Interview at the Site

I always agree to interviews, in podcast or written when asked, so long as the site has some audience or is otherwise relevant or a Paleo/Primal podcaster or writer is trying to do some good and build some content. I always love doing the podcasts, but sometimes the written interviews are a chore and a bit tedious.

In this case, Henley Wing struck exactly the right chord with his questions and I pounded out my answers with relative pleasure and joy. It’s not very long, but here it is: Primal Living Advice from Richard Nikoley.

Here’s the questions he asked:

  1. Briefly tell us how you discovered paleo, and how your book ‘Free the Animal’ is unique from other paleo books.
  2. For beginners, would you recommend people dive into paleo with a strict, disciplined approach, or ease into it (giving up non paleo foods gradually)?
  3. Are the rules different for someone who needs to lose weight? Do they still need to count calories, or limit their fruit intake?
  4. While eating paleo might be beneficial individually, do you think it would sustainable if the entire world ate paleo? A side benefit of having an agricultural economy is that it can feed lots more people.
  5. Do you apply “Primal living” to other areas of your lives, besides eating paleo and exercise? For instance, socially and work-wise, working with a small group vs a huge corporation, living in a small community, etc.
  6. Do you view social networks like Facebook as a net benefit to humanity? On one hand, it’s great for keeping in touch. On the other, a lot of people spend way too much time on it, which can be used doing physical activity, or face to face socializing.
  7. Any big plans in store for the future, such as a new book or project?

To see my short answers, click here. Here’s a brief excerpt from question #5.

I go barefoot a lot in public, like walking the dogs & stuff. I never use substances on my skin like soap, shampoo, lotions and such—water only. My skin is soft and my hair flawless.

Socially, I’m an anarchist who doesn’t vote, and I admonish people to not waste their time either. Why spend so much life capital agitating over a 1/300,000,000th say in your own affairs? We evolved to account for the values and actions of perhaps about 50 other people and in that social context, every individual had real potential to influence the entire society. People today behave in political activism as though they have that power now, when in reality it’s totally masturbatory.

Really, what it all comes down to is that I got to use the word “masturbatory” in an interview.

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. AL Haines on June 7, 2012 at 10:08

    would [it be] sustainable if the entire world ate Paleo? A side benefit of having an agricultural economy is that it can feed lots more people.

    Richard: I don’t care.

    I’ll leave social engineering to the busybodies, simply do the best I can to live my life as best and as enjoyably as I can, enjoying my friends and loved ones, with absolutely zero guilt or hand wringing as to the rest of the world.

    This may be the best answer you gave of the entire interview. I suffered enough clean-your-plate-vegan guilt in my lifetime to care any longer how others choose to eat and live. A healthy dose of libertarianism and economic education cured me of the thought that my choice to eat pita over steak was going to cure the world’s ills. There were lots of factors involved, actually, but they all came from me indulging my ever-present independent streak and seeking knowledge, things they would not teach me of in college.

    The problems of the world were neither caused by my individual action, nor will they be solved by my individual action. And some plans are plainly superior to others.

    We are not paleo in our household – we do sourdough breads, some rice, and fermented dairy (very WAP approach), but I have great respect for what you do here and what the paleosphere in general advocates: a return to cooking whole, healthy, generally seasonal foods for the immediate benefit of your own health and the health and nourishment of those you love.

    A thought I came to many years ago was quite disturbing at first, and I’m sure it disturbs people when they hear me voice it (I seldom do, any longer), is that I don’t really empathize with the suffering of starving children in Africa/South America/Southeast Asia because I care about those kids, I empathize because I cannot imagine myself or my own children or family members living in such conditions. I care about my family, and their well-being, first. And I will always give the best of me to them, and not some anonymous unfortunate living in a place over which I can exercise little political, economic, or social control. This sounds harsh and inhuman, and not at all humane. But it is true, likely for more people than would care to admit it to themselves.

    The diets and health of the rest of the world are not my problem, because they cannot be. My concerns are my own family and offspring. This is not to say we should not have compassion, but we have to recognize its limits and, if exercised in the form of direct charity, its limits and effectiveness.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2012 at 10:14

      “things they would not teach me of in college.”

      Sting is still relevant. So there you go.

      Regarding starving children, a church pastor of mine as a kid myself once told me a joke I never forgot, because there’s an underlying message under the joke (we can all agree that starving children is not funny).

      Dad: Finish you dinner. There are staving children in Africa, you know.

      Kid: Name one.

  2. jofjltncb6 on June 7, 2012 at 11:44

    Yeah, but did you get to use the word “masturbatory” in your answers?

    • jofjltncb6 on June 7, 2012 at 11:45

      Oh, sorry…

      …I posted this before I read through your entire post.


      • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2012 at 12:04

        “…I posted this before I read through your entire post.”


      • jofjltncb6 on June 8, 2012 at 08:43

        Hey now…

        …I’m not sure I’m ready to take our relationship to this level yet.


  3. Neal Matheson on June 8, 2012 at 23:09

    I got beaten to it
    “SlimKicker: While eating Paleo might be beneficial individually, do you think it would sustainable if the entire world ate Paleo? A side benefit of having an agricultural economy is that it can feed lots more people.

    Richard: I don’t care. ”

    I love this answer. I also quite liked Daniel Vitalis’ answer when asked a similar question “I don’t want factory fed (farmed?) people.”

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