Every Culture Has These 4 Types of Food, Do You Eat Them? (Interview with Dr. Catherine Shanahan) : Renegade Health Interview

Tuesday Apr 5 | BY |
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sebastian q'ero ceremony
Sebastian leads a Q’ero ceremony. There was no chicha involved.

In this second part of my interview with Dr. Catherine Shanahan, she speaks about the 4 foods that every culture eats…

You may be surprised at what they are, regardless of the type of diet you have. Also, please be open to this information, no matter what you eat. You’ll likely learn something like I did!

Here’s where you can listen to Part 2 of 2 (Click here for Part 1)…

dr catherine shanahan

Click the play button to start the call:


Here are my notes on this interview. Be sure to read all of them, since I think #6 is pretty important!

1. Learn from everyone.

Eventually, I’m going to stop adding little prefaces like this…

No matter what your diet is, you can benefit from listening to all different types of experts speak.

Dr. Catherine Shanahan speaks about eating animal foods, so you can choose to listen in or not. It’s entirely up to you. In the next few months we have a whole bunch of varied experts who you’ll be able to listen to… we have vegan nutritionists, we have raw food leaders and we have those who eat animal products.

I hope you listen to all of these interviews to get the best, well rounded knowledge about health. You don’t have to change your diet – nothing like that – the only thing I ask is that you do listen, because you may pick up something that is valuable – even if it’s from someone who you has a completely different belief system.

Over the years, if I didn’t listen to an audio by David Wolfe, I wouldn’t have started to eat raw foods, something I had never considered before. If I didn’t listen to a friend about the power of the Internet, you probably wouldn’t know who Annmarie and I are.

Each time, I listened with an open mind and something valuable came along with it… even if I didn’t believe or understand everything that person was teaching.

I was really disappointed a few weeks ago when some people were criticizing Dr. Williams’ post on protein with comments like “I stopped reading when he talked about dairy” or other variations of that same theme.

These comments showed an unwillingness to listen. I really want to stress how valuable it is to listen, even if you don’t agree at all.

2. Eat fresh foods and fresh herbs.

I loved it when Dr. Cate said “supplement companies are selling herbs in capsules that are just herbs.” She then said that adding fresh herbs are much better than dried, old herbs that are in pill form and have been sitting on a shelf for 6 months to 3-4 years.

This was a great reminder to me to put cilantro in my smoothie today.

What are you going to do?

3. Every culture has a fermented food.

Whether it’s sauerkraut from central and eastern Europe, injera from Ethiopia, poi from the Pacific Islands, shermout from Sudan, miso from Japan or many others – each culture has a fermented food (or many!)

The Peruvians and Q’ero have chicha, which is a fermented corn drink. They don’t use a starter to get it going. They chew the corn then spit it into a vat that they let ferment. Essentially, their saliva contains all the bacteria needed to get it started.

I’ve never tried it…

4. If you eat meat, eat it on the bone.

Dr. Cate explained that meat alone can eventually slow or even interfere with your body’s process of building strong joints and connective tissue like ligaments.

Bones contain glycosaminoglycans which are good for building strong joints and connective tissues. Her research and study shows that when you make bone broth, you release glycosaminoglycans from the bone which can help build strong connective tissue and counteract the possible damage that eating meat with out the bone may do.

If you don’t eat meat, then you don’t have to worry about this.

If you do or have family members who do, then I’d tell them this – particularly if they refuse to change their diet at all – at least you can give them something that may improve what they’re doing.

5. You can eat three of Dr. Cate’s 4 dietary food groups without eating any animals.

If you are interested in eating from the 4 types of food groups that Dr. Catherine Shanahan talks about (fresh foods, fermented foods, organ meats, and meat on the bone) and you don’t eat animals, then you can eat 3 of the four groups.

If you’re completely vegan, you can only eat 2.

Does this mean you can’t be healthy? No.

It just means you can’t eat from the 4 groups.

6. Are animal foods killing us?

Of course, you can cite the China Study and say yes. But you can also look at real world examples of long lived people and long lived cultures and realize that the China Study isn’t the only evidence out there that speaks about what to eat for longevity – with proof to back it up.

So what can we do about all this?

One thing Dr. Cate mentioned is that when people eat a lot of carbohydrates (meat included in their diet as well as fat), their blood sugar levels stay elevated.

When your blood sugar is this high, your body works hard to keep these levels down. The excess sugar in the blood does a bunch of negative things, but one thing it does do is bind with proteins. This binding process stiffens the arteries.

So, if you’re eating this way, Dr. Cate says cut the carbs, because it will help prevent stroke, high blood pressure or heart attack.

On the other side, I’ve seen evidence that eating a high carbohydrate diet, without animal foods, can lower blood sugar as well as long as there’s not excessive fat or protein in the diet. (Esselstyn, Ornish)

What this says to me is that it seems like it’s not necessarily the carbohydrates that are causing the blood sugar spike, it is the combination of the carbohydrates with the fat and protein.

I haven’t found any research about this specifically, but it certainly points toward my conclusion.

When you eat meat and carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes up.

When you eat meat and lower carbohydrate, your blood sugar goes down.

When you eat carbohydrates and little meat and fat, your blood sugar goes down as well.

This can only mean that carbohydrates alone aren’t the major issue, it’s some combination of all the macronutrients.

7. Bone marrow apple pie.

Gross. 🙂

Vegan (or raw) apple pie is good enough for me!

Alright, thanks for listening to this interview! Like I said in the next few months, we’ll have vegan nutritionists Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, plus Howard Lyman and more – so there’s a little something for everyone 😉

Remember, high raw, high plant based diet. Across the board, this type of diet puts you in a very strong position to succeed long term.

I want to know your thoughts: What did you learn from this interview?

To learn more about Dr. Catherine Shanahan, click here!

Want to Prevent Bone Loss Naturally?

Dr. J. E. Williams and I just teamed up to create a simple to use program that outlines his entire protocol to preventing bone loss and reversing osteoporosis.

The program is based on his 30 years of experience in the natural health field.

To read more and learn a natural way to build strong bones and prevent bone loss, please click here: Prevent Bone Loss Naturally

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. […] This interview is Part 1 of 2 and run time is about 20 min. (Click here for Part 2) […]

  2. Coco says:

    I have a pickling jar that makes wonderful ferments in 4 days. It’s called The Perfect Pickler and is available in health food stores and online, I highly recommend it. I could never get kraut right in a crock but this thing is fool proof.
    I don’t disagree with the broth part but ugh, gloopy bone soup. Gross. There are benefits to so many things but that is not enough to get me to eat them a lot of the time. I feel that if something had to die to fill my plate I’m not trying hard enough to find another way.
    And organ meats? I don’t think I even have to tell you what I think about that.

  3. frucht says:

    What is on the vegetarian vegan people on mount athos, greece in the monestary. Is it because they are living together as man.

  4. sheri says:

    As far as the problem with the meat and the carbohydrates, just a thought, I wonder if it the way they are combined. Fit for Life, talks about food combining, and the problems when food is not combined right. I personally have noticed how correct it is in how I feel if I don’t combine properly in the last 20 or so years. I enjoy the high raw approach very much, and feel great eating this way.

  5. Anne says:

    I was on a 100% raw diet last year (Vegan) and transitioned to 80-10-10 (80% food from Carb (mostly fruits), 10% max protein and 10% max fat (mostly nuts). This got me to such a stage of ill health in a short time that I had to start eating cooked foods (mostly Vegan) but had this huge craving for beef broth (after being vegan for a long time) so I bought bones from wholefoods and made an all day broths in a huge pot and froze some. It was delicious and full of minerals.

    I think it’s important to listen to our bodies when they send clear signals like that. I totally believe that bone broth can be such a nourishing food for the body.

    I”m still mostly vegan but I have krill oil and fish oil everyday and occasionally will have a can of water packed sardines when I feel I need it.

  6. Anna says:

    I can’t agree with you enough about listening to all points of view no matter what your belief system is, you will always learn something.

  7. marc says:

    For me it’s not about being a vegan, raw, vegetarian, meat eater… It’s about what works! Ancient man was more instinctive, and ate whole real food. They never calorie counted nor ate for ethical reasons. They ate to survive and thrive! Isn’t that what we’re striving for today?

  8. AmandaS says:

    I’ve incorporate small amounts of raw grass-fed liver into my diet (frozen in small chunks for 2 weeks first to kill parasites) because I found that cooking it significantly decreases the nutrients. If I’m going to eat liver, it better be in form that gives me what I’m after!

  9. Mirella Matotek says:

    I read Dr Cate’s (& her husband’s)book over a year ago now and absolutely loved it. As a molecular biologist myself, I loved the way she was able to communicate the intricacies of epigenetics and our genome in a language that the layperson can easily understand. Not always an easy task. I found it a delight to read. Throughout my research career I have been fighting the concept of genetic determinism. I felt vindicated reading “Deep Nutrition” and knowing that there are doctors out there embracing the concept and applying it in their clinical practice. I thought I would never see this in my lifetime. I hope that younger generations heed the message here as they are the generation that needs to work hard in turning around the de-evolution of mankind.

    I want to add something from my own research, that not only are glycosaminoglycans important for bone and connective tissues but also important for our corneas. Our corneas are the window that we see through and having strong corneas is as important as having strong bones and connective tissue.

    I use bone broths as a base for all soups, gravy, sauces, stirfrys etc. I also use for my animals, dogs and poddy calves. It seems to miraculously heal when they come down with an illness such as calves scours (diarrhea). I have never lost one yet. Also wonderful for sick children. I make sure I have plenty on hand especially around stressful times such as exams.

  10. Suzan says:

    Kevin and Annmarie,
    I have been following you two all over the place and I have to THANK YOU for this doctor, I just ordered both of her books and a ton of organic herb seeds. I have been on the raw veggies and the fermented foods and fish, I still occasionally have to have meat. But I have never had sugar and once I learned that carbs turn to sugar, I have done my best to cut them out. But my mom always boiled the bones and we ate liver. oh GOD how I hate liver. However when my kids were little and I was sprouting and making deydrated yogurt, my kids thought wheat sprouts and dehydrated yogurt was candy. I was also making organ meat jerky and salmon jerky. No wonder my kids are all so healthy. I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to this doctor. I feel like maybe I am finding a way in this diet craziness now. Thank you

  11. Selina says:

    “When you eat meat and carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes up.

    When you eat meat and lower carbohydrate, your blood sugar goes down.

    When you eat carbohydrates and little meat and fat, your blood sugar goes down as well.

    This can only mean that carbohydrates alone aren’t the major issue, it’s some combination of all the macronutrients.”

    Love this! This is exactly what I have been thinking about lately, and I have sort of come to the same conclusion. It would be interesting to see more research done on this.

  12. Angie says:

    I am diabetic (type 1 AND a tendency toward insulin resistance), and when I eat carbohydrates with no fat or meat, my blood sugar goes WAY up and I become more insulin resistant. If I eat only vegetables & meat or nuts, my blood sugar still goes up and I am still insulin resistant. So far, the thing that has worked best for me to be sensitive to insulin is eating a variety of organic, properly prepared whole foods: fresh &/or cooked vegetables, coconut & olive oil, sea salt, grass-fed milk, eggs, meats, bones, cream, butter, organ meats, bone broths, whole grains (often soaked/sprouted/cultured before cooking – but not always), raw honey, molasses, stevia, palm sugar, fruits, nuts, etc. I eat cacao occasionally but no agave. Exercise is helpful in insulin sensitivity no matter what diet I eat, but exercise wasn’t enough when I was eating vegan, raw, low-carb or low-fat.

  13. Chris says:

    Kevin: Your comments after and about are very much appreciated. Not listening to someone’s call, etc. or watching a video does not necessarily show resistance to learning. Perhaps in some cases.. but in others, and for myself… it shows that I’m clear about what I will and will no longer do. I would never listen to anyone speak on the benefits of ingesting anything from an animal . . because I would NEVER ingest anything from an animal again. Other people need to come to their own decision. After living this lifestyle for almost 3 decades.. I know my body well enough to know what’s good for it and what isn’t. Fortunately I have the years of experience to know the difference. Others newer to this lifestyle – – don’t have the experience. They will need to learn the hard way, via trial and error. Error brings with it much problem in older age.. like arthritis and a host of other acid conditions. Its everyone’s choice..

  14. Catherine Clark says:

    I am with Angie. I don’t do very well on vegan diets; not enough protein and I am always hungry. Husband didn’t do well on vegan either. He is more carbo based than I am, but needs high quality protein. We eat only grass fed meats and free range chicken and are both doing well on them. We also eat a wide variety of veggies and raw nuts, plus free range eggs. We use bone broth and organ meats from grass fed animals. We also do sprouting and eat organic fruit. Juicing is something we also do. I eat more protein than he does, but we are both eating what works for us. We are all different and there is no one diet that works for everyone. BTDT and now doing what my body wants.

  15. Sophie says:

    Coco, thanks for The Perfect Pickler tip! Awesome, can’t wait to up my lacto-fermenting efforts. 🙂

  16. Buddy says:

    Thanks Kevin for bringing the whole spectrum of nutritional info. It is easy enough for us to sort through and determine our own take away message so I for one am not offended by what others choose to bring to the table (pun intended). I had only heard of apoptosis in relation to cancer previously. so to consider it being applicable to fat cells was interesting as well as other points. Relative to a lack of ancient vegan societies, it is not disturbing to me as it likely has as much to do with knowledge and “enlightenment” (admittedly my personal judgement) as anything. Plus we do have the long term diet practiced by our primate cousins. Thankfully, we live in a time where we have the luxury of a healthy vegan diet.

  17. Dr Cate says:

    Dr Cate here. And I am thrilled at all the positive comments, what a great audience you have, Kevin! You should teach a course on diplomacy.

    Right now I am in Baltimore, MD for the Eastern Regional Bariatric Medicine annual conference where I am also encouraged by the general willingness to overturn conventional thinking. One speaker came out and said “Calories are not all the same,” And another said “we should never tell our patients eat less, exercise more.” Eating fewer of the same foods that caused weight gain doesn’t work.

  18. Eve says:

    She forgot to say – every culture eats some form of animal product (either milk, eggs, meat, or all of that).

    There has never in the history of the world been a vegan culture.

    We don’t know what this means.

  19. Eve says:

    OH – and it is SO important to distinguish simple carbs from complex carbs!

    White bread vs. Ezekiel bread – completely different effects in the body.

    (Sprouting the grain also starts the fatty acid ratio changes that occur when that seed starts to become a grass.)

  20. Chelsea says:

    Wonderful! I am a college student who has been raw, vegan, vegetarian…and now I’m a combination of them all. 🙂 My journey has been an interesting one, and I feel so blessed at who I am in the moment. Recently, I have started toying with the idea of adding some fish back into my diet, and this call was so fascinating. Kevin, I commend you for putting a diversity of ideas out there for the public and allowing us to make our own decisions. I do have one question: what was the book Dr. Cate was talking about? The Blue ______? (It was around the 13:30 minute marker in part 2) I kept rewinding, but just can’t make it out. Thanks!

  21. Chelsea,

    I believe the book is The blue zones:Lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest.

    Here is a link to the book on amazon:


    You can also do a google search on blue zones to turn up lots of info on the idea. I hope this helps 🙂

  22. rachel says:

    Thank you Kevin for presenting speakers who have varied opinions on the best diets to follow. Very interesting to hear others perspectives. Not every vegetarian as you is so open-minded, and some people who promote traditional diets are not fans of vegetarian diets.
    Our soils and foods have deteriorated in nutrition the past 100 years. Pesticides, toxins, fluoride, heavy metals, dead soils, have polluted most of this planet. This does affect our health and genes. This almost forces us to maximize the quality of any foods we consume in terms of nutrition and organics.
    Yes there are cultures who always consumed meat, but in terms of density its’ easier to kill an animal and consume its’ flesh (or milk) than to rely on plant foods and protien. That does not mean a vegetarian diet cannot sustain life (I have been thriving on it for 23 years albeit changes I have made over the years, am now 75% raw). I do believe cats and dogs are carnivores and feed my doggies mostly raw meat and vegetables.
    Interestingly enough all of us are aware of the GLADIATORS, big strong muscular men who fought to the death centuries ago. The fact is that these men DID NOT EAT MEAT, they were known as the “Barley men” because they fought hardest and best on a barley and bean diet…
    For a very interesting look into history purchase the PBS dvd’s “Frontier House”. They place several families into the west as if they were living in the 1800’s. It was obvious from the daily physical demands that they absolutely needed the benefit of meat and dairy (milk). Also, look at the many sizes of the http://www.Pickl-it.com for making fermented foods like kvass and saurekraut; much more size choices than the pickler.
    namaste’, rachel

  23. Michelle M. says:

    Dr Cate’s work is supported by, and very similar to, the seminal research of Dr Weston A Price, who wrote “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” in 1938 (currently in its 18th printing). Dr Francis M Pottenger, Jr. wrote “Pottenger’s Cats: a study in nutrition” covering ten years of research. Those interested in the raw concept will find both books informative, especially the latter.
    There is a lot of pioneering work on human traditional diets in the archives of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. There are hundreds of articles on the Weston A Price Foundation website, which “taught me how to be a better vegetarian” said one MD.
    The book, “Wild Fermentation” is a great raw read.

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