Ancestral Health Symposium

The organizers of the Ancestral Health Symposium sure have done an amazing job putting together the "Woodstock of Evolutionary Medicine." When I was first approached way, way back when, I was more than a little skeptical. But looks like they’ve pulled it off. That’s quite a list of luminaries in the paleo, Primal and Evolutionary Fitness universe and I’m honored to be a part of it, though I’m not so sure about following Tom Naughton, a professional comedian. :)

It’s fine though. I have until August to come up with the funniest joke the world has ever heard, just in case Tom gets any ideas about being anything other than dry and boring.

While my presentation will be about self-experimentation, I’m not so sure it’s "the best science," so that’s tentative. More on self-experimentation here, and on Dr. Kurt Harris’ site here and here.

Friday, August 5th

7:50-8:00 Aaron Blaisdell – Welcome to the AHS!
8:00-8:30 Boyd Eaton – Historical perspective and future directions
8:35-8:55 Dr. BG – Microbial husbandry
9:00-9:20 Pedro Bastos – Dairy
9:25-9:45 Kevin Boyd – Darwinian dentistry
9:50-10:10 Mark Cohen – The effects of cultural evolution on human health

10:30-10:50 Loren Cordain – Origins and evolution of Western human diet
10:55-11:15 Art DeVany – The competition within
11:20-11:40 John Durant – Personality types and food
11:45-12:05 Andreas Eenfeldt – Evolution of a diet revolution


1:10-1:30 Frank Forencich – Neo-paleo lifestyle
1:35-1:55 Lynda Frassetto – paleo diet clinical trial results and benefits
2:00-2:20 Stephan Guyenet – 21st century human health possibilities
2:25-2:45 Richard Jacobson – Vitamin D & diseases of aging
2:50-3:10 Lierre Keith – The vegetarian myth

3:30-3:50 Erwan LeCorre – Natural movement
3:55-4:15 Don Matesz – Modern digestion & elimination: Evidence for ancestral nutrition
4:20-4:40 Melissa McEwen – Urban forager
4:45-5:05 Matt Metzgar – Economics of the paleo Diet
5:10-5:30 Tom Naughton – Bad science (*Add 10-minute break sometime near here)
5:35-5:55 Richard Nikoley – Self-experimentation: the best science
6:00-6:20 James O’Keefe – Organic fitness: How to train like a hunter-gatherer
6:25-6:45 Guy-Andre Pelouze – Ancestral health from the perspective of a cardiothoracic surgeon
6:50-7:10 Keith Norris & Skyler Tanner – Efficient exercise; personalized training

7:15-8:00 Movement sessions (It will be light outside and cooler in LA at this time of day)
8:00-9:00 “Meet the Authors” – Book signing event open to everyone with food/drinks

Saturday, August 6th

7:50-8:00 Aaron Blaisdell – What’s planned for the day!?!
8:00-8:30 Staffan Lindeberg – Food and Western Disease
8:35-8:55 Robert Lustig – The trouble with fructose
9:00-9:20 Brent Pottenger – Ancestral Health Insurance (AHI)
9:25-9:45 Seth Roberts – What foods make my brain work best?
9:50-10:10 Mark Sisson – What’s next? Next steps for the movement

10:30-10:50 Craig Stanford – Great apes and the evolution of human diet
10:55-11:15 Nell Stephenson – paleo eating in practice
11:20-11:40 Waziyatawin – Restoring indigenous health through tradition
11:45-12:05 Robb Wolf – The paleo Solution


1:10-1:30 Vivian Shelton – Evolutionary Bariatrics
1:35-1:55 Jen McCabe – Micro-lifestyle design choices
2:00-2:20 Doug McGuff – Body by science
2:25-2:45 Mary & Michael Eades – TBA
2:50-3:10 Richard Feinman – TBA

3:30-3:50 Nora Gedgaudas – Primal mind: diet and mental health
3:55-4:15 kurt harris – Neolithic agents of disease
4:20-4:40 Bryce Lee – Ancestral health in the military
4:45-5:05 Daniel Lieberman – TBA
5:10-5:30 Nassim Taleb – TBA
5:35-5:55 Gary Taubes – Sugar and cancer

5:55-6:00 Aaron Blaisdell – Closing remarks
6:00-7:00 Movement sessions
7:30-10:00 Dinner gathering for all Presenters, Staff, and Volunteers

I hope to see a lot of you there. There’re only 244 tickets left, so go put a big dent in that number.

And share the news on Facebook and Twitter.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. David brown on February 24, 2011 at 05:12

    Golly! I hope somebody talks about n-6 seed oils.

  2. Adrian on February 23, 2011 at 19:15

    Damn, if only you could move it to Australia…

    Richard, do you know if the symposium will be recorded and made available?

  3. Doctorsh on February 23, 2011 at 20:04

    I also would be interested in a recording,midcoast, materials from the symposium.

  4. Ancestral Health Symposium | Free The Animal | the best health on February 23, 2011 at 21:31

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  5. John on February 23, 2011 at 22:15

    I thought I was going to be out of the country in August, but it turns out I’ll be in L.A. instead!

  6. Michael on February 23, 2011 at 22:58

    As a veteran of these sort of things, I can tell you that is quite a line-up of speakers. I can also tell you, given the type of conference (educational), quality of the speakers, and the sheer number of speakers – it is way to much for just a single track.

    Double (even triple) parallel tracks, which in turn allow for longer speaking sessions (which also allows for some Q&A at the end if the speaker so desires), 90 minute mid-day lunch break, a common dinner time with no competing activities, etc. – generally make for a more enjoyable and educational experience for everyone. But I quibble. I’m sure everyone will have a good time and this as a first time run will provide a good learning experience for the organizers.

    • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on February 24, 2011 at 13:03

      Michael, I was going to say the same thing. That looks like an insane schedule. Speakers rarely keep to their allotted time. I am assuming there will not be questions after each talk, or the timetable would very quickly get derailed – but even without questions, I would expect there to be a 30 minute overrun within the first couple of hours unless there is a VERY ruthless system of enforcement. Having said all that, there are some great speakers so I do hope it somehow runs smoothly.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 17:32

        No Q&A after each talk. There will be some Q&A sessions separately

  7. Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE on February 23, 2011 at 23:37

    Wow what an AWESOME lineup! I can’t wait!

  8. Kiddi on February 24, 2011 at 01:26

    Wow really sucks to miss that, hope it will be done again some time in the future when I have more spare time and money for a plane ticket :)

  9. Jules on February 24, 2011 at 04:54

    I snagged one of the student tickets, and I am so excited! :D

  10. Becky on February 24, 2011 at 05:05

    Please, Please, Please tell me that this conference is going to be videoed!?! I would pay alot of money to be able to get a copy of what I’m sure will be a glut of information. Either that or take it on the road and bring it to ontario canada.

  11. Kim on February 24, 2011 at 05:12

    Wow! This looks amazing. I wish I could swing a plane ticket out. Here’s hoping a similar event might happen on the East Coast, or at least a simulcast or recordings of this one.

  12. Skyler Tanner on February 24, 2011 at 05:30

    I’m going to attempt to smuggle Texas whiskey in and get Richard loaded pre-talk so fun can be had by all. ;)

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 07:45


      • Skyler Tanner on February 24, 2011 at 11:43

        Really though, bro, blue corn whiskey. It’s blue corn, so the paleos won’t throw you off the island, bro.


      • Aaron Blaisdell on February 24, 2011 at 12:48

        I’ll bring the tequila for the So Cal margaritas!

  13. Ww on February 24, 2011 at 06:58

    Hope I misunderstand the schedule and these giants get mote than 20 minutes each.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 07:53

      Ww, nope, just shotgun, 20 minutes per, except one or two presenters have 30. That’s fine by me and I think it will be interesting in the respect of creating very tight, info packed presentations with little fluff.

  14. Rich McCollum on February 24, 2011 at 07:43

    I just purchased my tickets and am very excited about this event!

    • Paul C on February 24, 2011 at 10:44

      The proof is right on the page: Richard McCollum Tickets Ordered: 1 Normal Admission. Seems kinda weird that the entire attendee list is shown.

  15. rob on February 24, 2011 at 09:41

    Bit of a sausage-fest … need to schedule a chick to talk about the evolutionary history of eating disorders.

    • Alex on February 24, 2011 at 17:23

      Unfortunately, FreeLee from 30 BAD declined the invitation to speak at the Symposium.

      • Joe on February 25, 2011 at 21:39

        She doesn’t need to talk. She can be lunch.

  16. anand srivastava on February 24, 2011 at 10:04

    I am just missing Paul Jaminet in the list. He is my current goto guy. He goes out of his way to help and respond.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 17:29

      Anand, I think Paul came on the scene, at least on my radar, after this was already planned. Had he been known of well I’m sure he would have been included.

      • anand srivastava on February 25, 2011 at 00:58

        I came to know of him in late October, I think, due to his anti-VLC articles.

    • Joe on February 25, 2011 at 21:41

      I hadn’t heard of the Jaminets until I read Chris Masterjohn’s review of their book (and bought it on Chris’ recommendation.) What a great read.

  17. Qjack on February 24, 2011 at 12:08

    Hey Richard, is that price for both days? This is unbef*ckingleavable. The deal of a century.
    I am there as I live in l.A
    To think I was considering plopping down $700.00 for a Primalfest!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 17:27


      Well, Mark’s deal is much more intense and involved on a personal level, has the food, the physical outings and so forth. But yea, 100 bucks for both days and Mark is speaking too.

      But I think it’s apples and oranges. This will be very sciency and Mark’s hands on and applied.

  18. keithallenlaw on February 24, 2011 at 12:17

    Thanks for the info Richard. Looks like a grand event.
    And your speaking? This concludes all my favorites in
    one Symposium. Cant wait.

  19. StephenB on February 24, 2011 at 14:27

    I don’t envy the speakers trying to trim down their talks to 20 minutes. Looks to be quite the weekend.

  20. julianne on February 24, 2011 at 14:56

    I booked in a while back – didn’t want to miss out. We (husband and I) are coming from New Zealand. Excited to be around so many ‘paleo’ types. As a paleo nutritionist I sometimes feel a little isolated down here. Thank goodness for “That Paleo Guy” Jamie Scott, who is an awesome support and amazing NZ paleo nutritionist.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2011 at 17:30

      Julianne, look forward to meeting you. Yea, I follow Jamie on Twitter, who of course has his Hans very full right now.

      • julianne on February 24, 2011 at 21:39

        Yes, me too. Glad he is okay. The whole thing is surreal, almost nothing else on the news except the ‘quake.

  21. Rod on February 24, 2011 at 19:03

    What I’d really like is a barbeque,bottle of single malt, the buddha, kurt harris,.devany,richard,mother terras,richard Rohr.Paul ingrham,and Linsay Lohan, and just see what happens.George Bush maybe.

  22. Summer on February 26, 2011 at 10:10

    Wow, that is an incredible lineup!! I have planned a trip to Hawaii and timed it so that I could stop in LA for this conference. I can’t wait to meet you and everyone else in person.
    I also snagged a student ticket:)

  23. mem on April 7, 2011 at 19:09

    Emily Deans of the Evolutionary Psychiatry blog should be speaking. I hope that the reason she isn’t is not because she was not invited to do so! :(

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