Live Debate: The Animal (That’s Me) vs. Durianrider (Raw Fruit Vegan Harley Johnstone)

Last evening I was surprised to get an email from Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider, co-leader of the 30 Bananas a Day! website, a low-fat raw vegan resource with member forums and such.

Champ, someone said you would be up for a live debate with me. Sean Croxton and Daniel Vitalis have flaked. You man enough? 😉

Well I have no idea about either Sean or Daniel here, but I don’t mind playing 3rd fiddle at all. I’m game. My only conditions in accepting the challenge are that it’s structured in some sort of a neutral way to whatever extent possible (that neither he nor I control things so as to create an un-sporstman advantage), that it be in a real debate format with time limits, and that we both agree to post the recording on our respective sites regardless of percieved outcome.

I welcome the challenge.

After tweeting about this earlier I was not at all surprised to get back a bunch of mentions about it. Seems this has the potential to be a pretty popular event, especially so if it can be done live. I think it will be fun and enlightening for all. Somebody, including myself, might even learn something.

I want to make something clear, however. While I certainly enjoy and soak up the cheerleading and smacktalk from the sidelines and all, should this debate happen, you should expect that I will conduct myself wholly in line with how such a debate ought to be conducted, in line with recognized practices of civil discourse. Sure, it should be lively and frank, but anyone expecting that I would conduct myself as I do in blog posts is liable to be disappointed.

I’ll be prepared. Thanks to Julianne Taylor, I have someplace to start: 30 Bananas a day Durianrider, an analysis of his ‘paleo’ vegan diet.


Update 3/6: OK, the debate is on. It will be held at 6PM PST on a Tuesday evening 1-3 weeks from now (minimum 1 week to promote). It will be hosted / moderated by Steven Prussack of Raw Vegan Radio and through email contact I am firmly confident and comfortable that he plans for an open, pro, fair exchange. No doubt about it. As you will immediately see from his blog, he has no fear of his listeners and readers hearing the likes of Sally Fallon, Dr. Mercola, Bowden, Sisson and others. Alright, so here we go. And thanks to both Harley for the challenge and to Steven for offering to host it.

Get the buzz going and help make this happen. You know what to do. Facebook & Twitter, baby! Button up 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. rob on March 5, 2011 at 09:32

    Imo the best way to settle a dispute about the best nutritional practices is for everyone involved to get naked.

    • RasmusF on March 5, 2011 at 11:04

      And fight to the death!

      • rob on March 5, 2011 at 16:19

        Thunderdome … two men enter, one man leaves.

      • CiCi Ellienne on March 9, 2011 at 18:13

        Wish there was a “like” button here. So, LIKE. Very witty here.

    • CiCi Ellienne on March 9, 2011 at 18:12

      Haha – don’t you wish. : ) Hilarious. Luckily, I have no need for this nudist mudwrasseling… have only eyes for Roberto Bolle.

    • Lawrence Louis on November 26, 2011 at 15:53


      Actually, while it might seem like “getting naked” would intuitively be the best option, the reality is that there is more to body composition than just diet. That is why you see men and women on both pure vegetarian/vegan diets with excellent body composition, and people on low carb/paleo/mostly animal based diets who also have excellent body composition. Conversely, you see many adherents to both opposing dietary approaches who do NOT have ideal body composition. So that is why using the anecdotal evidence of just looking at the shirtless body of the proponent of either diet doesn’t tell you much about the efficacy of either diet for the population in general. The reason for this is that there so many confounding variables between individuals that can determine body composition, that have NOTHING to do with diet. Some examples are:

      1. Genetic variability – Each person’s unique genetic makeup determines how much body fat they retain, and while diet might optimize gene expression to produce the optimal results for THAT INDIVIDUAL, if person A eating a great diet goes up against a person B who is genetically gifted, in the sense that person B is naturally lean and carries very little body fat, it doesn’t matter how strict person A is, or what type of diet he tries, because person B will have a great genetic advantage.

      2. Age – Richard is a good 20 years older than Hartley “Durianrider” Johnstone is. Even if Richard’s diet is optimal for him, his hormone levels will probably never be as good as it was 20 years ago, and thus Durianrider will have the upper hand. Furthermore, the older you are the more years you have had to damage your metabolism, and I believe Richard has alluded to his early decades being one where he consumed the standard American diet. A few decades of that sort of eating can cause harm to ones metabolism. While most of this metabolic damage can be rectified, depending on the extent of the damage, sometimes you can never FULLY correct it.

      3. Sleep/Rest – The amount of rest you get can greatly alter your body composition, because of the hormonal effect that rest has and the recuperative effects it has on the body . To ensure that this is a fair competition, both individuals must have equal rest. There is no way to ensure this, unless we observe them for a long time, and note down their sleeping patterns. This is impractical since they both are not living in controlled laboratory conditions. My hunch is that because Durianrider works as a health and fitness coach (according to his own description of his occupation) and has a girlfriend, and Richard is an older married gentlemen who is a busy entrepreneur, Richard probably gets less rest than Durianrider.

      In short there are so many confounding variables between both Richard and Durianrider, that merely getting naked tells us virtually NOTHING about which diet is optimal for the population at large. Unless Richard and Durianrider are both identical twins, living the exact same lifestyle, and the only significant difference is that one abides by a Paleo diet, while the other is a raw vegan, any comparison based on physicality is misguided. This is why I find such debates to be efforts in futility. If veganism works to give Durianrider optimal blood work, body composition, stamina, and overall mental tranquility, then more power to him. If Paleo induces great results for Richard (which it has based on the stellar before and after results), and gives him good body composition and blood work for his age, stamina, and overall mental tranquility, good for him as well. Ultimately, the only truly wrong answer here is the dogmatic assertion that one diet works equally well and is equally sustainable for everyone. Just as we all wear different shoe sizes, have different complexions, have different IQs, are different heights, and have innumerable other variations between us, it makes sense that maybe we are all suited to equally varying diets. Epidemiologically studies, of people eating a wide variety of diets from around the world, definitely substantiate this fact.

      -Lawrence Louis

  2. EdwinB on March 5, 2011 at 09:34

    Fantastic. Some of these people are borderline fanatic cultists, if eating a mainly fruit diet makes you enjoy life more and enhances your health more power to you. A good deal of them seem to be delusional though reveling in their emaciated frames, lack of sex drive, and their radicalized ideas equating livestock with human beings.

  3. PrimalProfessor on March 5, 2011 at 09:45

    I hope for the primal community’s sake you get your arse handed to you.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 09:50

      Yes, “Professor.”


    • Dave Fish on March 5, 2011 at 09:56

      Not bloody likely. DurianRider’s “scientific” claims have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. I don’t think Richard will have much trouble shooting down Harley’s N=1 evidence.

    • Travis on March 5, 2011 at 19:26

      That isn’t going to happen. Do you honestly think Banana Boy can provide a sound reasons for wasting away while eating a spider monkey’s diet? You’re just a typical anonymous and trolling jackass.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 20:39


        You’re late to the bus. See, the logic is that I am such a blight on the Primal…whatever, that in the long run it will be worth it if a 16,000,000 year old old tree swinging diet comes out on top over a 10,ooo – 20,000 year old human diet.

        Such is the motivation of the entrenched. He does, even in anonymity, insist upon being a “professor.”


      • Travis on March 8, 2011 at 13:32

        Blight. I knew I was in good company in these parts.

        What’s always bugged me the most about some vegans is their belief that they are evolving to the “superior” next stage of being human due to “enlightenment”. They are the chosen ones, carrying the torch of rectitude in a sea of iniquity, suffering for us all to prove that we can rise above our nutritional needs as a species. I had several conversations some years back with a vegan on this very subject; he was trying to convert me to the religion by claiming that the power of my mind could change my body’s dietary needs. He truly believed he was part of the next evolution of the human species and had a colossal ego to match. Warped.

  4. David Csonka on March 5, 2011 at 09:59

    I’d grab some popcorn, but well I don’t eat popcorn. This should get interesting…

  5. Dave Fish on March 5, 2011 at 10:01

    It will definitely be interesting but I hope it is more productive than the typical political debate where the candidates just use their time to repeat their talking points and never really address the question or issue at hand.

    What format will you be using? Something like LiveMeeting, WebEx, or GoToMeeting? They all offer recording features.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 10:27

      That hasn’t been mentioned yet but I assume that if Harley had this in mind he has some idea of the platform to use. Split screen video would be cool. He did mention using a format where each participant has 2 minutes to state his case, followed by each of us asking questions of the other.

      Yea, I don’t like the fake political debates where softball questions are presented by a panel rather than the participants themselves.

  6. Kim on March 5, 2011 at 10:03

    I’d pay to see you wipe the floor with Durianrider’s ass!

  7. Dean on March 5, 2011 at 10:10

    Saw his photo……. where’s the beef? The guy has the body of a 12 year old.

  8. Mark on March 5, 2011 at 10:11

    This sounds like fun!

  9. gallier2 on March 6, 2011 at 01:11

    Hey Richard, Don just published a good point for your debate

    • Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2011 at 02:43

      yea, no shit, Gallier.


  10. Sean on March 5, 2011 at 10:15


    Is this guy trapped in an 80s sitcom?

    • Travis on March 5, 2011 at 15:46

      Was that really him on B.J. and the Bear?

      • Sean on March 5, 2011 at 21:39

        I thought he looked familiar!

  11. Readergirl on March 5, 2011 at 10:17

    Looking forward to this!

    (Just, uh… FYI, as I was scrolling down to comment I glanced to the right and saw the big-ass words ‘VEGGIE PROTEIN: ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN?! 100% VEGAN’. Leads here.)

    Oh, Googleads, you make me chuckle.

    Best of luck in the debate! Rooting for ya.

  12. darius sohei on March 5, 2011 at 10:29

    i speculate that croxton and vitalis declined because it’d be a lot like pity-sex: it just makes you feel bad about yourself for doing it.

  13. scott on March 5, 2011 at 10:39

    I hope this happens, but I think the bannana guy will find a way to bow out.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 10:46

      That’s his right, of course. I’ve already emailed him with a link to this post so that’s it’s clear I’m on the hook.

  14. keithallenlaw on March 5, 2011 at 10:48

    Your a better man than me Richard. To me his ideas and believes aren’t worth my time.
    I know. I lived it!

    BUT…if this will help people to see the ignorance in his ‘UN-ecological’ sound ideal of
    shipping 30 bananas a day to everyone in the world, INCLUDING the Inuit, is fruity,
    pun intended, and a down right shame to the cult. YES…CULT!

    Best wishes Richard and I’ll be watching.

  15. D on March 5, 2011 at 11:16

    Sounds like it would be very interesting.

    I can understand why people feel the want or need to go Veg, but I cannot for the life of me understand the low fat fruit angle. Why no nuts or fats? How can he not understand he has all this “energy” because he is burning sugar?

    I do however take the I unpopular stance of saying I think he looks rather ok. A little on the slim, underdeveloped side in the upper body but he seems to concentrate on running and cycling. Ive seen photos of him on facebook (Durianrider Vegano) and his legs look rather spectacular.

    People talk about his lack up upper body strength as if the mere act of eating a steak would result in muscularity. I happen to know lots of skinny ass boys who eat meat who have the same type of frame. In fact if I were to show Harley’s photo around and said told people he was a guitar player in a band who smoked a pack a day, drank whiskey and lived off burritos, no one would claim his body looked all that bad. I guess it is his own fault though. He likes to throw stones.

    Anyway, looking forward to it. Maybe you should contact the Intelligence Squared people 😉

    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:11

      How can he not understand he has all this “energy” because he is burning sugar?

      This is the kind of thing Taubes was talking about in regards to pure calories. Restrict a person’s calories and the body will naturally become sluggish so as to remain homeostatic. I can only assume, based on Durians experience and CastleGroks, that the opposite is also true.

      But ah, who knows. I wonder if Durian is comparable to CG metabolically, because CG was always consuming a tremendous amount of calories no matter what their source.

      Interesting never-the-less.

  16. Christ on March 5, 2011 at 11:26

    wow some extreme endurance athletes discovered that replacing the typical crappy carb foods with fruit increased performance.
    Then the obvious next conclusion was reached…that it must be the ideal human diet…double face palm.
    A perfect demonstration of the complete lack of critical thinking skills.

    • Lawrence Louis on November 26, 2011 at 16:08


      You hit the nail right on the head. He has committed a major logical fallacy. This is the primary problem with his style of thinking. He extends to his diet, which may work well for HIM and his particular high performance activities, to everyone, but in reality it may wreak havoc for someone who does not engage in long high endurance activities. As I always like to say, just because the space shuttle uses liquid hydrogen to propel it to unimaginable speeds, does NOT mean that you can put the same liquid hydrogen in your car, which is meant to run on gas, and expect it to go fast. In fact, if you were to try to do that the only thing that will happen is it won’t start, or worse yet, it could explode on you.

      -Lawrence Louis

  17. TJ on March 5, 2011 at 11:42

    You can’t make the debate too long, as Dunsten will surely need one of his bi-hourly bowel movements…

    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:15

      This is something I’ve been pondering. Feces is mostly bacterial waste, so it makes sense that those who consume a lot of carbohydrates (ie: bacteria food) would generate more. We in western culture seem overly consumed with the idea of having regular bowel movements, but I wonder about what level of gut bacteria is good or bad, or just plain normal.

      One of the first things I noticed when I went primal/paleo was that my mouth health improved dramatically and immediately. No wonder, I wasn’t feed the bacteria in my mouth that were producing acid. What I wonder about now is how mouth health is affected in regards to glucose vs fructose consumption.

  18. jordan on March 5, 2011 at 11:59

    you should check out the latest post on
    it’s an interview with a former 30BaD 19yo guy from Turkey
    comments are as worth reading as the interview itself.

    Cheers Richard

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 13:50

      Yes, I’ve read that interview. Some comments as well.

      On the philosophy part, to say I disagree would be an enormous understatement. He has no values (a priori impossible), morals, sense of right or wrong, good or bad, because he’s conflating these concepts with their neolithic, ideological counterparts.

      Objective morality is as real (and non-mystical) as the beating of a human heart.

      I have a post in planning about this, if I ever settle down and write it.

      • jordan on March 5, 2011 at 14:11

        well that’s not the part i was referring to

        dude’s only 19 too..

      • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2011 at 14:17

        Yea, I get that.

      • Paul on March 6, 2011 at 04:29

        Yeah, very interesting read but I second Nikoley with the philosophy.

      • Walter on March 5, 2011 at 20:25

        I’d like you encourage you to find the time to do that post. I think it would be interesting.

  19. JP on March 5, 2011 at 14:57

    1st question : Do you ever get tired of eating the same food 70 times a day ?

  20. Asclepius on March 5, 2011 at 15:14

    Kudos for taking this on Richard! This is going to be a high profile event in both paleo and vegan camps.

    I am sure you’ve got the chops to take Har(d)ly (aka DurianRider) down. I am not sure where you are going to focus – on the evolutionary ideas behind paleo, or the nutritionally incomplete nature of veganism, or perhaps the unsustainability of everyone on the planet eating 30 (fucking) bananas a day – both nutritionally and ecologically.

    But just a few scientific references from both biology and anthropology should see the case made for paleo/meat eating. Chuck in the scieintific evidence of malnourished brains and the ‘limp dicks’ of vegans and it should be an open and shut case!

    Good luck and please crush the fuck out of him!

  21. […] says in a comment on the last post about the Raw Vegan Live Debate: "I hope for the primal community’s sake you get your arse handed to you." Pure […]

  22. R Dunn on March 5, 2011 at 19:04

    To quote Flounder from Animal House ” “Oh, boy, is this great!?”

  23. J. Stanton on March 5, 2011 at 20:26

    I think the important part is to keep away from n=1 and anecdotal evidence. It is not possible to argue against anecdotal evidence. You just have to say “Well, I can’t speak to your anecdotes, but here’s what the science/research says.”

    Also note that he repeatedly conflates low-carb with Paleo.

    You might look at Jamie Scott’s comments at the paleozonenutrition article you linked, where he fails to find proof for any of DR’s claims of being an elite endurance athlete. Those are falsifiable claims he’s making (the only race results Jamie could find are DNFs).

    Based on his videos, I suspect the creationist tactic of “spew so much untruth that your opponent can’t possibly debunk it all” may happen. Don’t get sucked into perpetual rebuttal: just state “None of that is true. Here’s how that really works.”

    Most importantly, look calm, confident, and happy, and don’t let him get under your skin. If incredible bullshit comes out, just laugh.

    I don’t dislike the guy: I’m happy for him that he’s happy. Where I part ways is where he insists repeatedly that anyone with any health problems on that diet is simply “doing it wrong”. There’s a lot of evidence to the contrary, n >> 1, and he’s (and Graham) are making a lot of nice, well-meaning people terribly sick. I personally know people who are totally guilt-tripped by the insistence that they’re “doing it wrong”, and feel genuinely terrible that they feel like shit and their teeth rot on a diet people are “supposed to eat”. (Cue variances in ability to synthesize DHA from ALA and EPA, variances in PEMT choline-making enzyme, etc.)


    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:18


      Recognize how close diet and religion (and politics, etc) are.

  24. Dino Babe on March 5, 2011 at 23:33

    Julianne’s article is interesting, and is a great launching point for debate. Good luck Richard, not that you need it.

    PS. Umm, how does Harley manage to eat over 18kg of food in one day? Let alone pay for (128kg) of food each week? The mind boggles……………

    • Dino Babe on March 6, 2011 at 02:27

      That’s over 40 pounds of bulk to digest everyday!

    • Bushrat on March 6, 2011 at 16:00

      Probably gets the money from the foolish sheep he dupes into paying him for nutritional advice. Most of those sheep live off welfare anyway.

      • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:22

        I’m aware of somebody that eats only raw food, and she buys mostly organic (recently paid $40 for a 5 pound box of organic tomatoes), but she is definitely not rich or working a “professional” job. If you give up superfluous things, you can afford a great deal more than you think.

      • Dino Babe on March 12, 2011 at 16:56

        So, by Harley’s example $40 for 5 pounds = $320 for 40 pounds – a day’s rations…….

        I was not saying that raw organic food is not worth it’s price. It certainly gets a tick from me. Tho’ I am still flabbergasted by the sheer volume required each day, and curious as to how one would financially access said volume each week.

    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:23

      I’ve heard of more than was raw frutarian describe how after they eat they suffer from stomach distention. Considering the photo above of Durian, and given no knowledge of his eating habits (does he eat one banana at a time or group it into meals), I would have to say that there must be some very visible distention going on.

      But then again, what do I know about eating raw?

  25. George Phillips on March 6, 2011 at 01:50

    I don’t like bananas.

  26. Primal Toad on March 6, 2011 at 04:45

    I can not wait for this debate… are you going to do it this week?!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2011 at 06:05

      No idea when, or even if, at this point. Have not heard back from Harley since before this post went up. Not making assumptions about that just yet. We’re in way different timezones, and it is the weekend, now.

  27. Nigel Kinbrum on March 6, 2011 at 07:14

    I wonder how Harley would get on with 30 of THESE a day? *evil grin*

    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:29

      From Wikipedia

      They are considered inedible because of the seeds they contain. It may be assumed that wild bananas used to be cooked and eaten or agriculturalists would not have developed the cultivated banana.

      Excellent point that hasn’t been mentioned before… our cultivated fruits (and veggies) are nothing like those available pre-neolithic!

  28. Ken on March 6, 2011 at 07:36

    I know this is getting ahead on the subject without a firm date, however, would you be willing to ask someone to volunteer to transcribe it after the fact?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2011 at 08:24

      Sure, I would be fine with a transcript.

  29. Sue on March 7, 2011 at 02:46

    Durianrider did a blog post with latest pic of himself:

    He deletes comments he doesn’t like

    • Ruben on March 7, 2011 at 03:00

      I’d throw myself under a bus if I looked like that, but I have to admit: he looks somewhat like the current teeny bopper ideal.

    • Asclepius on March 7, 2011 at 03:09

      He looks a LOT healthier in that picture. I’d actually ask the question WHY his physique has changed so much given his appearence in this photo:

      What has he changed in either diet or exercise pattern to increase muscle growth? I don’t believe he changed physique by eating more bananas!

    • Arlo on March 10, 2011 at 01:42

      Actually the first 20 seconds of this video that’s linked in that post says all you need to know.

      GO GO GO!

    • Daniel on March 10, 2011 at 07:52

      His physique looks alright in that picture, but look at his face. The dude looks like he aged 50 years in 10…

  30. julianne on March 6, 2011 at 12:14

    Thanks for the link-up Richard. The post has generated a some intelligent debate, from both points of view.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2011 at 13:14

      Hopefully someone has time to dispute a lot of the nonsense in that long comment by Adam currently at the end of the thread. Unfortunately, I don’t, but a couple of Kurt Harris’ post on No Such Thing as a Macronutrient spring to mind.

      • julianne on March 6, 2011 at 13:41

        I’m interested looking at studies / science to debate this, but just don’t have time today either.

  31. Bushrat on March 6, 2011 at 16:04

    How exactly are you going to debate this guy? You’ll be making rational points and he’ll be just screaming over top of you with his fingers in his ears? Are you going to have a third party adjudactor to make sure both of you follow the rules of debate, answer each others questions, and don’t just pull shit out of your arse and repeat it endlessly instead of engaging the other? Its clear this guy doesn’t accept rational arguments anyway and refuses to engage with others who have differing views, so what makes you think this debate will be any different?

    • julianne on March 6, 2011 at 16:39

      Too funny “You’ll be making rational points and he’ll be just screaming over top of you with his fingers in his ears?”
      This is just what my 14 year old daughter does!

    • Joseph on March 6, 2011 at 16:56

      Let those with ears use them. The rest are hopeless.

  32. Matthew on March 6, 2011 at 18:12

    What. Does. He. Eat. From. October-June??????

    If we conceed that the VAST MAJORITY of human existence took place in tropical rain forests, then I’d believe his Super-fruity diet.

    However, savannahs, tundras, deciduous forests, coastal regions, etc. etc. all, for the most part have a 1-4 month fruit flowering period. Whats after that? 8 month hibernation???

    Ha. Ha. ha.

    • Serge on March 10, 2011 at 20:04

      Expect ‘Left in the Dark’ to be brought up in the interview with regard to this point. The book argues that we did infact evolve in tropical rainforest. The problem with this is that nothing fossilises in these types of environments, which makes the theory somewhat difficult to push. However, since the fossil record is so incredibly minute as to make any claims about evolution impossible to prove, it makes little difference. Theory is theory, and Left in the Dark is actually a very interesting book. Man the Hunted, and Left in the Dark are two of MANY. Don’t expect to get far with the expensive tissue hypothesis. Also expect ‘Man the Hunted’ to be raised as a response to ‘Man the Hunter’.
      Its all theory.

      I will say, having read the comments, that Richard has conducted himself impressively here on this blog, and I was happy to see what was wrote about Erim’s (or whatever his name is) interview, as his philosophy on life is very machievellian. The two main differences between the paleo and vegan crowd are: –
      1. The philosophy
      2. Paleo thinks ‘sugar’ is the source of all evil, and vegans think ‘meat and fat’ are the source of all evil.

      I look forward to this debate aswell. Richard I’d be interested in emailing back and forth about evolution and different dietary belief’s if you have time. I’m a vegan/vegetarian depending on where I am in the world (vegan in the west, I occasionally eat eggs in the east). I don’t wish to argue or get into any kind of negative debate, I just want to trade idea’s and understand the paleo view points a little better, and help clarify certain points about lfrv, as most here on this thread just have no clue about it.

      A few more things: –
      1. Both the paleo and lfrv have a lot of health complaints all over their own forums, so expect this response if bringing up health complaints. 30bad is cencorsed sometimes, but not that much.
      2. 30 Banana’s a day is not whats actually advised. What’s advised is a minimum of 3000 calories per day from fruit. The 30bad is a generic guideline that’s the equivalent of saying: You must eat enough
      3. Browse that forum and look at pictures of the people who strength train
      4. Not everyone considers DR to be a ‘guru’, myself included. I do have a great deal of respect for Doug Graham though, and he is the main man when it comes to lfrv.
      5. Frugivores typically eat 65-80% fruit depending on season and location. It does not mean 100% fruit eater. Its also worth noting that the great apes are the second in intelligence only to humans, and they’re all frugivores/folivores, so perhaps left in the dark holds more weight that most paleo’ers will likely give it 😛

      Looking forward to it anyhow!

      • Serge on March 10, 2011 at 20:06

        ****Man the HuntER, and Left in the Dark are two of MANY.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 10, 2011 at 22:23

        “Man the Hunted, and Left in the Dark are two of MANY.”

        I’ve yet to read “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” either. Never will. It’s all brainless crap for the consumption of fucking morons who begin with a belief.

        Jesus Christ on a banana peel. I always heard the vegans were just like creationists, but I guess you just have to see it first hand.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 10, 2011 at 22:31

        Ok, now after shooting from the hip and having read the rest, Regret being so rude. That said, the essential message without the rudeness remains the same. I’m not interested.

        I did my time in Bible school at college level and this is no different. What you must understand is that creationists can haul out even more PhDs than you can, but in the end, they were believers first who got PhDs second. And anyone can get a PhD. Anyone. Literally.

      • Serge on March 11, 2011 at 00:30

        Fair enough, but I should clarify that I’m not interested in ‘converting’ you into a vegan/vegetarian or judging you – and comparing me to a creationist is ridiculous. Basically what I hear you saying is that you’ve earmarked all vegans/vegetarians as brainwashed fanatics because you’ve read one or two posts by dogmatic individuals. I don’t really understand why you even made this comparison, unless you believe that veganism is a type of cult, in which case you’re incredibly misinformed. How was my post above anything like creationist thought?
        I get the impression that you seem to think you know all there is to know about these topics, which would mean our back and forth would be fruitless (not something I’m fond of ;)… No worries, I’ll find a more open minded individual to exchange idea’s with.

        That said, you should also realise that YOU have taken on the belief that ‘humans are humans because we ate meat’, despite the fact there isn’t any evidence to support this. I’m not denying that we ate meat, I just find the theory nonsensical, especially when taking into account its complete disregard for sexual selection, and that it ignores nearly all right-hemisphere traits. Its all anecdotal based on the interpretation of a fossil record thats so incomplete it may aswell not exist – and that fossil record could be interpreted in several ways. ‘Man the Hunter’ has a somewhat romantically primitive appeal that serves to boost the ego of man almighty, and it was all theorised during the time when protein was the hero of diet, so its not surprising its retained its popularity. The beginning of Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution springs to mind here, where he basically gives the reader a story saying that if he took you into the sciences department all the scientists would say that meat is the reason we are human. Hey, we’ll forget about presenting evidence, I’ll just make up a story and use ‘pacing and leading’ to trick people into thinking what I want them to think. I could just as easily use the creationist similie to label paleo followers like you have me – creating a romanticised hunter-gatherer past where man fought with sabertooth tigers and came out victorious.
        I found your analysis of the lion hunters interesting, this is a classic example of starting with a belief and applying it something that doesn’t actually support it -but convincing yourself it does. Man doesn’t have an inbuilt hunting mechanism, that is a learned skill not a natural instinct, and while the hunters may have indeed been skillful, the same logic could be applied to a pro-breakdancer: Wow look at those guy’s, they’re so talented it must just be built in, therefore we are evolutionarily designed to breakdance. Hmm…

        I’m open to challenging my beliefs. That’s why I no longer advocate the china study, nor go on about how meat and fat will cause heart disease etc etc etc. Nor do I subscribe to any specific evolutionary theory, although I am fond of ‘The Mating Mind’. That’s why I expressed my interest in trading idea’s (which is still open by the way, providing it can be done in a civil manner). Hell, maybe the ETH is true (and even if it is it doesn’t mean that meat was the fuel source), but on the other hand: –
        It looks highly unlikely I’m afraid…. Like I said above, don’t expect to get far with those arguments when debating, especially with the ETH.

        To clarify my position: I don’t believe the paleo diet is unhealthy, although that said I certainly don’t believe it’s ideal either. What I do think is that your movement has some incredible misconceptions about sugar, and high carb diets, and thats because of most refuse to round out their education, just like the vegan crowd. Its like looking at only one piece of a jigsaw instead of the jigsaw in its entirety. You should also note that there are ZERO long lived cultures who eat meat as anything other than a condiment or follow a low carb regimen, so that begs the question: just how important is it?
        If Durianrider is in the least bit educated outside the standard vegan literature, expect him to bring this type of stuff up. Unfortunately I don’t have much faith in that guy based on what ive seen, hopefully he’ll prove me wrong.

        Regardless of all that, I do look forward to hearing your debate. You sound like an intelligent and well informed individual in this (paleo) area. Perhaps I’ll get some of the answers to the questions I have.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 11, 2011 at 07:13

        “YOU have taken on the belief that ‘humans are humans because we ate meat’”

        No, I have said that the high nutritional density of animal protein and fat drove our brain to expand. It is definitely the prevailing view in anthropology.

        All the rest of what you write is immaterial. I’m not interested in the question of our neurological, right brain, etc. development. I’m interested in the question of whether we are herbivores or omnivores.

        For instance, I looked up those books you referenced. Left in the Dark appears to be so obscure I can’t find hardly anything about it. The editorial review on Amazon is a few sentences and there are a total of 9 customer reviews. I think I can safely ignore it. There’s this:

        So, basically, plant chemicals that no longer exist drove our brain expansion. Yea, makes a lot more sense than observing the fact that primates hunt meat, that all human populations we’re ever studied ate meat, and the existence of scavenged boneyards at archeological digs and whatnot.

        Then there’s Man the Hunted and at least has a helpful critical review:

        An excerpt:

        “In fact on page 211 they blatantly admit that their whole book is pointless [“And furthermore, research seems to indicate that the neurophysiology of aggression between species is quite different from the spontaneous violence linked to intraspecific aggression by humans (that is, murder).”], and then they just keep on going anyway. If there is no link in the human mind between murder and hunting, which of course there is not and the whole argument is just absurdly silly from the start, then how does their assertion that we were not hunters two million years ago have any particular import? The lack of citation here is also a fairly common feature of the book, and one that is highly suspect. Who did the research and how can I find it? Is it from 1871?

        “And of course the whole idea that a species can be characterized by looking at how it’s distant ancestors lived is absurd if one does not also look at how it lives now. Sussman and Hart avoid the knowledge that all human societies ever encountered hunt. How does an anthropologist who is a former editor of a major journal avoid this knowledge? It must be simple dishonesty.

        “We might just as well have a book titled “Whales, the Land Dwellers.” Sure, their distant ancestors lived on land, but obviously no whales do now. What they ate or were eaten by seems to be a question that few would care the answer to, and I see no reason for more to care what our very distant ancestors ate or were eaten by.

        “Sure, evolutionary psychology recognizes that there can be behaviors left over from our ancestors. Perhaps we could speculate, for example, that our fondness for petting animals is left over from our ancient bonding by grooming behavior. But given that it is very very likely our ancestors hunted, since they had the teeth for it, it is common (as the authors admit) in primates, and all human societies ever found hunt then I think we need to just admit that we are evolved as hunters. Then we can also get past all these bizarre negative ideas about it too. It does not mean we are violent or aggressive or demonic or emotionless killers. It means we were hungry.”

        Yea, unfortunately I’m not going to be too worried about either of these sources.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 11, 2011 at 20:41

        I re-reading I noticed this, Serge:

        “What I do think is that your movement has some incredible misconceptions about sugar, and high carb diets,”

        Well, you don’t know your subject matter very well. I’ve been doing this for going on 4 years. Early on I was low-carb as that’s what I knew. Then I began reading my (now) friend Dr. Stephen Guyenet.

        His archives going back just about as long are a wealth of knowledge concerning primitive populations, their diets and health. He changed my mind.

        Excepting for a broken metabolism from decades of SAD that just may need VLC, I have no problem with natural carbs.

        There is no way that you can study the health of the Kitavans, for instance, who are at about 70% or so from starch carbs and perfectly healthy, living long lives with none of our Western disseases.

        Search my blog but I coined the phraise and it has to go back at least 2-3 years: “Paleo is Kitavan to Inuit, and everything in-between.”

        What people need to do is:

        1. Decide to eat only or very predominantly real whole food only that they source and cook themselves.

        2. Figure out what works best.

        3. learn your genetic lineage, as this might give you clues.

        For me, as a norther European, it’s pretty logical that i would do well on lots of meat, a little veggies and indeed that’s the case. my wife, however, is of Mexican decent. She does not do as well on animal fat as I, though she does very well on coconut fat. She also can tolerate carbs a lot better, and corn and legumes.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 11, 2011 at 20:57

        Clarification: She does OK on animal fat, just not the loads I do.

      • Serge on March 12, 2011 at 18:38

        ‘’No, I have said that the high nutritional density of animal protein and fat drove our brain to expand. It is definitely the prevailing view in anthropology.’’
        Well, that’s pretty much what I said, just wrote a different way.
        It is the most popular view in anthropology for the reasons I stated above. However, any respected anthropologist would acknowledge that we really have no idea why our brains evolved. Plus, humans can survive for very long periods of time on very restricted diets. Body size and activity of course comes in here too.

        ‘’I’m interested in the question of whether we are herbivores or omnivores.’’
        It’s not as simple as this. If those were the only two choices then I’d totally agree with you that man is an omnivore.

        I’m disappointed that instead of at least giving the books a chance and being open to evaluating them yourself, you’ve pre-judged them because they fit into your current world view. ‘Left in the Dark’ deserves to be given time, and I’d actually be very interested in what someone like yourself makes of it. ‘Man the Hunted’ is highly flawed I’ll admit, but that doesn’t mean the whole book can be discredited. The ‘scavenged boneyards’ is questionable. Again, I’m not denying that we ate animals, but the amounts and reasons are always different. Meat often plays a bizarre role in spiritual tradition. Every culture in the world has spiritual/religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that gods and demons exist. We can read too much into these things. I don’t want to write a big essay on this here, and I also don’t want to bring up ethics etc because I realise my views would probably not be welcome, so I’ll just accept that I may get a backlashing for this.
        I’m not trying to scare you with either of these books, just trying to get the point across that the vegan crowd has literature it subscribes too, and the fact that there are no absolutes in this field. All the different theory deserves evaluation. Also, Richard Wrangham’s theory may well also be up.

        ‘’Search my blog but I coined the phraise and it has to go back at least 2-3 years: “Paleo is Kitavan to Inuit, and everything in-between”’’
        Good on you, I had expected a less open minded view like i’ve encountered from most others, so you certainly proved me wrong. You are a rare exception in the paleo crowd based on my experiences and observation. We actually hold a similar view when it comes to choosing a diet. I live in the tropics and eat tropical fruit as my main source of calories, but I wouldn’t eat this much fruit if I lived in a colder climate because of the quality and environmental impact – i’d instead focus more on roots, tubers and veggies. I would however emphasise organic FRESH (so important) whole foods as a first choice – which I’m sure you would too. I hope you don’t share the view that most fruits are highly acidic, or contribute to bad intestinal bacteria etc.
        I’ll certainly make the time to check out Dr. Stephen Guyenet’s website, thanks for the link.

        One of my concerns about high meat diets is just how they fit into longevity. Art De Vany is a great example of what’s possible it seems, but I don’t know whether he’s an exception, or whether it’s because his fitness is carrying him (like the Maasai). Too many questions without being able to evaluate them in the real world… The inuits were apparently very healthy, or not so much depending on who you read. I can’t discern the truth for myself because I don’t have access to the literature first hand + its always stated from a biased viewpoint and I can’t tell whether or not things have been taken out of context. Apparently before the processed foods from the west were added, the inuit still suffered when they reached old age, and they still died young: –
        ‘’Old age sets in at fifty and its signs are strongly marked at sixty. In the years beyond sixty the Eskimo is aged and feeble. Comparatively few live beyond sixty and only a very few reach seventy. Those who live to such an age have spent a life of great activity, feeding on Eskimo foods and engaging in characteristically Eskimo pursuits.’’
        – Armitage, Peter. “RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY AMONG THE INNU OF EASTERN QUEBEC AND LABRADOR”. Université du Québec à Montréal
        Havent confirmed this, so take it with a grain of salt. Still, questions remain. I also have a stack of info about the Maasai and their awful longevity statistics and apparently incredibly clogged arteries. But then I wouldn’t expect much from a diet full of dairy and blood. Both populations seem to suffer from stomach problems and constipation, which no species should suffer from.

        ”Clarification: She does OK on animal fat, just not the loads I do.”
        Interesting, thanks.

      • Serge on March 13, 2011 at 05:09

        Apologies but I’m going to be offline for a week or so. Thanks for taking the time.
        All the best

  33. […] Live Debate: The Animal vs. Raw Fruit Vegan – Free The Animal (Stay Tuned) […]

  34. Stabby on March 6, 2011 at 19:16

    I don’t think Durianrider knows what he is talking about, I think he thinks that all of the usual vegan propaganda about fat, meat, etc is perfectly sound and that a low fat diet is healthy long-term, which is ridiculous. Be sure to consult some of the biochemists in the paleo community for gold.

    I remember one of the people on Mark Sisson’s forum made a thread about how the 30BAD site was killing people with bad advice (there was a girl with massive hypertriglyceridemia and there were all like “no no, this is healthy. You just need more fruit. Eat a cup of dates, that will help!”) and suddenly we got a flux of vegan trolls, including Durianrider with their usual nonsense. At one point Durianrider tried to convince us that beef raises insulin dozens of times more than brown rice, which is, obviously, impossible and not something that anyone with a cursory knowledge of physiology would say. Also false in principle because they are roughly equivalent in insulin index.

    Just be sure to get your facts right. If you slip up once that is all you will heard for months. That is how they play – no regard for a philosophical discourse.

  35. julianne on March 7, 2011 at 12:24

    Kevin Gianni – (seems like a good guy) one of the organizers of this debate series has written an interesting post detailing what he eats. For health reasons he has added some animal products (goat kefir) back into his diet

    From his post:
    “Did you try to heal yourself/raise your levels within the parameters of a vegan diet *before* you resorted to adding animals? Or did you go straight to the animal products?”

    Great questions, Sayward!

    At one point I was taking 6-10 vegan supplements a day to attempt to override my deficiencies – B complex, DHA, Vitamin D, B12, a mineral supplement, protein powder, chlorella, and more.

    I also adjusted my diet to add more cooked foods to see if that would change the way I felt as well.

    This was over a 2 year period.

    When I was introduced to goat’s kefir, I resisted greatly.

    First, because I hadn’t had any dairy in over 8 years.

    Second, because I wanted very badly to stay vegan (I did eat honey.)

    Third, I had too much vested in vegan as who I was – on the blog, our business, etc.

    So there were a LOT of influences keeping me away from animal products.

    What it always came back to, even when faced with all these considerations, was that I wasn’t feeling great and my blood tests reflected it.

    So I had to make a change. After the introduction of goat’s kefir and yogurt, I immediately felt an increase of energy, slept better and many issues started to clear up – my acne started to disappear, my knees stopped aching after a run, I gained back weight lost, I was able to retain muscle mass better, I could get out of bed in the morning, etc.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 14:17


      It’s like one after the other after the other. Can you imagine if that was happening in Paleo?

  36. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2011 at 23:51

    I just posted the following update to the post, along with links.

    “Update 3/6: OK, the debate is on. It will be held at 6PM PST on a Tuesday evening 1-3 weeks from now (minimum 1 week to promote). It will be hosted / moderated by Steven Prussack of Raw Vegan Radio and through email contact I am firmly confident and comfortable that he plans for an open, pro, fair exchange. No doubt about it. As you will immediately see from his blog, he has no fear of his listeners and readers hearing the likes of Sally Fallon, Dr. Mercola, Bowden, Sisson and others. Alright, so here we go. And thanks to both Harley for the challenge and to Steven for offering to host it.”

    I’m pretty excited about this.

    • EdwinB on March 7, 2011 at 18:10

      Right on! Mud stomp (intellectuallY) this fruit fondler. Not because he’s a fruit-loop, but because from all readily discernable evidence hes a douchebag of the first order. Once in a while oxygen thieves should get their commeupance.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 18:49

        Thanks for remindng me to use the word commeupamce in a post very soon.

        Long time fav.

  37. Ruben on March 6, 2011 at 23:54


    Some interesting research came out that would support the paleo concept, particularly pertaining to how fast genetic adaptation to diet takes place. Synopsis: about a million years, literally.

  38. Sue on March 7, 2011 at 03:46

    Maybe protein powders. The first pic does look healthier. The way he holds out his arms makes his biceps pop which was probably the intention. The second pic he looks like a monkey.

    • Asclepius on March 7, 2011 at 04:08

      Sue – yeah you might be right with the idea he has upped his protein. A still from one of his YouTube videos shows how ‘skinny fat’ he has been in the past – and this seems to be representative of his physique for much of his time as a vegan:

    • rob on March 7, 2011 at 05:34

      When I was a youngster I used to buy cherry flavored liquid vegetable protein to compensate for my non-carnivorous ways, it seemed to work pretty good.

  39. Brad W. on March 7, 2011 at 08:18

    Can you get him to clarify his claims of Sisson being on HGH and DeVany being on steroids, please?

  40. robert on March 7, 2011 at 10:33

    I think this will be a waste of time. The guy has no problem slandering others, I no doubt this debate will be most yelling and insults (on bananaman’s part).

    • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 11:14

      No robert, I don’t think it will be. This has been made clear and agreed to between us in email exchanges. Plus, it will be moderated.

      Since it’ll be a waste if time, I encourage you to pass it up.

      • robert on March 7, 2011 at 19:09

        >>>Since it’ll be a waste if time, I encourage you to pass it up.

        Don’t take it so fucking personally Richard. Jesus Christ, do we have to walk on eggshells around you? I just didn’t want you to get in a situation where that clown is doing nothing but screaming at you and belittling you for not having washboard abs like him (the ectomorph).

      • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 20:46

        ok Robert. I get it.


        My fault. This will not be off the cuff as I’ve led everyone to expect from me. On the other hand, it is fun how everyone cares.

        Awwwwws. 🙂

        I will come professionally prepared unlike you have never seen.

  41. Zach on March 7, 2011 at 11:40

    It will be a waste of time if you are hoping on swaying his views on nutrition. The only good i could see coming from this is getting a few vegans to switch over.

    Richard, what is your angle with this debate, what will you be bringing to the table? I enjoy your blog and writing style but as far as nutritional knowledge goes you dont have the same background as say Kurt Harris or Robb Wolf (no offense). Not that he uses actual science or studies in anything he says or writes.

    I guess i am just wondering out loud where this debate will be headed. I for one am quite looking forward to this!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 14:12

      “if you are hoping on swaying his views on nutrition”

      Oh my. Din’t realize you thought of me as a fucking idiot. Oh well. 🙂

      No, of course, it’s for the benefit of listeners. My angle will be revealed at debate time.

  42. The Dude on March 7, 2011 at 13:49

    I had never bothered to read any of Durianrider’s stuff, but just checked out a blog and – wow. I’ve never read so many illogical statements in one paragraph let alone one post – not to mention the insults. Seems like a pretty unhappy and defensive guy.

    In anticipation of this debate, I’d scour his blogs because he’s going to whip out all those single sentence “Cows didn’t exeest then, mate – but banonas deed” lines when you two talk.

    • julianne on March 7, 2011 at 13:58

      Durianrider has the view that his N=1 success on LFRV means that anyone else not getting his success is doing it wrong. He refuses to believe that anyone cannot thrive on this diet long term.

      The problem is there may not be any either short or long term studies of a large group of 811 eaters to provide data. If there is I’d love to see it.

      • keithallenlaw on March 7, 2011 at 18:09

        Success? I don’t see success. The jury is still out on the long term.

    • robert on March 7, 2011 at 19:17

      I made a comment on his video (the one where he claime Sisson and DeVany were juicing. I sent me a message saying that they were both on steroids, and he used several exclamation marks (that’ll show me!). Then, he blocked me from making comments.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2011 at 20:52

        Well if he sees this fine and I hope he doesn’t bring it up. If he does, I will point out that he’s fortunate people haven’t accused him of being a heroine addict.

      • Todd on March 8, 2011 at 20:20

        I’ve no doubt he is an ardent fan of the heroines of classical fairy tales, given his stated beliefs! I have seen heroin users who did look better than he does (’90s era Anthony Kiedis comes to mind).

    • Daniel on March 10, 2011 at 08:36

      “Cows didn’t exeest then, mate – but banonas deed”

      Haha oh man, I think this is going to be the hardest part of the debate for you Richard. And I don’t mean that as an ad hominem attack as per any argument he might make- his voice/accent literally makes me want to pull all the hairs out of my head.

  43. VW on March 7, 2011 at 14:15

    I trust in Richard to handle himself appropriately.


  44. julianne on March 7, 2011 at 22:21

    Could be useful:

    Comparative Anatomy and Physiology Brought Up to Date

    Are Humans Natural Frugivores/Vegetarians,
    or Omnivores/Faunivores?

    by Tom Billings

    • Richard Nikoley on March 8, 2011 at 01:10

      thanks Julianne. Will look.

  45. Tomasz R. on March 10, 2011 at 13:04

    His diet has some surprising benefits. In Australia > 2/3 of people get fluoride in tap water. Fluoride tends to reduce IQ by 8 points, according to latest Chinese findings. It is also known to cause hypothyroidism (low metabolism), and increase probability of getting cancer. Since Durianrider gets most of his water from fruits and juices, that use rainfall or irrigation water he doesn’t consume fluoride. He also shuns tea, so another potential source of high fluoride doesn’t affect him.

  46. […] one like this from the same "Primal Professor," in reference to a live debate with a […]

  47. […] the debate I blogged about earlier is finally on. It's a live event that will take place one week from today, Thursday, April 14, 2011 […]

  48. Dead Animal on April 14, 2011 at 20:10

    You made the whole paleo community look bad. How do you expect people to take you seriously when you kept stuttering the whole time. At time you sounded like you were falling asleep… at least that bananarider guy sounded energetic. As crazy as this may seems I like his speech much better than yours, I was almost falling asleep when you speaked.

    So next time an occasion like that arise… leave it to those who have a clue about nutrition. Leave it to those real expert like Mark Sisson and Loren Cordain instead! Thanks!

    • TandooriChicken on April 15, 2011 at 15:46

      Sounds like a DR clone to me.

  49. Adam on April 15, 2011 at 06:06

    I don’t know much about you Richard. In terms of the debate today, you really were not all that convincing. Information coming from a passionate, elite athlete vs the opinions of an experienced blogger but average Joe. Fruit boy walks the walk and talks the talk. Results speak louder than words.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2011 at 08:16

      I think “elite athlete” is a figment of Harley’s imagination, hopes & dreams. And of course that of his cloistered spycophants who don’t really know any more than not to question too much.

      Riddle me this. Since I have an ongoing successful business I’ve owned and operated since 1993, employing upwards of 30 people at times, in various office locations, does it then follow that people should follow my dietary advice primarily because of that (think of it as brain vs brawn or endurance in this context and the applicable dietary connection), or, should they rather take the arguments as stated, on the merits of those arguments and the underlying evolutionary logic in themselves and do their best to separate out personal factors?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2011 at 08:19

      And besides, there are thousands of athletes far more elite than Harley who eat crap. Look at Phelps’ diet. Does it follow then that their dietary advice is more sound than Harley’s?

  50. […] popping up during and after the debate, it was a resounding success for me. Oh, there was this one comment, which reads, in […]

  51. Johnny Bourdeaux on April 24, 2011 at 18:30

    Hi Richard,

    I see that veganists continually bring up Man The Hunted, which IMHO was not too bad a book most of the time it tried to (nearly) blind guess the narrative behind men and/or animals eaten at the same area (ridicilously) long time ago. The reviewer you cited btw got it wrong when discussing on prey/predator relationship, intead of 1800th century booknote, it had “Principles of predation” from Bertram 1978, 1979, Janzen 1980, Bakker 1983, Roughgarden 1983 and Vermeij 1982. All of them look fine for a general point like that. Having read the tome a few times and checking the refs it looks just fine – even if it gets too much attention by vegetarists trying to prove a point.

    The book also has 29 page bibliography and 17 pages of endnotes to back their research up – sharpshooters always feel like having a field day when criticizing researchers who bring up some new ideas. Schopenhauer has a nive quote to this (which you might know).

    Political points aside, they have a lot of interesting view to look for. And at no point they claim Homo sapiens is a vegetarian species, not once. Nobody cannot get the paleo guessing game just right, because we have no flawless methodology for it. Hunting or being the hunted is just that – shit either happens or does not. In the end – guessing is the norm. The writers made a few mistakes when extrapolating their thoughts into scientific politics and on the evo psych scene % human nature but so many pop Pleistocone books do that anyway. Just ignore it if it bothers.

    However MTH remains as one of the only books on the subject that actually studied Homo family and our relatives getting owned by other species. Evolution is not a simple tale of getting bigger brains and killing things. It’s mostly luck, sexual selection, exactly right circumstances at the right time and coevolution with other species. The heroic norm of Homo as the lord of nature has been of biblical proportions (and dynamics) and not at all unrelated to the hominid research during the last few centuries. MTH simply attacks that and it’s not surprising it got many attacks by doing so.

    As a such piece I wish people to give it some slack, if just for fairness of getting other theories some air time. There is interesting stuff in MTH you won’t find easily anywhere else ie discussions on adaptations’ evolutionary history. So the big picture may remain that “we ate bananas and teleported to killing zebras”, which itself is not necessary for paleo food narrative to logically work.

    Grand hordes of gigantic hyenas owning the African lowlands was not perhaps the ideal hunting milieu for early Homo species – it’s a wholly different argument whatsoever how much embedded (if any) this more meat-heavy omnivorism was to our species’ psychological hard-wiring. Hart & Sussman even show that cats have adaptations on opening monkeys’ skulls to get into the brain matter. How come other, arguably more ‘real’ carnivores did not come nearly as ingenious as humans did? (a rhetorical question!)

    Moral underpinnings aside, I found Hart & Sussman’s thoughts on evolution of primate behavior rather intriguing. Why the myopic focus on genetic similarity with the only two (and strikingly differently behaving) chimpanzee species, when humans have perhaps more social similarities with crab-eating monkeys and such? Myopic and flawed genetic look at behavior can easily make us forget that several adaptations (all possibly genetic) should be seen in the light of evolutionary milieu. Hart & Sussman believe, like many other researchers (and our pal Don Matesz at Primal Wisdom) that early Homo evolved not in savannah but in areas consisting of wetlands and forests – interesting places for all kinds of adaptations concerning cooperative behavior that chimpanzee lack yet crab-eating macacues have. Yet macacues at present aren’t hunters. Did we need to be?

    Hart & Sussman pretty much equal mental adaptations for hunting as aggression, whereas aggression is not at all required for hunting – acquired (or inherited) skill and patience is. Male aggression toward other males (and feelings of friendship towards the same tribe) can explain just as well the traits H & S are claiming to attack on behalf on hunting. So I think their mental exercise on aggression is pretty dumb altogether.

    So the rapid rise in brain size may have started during eating of plenty of shellfish (DHA, minerals, fats) and subsequent animal protein/fat diet took from that (Cunnane, etc). Fishing came later (too late), as Cordain has showed. And let’s not forget that our brains drink glucose like a hog – cooking skills surely helped in that a lot. If anything, our minds are capable of a lot of stupid thing like dancing and they help finding a mate – not surviving against leopards (that still kill hundreds of people around the world).

    I know what you may be thinking – shrinking brain size during adaptation period on wheat grains was obviously because of shrinking skulls (because of phytates and sudden lack of animal goodies), not so much from shrinking brains.

    As a defining moment of my too lengthy chat: the most vehement academic critic of MTH Richard Wrangham the writer of notorious Demonic Males (and obvious proponent of “hunting changed us” theory), happens to be vegetarian himself:

    Just pointing out that things are always more complicated than they seem. Keep up the great posts, by the way!

    • Richard Nikoley on April 25, 2011 at 06:59

      Thanks for that interesting contribution, Johnny.

  52. Huaizhou on December 10, 2011 at 16:04

    I think these debates are quite pointless. This article sums it up quite nicely:

    A lot of people need immediate health advice, and will damn sure get better health by first doing what the paleo guy and the fruitarian guy agree on. (cut sugar, HFCS, vegetable oil, processed food, blah blah blah) Then, if they are interested, they can try out both.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 11, 2011 at 13:12


      Obviously I disagree, since I participated in the debate. What’s pointless about it? Are you asserting that no one can possibly be persuaded one way or another, that no one might stop and think?

      If you’ve been around here any time at all it should be clear that my major focus is to get people to think for themselves, to question dogma on all sides, and to test things on themselves.

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