Well, we just had the annual Eades/Cordain Tahoe picnic. When I first met Loren Cordain about ten years ago (He had invited me to speak at Colorado State University) I figured the only thing we would have in common was our interest in the Paleolithic diet, but it turned out to be much more than that. During his youth, Loren spent his summers working for the U.S. Forest Service in the Toiyabe National Forest up around the Tahoe area; I spent my summers working for the U.S. Forest Service in the Toiyabe National Forest about 60 miles south in Bridgeport, California. We both lived near one another growing up and both spent time in the same undergraduate school. And both ended up via a round about course being drawn into the Paleolithic diet.
Now MD and I live in the Tahoe area and Loren comes up with his family and spends a month every summer. Despite the fact that he and I email one another almost weekly and run into one another at various scientific meetings throughout the year, the only time we ever get together socially (since we left Boulder) is for the annual picnic.
Eades Cordain Annual Sand Harbor Picnic 06.jpg
Loren, me, Loren’s wife Lorrie, three of their kids and a loaner (Photo by MD Eades)
You may be wondering what two Paleolithic diet experts and their families eat on a picnic. Well, you start with Paleolithic wine. A little white to start; I think it was a Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc, which had just the right amount of crispness and fruit for a warm afternoon. Then it was off to the Paleolithic merlot. Loren had published a number of papers on the health benefits of wine, and, consequently, is known in the wine world. A little boutique winery (whose name I can’t recall) had sent him a case of merlot so we broke out a bottle. Normally, I loathe merlot because it’s so, well, merlot-y, but this one had more of a pinot noir taste to it, which set much better with me. Along with the Mondavi white MD and I contributed a wine from Bordeaux that we picked up at Costco, of all places. It was undistinguished and worth the 12 bucks or so that we paid for it. (I wanted to see what a $12 Bordeaux tasted like; I found out and probably won’t be repeating the experience.)
Aside from the Paleolithic wine we really did have a pretty much total low-carb spread. We had sirloin tips, giant prawns with MD’s low-carb sauce (made with sugar free ketchup, lots of horseradish, and a squeeze of lemon), Caprese on a stick (made by skewering strawberry tomatoes (a little bigger than cherry tomatoes), fresh mozzarella, and a basil leaf, all doused with a hand-mixed balsamic dressing), a fruit salad with lots of melon, smoked salmon on cucumber slices, crudites and a tapenade. And for dessert…a bag of fresh Rainier cherries. It would pretty much make any caveman (or woman) proud.
Mike and Loren Sand Harbor 06.jpg
Photo by MD Eades
What do Paleolithic diet researchers talk about during a picnic. Paleolithic nutrition, of course. We discussed the new work coming out in the field, we discussed our differences on the saturated fat issue, we discussed his new research interest, which is diet and epithelial growth factor (EGF). He is doing some real groundbreaking work on what happens to EGF receptors with a non-Paleolithic diet. His data is so powerful that I won’t be surprised if he gets in published in either Nature or Science, the world’ s two leading scientific publications. I don’t want to spill the beans before he’s published, but I can tell you the take home lesson: don’t eat wheat, rice, or corn and drink milk.
It was a great evening with our little band of hunter/gatherers. Loren insisted that we (he and I) get into the water to stimulate our heat shock proteins. (And the cold water can sober one up, too.) We got in not once, but three times, and I’m here to tell you the water in Lake Tahoe is cold, even during a heat wave in July. My heat shock proteins are still circulating.
A note to my mother who is a faithful reader of this blog and MD’s, and who said to me yesterday on the phone after reading MD’s blog: “It sure seems like you two drink a lot.” Well, we don’t; it just seems that way. Honest.


  1. Looks like you had a great time! I wish my family could have more low-carb friendly food like that around, but Mom and sis do low-fat, and Dad is a poorly controlled diabetic who eats a ton of carbs.
    I don’t like salmon for the same reason you don’t like Merlot – it’s just so salmon-y. :-p I did buy some sardines after reading about them in your book, though.
    I also love wine, but I’m poor so I have to get the cheap stuff. I suppose I could buy higher quality if I ditched my health club memebership, but that ain’t going to happen! My two favorites are Merlot and White Merlot.

  2. I know the feeling of Tahoe water! My family and I used to go up there all the time, and the water is so cold, it’s amazing. The crazy thing is, at least for me, the longer I stayed in it, the warmer I felt. Of course, my skin by that time was almost pure white and getting numb!
    Hi Michael–
    Mine is still numb.

  3. is Dr. Cordain softening on his anti-sat. fat position? I saw something somewhere that suggested he might be…
    btw, I love Tahoe, but I’ve only been there skiing in the winter. Squaw rocks!
    Hi mrfreddy–
    He is indeed softening. He ain’t there all the way yet, but he’s on his way.
    I agree; Squaw rocks! Tahoe is a great summer place, too. Come give it a try.

  4. How delightful to hear that 3 nutritional heroes of mine are such good friends. You mentioned your discussion of differences on saturated fat. I know you’ve blogged on it in the past but it would be illuminating if you could point out how your views differ and why. Also, this is the second time I’ve seen reference to heat shock proteins but I wonder why stimulating them is good for your health. I’m an avid whitewater kayaker and do spend a fair amount of time in shockingly cold water. It would be great to know that this had some benefit!
    Hi Paul–
    We’re not just good friends, we’re great friends.
    Our differences on the saturated fat issue boil down to the following: Loren is a semi-believer in the lipid hypothesis; I’m a non-believer. If you’re a believer, there is some evidence in the literature that saturated fats increase LDL. Said evidence is questionable in my opinion; Loren buys into it a little more. Secondly, in his research on what Paleolithic man had to eat, Loren has concluded that–based on his studies of today’s game animals, i.e., deer, elk, etc.–it was primarily mono-unsaturated fat. I contend that we don’t know the levels of saturated fat of cave bears, mastodons, mammoths, ancient bison and all the other creatures that were hunted to extinction. And I base my opinion on the fact that MD and I have taken care of may thousands of patients, the majority of whom consumed large amounts of saturated fat as part of a low-carb diet, and all of whom improved their putative cardiovascular risk factors. Loren and I have pretty much compromised on the idea that saturated fat is not a problem for people on low-carb diets.
    As to the heat shock protein issue…Heat shock proteins are proteins that the body makes during rapid temperature change and during other acutely stressful periods. These proteins act sort of as chaperones for the construction of other necessary proteins that the body puts together. With a lot of heat shock proteins circulating around, there is less chance of transcription errors. Heat shock proteins are why a little acute stress is good for us; it’s the chronic stress that does us in. So, plunge into the shockingly cold water at will.

  5. I was wondering if you could comment on your differing opinions on saturated fats?
    I am not very familiar with Loren’s views, and would appreciate a brief overview if it’s not too much trouble.
    Hi Cathy–
    Paul beat you to the punch. See my answer to his comment righnt before yours.

  6. No wheat, rice, corn, and milk? I’m trying to give all of these up, although I’m not being as successful as I want. Rice and corn were easy, I haven’t had any in weeks, but wheat is in so many things, even unknowingly, that I find myself “cheating”. Did you know that “all-meat” canned chili uses wheat as a thickener? I bought some for an appetizer, trusting that the all meat label was accurate, but I read all the ingredients later, and, in order to fill out the product wheat flour is used!
    As for milk, I find it pretty near impossible to give up cheeses, so I’m trying to limit it to a couple of times a week. Now, does Cordain mean just liquid milk, or does he mean we have to avoid all dairy products?
    Hi LC–
    You’re right, just like corn and HFCS, wheat is ubiquitous. That’s why it’s best to avoid processed foods. There is no wheat, corn byproducts, HFCS, etc. in a grass-fed steak or lamb chops. The same goes for blackberries and tomatoes.
    In our discussion Dr. Cordain referred to liquid milk, but I don’t know about cheese. When he surfaces back in Colorado in a week or so I’ll ask that very question.

  7. Sir please read this.. reason to have a healthy gut irrespective of what ails us
    Hi Simon–
    I read it. I’m all for a happy gut, and the best way to have a happy gut is to keep wheat, corn (all grains, for that matter) away from it. A good, whole food, low-carb diet is the best recipe I know to keeps one’s innards ticking along properly.

  8. Sir….you know this fella ?
    If you wanna read about heat shock proteins.
    I know its considered bad form to say owt neg. about such folks, mainly men i hasten , but this is taking sexual selection(best contemp book about such is likely The mating Mind by Miller) to a pathological degree.
    Hi Simon–
    No, I don’t know Mr. Pugh, but I did look at his website. I’m sure his heat shock proteins went through the roof when he jumped into the water in Antarctica. I can’t even imagine…
    Perhaps I’m ‘daft as a brush,’ but I don’t understand your comment about Mr. Pugh’s taking sexual selection to a pathological degree. Explain.

  9. I admit that I’m one of those who don’t buy into the avoidance of liquid milk (or diary of any kind) as I have not seen really water-tight evidence that it is detrimental. I always go back to think of the Masai… they drink quite a bit of their grass-fed cattle and their health has little to be questioned. Would the ‘milk issue’ has more to do with how the animals are grown rather than an intrinsic factor found in milk?
    I also remember an old discussion on exorphins, defined as bioactive peptides resulting from incomplete protein digestion. Wheat, for example, produces two or three potent exorphins that can have an opiate-like effect. You actually wrote about a possible theory on the origins of agriculture in Protein Power LifePlan. I got interested in that topic after reading that part of your book. Perhaps not surprisingly, grains come at the top of the list in the production of exorphins (Wheat, rice, corn) and animal protein very down in the bottom. Milk produces one bioactive peptide from incomplete digestion of alpha-casein and sometimes it has been equated to wheat in the ‘milk and wheat disease’. I don’t know, however, if milk has been studied alone and if any quantitation of the bioactive peptide has been correlated to a disease state. In any case, milk was closer to animal protein (specifically meat) than grains in the list of most detrimental bioactive peptides.
    Now, if memory serves, when rennin acts on milk to produce curd, it is the kappa-casein that precipitates so I’m not sure what the proportion of alpha-caseins (alpha s1 and s2) or beta-casein are in the final product, but if the process is rennin and not calcium dependent, my guess is that there would be more kappa-casein present and no exorphins have been reported from digestion of k-casein.
    I always find the discusion on exorphins fascinating because they’re pretty much everywhere and come from foods, without that necessarily meaning they’re all bad.
    Hi Gabe–
    The Masai do indeed consume a lot of milk along with a lot of blood. But, as far as I know, they don’t eat wheat, rice, etc. along with it. I don’t want to get too deeply into Loren’s work until he gets it published, but let me say that the wheat, rice, etc. set the stage, the milk then causes the problem. No wheat, no problem, even with the milk. And it’s not an immediate problem, but a problem that develops over time.

  10. are heat shock proteins encompassed in the phenomenon none as hormesis, in which a lose dose stimulation triggers the opposite response to a high dose?
    Hi Paul–
    No, heat shock proteins don’t act via hormesis. They are proteins produced as a function of stress that help chaperone the process of building the other proteins in the body.

  11. No wheat, rice, corn, or milk? Until about 2 months ago that would not have been a problem, but IBS has kicked in big time and I can’t eat any meats without having major problems and nausea so what do I eat?
    Hi Kathy–
    Wheat, rice, corn and milk would be my last choices if I had IBS. There is some evidence that a low-carb diet works well to reduced the symptoms of IBS; I would give a whole food, low-carb diet a try.

  12. Sir..sexual selection..conspicuous energy waste right ?
    Par example antlers, bird song, plumage, the human vocabulary(one current area of research by G Miller), art, sports, music etc etc etc
    All these ‘tings’ show fitness right ?
    Well dipping ones nads as well as the rest of ones self in water that would freeze a brass monkey..well you see my bit about the pathology.
    Ran Fiennes is another good example.
    P.S.Ida Leverington my deceased Gran would be tickled to know she made it onto cyberspace with one of her fave expressions.
    Please give my best to LC when you next have contact.
    I used to have pretty reg contact afore i went to Africa
    Hi Simon–
    Glad to give Ms Leverington some cyberspace immortality. My wife and I have adopted her ‘fave’ expression as one of our own. Many thanks for passing it along.
    I’ll pass along your best to LC when I speak with him next.

  13. Sir i did send a post but seems not to have ‘posted’.
    Ah well.. i probably didn’t understand sexual selection after all !
    Go watch meaningoflife.tv or .com and watch Pinker or esp Maynard-Smith the latter just afore he pegged.
    Really is a super site and free.
    Which for mendicants such as i is always a good thang.
    And Sir and Madam instead of being dawdling flaneurs with the Cordains you could be working on your fasting-opus..thats the essay not the act thereof !
    Also please say ‘Ullo’ to LC when next in contact. I used to have contact with he afore i went to Africa (when i in Paree) and afore he became famous and seemingly more busy than afore.
    Many thanks for all your posts.. you and the Mrs
    Hi Simon–
    I’m afraid it was sloth again on my part. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.
    I’m working on the ‘fasting opus.’ All work and no play…

  14. Sir BTW when yee say lowcarb do you mean roughly 20% of cals ?
    Sure it fluctuates but if you had a rough calc, including vino etc what would be your amount per day….same as per the protein amount as per your books but in practical day to day wine included terms..roughly speaking, pleasum ?
    I would say it is more in the range of 10-15% of calories. Some days it’s a lot less than that, for us anyway.

  15. ..thats priceless.there are others which i still find hilarious but very non-PC so i shall for once not offend anyone.
    BTW Ida patended the phrase so if the Eades come out with any kind of book infringing on her estates intellectual copyright we’ll settle for a few free copies and a years supply of EFA’s ..my choice.
    Also did you read the Mating Mind ?
    I reckon you’d really adore it.
    Also Rich Harris’s new book No Two Alike
    Hi Simon–
    We’ll make sure she gets credit.
    I’ll add the recommended books to my ever-growing list.

  16. BTW the Masai do eat wheat and rice and all manner of shite.
    Trad they might not have but few live as per a few centuries ago. It’s sad and pitiful.
    p.s. thanks the answer ref carb consumption.
    I know its a shifting variable but do you work that on roughly 2500k for a man ? so about 60-80gms per day..
    Again thanks
    Yep, 60-80 gm per day for that kind of caloric intake is about right, although it can be difficult to consume that many calories (unless one is working pretty hard) on a 60 gm low-carb diet.

  17. Hi! I am thrilled to discover your blog!
    I am a pediatrician who was diagnosed with microscopic colitis (MC, a form of inflammatory bowel disease) about 5 years ago. Based upon trial and error, with little help from our profession other than Dr. Ken Fine’s website, I have learned that I can put my MC into long-term remission with diet alone by avoiding certain foods: gluten, yeast, soy, corn, rice, casein, citrus, tomatoes, carrageenan, and chocolate.
    You can imagine my surprise and delight upon discovering the research on the paleo diet by you and others! WOW – if only I had read your writings BEFORE I had to figure it all out for myself! LOL! Anyway, your research has validated my own personal experience and made me feel much less like a kook! (My medical school courses taught me nothing about nutrition – beyond RDAs and vitamin excess diseases, of all things!). Also, you have enabled me to “fine-tune” my diet. For example, I find that I feel even better when avoiding legumes too.
    Despite eating far more eggs and meat, my recent lipid profile had improved – in fact, it is almost perfect! I have never felt better in my life and have endless energy.
    I’ll weigh in on the milk issue. I buy into the thinking that since no other creature on the planet drinks milk after infancy, it doesn’t make sense for humans either. Breast milk is perfect, of course, for babies……but I am not even sure it makes sense to give them cow’s milk, a very different food.
    I could go on forever, but at the risk of boring you to tears, I’ll stop. Thanks again for all of your work! I can’t wait to see the latest – on EGF, grains “setting the stage” for milk problems, etc. Please let us know as soon as the latest thinking becomes available.
    With gratitude and admiration,
    Polly Roberts, M.D.
    Hi Dr. Roberts–
    Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I hope I will be able to live up to your expectations.
    I’m glad to hear that your lipid profile has changed for the better. After your experience you can at least understand my frustration when I encourage people to follow a higher fat, higher protein diet, Paleo diet, and am constantly asked: Won’t my cholesterol go up?

  18. Hi Dr. Eades. I found a site with lots of information about heat shock protein research. It also seems to have a system of ranking research and writing about heat shock proteins.
    I was also trying to find something relating to taking cold showers to stimulate heat shock proteins and found this site, which is not science-based, but does have a lot of anecdotal testimonials of people clearing up skin problems, alleviating anxiety and depression, as well as preventing colds and flu, seemingly from taking cold showers. It was, if nothing else, interesting to read.
    Hi Levi
    Thanks for the sites.  Interesting.  I need all the info I can get that will make me feel good about jumping in the freezing cold waters of Lake Tahoe.

  19. Loved your 2002 or so Prot pwr lfplan book.
    Sorry if this has been asked covered already.
    What is healthier.
    Vegenaise with Expeler pressed canola oil$4
    Vegenaise with Organic Soybean oil(Expeler pressed also -I think?)$5
    Your book/old version i believe would say buy the canola as is much better than Soy, except the book also favors organic greatly????
    I wish they made org exp pressed mayo substitute, or do you know someone who does???
    I have not been sick for over 2 years since reading your book!
    What is the address of your main Eades website??
    Hi Scott–
    We make our own mayonnaise with light olive oil. I don’t like either of the choices you offered. Canola oil smells terrible, so it has to be deodorized to make it palatable. The deodorization process has been shown in a handful of studies to convert some of the fatty acids in the canola oil to trans fats. It doesn’t matter if it is expeller pressed because it still stinks and still has to be deodorized. The soybean oil might not be as bad, but you just don’t know what’s been done to it after it’s been expeller pressed. It can still be converted to a partially hydrogenated fat.
    The address of the main website is: http://www.mreades.wpengine.com

  20. Russians have been doing that for many centuries. Very hot Banya (sauna with the steam) – then rolling in the snow or jumping in the river or pound. Now they use indoor pool with the cold water. And no one even knows about chaperons. 🙂
    Here in America I use steam room and a cold shower in the gym.
    Hi Dr. Mike. Your blog is great! You have talent to make very difficult things understandable . Only true scientist can do it.
    (apology for my English).
    Hi Natalie–
    Your English is just fine. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for writing.

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