About Free the Animal

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I’m Richard Nikoley, the resident blogger here. Free the Animal began by a different name in 2003, and as of mid-2014, contains 4,000 posts and 100,000 comments from readers. Monthly readership is on the order of 230,000 page views. As the tagline says, the subject is about Juxtaposing The Wild and The Zoo. So to Free the Animal really means to free yourself to reach your best potential in all areas of life: heath, fitness, finances, social interaction, and how you think about all of them. I juxtapose that ideal with what I call The Zoo Human in many of my posts, as well as in the banner photos that rotate through—some representative of our natural human animal state and some of the zoo. Visitors get to decide which is which for themselves. Here’s how I described it in a post:

…I realized that there’s simply no way to convey my thinking over the juxtaposition between wild human animals and caged zoo humans in a single banner. So I got to cropping pics. Lots of pics.

Right now, there are about 140 banner images with more likely to follow. It’s very digital. The image that serves up with each visit or reload either expresses part of my idea of a wild, natural, healthy human existence…or it expresses a caged, zoo’d, trained, made up, mak-ed-up, fake, phony, learned, over-fed, grain-fed, junk-fed, sugar-fed, drugged, dominated, subservient voting human suffering from Stockholm Syndrome—an Earth epidemic.

I never say which is which. That’s part of the fun.

Along the way, during the early 2000s, I got fat and then lost 60 pounds on a Paleo Diet, so a lot of my blogging over the last few years has been about that and real food vs. crap, and I authored the book Free the Animal: How to lose weight & fat on the paleo diet, available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For an overview of how I think, how the human animal fits into it and the things I blog about, see The Manifesto.


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  • Website: http://freetheanimal.com
  • Location: United States



Born & raised in Reno, Nevada. I attended and graduated from a small, religious-oriented private high school. Went on to attend a first year of college at a religious-oriented school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have had no interest in religious matters whatsoever for more than 25 years and don’t plan on doing so again.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Theodosius Dobzhansky

I Graduated Oregon State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s in Business Administration and two minor courses of study in mathematics / computer science, and naval science.

I was commissioned in the US Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) immediately upon graduation from OSU. After some 8 months attending various schools in San Diego, CA, I traveled off to Yokosuka, Japan to join my first ship, the USS REEVES (CG-24), where I served from 1984-1987 as the Assistant Missiles Officer, First Lieutenant, and then finally, Electrical Officer.

After those first three years in Japan, I crossed the pier for another two years, joining the U.S. SEVENTH FLEET embarked aboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19). From 1988-1989 I was both the Assistant Fleet Scheduling Officer and the Assistant Logistics Officer. I managed a fuel budget of $180 million.

I left Japan after five years and headed to Monterey, California, where I was a student at the Defense Language Institute for the latter half of 1989. Upon successful completion of the French language course, I headed to Toulon, France, where from late 1989 – early 1992 I took up duties an exchange officer with the French Navy: first aboard the FNS COLBERT (C 611), and later, the FNS DUQUESNE (D 603), both as the Navigator.

I left the US Navy in 1992 and returned to the U.S., San Francisco Bay Area. After a few false starts in entrepreneurial endeavors, I started a company in my bedroom in the summer of 1993 that evolved into what is today, Provanta Corp. I still regularly harass a modest cabal of employees.

Activity wise, I took up the sport of Hang-Gliding in 1996, and powered aircraft in 2005. I also fly sailplanes now and then.

In 2012 I celebrated my 11 year anniversary with my wife, Beatrice.