Ten-Year Raw Food Expert Chris Califano Issues You a Challenge

It began right here in a comment on an older post about T. Colin Campbell.

Chris Califano // Sep 22, 2010 at 06:27

Where is the “ample evidence” about whey protein that you mention? What are the specific studies about the benefits of animal protein that you say exist? Where is there a need in human nutrition for animal protein in Harrison’s Medical ? Or in any medical book? I am not for or against any food due to my own habits or food habits or cultural background or even family upbringing. I always, by trial and error ate what gave me the best health and physical performance-and that of my clients who I have trained and coached for 30 years. If there is a better way to eat, we do it. This is not a pissing match. We are all working together for the same end I would hope.

I replied with a specific list of seven references, courtesy of Anthony Colpo (from his original The China Study review), that dealt specifically with whey and its properties in isolation (the same way Campbell studied casein).

While Chris Califano has not yet replied to that, he did drop another comment on another post about Denise Minger’s exhaustive work (PDF).

Chris Califano // Sep 22, 2010 at 08:33

T Colin Campbell only gets a fraction of the credit that he deserves. History shows that all greatness is discredited first, then accepted as gospel. The earth used to be flat…people were tortured and killed for stating that we are not at the center of the universe and so on.., you know the rest. Only those “pioneers” who REALLY were interested in furthering the health and performance of humans would leave their comfort zone and discover and then APPLY what works better long enough to even understand what this whole discussion is about. I challenge ANYONE to challenge T Colin Campbell on the fact that a whole plant based diet (not processed plant foods weak in fresh fruit or greens, or silly “vegan” or “healthy” snacks and all that mumbo jumbo in a package) produces superior health, AND athletic performance in strength, endurance and flexibility. History, numbers and thousands upon thousands of case studies do not lie. Look around you. The human body does not lie either. Just take a close look… do you dare? If you look at meat eaters long enough you will see what happens to these poor people. The only ones who survive on animal foods are those who eat very small amounts, usually less than 5% of their diet, as Campbell points out. How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods? I only enjoy criticisms and arguments when they come from serious people with serious knowledge and experience. ANYone can argue. But only a stubborn few, such as Campbell, actually ADD to our knowledge and experience base…. which is quickly deteriorating … especially due to the internet. “Research” and “Metadata” and “Experience” seem to be meaningless in most cases. Please will someone (ANYONE) show some viable arguments that are backed up with equal triple reviewed metadata? Please!!!! I am so bored with those who, due to their own ideas… grasp on to arguments just for the sake of NOT leaving their “dark cave” of what they are used to…. come on, people.. leave your comfort zone just for a moment… you may discover.. God forbid! that the rewards and pleasures and REAL comfort that you get in return is more than you ever imagined.

OK, so first, who is Chris Califano? Here’s his website: The First Supper. He boasts a lot of great results which I’m not going to dispute at all. I believe him and his body composition simply speaks for itself. I do note a complete lack of body composition comparisons on his testimonial page. That is certainly not to say they don’t exist or that some raw vegans don’t whither away as so many do, or even that it’s not possible to build significant strength or lean muscle doing raw vegan "right," granting for the time being that there exists such a thing (especially considering most humans and not outliers).

I bring this up simply because he claims to have been at this for so long while guys like me and others in the paleo community who’ve been blogging only a relatively short while can produce tons of body composition comparisons. Here’s a few from my own "Real Results" page: Murray, Timothy, Michelle, Austin, and finally, Chris, who dumped 106 pounds of fat in six months by going Paleo.

Of course, this is just the body composition. There have also been numerous other health improvements; such as blood glucose normalization, improvement or elimination of inflammatory diseases, increases in energy and stamina, improved sleep, and the elimination of some — or in many cases — all prescription medications.

And it’s not just here. Tons of success stories at Mark Sisson’s Primal Daily Apple. And in Robb Wolf’s just published "The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet," you can read what appears to be dozens of testimonials covering weight loss, strength / athletic performance, and health.

So my second issue is this. In the first comment Chris says: "I always, by trial and error ate what gave me the best health and physical performance-and that of my clients who I have trained and coached for 30 years. If there is a better way to eat, we do it. This is not a pissing match. We are all working together for the same end I would hope." Well I was prepared to believe that but go read that second comment again and tell me whether you really believe it or not.

OK, I know there are tons of things to pick at above but I chose just those two. Anyone else want to take a shot at the "CHALLENGE?"

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  1. Michael Simpson on September 22, 2010 at 16:25

    I have been Paleo for a while and do consider it the most appropriate diet for humans, evolutionarily speaking. The only issue I have is an ethical one. With the planet being ravaged as it is by over-population and human caused destruction, I feel like the least we can do is help out by not eating meat which requires vast multiples of energy more to produce than fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Not everyone could eat Paleo. The earth can’t support it. We aren’t foraging for plentiful game and living in small tribes anymore. We have over run the planet as a species. Even Dr Cordain has admitted this(reluctantly).

    Therefore, I feel that if it is possible to live a healthy raw vegan diet, it would be ethically and morally responsible of us to do so. That is why I am slowly making the shift to raw, with perhaps a small amount of eggs and fish thrown in. If you want to see some awesome vegetarian bodybuilders, google for Bill Pearl or Mike Mahler. There are plenty of others. As long as you do what you need to do for hormonal optimization, it is possible to get extremely massive on a vegan diet.

    • Sonagi on September 22, 2010 at 17:37

      “With the planet being ravaged as it is by over-population and human caused destruction, I feel like the least we can do is help out by not eating meat which requires vast multiples of energy more to produce than fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.”

      Could you give us some numbers to support that claim, specifically energy used versus calorie and nutrient output? Factory farm beef is energy-inefficient, but free range cattle often graze on land unsuitable for crop cultivation, and large-scale crop cultivation is itself a resource hog. Pastured chickens don’t require much land or food, and are ready for slaugther in a couple months. The farmer I buy eggs from feeds her chickens vegetable scraps from her farm. How efficient is that?

    • Sonagi on September 22, 2010 at 17:53

      Regarding Cordain’s remarks about the global feasiblity of a Paleo diet, Paleo includes not only pastured meats but also nonstarch vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Cordain was acknowledging that the cultivated grains are a cheap source of calories for people in countries that are food-insufficient. .

    • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 18:32

      Well Michael, while I applaud you for at least acknowledging the most appropriate diet I must say that your willingness to move to a less healthy, less optimal diet out of some sense of self-sacrificial “responsibility” is not only abhorrent to me, but profoundly immoral and anti human life. At least the veggies in part do what they do out of ignorance that a small brain / large gut diet is more healthy for a large brain / small gut human.

      Some may not like this, but it must be said: the world began the day I was born and ends the day I die. I’m going to make the most of it. And fuck all that noxious noise about “responsibility.”

      • Michael on September 22, 2010 at 19:11

        Funny – I eat a paleo-based diet because it is the most biologically optimal diet for me AND because I believe it is the most responsible way to serve the earth and humanity. When you eat as close to how nature intended, how is it not the most responsible way?

        Permaculture for the win.

      • Michael on September 22, 2010 at 19:15

        I feel sorry for Michael S and Richard – you are looking at it like it must be one or the other. But it’s not. They are mutually tied together. The best of both worlds

      • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 19:21

        Touched, I’m sure.

    • Skyler Tanner on September 22, 2010 at 18:41

      Ravaging the planet? Even a huge vegan activist admits such statements are quite misguided:

    • Jerry on September 26, 2010 at 18:05

      You should read the vegetarian myth. That will show you just how unsustainable the vegetarian diet is for the planet. The fact that we over populated the planet isnt a reason to not eat healthy. We need to drasically reduce our numbers. Just cause the majority of the world doesnt see it that way, doesnt make it so. And if we refuse to do it voluntarily as a species, then all of the disease that keeps popping up from eating the wrong diet will eventually do it for us.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 26, 2010 at 18:27

        Jerry, there’s a good dozen posts on this blog that reference TVM and at least three or four of those are reviews.

        I consider Lierre a friend if mine.

      • Jerry on September 26, 2010 at 19:24

        Ill have to look them up. Im a newbie to your blog so I still have not had a chance to fully explore your posts. I can say that TVM blew my mind, I had already learned a lot about low carb/paleo, but she brought up tons of things I hadnt even considered, but that made perfect sense. Not to mention I used to used the same arguments back in my vegetarian days that she refutes, and I can say her arguments make much more sense to me now. From my experience, Most of the arguments for vegetarianism, if not all, are little more than poor ideology and nothing more

  2. Michael Simpson on September 22, 2010 at 16:48

    Here is Mike Mahler’s very successful vegan/bodybuilding program.

    Here is Bill Pearl, known as “The Vegetarian Bodybuilder”.

    Do you really need to look any better than that?

    • Erik on September 22, 2010 at 18:36

      Look better? No. I’m a bit more comfortable with a little less meat to shift around on my frame. The point is not whether you can build and maintain muscle on a vegan diet, which one obviously can, but that you’ll be healthier in the end on a diet that reproduces the diet of about 3 million years of human ancestry. Those guys are massive, yes. Top marathoners can run at race pace farther than I can dream of. Does that mean they’re healthier than I am? Not judging by their compromised immune systems. Being huge doesn’t indicate optimal health either.

    • Aaron Curl on September 23, 2010 at 03:51

      Why is Bill Pearl being brought up again? HE GOT ALL OF HIS MASS FROM STEROIDS AND MEAT PERIOD. He maintains with a sub par vegetarian diet.

      • Paul C on September 23, 2010 at 07:45

        Another interesting bit from Bill Pearl’s Getting Stronger is the reasoning he gave for giving up each type of meat.

        Read meat: His cholesterol was over 300 and he had high triglycerides. Believing red meat was the culprit, he quit eating it.

        Chicken: He was eating a piece and came upon a nasty infected looking part, also he wanted to avoid estrogen hormones that he had been hearing was used in raising chicken.

        Fish: He quit eating fish because of mercury content.

        I doubt Bill would have wanted his example to be used in a moral discussion, since that is not how he based his decisions.

  3. Andre Chimene on September 23, 2010 at 00:14

    Go to his blog post “Efficient Exercise”…and he writes


    On the 1500 lb Bull point, and I quote Dr. Ron Rosedale…”cows farm bacteria like we farm cows”. All herbivores ferment bacteria in their multiple stomachs. They farm the bacteria that break down the plant material. The bacteria produce free fatty acids, yeah FAT, that the animals absorb. Then they absorb the bacteria themselves, yeah PROTEIN. They cannot break down the plant material without the bacteria (animals) doing it for them.

    The 800lb Gorilla does the same thing. His big belly is a fermentation vat full of live animals that he has enslaved to produce the FAT and PROTEIN that he needs to survive. The largest and strongest animal that has ever existed is the Blue Whale. A total carnivore. If Chris could convince them to go vegan the Krill would thank him and I could purchase a Krill Oil supplement at half the price

    There are NO vegans in the human or animal world except the bacteria themselves. Chris Califano needs to take a look in the toilet after he leaves a tremendous snakehead swirl and recognize that half of the bulk of his shit is DEAD BACTERIA. He is a mass murderer of animal (bacteria) life. I say, “hangins too good fer him”. Yee Haa!

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 08:00

      Andre, yea, in addition to the tremendous gut issue (see Kleiber’s Law and the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis), a lot of those large gut mammals also eat their own poo and the excrement of others.

      I’m going to qit calling it copraphagy and start calling it “vitamin B12 supplementation.” Go Vegan!

  4. Melissa on September 22, 2010 at 10:25

    A lot of paleo dieters are former raw vegans, myself included. Can you build muscle on such a diet? Yes, SOME people can with modern access to massive amounts of nuts, sprouted beans, and various powders. It’s a step in the right direction because the diet usually is gluten-free and industrial-food free.

    I’d love to see Chris at Art’s age though. I think long-term raw vegan storm is a good example of muscle wasting that eventually occurs in raw veganism. This paleo guy I know says that raw food meetups are a great place to pick up girls (well, if you are just looking for short-term things) because the few men at them are so depleted looking. The few men with the genes/good background who are able to maintain muscle on raw really score though.

    Dude also sounds like a serious case of a personality disorder. As a woman, my creepy asshole man detectors go off when I see things like “Born in New York, New York, he acquired a college-level reading comprehension skill in the fourth grade SRA reading tests.” La di freakin da!

    • Michael Simpson on September 22, 2010 at 16:53

      Bill Pearl, “The Vegetarian Bodybuilder”

      Did you say something about muscle wasting?

      • Melissa on September 22, 2010 at 20:40

        bill isn’t a raw vegan.

      • Michael Simpson on September 23, 2010 at 10:08

        But certainly not Paleo!

      • Melissa on September 24, 2010 at 13:49

        So what? There are tons of jacked bodybuilders out there who die young. The goal of paleo isn’t to be jacked like that, especially given that a body like that is just a bunch of inflexible muscle. It’s actually kind of disgusting really.

      • Auggiedoggy on October 17, 2010 at 00:52

        Pearl built his physique the same way countless other top bodybuilders of his time did, on a high-protein, meat rich diet. Pearl switched to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet late in his career. Vegetarians ans vegans can’t hold him up as their poster boy.

      • Rob on September 23, 2010 at 02:19

        Also, Pearl went ovo-lacto veg well into his bodybuilding career, [probably] past his competitive prime.

  5. Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 10:28

    “he acquired a college-level reading comprehension skill in the fourth grade SRA reading tests.”

    Meat eating? :)

    • Melissa on September 22, 2010 at 10:53

      Probably, as he appears to have lost it since
      ” Like and enzyme he WORKS.”

  6. Michelle Trevino on September 22, 2010 at 10:36

    From the sound of it, you only need one person to disprove his theory since he pretty much says everyone should be eating this way. Well, I’m a zero carb carnivore. I don’t eat fruit, vegetables or grains. I reversed my diabetes, asthma, allergies, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I hardly ever get sick! I was a raw vegan a long time ago and it did nothing but shoot my blood sugar higher than before. It made me tired, weak, lethargic and worsened my hypoglycemia symptoms. If you are diabetic, eating carbs is a definite no-no. Some can do lower carbs and get away with it, but I have to be more vigilant.

  7. Kim on September 22, 2010 at 10:38

    Since raw food veganists insist their way of eating is superior and leads to long, healthy lives, you might ask him this question: how many centenarians (age 100+) in the US (90,000) are vegetarian? In case he doesn’t know, the answer is: none.

    • David Csonka on September 22, 2010 at 10:45

      Kim, is that info linkable from a census website or something?

      • Kim on September 22, 2010 at 12:33

        I wish. I got it from a former vegan/fruitarian’s site. a couple of weeks ago. (I don’t really know how to access gov. sites anyway) I just find it ironic that most of the well-known vegan AND very low-fat diet guru’s often do not live to advanced ages in spite of their claims. In fact, a lot of centenarians led what we would consider unhealthy lifestyles including smoking, drinking etc. I actually think that genetics plays quite a roll. We know that our ancestors were NOT vegan’s by choice and if you believe “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection”, then primal eaters with regular access to animal protein, would have survived and passed on their genes. Vegan’s, if there were any due to lack of access, would have died out young of malnutition and not passed on as many genes.

      • Paul C on September 22, 2010 at 14:25

        I was interested in this question at one point in the past and thought “I wonder what George Burns ate?” Googling turned up this gem, a humorous spin on his eating habits during a week. His diet seemed remarkably full of real food, and low on neolithic foods. http://madeinatlantis.com/life/seven_day_diet.htm

        Another theory, which is thoroughly explored in the book Anticancer, is that real food and healthy habits allow your body to “handle” cancer in that cancer can’t grow and spread in a low-inflammation and low-sugar environment. That could be considered genetic I supposed, but I’d like to think everyone has the potential to express genes in this manner, rather than inherited luck.

  8. Skyler Tanner on September 22, 2010 at 10:42

    Composition of that level can be achieved on ANY diet (Auschwitz and Anorexics prove it!), while the whole “one true way” comments with campbell being regarded as a savior is as bad as some of the HIT guys using Objectivism to “logically” determine their training to be correct. One can rationalize emotions into “logic” by sticking fingers in the ears and going “lalalalalalalalalala” as this man has done with Ms. Minger’s work.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 10:55

      Ok, Skyler, grated about body comp if one simply goes by body fat with no bottom lone requirement for healthy minimum lean mass, but it looks to me from his own photos that he has quite impressive lean mass for his age.

      • Michael Simpson on September 22, 2010 at 16:56

        Bill Pearl, The Vegetarian Bodybuilder”

        See my comment below.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 17:28

        Alright Michel, quit fucking spamming comments with a reply every fucking place with the same fucking link, alright?

        Wow, we’ve got two vegan BBs. Against how many meat and whey eaters?

        And this still doesn’t answer the question of how they got massive in the first place, how they built the muscle. Exclusively raw vegan? I don’t believe it, because otherwise we’d see lots of examples, and we wouldn’t see the hundreds of thousands of emaciated vegans we do every day.

      • Paul C on September 22, 2010 at 20:48

        I have Bill Pearl’s “Getting Stronger”, in which he talks straight up about his diet and steroid use. He won the 1961 Mr. Universe with a lot of red meat and steroids. Later he talks about quitting red meat, at the age of 39. Soon after, he gave up chicken, then eventually fish.

        He described his eventual diet as lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, which included dairy and fertile eggs, from age 39 to 56, when the book was published. The full list of his staples: fertile eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, brown rice, baked potatoes, cottage cheese, unprocessed cheese, yogurt, and kefir.

        Frankly this diet seems closer to primal than true vegetarian, in my opinion, with a significant amount of animal nutrients.

      • Aaron Curl on September 23, 2010 at 03:34

        I thought everyone remembered the late great Bill Pearl. I agree with the above that he built ALL of his mass with extreme steroid use and meat because ALL of the bodybuilders back in the day admitted heavy steroid consumption. Read Arnolds book Pumping Iron, same story. If Arnold went raw vegan now he would shed weight and could probably look good for awhile. If he did any diet he would shed weight and look good.

      • Skyler Tanner on September 22, 2010 at 12:15

        I have no doubt certain vegans can be quite muscular (see Mike Mahler). Assuming he gets enough EFAs&EAAs he has the building blocks to maintain such a physique. I’d also like to see how he looked prior to going vegan, no implying that he would have looked better (as “looking better” is often due to bodyfat percentage) but to see his muscularity. If he’s maintained a high level of muscle mass built in his youth, bravo, great for him. If he was claiming his veganism/raw foodism was responsible for such muscular gains, I’d call that into question.

        But yes, he’s quiet lean, muscular, and willing to show that bicep pose to the whole internet. ;)

  9. Kent Cowgill on September 22, 2010 at 10:42

    Is that a wheat bun on his website banner on the right side?

    Aren’t those generally cooked?

    • David Csonka on September 22, 2010 at 10:46

      It might be a large portabello mushroom.

  10. Joyful.Fig on September 22, 2010 at 11:33

    Just reading about raw-food veganism makes me want to cry…or cut off my own arm, bbq it, and eat it.

  11. Chris B on September 22, 2010 at 12:04

    Hasn’t anyone else picked up on his outrageous comment about the diet of most carnivores?

    “How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods?”

    I seriously doubt that you can argue that a lion is eating the BULK of her diet in plant foods even if she eats the entire stomach contents of that antelope she just brought down. I am of course just using a lion as an example of a carnivorous animal for quick reference here, but the same could be said for killer whales, too. And ALL scientists will agree that cats are “obligate carnivores” which means:

    “Obligate or true carnivores depend solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for their survival. While they may consume small amounts of plant material, they lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter and, in fact, some carnivorous mammals eat vegetation specifically as an emetic. The domestic cat is a prime example of an obligate carnivore, as are all of the other felids.”

    (Now, I will probably be called to account by Mr. Califano here since I have quoted Wikipedia, but I’m on my lunch hour here and needed “quick and dirty”.)

    He claims to want discussion with “serious people with serious knowledge and experience” but then he expects us to swallow this guff. Sorry, I’m not buyin’ it.

    • Patrik on September 22, 2010 at 12:53

      @Chris B

      THANK YOU! That is EXACTLY what jumped out at me. I know a fair bit about ethology and would love to learn about how:

      even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods?

      What does that mean? Does he mean you *could * torture a large terrestrial carnivore like a lion by feeding it veggies? (It would go blind BTW)

      Or even a tad slightly more omnivorous carnivore like a wolf?

    • Melissa on September 22, 2010 at 12:59

      But but… he ““ acquired a college-level reading comprehension skill in the fourth grade SRA reading tests.”

      He’s a frickin genius! How dare you question his knowledge of biology!

    • Crystal on September 22, 2010 at 14:54

      This one stuck out like a sore thumb to me too, and I could not muster the capacity to bother with the rest of the drivel. Also, there have been plenty of human groups that have lived mostly on animal fat and flesh, and any human who is able to live in the insanity that is the arctic regions could show you what they eat. A family will catch a seal and slaughter the animal and eat the fresh warm blubber right out of the animal. In general these people see little to no disease until modern Western ideology gets involved with sugars and starches.

      • Aaron Curl on September 23, 2010 at 03:41

        “How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods?”
        I also was wondering about this comment. He forgot to leave some studies to prove this. He must have never watched nature on t.v. when he was a child. Oh, I forgot, he was getting a college degree in the fourth grade…..I bow down to the almighty fourth grade reading degree.

  12. Kim on September 22, 2010 at 12:36

    One thing that strikes me about the raw vegan way of eating is that you have to consume A LOT! Seriously, if I eat a salad, I’m starving in like an hour. Same thing with cereal. At any rate, one has to really fine tune, massage and heavily supplement a “raw vegan” lifestyle. That alone tells me that it’s UNNATURAL!

    • Alex Thorn on September 22, 2010 at 14:43

      I have to agree with you on this. I also went the raw vegan route for an extended period quite some years ago now (and was training at a gym to gain muscle at the same time) and I was constantly hungry and had to eat pretty much hourly. Not only was this expensive and inconvenient but I lost so much body fat that I probably would have eventually killed myself if I hadn’t been ‘woken up’ to my dietary folly by a registered nurse who was doing health & fitness testing at my gym!

      We have not evolved to constantly graze on huge amounts of raw plant material – we neither have the stomach or digestive tract to efficiently process it and extract the maximum amount of vital nutrients. Unless you can afford to eat in bulk and/or often ans supplement heavily it is not a diet that will sustain you healthily in the long term. If this bloke is a ten year raw vegan, I give him no more than another then years before he suffers the consequences!

      • Asclepius on September 23, 2010 at 04:49

        I remember from my veg@an days the ‘hunger shakes’. There were many occasions four or five hours after lunch I’d be shaking like a shitting dog – waiting for my next meal! When I went ‘paleo’, the big ‘FM’ moment for me was when I realised that I could fast for 24 hours without any gnawing hunger – and still do a heavy workout at the end of it. At that point I knew my body was using the fat as a battery…just a evolution inteneded.

        I am intrigued as to whether Chris Califano or any of the veg*an bodybuilders could comfortably fast and train over a 24 hour period.

  13. CPM on September 22, 2010 at 12:50

    It is kind of funny to see these people who normally don’t have much use for science all of sudden rally around The China Study the moment they think they have some sort of scientific validation. Califano demands “research” and “metadata” and scientific “experience” to refute veganism though of course none of that played any role in his decision to become vegan (or anything else) in the first place.

    As long as Campbell continues to claim that Correlation is Evidence in his new holistic, Creationist-style science I am not sure there is much point in trying to carry on a scientific debate with these people, but I do think it might be important to continue to ridicule their pseudoscience.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 18:35

      Isn’t that the truth, CPM. Very much like the creationists and ID crowd.

      • Cody on September 23, 2010 at 16:40

        Even from a creationist standpoint it really doesn’t stack up. In the creationist view God (in whatever form you see him) made everything with purpose. If the animals of this world were not meant to be hunted and provide for food clothing and whatever else our oh-so-creative ancestors came up with then what is their purpose in this system? If they are not food then what are they?

      • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 17:18

        That is an excellent point, Cody. Yes, within the closed logic of religious creation myths, things make far more sence than Shiite Veganism.

  14. JP on September 22, 2010 at 13:24

    ”The only ones who survive on animal foods are those who eat very small amounts, usually less than 5% of their diet, as Campbell points out. How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods?”

    This dude has no evolutionary knowledge… Try feeding your dog massive amounts of vegetables and tell me your dog will feel fine…

    • Richard Nikoley on September 22, 2010 at 14:00

      Yea, I have a very long story to tell about a sick dog. How he became sick I don’t know. We were in Europe. With Peter Hyperlipid’s help and four other vets Ive been bringing him back to health, but it is not an easy road. Big gains made in the last few days through coprafaghy (his choice but I let him; who am I to question what he needs, and ther’s lots of unknowns in that behavior) and lots of supplemental fat (lard), now that recent tests have revealed his pancreas is A-OK.

      Notice I didn’t say anything about raw vegetables… And he’s not even going for grazing grass on his own.

    • Len on October 7, 2010 at 16:08

      I know a person who refuses to feed her 4 y/o terrier any fatty meat (or god forbid, straight fat) – only lean chicken breast, and only very rarely. The rest of the poor dog’s diet is rice (quickly cooked), vegetables (mostly raw – carrots, zucchini, tomato), fruit (!) and commercial “science diet” dry junk. All drowned in vegetable oil (olive or canola or blended vegetable… “it’s all the same,” apparently). Oh, and “treats” – lots of left-over human desserts, pizza. Any left-over meat from the human meals gets thrown out, though.

      All this because the woman’s father died at 49 after his 3rd heart attack which the experts put down to too much fat in the diet. Needless to say, the dog has every ailment you can imagine, is scarily overweight, can barely walk, is a nervous wreck and is going blind. All at 4 years old. The owner’s explanation for all these diseases is that the dog’s just getting old.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 7, 2010 at 17:19

        My tat terriers eyes, at 12, are pristine.

      • Len on October 8, 2010 at 02:38

        Good to read that he’s okay now. Obviously they (and you) know what they should eat.

        I’ve seen terriers live to their late teens when allowed to eat appropriate food.

    • Auggiedoggy on October 17, 2010 at 01:03

      Chris Califano is a certified nutburger. Plain and simple …

  15. CrossFit 1776 | CrossFit in Williamsburg, VA | Williamsburg Strength and Conditioning | Speed, Strength and Agility Training for Football, Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts in Williamsburg » New Deadlift PR’s, Serious Conditioning Work and Reco on September 22, 2010 at 15:27

    […] Ten-Year Raw Food Expert Chris Califano Issues You a Challenge […]

  16. Ned Kock on September 22, 2010 at 16:19

    What is hard to find is someone who has been eating natural foods and doing strength training for a while, say 1 year, and is not relatively lean and fit.

    By the way, this analysis of the China Study II data shows (predictably) that cholesterol seems to protect against cardiovascular disease:


    This one (link below), based on the China Study I data, shows that, as animal protein consumption increases, colorectal cancer decreases. It also shows that, as plant protein consumption increases, colorectal cancer increases significantly:


    And we all know that raw fruits and vegetables are not plant foods with significant amounts of plant protein. Foods made with refined grains and seeds are.

  17. Sonagi on September 22, 2010 at 17:32

    “History shows that all greatness is discredited first, then accepted as gospel.”

    X’s ideas have been discredited, then accepted as gospel, therefore X is great. Can someone please shoot that worn-out logical fallacy and put it out of its misery?

    • TheMightyQuinn on September 23, 2010 at 10:04

      Yes, you would think someone who “acquired a college-level reading comprehension skill in the fourth grade” would be too smart to post something so idiotic.

      BTW, why would this guy even brag about his reading comprehension in the 4th grade unless he was currently in elementary school? Why bring up an accomplishment from 40 years ago unless he has done nothing worthy of notice since then?

    • Glenn on September 24, 2010 at 03:02

      using that logic, that would make Ancel Keys great..

      • Auggiedoggy on October 17, 2010 at 01:12

        Keys??? Don’t get me started on that damned fraud. Scientist? Hah! Researcher? Double hah!! Now see what you’ve gone and done? :(

  18. Russ Taylor on September 22, 2010 at 18:51

    Michael Simpson, all you have done is show two guys and say they’re vegan bodybuilders…. who cares. I’ll give you a third: Jake Shields from the UFC (Previously Strikeforce) is a Veggie/Vegan and was even the light heavyweight champ in Strikeforce. But okay, he’s one fighter (and a pretty damn boring one in my opinion) in a sport where there are hundreds who look just as good or better and many who are FAR superior at their job. And as for the whole saving the world argument just give it a break, the world is a messed up place and isn’t gonna get better overnight. I think a world where more people raised their own animals, tended a garden and acted responsibly and healthy would be just about the greatest thing ever. And in my opinion those are the kind of values the Paleo Lifestyle supports.

  19. Walter on September 22, 2010 at 19:54

    I was never vegan, but I did do raw food and based on the results, never again. Have since read Wrangham’s book and predictably the vegans have the science wrong again.

    The same goes for their ethics, which are based on if we do A,B and C then X, Y and Z will be the result. The more I learn about science, the more certain I am that X, Y and Z will NOT be the result and that A, B and C are not ethical actions and therefore their entire argument is invalid.

    I think that damaging yourself diminishes your ability to help those that you CHOOSE to help and is therefore unethical. If my actions make me no worse of and I can help someone else, I’ll do it. But if helping someone else means damaging myself, it has to be someone I care about AND I have to be certain that damaging myself will really help them.

  20. Michael Simpson on September 23, 2010 at 10:23

    Apparently, from all of the responses to my comment, one thing that the Paleo diet clearly does is make you very angry! Take a chill pill guys. The cortisol you are producing will kill you a lot faster than the food you are eating. Sorry Richard, I didn’t mean to spam you. I just wanted to make sure my point of view got interjected into the argument. I don’t even have a website up an running right now to spam to.

    Clearly, grass-fed beef is more efficient than agri-business produced meat. There are still too many humans for them all to eat Paleo, even if all the Paleos ate grass-fed meat, which they don’t by a long shot. Besides, it still promotes a way of eating that lacks compassion for non-humans. But everyone has to find there own way. The human species is a natural force that collectively is as unconscious as an asteroid or tidal wave. We will suffer our choices as a species. So be it. No need to get uptight. I personally, just think that it is useful to experiment with various options. To do otherwise smacks of cultism.

    • Alex on September 23, 2010 at 10:49

      “Apparently, from all of the responses to my comment, one thing that the Paleo diet clearly does is make you very angry!”

      Please keep in mind that you’re not accounting for paleo dieting readers who are not angry and did not respond. Personally, I’m fine with any dietary choice you make for yourself because it’s completely irrelevant to my own life.

    • j.f.smith on September 23, 2010 at 11:28

      “Besides, it still promotes a way of eating that lacks compassion for non-humans.”

      As opposed to a diet that doesn’t, I reckon? What kind of diet would that be?

      If you kill and eat plants, that also suggests, according to your “thinking”, a lack of compassion for non-humans. I can’t see how one can reject that, unless one engages in a type of speciesism.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 11:40

      Actually I’m cool as a cucumber.

      But this is Free the Animal and I have a certain style to uphold. Plus, it’s fun.

    • Dimitris on September 23, 2010 at 12:25

      “Besides, it still promotes a way of eating that lacks compassion for non-humans.”
      And destroying hundreds of thousands acres of natural animal habitats to plant monocraps (not a typo) like soy IS VERY COMPASSIONATE. Big fish eats small fish, nature’s way.

      “How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods?” WTF!!!!!!!!!!
      From statements like this, I actually feel more compassionate towards vegans. The neurological damage they suffer from lack of proper nutrition is far greater than I thought……….

    • Paul C on September 23, 2010 at 13:48

      You are seeing anger where really is it blunt reasoning with your interpretation layered over it. The only unpleasant feeling I have is some disgust over you misappropriating a very well respected no-nonsense bodybuilder’s lifestyle.

      Hopefully your meal of imagined anger has satisfied your trollness.

    • Dimitris on September 23, 2010 at 13:54

      “Apparently, from all of the responses to my comment, one thing that the Paleol diet clearly does is make you very angry! Take a chill pill guys.”
      Don’t take it personally. Speaking for my self, yes I do get angry (it is the fight or flight biological response) but it is for a reason. Like myself many other converted modern hunter-gatherers :), chose this lifestyle (NOT just a diet) because they had various health problems, not just wanting to lose weight or look leaner. The easy weight loss -no muscle wasting- is an added bonus!
      I am almost 34 years old. My health was probably “deteriorating” since I was 6 years old. Mind you, I was eating much healthier than most people since my mother always cooked Greek food and there were no ready meals bought from the supermarket. For some time we had our own pastured: chickens-eggs-rabbits (stifado!!!)-turkeys and pigs. Not to mention our own olives-plums-apricots-apples-strawberrys-grapes-wine-cherry’s-figs etc. That was the average “polycrop” 5 acre small farm in Greece. So I was eating good stuff but also lots of sugar and grains (more sugar :rolleyes) and vegetable oils. You see the (really) SAD diet is not just American it is worldwide. It is very simple:follow the money. The Paleo-Primal L I F E S T Y L E works. It is the answer and the solution to modern diseases. But without these diseases (diabetes-cancer-metabolic syndrome-ms and all the others…) many would lose a lot of money or their jobs…….follow the money.
      So a bit about me: 3 Months ago :Inflammation, pain in joints, lots of adipose tissue (independent of weight-exercise), hypoglycemia, high blood sugar, inability to gain muscle, gluten ataxia hungry ALL the time and depressed. 187 cm height 120 kg
      Now 100 kg literally gorging on fat -protein – and veggies-fruit. I never had a taste for liver, now I crave it like a …………….Ability to fast for 24 hours easily doing work “restoring” my father’s farm for 10 hours during a hot summer day. Stronger-Faster-Smarter-leaner and HAPPY. I don’ count calories, I eat as I please. As much as I want and when I want.

  21. Michael Simpson on September 23, 2010 at 12:24

    I dig it Richard. By all accounts, you are succeeding marvelously. I applaud you. My playing devil’s advocate had given you at least 10 or so comments so you owe me a visit to my site when I get it up and running. It may be on the virtues of the Paleo Diet for all I know! I haven’t decided yet.

    Keep up the good work.

  22. steve on September 23, 2010 at 04:41

    I think it bears considering that this guy “claims” to have been raw food vegan for ten years. I’m highly dubious. He’s got a business that sells this raw food lifestyle, so I am inclined to treat his claims with suspiscion.
    Remember the vegan fireman who it turned out was eating fish and other animal protein? He had a very popular book and probably made some decent change, but at the end, it was just a lie.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 07:56

      Steve, of course I always wonder that with the vegans, especially those claiming such awesome results and when so many say the diet almost killed them and so forth. But then they’re gonna come back and say that paleo results are because we’re really sneaking Hot Pockets of some shit.

      It could go round and round with no proof on either side.

      So I take him at his word, because as many have been pointing out from his statements, there’s plenty to discredit right there.

  23. Elisabeth on September 23, 2010 at 08:59

    Hmm…I believe that Califano’s entire reason for commenting on any blog regarding T. Colin Campbell, or paleo-eating for that matter, is to drive business to his site.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 11:35


      That may well be but unless glaringly obvious and in your face, I never pay attention to that possibility. After all, I do pretty damn well getting Googlers over here looking for veg@n info because of the way I write these posts and the names I put in them.

  24. Athena on September 23, 2010 at 10:03

    Ill take him in a fight after a 24 hour fast. Lets see who wins.

    There is no way you can get enough calories eating raw vegan. I am in Southern California and so I see TONS of vegans every single day. Their bodies look all the same, thin, no muscle tone, and usually they look pale and dark circles under the eyes. They look very similar to my sister who was dangerously anorexic. Hmmm.. yeah, sure THATS the way we are supposed to be. We are supposed to eat BOTH meat and ample veggies. Although definitely you could go without veggies. I mean, what did humans back in the day do in cold climates when all that was around was caribou? I say let the vegans think they are right, more meat for me. They will all become sterile from their extreme soy intake anyway and take themselves out.. :)

  25. Roelant on September 23, 2010 at 13:01

    Paleo peeps angry? Yea…we’re so pissed off let’s throw pies with cayenne pepper in peoples faces…oh wait, you militant MFers are the ones doing that arent you? We just pick on your pseudoscience on teh internetz.

    And re: the bacteria being vegan comment, i don’t think I can even relegate them to that. Those little f&$ers will eat anything.

    Good on ya Richard, I always come here for a vegan-tardian pick me up

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 13:54

      Well Roelant, well stay tuned because next post is going to be on a similar theme, though from a different angle.

      Some time ago someone made an astute comment on a post: that there are those who use animal products to so me degree and those who don’t. So, you have vegans and everyone else. Vegetarians do dairy & eggs, so they are in fact more aligned with the rest of us than with vegans.

      Vegans are everyone’s nemesis.

      • Michael on October 20, 2010 at 03:36

        Some time ago someone made an astute comment on a post: that there are those who use animal products to some degree and those who don’t. So, you have vegans and everyone else. Vegetarians do dairy & eggs, so they are in fact more aligned with the rest of us than with vegans.

        Yup, that would be me. And vegans kill me with their attempt to include vegetarians as part of their crowd (especially when trying to cite studies which appear favorable to them). Not even close.

  26. zach on September 23, 2010 at 13:47

    I’m not at all surprised at the success of Mr Califano and his followers. After all, his diet does not include the processed crap consisting of modern grains, sugar and industrial oil. These things are bad for everyone, but apparently many humans do best on particular natural foods or/and can adapt to different natural foods. This was the finding of the extremely successful dr. mercola 15 years ago, whose clinic has seen many thousands of people and continues to grow. I’ve never given the man a dime, but for some reason there seems to be a great hatred of him in the strict “paleo” community, apparently because he profits from his endeavors and also says that carbs per se are ok for a lot of people. Mr. Califano and Mercola’s findings align with the anthropology-lots of animal eaters AND lots of carb eaters free of chronic diseases. Still, even the traditionally healthy carb eaters knew that certain animal foods rich in fat soluble vitamins were very valuable. So I might worry some about being deficient in, say, vitamin K2.

    I myself look and feel awesome on high animal fat/ high animal protein.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2010 at 14:00

      I’m solidly with you, Zach. While some stuff out of Mercola & Co. make me wince & cringe, you’re doing yourself a disservice not getting his free daily or semi-daily email blurb. The good stuff outweighs.

      But yep, it’s way more about eliminating no-food products than what specifically to eat or in what ratios. Destroyed metabolisms (from no-food “foods”) perhaps being the exception.

      And I never fault anyone for turning a dime so long as they’re not being willfully fraudulent.

  27. CPM on September 24, 2010 at 08:37

    Speaking of Campbell and the China Study, Chris Masterjohn has another excellent post up showing, among other things, Campbell’s transformation from scientist to fraud.

    One of many interesting points: Campbell’s very own experiments in the 1970s showed that in rats being exposed to aflatoxin, those on low-protein diets (5% casein) had around a 50% mortality rate at 6 months while those on 20% casein diet had no mortality in this time period. Those being fed 20% casein did go on to produce more pre-cancerous lesions and cancer, but they were not dying anywhere near the rate of the low protein group. Later in his career Campbell makes a big deal about the cancer promoting effects of casein and high protein, but he conveniently “forgets” the very high mortality rate in the low protein group.

    Chris also shows that Campbell’s own research suggests that while a 20% casien diet in various kinds of rats tended to feed cancer once it was established, a 20% casien diet appeared to be protective against cancer from forming in the first place.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2010 at 09:02

      Chris was kind enough to alert me in email about that yesterday and it’s second up today for a post. But first, and email from an honest vegetarian.

    • Khrystyna on September 24, 2010 at 11:37

      I remember doing this is college, as far as I remember, Aflatoxins are more readily metabolized into their carcinogenic forms in mice/people with higher protein intakes. It has absolutely no bearing on any other type of cancer, it’s simply a fact related to aflatoxins. I don’t know how he got away with implying it bore any relation to cancers in general or that it was specifically relevant to casein! Madness!

  28. Roelant on September 24, 2010 at 15:11

    Madness? This is Sparta!
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    • Khrystyna on September 24, 2010 at 15:47

      Lol, just watched the South Park piss take there coincidentaly enough :@

  29. Walter on September 24, 2010 at 16:08

    To do otherwise smacks of cultism….

    What part of been there, done that, didn’t like the results didn’t you understand?

  30. Vegan Warrior/Stud on September 25, 2010 at 07:24

    Why is everyone seemingly so militant about the topic of food ingestion. Every side in this and other diet “arguments” is guilty of taking part in this silly squabble.

    • Sonagi on September 25, 2010 at 07:59

      Food consumption impacts health, uses vital natural resources, is regulated and influenced by public policy and subsidized by public tax money, so debating the merits of dietary choices is not a silly squabble.

      • Vegan Warrior/Stud on September 25, 2010 at 08:02

        I agree that a reasoned debate is no silly squabble. I disagree with the notion that that is what’s going on here.

      • Sonagi on September 25, 2010 at 08:08

        There isn’t a single debate but a number of points and counterpoints, some informative, some trite or silly.

  31. pfw on September 26, 2010 at 22:18

    Militancy breeds militancy. Health crusaders have been getting in people’s faces in various ways for decades, and paleo is the blowback. Richard is merely the pointiest piece of shrapnel.

    • pfw on September 26, 2010 at 22:19

      Oops, that was supposed to be a response to “Vegan Warrior/Stud”

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