Some months ago, fans from Down Under left comments saying I should meet Australian chef Pete Evans someday.  The name sounded familiar, but my brain didn’t provide details.  So I went online and learned that he’s a hugely popular chef in Australia, with best-selling books and top-rated TV shows.  He’s also an enthusiastic promoter of real food/paleo diets.  Yes, I thought to myself, I suppose it would be nice to meet him someday.

Mere weeks later, he emailed me to ask if I’d be interested in sitting down for an interview during his next trip to the U.S.  When I mentioned in my reply that we live on a hobby farm now and raise chickens, hogs and vegetables, he wrote back to say let’s still do the interview, but I’ll come to you and we’ll film a cooking episode as well.  I replied that I’d be fine with that if he promised not to kill my girls by feeding them bone broth.

I’m sure you Australians get the joke.  For Americans and others who may not … remember when a group of dieticians in North Carolina went after Steve Cooksey for offering advice to diabetics that goes against ADA guidelines (i.e., advice that actually works)?  Cooksey is a blogger.  Imagine how ferociously dieticians would attack a celebrity author and chef with a huge following if his advice was contrary to theirs. That’s what Pete Evans is dealing with now in Australia.  He’s recently been accused (loudly and publicly) of endangering the lives of babies and children by including bone broth and liver in recipes for the wee ones.

And so, as he told me today, it’s a good time to be away in the U.S.  He’s here on a whirlwind tour, shooting interviews and/or cooking shows with Mark Sisson, Nora Gedgaudas, Dr. William Davis, Jimmy Moore and Dr. Terry Wahls, to name just a few.  Tomorrow he’ll be shooting an interview with Joel Salatin at Polyface Farms.

He and the crew showed up at 9:30 this morning.  Despite the exhausting travel schedule (and despite being called everything short of a baby-killer in the press), Pete was energetic, enthusiastic and cheerful all day.  He’s intelligent, optimistic, quick-witted, and understands that becoming a target is part of the deal when you go against the grain-pushing nutrition establishment.  In other words, he’s exactly the type of person I tend to like immediately.  And so I did.  Within minutes, we were chatting like old mates.  (Hope I’m using the Australian term properly.)  We even played a short round of disc golf before he and the crew left.

Chareva and I let Sara and Alana skip school today so they could watch the filming. They hung around, watched the setting-up process, asked questions and generally charmed Pete.  His two daughters are around the same age, so it’s probably no surprise he ended up including our girls in the shooting – much to their delight, of course.  As we walked around the farm filming, the girls got to serve as occasional tour guides and collect eggs for the cooking segment.

For the interview segment, Pete and I talked about Fat Head, the Wisdom of Crowds, the health benefits of real food, and why people like us (including him) are electing to move to farms and raise more of our own food.

The cooking segment will, of course, end up in one of Pete’s cooking shows.  The interview may go in a TV show or it may be included in a documentary about food as medicine.  Or both.  It will likely be autumn before the TV segments air, but I’ll be sure to announce if and when they’re available online.

As I mentioned in previous posts, Pete’s upcoming visit was our motivation to wrap up Chareva’s spring project before today.  We didn’t want to take him on a video tour of half-finished chicken coops and fences.

We got it all done, but I feel lucky to be alive and well after my first farm-work accident.  I’ll cover that in my next post.  Meanwhile, here are more pictures from today.

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49 Responses to “Pete Evans Visits The Fat Head Farm”
  1. Barbara says:

    Sounds like a really fun day. Looking forward to when the interview will be on-line. I’m glad your girls were able to stay home from school; not all education comes from books.

  2. Jamie says:

    Hi Tom.

    I respect your work and I respect the work of anyone pushing for changes in our food system (which includes the work Pete Evans does in this area). I’m not going to use your forum to argue the issues with some of Pete’s messaging. However, there were issues with the original premise of the baby formula, which included the promotion of a liver-based formula to neonates (0-6 months). The concerns were real and legitimate and were voiced by not just grain-promoting dietitians, but by many of us who work and promote health in this Paleo/Ancestral space. It is my understanding, based on TV interviews with the main authors, that the recipe has been changed, and it has been positioned as a complementary feed for slightly older babies now (with which I have no issue at all).

    See: http://daa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Media-alert-Bubba-Yum-Yum_FINAL.pdf for the analysis of the ORIGINAL recipe that was due to be promoted.

    See: http://breastfeedingwithoutbs.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/homemade-formula-and-weston-price-bust.html for a very fair and balanced review of the original WAPF recipe from which it is derived.

    Pete should not be judged solely on this issue, but nor should he receive a pass on it either on the basis of good work elsewhere.

    You are someone who promotes balanced arguments, Tom. And I think in this case, it is a case of making sure all the facts are out there and the representation of the original issues and subsequent storm surrounding Pete and this formula are accurate and balanced.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’ve heard arguments on both sides. If liver truly is a threat to babies, then we should know about it. But I’ve also heard that 1) no one has ever reported vitamin A toxicity from the WAPF puree, and 2) cases of vitamin A toxicity have occurred with vitamin A supplements, not food. If you’ve heard otherwise, let me know.

      Here’s an article by Sally Fallon that addresses the toxicity issue among others. She would, of course, be defending the WAPF view.

      http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/vitamin-a-saga/

      • Galina L. says:

        I read about the vitamin A toxicity as the result of eating the liver harvested from polar bears by Arctic explorers (native people didn’t eat it). I would ignore such information because we can’t go and buy bear livers, but veterinarian Peter aka Hyperlypid mentioned in his blog that the cats who insisted on eating only liver eventually developed joints fusion problem from consuming too much of vitamin A. So my guess (and I am just a regular person with some common sense but without a medical education), by eating only liver too much of vitamin A may be consumed and it can be potentially harmful on a long run,even though is not acutely toxic, and , probably, it is not the food perfect for everyday consumption. I would worry about the early closing of the sutures of an infant’s head on a liver-based formula.

  3. Jamie says:

    There was sufficient concern, given the population involved, to cause pause for thought. This piece from one the links above provides sufficient reason for the concern:

    “Honestly, though, in a way the recipes themselves are less scary than the comments below. People saying stuff like “We have been using the cows milk formula and have replaced the yeast with vitamin b and maple syrup…” “My bottle of yeast flakes was crushed entirely in my check-in luggage; is yeast flakes absolutely required for this recipe or can I do without it for 3 weeks?” “I have been feeding our adopted newborn the goat milk formula since he was 3 weeks old. I did not realize that I was supposed to wait on giving him the cod liver oil until he was 3 months old. Have I done something dangerous to his health?” “I increased the cream by a tablespoon because he is a big boy…” “How about coconut nectar from the company called coconut secret? Just ideas…..” “I noticed that it had curdled almost, more like became gelatinous…is this suppose[d] to happen?” Seriously, people, why are you even asking these questions? This is your baby’s lifeblood we are talking about, not a fun baking experiment. The newborn period is a time when most of us feel like we deserve a round of applause just for getting a simple meal cooked. Creating formula using all these elaborate rules when you are sleep deprived seems like an invitation to disaster (especially when one considers how many parents make errors even with commercial infant formula preparation).”

    I don’t think the vitamin A issue is as clear as what people think/hope:
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/2/191.full

    And Chris Kresser recently expressed more concern regarding the iron content than the vitamin A. Either way, given the building evidence around developmental origins of disease, the authorities were correct in flagging this formula for more scrutiny – due to which, it has now been reviewed, reformulated, and repositioned.

    My point being that the dietitians and others who spoke out, were right to do so. Everything is up for questioning and this has to work in both directions (though both the dietitians and Evans are equally as closed off to that occurring). It was a slightly different scenario to the Cooksey one.

    Cheers.

    • “Last week, the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition voted to adopt new guidelines allowing people to give ordinary diet advice without a government license”

      HA HA HA HA HA HA!

      So, they got their a**es kicked in court, and instead of recognizing that the government does not have a right to control speech, they are now “allowing people” to do so.

      Somewhere, a Black Knight is laughing.

      Cheers!

      • Tom Naughton says:

        My thoughts exactly. Next, they’ll vote to allow other people to breathe.

      • j says:

        Wow I didnt even think of that…something akin to: the royal board of nutrition has gracefully bestowed upon their subjects new guidelines…

  4. Ash Simmonds says:

    >(Hope I’m using the Australian term properly.)

    Requires more uncalled for profanity.

    Source: am Australian.

  5. Per Wikholm says:

    As long as the livers are not from polarbears or other top carnivores there is no risk of vitamin A toxicity. I´m not in anyway an expert on the Land Downunder but my present understanding is that there are wery few polarbears living there.

  6. Scooze says:

    Looks like a fun day! Can’t wait to see it on the Web.

  7. Elenor says:

    Lovely report, Tom! My first reaction to the top picture was: what an amazingly healthy-looking guy this is! And what a beautiful family! And when the pix of you scrolled up: you look wonderful! SO healthy and unstressed and “better” than in Fat Head! Clearly farm life is just where you need to be! (And the girls and Chareva look great too! What a great way/place/system to bring up children!!) Back when I was younger, I’d’ve enjoyed such a life… (Now, at 59? Not-so-much.) I enjoy my yardwork / gardening in small doses, but doubt I could carry that massive load a farm is — even with help!) So, good on yer in all ways; and I’m looking forward to the vids when they’re released!

  8. Armando says:

    Hello Tom,

    Looking forward to this episode. What did people use to feed their babies back in the 1800 or 1700? Baby formula? I think not. Do you see the Inuits buying baby formula at their local store? What about the Zulu warriors?

    Stone the crow! You did use the slang “mate” correctly mate.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Apparently I’ve watched enough Australian TV on Netflix to get the hang of it.

    • Arturo says:

      Surely those ancient cultures couldn’t afford good baby formula, so they had to apply for soy-based formula handouts from their governments. The more you know! 😛

  9. Firebird says:

    Tom, your girls look absolutely miserable on this low carb thing you have them doing. They look like they need a big bowl of Lucky Charms or Apple Jacks. 😉

  10. Obadyah says:

    Awesome day, looks like. Look forward to seeing the videos some day.

  11. mrfreddy says:

    Oh man, I gotta have that pig shirt Pete’s wearing!

  12. Desley says:

    It’s beaut to see Pete Evens here. He’s a great bloke. Yeah I’m an Aussie too. How’d ya know? Lol 🙂

  13. Sam says:

    That’s awesome. Pete Evans has had a big profile down here for years due to an amateur cooking food show called My Kitchen Rules which has run for 5 or 6 years. Only in the last 3 or so years he has really stepped out on a limb to promote proper healthy food. I highly respect what he has done given he could have simply given into big money and gone with corporate interests so easily. Our media tends to smash him down here and paint him very negatively. Its great to see he still has the energy and passion for this, and its great to see him meeting someone like yourself Tom who im sure is giving him even more energy to focus on these important matters.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      With a high profile and big following, he could have gone all Dr. Oz on it and collected the endorsement cash. But he didn’t, which means he’s in this because he cares. Gotta respect that.

  14. Lynda says:

    Great post – it looks like a good day for sure! Pete’s a lovely guy and yes, very genuine. He is making a real difference to many people. I’m glad you were included in the latest round of interviews 🙂

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I was quite happy he made the trip here. After spending hours talking with him, I know he’s passionate about helping people reclaim their health. That’s what motivates him.

  15. Nads says:

    You two are both big favourites of mine. Am glad Pete is fighting the good fight here in the land of Oz. Can’t wait to see the results of your filming.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’m looking forward to it myself, especially since he and the crew haven’t decided exactly which show or shows we were shooting.

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