Random Interaction With Readers: Progress, Reports, Misc.

I increasingly have difficulties answering emails from readers in a timely fashion unless they just happen to to hit me at the right moment with something apropos to what I happen to be up to or thinking about. I always love the progress stories and photos and those always go into a file for possible use.

I hate not getting back to people at all, even though I read every email. So, as a compromise I’m going to take some of those most appropriate from time to time and just include them in a post. Often they offer info and insight, sometimes to plug a decent product or service and sometimes it’s just whatever.

~ I hear about you a lot through Marks Daily Apple – I think what you’ve done with your life and what you’re doing to help others is awesome. I, too, follow a Paleo/Primal lifestyle and I’ve made it my career, too: I’m a nutrition therapist with a Paleo bent and I’m the blogger for Paleo Plan (, which is a Paleo meal planning subscription site.

Anyway, the reason I’m emailing is that I’d love it if you’d look the website over and if you like it, put it up on your website in the list of blogs/sites. Even better than that, though, it’d be awesome if you’d do a review of the paleo Plan. The service provides recipes (free on the site) organized into a meal plan every week (each week’s menu is different) and a modifiable grocery list to accompany it. If you wanted, we could give you access to the meal plan and grocery list for a week, you could follow it and tell your readers what you think? I think it’s a service that a lot of people could benefit from – we’re just trying to get the word out.

[Looks to me like a worthwhile service. I’ll let the proprietor know about this post. While I don’t have the cycles to do a review and do fine in my own meal planning, perhaps he’ll have some promotional ideas.]

~ I have a real life study for you! My wife came from Thailand 5 years ago, cooking with palm oil and coconut oil only (just asked her if that’s true and she confirmed). After she came here she seeks and makes the exact same food with friends but the only thing she changed was that palm and coconut oil is sort of banned here in order to “protect the people of Norway from heart attack.” Canola, soy and even olive oil has been the substitute and she haven’t even questioned it since the Thais haven’t had the same problem with the western style of eating.

What happens with my wife is nothing but spectacular seen from a western man’s poor eyes. She gains 20 pounds without knowing what struck her! She has tried many times but with no success to lose the excess weight.

Today I introduced butter, I threw away the canola and soy. I am convinced that something Is seriously wrong with the way we eat. What do you think?

[There is a growing and I think valid notion that excess n-6 may just be the worst of the "neolithic agents of disease." For myself, while I don’t have any of that stuff in the house except olive oil, I do eat at restaurants a lot. I intend to redouble my efforts to avoid.]

~ I shut down the survey just a few minutes ago. It was a pretty good run, with around 2,600 entries on just the first day! In all, there are 6,104 entries, but with quite a few incompletes or abandoned entries (~500). That puts the effective population size at around 5,500.

I copied down every bit of feedback on the survey, and will be doing a write up on the methodology and proposed mechanisms for improving the survey design. I’m fairly sure I’ll do a follow up survey next year.

[If you recall taking the Paleo Survey, you can see the results here, and feel free to discuss implications in comments. Two pleasant surprises for me: this is not a man’s game, but it’s a pretty young game, both of which bode well for the future.]

~ Just wanted to pass on how your particular flavor of paleo has been working out for me. I’ve been mostly eating beef, carrots, potatoes, oranges, dairy, and eggs since about Chirstmas time. I didn’t think I was much fatter then than I am now, I just have a little bit of a belly. However, my Mom saw me a few weeks ago and said "where did your butt go???" She said that my butt is about half the size it was at Christmas time. I thought she was exagerating at first, but then I realized that the jeans I was wearing were barely even button-able when I got them for Christmas, and yet now I’m wearing them with a belt! She was highly skeptical about paleo because she is a certified dietary manager and had to drink mass amounts of western diet kool aide. When she saw my results she finally gave in, and now she is doing paleo as well. As a matter of fact I just visited her this weekend, and she can’t tell me enough about how much healthier she feels and how her appetite has reduced. We made a quiche together with almond flour crust and it turned out very well.

Anyway, just wanted to share the positive improvements I’ve had with you, thank you for all your work spreading the word out! … I forgot to tell you the most important part of this story! I used to follow the FDA food pyramid religiously, and all through my teens my doctors told me that I had dangerously high cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, just 2 years ago I was told at a check up that if my cholesterol was much higher, the doctor would have "called an ambulance". Fast forward to last week, I go for a check up, and I return a week later for my blood test results. My doctor told me, in his words "all your levels look great. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it."

I will indeed!

Human Face Transformation
Human Face Transformation

[Needless to say, a hearty congratulations to Ian, and to his mom, and plenty of encouragement to stick with it.]

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. Melissa McEwen on April 17, 2011 at 18:28

    You can definitely get coconut oil in Norway, but it is very hard to find. In Sweden it’s much easier, it’s carried at a common health food store called Life. I never found palm oil though.

    • Kendra on April 22, 2011 at 01:38

      In Norway, things are very restricted. I like using tea tree oil as an antiseptic and it has been banned in Norway. I have never seen coconut oil either; just the usual rasp, olive, canola, etc.

  2. christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 19:28

    I love reading about the positive results people get. It’s inspiring for me!

  3. David brown on April 17, 2011 at 20:16

    Soy oil is so bad! In this study researchers were surprised that soybean oil raised triglycerides. Here’s what they said:

    “The most unexpected finding of this study was the increase in triglycerides with the soybean oil diet…One possible explanation for our observation may be that the body weight increased significantly with the soybean oil diet compared with that of the palm oil diet. Blood lipids, especially triglycerides, are affected by changes in body weight. Because the amount of food consumed by the subjects was not limited, the increase in body weight was unavoidable because these adolescent subjects were in a period of rapid growth.”

  4. Shanta on April 17, 2011 at 22:32

    Anybody in the EU can get everything they need from, shipped directly to their EU country with no duty or import problems. (No vested interest in recommending this site.) I live in Spain and rely on Amazon UK for all my coconut oils, coconut flour, organic staples, beef jerky,Vit D drops, etc. I have had excellent service and quick delivery. Highly recommended.

  5. Mezzo on April 18, 2011 at 00:43

    About the n-6. They are one of the essential fatty acids that the body actually needs. What we don’t need is too many of them. In a typical Western diet containing lots of vegetable oils the relation of n6 to n3 is 16:1, that ist way too high. Ditch the sunflower, safflower etc. oils, eat grassfed meat and you can adjust that pretty easily.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 01:31

      I advocate grass fed beef and other pastured products, but the n-6 is a red herring as beef contains hardly any PUFA anyway. And CAFO doesn’t have more n-6 just less n-3.

  6. Mimi (Gingersnaps) on April 18, 2011 at 05:11

    If you want to still eat out but avoid PUFAs, you can call ahead and ask. Just say you have an allergy (teehee, an allergy to high cholesterol and fattyhood). I ask at Indian restaurants before I order because I can almost always taste the difference between ghee and vegetable oil/ghee blend. I’ll ask if they can just use ghee. It doesn’t alllways work, but usually it does.

    Long-time lurker but first time commenter. I really admire how accessible your “flavor” of paleo is. So many people I notice get caught up way too much in schematics. To a former hardcore dieter, it makes me irritated, and as a nutrition geek, it makes me irritated…half because some people seem to spout off a paleo version of bro science, half because I know the biological stuff they’re discussing and want roll me eyes at how people over-complicate it. I swear if some people spent half as much time up and moving around or having fun as they do getting into debates on vitamin A content, there would be far fewer “Why can’t I lose weight on paleo?” threads floating around.

    Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying keep up the good work. And you pwned Durianrider. 😉

    • J. Stanton on April 18, 2011 at 19:03

      It’s difficult for many people to accept that being healthy doesn’t have to involve suffering. I think it’s a consequence of our country being founded by Puritans.


    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 20:32

      Ha! J, for at least 10 years I have been known to say with frequency: America is proof that you never let a bunch of Puritans into a boat at the same time.

    • Walter on April 18, 2011 at 22:57

      I’ve often wished the Mayflower had sank on the way over.

  7. Emily on April 18, 2011 at 10:30

    The reader who used the phrase “western diet kool aide” is my new hero. Thanks, Ian!

    • Ian Dumych on April 19, 2011 at 00:38

      Thanks, I appreciate the compliment! I used to blog professionally for AOL but I haven’t written in a while. Comments like that make me want to get back on the horse 🙂

  8. Jules on April 18, 2011 at 12:14

    Yay Ian and Mom! Always great to see stuff like that 🙂

  9. Rafael on April 25, 2011 at 02:04

    WOW what a tragedy. Vegans should back up of their claims and go back to a human diet

  10. Shanta on April 25, 2011 at 13:21

    Best Paleo quote ever – “I’ve decided to go on the Paleo Diet because I like wearing furs.”

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