A Call Out to All Paleo Bloggers: The Key To Your Success Is in You

Let me get this out of the way: This is a 16-something minute video by me, sitting at my desk, doing various camera gyrations from time-to-time, not  to annoy, but generally trying to make it prescient and entertaining — but I’m not an entertainer so what the fuck do I know? It’s about paleo bloggers, those trying to make a mark, which I salute, endorse, encourage. Nonetheless, it’s 16 minutes…

Having edited it only slightly and then watched it a couple of times to make sure it wouldn’t be totally fucked from a production standpoint — and what the fuck would I know about that? — I finally uploaded it with much fear & loathing.

But I di it in spite of the fear and loathing, which is the essential theme of the video, if you make it to the very end.

Exclusive: Paleo Bloggers from Richard Nikoley on Vimeo.

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. Paleo Rob on October 26, 2010 at 22:11

    Hunter S. Nikoley.

    Totally right mate. Too many bloody perfectionists out there makes it feel so impersonal. Paleo-God’s forbid that you mention something that slightly doesnt fall into the approved paleo dogma.

    Great video mate.

    • Jason on October 27, 2010 at 01:48

      I think you’re right. Specifically, I think it has to do with authenticity. This is not just regarding a blog, but is true of most things. When I am looking for something to read, hear, watch.. I don’t look just for information. If I want pure facts or lists as you say in the vid, then I can get it anywhere since the internet has, pretty much, all human knowledge. Rather, what I’m looking for, and what I suspect most people are as well, is someone who seems genuine and authentic (what you see is what you get), as well as someone doing something a bit unique or in a unique manner, and who seems to be doing what they want to do and what interests them. You seem to fill the bill in all these areas and though I am a new visitor to this blog I do enjoy it and the links are also good and informative, so thanks.

      • julianne on October 27, 2010 at 21:28

        Damn, i just can’t bring myself to drop f-bombs online!

        Thanks for the encouragement, as one of the squizillian new paleo bloggers out here. Must be because eating paleo makes such and f..ing amazing difference in life and health – it’s just hard to shut up about it.

        I just blogged about me – and getting rid of my seriously horrible monthly girly problems (used to be doubled in pain and puking every month – no more) and my 78 year old mum’s amazing improvement in her auto-immune lung condition.

        It’s great to get a range of unique voices out there in paleo blogging land, I learn a lot that helps me in my nutrition practice in New Zealand, both from personal stories, successes and journeys and the more sciencey blogs. And I don’t feel so alone stuck on this Island at the far end of the Pacific.

  2. MichaelF on October 27, 2010 at 04:25

    Off topic but awesome.


    Don’t know if you’ve seen this, Charles Washington, from Zeroing in on Health, blogged about it below.

    My opinion, if Hollywood finds out Kellogs is done!

  3. NomadicNeill on October 27, 2010 at 12:53

    Many people have this fear of being authentic, both online and in real life. The funny thing is that once you stop caring about what people think of you and are prepared to piss some people off you’ll actually find many more people connecting with you and loving what you do.

    Your blog is one of the one’s I recommend people look at if they want to learn how to communicate more authentically online. But it’s not a gimmick you have to put your real self out there.

  4. Alex on October 27, 2010 at 02:28

    “Remember to drop a few f-bombs – or at least a bullshit now and again”

    Words to live by for sure, for what’s life without a bit of profanity?

  5. Victoria on October 27, 2010 at 05:24

    “Here’s some principles… Here’s some facts… Integrate them!!”

    Thank you!

  6. Kevin Holbrook on October 27, 2010 at 05:54

    Loud and fucking clear.

  7. Jonathan on October 27, 2010 at 06:22

    “don’t have the lighting”

    Lighting would probably be ok if you closed the blinds behind you. It’s all about the contrast. Or you could leave the blinds open and use one or two cheap daylight fluorescents beside the camera.

  8. ben on October 27, 2010 at 06:28

    i agree with your sentiment. Im pretty active on paleohacks.com and even there recently in the last maybe one or two months there has been a flood of diet-seekers. People asking stuff like, “Is this allowed on paleo?” “Is this food paleo?” “How much chocolate can i eat on paleo?” etc etc. I usually stay quiet but i do agree with you that its about the principle! The underlying idea that we evolved on certain foods, here are those foods pretty much. Eat them. Lift some heavy stuff. Sleep more than you do. Done. Be happy and go on with your life!

  9. Daniel Merk on October 27, 2010 at 06:39


    Great video. I hung on till the end. I’ve been reading your site and tweets for quite some time. Great stuff. I’ve been keeping blogs myself since 96 and have cultivated it into my fitness lifestyle blog. I learned about you from Mark Sisson last year, so you might want to clink a glass to him.

    My site is not about arguing what is paleo vs what is not paleo rather its a site where you can follow my lifestyle to see how easy it is to give a shit about yourself and do work. There are plenty of great sites like yours that educate us about real nutrition. Keep things going and keep saying “fuck” and lifting heavy.

    Rock on.

  10. David Csonka on October 27, 2010 at 07:07

    What you said about fear was especially poignant to me as last night I found out that I’m going to be moving across the country before the end of the year (fiancee new job). The idea of leaving my home and a certain amount of security in an uncertain time has filled me with quite a bit dread in the last few months.

    But now that I look at it from a different angle, I suppose this could be a great opportunity. Specifically, I think it could be a big catalyst for me to focus more on doing the things that matter to me like getting outdoors and working on my new blog. Thanks for keeping it real – your frank attitude and perspective was a real kick in the head; one that I think I needed.

  11. R Dunn on October 27, 2010 at 07:36

    After the thousandth person told me I should have a blog and I said “no way, ” a name for one immediately popped into my head. Then I figured that there were about a thousand things to write about.

    The whole paleo thing is still kinda new to me. Six months in it’s all working out great. Still, I don’t think I would have much to contribute. I don’t see a need for another blog that chronicles how someone lost 60 lbs but wonders why their teeth still didn’t grow back in.

    My interests are diverse so an occasional paleo thing might crop up.

    More than likely I would probably write about things like “how I tried to get super powers by eating radioactive snow. or “hey, maybe the whole natural rights thing is bullshit.” or “5 easy ways to get out of your parent’s basement and air condition the attic.”

    I haven’t made a decision yet, but having a blog is a damn intriguing idea.

    In the mean time, I can always come to places like this.
    (Has anyone been banned for being too stupid yet?)

  12. JP on October 27, 2010 at 07:51

    Nice video,

    And actually, it’s pretty funny. I think last month or so I bloggued about how I was tired to write about what people want to read and not about what I want to say! My posts have not been as frequent (due to school and due to the fact that I pick better subject IMO), but I now go for what fancy me. It did help my traffic… But, the most important thing that happened is that it kept me interested in blogguing. I definitely agree with everything you said. Nicely put, too.

    As a side note, do more videos. All of your videos are way too funny IMO.

    Have a good day Richard.

  13. Mallory on October 27, 2010 at 08:49

    hahah this is great …. i have done the same thing you advocate on my blog. i really piss off my readers about eating disorder recovery laying out the truth for them. i lay the grounds of primal but there but i do not give any specifics because as you said everyone needs to ‘find out for their fucking selves” and it is SOO true… i have people hark on my in emails, on comments and in their own blogs, and i keep at it. i had a reader yesterday ask how i emotionally deal with the criticisim…and i was like are you f-ing serious it doesnt matter ONE bit what someone else thinks about me or what i do! but either way….they keep reading lol

    ps- i think you convinced me to just do a video and show ‘who i am’ because i am a bit shy about my personal life, but maybe it will show my attitude.

  14. octogon on October 27, 2010 at 09:16

    Great video…you are absolutely right, people want something unique and they want to hear it from the heart. I’ve been surfing the community of paleo blogs for a couple of months now and what I like most about it is the variety, I go to different blogs for different things, for their different characters. This blog is a fantastic mix of information and entertainment and I love to hear some dude spouting off about all the bullshit that most people just let fly. It’s cathartic, it’s entertaining, and I don’t give a shit if you don’t have good lighting. I think people rely on polish because they don’t really have anything interesting to say so they make it look and seem authoritative. You, on the other hand, are just some guy, some guy who doesn’t give a shit, and that is unfortunately so rare these days, but it is inspiring. But somehow that attitude of not giving a shit is what indicates, to my mind at least, when someone actually does give a shit, and isn’t in it to sneak their hand into your wallet or something. So keep it up, it’s awesome that your readership is growing so much and I’m sure it will only continue to do so.

  15. michael on October 27, 2010 at 09:50

    You are always spot on target Richard. Fuck!! How do you do it?

  16. Skyler Tanner on October 27, 2010 at 10:40

    We just sent out a newsletter which directs clients to check out my blog. I’m going to include a fuck-filled rant about the ineptitude of some of their thoughts just to let them know that I’m exactly the same person they get on a weekly basis.


  17. Mountain Dew on October 27, 2010 at 11:20

    From a production stand-point, Grok never had the lightsource behind him when videotaping himself. He should be spinning in his grave right about now Richard!

    ::waving fist::

  18. Tommy on October 27, 2010 at 13:38

    You have to be yourself…who you truly are…because if you don’t, sooner or later you will be caught “out of character,” and once that happens you lose it all. You will be thought a fool.

    I have a comfort level these days in not caring what people think. I see the inexperienced trying to put up a front. They are insecure an believe they have to put on this character to appeal to others or to out do them or whatever. There was a time I wouldn’t let anyone even look at me wrong. Now, I have the inexperienced ask, ” did you hear what he said? Are you going to let him get away with that?”
    Yes, I am. He’ll get his someday….but not by my hand. I have nothing left to prove in my life. I have proved myself many times and it is well known. I’ve known respect and honor. I can walk away easily now and with a smile….because I know. It matters not what others “think.” What matters now is what I “know” to be the truth.

  19. james on October 27, 2010 at 14:09

    could you maybe make a “10 ways to get original” post?

  20. Jim Arkus on October 27, 2010 at 15:47

    I made it all the way to the end.

    Loved it.

  21. Joseph on October 27, 2010 at 17:47

    For me, one of the most interesting things about the paleo journey is its emphasis on the self. I became aware of ancestral nutrition (and Richard’s “paleosphere”) right around the same time I learned to dissociate my “self” from a corporate stereotype (a company “self”) I had been wearing almost my whole life (despite the fact that it really did not fit very well all the time).

    As some have already pointed out elsewhere (including on this blog), ancestral nutrition is more than what most people think of when they here the word “diet” (what you eat, when you eat): it is an entire philosophy of living, with all kinds of room for exploration and (individualized) accommodation. It is all about organizing the complex bundle of systems in balance that we human beings deal with every day, systems that most of us (and that includes the “paleos” — among whom I will count myself, though I am no evangelist) are only barely aware of. I think all of us stand to benefit as more of us take the trouble to develop authentic “selves” and share them without caring too much who cheers or boos. (It’s just a bunch of apes yelling either way, right?)

    Thanks for another great video, Richard.

  22. Mike on October 28, 2010 at 09:11

    Damn you Richard! You might as well have emailed me direct. At such an appropriate time too as I’m just starting out. Your post really bothered me for several hours until I did something about it:

    Keep the video stuff going btw.

  23. Gen Thade on October 27, 2010 at 21:07

    Hey Richard, you look a lot like actor Tim Roth


    • Nathaniel on October 27, 2010 at 22:33

      I heard that Tim Roth has signed on to play Richard in the upcoming “Caveman Diet: The Movie.”

      Co-starring Gary Busey as Mark Sisson. Gary’s going to have to get in shape.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 01:53

      Free the Animal. :)

  24. Nathaniel on October 27, 2010 at 22:35

    Richard, it is kind of funny… your blog has become my Paleo Blogosphere portal. Probably because you update the most frequently. I just check your blog to see what is going on everywhere else, and if I want to read another blog I just use your blogroll for a link.

    You need to find a way to market something… you’re sitting on a goldmine!

  25. Aaron Curl on October 28, 2010 at 04:08

    You inspired me to start a blog,now I need some damn time to write. I have the about me and about my blog pages done which give you an idea of whats in my head. I’m definitely not a paleo “hipster” or any other category of paleo for that matter. I don’t jump on any bandwagons and i don’t just do things because they are cool. I do things for my self and myself only. I’ve learned a lot from you and I definitely freed my animal. Thanks Richard.

  26. gilliebean on October 29, 2010 at 08:15

    Hi Richard. Wanna keep the videos to five minutes or less? Makes them easier to digest. The first 2.5 minutes and the last 2.5 minutes from this video were the relevant bits to me. Thanks for your honesty!

  27. tite on October 30, 2010 at 15:16

    sorry didn’t make it through

    • Richard Nikoley on October 30, 2010 at 15:41

      Not a problem. 16 minutes is a lot to ask without nudity. Perhaps next time I do a 15 minute video I’ll go out and get some Porno mags and have a “commercial break” every three minutes showing some of the nicer renderings.

      I’m going to keep it to five from now on. If I can’t edit it down I’ll just do a series of posts a few days apart.

  28. Trillium on November 1, 2010 at 14:33

    I am new to this but I did go gluten free and dairy and egg free for my daughter for three years so I am not a complete light weight here. But I am getting more frustrated by what is ok and not ok. I am sorry but it is like watching a bunch of Catholics deciding which things they will follow and which things they will not. Goofy as all get out. Obviously no science either to back it up.

    I am used to trying to figure out substitutions and frankly I am tired of trying to reinvent the wheel here. I have to figure out substitutions for the substitutions!!!! It is a slippery slope.

    Is there a Paleo recipe site/blogger that takes out the nightshade plants for their recipes too? Do they actually go dairy free? Do they actually go grain and grass free? Do they go sugar and salt free? Are they actually using low fat meats? I just read where we really shouldn’t be eating avocados, pork and chicken and olive oil since they are high in Omega 6. I swear I follow and go down one Paleo road to find out it is wrong and now have to back track to what is right. Even Robb Wolf has wheat free soy sauce which is made of soy BEANS and SALT. H e advocates bacon and I have yet to find any bacon or ham without sugar or salt. Nitrate free yes and pricey. I hate to be splitting hairs here but you either do it or you don’t trying is not an outcome. Talk about a topic for your BS Fridays.

    I am waiting for Dr. Cordain’s book to come out in December where it sounds like he is also upset as to all the variations of Paleo that have sprouted up and he wants to clear the air I think he will do it with science.

    Paleo is wild for sure and so is the ride to find a good menu plan that is balanced with cost, health, availability and time.

    I am almost reluctant to change or add anything new in this already new eating lifestyle since I will be told it is a no no and have to start from scratch all over again. I am not the only one frustrated since I get the field the questions from my husband who is now asking why we can’t have this now and I have to explain how some are espousing all sorts of substitutions that are not in sync with the science. This gatherer is arrrrrrgh.

  29. YESvember « Body of Research on November 1, 2010 at 15:24

    […] got around to it for one reason or another. I had become inspired by Richard Nikoley’s post on Free The Animal, which is a great blog by the way.  Who knows, maybe i have something to […]

  30. Sheryl Blystone on November 6, 2010 at 06:02

    Thanks for the reminder, Nikoley. That’s similar to what my friend Karen De Coster (you recently met her) said as I started my blog a couple years ago.

    Since I started my blog, I’ve gone through some major lifestyle changes including divorce, school, and a change in careers. I am certainly not whining, but it’s been a challenge to set aside time for writing. Though I understand the importance of a blog and living a Paleo lifestyle.

    I have a passion for teaching, sharing, and leading by example. That is why I still pursue my personal training business as I embark on my new career in EMS and eventually nursing. I am sure I’ll be able to inspire folks in all my endeavours.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ve learned from you, been inspired by you, and I love your harsh and straight-to-the-point opinions as I visit your blog daily.

    Keep posting your exercise videos, too. They are quite fun and so I’ve decided to start recording some of my own as well.

  31. VW on November 8, 2010 at 13:00
    • Richard Nikoley on November 8, 2010 at 13:09


      We’re bullet proof.

      But you can leave that to me.

      There might be a video in this. Right up my alley….

      • VW on November 8, 2010 at 15:04


  32. Steven Thomas on November 10, 2010 at 07:43

    Damn, that was a lengthy rant but great information. This site has some great resources and will help many. I try to state factual information in everything I put out there but I think it comes off as scholarly sometimes which I think kinda sucks in most peoples eyes. I’m no perfectionist though and most of the information on my paleo recipe page is just plain basic guidelines.

    Nice work on the vid!

  33. Martyn Chamberlin on February 7, 2011 at 11:16

    Hey Richard,

    Don’t click on my name – you’ll have a heart attack if you do. This morning I published a post called 10 Straight Ways to Craft a Headline That Fails. Yep, that’s right – 10 things. Just what you preached against.

    I started watching this video a few days ago because I saw Julien Smith tweet about it. I got pissed. And I mean really PISSED. If I were writing this comment back then, it would be furious.

    I’ve given myself a few days to cool off.

    I just now finished watching the video.

    And now I wanna talk. Nice and civil like. :)

    As you said in the video, lives are interesting if you’re a good story teller. It would be difficult to find a life that’s not interesting, if you tell the story right.

    Let’s assume that all 6+ billion humans have a blog.

    Who’s gonna listen to them?

    They’ll probably have about 10 subscribers apiece.

    If all you do is have personality, sooner or later your sphere will become saturated. And let’s face it, bloggers are having to fight more and more for attention as this platform gets saturated. I’m seeing it happen, and I’m sure you are too.

    So yes, there are people like you have blogged for nearly 10 years and done well at it, and gotten a following. But percentage-wise, the people who make it “big” by writing about who they are is like 001%. I could give you countless examples of people who are only writing about themselves and their passions and their personality who have zero following. Again, I’m sure you know this too.

    Nobody gives a rip about them because they only care about themselves. If they go to a blog that’s just a Mr. Me blog, they’ll not subscribe, no matter how passionate Mr. Me is about himself.

    In other words, it’s not a guaranteed way to make a successful blog.

    So what is a surefire way to run a successful blog?

    When you teach. When you impart information. When you ship ideas. When you tell stories that relate to business, marketing, technology, or whatever the niche.

    And guess what? Humans love when this knowledge is taught systematically. In other words, numbered posts are extremely popular because – gasp – they work. Humans love it when you cut out the fat and give them numbered posts.

    I understand your frustration – a lot of amateur bloggers drive that idea into the ground and mess it up. But that doesn’t mean you throw out the baby with the bath water, does it?

    My blog’s only 10 days old, but I’m already getting subscribers and people saying how helpful my posts are. Given enough years of consistent hard work, my blog will take off. Will I have passion and personality? Well, personality comes across automatically, so long as you don’t stifle it. So yes, it’ll have passion. But that will be a byproduct – not a goal.

    Sorry this comment is so long. But please. I want to hear what your response is. You’re a lot more experienced, and I have an open mind.

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