Okay, so I’m back from LA and the Ancestral Health Symposium, and I’m going give part of my update in the form of awards.  No hurt feelings, please — these are all in good fun.  If you have any other good ones, put your nominations in the comments and I’ll add to the list.

  • The Old Guard Award: Boyd Eaton, Loren Cordain, Staffan Lindeberg.  They opened up the event with their talks, which were hard not to like even if you had heard the basic material before. These guys were beaming throughout the entire weekend, and justly so. Hats off.
  • The Lecture That Went From Sensible to Crazy The Fastest Award: Boyd Eaton.  After 15 minutes talking about nutrition, Boyd took his well-earned prerogative to speak about whatever the hell he cared about, and started arguing that pretty much all modern ills (in-group/out-group strife, environmental degradation, subjugation of women, and more) did not exist in our hunter-gatherer past and are purely the province of modernity. The science was non-existent and the ideology was overflowing — but everyone gave him a pass because, hey, he earned it.
  • The I’m a Scientist, Dammit, And You’re Not Award: Mat Lalonde.  Mat reminded everyone that we’re dealing with hypotheses here, and just because people used to do it doesn’t mean it’s actually healthiest for us today.  All good points.
  • The Most Unexpectedly Good Talk By Someone Assumed to Be a Huge Douchebag Award: Tucker Max.  Tucker spoke about the prevalence of violence during human evolution, and it’s relative absence today.  Play fighting has been a frequent source of exercise through history, police who are trained in martial arts are less likely to be involved in police brutality, and many fighters learn the importance of self-control.  Tucker pointed to MMA one way to let off some steam.
  • The Best Dressed Award (female): Denise Minger (Raw Food SOS).  Wow.  Denise was turning heads, yet completely professional at the same time.  Look out, world.  She gave a funny talk on how to win an argument with a vegetarian. 
  • The Best Dressed Award (male): Andrew Badenoch (Evolvify).  Scottish kilt, black fingernail polish, jet black hair — what’s not to like?  My only worry is that Andrew is going to abandon us when paleo gets too mainstream.
  • The Best Combination Mohawk-Ponytail Award: J. Stanton (Gnolls.org).  This one wasn’t even close — J. Stanton takes first, second, and third.
  • The Most Delicious Food Someone Had Stashed in the Trunk of Their Car Award: Feral Boar Bacon.  Somebody brought feral boar bacon to the presenter and volunteer BBQ the night prior to the symposium, and wow, was that delicious. 
  • The Most Entertaining Cage Match: Taubes v. GuyenetTaubes challenged Stephan during the Q&A at the end of his talk on obesity.  While Taubes got in a few good blows, Guyenet gave a few good ones right back.  Taubes is also the more experienced fighter and typically fights up a weight class, but Guyenet is younger, fresher, and almost certainly gets more sleep than Taubes.  We look forward to a re-match.
  • The Strongest Foreign Country: Sweden.  A combination of distance traveled, number of presenters (3), number of attendees (4+?).
  • The UCLA Food Court Restaurant that Got The Least Business Award: Sbarro.  Fast food Italian is a gluten-fest.
  • The Most Fun Couple to Drink With Award: Richard and Bea Nikoley.  They’re fun sober.  They are just a hoot after a drink or three.
  • The Paleo Power Couple Award: Chris Masterjohn and Melissa McEwen.  They both gave talks.  They’re dating.  And are going to dominate the lecture circuit for years to come.  Kind of unfair, right?
  • The Most Popular Presentation Photo Award: This hunter-gatherer chap.  I saw him in at least three talks, and I didn’t see half the talks.  What if the photo turned out to be a forgery, just some photo shoot for an old movie?  That would be hilarious.
  • The Most Popular Restaurant Award (no substitutions): Animal.  Thought supposedly everything was covered in gluten, and you couldn’t make changes to your order.
  • The Most Popular Restaurant Award (substitutions): In ‘N Out Burger.  Animal-style, protein-style, baby.
  • The Most Unexpectedly Tall Person Award: Gary Taubes and Jimmy Moore.  Truly giants among men.

More nominations?  Leave them in the comments.  More thoughts to come.

24 Responses to “2011 Ancestral Health Symposium Awards”

  1. The Best Jerky Award: Sophia’s Survival Foods: !00% Grass-Fed Jerky Chews.
    There were at least 3 kinds of jerky being handed out as free samples, hers is by far the most "paleo" and the most true to meat as meat should be. 

    • Ian Wendt says:


      If you ever get the chance, try going to a Tucanos restaurant. There’s something like 5 locations and it’s brilliant. Brazillian  Churrasco. All the meat you can eat and a rather decent saladbar with stuff like quail eggs. 

      They also make a bitchin’ mojito 🙂

  2. Hilarious John! Great meeting you, and thanks for these.


    A few to add:

    Most Frequent Twitterer nominations, which would go to: Jimmy Moore, Lindsay Starke and Diana Hsieh.

    Hilarious Twitter interpretation of one of Dr. Michael Eades’ slides – Diana Hsieh for thinking the slide (life expectancy as function of sex) was regarding "friction-type" sex.

    Best snack food giveaway instead of lunch: US Wellness Meats (pemmican, beef sticks, jerky)

    Fast talker award: Gary Taubes hands down.

    Thinking Vibram will try to come in next year to sponsor the whole shebang.




  3. Ben says:

    Are there any pictures of j. stanton? Couldn’t find any :O

  4. Anivair says:

     Is Richard Nikoley not the guy from Free the Animal?  I thought that was his name, but those two pictures look nothing alike. 

  5. Chris Sturdy says:

     Hilarious! I didn’t see Tucker’s talk but totally agree with all your other picks. What a good time. 

  6. Anonymous says:

     The hunter-gatherer chap is, fortunately, not from a movie but it is a copyrighted image owned by Getty Images. It was originally generated for Time-Life Pictures by Fritz Goro. It’s described as "Australian Aborigine holding a freshly killed animal used as a food source." Perhaps this image should get the award for the Most Unpaid Useage Fees.

  7. Paul Jaminet says:

    Tall people — gotta give a shout-out to Dallas and Melissa Hartwig for tallest couple. Melissa in high heels rivals Gary.

    Popular restaurants: Hae Jang Chon in Koreatown has an excellent Paleo Korean barbecue, J. Stanton found it for us.

  8. Debbie Young says:

    I have a few John:

    and btw LOVED Tucker Max and Erwan Le Corre both!

    Foxiest Presenter: John Durant 🙂

    Most Geeked out Health Nerd/Stalker: Me.


    So great to meet you, I posted about AHS too, but I have to do like five parts to get it all in.



  9. Elana says:

    Longest Distance Award to our friends from NZ,  Jamie,  thatpaleoguy.blogspot.com/ and Julianne, paleozonenutrition.wordpress.com/

  10. Stabby says:

    Winner of the Mock-Grok contest: John Durant! Congrats, man. You would be the most genetically successful in tribe of late h heidelbergensis 🙂

  11. maeve says:


    Show us pics! Slide show! Someone had to have a camera!

  12. Eric M says:

    pretty sure animal style isnt paleo :-\

    • Anivair says:

       In what way is ground beef with veggies wrapped in lettuce not paleo?

      • Eric M says:

        Well a double double protein style still has double cheese, you would have to order a double meat protein style. Animal style has a ton of extra spread.

        • Anivair says:

           Sounds like it depends largely on how you define paleo, then.  Dairy has always been a grey area and i’m of the opinion that it’s probably fairly safe for most folks.  If you ask Robb Wolf (from 3 years ago) he would say no, but if you were to ask Mar Sisson he’d be cool with it, so whatever.  if you’re going ot eat out at a fast food place, you could do worse than in and out or c hipotle salad. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Anavair, you’re confusing In N Out’s Protein style with their Animal style.

            Their "Animal" style just means ultra messy — extra spread with grilled onions on a wheat bun.  Not paleo at all.

            Their protein style is the no-wheat option (that does have cheese.)

            Phew…I think I just saved the world.

          • Anivair says:

            Right you are.  that’s what I get for living in Ohio:  land of no In-and-Out burgers.

          • Larry says:

            Animal style also means that the patty is grilled in mustard. I like ordering animal style, protein style, hold the spread.  If I still ate bread, bun would soak up some of the spread but it’s just to slippery and messy when wrapped in lettuce (plus, God only knows what’s in that spread).

  13.  Best blog post about the AHS, award: John Durant

    That was great! Thanks for writing.

  14. Chris Tamme says:

    Love all the awards.  Simply amazing event with some amazing minds.  Hopefully this is a catapult for a healthier population.

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