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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Triathlete’s paleo diet with bone broth dramatically reduces osteoarthritis pain

Shorty on Zone Diet, Dec 2003

Alternative title: Paleo trumps Zone diet, Osteoarthritis pain reduced on grain free, nightshade free paleo diet with added bone broth.

Shorty Clark is a triathlete here in New Zealand. I met him a number of years ago when he switched from a standard high carbohydrate diet onto the Zone Diet. In 1996 Shorty was an extremely enthusiastic athlete, but at 60th in world rankings (I. T. U. World Triathlon Age Group) was far from where he wanted to be. He was introduced to the Zone Diet by his then coach Kerry Goodhew. Shorty found that the switch to the zone – moderate in carbs and higher in protein than his previous diet, gave him a huge improvement in his performance, and increased his energy levels and health. The Zone diet along with and Sears OmegaRx supplement helped him reach 15 in world rankings in less than a year.

Internationally, his best result came from winning the World Masters Standard Distance Triathlon in Melbourne, 2002, (Men’s 50 – 54 Age Group).

Update September 2013:

11th place world (out of 87 in this age group) triathlon London September 2013



Update: November 2012

Shorty came 6th in his age group (60 – 64) the recent world Tri Champs in Auckland, New Zealand. Had he raced in the 55 – 59 age group he would have come 4th=

This – on less carbohydrate that he was eating previously.

About 2 years ago I began letting my previous “Zone diet” clients about the added benefits I got from eating paleo food choices, as well as the results I had with around 30 people who took a paleo trials.

A consistent result many reported was improvement in joint problems; pain and inflammation would often reduce quite dramatically cutting out grains. See this post – Paleo Trial results

Shorty had been getting more and more severe osteoarthritis in one hip joint, so the improvement in others piqued his interest. He talked to me about doing a rigorous paleo eating trial to specifically see if eating this way might make a difference with his joint pain which was considerable. He moved towards paleo eating, removing gluten grains, and using gluten free bread.

However things weren’t as good as he hoped and we looked at doing a more rigorous eating plan specifically to see if his joint pain could be reduced.

I suggested he remove all grains – not just gluten grains and remove nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes) for the trial due to their possible aggravation of joint inflammation. Plus I recommended he make bone broth and drink a cup each day.  Bone broth is high in glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and minerals, which provide building blocks for cartilage. Shorty also added in a teaspoon of turmeric each day – as it is a good anti-inflammatory for joints as it contains curcumin. He continued to take a multi-vitamin and omega 3. We also made sure he had his post training refuel and during race fuel was worked out (and tweaked), so he maintained good recovery and raced well fueled.

Shorty has now come to the end of his 13 week strict grain free paleo trial – he is ecstatic with the results! Here is Shorty’s account.

Hi Julianne,

Well what a FANTASTIC 13 WEEK TRIAL IT HAS BEEN. I officially finished my Trial on Sunday 11th March 2012, after starting on Monday 12th December 2011. This gave 13 weeks overall, although technically speaking I was 98% Paleo 2 weeks prior and then was ABSOLUTELY, UNEQUIVICALLY 100% FROM THE MONDAY 12th. There was not a lot of adjustment in what I had to change in my food, the main things were , NO MORE GLUTEN FREE BREAD , OCCASIONAL DRINK OF LOW FAT MILK, MOUNTAIN BREAD WRAPS , TOMATOES, PEPPERS , CAPSICUM AND SOME OTHER CONDIMENTS .

Pain levels from my Hip were around the 6 -10 point , 10 being very very painful, trouble sleeping, training , racing , working etc. . Also from the start point in December, my training and racing was a full speed, so I was in a full on Triathlon Season. As the Trial progressed I noticed within the first 2 weeks a dramatic drop off in pain levels, down to 2- 5 max. At the half way point in the Trial, pain had dropped again to 2-3 level, and this was for training and racing. Furthermore I race from out of town , i.e. Taupo, Auckland, Whangamata, so travelling long periods of time – e.g. 4-5 hours causes pain problems, – however these were not occurring . By the time 8 weeks was up, PAIN WAS AT 1-2 max, if not, non-existent!!. It is at this period that my training and racing is at it’s most frenetic. At the 10 week stage I can CONFIDENTLY SAY THAT PAIN HAB SUBSIDE 99:9% AND WHEN IT DID OCCUR, THE LEVEL WAS 1. I finished the season with my last major race and National Championship Triathlon in Wellington on Saturday 10th march 2012. At no time did I have ANY PAIN BOTH BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER.

My sleep patterns and length of sleep periods are “blissful” now, as prior to the Trial, I really struggled to get adequate,  no pain sleep. Now, it’s no worry or problem, I can lie on any side, sleep well and enjoy it. My training and racing has improved dramatically, to the point where I won 2  New Zealand National Triathlon Titles this year – Sprint Distance of 750 -20km -5km, and Olympic Distance of 1:500km -40km -10km. It therefore is abundantly clear and obvious that cutting ALL GRAINS, GLUTEN, FLOURS, NIGHTSHADE FAMILY OF VEGGIES, PROCESSED FOODS, ADDITIVES, POOR / BAD FATS, AND  DAIRY BASED PRODUCTS PROVES THAT A PALEO DIET REDUCES AND IN FACT DELETES PAIN ASSOCIATED WITH SEVERE OSTEO-ARTHRITIS OF THE HIP,  FOR ME .

There is now no way in which I would reverse back to a Zone or similar Diet. There is near adequate variety in what I eat, and how I eat to more than sustain a super healthy lifestyle.

Below is a list of the main foods I eat :

Lettuce , Grated Beetroot and Onion, Raw Carrots, Broccoli, Roasted Kumara , Pumpkin , Garlic cloves and Turnips, Cucumber, Parsley, Avocados, Cold Pressed Coconut Oil , Bone Broth, Chia seeds , Bananas, Oranges, Apples , Kiwifruit, Strawberry-Cranberry-Blackberry, Blueberry mixture, Lean shredded Chicken, Lean Lamb, Steamed Fish, Raw Egg Whites, 1 egg yolk a day, Lemon, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Rock Salt. High Grade Dr. Sears Fish Oil Tablets / or Omega RX Liquid Oil.

Shorty, Post Paelo. March 2012

MORNING. A snack of 1 or 2 Bananas, plus a Sports drink 3 hours prior to race start is fuel enough for my events. I seem to reach the satiety point easily, and then maintain an even blood Sugar Level for many, many hours, and this also, is during a heavy training session. As well, straight after racing, I do Not seem ultra hungry , or ravenous . This also occurs with heavy training sessions of 2 hours long. Normally I have “breakfast” around the 11 o’clock mark – I have usually trained for 60-90 minutes, and then do not need to eat until around 5:0pm. During this time, I usually have trained again for about the 90;00 minute period. My weight prior to the Trial was 67:5kg, and now are a consistent 66:3kg. Height is 1:73cm, and Age is 60 years. Blood Pressure is 110/70. All blood tests are excellent, and my cholesterol profile improved. HDL increased and LDL decreased. Triglycerides are very good.

WHY WOULD ONE WANT TO CHANGE BACK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.I will continue to monitor myself and very slowly, each month, introduce a new food BUT ONLY ON YOUR RECOMMENDATION. Basmati Rice will be the first introduction. (Note: Shorty and I discussed adding in some foods that may not be an issue, trialling each one carefully to test that it had no detrimental effect).

It’s been GREAT to find a new “lease” in life.

Shorty CLARK

Update: November 2012

Shorty came 6th in his age group (60 – 64) the recent world Tri Champs in Auckland, New Zealand. Had he raced in the 55 – 59 age group he would have come 4th=

Here is an excellent bone broth recipe from SCD Lifestyle: How to make nourishing beef broth to heal your gut.



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28 Responses to “Triathlete’s paleo diet with bone broth dramatically reduces osteoarthritis pain”

  1. BW #

    I gotta work in more broth. My knees crack like mad when I squat.

    What’s up with the sports drink and egg whites?

    March 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm Reply
    • Shorty had experimented with race drinks / no race drinks, and found he performed better with one.

      Shorty has one whole egg plus egg whites. On the zone he just had egg whites as per Dr Sears recommendation.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm Reply
  2. I hope he adds more Paleo foods for even more health benefits. I fixed a LOT of health problems myself by eating a lot of “ancient” foods. Bone broth is only one of the 10 important Paleo foods in my opinion. Some of the others: Offal (get 100gr of liver once a week, and other types too), Sideritis Syriaca tea (might be difficult to find in NZ though, go for fresh chamomile in that case), raw & unfiltered *local* honey (you’re in NZ, so get some *local* Manuka — honey *is* Paleo btw), sea vegetables (for their iodine content and additional nutrition), less popular veggies (e.g. kohlrabi, turnips etc), always cook with coconut oil (olive oil for salads) for mental clarity and ketones production, fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi), and even do some kefir from goat or sheep milk (home-made, fermented for 36 hours).

    Goat/sheep milk is much more tolerable than cow dairy because they feature a different casein, and long fermentation is eating the lactose away (only 1% lactose is remained). When Paleo gurus were writing against dairy, they mostly tested with US cows, which are indeed problematic in terms of casein. Kefir is way more potent than Greek yogurt btw, because its kind of bacteria actually colonize the human gut, while the bacteria from yogurt are shedding away from the gut and excrete within a day.

    March 17, 2012 at 6:52 am Reply
  3. C2U #

    Great job Shorty. It’s nice to see you’re not too “paleo” (See: I ❤ MEAT! Unga-bunga! Fruit has Frooktose!!!). This will add to your continued success.

    As an arthritis sufferer, I think you’ll find ditching that fish oil will help too. It’s like putting cheap toilet paper on a bleeding wound. It helps for a while, but in the end it’s nothing more than a polyunsaturated fat making a mess.

    March 20, 2012 at 3:16 am Reply
    • And the science behind this and references – if you are going to make such brash statements please!

      March 20, 2012 at 8:53 am Reply
      • C2U #

        Brash? Julianne, I really think you read that out of context. I was congratulating the guy and offering a tip.

        “Brash: self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way.”

        By looking at Shorty’s food list, it’s clear that he hasn’t caved to the fruit phobia than can run so rampant in the paleosphere. He’s an athlete and I’m happy to see he hasn’t been bothered with that nonsense.

        Science and references? You dig up your own papers on short term positive effects and long problems from PUFA consumption. I don’t get paid for this. Sounds like he’s been on that O-3 supp since 2002? Was it really a piece of his recent success puzzle? Sears makes enough money. I’d rather see Shorty spending that money on tires and chain lube (a good use for the fish oil BTW).

        Considering I went from wearing custom molded prescription knee braces (to do activities), and pretty much lived in my orthopedists office by the age of 20, I know a thing about arthritis. Have you ever wanted/caused yourself physical pain somewhere else on your body just to take your mind off of some arthritic pain source? Ever been on several prescription pain meds and all those goofy joint supps, and nothing even made a dent. Physical therapy? I have. It sucks. Problem solving… that’s all the science I need.

        I suppose you don’t know my history, so maybe that’s why the comment seemed brash. I now easily train 20-40hrs a week (actual running time on the watch) for triathlon 100% pain free (related to those old injuries 😉 ). I know if I was Shorty and somebody offered me a simple tip to further my healing progress, I’d take it into consideration. Especially considering this is only a 13 week time block. Again, not taking away anything from the triathlon bretheren’s success, but even LFRVs don’t generally stop feeling less than great in double that amount of time.

        March 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm Reply
        • Point taken!

          Re PUFA, in the context of a healthy high anti-oxidant diet, and not in excess, I don’t see it as an issue. Fish is superior and fresher, I’ve noticed though that PUFA quality – i.e tested for low or no oxidation is very important

          Personally – I am carb agnostic – and I think the paleo diet is / or should be the same. Carbs as needed and tolerated.

          March 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm Reply
          • C2U #

            Sure, but his lifestyle is very high in oxidative stress compared to the average Joe, so minimizing PUFAs… once again, not a bad idea.

            And that’s why I’ll keep reading 🙂

            March 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm
      • I find it humorous that someone is making a big deal about the oxidative stress from <1g of fish oil, while ignoring the oxidative stress from 50g+ of fructose.

        There's a reason fructose raises serum levels of uric acid — it's somewhere around 8-12x more reactive and prone to forming AGEs in vivo than glucose, and raised sUA is the body's defense mechanism against the potential damage. (This is most likely why despite all the dire warnings about AGEs produced by cooking meat, vegetarians have substantially higher level of AGEs in their bloodstream than omnivores: our bodies are good at dealing with exogenous AGEs, and most AGEs in the bloodstream are produced endogenously.)

        High-volume endurance athletes like C2U can process pathological quantities of fructose because they're continually depleting their liver glycogen. The rest of the world, however, should take his bold, brash, and inflammatory statements with (dare I say it) several grains of salt.


        March 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm Reply
        • Thanks JS.
          I’d love to see how all the LFRV fruit eating endurance althletes do when they drop the large volumes of exercise. Not pretty I imagine.

          March 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm Reply
          • C2U #

            Oh boy.

            J.S, I know you’re a very intelligent guy with million references and papers at your fingertips. It’s an utter waste of time I don’t have to debate something like this. I’d throw out some analogies for you to think about, but I’m too carbed up to even care. I’ll enjoy my slow happy death. You win.

            Julianne, Honestly, I expected more from you than a comment like that.

            I came here offering a tip for Shorty to try, and end up getting attacked. Just another day in paleoville. Ha-ha. Brother. Funny enough, other athletes beg me for advice. Studies should be printed on toilet paper so I can make practical use of them.

            March 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm
          • The thing is – a lot of fruit sugar is probabably not smart for someone doing a little exercise. If you can tolerate it – fine. But people like Harley are not helping anyone by saying that everyone can tolerate a high carb high fruit diet, it is immoral and wrong to suggest it is the best diet for everyone. It really is in my view tolerated only by those who use the carbs by doing a lot of exercsie, and like JS said constantly deplete their liver of glycogen. I admit my tone wasn’t great, but I can’t see how a low level of exercise and lots of fruit could be healthy.

            Shorty before he switched to a higher protein diet was on a very high carb diet – and was not doing well.
            Like you he has experimented and hit upon an eating pattern that is working really well for him. And the omega 3 is part of what works for him. He experienced improvements in health when he added it. I agree that PUFA’s in excess are not a great idea, but this is not the case here.

            March 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm
          • C2U #

            I have zero interest in debating, so I’ll leave you with this….

            I’ll try and keep this short. The problem I see in paleoville, is the lack of the ability to see context and a deep love for nutrient isolation (yes I see hypocrisy in that I was the one that brought up pufas, but notice I didn’t generalize fish consumption in with it). I don’t know how to sugar coat all this (no pun) and not come across as being an ass, belittling, or insinuating anyone is stupid, but these thought processes are bringing “paleo” down. That said, I allowed myself to get heavily indoctrinated in all that at one point, so I know how easy it is to get caught up in.

            If I had even the slightest bit of ability to be a “science” writer, I’d have endless stream of things to poke at, and whole lot more money in my pocket. If anything, I’m the stupid one. I find it more entertaining to be broke, ride my bike, and swim with tropical fish.

            March 31, 2012 at 10:59 am
  4. Sean Bissell #


    Mr. C2U (Chuck) might sound a little out there if you’re coming from a mainstream paleo
    background. I know he sounded a bit out there to me 🙂

    I’ve been following Chuck for years, back when he took Paleo so seriously that he was literally out hunting his own food on a very regular basis along with eating only Paleo.

    I’d say Chuck is still pretty Paleo just maybe not in the “mainstream” sense.

    I was a bit hesitant to delve more into the carbs and sugars, but when I started to feel sluggish, and run down, and noticed my body temperature was literally in the 95’s on a fairly regular basis… That snapped me out of my trance, and motivated me to try something different.

    After adding a significant amount of fruit sugar, maple syrup, even crazy “Ray Peat foods” like ice cream… <— Sacrilege! 🙂

    I'm feeling *way* better than before. My body temperature is up, my hands and feet are no longer constantly cold.

    Sometimes I have to just break out of the brain babble, and just try something different on an educated hunch and see how it works for you.

    Everyone is different, and at the same time, I really think that fruit and carbs and *calories* are a great addition to many people in the Paleoshpere or elsewhere, regardless of their activity level.

    Obviously it won't work for everyone, but how would you know if you don't try?

    Happy Friday!

    March 31, 2012 at 4:34 am Reply
  5. jns #

    hello julianne

    Here, bell peppers (red, green, orange and yellow) are the cheapest not-root vegs available year round, grown in greenhouses. North of 54 means even citrus is very expensive, even juice.

    Is it going to be a big problem to be Paleo with tomatoes and peppers? I use them a lot. Stir-fries, salads, salsas, ratatouille. Yes, some joint pain at 70.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:07 am Reply
    • Unless you have auto-immune issues or joint inflammation nightshades should be fine. Shorty tried a nightshade free diet because he wanted to see if eliminating reduced inflammation.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:18 am Reply
      • C2U #

        Contrary to belief, I’m not a contrarian, and I could care less if people think I’m right or wrong. I wanted to share this with >YOU< (everyone else can STFU), so you can look into "why" if you so desire. Someone asking your help might be the same.

        When I followed prescription paleo (low-carb, fish oil included), I did have serious problems with nightshades. My arthritic joints would throb like crazy! I refrained from eating them enough to not notice other inflammatory problems (most notably the ones with my sinuses) which probably would have shown up after multiple days of consumption.

        I don't know what change did it (because I didn't realize until later), but when I tossed out the muscle meat, low-carb dogma, and supplemented fats (ie.. went vegan for a time), nightshades were no longer an issue. I still don't do those things above, and I can literally drink quarts of tomato sauce now with zero problems. Perhaps this is because the inflammation is gone, therefore the nightshade consumption can't exacerbate the problem? I don't know.

        I know many other vegans who consume nightshades like crazy and do not suffer from inflammatory problems. Before other potential commenters (which this comment isn't even addressed to) start hyperventilating and choking on ribeyes, I'm not advocating veganism, only using it as an example or starting point to look at.

        May 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm Reply
  6. J*ns #

    “I have zero interest in debating,… ” I think you mean you have zero interest in anyone disagreeing with you. I use wild Alaska Salmon oil for different reasons, and I’m not about to make a religion out of 1 g of Pufa. That’s one of the things turns people off these diet sources; men who know zip about food and nutrition, actually or if they do it’s in the context of a lab, or a book. I find Julianne’s knowledge and one other woman (not Paleo) a breath of fresh air and realism. Medical science and now food science, is all about men. Take it down the road.

    I use Salmon Oil. I’m female, indigenous, and have 50 some odd years of cooking and food study behind my choices. And, I’d rival a mother of several children carrying on all the mohtering duties and household chores for need of antioxidants et al to the needs of a cyclist.

    May 11, 2012 at 6:18 am Reply
    • Thanks J*ns

      May 11, 2012 at 9:23 am Reply
    • C2U #

      J*ns, If you think nutritional science is all about men, then you are blindfolded. Women (especially your age) are the big consumers in this day and age. Every smart industry (nutrition is industry) is catering to them.

      I don’t have any problems with Julianne’s knowledge. I’m not interested in debating, because it’s not worth my time arguing with someone who’s already formed opinions.

      In closing, I only wish morally I could get into the fish oil business. It’ very lucrative.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm Reply
      • J*ns #

        Mr. Triathlete, congratulations on your astounding achievements. Do you think your genes played a role? It looks to me like you are the classic athlete: a mesomorph. You were made to move.

        May 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm Reply
        • C2U #

          Try ecto-endomorph. I’ve been close to 30% bodyfat most of my life. The fat kid that got teased. Nice try though.

          There are those who follow and wallow in self pity, or those who lead by example.

          May 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm Reply
  7. J*ns #

    During my competitive years I was vegetarian. I don’t think I could have sustained it on a Paleo diet. Again, I think women are different. I’m from a family of world-class athletes. The women are primarily vegetarian, and the men I would say, heavy meat eaters maybe even Paleo by style but not name. Interestingly the Sherpas I know are vegetarian.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm Reply
  8. David #

    The elephant in the room for paleo for me has always been; with such a restricted list of foods like the one above, how on earth does one get enough calories? Especially an indurence athlete….and on two meals a day?! Anyone care to post up even one meal sample?

    July 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply
  9. Adam #

    How is Shorty doing now?

    It would be great to have an update.

    June 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm Reply

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