictures of real food above – if you triple the amount you eat of it that is a bad idea. One of the problems with the ‘eat out’ life style is that it encourages eating too much. I think that food with lower nutrient: calorie ratios may do just that as well, since you need more calories to provide basic vitamins, minerals and pigments – one reason why I think fruit should not be eliminated. It has the highest nutrient: calorie ratio of any food. The good news is that because of that you don’t actually need a lot of it.

    “Look, I’m not going to question that Dr. Campbell’s chosen foods work well for him. I believe it. I believe it can be workable, perhaps ideal for others.”

    One other difference is that both diets control the AMOUNT of food.

    “I like the photo of the lamb chops!”

    Lamb has been my favorite food since I was a child. However, here in the US it is unfortunately very expensive.

    One of the things that becomes apparent from looking at the food pictures above is that most of these processed foods simply are not that appetizing. Eating properly shouldn’t be difficult because for the most part the healthy real food actually tastes better and as mentioned is not really that difficult to prepare. Which leaves the questions as to why the processed foods are so popular.

  23. Travis on February 27, 2010 at 08:48

    It’s not only US food culture that needs an overhaul. Our complete social environment needs one. In general, Americans work too much and don’t play enough. (Play = leisure, social interaction, exercise). Pair that with a healthy diet and an attitude shift away from socially accepted and rewarded workaholism and over scheduling, and maybe we’ll get somewhere. Our nation needs to stop watching the clock all of the time and measuring our lives solely through it. A shift toward eating and preparing real food at home is certainly an important step in slowing down and smelling the roses. The fast food/garbage food culture is all part of trying to cram too much into one day.

  24. Cynthia on February 27, 2010 at 14:49

    Great post Richard- truly excellent writing. It makes me cringe that we are feeding our kids this junk. And then we wonder at the increased incidence of autism, ADHD, diabetes and obesity.

    Keep up the good work- it’s important.

  25. Simon on February 27, 2010 at 20:46

    Those French lunches for school kids are just one of many examples of their successful implementations of socialist government as the expression of the will and culture of the people. Unfortunately for us here in the US, we have no culture and our collective will is easily subverted. We deserve our fates for having abdicated responsibility in our governance by believing in the pseudo altruism of the so called free markets and the mythical benevolence of corporations over our own powers as individuals banded together by the power of a truly self representative government. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!”, a sentiment that only exists here as a plastic license plate holder made in china sold for $10 at a walmart.

  26. Steve D on February 28, 2010 at 06:58


    We don’t need the government to tell us what to eat. The only thing we can do with the government is to force other people to eat the way we want them to and smack them upside the head if they don’t obey. Most of the people posting here seem to have figured their diet out for themselves and everyone is capable of doing this.

    If other people chose junk food that is unfortunate but that is their choice. Or would you rather have some stupid government official (or electoral majority) tell you he decided that barbequeing is dangerous and ban it. (yes I’ve actually heard this discussed). I guarantee that in any so called socialist system there are going to be a lot of things you like which are going to be banned or taxed out of existence becuase the so called majority does not agree with you.

    As far as I can tell there doesn’t seem to be any problem eating correctly here in the US. The food seems to be available if you make the effort.

    Please stop using the term ‘we’ as if that gives you the right to determine what everyone else gets to eat.

    • Patrick N. on February 28, 2010 at 08:11

      Steve D: “…If other people chose junk food that is unfortunate but that is their choice…”

      It will stop being their choice as soon as health care is socialized, trust me. Here in Canada, mentioning low-carb on food is not legal, because our government decided it was not healthy. They can do this because everyone pays for health care and so anything that affects health is not a complete personal choice anymore.


      • Kari on February 28, 2010 at 08:27

        socialized?? Are you serious?

        That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I really don’t get this irrational fear people have of “socialism” – if the health care system in the US becomes “socialized” (whihc for the life of me I can’t understand what could entail) it won’t necessarily become illegal to mention low-carb on food on the basis that it’s , in their misguided opinion, “unhealthy”.

        Now I’m sorry for getting riled up about this – but I live in a socialized country – or atleast Americans calls it a socialized country – but here it is perfectly legal to talk about all sorts of low carb, low fat, etc.. food

        I dont see why on earth people drag politics into this.

      • Patrick N. on February 28, 2010 at 08:38

        Because I’m living it in real time and I’m pissed off about it. Our politicians really are citing the “weight of health on everyone’s shoulder” when they outlaw low-carb food! I’m not saying a socialized health care system is a bad thing, I’m just pointing out one of the abuses that often comes with it. Anything that is socialized becomes easily abused. And here in Québec the abuse of all these social aspects of our society is flagrant. The people are not even ashamed of it anymore.

        Sorry to bring politics in this, but I truly believe that what I said is hard to escape and is really related to this subject.


      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 10:50

        America too is a socialist country, Americans being just too ignorant or scared to call things what they really are. They make meaningless distinctions to try and argue that Europe is socialist and we’re not.

        We’re all Kleptocracies. The only difference is degree and that difference is narrowing day by day.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 10:44

      In fairness, I went in the collective “we” a bit but it’s hard to write about something like this without veering off that way.

      Ideally, there would be no such thing as publicly funded education which would make the school lunch issue irrelevant. My main point is just the piss poor nature of the job they’re doing. It’s like the publicly funded roadways being full of potholes.

  27. Kari on February 28, 2010 at 07:30

    Hey Richard,

    What do you think of this – researches claim “Ancient Egyptian priests ‘killed by rich ritual food'”

    It’s rather interesting – but I do wonder if they can be right – it’s seems rather at odds with other research. Just wondeirng what the real reason would be – if not what the researchers claim.

    Love your site as always,


    • Jorge on February 28, 2010 at 18:42

      Dr. Eades has a whole chapter in the Protein Power book — Overcoming the curse of mummies– examining the issue and is much more well researched than the article.

      In summary, using papyrus records, Egyptians ate a “healthy” diet by modern standards:high carbohydrate, whole grains, low in saturated fat, low in cholesterol, plenty of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, almost no read meat, some fish and poultry, goat milk and olive oil instead of lard. They had not only arteschleorisis, but gum disease and obesity (sounds familiar ?). Notice that Dr. Eades already knew about this 14 years ago !

      The researches in the article correctly examined the medical condition of the mummies, but then jumped to unwarranted and unsupported conclusions based on modern prejudices. And notice the “evocative message” that the authors want to leave the reader with …

      There was a similar article last year and this is what Dr. Eades said in Twitter:

      They could’ve learned this same thing 13 yrs ago if they had read Protein Power. And they’ve got their causation wrong
      2:24 PM Nov 17th, 2009 via

      Link to the article:


      And here’s a related blog entry:

      • Michael on February 28, 2010 at 19:41

        The well off Egyptians didn’t eat whole grains and they were big into seed oils. There is solid evidence pre-dating what Dr. Eades is relying on. I guess I will have to dig it up after all. It would make a good blog post. It wasn’t the real food portion of their diet that was problematic (whether or not it was high or low carb), it was their love affair with the refined crap that was problematic. The ancient Romans also had a love affair with ultra-refined flour.

      • Kari on February 28, 2010 at 19:47

        @Jorge How intriguing!
        Thank you :-)

        @Michael – I would love to see that.

    • Patrick N. on February 28, 2010 at 08:42

      Egyptians also used agriculture. There is no way to properly point the arrow of causality toward sat fat from simple observations like this.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 13:47

      I don’t really know what to think of that, Kari. It’s certainly at odds with what we’re observed with HGs eating their traditional, meat based diets.

      • Kari on February 28, 2010 at 14:06


        I found it very intriguing – but then again they are good at drawing conclusions up to conventional wisdom, instead of being completely objective and doing a thorough research.

    • Michael on February 28, 2010 at 16:03

      Silly. I would have to dig it up again but the Egyptians were masters of two things, refined flours and refined oils. The refining of flour for them was an art and they use a process that had seven stages. It wasn’t agriculture and it wasn’t saturated fat. The modern refined food industry has nothing on them. Nothing.

  28. Kari on February 28, 2010 at 10:00

    Patrick – did you read the article? That is sort of the point though – they did have agriculture, but I’m more interested in the physical evidence and what one can glean from it – with an objective mind, instead of following “conventional wisdom”

    I don’t agree that it is relevant, but that’s me – I really hate politics.

    But since I live in a socialist country , atleast I think it is – americans have called Norway a socialist country, so in their view we are. But anyway – you say it’s easily abused. And I suppose you might be right -it’s just that as you live in the proof of your view – I live in the proof of the opposite. Which is why politics and generalization makes everything harder than it should be.

    In any case – I am definetly jealous of the french school children – I would have loved having their schoolfood. lol.

    • Patrick N. on February 28, 2010 at 10:22

      From everything I’ve heard and read about Norway, it really seems like socialism done right. I wish we would emulate you. I can only hope the US will follow your lead and not ours.


  29. Kari on February 28, 2010 at 10:36

    That’s incredibly complimentary of you Patrick, Thank you.

    Norway has been socialistic for quite some time – and without a doubt the beginning was hard. And trust me – we still got a lot to fix.

    but lets end this political discussion, lol.

  30. Nan on February 28, 2010 at 18:22

    Yep….thats the evils of French socialism for ya. Luckily, we Americans are libertarian enough to let the free market fast food peddlers into our schools to feed our kids.

    • Nan on February 28, 2010 at 18:26

      I have to apologize…my apostrophe key is broken…and in case there is any doubt, I am being sarcastic.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 18:40

      And that’s fuckin’ bullshit, Nan.

      You want an argument? Get your thinking cap on, missy.

  31. Nan on February 28, 2010 at 18:53

    Thank you for the reply, Richard. I know I am a missy begging the question and need to get my thinking cap on. Thank you for honoring me that I have a head to put said cap on.

  32. Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2010 at 19:02

    Ouch Nan. Sarcastic? Cool. Over my head so I’m happy to be the dummy of the day.

    But I was so looking for a fight on that point. Damn.

  33. Nan on February 28, 2010 at 19:20

    I am still looking forward to a fight…would be an honor to be in a fight with you…and if we can actually come up with a workable answer….that would be the ultimate

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2010 at 12:53

      Ah, no need at this point. I had just wanted to point out in response to your first…

      “Yep….thats the evils of French socialism for ya. Luckily, we Americans are libertarian enough to let the free market fast food peddlers into our schools to feed our kids.”


      1) Nice things can be purchased with stolen money, even nice school lunches.

      2) There is no such thing as a free market in America and hasn’t been for about 100 years at least.

      George Carlin:

      “America was bought, sold and payed for a long time ago and that shit they shuffle around every four years doesn’t mean a damn thing.”

  34. Paleo Mom on March 1, 2010 at 22:42

    What a great post. I follow a few paleo-centric blogs, and one thing I notice is that the authors don’t seem to have young children themselves. I have a toddler daughter, and can’t imagine just feeding her an exclusively paleo-ish diet. I would say our family diet is excellent: we have protein and “good” carbs (grown in nature) at every meal, eat fruit for dessert, and rarely eat out. But at the same time, she eats cereal or grits for breakfast, likes apple juice in the morning (which I dilute 50/50 with water), enjoys sandwiches, and of course loves ice cream, lollipops, zucchini bread, muffins, chocolate, and all the rest (overall, I would say she gets “treats” 3-4 times a week). I don’t buy processed foods that contain hydrogenated oils, and the ice cream we eat is Haagen Dazs “5” (only 5 ingredients).

    Having said all that, I still frequently feel guilty, as if her diet will “ruin” her metabolism or insulin production, or alter her brain to permanently crave crap. I get a little heartsick at our weekly neighborhood play date, where Goldfish crackers are always served (along with grapes, to be fair), and my daughter gobbles them like crazy since they’re not something we eat at home. This whole issue of “good food” seems to be a struggle even for educated parents with the best intentions. So, I’ll ask you, what do you suggest for parents of young children? How strict should we be with their diets, really?

    • damaged justice on March 2, 2010 at 02:01

      “How strict should we be with [our childrens’] diets, really?”

      As strict as you want to be. Or if they’re actually allergic to something, as strict as you have to be. “This is what we’re eating for dinner” has always been acceptable in the past when we fed kids crap — why should it be less acceptable when we’re trying to feed them real food? (Of course I know the answer, that nowadays everyone is much more pussified, as Richard might say.) So don’t drive yourself crazy with guilt — and don’t feed your kids anything that you’ll feel guilty about in the first place!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2010 at 08:22

      I think my approach would be to find a few good protein & fat based paleo foods the kids like and make sure that they get plenty of it so they’re full and not hungry.

      It shouldn’t be about depriving it should be about “this is better, and you like it.”

    • AndrewS on March 2, 2010 at 09:13

      Peter at Hyperlipid likes his ice cream, but half of the stuff you mention is grain-based: cereal, grits, sandwiches, bread, muffins. I would never complain about bacon & eggs for breakfast. One of my favorite breakfasts was when my dad would take leftover ham and fry it up with some eggs.

      High-carb dinners beget high-carb snacks. If you’re feeding them wheat and corn — or even rice and potatoes — at every meal, they’ll be hungry a couple hours later as their blood sugar cycles, and asking for high-carb snacks.

      Paleo isn’t about “meat is good, eat more meat” but rather “grain is fucking evil, stop serving it to your kids.” You should be *very* strict about not serving them grain, soybeans, and frankenoils. The place to be lenient is in what you *do* serve them; what kind of meat, how much vegetables, etc.

  35. Unamused Mouse on March 2, 2010 at 11:37

    I just love reading your site, Richard. Now that the pissing matches have (mostly) passed, it’s nice to read all the discussion here. Makes it kind of hard to concentrate on work, actually! :)

    Also, I just saw this on

  36. […] is sort of a follow-up to a post just over a month ago: It’s The Crap; Just Eat Real Food. In large part that post was about the abysmal state of "school lunches" in the USA — […]

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