Pick Your Comment

The ocean is pristine right now. The weekend mini-storm here at the tip of Baja really pushed the reset button and we’re back to more of a seasonal dessert weather pattern (cool, breezy evenings matched by hot days) and seas coming more from the south than west (Pacific).

I went and played around in the light surf for a long time. Just felt to good to get out. Got back and checked in on comments.

“Keto User,” on a post that is 14 and 1/2 months old:

Angry idiot. No amount of carbs will get rid of the hate you cultivate in your mind as an attempt to hide from your guilt.

Some useless nonsense from David:

Everything on FreeTheAnimal is just some guy spouting off unproven shit. The whole potato starch fad is an example of how over the top he takes things to build his brand.

…And finally, the stuff that’s always better than money, from Julie:

I thought it would be worth sharing my experience with Elixa here because I can’t seem to find any amazon listing to write a review or any other place to discuss it. I also am very thankful to Richard for posting the article on prebiotics and hosting such a productive comment section.

For several years I have been battling a deep fatigue. It came about after I had a long period of emotional stress in my life. To finish it off I got seriously ill and required antibiotics. Doctors said the illness was due to my stress and depression being so chronic.

After this all passed I was left in a mental state of lethargy. It felt so different to the stress I was experiencing before but everyone told me it was just the same thing but getting better. I knew that I was no longer stressed and that this low motivation and unwell feeling had started after the antibiotics.

After 2 years passed almost all my friends and family thought of me as a hypochondriac. This was deeply upsetting. The doctors didn’t say as much but I knew that was what they thought, since they bounced me from one doctor to another. All of them said it was just ongoing stress.

I searched the internet as my last resource and found hundreds of other people suffering from this type of conditon and it no doubt affects thousands or tens of thousands. I am sure there are many different causes but many people talked about the gut flora.

By this time I was very desperate. I was even starting to doubt myself and think that maybe people were right about me being a hypochondriac. But the fatigue was so bad that even doing simple things like getting my laptop charger from another room were such an effort that I’d end up procrastinating even little things like that.

I tried every supplement recommended. I felt a mug by the end of it and lost a lot of faith in the supplement industry. I was sick of the promises and the months and months I needed to wait to see some benefit, which never came..

I heard about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and that started me on my research about GAPS diet and eventually to fodmaps. I came across Richard and Karl’s article about fodmaps in the African diet and it deciphered a lot of the concepts I was struggling to understand. Thank you Richard!

I went on to try Elixa just because the article was so informative and it was a short course so I didn’t feel I had weeks of misplaced hope to lose.

From the second day of the course I woke up with a much clearer head than usual. I put this down to chance. I felt much less grogginess and it took me a shorter time to fully wake up. The rest of the second day was my normal unwell self. I noticed some slightly loose stools on both the first and second day I did feel an urgency to use the bathroom on occasion. This did not bother me too much because I also had constipation and it’s not a bad thing for me to be able to use the bathroom more than once a day! The rest of the day was as normal (usual yoyo-ing of mood and energy levels). From the third day onwards I felt much better during the day. My mood was improved and I had less fatigue in the late afternoon and early evening. Some people commented that I seemed more upbeat which I put down to being hopeful that it was working more than the actual improvement in mood.

I also had a coworker comment on my skin looking better, although I personally have not noticed a difference because I feel my skin has always been good. It looks slightly brighter, shall we say. By the end of the 12 days (I had bought 12 days of Elixa) I felt like a new person. The best way to describe it is that I used to feel ‘OK’ for a very brief period during the day. Maybe two or three 20 minute spans. Now this has extended to the entire day and the fluctuations have gone. My constipation has improved also but I am not sure how much of that is going to be permanent because I am starting to understand from Richard’s previous post that it may have been something to do with the capsule coating that triggers the bowel movements. I don’t know but I will know soon enough.

I don’t usually post on public forums but I felt like I have been vindicated by this experience. I’m not sure what was worse, suffering from this mental and physical fatigue or having my family and doctors think I am imagining it all. It still upsets me but maybe I would have thought the same in their position.

My coworkers and family are amazed by the difference. I feel somewhat bitter still about the whole thing. But I always have a smile on my face because I had proved people wrong.

I’m sure many people out there may be in that position. I’m not sure if Elixa or other probiotics are going to be your solution but if I help one person then it was worth writing this comment. I think that the gut flora are responsible for a lot of things.

Thanks Richard.

So unless anyone really minds, I think I’ll just ignore the worthless shit above that, amiright? And, hey, if you think Elixa might help you too, or improve your state, here’s the link.

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. Jenni on June 11, 2015 at 04:04

    Felt like leaving a positive comment myself –

    Undoubtedly focusing on prebiotics, starchy veg (cassava, plantain, taro, sweet potato, african yam, potato) and probiotic supplementation has improved my life so much I can barely recount all of the different things it has changed. My energy is better, my mood has improved an incredible amount, my skin is clearer, my sleep better, my ability to think, my digestion, the aches and pains in my body…even my hair and nails grow quicker, friends have told me that I look like I am “glowing” (trite as that sounds). And I just feel so much more content and comfortable with life. I was never overweight but I am definitely leaner now, more muscular and my weight maintains itself with no effort on my part. I have always enjoyed healthier foods more than junk, but that is even more pronounced now.

    It’s funny because I was so sure that low carb paleo was going to be the answer. It did make me feel better for a while but then it made me feel substantially worse. I cannot understand people who get so upset about people who have found a way of eating that makes them feel so good. If your own diet is truly working then what do you need to get so aggravated about? Then again like I said, this way of eating has certainly stablised my mood a lot and I don’t feel the need to get so upset or annoyed by things anymore.

    • Lesley on June 17, 2015 at 20:51

      Amen, Jenni. You just told my story. Low-carb paleo affected my health very negatively in the end. It was only when I increased whole-food carbs and started focusing on gut health that I got my life back.

      I’ve also experienced the ire of die-hard keto dieters who told me my negative experience on low-carb was because I was an anomaly. I’ve even been told I was making things up! It is heartening to read the stories of others who have lived the struggle I did. Thanks for posting.

  2. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 07:44

    Probably low carbers. lol.

    This is a fantastic piece that I wish I’d written.

    I’m still waiting for that moment when all the Paleo leaders stop with the 10,000 years ago nonsense, and focus on the last 50-100 in a big tent kind of way.

    Let’s just go back 50-100 years, shall we? 🙂 On the stuff that counts, anyways. Like Richard recently stated, the lifestyle stuff (get sleep, play outside, get sun) is way more on point than the dietary guesswork Paleo leaders have been doing.

    • Onlooker on June 11, 2015 at 10:24

      I think that Chris Kresser and Angelo Coppola (of Latest in Paleo podcast) probably have it figured out best (though I’m sure I’m slighting some very deserving others here by omitting them). And Angelo’s objective, evidence-based approach has been impressive to watch as he’s evolved over the years. Big kudos to him.

  3. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 11:08

    It IS *transparent* advertising to any long-term reader. I’m ok with it because I do believe Richard is taking this stuff himself and believes it and will report if things go south.

    Let’s not forget how this random freakin’ guy, this Nikoley character, turned Paleo upside down kinda like the Jaminets did with “safe starches.” People forget about the early paleo 1.0 carbphobia, and don’t appreciate the significance of guys like Kresser and Sisson hopping on the RS bandwagon after the fact. Nikoley’s been ahead on this stuff. (Having said that, how long before Richard entertains/discusses/explores some Ray Peat concepts, you know, the guy who’s been talking about PUFA, excess iron, iron:copper balance, broths/inflammatory muscle meat overconsumption, the importance of carbs/glucose, empahsis on thyroid/metabolism on a cellualr level, etc. for ages.).

    Do I worry that it’s hard to be objective when you have a financial interest? Yeah. But it’s hard to find people who just do stuff for free. So this is as close to as good as it gets. Always subscribe to different sources to keep yourself honest.

  4. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 12:06

    As we all are, David, no? Isn’t he just doing what he do in our personal lives? N=1 experimentation? He’s just sharing what he’s doing. Maybe there should be clearer/more prominent disclaimers with every plug? Maybe!

    But if you’re not into voyeuristically watching some guy troubleshoot his belly and fartage, who also plugs the stuff he uses, find the next blog, David. Seriously -why do you come here?

    Personally, I read a little bit of everything, increasingly dispassionately. This is one of many free-thinking sites. Can commerce cloud thinking? Absolutely. Be vigilant. But not ungrateful.

    Nobody’s always right, nobody’s got all the answers. All you can ask is that they try to have integrity, try to course-correct and admit when they realize mistakes.

    I don’t agree/care for everything on this site. But who else is looking at this stuff in this manner? I’ll gladly add them to my blog roll.

    I just think that slamming people for their blog is silly. Lest you think I have ANY financial interest or friendship with Richard, I absolutely don’t. I’m a frequenter of the site, along with many other health-oriented sites, and all this free info is much better than all the years of doctor visits. Haven’t figured it all out for myself, but this kind of self-experimentation is what it’s all about in this info age. Love it.

    Richard — keep trying to blog authentically. I’m ok if you make money, but try to always keep yourself in check. Don’t become like those you hate.

    Thanks for what ya do!

  5. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 12:18

    Ok, well then I guess you won’t be coming to this site much.

    To me, those other sites are way more commercial and bound by printed/published paleo/primal views. For THEM to shift too much/too soon, could ruin their credibility. Too bad.

    Unless Richard is suppressing negative comments on RS or probiotics (don’t know), I think people are free to decide if this stuff makes sense or not for themselves.

    • Tim on June 11, 2015 at 14:34

      I guess I’m the opposite. I come here to learn new things. I don’t like the so called “entertainment”. It’s a distraction to the valuable information be shared between Richard and all of the commenters.

      There’s so much education here, especially in the comments. I can’t tell you all the things that I learned about here that I would have never looked into if not for reading about it here.

    • gabkad on June 11, 2015 at 15:48


  6. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 12:26

    try porn!

    • bioking on June 12, 2015 at 03:54

      Actually the evidence as I see it says “no” to porn. I’ve been porn free for just over 2 months. My dick has never been harder. It it just hangs there ready to stand to attention at a moments notice. Girls seem to notice me more (or I notice them noticing me) and my body fat percentages are making new lows (less/no fapping therefore higher testosterone).
      I feel like a life support system for my dick. This is what evolution wants me to be.

    • bioking on June 12, 2015 at 04:00

      Oh yeah, less fapping means the sensitivity has returned to my dick. Haven’t had sex yet since no fapping but man I know it’s going to be good.

    • wildcucumber on June 12, 2015 at 06:30

      And quick.

    • gabkad on June 12, 2015 at 11:51


  7. Cool on June 11, 2015 at 12:33

    To summarize, the biggest food takeaways from FreeTheAnimal:

    -carbs are good. fat and protein too. and fructose. and phytates. and this and that. it’s all good, in proper context. food’s not out to get you, man. Figure out how to bolster yourself to no longer be a ninny (I’m still a ninny, but I don’t want that).

    -feeding you 90% might be pretty important

    -instead of villainizing food, let’s look at ALL the things we ADDED to food processing that might be more responsible for our declining health. Iron sticks out. But it’s not the only thing.

    This was worth the price of admission (for ME). 🙂

    Have a great day, it’s sunny outside, I’m out….

  8. Richard Nikoley on June 11, 2015 at 14:50

    Thanks Cool and Tim for the expressions of understanding what I’m up to, the kind words, etc.

  9. gabkad on June 11, 2015 at 15:44

    David, it is true: you fucked up except it’s not about your or you’re.

    Since you haven’t noticed yet, Richard isn’t about ‘Paleo’ agave syrup brownies….

  10. MissMcGillicuddy on June 11, 2015 at 16:11

    To my knowledge, Richard has always disclosed any product affiliations he has. What I value most is the continued questioning and probing of different health topics…it’s good here, there is not a single truth claimed.
    As far as Elixa, whenever a particular band is mentioned, I just try to understand what may set it apart from others in its class.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 11, 2015 at 16:29

      And, I’m still hip on all the others and popped 3 Prescript Assist this morning after 2-3 days of nothing. And still RS, but beans is my favorite source. Still I do have the powder mix and in fact the formula just got emailed to a guy today. Perhaps future product.

      But from potato onwards, this is all integrated. Even the FitBit. Integrated into all of what I’m about and continue to evolve into.

      This tip of Baja life really helps. Last night, in pitch black, walking home from an off-grid neighbor, ran right into a wild donkey on the road. They’re actually quite docile.

    • gabkad on June 12, 2015 at 11:55

      Awwww, Donkeys!!! The loves of my life.

  11. MissMcGillicuddy on June 11, 2015 at 16:14

    As far as Ray Peat, I think Paul Jaminet is already marching forward, looking into some of it.

    • cool on June 12, 2015 at 08:08

      got any links?

      I only saw a back and forth between Paul Jaminet and some Peat-followers a while back, and it seemed the Peat folks made more sense.

      It would be interesting if Paul changed his views.

    • MissMcGillicuddy on June 12, 2015 at 10:06
  12. Travellingbeard on June 12, 2015 at 08:52

    Don’t worry, he’ll eventually get around to reading this post in 14.5 months.

  13. Charlie on June 14, 2015 at 16:22

    Richard – you haven’t posted anything lately on your oral hygiene protocol? – still doing the same – k7 + Vit A – as I recall? – or something else?

    I’m finding the back of my teeth are not quite as smooth since adding more carbs to my diet. How about you?

  14. cool on June 16, 2015 at 08:01

    Omg am I a believer in broths for tooth and gum health. Used them to fix an irritated gut and noticed that gums and teeth are not sore, even when skipping brushing/flossing. And I eat a lot of sugar (fruits, carbs ;).

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