Milk & Kefir Diet Body Recomposition Progress in Pics

What began as pretty much a weight/fat loss deal has quickly become much more, as through weeks 5 & 6, I have neither lost or gained any measurable weight; and whereas I began this deal at 203 and am now around 187 (16 pounds lighter) I actually “feel” bigger. Feel stronger, too.

I’ve gotten endless shit in various comment threads over the last couple of years. Deserved, probably, but I just could not go to the gym, which was a downward spiral in terms of attitude. Yep, I was scared away, having lived for months with 24/7 pain, knowing the very dark, suicidal places I went to during that time. I was content to pack on 20 pounds of the 60 I had already shed. Here’s what I looked like at my AHS11 presentation.

Screen Shot 2013 04 10 at 1 30 11 PM
Self Experimentation Fail?

The added gut is only made worse by the lean upper body atrophy. Skinny arms, etc. A year later my “Good Friend” jimmy moore shot this pic candidly and blasted it out on Twitter.

nikoley at ahs12
Thanks Jimmy!

You know what? I never even needed to ask Jimmy anything about it. I don’t operate like that. Not flattering. But is what it is. In the larger context of important things, it helped me.

I could have just gone back to disciplined paleo eating and fasting that was so successful from the start, but I wanted to try new things. I was already into the cold therapy. Still like to get in cold water but as a daily or several time a week deal? ‘Aint ever happening, ‘Ray,’ and I’m a guy who kinda loves it for fun. Not that much, though.

Then there was the potatoes. It’s true. If you eat mostly potatoes with just a little added fat, maybe a little added protein, you will drop weight, and fast. You just can’t eat enough potato. Problem is, I love potato and inside of a week began to hate potato, so that was too big a price to pay. I still don’t even want to look at a baked potato.

Then I found the sweet spot, for me. It’s my Lilly White Ass Norther European Milk & Kefir Diet. Oh, you’re lactose intolerant? Fuck you. I. Don’t. Care. So sorry. Supposedly, Kefir works to help many become tolerant, even of milk—as though I give a fuck; thought I’d mention it though. Try it; or shut the fuck up. (…just kidding, folks…but do give it a try if you like) 🙂

Alright, as of today. Net 16 pounds lost, but way, way stronger and building a lean substrate from which to work. Like I said, this is no longer about “weight loss,” it’s about recomposition.


Also, this. Click for the full size.

Screen Shot 2013 04 10 at 2 05 21 PM

Let me be clear. I’m not there yet (plenty of gut flab to lose), but at the same time, I’m rather content to mostly sit on my ass, drink milk and kefir, spend about an hour in the gym PER MONTH, and grow more muscle and strength than many who slave for hours in the gym. I’m not interested in being ectomorphic, either. Sorry Skyler. 🙂

I want to be be rather big + lean, or go the fuck home.

Doing a workout with Dr. Doug McGuff and Skyler Tanner was a godsend for me. Unless you have specific athletic goals or just love the gym for some reason, an hour per month is all you need. You gotta make it count, though. Sunday I went intending to do a full body. Started with deadlift. 2 sets, 5 reps each for 275 pounds. I’m staying there until I can do it with two little fingers (I was previously at 325, before my injury). Then I went to the leg press machine. 400 pounds for 2 sets, but the first one was 10 reps done “time under load” style. That is, various movements and pace, but never locking out at the top or bottoming. You stay loaded the whole time, do plenty of static holds in various places. 2 minutes. Then I did a 10 rep set at rythm for fun.

I was shot. Called it a day. Will probably do upper body today or tomorrow and go for a long swim after.

Oh, and all you fuckers in comments, various places, about me? You know who your pathetic asses are: Go fucking fuck yourselves. I told you: the last laff and obscene gesture will be accounted for. Oh, and when I do take that final shirtless shot? Yep, I’ll be tanned and severely dehydrated, just like everyone else who does 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. Joe on April 11, 2013 at 02:33

    Pauline, I don’t know why they would recommend you boil it first (and cool it, presumably?).

    I don’t do that. I use pasteurised whole goat’s milk (can’t get it raw easily). I’m chugging raw cow’s milk and goat’s milk kefir, with 1 or 2 small meals alongside. My wife tried some of the raw cow’s milk and found that she still couldn’t tolerate it, but the goat’s milk is OK (either as plain milk, or kefir).

    I use the instructions from

  2. tatertot on April 10, 2013 at 14:55

    Good job, man!

    I know you aren’t a chronic calorie counter or blood glucose finger-pricker, but I have something here you might be interested in (or maybe not).

    When I was doing the potato-hack, I could watch my FBG drop every day from 120 on the first day and ending up in the 80’s by the end of the week. This always puzzled me, and Hyperlipid dude explained it a bit, but I think he missed something.

    There is a well-known phenomenon called ‘second meal effect’ where a starchy meal will cause increased insulin sensitivity in the next meal. With the potato hack, I think this builds on each meal until you are supremely insulin sensitive after a few days.

    Well, there are also studies that show a ‘meal’ of resistant starch right before bedtime will carry the second-meal effect over to the next day and increase mobilization of fat from adipose tissue!

    Here would be an interesting experiment for you: Check your FBG every morning for a week or so to get a baseline. Then start drinking a glass of kefir with 2-3TBS of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch right before bed and check FBG again for a week or so.

    If the studies hold true, your FBG should drop, meaning less overall insulin in your system and greater movement of fat AND improved insulin sensitivity which will allow quicker uptake of muscle glycogen, better nutrient partitioning etc…

    If your FBG is in the 80’s or 90’s right now, forget all this…if it’s in the 100’s-110’s or higher, you may want to give it a try.

  3. Bill on April 10, 2013 at 15:20

    A bottle of dry red wine, or in your case (and mine) probably a bit more will do the trick. Apparently it’s what male models do…. Emphasizes the abdominals.

  4. Todd on April 10, 2013 at 15:34

    I share your view about the frequency in the gym. Unless you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s, frequent and hard gym bouts just takes more out of the tank than I’m willing to put in. Feeling beat up all the time from going hard and heavy 3x a week doesn’t work for me. I’m much more comfortable doing my normal split rotating every other week or every two weeks. More in the tank, plenty of recovery, and steady small gains. That’s just my n=1, though.

    Lookin’ like you’re on the right path, Richard. Keep it up.

  5. Chris on April 10, 2013 at 17:32

    Just curious about when you got back into the lifting program. Was it before or after the switch to the milk diet?

    I do envy you with regard to deadlifts. Would love to give them a go again. It is a really basic, elemental thing pulling weight off the floor. But having my little toe go numb from sciatica scares me off.

  6. Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2013 at 17:34


    It was a bit before the milk thing, just kinda toying with it. A bit more earnest, but still casual in all.

  7. Andrew on April 10, 2013 at 17:41

    Fantastic progress, Richard.

    And I also had a couple of good days on the potato diet, but got too sick of them.

  8. Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2013 at 17:57


    I hate poking and doing numbers if I feel fine. So long as I’m never crashing and getting tired after a quart of combined milk/kefir, seems like everything must be well regulated. I’ll think abut it. But I think I’ll shift my potato starch intake to before bed. Sounds interesting.

  9. Dimitri on April 10, 2013 at 18:30

    Lookin’ good Rich. You’re making me real eager to start making some kefir. Sounds like the perfect post-workout meal. Also, Paleo bad boy. Got a good laugh out of that one. Keep up the good work.

  10. Bob on April 10, 2013 at 19:52

    Are you adding the kefir right to the milk? If so, what ratio?

    I was tempted to try mixing in a bit of raw cream into the raw milk as a test to see if that made it more satiating.

  11. Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2013 at 20:18


    I do all kinds of combos from straight kefir alone to various ratios of Kefir and milk just to mix things up. In general, I consume 7-9 10oz glasses per day. Jersey is 170 kcal per 8oz (higher fat), so it’s 1,490-1,900 calories per day.

    This is one beauty of the thing. It’s easy to keep track of calories.

  12. Gabriella Kadar on April 10, 2013 at 20:24

    ……….the secret of Genghis Khan…………….are you eating any meat? Any vegetables? What supplements besides vitamin D3 and K2?

  13. Justin on April 10, 2013 at 20:28

    Are you still at around 70 oz. a day (milk + kefir)? Were you satiated the very first day or two or did it happen gradually? I just started but feel like I could drink a gallon a day easily. Perhaps it’s the kefir as I had to temporarily stop making my own due to moving.

  14. Justin on April 10, 2013 at 20:32

    My vat pasteurized jersey cow’s milk is 190 calories per 8 oz. per its label. It’s delicious.

  15. Cherie on April 10, 2013 at 21:12

    Way to go and thanks for the needed motivation!

  16. marie on April 10, 2013 at 22:11

    Gabriella Kadar,
    for the triple goal of Flavor with Convenience plus Body Composition plus Complete Nutrition (includes feeding the gut biome), how does this weekly routine look to you ? :
    couple of days all-u-can-eat potatoes, couple of days raw milk+kefir, with in between stir-fry of liver+veggies in K2-butter and fish with veggies.
    The only thing missing is sunlight in terms of ‘supplements’, I think.
    But it needs a critical eye.

  17. Pauline on April 11, 2013 at 01:44

    Great pics! The weight seems to have come off all over and yet your face looks softer (low carbers always lose quite a bit on their faces which can leave that gaunt look). I think you may have found what is a nutritionally dense way of eating yet cuts the calories. I have never been any good at doing a one item food diet, I couldn’t do the potato hack. I love variety in my foods too much. I have bought the kefir grains, the note that came with it says to boil the milk before adding, is that right? I haven’t seen that on any of the blogs that explain how to make kefir.

  18. Big Marty on April 11, 2013 at 02:35

    Great stuff Rick. How long do you ferment the milk for to make each batch of kefir? Room temperature is it? Leave it in light or put it in the dark?

  19. Joe on April 11, 2013 at 02:56

    From the office of TMI, but might be useful to others. I’m on day 6 of having 2 or 3 pints of milk/kefir plus 1 or 2 small meals. I’ve noticed a change in stool colour that was starting to concern me, being much lighter and almost mustardy yellow.

    Googling about it mostly brings up stuff about babies, but I also found which mentions it. It’s been a while since I had to change an unweaned baby’s nappy (diaper), but I can see the logic behind the idea that an adult mostly consuming milk might get similar stools to an unweaned baby.

    Having said that, I’m not feeling so great today. A little nauseous and right now the idea of drinking more milk really doesn’t appeal. We’ll see.

  20. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 06:01


    Room temp. I keep mine top of the fridge for the bit of extra mechanical induced warmth. 24-30 hours, once it begins to separate into curds & whey. I also cap it and shake it a few times during the process. As the grains mutiply, batches seem to take less time but I never go less than 24 hours.

  21. Jimmy on April 11, 2013 at 06:19

    Richard: You look good…what is the exit plan or is this milk consuming sustainable from here to eternity?

  22. Justin on April 11, 2013 at 06:39

    Congrats on the weight loss progress. Assuredly feels good to see the work (or lack of?) pay off.

    That said, at 187 and 1500 calories/day, I’m having a hard time understanding how you’re going to have much success putting on muscle (and it should be at least a little perplexing as to why you haven’t lost in the last 2 weeks). Bear in mind that GOMAD is a well known protocol for putting on muscle — and there are something like 2200-2400 calories in a gallon of whole milk (Which is what GOMAD prescribes. Tack on the other 2600 calories you’re supposed to eat on GOMAD to put on weight and well, running at 30% of that … I just have a hard time seeing how that is going to result in weight gain of any sort — fat or muscle whatever.

    So let’s say hypothetically that your weight plateaus where it is +/- a couple pounds and you see no marked improvements in body comp. Mind that at your height, you’d probably need to put on 20 lbs of muscle to be “rather big + lean.” I’m 5’10” and weigh about 170 with a decent glycogen load/water retention — and I’m reasonably big and lean (full six pack, definition of my lats seen from the front, bench pressing 225 for reps, leg pressing 460 for reps, military is 155 for reps, and doing 65 lb weighted chin ups and 100 lb weighted dips for reps – I’m no Doug McGuff by *any stretch* but I’m strong and look it). Were I to be 185 and equally lean as I am now … geez I’d be bench pressing 300 and leg pressing 600.

    So feelings of well-being and goodness aside, I’m wondering what the long term strategy is. What’s your contingency plan? I ask because there’s a common thing that happens with diets — when they stop working for long enough people start trying unusual variations/hacks/whatever. If those things don’t work (my experience — they don’t), things get really whacky.

    I readily tell people that the truth about diets is that, from what I can tell, they are rarely one-size-fits-all. For me, I’ve been doing LeanGains for about 2.5 years now — mind, I’ve customized it to me and the manifestation of LG over the last 30 months has sometimes taken different specific incarnations. But the core has always been consistent to Martin’s personal recommendations.

    Of all the things I’ve tried, LG is the one that has worked most consistently — and fasting, lifting, and refeeds are at the core of it. It’s a program that puts you on an oscillating pattern of being fed and fasted. This strikes me as incredibly natural/normal even while the specifics of LG are assuredly somewhat rigid (counting calories is a PITA, LG’s day to day can be overly routine/strict). Yet LG works — and the proof is on Martin’s site (or in the mirror in my case) over and over and over again.

    But you know what made LG work for me? Martin being a coach and calling me on my BS. It took me getting over my own ego and accepting that my own strongheld opinions about dieting and nutrition and “well I know what I’m doing so I’m just going to modify his suggestions and go off the reservation here or there …” were getting in the way of progress. That was about 28 months ago and it’s been basically gravy ever since. Oh and I *have* put on muscle in that period — not a ton but perhaps on the order of about 3-5 lbs. That much lean mass over 2.5 years? Totally reasonable.

    I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but my reading of your post here seems to indicate that you think milking your diet for weight loss and strength gains will work linearly (though even as it is now it’s stalled as far as weight loss, which *could* be obfuscated weight gain/body recomposition — you figured out a way to measure that objectively?). That consuming a low amount of calories every day and working out once a month is going to pack on lean mass. While maybe there’s some magic in your mojo here, I’m skeptical it is going to work as you hope in the long run.

    So what is plan B?

  23. Pauline on April 11, 2013 at 06:41

    Thanks Joe, that link to Kefir-Heaven has got me motivated to make kefir tonight. I am going to try whole milk and see how it goes.

  24. Preston on April 11, 2013 at 07:01

    Hey Richard,

    My first attempt at making kefir was a failure. I left it out too long and got curds and whey. At least the cat liked it. I’ll try again. At least it did motivate me to find a fairly close (for Texas) raw milk producer.

    I hear you on cutting back on trips to the gym but I won’t do it. Gym time in the morning is my way of avoiding bad traffic. But I have cut back my DL’s to twice a week and do nothing else but some sit-ups those days. The other days are presses, rows & dips. About 20 minutes of lifting then I hit the shower. I feel good and look good so it works well for me.

    Keep up the good work.

  25. Rebecca King on April 11, 2013 at 07:17

    Just found your blog and I love it. I’ve never tried making kefir either. New one for me to try. You look amazing I might add

  26. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 07:37


    A little meat now & then. Had some ribs at a friend’s house Sunday. Not much veggie, or fruit. I take a few forkfulls of raw sauerkraut now & then. When the tub is done I’m going to put the juice into a new batch of kefir to see what happens. Already did a batch adding a can of coconut milk pre-fermentation. Came out great. D, k2 (fermented CLO/butter oil caps), mag malate, zinc, selenium, 2-3 uniliver per day (there’s a bit of “meat”). Also, 10g BCAAs with my kefir post workout and just recently, 20-30g per day of unmodified potato starch in my kefir before bed. It’s almost all resistant starch. I’ll blog about that last bit or put in the newsletter when I know more.


    “Are you still at around 70 oz. a day (milk + kefir)? Were you satiated the very first day or two or did it happen gradually?”

    For the most part. 70-90 and satiation is usually not a problem. I think the kefir plays a big role in that, 20-30oz per day, either straight or mixed in various proportions with milk so it’s always a slightly different tasting drink.


    “I think you may have found what is a nutritionally dense way of eating yet cuts the calories.”

    Yes. This is going to turn out to be The Holy Grail. With little effort, one can calculate protein/caloric requirements for their ideal weight/body comp and easily stick to the plan and let nature take its course. It’s going to be a far easier, more popular solution than the one Ray Cronise is working on (cold water), in my opinion. Too bad he was so dismissive about it when I told him.

    Don’t touch the milk. Put it in and ferment away. Preferably raw. But anything works. For an experiment, I just got cheap milk from the store and it made an excellent batch. So anyone can have decent kefir.


    Well, nothing is going to ensure that you never have a bad day. Happens. It’s the overall, most days that count. On the TMI score, get some Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch and before bed, add 2-3 level full tablespoons (20-30 grams) to a glass of kefir and stir it up. You should end up with light brown, not yellow.


    Still undecided. What I do know is that kefir will be part of my life now forever. I imagine I’ll still do 20oz of that per day always.


    Not a fail. You actually did it right. It’s when it separates that you know it’s done. Strain it through the plastic mesh using a rubber spatula. Keep working it gently and then pop your grains into the next bottle for the new batch or into a container covered in raw milk in the fridge to store until ready for a new batch (then just dump the whole thing in, milk & all, add milk). Make sure you take a stick blender to what you have strained and pushed through the mesh. This gives you creamy. Put in the fridge and try to let sit for a day. It will separate again but usually a few times shaking it up, and then it stays homogenized. Also, while it’s fermenting, I like to seal it up a few times and shake it up vigorously.

  27. Shelby on April 11, 2013 at 08:59

    Just wanted to say thanks for thinking outside every box out there. 🙂 You’ve given me so much to consider…potatoes, kefir, slow burn/body by science…all things I’ve dabbled in but never really committed to. You’ve also got me questioning assumptions that I’ve lived by for years and that’s what it’s really all about. Change and everything that goes with learning and growth is good–stagnation is a small (or maybe not so small) death. Not quite sure where I’ll start but thanks again for blazing the trail.

  28. Connie on April 11, 2013 at 09:01

    Wow – amazing & congratulations – you look great!!! I love milk and kefir and the thought of drinking it all day sounds great! Haven’t made my own kefir yet, but want to try. I don’t have easy access to raw milk here in DC, although I did notice raw frozen goat milk in the pet freezer section of my local organic grocery store. Wonder how that would taste. Thinking about starting CLO/butter oil. How much do you take a day? Do you take the pills?

  29. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 09:28


    Kefir is great even if you start with “ghetto pasteurized.” If that’s all you can get, is what is. But usually, you can source higher quality dairies, organic, and in many cases, non-homogenized. Just do the best you can in your situation. I take 2 caps per day of the CLO/BO combo. I’ve tried every single k2 product on the market, extensively. This is the best for me.


    Life needs to be interesting. There’s no do-over and it’s not a dress rehearsal for something “marvelous” like sitting at the feet of a father, worshipping him for all eternity.

    Drink milk if you like, but no being an infant, anymore.

  30. Gary on April 11, 2013 at 10:02

    nice results Richard, looks like Jimmy did you a favour, sometimes it’s hard to see the obvious from your own persepective.

  31. […] experimenter Richard at FreeTheAnimal is using dairy kefir to both lean out and gain muscle. If it possible to both gain muscle and lean […]

  32. MAS on April 11, 2013 at 10:59

    I love how the term “ghetto pasteurized” is catching on.

  33. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 11:12

    “I love how the term “ghetto pasteurized” is catching on.”

    I picked that up, somewhere. Can’t recall where, though I laffed. 🙂

    (Yep, that was MAS).

  34. Bruce on April 11, 2013 at 13:50

    Impressive results!

    I have been trying to make homemade kefir now for 4 weeks with now success.
    Maybe you have a tip that could help.

    I fill a 1 quart mason jar to 90% full, put a loose cover on, and ferment for 12-24 hours at room temperature. I have tried to fine tune the timing, but it always seems its either too runny, or it gets overfermented and the curds/whey separate. A few times I thought I was close, but it always tastes yeasty and tangy (and a bit sour, but overwelmingly tangy). Anyway, nothing remotely like the Lifeway Greek Style Kefir I buy at Whole foods.

  35. Bruce on April 11, 2013 at 13:53

    BTW, was your back pain due to a herniated disc? Did you have a microdiscectomy surgery to fix it?
    I had a similar situation a while back, and I can empathize with the pain levels and the impact it has on your quality life / psyche. Hope its fixed now. Also, do you have any concern in the gym? I would be worried about deadlift, squats, leg presses, etc… I have modified my workouts so I only do body weight exercises, like pullups, dips, inclined pushups, etc… in a super-slow way. Have not figured out a way to do leg presses or other leg exercises with body weight or in a back friendly way.

  36. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 14:41


    If you have real kefir grains (or even e decent starter), have set the bottle out in whole milk for 24-30 hours, you have made kefir.

    I can’t speak to whether you like the REAL product or not, and sorry it’s not to cookie-cutter, environmentally controlled (our ambient temperatures vary around here) manufacturing standards. But it is REAL kefir. Perhaps you might prefer just buying it. Then you get the McD’s way, alweays exactly the same all over the world, 24/7. Just like “nature” intended.

    Bruce: stop fucking obsessing, dude. Strain it, blend it, let it sit in the fridge, shake it up. Fucking dring the shit and stop acting like a little girl. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. There is NO SUCH THING as ruining a batch.

    (….you understand, this is mano-a-mano tough love talk, right?)

    “BTW, was your back pain due to a herniated disc? Did you have a microdiscectomy surgery to fix it?”

    My pain was either in my right deltoid (wanted to slice the thing off with a knife), lower right trapezius (wanted to stab it with a knife), or both, and it moved back & forth like a mouse. For 3-4 months straight I could only lay in bed on my left side. Could barely sleep. Eventually, a heating pad draped over the delt helped. Then I found John Sarno. Search the blog. BTW, it was a cervical herniation. I ultimately did no medical treatment. Would have tried it before suicide, but I found Sarno just in time, at the recommendation of both Drs. Harris & McGuff.

    Basically, you just learn to laugh at your inner vaginal, victimized self. It worked. Pain went away the more I laughed at my body for doing that to me.

    See what a dot-connecter I am, kefir master? 🙂

  37. MAS on April 11, 2013 at 14:44

    @Bruce – Have you tried doing leg presses with static holds? Lower into mid position and hold for 20-40 seconds. Do it for a few “sets”. I find this works well no matter how my back is feeling at the time.

  38. Joe on April 11, 2013 at 15:05

    @Bruce maybe try less than a quart? What sort of volume of grains do you have? When I first made it, I only had enough grains to make a relatively small amount of kefir. Check out the kefir heaven link I posted above. Now I have too many and am giving some away.

  39. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2013 at 15:45

    Quantity of gains isn’t particularly relevant. A mere tablespoon can do a great job on a quart in 30 hours. As the grow, less and less time.

    Central message: don’t obsess, strain it and importantly, blend it so not chunky but creamy. Let it refrigerate for another day. This is why you always want to be a quart ahead or two. It will continue to ferment and separate in the fridge. Shake it every time you open the fridge. Within a day, you’ll pretty much have very creamy, thick kefir.

    But what do I know? It’s not McDonald’s exactly the same in all times and places, worldwide.

  40. Hipparchia on April 12, 2013 at 01:33

    When I got the instructions for my kefir grains, a note said full results should be expected within a year- so while short-term well-being is expected, a long-term course achieves a sort of recomposition on its own. It’s been almost a year since I started, and I can say this holds true- it takes time for the beneficial actions to induce results and repair damage.

    On the other hand, the first few days were hell- you may want to start off with smaller amounts.

    Roughly, grains would double in two weeks, depending on milk quality. Some rest in water may do them good. Another 12-24 hours of fermentation in the fridge balances the yeasty taste with sourness.

    I found that in Northern European countries, kefir is much milder, more made for a commercial taste, and I guess it contains less live cultures.

  41. nullAndVoid on April 12, 2013 at 03:13

    Good job and thanks for sharing. I’ve been a kefir drinker for over 2 years. I haven’t had anything like the weight loss you’ve experienced but it makes the most perfect shits – big but easy and absolutely no mess. It seems to stabilize my mood a lot too which I certainly did not expect.

  42. Richard Nikoley on April 12, 2013 at 07:00


    Well , first, there’s more info in the newsletter issues as I reported week by week. All of the weight loss was over the first month. The first two weeks of that were an easing in period where I did have some meals, meat, eggs especially in addition to 1500 cals. 5th week was a total refeed, no counting, not even paleo (plenty of burgers and big ass meat sammies with extra meat), then week 6 was an easing back in).

    I didn’t document progress every step of the way but it is not inconceivable to me that you can gain lean on a caloric deficit. In fact, Martin’s program for me called for 1800-1900 calories per day on rest days and 2200 on 2 workout days. My baseline is on the order of 2600-2800. His secret to this? About 50% of calories coming from protein. What I suspect is the secret to milk? Its integrated growth factors. That’s what it’s designed for.

    I’ll be doing more refeeds or pig outs along the way and we’ll see what happens.

  43. Ciaran on April 12, 2013 at 11:15

    I’ve never been a fan of milk, not even creamy Jersey milk from Jersey itself. Until I tried goat’s milk. Fuck me, it is tasty. It’s pasteurised (cos I’m in the UK) but you can even get it in the big supermarkets. Can anyone describe the taste of kefir in relation to milk?

  44. Richard Nikoley on April 12, 2013 at 11:23

    Kinda like buttermilk. I’m not a huge fan of goat milk, but the kefir is better than cow milk kefir

  45. Ciaran on April 12, 2013 at 11:36

    Cheers Richard. Think I’ll give kefir a try.

  46. Pauline on April 12, 2013 at 14:40

    I made wonderful Kefir (using about 500 ml of whole milk) to start with and we ate it all tonight – it has subtle and delicious flavours. But when it came to sieving the grains, there weren’t any? So as I had made the batch within the last 24 hours, I have left some of the remaining kefir out hoping it will grow enough to be able to used again?

  47. Gadfly on April 12, 2013 at 14:53

    Ciaran, you can get raw milk in the UK.

  48. Mark on April 14, 2013 at 11:15

    Anyone tried a second ferment with orange slices/peel? I’ve done half an orange just fist squeezed into my kefir + some stevia + vanilla and it’s awesome (kind of a take off on Richard’s Julius idea), but I like the idea of flavoring during the second ferment:

  49. golooraam on April 14, 2013 at 13:02

    Hi Richard,

    How do you strain the kefir? Do you use anything fancy or specific?

  50. Richard Nikoley on April 14, 2013 at 15:29


    I use a plastic mesh (some say not to use metal, I don’t know, so I use plastic. I use a rubber spatula to work back & forth and separate the grains. Grains go into the next bottle for the next batch, or into a container with just enough milk to cover and into the fridge until ready to make next batch.

    I highly recommend taking a stick blender to the thing after this. Makes it very creamy. I also always keep a quart or so ahead of my consumption so a new batch can rest in the fridge for 24 hours. Some separation is normal. Just shake & drink.

  51. Dragos on April 15, 2013 at 05:22

    “but at the same time, I’m rather content to mostly sit on my ass, drink milk and kefir, spend about an hour in the gym PER MONTH, and grow more muscle and strength than many who slave for hours in the gym.”

    You found the secret of the Colorado Project! Arthur Jones is proud of you Richard

  52. golooraam on April 15, 2013 at 10:37

    has anyone else noticed that if you have 2 glasses or so in the morning, after a workout or not, it takes away a lot of junk food cravings? – I’ve lost 5 lbs in like 4 days and that includes a few crappy choices and a whole night out of drinking in SF

  53. Natalie on April 15, 2013 at 10:58

    I got a couple of gallons of raw milk from the local farm and have been drinking 2-3 cups every day for the past week (for the first time since I went low-carb/paleo over two years ago). I have IBS and while paleo has helped quite a bit I still get occasional flare ups (fodmaps and egg whites are the prime suspects). Anyway, I haven’t had a single “incident” since I started drinking milk. Moreover, the stool has been firm for several days in a row which hasn’t happened to me since childhood. (sorry if it’s TMI). My weight has remained the same but at this point getting rid of IBS is more important to me than weight loss.

    I’m planning to get kefir grains and make kefir since it’s even better in terms of digestibility and beneficial bacteria. And you can also cook with it!

    Screw anyone who says milk is for calves. I bet they’ve never tried high quality cultured milk products.

  54. Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2013 at 11:14


    Congrats on working it out for yourself in the context of real food, which milk is.

  55. EF on April 15, 2013 at 11:43

    Nice progress. I’ve cut out all booze the past week (sucks!) and added a fair amount raw milk yogurt to the diet. I feel way better probably because of the lack of booze. Are you still throwing some back? Can the changes in the body comp be attributable to the no booze? Thanks

  56. Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2013 at 16:41

    I don’t know, EF. It’s best to do less. That’s what I know.

  57. Pauline on April 16, 2013 at 08:21

    My kefir is working out fine, realised you don’t have to have clumps of kefir grains after first batch, just take about 3-4 T of the kefir when it is done and use it as starter for next batch. Another kefir done today having left it longer (30 hours) this time round. Its a lot thicker and it just keeps growing! Amazing stuff and tastes delicious.

  58. EF on May 22, 2013 at 10:52

    The one problem with kefir is keeping the grains alive if you want to take a break. Solution – I think I am going cultured veggies next. Pickles anyone?

  59. Richard Nikoley on May 22, 2013 at 11:05


    Not a prob at all. Just submerge them in milk in a plastic or glass container and put in the fridge which slows fermentation to a crawl. They can go a month like that, and then just change out the milk (though I would do every week to stay on the safe side—it’s only a few oz). I’ve done this a few times for up to 3-4 days with zero probs. Usually, I just do it right in my fermenting jar and just add milk to top it off and set it out.

    My grains are so awesome now. Once I discovered that less is more, i.e., no more than about 2 heaping tsp worth for a quart (I cull them every batch and those go into the god’s food=good shits), I get zero separation into curds & whey, and the kefir is so thick it’s hard to pour when cold.

  60. Faraz on May 29, 2013 at 02:39

    Richard – I recently stumbled upon your website and have been hooked. Your inspirational journey from a few years ago is where I started and then this article hit me, where I realized that you had an injury resulting in the weight gain (especially around the mid section). I can totally relate to you and feel even more inspired now knowing that you are doing what you are doing having gone through the pain.

    I had a car accident where the other car crossed the median line and we had a head on head clash. My wife and children were also in the car with me. Thankfully everyone was ok, except a few days later I was hit with the most excruciating pain of my life. I just wanted to take a butcher knife and cut my left arm off. Eventually I found out I had two herniated discs (C5 and C7). I was in bed for weeks and weeks.

    Before the car accident, at 30 years old, I was at my high school weight and physique. Today, at 35 and after finally regaining the strength to lift any weight, I’m trying to lose the extra 60 pounds I gained over these last 5 years.

    Wish you all the best in your on-going journey.

  61. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2013 at 21:31


    Thanks. You know what it’s like. I’m not sure many do.

    No problems in almost a year, though. Last flareup (fairly mild) was Auget or September last year.

  62. Steve on August 4, 2013 at 13:48

    Richard, I recently came across your milk and kefir N=1. I have been following — more or less — Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet. His book includes a discussion about optimal nutrient levels and ratios. Several of the nutrients we are short on (copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and potassium) are hard to get in our diet. Liver helps, but doesn’t cover them all. And, liver can deliver too much of some nutrients (like too much vitamin A versus vitamin D). Funny thing, when I log whole cow’s milk into the Cronometer program, it turns out it has just about the right amounts and ratios of these nutrients. I guess that is consistent with his idea that we should use human breast milk as a template for determining the optimum levels of these nutrients, since cow’s milk has similar qualities. Is he only against milk because of some people are sensitive to the casein and lactose? Like you, I am lilly white northern European, so I think I’m OK on milk. I found non-homogenized, low-heat pasteurized, organic, grass-fed in my store, and I love it. I’ve been drinking almost a half gallon a day. Don’t need to eat much. I also love the goat milk kefir I get at the store.

  63. Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2013 at 06:25


    Yea, exactly. I agree with Paul that is you want to know the correct nutrients and relative proportions, it’s milk as the exclusive food of a growing human. Not sure why he doesn’t recommend it but its sure a good way to know you’re getting everything.

  64. Paleophil on September 28, 2013 at 14:08

    Thanks for the tips, Marie. You consume the potato starch at the same time as the potato, right?

    Pure glucose is used in an OGTT. The typical dose is 1.75 grams of glucose per kilogram of body weight, which comes out to over 100 grams for most adult males. Just 5 tsp brown rice syrup containing about 17g carbs, much less than 60g net carbs in a large potato, spiked my BG to over 220 mg/dl. Granted, 2 hours is apparently the time frame focused on in the OGTT, but I find that 2 hour figures don’t tell me much more than what I learn via the 1 hour figure. It also saves money to only test at 1 hour instead of also at 2 or 3 hours or more frequently, and I don’t want my BG spiking above 160 mg/dl at 1 hour based on the recommendations of many of the more credible experts in the Paleo community, and I wish to err on the safe side. I’ve never seen anyone claim that BG should never go over 120 mg/dl, but I have seen plenty of knowledgeable people and studies suggest you should try to keep it below around 160 mg/dl as much as possible and avoid large post-meal BG surges ( I know, they’re not necessarily right, but it is something of a consensus and I haven’t seen any evidence to contradict them).

    Another reason I tried rice syrup was Paul Jaminet’s recommendations of it (for example: “I often recommend dextrose or rice syrup, which is readily digestible to glucose only, for bowel disorders. This seems to be the safest glucose source.” And other people also claim to tolerate it well. I wanted to see if that would prove true for me or not and thus possibly be another convenient occasional safe carb source for me and also provide some more clues for my health either way (perhaps glucose is more of a problem for me than fructose, or maybe the fermenting of the honey accounts for its superiority for me).

    Like you, I suspected that taking the potato starch shortly after the glucose may have been a factor in the huge spike in the initial test, so I have been careful to take the potato starch before or with the glucose, honey or cooked potato since then, and I’ve also been checking my ketostix levels after you mentioned that factor.

    In my 2nd rice syrup test, with just a trace ketostix measure and taking the PS first, just 2 tsps containing about 7g carbs significantly spiked my BG up to 160 mg/dl (unfortunately, I forgot to take the pre-glucose measure, but at ten minutes it was 123 mg/dl BG) and also gave me negative symptoms, whereas RF honey has so far been much less of a problem, even with a higher reading on the keto strip of about 20 when I tested honey. So I’ve written off brown rice syrup as a test substance for now.

    Suits me fine, since RF honey tastes way better to me than brown rice syrup, which I find mildly unpleasant. Interestingly, the rice syrup causes a scratchiness in the roof of my mouth and throat that heated honey also causes (which is ironic, because in my childhood my mother gave me heated honey for sore throat, and the resulting worsening of my throat scratchiness was one reason I wrote off honey as bogus years ago until trying RF honey).

    RF honey is more convenient and consistent test substance than potatoes, but I also tested potatoes. I did worse than I expected:

    Ketostix measure ~10 (between trace and small)
    BG pre-meal: 118 mg/dl
    Added 2T potato starch to a cooked potato (I used 1 med russet + 1 small purple potato)
    BG 1 hour after finished eating: 188 mg/dl

    Is a 10 ketone measure too high to eat cooked potatoes on or do I maybe have a ways to go before I reach the level of insulin sensitivity and BG modulation that you and Tatertot have achieved?

  65. Paleophil on September 28, 2013 at 14:09

    Please delete or ignore my above comment. I accidentally posted it to the wrong thread.

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