Free the Animal Blog Initiatives – Promoting the Paleo and Primal Path

I’ve been spending a good dead of time both unsatisfied with how this blog has been meandering along and wondering what, if anything, I might want to do about that. Here’s a possibility, from an email received just this morning, copied verbatim.

I got into your site by chance on browsing.your website sounds impressive to gain knowledge and easy to read..We are pleased to inform you that we do write articles FREE of cost.
we are looking forward to hear your interest. Article are sure for its unusual quality to invite traffic to your website.We provide articles on your topics suggested relevant on your interest.

* We do provide a unique article for your service. No duplication or copying of the article is done. we right contents exclusively for your site on demand.We also give Copy rights for articles to your site on security base.
* In return we expect a link connecting to our website from your webpage

Awaiting your positive reply

Wow. And all that "FREE of cost." Waddya think? Ha, I’m almost tempted to take ’em up on it just to see what I’d get — though, I imagine they’re just steal something "relevant on your interest" from another site somewhere. Hell, I’d probably get some of my own posts as there are certainly enough bot sites out there stealing my content.

OK, there is a serious point to the first paragraph. Here’s where I’m at: much as I like to be a place of motivation, entertainment, communion and ongoing education for those well steeped in the Paleo/Primal health style, I’m coming to see that as a much lesser mission — with the primary mission being to attract, interest and assist those unfamiliar with any of it. Of course, that already happens but I wonder how many stumbling in here aren’t enticed to investigate further because it’s just not so obvious where and how to access the best relevant information.

Of course, a beginner’s guide or ebook would help. Also, a much more formalized section of testimonials from readers.

So, just a brief update on what I’m thinking about. There are a lot of blogs out there, now, and most seem to be focussed on providing ongoing information to the already established paleosphere. But I get a lot of random traffic here from Google and other places and it seems to me that regular posts exclusively of interest to beginners might be called for without being to much of a bore for the old timers.

Suggestions in comments are certainly welcome.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Kat on August 26, 2010 at 10:50

    One thing you could add is a “New here?” page with some information for newbies, links to start up guides, or any posts you have written that would be helpful.

    Writing a few posts for ‘beginners’ might be useful but they’ll quickly get lost. A page would be more prominent upon visiting this site.

  2. TPSW on August 26, 2010 at 10:41

    A more formalized testimonial section and a paleo/primal cooking section, both with imagery, are good places to make an impression on individuals curious about this way of eating. You are especially good at making this type of food look wonderful and doable. Of course a beginner’s guide would be a necessary next step for newbies to access.

  3. David Nikoley on August 26, 2010 at 10:56

    I mentioned this the other day over diner and drinks that I think a “beginner button” would help the newbie navigate to an outline of necessary information to get started. This would include essential links in describing the paleo lifestyle, testimonials, recipes ect….

  4. jamesmooney on August 26, 2010 at 11:41

    You are doing FINE!!!!!!! updates on your own personal progress, theories, and experiments are what motivates many to try this stuff! Tons of people get intrigued by this lifestyle, but don’t think it is possible to “live” this way. It is your blog that keeps people going. This is a lifestyle, and sometimes life meanders, until it doesn’t and that’s when you post some great stuff. . . either way, it never ends.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 26, 2010 at 12:35

      That’s a really keen perspective, James. Thanks for that. Yea, I suppose that in large part this blog really shows how someone actually lives it, for real.

    • Flying Burrito on August 26, 2010 at 13:14

      Richard, I concur with James and continue to dig what you’re putting down, brother. And some of us live where there are very few Paleo types around to kvetch about caveman stuff so it’s nice to have an online community for support and sustenance. Between you, Sisson, Karen De Coster and John Durant at Hunter-Gatherer.Com all my GROK shopping needs are represented. That being said, don’t force it.

  5. Lute Nikoley on August 26, 2010 at 12:21

    Yeah, I also think that a menu button for newcomers to paleo lifestyle would be he helpful to those just starting out doing paleo and not knowing where or how to get started.

  6. Dan on August 26, 2010 at 13:06

    Sounds good just don’t forget us when your famous

  7. Phillip on August 26, 2010 at 14:29

    what James said, I like your blog meandering around, food or exercise or drug companies, or whatever, it’s all motivating and helpful.

  8. Mike K on August 26, 2010 at 14:32

    40 lbs ago I started searching for a common sense approach to health and fitness. My boss, who is a lifelong athlete had a heart attack at 55 years of age. I am 7 years younger, that will get your attention. Your blog, MDA and others got my attention, and I have never turned back. If it ain’t broke… I do like the links for newbies though.

  9. ben on August 26, 2010 at 15:43

    I have to say that change is good in general, but i wouldnt be too worried if i were you. There are a bunch of sites like Sisson’s etc that are truly, honestly really really good for beginners. As far as how-tos, etc. I think of your blog as more of a free-for-all, not-necessarily-rulebook kinda site. Im perhaps not being too clear, but i suppose i just like having your site for what it is. There are others for other reasons but your is good the way it is. It may be a wee bit better for those-in-the-know already but thats OK i think. Preaching to converted is an important part of any movement. Whatever you decide to do, keep the attitude:)

  10. julianne on August 26, 2010 at 16:02

    Perhaps you could have a get started button, and then have a series of links so newbies know where to find beginners info.

    Many of us who read your blog already read blogs and sites like Cordain, Sisson, Robb Wolf etc. But newbies would not necessarily know what direction to head to find the basics and how to stuff.
    You could under a beginners button have info or links to information on:
    Theory – Why Paleo eating works
    Practice – what are the principles
    Practical – What to eat, how much to eat, supplements (e.g.O-3 and vit D) and recipes
    Testimonials and results – what others achieve so you know what’s possible
    Pitfalls and problems – what can go wrong and how to tweak it

    (I’ve been slowly putting this together on my site – it started off for my New Zealand clients as a resource, it’s still a bit rough – a bit of work to do yet)

    Of course sites like have already collated a huge number of paleo websites links.


  11. abby on August 26, 2010 at 17:29

    I always send people to panu 12 steps. Having a get started page with all the basics laid out, is a great idea.

  12. TeraNewton on August 26, 2010 at 17:40

    Honestly, anything is good. You’re one of my favorite bloggers in the “Paleosphere” (ugh I hate that term) for two reasons: you’re prolific (I love catching up on posts when I haven’t checked FTA in a few days) and I love your writing style/sense of humor/sarcasm/anger. I say go ahead and make some “Beginner’s” posts because it certainly won’t hurt.

  13. jamesmooney on August 26, 2010 at 18:43

    @Mike K – Not broke!!! No need to fix it! I think it is that initial “rush” of rapid weight loss and well being that gets you – but as George Carlin said, life is boring – you get up, you go to work …etc. It is really hard for beginners to grasp the thought that you can live this way. To often, we are told that this is a “diet” and once you get to a good point, you quit and go back off the deep end, hence the yo-yo diet. You CAN live this way, and all it takes is someone who is willing to document this through a blog to show people this. It is not always going to be a revelation everyday, if people are looking for that then they need something else in their lives, this is real life! Anyhow, this is the first, and last blog I check everyday, just to see what’s up, and I have come here since RN posted on Art Devany’s site about eating giant rib steaks years ago. Good writing is good writing. Post studies, post pics, post rants, post whatever! I come here everyday because I believe in the message, I don’t have my own blog, it is interesting and informative. Not to mention, RN has stuck to the unofficial rule of a successful blog, HE POSTS NEARLY EVERY DAY! Unlike anybody else in the “paleosphere”, and he doesn’t charge 50 bucks a year like some (which I have elected not to renew). Yeah posts about diet and health can get boring to some – so fuck it! Link to a Nassim Taleb article or something! I come here at a minimum of twice a day and never know what I am going to get, music, a rant, progress pics etc. either way, it keeps me on the straight and narrow, and I may have even converted a few people along the way! Anyhow, I am not a prolific “paleo poster” but am on all the sites and blogs, and probably won’t post for another year or so . . . . I say keep up whatever it is you are doing, and people will find you! The ones that become interested will hit your links and then eventually start finding things themselves. . . great thing about the bookmarks tab on the computer!

  14. anonymous chris on August 26, 2010 at 19:37

    What is uniquely attractive about your blog isn’t necessarily the info but the style. Style isn’t even the right word; Je ne sais quoi. Your writing strikes an interesting balance between raw, alpha-male machismo and erudite, examined-life.

    A PaNu like “get started” or an MDA type “Primal Blueprint 101” button couldn’t hurt but IMHO it’s your bold honesty and fearless curiosity in the context of evolutionary fitness and individual liberty/responsibility that keeps me reading and recommending FTA.

    My $.02

  15. Bill Strahan on August 26, 2010 at 20:01

    I’ve given this some thought as well. Haven’t figured out how to reach the masses, but I do keep my before and current pics on my iPhone to share with people who think my crazy diet couldn’t possibly work. It’s fun to point to my 230 pound picture and say “bread and butter” then point to my 195 pound picture and say “just butter.” It makes me laugh, anyway.

    And it comes up a lot. Special requests at restaurants, in conversation with friends and friends of friends. But not enough to make an impact. Which got me to thinking about those old bumper stickers, the “Lose weight now, ask me how” things.

    I’d like to make a t-shirt that just says “70% of my calories comes from fat. Ask me why.” and see how many people inquire. I’d be prepared with some business cards to point to my website and give some info on one side, along with a flipside that listed your site, paleonu, robbwolf, etc etc.

    Not sure how many I’d reach but it would be interesting to see what happened. I’ll keep thinking on how you take that approach to the electronic world where you can reach so many more…

  16. hans keer on August 26, 2010 at 23:41

    The oldest post are often more relevant. So I’m investing a possibility to offer my readers to sort the posts back to front. Also I’m looking at the possibility to divide the blog in a structured “educational” part and a traditional blog part. Furthermore the thought of a merger with some interesting bloggers passed my mind, join forces and make it really good and effective. VBR Hans

  17. chyshree on August 27, 2010 at 00:40

    I have to agree with several others that this blog is great as it is.
    I stumbled over here doing some research about a hair care product infomercial! I got curious, loooked through your archives, clicked a few links, and have been lurking around here for a couple months now, and slowly converting me and my family away from the SAD to a new way of life.
    I love the randomness, the vulgarity, the day to day poetry of LIVING, the everything! your blog has been easy enough to navigate as is for this newbie, and there are enough links to others who can give somebody “the rules” if that’s whatever they want.
    just my opinion, and also a chance to say thanks for having this blog, this information. I check this place for updates almost as much as I check my facebook! someday soon I hope to have one of those reader progress emails for you with photos!

  18. James M on August 27, 2010 at 01:16

    I’ll go against the grain (pun intended) and suggest that while sticking to your normal posts about living the lifestyle and the rants, don’t focus on the beginners too much. As mentioned before, there is a lot of helpful information out there for beginners. I would hate for you to put a lot of effort into creating a place for beginners with your original content, only it doesn’t get read nearly as much as you would like.

    Instead, I’ll suggest you take it up a notch. I notice your meals and workouts are a bit more extreme, so go with it. Let Sisson have his Blueprint; you Free the Animal and rip the Blueprint to shreds. Niches seem to be all the rage today and I think you could easily slot yourself into a niche within the paleo/primal movement instead of contributing to the whole. I want to know more about your MovNat experiences, more Ginormous meals, more workouts.

  19. Aaron Curl on August 27, 2010 at 02:37

    Maybe there is a reason people don’t find paleo, and maybe there is a reason people won’t buy into the evidence no matter how easy we make it. I’m starting to believe the stupidity of cw will be the extinction of a large mass of overpopulated and malnourished group of people. Maybe I think to much…..maybe not.

    • Paul C on August 27, 2010 at 07:47

      Does the SAD affect fertility?

  20. Janice H on August 27, 2010 at 03:19

    I agree that I do like to come on here to see what your progress is, what you ate, etc. Yet, I do agree that having a button or link for beginners on how to get started to get where you are would be great. So then you know how to start but there also is the motivation of watching your progress.
    I loved your post on what our fitness/health dreams and goals are. I’ve been thinking alot about that recently. I had started living a more paleo lifestyle about a year ago and then recently found out I have celiac disease. I don’t want to settle for just being gluten free, I’ve realized even at 53 I could have bigger goals then that. I haven’t started the fitness side of things but would love to not only get stronger but to get really fit. I love to watch your progress but I have say as far as the strength part of it that’s where I struggle with how to get started especially if you are not in great shape currently.

  21. Jeff on August 27, 2010 at 04:59


    I started reading your blog after going primal. I think having a beginner’s page with some basic links to earlier posts, and possibly to Mark’s Daily Apple’s beginner page (and similar ones) would be ideal (perhaps with a disclaimer that you have tweaked it for what works for you!) Then, keep doing what you are doing on the rest of the blog. I read you for the food porn, your exercise etc, not for basic information. You’re much more than that! I love your outlook on things, not because you are a purveyor of lots of primal/paleo information (although you are that as well).

    Best regards,

  22. Matthew on August 27, 2010 at 05:18

    I think it’s a pretty splendid idea Richard. I think we can all use a review of the basics from time to time, helps to keep you focused.

  23. pecanmike on August 27, 2010 at 06:27

    Personally I think your blog hits a good mix. For a non beginner with no paleo feeders around me, your views help strenghen my resolve and makes me laugh at the ridiculous bullshit I see around me every day. There are so many paleo type blogs now about the fundimentals that honestly get a little boring after a while. I always read you because being a little pissed off motivates me. Plus were both in our late 40’s and I can relate.

  24. Richard Nikoley on August 27, 2010 at 07:07

    Too many great comments to take on individually. You’ve all given me a good deal of confidence in largely keeping things as they are and just tightening up info for beginners a bit. So that’s what I’ll do.

  25. Anthony Michael on August 27, 2010 at 10:26

    I like the email offer you presented, Richard. Reminds me of the Nigerian email scam.

    Dude, my two scents: keep on keeping on…without overthinking it. I am drawn to your blog by both your personal style and the eclectic nature of your posts (discovering and MovNat through your blog trulychanged my entire approach to life).

    Just do what comes naturally and see where it takes you.

    • Anthony Michael on August 27, 2010 at 10:28


  26. jr on August 27, 2010 at 18:03

    There are a lot of crappy paleo/primal blogs out there. This isnt one of them. Please just keep doing what you are doing, this is a great place.

  27. Walter Norris on August 27, 2010 at 19:18

    I think you came to the right conclusion when you said “largely keeping things as they are and just tightening up info for beginners a bit.” Find away to keep the passion. Within my Health & Fitness folder I have a Rarely Posts folder and I’m going to have to move some more blogs to it (only check those once a week or once a month). It would be a shame as another commenter indicated if you posted infrequently.

  28. Mick Solomons on August 27, 2010 at 19:49

    Like Richard I’ve thought for a long time that a simple, free and easy to read intro to Paleo is really needed. So I wrote a book just like this, and have released it for Free at

    If you’re friends are a bit skeptical or want an easy to read “How-To” guide then it should do the trick.

    I’d love to hear your feedback on the book too, good, bad or ugly please send it to me at


    Mick Solomons

  29. Mick Solomons on August 29, 2010 at 18:19

    yes sorry it is

    Thanks Richard.

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