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Self-Experiment Time: Squeaky Clean Paleo for 30 Days

Lately I’ve been considering a simple fact: in all the time since I began my personal journey beginning in the spring of 2007 — that resulted in 60 pounds of fat loss, massive reduction in blood pressure, cessation of prescription medications, fabulous lean muscle and strength gains and a host of other lifestyle improvements — I have yet to even try being a “purist” about it.

In fact, I’ve largely ridiculed the notion: just about every chance I get.

But the fact remains that I’ve never given it a shot. And while I doubt I’m anywhere near a purist at heart for any major stretch of time, what would it hurt to at least give “Pure paleo”” (well, as near as you can reasonably get from local food outlets) a fair try?

What have I to lose, or to fear? And there’s no doubt I’ll learn something. The experiment will be a success because, either I’ll achieve nothing much more than I already have, confirming that purity is not very important or, I will experience additional enhancements to my general condition that are important enough to make me reevaluate my whole approach.

We’ll see. Success awaits.

So the plan is, commencing Monday morning, I’m off and running. For 30 days. No booze, no “cheats,” pretty simple meals consisting of meat (including organ meats), fish (including shellfish), fowl, eggs, vegetables (including sweet potatoes as principle starch), and fruit. No dairy, with the exception of clarified butter (ghee – no milk solids, just the fat). No nuts either. I just don’t see them as an important paleo food. Instead of a handful of nuts, how about a hard boiled egg, or a quick omelet? I think I’ll stay away from all cured meat products as well. Since I’m bothering to do this at all, I want to see what a real pure approach does, if anything much more than a lose approach, particularly for someone who’s been at the 80-90% level for some time.

I’ll step on the scale Monday morning, record my weight, snap a pic, and then that will be it until the end. No constant monitoring. Also, no measuring, weighing, macronutrient apportioning, or meal times. I’ll eat when I’m hungry, only when hungry, and with no regard to time of day or night. I’ll stop eating when I’m no longer hungry — even if it means setting a portion of a plate of food aside — and if I’m not full, I’ll have another plate and another until I’m full. I’ll keep a food log of what I ate and when.

1-2 times per week I’ll extend a period of hunger to simulate the natural unpredictability of always having food on hand 24/7. Intermittent fasting.

In terms of activity, I’ll still have my 1-2, 20 minute walks per day with the dogs. I’ll visit the gym to push, pull and lift heavy things 1-2 times per week, 20-30 minutes per session. I’ll do 3-6, 15-30 second sprints — or intervals on a stationary bike — once per week.

I’ll got to bed when I’m tired and get up when I’m not.

And that should about cover it. Did I miss anything? I’ll post a progress report each week in order to capture any thoughts I have about the general difficulty or ease of the program, and then of course, a wrap-up at the end.

See you on the other side, after plenty of meals like this:

Surf and Turf
Surf and Turf with Ghee (and Oi Ocha Green Tea – not scotch)

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

111 Comments

  1. Jeanie on November 5, 2011 at 07:10

    Good luck! I’ve been wanting to do this too. Looking forward to your results!

  2. pbo on November 5, 2011 at 07:18

    Funny, I have been thinking the same thing, just to see what it is like to be “squeaky clean” for 30 days. Can’t wait to see how this goes! Good luck!

  3. neil on November 5, 2011 at 07:33

    i have just started doing that same thing today, going for a long hard 3 months just to see what it is like.

  4. Ian M on November 5, 2011 at 07:55

    The drink sure looks like scotch…good luck.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 08:11

      It looks _exactly_ like scotch. My wife sometimes takes a sip to see what I may be up to, cause there’s just no way to tell. 🙂

      • anand srivastava on November 9, 2011 at 05:43

        except smell maybe :-).



      • yurri on November 9, 2011 at 11:16

        It was the reverse in my family–always thought that the after dinner drink my dad was drinking was barley or green tea–until he let me take a sip and I spewed it out. Whiskey just does not taste right to ten year olds.



  5. Walter on November 5, 2011 at 08:37

    Interesting experiment. I will try to follow you by dropping eating nuts and the only exercise addition will be that I rock climb in a gym. Plus I have a standup work station.

  6. Tim Huntley on November 5, 2011 at 08:38

    Hey Richard,

    Best of luck. Has your body composition stayed pretty consistent ever since you peaked on your weight loss? Just curious if you have any expectations about how that piece may change in 30 days.

    …Tim

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 09:17

      Tim:

      Slightly flabbier over the last year. The neck injury I sustained really kept me out of the gym a lot, and the chronic pain over months put me into a funk where there was lots of times I didn’t care much about it.

      But I’m ready to give this a shot.

  7. Aaron on November 5, 2011 at 08:57

    My gut feeling is that by also foregoing nuts in your experiment, you will lean out. Not that you would necessarily pack on the pounds by including them, just that I think most people too easily bump up their total calorie intake going on a trip like this and snacking on nuts.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 09:18

      Aaron:

      Nut are something I mostly cut out quite a while ago. My wife still buys them, but only now and then, so I still have some now and then. But I don’t really miss them at all when they’re not around.

      • tess on November 5, 2011 at 18:12

        i found this interesting — when i deleted grains, i used quite a few nuts at first, but have tapered off of them without even thinking about it. nowadays, i almost never snack (it’s usually the influence of socializing) — i just don’t want to, anymore!



  8. Jake on November 5, 2011 at 09:06

    Good luck!

    I know that the #whole30 program (which pretty much looks like what you’re following) is hard, but definitely worth it. The hardest part has to be the booze, but the end result is pretty rewarding. I got rid of a lot of inflammation I didn’t even notice before. It was absolutely awesome. Loved the results!

    That being said, I am very grateful that I can drink scotch again. Not planning on giving that up…

  9. Carlos on November 5, 2011 at 09:18

    Wait, there’ll be no Turducken, no tryptophan overload? Curious, why go strict now after more than four years if happy with the results thus far?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 09:24

      Carlos:

      Well part of that I explained. Simply, because I don’t know what I may be missing and there’s no way I can know unless I try it. Either I’ll hate it, not get much in the way of results and go back to my relaxed ways, I’ll hate it, but get good results and then have a decision to make; I’ll love it, not get results or love it and get good results and decide to be more strict.

      As a blogger with large readership I have some implied obligation to keep an open mind about things, try them out, report results and so on.

      Finally, while I’m generally happy, I have noticed a tendency to get more and more relaxed with various cheats, too frequent alcohol, slacking off with trips to the gym, abandoning a fast because “my tummy hurts,” and so on.

      Most of us, including me, seem to need occasional periods of “man-up” & “tighten-up” and so on, or a period of refresh, or whatever you care to call it. On that score alone, I think this is worth doing.

  10. Karen P. on November 5, 2011 at 09:24

    Just finished one after nine months of 90% Primal living, so was starting from a similar point as you. I lost a few pounds even though I didn’t need to. I think it was the alcohol, dairy, and small amounts of natural sugars that kept me from being that optimally lean. But I’m still not sure how sustainable it is for me long term to be that strict.

    I discovered that starches (ate plenty of sweet potatoes) and nuts didn’t affect my weight. Good to know.

    But I will wager that you will enjoy the challenge. I think it’s perfectly natural to see how far we can push something we love.

    I just posted a whole gob of recipes and a Whole30 survival guide if you get a chance to peruse. Good luck to you!

  11. Scott on November 5, 2011 at 09:27

    Prediction: If Angry Dick makes it to the end of the 30 days, he’ll go on a rant on how he’s glad it over because living that “strict” reminds him of religion, blah blah, religion this and that constrained him in his youth blah blah, he doesn’t like religion telling him what to do, blah blah, bad memories of religion blah blah.

    Like everything else on his tired blog and debates – religion this and that!
    Poor Nikoley probably thinks about religion more than most monks!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 09:33

      Go fuck off, Scott.

    • alex on November 5, 2011 at 12:24

      One flaw in your statement (well many but..) this is the opposite of religion : experimentation!

      Alternate Hypothesis : he’ll have fun with it and write entertaining maybe even informative blog posts about his experience.

    • Dean Ouellette on November 6, 2011 at 17:20

      Pretty easy solution, its a big internet out there, dont like it go read something else

  12. Lynch31337 on November 5, 2011 at 09:33

    Go back to your twinkies, Scott.

  13. David on November 5, 2011 at 09:46

    Richard,

    I’ll jump on the squeaky clean band wagon virtually and join you so you won’t be alone. I’ve already mostly quit alcohol and now it just gives me a headache I drink so infrequently. I guess I’ve lost my tolerance to it, plus even the top shelf stuff just doesn’t taste that great for some reason. I’m going to pass on the caffeine as well and just drink water since I can’t stomach coffee black without some cream or milk.

    Ditto on the ghee, nuts, workouts and IF, I only need to consistently add the sprints. I’ve easily been 80/20 for a year and down to around 10-12% bodyfat, I’ve wanted to get lower, say 6-7%, for the first time in 15 years since I’ve been there before.

    I’m currently 48 years old, about your age I believe, so we are on the same playing field. Looking forward to your results and mine as well.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 09:51

      Welcome David, and feel free to give your own week by week rundown in comments as I post mine.

      …And feel free to tell Scott to fuck off, too.

      • David on November 5, 2011 at 10:22

        Easy enough, and as a side note, I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, it took years and a number of books by the likes of Darwin, Dawkins, Diamond and Hitchens to undo the brainwashing I was subjected too. I can happily say I also gave the middle finger to religion and I’m now a happy Atheist/Humanist and I’ve never looked back as well.

        Though I don’t always agree with everything you write, we see eye to eye on the fallacy of the Alien Big Sky God. Biggest scam on the face of the earth, even more so than the Lipid Hypothesis of Heart Disease. As I tell my boys, man invented God, God didn’t invent man and I can proudly say they have never been forced to attend a church of any kind. I simply teach them the Golden Rule and that the source of life is the Sun and the Earth.

        Having said that, Scott, why piss on the positive parade? Go Fuck off!



      • Eegah! on November 5, 2011 at 19:21

        How about including “Fuck off, Scott” in every post for 30 days? There’s a certain purity to it and it’s also rather satisfying 😉



  14. video dude on November 5, 2011 at 10:30

    But nuts are a seasonal food and should only be eaten in the winter and never in the spring. Ghee can not be Paleo since it comes from diary, I’m sure they would have just used the butter. O oil or Coco Oil are the two choices. Unless low carb, many root and tubers as well as many begs are perfect BUT… winter plays into this, Paleo diet is greatly influenced. y the season. Fest in the Summer, Fast in the Winter. Modern man reversed it.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 11:23

      For the ghee, the issue is not really it’s Paleo credentials. As it’s a by-product of dairy it’s not Paleo. However, once clarified, you have removed the potential problematic aspect of it: the proteins.

      • Dan Linehan on November 6, 2011 at 02:19

        That reminds me, I’ve been wanting to ask, what exactly is the issue with milk proteins?

        A lot of people use milk as a cheap protein source for bodybuilding, and I haven’t seen any studies about it being too bad. (Other than the China Study, which of course is discounted for obvious reasons.)



      • Al on November 6, 2011 at 22:52

        Dan,

        I for one, cannot stomach butter. But ghee is balls to the wall for me.

        Took a long time for me to figure this one out. I have a very sensitive gut, however.

        -Al



      • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 10:18

        Dan:

        I think it’s just allergy related for some.



  15. Tara Stevens on November 5, 2011 at 10:31

    Good luck Richard!

    I’ve been reading a lot lately about following a more purist approach to Paleo/Primal eating but I think I need to ease myself into the idea. Coming from a bodybuilding diet I’ve gone from 6 protein-heavy and fat-light meals a day to 2 main ones, bouts of intermittent fasting and cutting out all processed food, (most)grains, legumes, lactose, sugar etc… Basically just improving on the ‘clean eating’ regimen.

    I’d like to try out the total no grains/sugar/alcohol thing but basically I’m too much of a big chicken to commit to it just yet (especially with xmas parties looming ever closer)… Which leads me to your comment on nuts which I found interesting. Why would you eschew nuts in favour of eggs? I’d have thought in Paleo terms, nuts would be easier to come by than eggs before we started farming chickens? Personally I find that nuts hamper my weight loss attempts though as they’re far more energy dense than most foods of their size – and too moreish!

    Anyway, good luck again and I look forward to following your progress (if only to convince/deter me!).

    Tara

    P.S. Wow, Scott has a lot of pent-up man love for you there, bet he gets twitchy if you don’t blog often enough 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 11:20

      Hey Tara.

      You know, funny thing is, once I began considering the thing I began to get a bit existed about it. Previously, I did a solid week of pure Paleo, no alcohol, lots of activity when I did the weeklong MovNat course in sumer 2010 and I recall how that was (fabulous). Then once I tossed it up here on the blog, I realized: this is actually going to be pretty easy.

      As far as nuts, I just naturally got out of the habit of eating them very often and they really don’t do much for me in terms of enjoyment anymore (I like brazil nuts, pecans and macadamias the best). Same goes for cheese and dare I say it? …Bacon. That’s right. I don’t eat that much bacon anymore. can’t even remember the last time I bought it. I prefer it now as bits in a salad to bunches of it with eggs.

      So, in short, nuts are something that’s easy to pass on. The eggs are way better nutrition in terms of a snack. I really want to keep my n-6 fats to bare minimum, which is why I will also stay away from restaurants except when on the road (a good opportunity to fast, anyway).

      • dean on November 5, 2011 at 13:39

        Did I just see Richard Nikoley use the word fabulous? Dude people are going to think you have a tender side if you keep using those kinds of adjectives. I’m just looking out for you buddy.



      • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 13:51

        Ha!

        You should see Beatrice laugh when I describe something as “lovely.”



  16. video dude on November 5, 2011 at 10:31

    * vegs*

  17. Peggy Holloway on November 5, 2011 at 11:08

    I am seriously considering trying this plan. Nuts and cheese will be very difficult for me to eliminate. I have little time for lunch and no way to really store/heat anything for the brief time I have. If I boil up some eggs and have those on hand and some pop-top canned fish, I might be able to pull it off. I agree that nuts are not essential and actually feel better when I skip the nuts – cheese – I love it so much. But, my motto is if you say you can’t live without something, it’s bordering on addiction or at least attachment, which is best to avoid.

  18. Geoff on November 5, 2011 at 11:21

    Just finished a 30-day paleo lockdown. I won’t prejudice your view by sharing exactly what I learned – chances are my experience was different than yours will be – but it was informative to me. You’re right, there’s no way an experience like this can “fail”. Can’t wait to hear about your experience.

  19. Sean on November 5, 2011 at 11:26

    No booze? No heavy cream? Man, that’s just crazy talk.

    Good luck with it, Richard (or Angry Dick) it’s an interesting experiment. I’m pretty far from trying it at this point, but I have been going through a curious vegetarian phase, which has seen me eating stricter Paleo than in quite a while. Brussel sprouts fried in ghee, oven roasted tomatoes, tons of sweet potatoes, and hardly any dead animals. It’s a strange thing but I’m gonna roll with it. Maybe my body is telling me something, or more likely, I finally figured out the proper way to cook veggies.

  20. Michael on November 5, 2011 at 12:01

    You might try a few more super-simple measurements, like waist size, blood pressure, fasting glucose. Just an idea.

  21. alex on November 5, 2011 at 12:06

    This sounds great , just don’t go around smacking diner rolls out of peoples mouths they just don’t get that you’re trying to help.

    • Keet on November 10, 2011 at 03:30

      oooo! oooo! I want that job. I want to smack dinner rolls out of people’s mouths!

  22. rob on November 5, 2011 at 13:20

    I would be amazed if the result was anything other than a 6-8 pound weight loss, the more you restrict your diet the leaner you will be.

    The real question is: if you subsequently did another 30 days of purity, except the foods you are allowed to eat are chosen completely at random, would you also lose 6-8 pounds?

  23. Ned Kock on November 5, 2011 at 13:22

    Calorie intake will definitely go down Richard. More seafood/organs also means a higher protein/fat ratio; my guess is that you’ll feel more energetic from this, which will increase NEAT (a major factor, link below).

    http://bit.ly/j1cJs4

    Weight will go down, but probably not at the same rate as when you started your journey. With exercise, body fat percentage will definitely decrease.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 13:48

      I don’t doubt this for a second, Ned.

      When I was in HS I was the typical wiry teen. At college, we walked to classes over a large campus and no amount of pizza & beer would allow us to gain an ounce. I went from there into the Navy as a surface officer and we spent roughly half of the time at sea where not only do you have the motion of the ship to contend with, but I was typically in either a 3 section or 4 sec ion watch rotation on the bridge, combat center or engineering spaces, most of that time on your feet, walking and pacing about. This continued for eight years, even during my time in France.

      In 1992 when I got out, came home, set up a desk in a bedroom and spent 16-18 hours on my butt every day trying to start a business, I quickly put on about 20 pounds.

    • Kelly on November 6, 2011 at 05:31

      I agree with Ned’s perspective about calorie restriction. Cutting alcohol and heavy whipping cream will cut a lot of calories. And nuts are very macronutrient dense, so more calories will leave your diet. But aren’t nuts paleo? What do you mean really by pure paleo? And how does one say they are 80-90% paleo? Nell Stephenson blogged about being pure paleo last week and that it keeps her lean. I think it’s smart to eat high quality food, but I think the pure paleo philosophy is too dogmatic. It’s in the same ballpark as low carb. Call me old fashioned, but I think the key to fat loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 10:41

        Kelly, I said that I don’t consider nuts an _important_ paleo food.

        I may have a few, sometimes. I like pecans and berries in coconut milk.



      • anand srivastava on November 9, 2011 at 05:50

        I think it is worth while to avoid all seeds in a pure paleo diet. That is what Richard seems to be doing.



  24. Ron on November 5, 2011 at 13:36

    Richard – I have a feeling this could end up being one of your most popular blog subjects. I’ll be joining you, but I’m not going to keep a log. I think I just need to make a few minor tweaks to make it clean.

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

      That’s great, Ron. Feel welcome to add your thoughts along the way in comments.

  25. Steve on November 5, 2011 at 13:50

    I’m inspired to join you. I’ll start tomorrow. I’ve been pretty clean, except I’ve been cheating on alcohol and cheese. My weight loss has been stalled, but otherwise I feel good. I haven’t been exercising lately. I’ll try twice per week short trips to the gym a la Art De Vany.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 5, 2011 at 13:52

      Welcome aboard Steve.

  26. Mark on November 5, 2011 at 14:15

    I just finished my first Whole30 and it’s totally worth doing, even if, as you, you’ve already been mostly ‘paleo.’ Snoring disappeared (dairy?), weight loss (6lbs of what appears to be all mostly fat), mood and energy great.

    I think I would have lost even more weight if I had forgone nuts and fruit (ahem, probably ate too much fruit and did have a couple of days of dried fruit, didn’t help in weight loss department).

  27. Taylor on November 5, 2011 at 17:48

    Hey man!
    I’ve been following your blog for a long time but have never piped up and said anything.
    I want to say “Good luck!”, and that you have inspired me to try and do the same. I’m going to become on of your “success stories”, my skinny-fat self and my fat chihuahua alike.

  28. Ricky H. on November 5, 2011 at 18:55

    Richard,

    I’d like to join you come Monday too. The food, weights, sprints, etc. will be just what you describe except I will give in to the nuts, they are paleo so I’m ok with them. Following you may help me stay on track to finally see just what happens when I get over that 80 or so percent I’ve been on for the last couple years.

  29. Kelsey on November 5, 2011 at 19:12

    Fuck off Scott!

    Richard, you’re the best. Your website delivered me from the hells of veganism (I know, I clearly wasn’t morally committed, I was vegan because I thought it was “healthy”). I’m now deadlifting 205 pounds and generally kicking ass.
    Thanks for being awesome!

  30. Eegah! on November 5, 2011 at 19:25

    Richard,

    What are you going to be taking as far as supplements go during this experiment?

    • Michelle on November 7, 2011 at 06:09

      I was wondering the same thing. I went “Paleoish” for about a month after reading Gary Taube’s Why We Get Fat…I felt great in every aspect; slept like a baby and had amazing energy. About 3 weeks into it I realized I was magnesium deficient. I would love to join as well but am afraid I may possibly become deficient in something else.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 10:11

      I’ll be taking the same modest regime of sups I always do.

      https://freetheanimal.com/2011/08/the-supplements-i-take-and-why-i-take-them.html

  31. Tito on November 5, 2011 at 22:48

    Ok, I’m in…

    p.s. Fuck off, Scott!

  32. starfish on November 6, 2011 at 00:34

    Best of Luck. I’m with you on this. I’m coming to the conclusion that strict paleo is going to be my friend for life. I go for the coconut oil with my eggs and have never tried ghee but its an interesting idea. Do I need to go to an Indian market for that? I do let one type of processed food 100% dark chocolate in my stomach and still call myself strict paleo. My chunk has about 70 calories and 3 grams of carb. Well as you mention everyone has their tweak.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 10:13

      starfish, you can get ghee at Whole Foods if you have one near by. Also, you can make it yourself, just google “clarified butter.” Pretty easy, just be careful not to brown the solids.

  33. freeagent on November 6, 2011 at 01:53

    bugger off Scott

  34. el-bo on November 6, 2011 at 01:16

    why not skip the ghee ??

    30 days, man

    • Richard Nikoley on November 6, 2011 at 05:53

      It possible . I do have plenty of coconut oil and leaf lard on hand.

      • el-bo on November 6, 2011 at 06:05

        that would make it pure paleo then, right ??

        leaf lard ??



      • el-bo on November 6, 2011 at 06:07

        ooops, don’t worry, google came to the rescue

        leaf lard’s not as nice as it sounds…… 🙂 🙁



  35. Dan Linehan on November 6, 2011 at 01:20

    Not scotch?

    Purist?

    WHO ARE YOU!?

  36. Glenn Whitney on November 6, 2011 at 08:26

    How about caffeine? In my paleo purist book it’s a cheat, and it distorts one’s perception of hunger and probably mimic insulin…

    • Richard Nikoley on November 6, 2011 at 08:39

      You do have a point, Glenn. I think teas and herbal infusions are far closer to paleo because they involve only drying leaves and boiling them in water, whereas, coffee requires roasting and grinding.

      At MoveNat in 2010, we had only water and on some of the rainy days, Vic brewed up some sort of herbal thing with no caffeine. We all survived.

      I should probably stick with the descriptor of ‘clean’ Paleo and not ‘pure’ Paleo. There is a distinction.

      • Glenn Whitney on November 8, 2011 at 09:02

        My unsolicited two cents is if you’re going through the trouble of doing 100% Paleo, you might as well cut out the caffeine just so you’ll always have that experience (behind you).



      • Richard Nikoley on November 8, 2011 at 09:29

        Actually, we have forgone the coffee. Yesterday I just had some water, green tea later in the day. This morning I had a couple cups of Earl Grey. On the other side, I did get a package of raw pecans and raw hazelnuts for salads.



      • Glenn Whitney on November 9, 2011 at 12:41

        I suppose I’ll let you get away with that 😉 But I must say that it’s possible to drink enough green tea (and Earl Grey) to get you up to similar caffeine levels as you’d get from two or three cups of coffee per day…



  37. November 6, Sunday | District CrossFit on November 6, 2011 at 09:31

    […] Read (then try) this: Self-Experiment Time […]

  38. Eli on November 6, 2011 at 10:05

    Count me in, too. I have been playing with doing the 30 day strict thing for awhile, just wasn’t movtivated enough to follow through. It will be good to have the company.

  39. VW on November 6, 2011 at 10:56

    Good luck, Richard!

  40. Alex on November 6, 2011 at 11:44

    Just for shits and grins, how about 30 days of squeaky clean 30BAD fruitarian nonsense after that?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 6, 2011 at 12:46

      Never. I’m not a monkey in the jungle.

    • Glenn Whitney on November 9, 2011 at 12:42

      I think that’s a good idea but I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Maybe some year between July 15 and August 15 – but then I’d be missing out on a lot of barbecues…

  41. Kevin Hughes on November 6, 2011 at 15:20

    I’ll be joining you. My Paleo experiment also began in early 2007, and I was as purist as possible for a couple of years. I’ve strayed somewhat from the path and your post has given me the notion to try again. Here’s to the next 30 days.

  42. Txomin on November 6, 2011 at 16:20

    A month might not be long enough. At our age, things are over before we realized what’s happened. Try 6 to 8 weeks… and staying in ketosis will make everything much easier and healthier. Just friendly advice. You know where to put it.

  43. james mooney on November 6, 2011 at 16:39

    I’m with ya….. with the exception of the beer wine and liquor 🙂

  44. Paul d on November 6, 2011 at 17:05

    Richard,
    interesting experiment and I hope it goes well for you. What are your thoughts on the roll that your expectations can have on the outcome. I was heading into work this morning. I heard a lady a few years older than me say out loud “I am tired and my joints ache, you know how it is, old age”. I wen hog on chocolate, icecream, and cake and processed food on Saturday. By Sunday night, my joints ached, I was exhausted, my throat was burning and I was wearing a jumper and warm clothes on a boilinghot night. My interpretation was food poisoning (I mean that the shit I ate screwed me big time). I am fasting until midday, and feel a progressive improvement. I expect fasting and then returning to meat and fibrous veges and fruit for the remainder of the week will lead to feeling better. Hence I can potentially overlook any non confirming body symptoms that don’t align with my expectation. Objective measures of weight, strength, sleep, photos etc never lie but the subjective stuff is a lot trickier. I note in the raw food movement and veganism, the concept of purity and fear of toxicity can dominate the rationale of the diet from a health perspective. Any heath and body issues that stem from the diet are attributed to detoxing and a release of toxins and people can overlook other issues such as deficiencies. Look fwd to hearing progress. Paul d

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 11:43

      “What are your thoughts on the roll that your expectations can have on the outcome.”

      I really don’t know. I do know that having put it out there on the blog out to make the going easy in terms of compliance.

      It seems reasonable, given what most of us already know, to expect a good outcome. But I think the good outcome will be a result of sound eating, not expectations.

  45. Noah on November 6, 2011 at 18:54

    I’ve been eating and living paleo/primal for the past 3 years or so. I do the Whole 30 every now and then when the whiskey and cheese intake gets to high, always feels beneficial.

    Also, just read the bicameral mind post, great stuff. Thanks for blogging. Worth twice the cost.

  46. Kamal on November 6, 2011 at 19:17

    I like it, Richard – been wanting to back pure myself. Question: what’s your thoughts on just doing the leangains 16 hour daily fasts rather than IF as you’ll be doing here?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 10:48

      Kamal:

      I’ve gone back to an intermittent style of fasting that’s highly varied. That’s my preference, not doing the same thing every day.

      • Kamal on November 7, 2011 at 23:30

        Thanks, Richard. I like the idea about cutting out alcohol, as I find it to be the gateway to bad eating. Heck, societally, bad choices. Cut the beer out a couple years ago, don’t miss it a bit. Wine is tougher, as I rather enjoy it.



  47. Tin Tin on November 6, 2011 at 19:22

    Awww, fuck it! Count me in too. 30 days of super clean paleo.

    I’ve tried it before but after about the 5th or 6th day my energy levels go through the roof and I’m forced to calm them down with rice, milk, cheese etc.

  48. Primal Toad on November 6, 2011 at 19:57

    I’m doing a 21 day challenge myself to get ready for thanksgiving… I simply want to be in the mode to seek out the most primal foods… simply because I want to feel awesome on thanksgiving this year. I want to roar with excitement when my Lions beat the Packers and I want to be able to run around the yard with the pigskin with my family… anyone else have this desire this Thanksgiving?

    Eating primal should do it.

  49. Ron on November 6, 2011 at 21:17

    Richard – One question before this 30-day bonanza begins. My wife & I enjoy a trick she concocted, that we do several days/week during the evening hours. Whenever we feel like eating something a few hours after dinner, we’ll eat 1 or 2 frozen coconut oil balls. These are made with approx. 1-2 tbsps of coconut oil each w/ a little powdered cocoa, a dab of organic maple syrup & a dab of shredded coconut. When all is said & done, each ball is at least 95-98% coconut oil. We then put them in the freezer. After 1 or 2 of these, any semblance of a hunger pang is gone. Obviously this is not “clean” paleo, but would you consider this a cheat food? I can do without, but they sure do work! BTW, some may think you have brass balls for planning your experiment around the Thanksgiving holidays. I didn’t think about that before I committed, but screw it, it’ll be fun. No pie for me!

    • Paul d on November 7, 2011 at 03:28

      Ron,
      if it helps with compliance and keeps you clean, it is a great thing. And given it ticks a great deal of boxes as an mct, how could it be an issue. I await Richards response, but if he makes a call against it, I will fucking fall over laughing and never read this blog again. Maybe a win win afterall for him. Paul d.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 11:20

      Ron, seems fine to me.

      How do you make them into ball form?

      • Ron on November 8, 2011 at 13:26

        Here’s the simple recipe: 1 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup organic powdered cocoa, 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup coconut shreds, mix it with hands to form balls, roll the balls in small bowl
        of more shredded coconut. Freeze.

        Just guessing, but I’d say that each ball contains about 1 1/2-2 tbsp of coconut oil.



      • Richard Nikoley on November 8, 2011 at 13:31

        alright, I’m e-mailing this comment to place into m recipe folder.

        Sounds like ice cream.



  50. LXV on November 7, 2011 at 08:24

    Alright I’m in too (and since I do all the cooking and shopping, so’s my husband.) If I can drop another size by christmas we’ll definitely have his family convinced to give paleo a go. (My family’s already at least half-assedly paleo).

    I will be having exactly two cheats though. No way am I passing up a serving my mom’s onion pudding and stuffing on Thanksgiving. (I can totally pass on pie)

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 11:23

      Onion Pudding?

      • LXV on November 7, 2011 at 14:54

        It’s like corn pudding, but with carmelized onions instead of lame-ass canned corn.



  51. MarkD on November 7, 2011 at 11:48

    You bastard Richard, you’ve shamed me in to it :).

    I’ve been sliding off the EF / Paleo wagon for some time after we had friends staying for month in the summer.

    Been meaning to pull my socks up for some time and this is just the push that I needed.

    Good luck buddy.

  52. Ian M. on November 7, 2011 at 12:47

    Fuck of Scott. Damn poser. Get a life and go read some occupy somewhere garbage.

  53. Ian M. on November 7, 2011 at 13:07

    Fuck off Scott again.

    Hey Richard
    Have you seen this article. I emailed it to you but not sure if I had the correct email address.
    http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-myth-of-the-ethical-vegan/
    When I read it I immediately thought of you. Now I’m off to buy a new bottle of scotch but it won’t last me 30 days.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 7, 2011 at 16:18

      Yea, Ian, I do recall seeing that. Thanks.

  54. rob on November 7, 2011 at 13:14

    I’m in, going back to “eat a hunk of animal flesh.” I’ve been eating a lot of rice with dinner lately thinking it will give me more energy for when I run in the morning but it hasn’t been working too good, some mornings I have lots of energy, others I’m totally flat. I don’t know if it is age related but for some reason upping the starch in my diet is not translating into hauling ass down the road.

  55. Steve on November 7, 2011 at 22:40

    I tried this for 2 months. The first month I left a little dairy in (milk with coffee and butter) and some nuts — and the 2nd month I cut the dairy and nuts out as well. I used coconut oil in place of ghee or butter. I lost weight both months (more the 2nd month) and felt pretty good though I think my energy levels took a hit while training. Maybe I needed a little starch given the level of training I was doing. I didn’t notice any difference from a small amount of dairy vs not. Nuts do seem to stall weight loss for me though. Overall I found it a little strict as a long term lifestyle so I went back to a semi strict diet. (weeks strict/weekends loose)

  56. Razwell on November 8, 2011 at 05:30

    It’s good you are not dogmatic with the whole Paleolithic Diet thing, Richard. You’re the most reasonable. Personal experimentation often, and with an open mind, is always a GREAT thing to do.

  57. jj on November 8, 2011 at 10:25

    I’ve always loved that you’re not a purist. But I’m curious to see your results. Especially with the elimination of cured meats, I’ve been of the opinion for a while that all the sodium and nitrites ain’t exactly “paleo”.

  58. […] Posts RSS ← Self-Experiment Time: Squeaky Clean Paleo for 30 Days […]

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