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Dr. Cate Shanahan on the True Human Diet, Why Athletes Fail on Vegan Diets, & Bringing Nose to Tail

Dr. Cate Shanahan - Peak Human Podcast


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Hello there Sapien Tribe! That’s right, we’re a tribe now. This is very fitting to me and we have a lot of great people leading the way. I’m going to make pages for each of them on

I’m talking about people like Professor Bill Schindler who’s hosting an online video series with a bunch of great people. Somehow I slipped in there and am kicking it off with one of the OGs Robb Wolf on Monday, October 28th. Sign up for free at

He’s having a bunch of these other tribe leaders on like Tara Couture (my favorite person ever - @slowdownfamstead on Instagram), Mark Sisson, Shawn Baker, all the people. Professor Bill is a great guy, a friend, and I want to support his project and message. That link is or find it in the show notes.

Now that I strategically brought up show notes, I’ll mention the message I got from a Patreon supporter who said “If I realized you offered such extensive show notes to patreon supporters I would of joined a hell of a lot sooner. What a valuable perk!!! I think if you elaborate on the podcast about on how comprehensive these google docs are (links to studies, links to youtube videos, refined information, and links to articles) surely more people will join for access!”

It’s all Kristi! She does an awesome job. Support us at

You can also get grass finished meat delivered to your door at

And put a few branches on our fire. This tribe metaphor is going to continue. You have to just try this even if it’s just to get the ground beef with the organs mixed in. There’s really no other way you can get grass finished beef plus liver, heart, kidney, and spleen all ground into a perfect little ball of nutrition for a better price, taste, or convenience factor. Support Sapien and a family Texas ranch by ordering at

The film is going great. We don’t have a release date but you can still preorder it and get some of the perks by clicking through to the Indiegogo page.

And now onto the guest today, Dr. Cate Shanahan. I read her book Deep Nutrition awhile back and was hooked. She has a great philosophy that’s very inline with the Sapien lifestyle. She’s a board certified family physician, she trained in biochemistry and genetics at Cornell University’s graduate school before attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She helped create the PRO nutrition program for the LA Lakers which helped Kobe start eating an ancestral diet and boost his performance as he went later into his career. She’s got a new book coming out early next year called Fatburn Fix which you can already preorder on Amazon

And she’s an amazing person all around - here’s Dr. cate.


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  • Cate Shanahan is a practicing medical doctor and author of Deep Nutrition

  • She was inspired to write Deep Nutrition because we are currently living longer lives but not healthier lives

  • There is a difference between life expectancy and life span

  • Past generations grew up without GMOs, pesticides, so basically eating all organic, free-range, foods and no processed foods

  • Genetic momentum will carry you forward even when diet might fall apart and this is how a lot of people live very long lives

  • Your connective tissue determines your lifespan and your connective tissue is determined in your teens and twenties

  • Cate has genetically poor connective tissues and experienced various repetitive injuries

  • Status of connective tissue is the number one predictor of injury and duration of athletic career

  • The problem that can occur with vegan athletes is that they are deprived of animal-based components that support connective tissue

  • Many traditional diets include bones and products you get when you break down/boil bones

  • Gelatin can help our joints and injuries

  • Bone broth is the youth serum for connective tissue and extending athletic career

  • Cate worked with the LA Lakers and various other professional athletes and has seen the power of nutrition and specifically bone broth in athletic performance, recovery, and career longevity

  • How LDL and HDL cholesterol levels matter

  • Brian’s theory: the only people that don’t benefit either didn’t try it or did it wrong

  • Many high-level athletes adopting low-carb diets

  • Sugar isn’t good, but vegetable oils are the worst thing we could possibly eat

  • Cate believes that if we didn’t have vegetable oils we wouldn’t have all these chronic diseases

  • Mitochondria produce 30% more energy (ATP) using fatty acids and ketones for fuel than glucose

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils shut down mitochondrial metabolism and can trigger apoptosis

  • As your cells demand more and more sugar, the brain responds by keeping your fasting blood sugar up in an unhealthy range and this is what is diagnosed as diabetes

  • Vegetable oils play a role in diabetes

  • Short fasts can be a part of a healthy lifestyle but a lot of people aren’t even healthy enough to fast

  • Eating between meals blocks fat burning

  • You shouldn’t need a snack if you have body fat

  • People underestimate how many calories they eat a day, and these hidden calories come from snacking

  • There’s a difference between burning fat and burning body fat

  • There are toxins in the vegetable oils that have accumulated in body fat, so when you fast and start burning body fat, you release them and get a pro-inflammatory effect

  • If you have toxic body fat and you try and push through to fast, it could be harmful

  • The reason some people can’t access their body fat goes beyond lowering insulin

  • Some people aren’t even ready to go low-carb

  • Carbs are not the enemy, if you do it right, you can have your carbs and lose weight and be healthy

  • MCTs can be used directly by the brain for fuel

  • Your body makes most of its antioxidants

  • The antioxidants in food probably have a negligible contribution in your cells

  • If you do carnivore, you should be doing it nose-to-tail

  • Cate’s 4 pillars for a maximally healthy diet

  • The RDAs are almost irrelevant

  • Ancestral diets were based on farming, culinary practices, and traditions

  • Our intuitions were so good for so long and we’ve lost our ways

  • Diet can impact how our children physically look and grow

  • Feed your genetics what they are expecting to receive

  • You have a gene in your bones for growing more bone matrix

  • The raw materials in our food can act as switches for our genes

  • Cate tells people to supplement with vitamins (e.g. vitamin D), minerals (e.g. calcium), and superfoods (e.g. probiotics) if your diet is not rich in what you are supplementing with

  • Vegans who believe “just don’t eat meat and you’ll be fine” can turn into a really unhealthy diet

  • DHA requirements go down when you remove vegetable oils

  • Epidemiology is just like “voting” on what a healthy diet is and shouldn’t be what we make dietary recommendations on

  • When we eat damaging dietary fats for the brain we see mental illness

  • Stress isn’t a new phenomenon, we are just not wired to deal with it with the food we’re eating

  • Humans are being built wrong and if we continue down this path, humans will become extinct

  • Where to find Dr. Cate Shanahan


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