This week we’re here with CJ Hunt, the man behind the hit documentary, The Perfect Human Diet. Among other things, you’re going to learn why you should NOT get your health information from the news, how the media machine tries to confuse us, and why eating marrow and brains is good for you.
(Believe it or not, I’m eating bone marrow as I write this post. So Paleo right now.)
Before we get to the show, here’s the review of the week:
I stumbled onto the podcast and it has changed my life. I lost 73 pounds and more importantly, I am off all my meds. I have been on blood pressure and statins for twenty years. I am a zealot and I’m learning more about nutrition every day. This is the best out there for talking and presenting information in an entertaining informative format.
Congratulations on the weight loss and freedom from meds, Tony!
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A former motocross racer and theme park announcer, CJ went on to spend over 20 years in broadcasting. His documentary The Perfect Human Diet became an overnight sensation, and you’re about to find out why.
On the show, you’ll learn:
- Why you should NOT get your health information from the news
- The surprising role of animal foods in the true paleo diet
- How the media machine is designed to confuse us
- Why you should eat marrow and brains…
- And much more…
CJ HUNT: MOTOCROSS RACER TO ANCESTRAL DIET ADVOCATE
Abel: You have a compelling story, starting with your collapse on the track when you were 24 years old. Can you tell us about it?
When I was 24, I lived in L.A. I was a motocross racer. I was just about to go pro when I hurt myself. On Memorial Day 1978, I was at Beverly Hills High School track—I went a lap and a half and dropped to the ground with a heart attack.
They took me to the intensive care unit, and put me on beta blocking drugs four times a day, which made me depressed. It changed my hair and skin, and I sat around crying a lot, which was very undignified. This sparked a huge interest in health and wellness.
The whole experience was a wakeup call.
Abel: And one that a lot of people are suspiciously close to… Fat loss is one thing that gets people into this, but a lot of people have a serious problem with their health that “shocks” them into transforming their diet and lifestyle. How has your experience of diet and health changed since then?
“I wish I knew then what I know now, because it would have made a big difference.”
Back then, there really wasn’t a health movement aside from the “fruits, nuts, and flakes” idea in California. If I wanted to learn anything, I had to go to the metaphysical book store. Regular book stores didn’t cover it.
There was Arnold Ehret’s Fruitarian Diet and a whole range of macrobiotics that were just popping up in L.A. That’s when I decided, “Well, I can do fasting, and I can do juicing.”
This was roughly 40 years ago. The main thing, which we got from Europe, was fruitarianism and fasting. The other thing that hit was Harvey Diamond’s Fit for Life, and Weight Watchers, etc. You just did the N=1 experimenting.
I was vegan for roughly five years—until my mom was killed and my emotional stress became too much and I realized my diet wasn’t working. I didn’t feel good anymore. After that, a little voice in me said, “Eat fish.”
I gave in to that voice and started feeling much better. I ate a lot of raw foods and fresh salads, too—what we now call “real food.” Add some protein sources and healthy fats and that’s how I ate, which was all part of the vegan and vegetarian idea way back then.
Many years later, Protein Power came out and this was the first hint of Paleo or ancestral eating. Of course, there was Dr. Atkins, but he was vilified in the media.
Abel: What about when you made your documentary? You started as a journalist but became a Paleo advocate. Can you talk about what happened?
After the film came out, I realized this was a message I wanted to share.
I did a live show back east—every live show, inevitably someone in the audience would raise their hand and ask, “What about The China Study?”
What really got me was there were only a few places to turn for resources.
Then we did some live screenings of the film with Robb Wolf. The venue was packed, and at the meet and greet a 65-ish lady with hypoglycemia and declining energy came up to me and said, “This gives me hope that I can feel better.” It touched my heart.
So I decided to follow up, go more deeply into discovering and sharing more about the science and the how-to.
Abel: So what works and what doesn’t work?
“Paleo has become the money word. You can call anything you want ‘Paleo’ and sell it right now. It’s gold, but that has changed the original message.”
THE SCIENCE OF EVOLUTIONARY NUTRITION
We have 2.5 million years of human evolution, but there are 3 distinct periods—lower, middle, and upper. The real story arc is of us becoming more and more meat eaters, eating more animal foods, more marrow, and more brains, that leads to the emergence of modern humans—you and I.
We aren’t really there during that 2.5 million years—we show up at the very end in the upper paleolithic era. And I think a lot of people say, “Well, Homoerectus was coming out of Africa and they were eating tubers, so I can eat tubers.” That’s not an accurate rationale when you look at the science.
The science is coming out of The Planck Institute. We as humans eventually spanned into eating more fish which shows up in bioanalysis. When those richer food resources were not available, we were able to expand our survival strategy.
I’m coming from an evolutionary lens. Human foods and non-human foods started with the original evolutionary nutrition. Loren Cordain sent me to Dr. Sebring. He’s had 15+ years helping people recover their health with all their medical records to back it up.
When Dr. Sebring’s patients changed what they were eating—that’s what led to the development of the human foods and non-human foods.
WHAT ARE HUMAN FOODS AND NON-HUMAN FOODS?
Abel: What is the original Paleo diet from evolutionary perspective? What are human foods and non-human foods?
Loren Cordain has shifted his position on some of this, but boiled down, it’s this:
Human Foods: Meat, fish, and poultry from animals who were raised eating what they are naturally intended to eat—fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Non-Human Foods: Grains, dairy after 2 years old, beans and potatoes.
Two simple lists makes it easy—in the paleosphere this is the subject of much debate.
“It’s interesting because people like to fight for the things they like and people don’t want to change.”
It’s tough getting people to change from what their friends and family are doing.
I called The Keto Company, because they made low carb foods. He said, “We’re in business because people don’t want to change—they want keto chips and keto pasta and keto pancakes.” This was 25 years ago. There’s another wave of that now that has a Paleo label on it.
Even if people go strict for 30 days and have wonderful results—then we get curious and go, “Well maybe I don’t have to do this all the time… is there room for fudge?”
Abel: Interviewing all these experts, what are the foods a lot of people who call themselves ‘Paleo’ missing out on that are truly Paleo foods?
Science is showing that a real Paleo diet contained a lot of animal fats.
Abel: Marrow is one of our favorite foods. A lot of “paleo” people out there are eating paleo pancakes but not eating brains.
What’s available in towns that have Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods is a lot different than towns that just have Safeway. It’s not common in the American diet to eat brains and other organ parts.
When I grew up it was white bread. It was better if it was purified. If it didn’t resemble anything in nature.
If you’re not eating bone broth, then eat a lot of salads so you have some way to get the elements you’re missing when you’re not eating the whole animal.
A lot of people are missing that—eating the whole animal.
Those things are treats. When I grew up nobody ate birthday cake when it wasn’t their birthday. You didn’t drink Cokes unless you were at a picnic in the park—it wasn’t in the refrigerator.
People who are really hurting and having a lot of health issues, it might be easier to make that decision—pancakes or getting up tomorrow morning and having a normal life.
Even Kirk Parsley who works with Navy SEALS and gets them to sleep more and eat right—as soon as they feel better they don’t want to comply anymore. The dichotomy is the resistance to taking on what you discover and learn, even though you know it will be better for you.
One of the problems is that peer pressure is hyped up between tweets and hyperactivity—you don’t have time to reflect on your own path and your own decisions.
People should be eating more animal foods that we’re really designed for, and as much as we’re able, we need to get rid of other stuff.
Abel: The “modern” or “popular Paleo Diet” misses the point—just because it’s chicken doesn’t mean it’s Paleo. We need to eat animals that were raised naturally eating what they were designed to eat.
Whenever you can get grass-fed or pastured it just tastes better. Look at it next to commercial meat in the store—one is rich and red the other is pale and gray.
Get as much pasture-raised food as you can from animals raised eating the foods they’re supposed to eat.
HOW THE MEDIA MACHINE TRIES TO MANIPULATE US
In the media, that’s often portrayed as elitism. If you can’t afford to go to “Whole Paycheck,” there are folks that are really struggling and the kids are screaming and they say, “Okay fine we’ll go to McDonald’s,” and maybe that’s the best they can do right then.
Sadly enough, we have a commercially sponsored media and it’s sponsored by the people with the most money—sugar, grains, cola, cereal. They’re the most willing to spend that money to grow their markets.
“Even though news is supposed to be even-handed, there are news directors and production staff and they have their own feeling about what you should be saying and it’s NOT even.”
Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, and all that—they’re playing to what will keep their audience watching. Real hard core science, information, and accuracy doesn’t necessarily sell on their shows.
Many experts they call on for morning news are still invested in the food pyramid and what they’ve been telling people for their entire careers. It takes a courageous person to say, “Gosh that’s what we thought and we were wrong.”
Abel: As a professional coming from media, what do you think people should know about how the media machine works?
It’s entertainment not education. Unless it’s a breaking news story where some country has blown up, the rest of that stuff is filler and pads. They used to say if you lost more than 2 pounds in a week it’s a fad diet. Now they’re saying lose ten pounds in a week.
The news doc is saying, “Evolution? Those guys didn’t live past thirty. Why would we want to eat what they’re eating?” But our paleolithic ancestors died for very different reasons. They were dying because they had infections or became someone’s lunch.
The Paleoista gal– I’ve met her and I think she’s doing great work. But what I noticed is when I watched her and when they went on Dr. Oz, the explanation was: A palm’s worth of protein, fill your plate with vegetables. This is not reflected in the science of evolutionary health—but it’s what the audience will buy. It still goes along with the politics of the day.
Abel: What are you saying is Paleo?
Slowly the naysayers are kind of coming over to this side of health beliefs. And of course then they own it– “We didn’t learn it from paleo or ancestral health.” The first excuse for changing position on fat with the American Food Plate people was that, “Oh, we just wanted to keep it simple because we didn’t think they’d understand– so we just said don’t eat it rather than there’s good and bad fat.”
The bottom line is, “Don’t rely on media to get your best information.”
You may be able to rely on some of the new documentaries– not just mine– to find people willing to dig in and go beyond what’s popular. The whole reason we have independant media and people doing podcasts is because it’s the way to really get it out to a larger audience and help more people.
“Entertainment fosters confusion, and as long as you’re mired in confusion, you’ll keep watching, and the market is not going to change because those products are going to continue to sell.”
I left news because of a health story: I was a in a small station in Bangor, Maine. It was the beginning of the year and the Center for Science in the Public Interest put out their best and worst foods for you report– the worst were Cup-O-Noodles and McDonald’s. I did the entire piece and was told by the producers that I had to redo it because McDonald’s was one of our sponsors.
There’s supposed to be a sacred line there between commercial and news… that was the last straw for me. This is really a bad place to be.
It didn’t necessarily get better after that. Media hasn’t gotten better. Everyone has an opinion. A lot of stuff is not vetted and you can say anything and it will run on Huffington Post as if it were Tom Brokaw.
Abel: You see what’s happening today with the internet and click bait and seeing some of what’s getting attention—How they cater to clicks rather than truth. Those are fundamentally different things. There’s a calculus to creating content for people looking to get a lot of attention and traffic. How do you see things going in the next few years?
I think people need to become more discerning. I just started a new blog and I’m trying to stay the reporter and find the newest science.
People have to get their own level of discernment. Know the difference between what’s coming from the heart and what’s not.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU?
CJHuntReports.com is the new main site. It’s the home of the The Perfect Human Diet film and book, and an easy way to access the blog.
You can also find me on Twitter @CJHuntReports.
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BEFORE YOU GO…
I want to remind some of you newer readers why I started Fat-Burning Man. In my early 20’s, I followed my doctors advice: eat low fat, exercise more, and take pills for sleep, allergies, underarm sweat, high blood pressure, and more. But I was fat and sick.
I didn’t want to be popping pills for the rest of my life. When my apartment building burned down and I took a good hard look at all I had left – the fat guy looking back at me in the mirror – I decided it was time to take my health into my own hands.
By changing my diet and going back to my roots, I lost more than 20 pounds in just over a month. I was shocked by how my body healed itself once I stopped following the wrong advice.
I started this show to help listeners like you reclaim their health and happiness by eating real food, exercising outdoors, and making simple changes to their habits.
Now, I’ve been approached by an ungodly number of companies that want to advertise, but I want to keep this show as independent and uninfluenced as much as I can.
The way that we cover the costs of hosting, software, editing, and other expenses in bringing this show to you is by creating courses, ebooks, apps, and a premium online community for listeners and readers who want all of our best content in one place.
- It’s where we share our outrageously tasty recipes, fat-burning workouts, and healthy living strategies. We have a Facebook group with hundreds of members from all over the world sharing successes, meals, and tips for living a better life.
- We update the members area at least 3 times a week with a new video, recipe, article, or exclusive giveaway.
- Every month, my wife Alyson and I hop in front of the camera and answer YOUR questions on how to upgrade your health in a world that seems stacked against you.
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