Great Comments: Experience, Knowledge, Encouragement and Inspiration

Wow do we have some great readers who are willing to share all that in the title and more. A couple of days ago I posted this plea, from someone trying to get things together in terms of diet, exercise, health.

The community really responded. There are many great comments there, and I encourage you to read them all, but I also want to re-post a couple as recognition for some really good help.


First, from David:

Obviously you got into your current condition through a combination of what you eat, how much you eat and what you do (or don't) for exercise. Here's the obvious. Keep doing the same and you'll continue down the same path, at least as fast. if you figure you're 60-80 lbs overweight now, you'll be another 60-80 lbs heavier in 10 years. So here's something obvious … change what you eat, change how much you eat, change your exercise. Now, we all know that is easier said than done. After all we eat the amount that we do because we're hungry. Overweight people have a hard time exercising, because they're overweight. I think the place to start is with WHAT you eat.

Start with the easy changes. Dump all fructose that is not in fruit. That means dump soda. Dump almost every breakfast cereal. READ the ingredients of stuff you buy. If it includes sugar, high fructose corn syrop, corn solids et cetera … DO NOT buy it. Google on how the body metabolizes fructose, how it goes straight to abdominal fat, how it does not give you any sense of fullness, and what abdominal fat does to your body and your liver in particular. That should motivate you.

Dump anything made with any kind of fat or oil identified as hydrogenated or modified.

If you do that it will make a huge difference.

Next consider dumping grains. It took me about 5 years to admit that it was worth trying. I have never looked back. It was hard to do, but like quitting smoking, it is fantastic afterwards.

Learn about how to reset your hormones, such as insulin and leptin. They are way out of balance now. I know this because you are overweight.

Once the weight is coming off and once you purge the crap out of your diet, you will feel more energy and will be able to exercise.

Cut fructose and work on your hormones and you'll start feeling full after eating.

These are all simple things but they are up to you. YOU have to make a change. Right now just about any change would be better than carrying on with your current path. Good luck and keep writing here for support. Richard has collected some good people here.



Who's right? Is the AHA, Cleveland Clinic, Cholesterol Fascists, etc? Or is it the people such as Weston Price, Sally Fallon, Mary Enig, Udo Erasmus, and Ussi Rasnikov and their beliefs on what is the determining factor(s) in heart-disease?

It is easy for anyone to say: I am right. Here is why. Also, humans have a tendency to try and split the difference as in "I don't know who is right, let's just agree that both parties are 50% right".

This, I think, in evaluating fitness/health/life philosophy is incorrect.

Here is what I use to evaluate paleo versus Conventional Medicine/Fitness. Use at your own risk.

1) What is the underlying framework that any specific advice rests on?

Modern medicine/fitness almost completely ignores evolution. I think this is wrong as "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution."

2) Cui bono?

Modern medicine and pharma. Don't get me wrong, I am for Free Markets and I do think that pharma has done a lot — but in some cases, the incentives are not aligned correctly.

3) So-called studies and "science"

Again, don't get the wrong impression. I use reason and logic to arrive at my conclusions about Paleo BUT I'd advise reading this post when it comes to evaluating "studies"

There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.

BTW cui bono is also relevant when it comes to "science". Do you think that "scientists" aren't subject to confirmation bias?

4) Very important. A healthy amount of both empiricism and skepticism. Is paleo working for you?

My experience: it has changed my life. I wish I been raised this way.

Aside from the empirical aspects of paleo — there is much conjecture. We don't know what the Paleolithic was like.

For example, the debate over sat fat in the paleo community. (Personally, I don't think it is harmful and suspect it is healthful. But Loren Cordain could certainly be right and I could be dead wrong.)

Are we, right at this very point, getting some things 100% wrong? We sure as hell are.

But so is Western Medicine. Again, don't get me wrong. If I am in a car accident, get me to a emergency room, use all of western medicine, pharma incuded, and fix me up stat!

I don't know if that helps — but this is how I view epistemological questions of who is right and why they are.

My recommendation: Get off your ass, suck it up and try it. Stop pussyfooting.

If it doesn't work after an honest effort, 3 months or so, nothing is stopping you from going back to the ostensible healthy Standard Government Recommended Diet.



You got it right with "unwilling," but not "unable." It's up to you, man. And you've been keeping up with paleo/Weston Price literature since age 18? Man. What's stopping you?

I first happened upon paleo when I rescued a flat-coat retriever puppy from a trailer park in Escondido. The guy was undernourished and I, of course, rushed to the nearest Petco for a bag of Nutro-Max. Lamb flavor, I believe. "Flavor" shoulda tipped me off. Anyway, he didn't react well. Loose stool, runny nose, sluggish temperament. Something was wrong, and I figured it just might be diet. I was just an English major in school, but I knew the basics of evolution – and I just kinda figured "Hey, this dog is, for all intents and purposes, a wolf. Wolves don't cook and process their meals. Why the hell is he eating all these polysyllabic ingredients?"

I did a bit of digging around online and found that entire communities had sprung up around raw, ancestral feeding. Raw meat, bones, organs. It made perfect sense, and Charlie (my pup) agreed. Shiny coat, boundless energy, white teeth – it worked to perfection.

I got to thinking that maybe the same sorta dietary concept could be applied to all animals. Maybe even, or especially, humans. I'd been putting on a fair amount of weight, having ballooned up to 235 lbs at age 25 (with a fair amount of muscle underneath, but still…), and I figured something new (or ancient) might work.

It did. I dropped the grains, the legumes, and most of the starches, upped the fats and protein, and started paying attention to everything I ate. I also dropped the body fat. Thanks to blogs like Richard's and Mark Sisson's and Stephan's, I got into Weston Price and all the fat soluble vitamin stuff. Cod liver oil, activator X, raw dairy. This way of eating / living / behaving / works so flawlessly it feels like magic. The way vitamins D, A, and K2 work in concert to heal cavities and regulate calcification? Absolutely insane. Such elegant simplicity. Such beauty. Nature wins again.

How can you see the evidence, read the testimonials, acknowledge the millennia of real world case studies that support it – and still reject the paleo way? I can understand if you were ignorant of this stuff, but you've been reading about it for decades! C'mon! I'll echo a previous commenter and say, "Give it three months."

Three months of fatty steaks, coconut milk curries, and handfuls of macadamia nuts. Heaping salads with feta and olive oil dressing. Roasted chicken, crispy skin, organs, and all. The odd fast. A few days of intense workouts every week, no more than forty five minutes per session. Dust the cobwebs off those old football muscles! Go for a hike every once in awhile. Play with your kid (once she's walking). Hell, I sometimes use my (now full-grown) retriever as a mobile, asymmetrical weight. You could do the same with your kid if cautious (I'm no parent, so perhaps I suggest heresy). No weights or gym membership? Check craigslist for a cheap set or buy sandbags from the hardware store. Bodyweight is good enough, too; when I was heavy, one of the advantages was built in resistance training.

While I don't appreciate the clunky foot cocoons they peddle, Nike had it right with "Just do it." So, yeah: do it, man. Good luck (though you won't really need it… it's all just so easy).


And those were just three out of a dozen of helpful comments. Feel welcome to read 'em all.

Oh, by the way, this is really the norm here, now. Just last week another reader in need of help got an outpouring.

Thanks you commenters, for such willingness to share and help.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Todd on May 24, 2009 at 07:34

    Hi Richard – I added a comment to the original post that you should read.

    I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Since I only discovered you recently as a result of your guest posts over on the Track Your Plaque forum, I've spent some time going back through your archives. It's really interesting to see the progression of your health and what it's done for your mood. Good move to give up political blogging. Life's too short to be a political blogger.

  2. Patrik on May 25, 2009 at 16:33

    First off, Happy Memorial Day to All and most especially to our current and former military and their families!


    Something else you may want to share with your readers. My wife has been out of town for the last few days and I had a buddy of mine (he does not do Paleo) come over and we went out on the town a few nights to live it up. After all, when the cat's away, the mice can play…… 🙂

    Ate and drank all sorts of "good" non-Paleo food. Stuff that I have eliminated from my diet for the most part:

    Bread, pizza, beer, cocktails, Snapple, ice-cream, chips, Starbucks mochas, pasta — basically, your Standard American Diet.

    By the end of our third day, I was craving to go back Paleo.

    Give me some salad and a big hunk of roasted meat. Hold the beer. A glass of cool water will be just fine.

    My transformation is almost complete. Hitherto, when I'd go off the wagon, not only would I indulge in eating, pretty much, shit — it would be a huge effort to get back to Paleo.

    No longer. It is now an effort to leave Paleo.

  3. David on May 26, 2009 at 11:19

    LOL. I am finding the same thing. Two observations.

    1) About 3 weeks ago I went to a business function that spanned the dinner hour. I had a couple of pints, food was a mixture of sandwiches and various appetizer type hot stuff. Not at all what I each these days. I figured that wasn't a problem for one evening. Afterwards I stopped for another couple of pints with a friend. Oy. By the time I got home I felt awful. In the morning I still felt bad, real bad. Not hungover, not thirsty. More like my stomach was full of rocks, and then the kids had jumped on it. It took almost all day to get rid of that feeling, including the longest and most aggressive run I had done since getting back into training … so I suppose there was some good in it. Conclusions – that food just isn't worth the trouble any more, beer doesn't help.

    2) When I am on a run, if I get to thinking about food, I think about berries and fried eggs (over easy in a good pan with a touch of bacon fat or coconut oil).

  4. Richard Nikoley on May 26, 2009 at 11:12

    I just replied in a comment thanking you for the sobering story.

    Yea, I don't know whether stopping the political blogging diminished my general level of high perpetual outrage, or my lifestyle moderated the outrage and I had no more interest in the blogging, but something worked.

    No interest, anymore.

  5. Richard Nikoley on May 26, 2009 at 11:31

    Other than alcohol, I stayed paleo over the holiday and am now looking forward to a few days of detox.

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