Links, Quick Hits & Odds & Ends

I didn’t account for all the mental energy expenditure in following along — as well as promoting — the big bonus in the first week of the year and into last week that was a couple of links from BoingBoing and one from Gizmodo.

I set out to do a newbie intro to Paleoish and really, frankly, ended up kinda falling flat on my face — in the sense that I just could not give it what I felt it deserved, and so the 2nd post, still in draft, and everything else is put on hold. Still trying to get back my Mojo, which will happen, but it’s not right now. On the other hand, the blog stands, today, halfway through the month with 130,000 visits and 235,000 page views — so what have I to be funked about?

In place of that, here’s just some random bits.

~ Bea & I had what was in the top five dining experiences of my life, Saturday evening. Manresa, Los Gatos, CA, about five minutes from home and we were at the table from 8:30 pm (we like to eat late like Euros on the weekends) to about midnight. As we were leaving, a reader of the blog who I must objectively state is a young, lean, and attractive female, appproached not me, but my wife Bea: "Excuse me, but I read your husband’s blog all the time." And so we had a chat with Rachel. Not only was she super charming in her compliments of our appearance, but Bea so appreciated how Rachel so respected her by approaching her first. It was an awesome, classy gesture, and by the way, this is a few times that readers have spotted me in public. Absolutely come and say ‘hi.’  And so Rachel, thanks. That was very nice of you.

~ Apparently, the reality that cows eat grass has been suspended in Iowa.

The danger of the truth is so great that the Chronicle couldn’t even get Wendy Wintersteen, the dean of Iowa State’s agriculture school, to go anywhere near it. When asked whether cows evolved to eat grass, she replied, “I don’t have an opinion on that statement.”

What a dipshit.

~ Looks like Dr. kurt harris may be back to blogging a bit more regularly at PaNu. Be sure to stop in regularly and give him the encouragement to keep at it.

~ Yesterday afternoon I was interviewed for about an hour by Hank Garner of My Low Carb Journey for an upcoming podcast. We had fun and I think I was able to get up on a soapbox or two. Forgot to ask when it airs (Update: Feb 3), but I’ll be sure to let you know when it does. In the meantime, check out Hank’s excellent progress: 62 pounds lost since October. "I have lost an entire Justin Bieber," says Hank. Laf.

~ And speaking of making progress, Social Media Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, CEO, Speaker, Consultant & Adventurist Peter Shankman began following my Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve gotten to chatting about his goal to over this next year to lose a bunch of weight and get to 10% body fat, and he’s doing it in a very open way on a new blog. Way to make yourself accountable. He’s taken off over 6 pounds so far in the new year, and while he’s getting a lot of good advice in comments on his weight loss blog from myself & others, also some not so good advice, so I’m sure Peter would appreciate any decent advice any of you might wish to extend.

~ Pretty telling chart that J. Stanton of GNOLLS.ORG put together right here: The Lipid Hypothesis Has Officially Failed. Lot’s of other great insight on that blog so have a look around. Here’s a suggestion: Fat And Glycemic Index: The Myth Of “Complex Carbohydrates”

Like it? Find anything in interest? Then let your Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers know with the buttons at the top.

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. Katie on January 17, 2011 at 10:29

    thanks for the links… especially the one about the lipid hypothesis. Always nice to have new research to help explain to family and friends.

  2. Rob Beyerlein on January 17, 2011 at 10:58

    I read your blog religiously but have never posted before. The Iowa thing is funny, it appears that my beloved Big 10 is becoming an epicenter of stupidity. They probably will report soon at Michigan State that grass-fed beef causes cancer and grain is the only safe food product to feed cattle, *laughs*. Speaking of grass-fed, I came upon a website called Eat Wild, has lists for every state of local farmers who sell grass-fed meat. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of it or can comment on it, but i thought it might be a good resource for those of us who have a hard time finding decent beef.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 17, 2011 at 11:10

      EatWild is a great resource.

  3. Bubba29 on January 17, 2011 at 12:20

    no wonder peter shankman has had trouble losing fat. even after all the “research” he has done he still appears lost. richard, hopefully you can talk some sense into him.

    • Brock in HK on January 25, 2011 at 21:31

      Lost indeed. I’ve been tracking since the post to the blog here. The Peter Shankman weight loss show is painful to watch. He doesn’t even have a thesis as to how he will get to his goal other than eat less and abuse himself with exercise. If he said he was doing some Ornish type vegan diet and running 50 miles a day ((to be extreme and wrong), you could at least see if he was tracking to that and have an n=1 to add to the data set.

      Richard – if you spoke to him or have been giving advice, it unfortunately didn’t stick.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 25, 2011 at 22:03

        Patience, Brock. Peter is smart and he does have some clues about Paleo.

        I’m watching him.

      • Bubba29 on January 26, 2011 at 06:26

        watching him or educating him? i only looked at his blog once (although i thoroughly read through his to date posts) after you linked to it. what has changed in the last week. chronic cardio and soy milk seemed to have been his attempt at success. or is it possible he is trying that for a period of time to show it really doesn’t work.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 26, 2011 at 08:24

        Watching and educating. But gently, from the sidelines (email, mostly). One step at a time. He’s got lots of voices shouting at him, but he reached out to me. So I’m trying to help.

      • Bubba29 on January 26, 2011 at 08:59

        push him toward replacing some of those long cardio sessions with weight training. i imagine, based on his history and current training, if he gets down to 10% bf he will look like those fruititerians you posted about a while back.

        you’ve got your work cut out for you. he needs help in so many ways. in many respects, he is similar to our government. if the conventional nutrition theories aren’t working, just try to enforce those in a more restrictive and intense way. he seems to just be banging his head against the wall a bit harder than he did before.

  4. Travis on January 17, 2011 at 12:53

    Thanks for the links. I did not know about that site. Has anyone read his novel, “The Knoll Credo”?

    • Travis on January 17, 2011 at 13:17

      Sorry, I meant the “The Gnoll Credo”.

  5. J. Stanton on January 17, 2011 at 12:57

    Rob: What’s happening is that the movement towards eating real food is becoming large enough, and enough of a threat, that we’ve forced Big Agribusiness to start fighting us.

    That’s why we get absurdities like Wintersteen’s quote, and John Stossel writing articles trashing grass-fed beef: the combination of the paleo movement, Michael Pollan-esque real food partisans, and traditionalists like WAPF is big enough that they can no longer simply ignore or mock us. (I wrote an article debunking that pile of poisonous trash, with help from Eat Wild:

    As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 03:25

      Yeah, I wrote about Stossel totally fucking that up ( also.

      However, I think it was simply misguided libertarianism not some sort of conspiracy, or that he’s some sort of shill for Big Agra. Stossel thinks that it is simply rabid anti-corporatism, and there’s is certainly an element of that with some people, leading the movement against corn-fed industrial beef.

      I think he just got it wrong. It happens.

  6. J. Stanton on January 17, 2011 at 13:04

    Oh, and Richard: I greatly appreciate the linkage. I feel like a rookie who just got a nod of encouragement from one of the veterans: “Good play, kid.”

    I hope you find your mojo soon. Check in the center console of your car, and wherever you put your winter gloves.

  7. Rachel on January 17, 2011 at 15:09

    It was a pleasure to meet you and your wife at Manresa this weekend. I was curious as to what you and your wife considered your favorite dishes (although pretty much everything was fantastic)? For me it was the suckling pig with the cubes of pork belly and black sausage. For those readers living in or visiting the Bay area, that place is worth the trip to Los Gatos.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 17, 2011 at 15:18

      Hi Rachel. I was hoping you’d ring in. Again, thanks for your thoughtfulness with my wife in attendance. It did not go unnoticed by either of us.

      What we did was split the menu, then split each dish, so it was like a tapas experience and though we loved everything (some of those citrus flavors were intense), yep, that boudain noir and the pork belly with the crispy bits was our favorite as well. We also appreciated that the fish tasted like fish, and fresh. Did you notice that?

      • Richard Nikoley on January 17, 2011 at 15:20

        I believe all the fish was raw.

      • Rachel on January 18, 2011 at 15:41

        I did-the sashimi was excellent. I was also a fan of the broths used by the chef-I thought the black tea with the beef was fantastic, and something I’d like to try at home.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 15:50

        ‘don’t try this at home.’ that’s what the Mythbusters say.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 17:11

        I also recall some pea green broth they poured over what was in the bowl and it was some sort of green tea thing or reduction, and it was intense.

      • Kelly A. on January 20, 2011 at 07:18

        Manresa is the best restaurant I’ve ever had the opportunity to dine at and I used to live about 4 miles away… We ate there in late ’05 before moving out of state. I’ll never forget “the egg” and the sweetbreads.

  8. Owen on January 17, 2011 at 15:57

    I’ve been wanting to eat at Manresa for years… it’s my absolute priority next time I am in the Bay area! David Kinch has been strongly influenced by the chef (Alain Passard) at what I think is the best restaurant in the world, and my favorite- L’Arpege in Paris.

    There they do an almost paleo menu without even trying (even the risotto is made of chopped celery root):

    Both grow incredible produce and fruit in their own gardens (L’Arpege has it shipped by TGV from Le Mans to Paris every morning, hours after being picked) and from what I understand, both chefs actually use butter to cook their food in. This puts them in complete minority of restaurants then, that actually serve real food. For instance, even at the French Laundry in Yountville a lot of the meat and fish are cooked in canola oil.

    I’ve always found it to be one of the most depressing signs of the state of food in America that even the top chefs feel they can’t serve their customers butter and cream for fear of being thought of as “too rich” or “unhealthy”… come on, it’s fucking haute cuisine!!!

    The worst might be here in Chicago- Charlie Trotter has always had the theory of replacing the saturated fat in his sauces with vegetable purees based on some horrible misconception about the world at large:

    The relevant part being: “Chef Trotter prefers saucing with vegetable juice-based vinaigrettes, light emulsified stocks, and purees as well as delicate broths and herb-infused meat and fish essences. He says: “Unlike sauces that incorporate a lot of butter or cream, our approach does not mute or block the basic flavors of the ingredients they are meant to support…I do not want guests walking out of the restaurant feeling as if they over-indulged because of excessive cream, butter, and alcohol. I want them to feel stimulated and alert, knowing that they will be able to look forward to breakfast the following morning. Food doesn’t have to be rich to taste good.”

    If that doesn’t convince you he is an asshole, consider that he is the original chef who spoke out against foie gras and started the disgusting political reaction in Chicago to ban foie gras (which actually lasted for a couple years before being reversed!!!)

    Anyway, I’m excited to hear more about your meal when you have the chance!

    • J. Stanton on January 17, 2011 at 17:19

      “Even at the French Laundry in Yountville a lot of the meat and fish are cooked in canola oil.”

      Sheesh. That’s like spending $thousands on a tailored suit from Savile Row and finding out they bought the liner fabric at Michaels.

      Fun fact: ‘canola’ is a trademarked brand name. The plant is called ‘rape’, and the seed is called ‘rapeseed’, which posed a serious marketing concern (‘rape oil’?) And it was too high in glucosinolates and erucic acid (both poisonous in quantity) to be edible…so when a version lower in these chemicals was bred in the early 1970s, the Canadians came up with a new name: literally “CANadian Oil, Low Acid”.

      I still think canola smells like old socks.

      • Owen on January 17, 2011 at 18:38

        I agree with the Savile Row reference, although honestly it’s almost more like finding out they lined your suit with asbestos!

        This is the reasoning, straight from Thomas Keller:

        Economical and neutral? It’s beyond ridiculous for him to 1) talk about economics when comparing $1/lb canola to $2/lb butter in the context of a $275 tasting menu and 2) to claim canola has a neutral flavor. This is a chef who serves like a dozen different salts with one of his meat courses on the premise that diners might be able to tell them apart and that this might add to the enjoyment of the course, and yet he doesn’t think the difference between beef cooked in butter vs. beef cooked in canola is worth the extra dollar!

        At least he admits in theory that butter is a better fat, so other than cognitive dissonance as an explanation, who knows?

        Although I imagine that since a lot of people have had luck getting their local breakfast diner to cook their eggs in butter, it’s probably exceedingly likely that you could convince the kitchen at French Laundry to substitute clarified butter for PUFA oil by pointing out that for almost $300 you shouldn’t have to eat “yellow boot polish” with your squab.

      • J. Stanton on January 17, 2011 at 20:17

        “honestly it’s almost more like finding out they lined your suit with asbestos”: I laughed out loud.
        “Canola has a neutral flavor”…or, as Keller puts it, “My primary cooking oil is canola oil, the most economical of the best neutral cooking oils.” That’s not even true! Grapeseed is far more neutral than canola, unless you believe that my ski boots smell ‘neutral’…
        …but you’re absolutely correct, and I agree with you (see I’m not interested in eating industrial lubricants, and certainly not for $300 a plate. It almost makes you believe in the Illuminati.

      • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 06:43

        Doesn’t make me even remotely buy into the Illiminati. There’s a much simpler explanation: Ancel Keys once came up with a false hypothesis . . . it was eventually bought by the AMA, and subsequently published on the cover of Time magazine.

        The lipid hypothesis has a lot more to do with government ineptitude than it does with evil corporations and conspiracy theories.

      • J. Stanton on January 18, 2011 at 12:38

        Apparently I should have put a smiley next to that crack about the Illuminati. I didn’t realize it would be taken literally.

      • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 14:16

        Yes, otherwise I would’ve only taken your insinuations that Stossel was part of a giant corporate conspiracy literally.

      • J. Stanton on January 18, 2011 at 18:40

        You’ll note that the piece Richard linked takes George McGovern to task: I am an equal opportunity offender.
        Furthermore, I think we agree that massive government subsidies for corn, soybeans, and wheat are a major underlying cause of American obesity and poor health.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 18:53

        Here’s to equal opportunity fuck yous, Stanton. D , R or anyone else who wants to rule by force.

      • J. Stanton on January 18, 2011 at 20:50

        I just raised a glass of fine Syrah Port to that.

      • Melissa on January 17, 2011 at 22:23

        Yeah, I was horrified when I got Keller’s new cookbook and saw canola oil in everything. Makes me not want to eat at his restaurants.

        I loved Manresa (my farmer cousin provides the chanterelles and citrus there). Next time I’m around there need to be a paleo outing there. Kinch will do whatever you want- ask for no gluten and you get an amazingly delicious menu with no questions asked.

      • rob on January 18, 2011 at 05:07

        I was telling someone in my office about the rapeseed thing last week and I think it put her off Canola for good.

    • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 09:30

      “Owen”, You have some interesting things to say, but why the fuck do you feel the need to post with a fake url?

      • Owen on January 18, 2011 at 12:01

        It wasn’t supposed to be a fake url… I put “n/a” in the website form b/c I don’t have a website.

      • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 14:19

        Aha, sorry.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 14:38

        Just so everyone knows, the URL is not a required field.

      • Sean on January 18, 2011 at 15:07

        And more to the point, why not start your own blog, Owen? You have a lot of interesting things to say, in my opinion, and it’s free, plus you get a url. Win-win.

      • Owen on January 19, 2011 at 13:26

        I appreciate the thought, but really don’t think I’d have the content for it. I’m still at the stage where I love absorbing everyone else’s output and only commenting occasionally.

        On that note, another person’s blog who does what I might try to do a lot better:

        Use to read that blog a ton 5 years ago (before gluten-free and paleo and not eating out as much or caring about haute cuisine as much…) But I rediscovered it yesterday when looking up things on Manresa (Mikael who runs it has been a huge supporter and friend of David Kinch’s for some time.)

        I was happy to see it take a turn from a foodie gastronomy blog into one with more paleo leanings. I’m really interested in the idea that people with a gourmet bent and interested in all matter of odd foods will eventually end up eating a more paleo-like diet, not even for health reasons, but just because agricultural products can’t compete with real foods flavor wise.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 17:29

      Owen, I did want to mention that at MovNat this summer, because Erwan didn’t want to bother with cooking a noon meal, lunch was raw vegan and he had his cook scour the vegan websites for stuff, and it turns out that some of the raw veggie purees are fucking marvelous.

      I still have not undertaken to learn myself, but I will; because it’s concentrated flavor in the sense of a wine or stock reduction, or even juice, but without the sugar load. My only point is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with clever, crafted veggie purees and fatless sauce reductions, but of course, not based on ideology or ignorance, but as variation, art, flavor.

      • Owen on January 18, 2011 at 20:32

        I can see the value of a raw vegetable puree, but how do you get the texture right for anything with a decent amount of fiber… maybe something industrial like a robot coupe would speed it up? My terrible blender actually struggles with cooked foods a lot of the time… Did you get a look at how Erwan’s cook made them?

        However IMO, as soon as you cook the vegetables and remove the quality of freshness, I can’t think of one instance where butter wouldn’t improve the flavor, whether it’s broccoli, parsnip, fennel or romaine. Maybe if you’re doing a cold puree like beet or bell pepper you would use EVOO and some balsamic instead.

        I should clarify that my criticisms of Keller and Trotter are a bit tongue in cheek and not to demean their talents as chefs. Honestly, all outlandish accusations about penny-pinching aside, what makes the most sense to me is that this is a market driven decision to appeal to the type of modern, health-conscious, misguided consumer who would never want to sit down and eat something so rich and decadent as this:

        Four cups of cream and 1/4 cup of butter on one already fatty French chicken is likely too much for your average lipophobe to handle eating (even it is only one time at a special occasion $300 dinner) and maybe the worry is it might actually drive off business.

        What would prove the point is to see if Keller or Trotter have any ideological problem using that very same cream and butter when it comes with in a more socially acceptable form: that is, with lots of sugar and wheat for dessert! I bet they still serve their cake and ice cream without canola oil.

      • Owen on January 19, 2011 at 13:13

        I can see the value of raw vegetable juices and purees as far as flavor is concerned. How did Erwan’s cook process them- with a juicer? Although IMO as soon as you cook vegetables they taste better with fat added- broccoli, parsnip, romaine and fennel purees all taste better with butter. Even a cold bell pepper or beet puree needs some EVOO to taste complete.

        That’s my main complaint with Trotter- he acts like butter and cream aren’t valid ingredients and merely distract from his beloved vegetables, which is the complete opposite of how I view the world. Not just from a nutritional standpoint either… I mean even if a chef at that level of cooking feels that butter and cream are unhealthy he is fooling himself if he thinks his food won’t suffer without the extra saturated fat in some form. He is very inspired by Japanese cooking, but I think misses the point as to why, in a cuisine that doesn’t always add much (enough) fat that toro, fatty eel, Kobe beef and Kurobuta pork as so highly prized.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 19, 2011 at 14:37


        In a Vitamix. And I still have one on my list, as a result. Amazing, high quality machine.

      • Owen on January 19, 2011 at 21:03

        Oh, I thought I’d lost that first reply so I typed the second one the next morning…kind of redundant now so sorry!

  9. Bob on January 18, 2011 at 05:02

    “I was able to get up on a soapbox or two.”
    Gave up on the soap but managed to hold onto a couple of empty boxes, huh?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 07:06

      Ha! Totally didn’t catch that.

  10. SB on January 18, 2011 at 14:20

    Why do care so much about blogs stats?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 14:39

      My ego, honestly and frankly.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2011 at 14:44

      A side benefit is that it’s simply a reflection of the growth of the movement in general. My favorite posts are the ons under the Real Results category. Those reflect real lives changed. So while certainly, no one should care about my own ego but me, I’d think it hard not to care about the folks who’ve really improved their lives.

    • CPorter on January 20, 2011 at 22:53

      I think blog stats are very interesting.

  11. bob r on January 19, 2011 at 13:15

    “Those reflect real lives changed.”

    Those posts are good to see but I have to tell you: the ripples spread further than any of us will _ever_ know.

    One example: your posts on Alzheimer’s led to me reading a bit about the subject. Which led to me bringing up coconut oil in a work place conversation about Alzheimer’s. Which led a coworker to mention it to a friend who’s mother has Alzheimer’s. Which led to her mother becoming depressed.

    Now if that last line seems like “not a good thing” then you just need to know a little bit more: she was depressed because she had improved so much that she was aware of just how bad she was getting. She remembers not being able to remember. She also (now) remembers things that happened the previous day.

    The lives of people you’ve never heard of, and who possibly will never hear of you, have been improved by what you do.

  12. Welcome! – GNOLLS.ORG on January 19, 2011 at 13:20

    […] non-schedule: New articles guaranteed every Tuesday! But in honor of all the new readers from Free The Animal, this week will feature extra […]

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