Bring On the Serious Paleo From Every Angle

Sitting by the pool at The Los Gatos Swim & Racquet Club enjoying the sun, the cool water, people of all age and gender who look like a human animal ought to look, reflecting on my recent experience at The 21 Convention, looking forward to The Ancestral Health Symposium, and feeling as though I’m recapturing an excitement and enthusiasm for That Paleo Thing I was beginning to fear was lost for good.

I suppose the secret to that is I don’t really think of it as “Paleo” as much as I do the appropriate diet, movement, exercise, sleep, sex, mindset, philosophy, relationships, social behavior and thought processes of the human animal in an evolutionary context; and Freeing that Animal from the stifling, stagnating domestication of the CHAFO (Concentrated Human Animal Feeding Operation) that involves not only the fattening up and disease process, but the mind poisoning that is the result of Neolithic toxins such as organized religion and ant hill collectivism in politics.

So let’s move forward on all of these topics, shall we, over time?

Something else that seems to have had a profound effect on my overall attitude and enthusiasm for all of this is that I stopped doing the daily eating window of fasting (8pm to noon) and am on my 2nd fast in the old way: 30 hours, lunch to dinner the next day. It’s been 28 hours now since I had a lunch of hanger steak, eggs sunny side up, and sautéed vegetables with Keith Norris and Jolly (and his SO), a reader of this blog who did the still photography for The 21 Convention and who will also be doing it for AHS. He’s a very delightful, smiling and positive influence — Jolly — so those of you going next week, be sure to go over and chat him up. You won’t regret it. He was one of the first to introduce himself to me in Orlando and it was really a joy talking to him over those two days.

Meanwhile, Keith Norris is the archetype of “the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.” We were brothers in arms those whole two days and it was an absolute joy meeting him and hanging out. And he is just as lean and rock solid as his pictures show.

The 21 Convention turned out to far exceed expectations for me. I hit on on everything very, very hard. An hour.25 presentation, I used up every second and then some, and I held back not a whit. I hit the religion and politics just as hard, just as ridiculing as I do here, and I had many come up to me and thank me for making them think, helping them, and letting me know I helped get them started on resolving things that have been bugging them.

That’s no surprise to me. They are far less invested in a failed Neolithic system of domination, domestication and trying to live at the expense of everyone else than are older people with families, a big mortgage, two-car payment and stressful careers, times two. If they ever wanted to make a move, now is the prime time. That was part of the message: NOW, gentlemen.

I’ll let y’all know when the video comes out.

As to AHS, I now have a clearer path to the nuts & bolts of talking about self experimentation. I’m going to hit on the religion and politics there, too, but from a slightly different angle. Come see, watch online, or see it later. I’m chomping at the bit, now.

It’s also time to confess my “sins” to the only entities I’d ever give a fuck about doing so: you readers. From the time of my cervical vertebrae injury last December, I put on about 15 pounds simply because being in chronic pain, I didn’t give a shit (it was actually even worse than that, mentally, for a long time). The lowest I got in weight through this whole process was 175, but I didn’t feel so right initially and got back up to a 180-185 range before embarking on Leangains. By the time of the injury I was in the 175-180 range again, but had packed on a good amount of lean, so I was leaner and felt really good. But through the pain and not giving much of a shit, I went back to a 190-195 range. I was able to hold it there, and adding carbs may have had something to do with that, ironically. I stopped further gain.

In the last couple of weeks or so, by employing the new fasting method coupled with eating big protein before the fast and to break the fast, I’ve taken off 10 of those gained pounds (back to 180-185). Now I have a solid goal and am just as enthusiastic as ever, in spite of my pain coming back a few weeks ago after working overhead for a day cleaning ceiling fans and lights getting my cabin ready to be a vacation rental (which is going very, very well in terms of bookings). I didn’t freak out, and it gets better by the day with minor ups & downs.

OK then. Onward. I’m going to go make a chicken and cod Thai green curry with some crunchy veggies to break my fast. I’ll post a pic to the FTA Facebook Page and to my Twitter account.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. Katelyn on July 25, 2011 at 18:42

    Glad to hear you are enthusiastic again, Richard! I love your work.

  2. Jay on July 25, 2011 at 19:08

    Can you shed any more detail on your new fasting? How often do you plan on doing this? How does it fit in with your workout schedule these days?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 25, 2011 at 19:15

      Jay, exactly what got me here in the first place: 2 x per week, reevaluate once I get to the 160-165 range. In all likelihood cut back to 1 x per week.

      Working out 2x per week, at the swim club and that will continue indefinitely. 20-30 minutes, heavy.

  3. Jay on July 25, 2011 at 19:44

    Ah, I hadn’t realized you had done 30 hour fasts before, I may have missed some posts. Is there any more information available on the blog? Are you following any guidelines for when you are eating, or just basically eating whatever you normally did, and then not eating after lunch on day one through dinner on day two? Do you try to do this on specific (ie, non workout days)?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 25, 2011 at 19:55

      Jay, search the blog for fasting and intermittent fasting. That should scoop up everything from way back. Yea, I was big into it and it contributed greatly to initial weight loss.

  4. Jay on July 25, 2011 at 19:59

    I guess I’m a bit of a newcomer, I’ll definitely do that and see what I can dig up. I think you had just started talking about your leangains experiment when I came on board – which leads me to one last question (if I may) which may not be addressed in the prior posts – what is it about about your original way do you like better?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 25, 2011 at 20:08

      Jay, it’s one of those things intensely personal and thus difficult to explain. I really got addicted to those 2x per week fasts n many facets. I loved being in a deeply fasted state and loved eating ad lbitum otherwise.

      I had kind of lost sight of the fact by doing it daily. Dinner still isn’t ready and I’m over 31 hours in and feel on top of the world.

      • Matthew on July 26, 2011 at 06:35

        Ah the old days… day long fasts… u thinking of bringing back the ice baths also at your new spa????

        Personally I enjoy that method of fasting better also.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:11

        They don’t have a cold plunge there, but I do spend a goodly amount of time in the pool. It’s not that cold, but it does put a chill on if you stay in for 15 minutes or so.

  5. Chris Tamme on July 26, 2011 at 10:30

    My thoughts on Paleo/Primal have been leaning the same way in the past few weeks. It is less doing like cavemen did and more doing what is healthy. I have stopped trying to convince others that living Paleo is healthy and have changed my rants to eating good whole nutritious foods while lifting heavy and moving around is best.

    I have been doing the daily IF for the past 2 years and find it so easy that I don’t want to change. Even when I tried to stop I still found that I didn’t want breakfast. I do enjoy the occasional 24 hour fast but it is only when I miss lunch.

    Your new found enthusiasm is coming through in your writing. Keep it up.

  6. Daniel on July 25, 2011 at 21:20

    Wow that second paragraph is so incredibly jam-packed with awesomeness. I read it like ten times and my head is still spinning. You nailed it- that is really what it’s all about.

  7. Chris on July 25, 2011 at 23:38

    This is very similar to my experience – I used to do one weekly 40 hour fast (dinner Sunday to lunch Tuesday), and found it quite enjoyable. The I switched back to daily 16 hour fasts, and gained some weight back. Two months ago I went halfway between the two and now twice a week do a 24 hour fast – from dinner one night to dinner the next. Unbelievably easy, and the gained weight is coming off again.

  8. Steve on July 25, 2011 at 23:49

    Glad you had a great time at the convention, I look forward to this new direction you are going in. As a sort of political junkie, I hope you do talk more about your views on now largely ignoring politics
    (if I remember right, you started off as a sort of political blogger, didn’t you?). I am sure it would give me much to think about, as the few political oriented posts I have seen you do have made me feel a bit…defensive about my interest in the whole process. I think that is probably a good thing, definitely makes me consider why I feel/believe what I do.
    You just really summed something up for me while confessing your sins, something I will probably ponder on more. One reason we can not recreate the Paleo, why trying to ….sell? …. this viewpoint to a broader audience won’t work. You gained weight because you “didn’t give a shit”. Being paleo, whatever that means to you, requires you to give a shit. Paleo man did not have to want to live the way he did, he had no choice. He didn’t care what his mid-line looked like, if his pants were getting tighter, how obsessed his wife was with the hot new 25 year old movie star. He was just trying to stay alive. I have to give a shit enough to want to pass up that refined carb, franken oil treat that is my temptation, for the rest of my life. It is a huge mental effort to pass on the modern comforts that may improve my well being in the long run. When I feel off the wagon a few years ago and put back on 30 pounds, I well knew the implications, what I was giving up, I just didn’t give a shit. I wanted to eat that moon-pie from the candy cart at work. And, for me at least, once I was a sinner, fuck it, I sinned, might as well go to hell in style, give me a second moon-pie too. And I will pick up some donuts on the way home, what the hell. Part of that is just the way I work, if I can’t do it perfect, why do it at all, that I need to change. But I think part of it is the pale-as-a religion attitude I may have had too. I realize the implications of having to give a shit are not a big revelation to anyone, but this was a long-winded way of saying thanks, the way you expressed that idea and how it affected your journey will, I think, help me as I get back on track to stay on track, to not kick myself if I sin, and realize I am doing this because I WANT to, not because a lot of really smart bloggers like yourself have made me realize it is what I should do. Thanks!

    • rob on July 26, 2011 at 05:39

      Re giving a shit, I have found it is a lot easier now that I am getting older, I try to keep in the back of my mind how many GOOD years I have left and it keeps me from just letting the days go by. It’s harder when you’re younger because you still have forever in front of you, the clock isn’t ticking yet.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:06

      Steve, yep, politics and culture from 2003 on. Began plaeo blogging 2007, mixed with the other stuff until gong exclusive in 2009 I think it was. Now I’m reintroducing some of the politics & culture, but from an evolutionary slant. Gotta keep changing it up.

      • Steve on July 26, 2011 at 10:21

        Well, if you weren’t changing it up, I think that would mean you weren’t learning, thinking and growing. And that would be boring as hell, which you aren’t.

  9. Sean on July 26, 2011 at 03:55

    Richard’s all fired up. Groovy.

    I wonder if conformity is a neolithic toxin? I think there’s something to this farmer/forager thing Robin Hanson was banging on about (apparently from Sex at Dawn), but I believe the farmer/forager divide (if it exists) is really about statism vs individualism.

    Individualism is a relative thing, of course. It’s a lot easier to be iconoclastic or ignore the mainstream when you can ‘meet’ like minded individuals on the internet who might live halfway across the world from you. In other words, its a lot easier to have confidence in thinking for oneself when one can can interact with others who do the same. I don’t see this as a paradox (ie, it’s a lot easier to be an individualist when one is around other individualists).

    And this is why the internet rulez!!!

    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 05:38

      I absolutely agree, Sean. I never try to take individualism to a point beyond the fact that we are social animals. I just don’t thnk we’re ants & bees. We evolved in small groups where each member can account for each other member and give & take was not only part of the equation but real and meaningful.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 05:39

        Real and meaningful on an _individual_ level, I should say.

      • Sean on July 26, 2011 at 06:07

        Yeah, we are social animals with a propensity for individualism.

        At its very best this combination is extremely powerful, ie, the Renaissance and this modern backlash we have against State-sponsored lipophobia and animal flesh. The Renaissance was much more profound and happened much more slowly, thanks partly to the fact that information was transmitted by donkey. But the basic idea, an exchange of ideas among individualist thinkers, is roughly similar and is profoundly important, in my opinion.

      • ulfr on July 26, 2011 at 14:53

        This whole CHAFO, “Neolithic toxins” and ant hill collectivism thing is perfect. For me it goes way beyond just what you eat, working out, etc. As much as I find these issues, individualism, and society in general fascinating, I also find myself disgusted with zoo existence and where this all seems to be headed at an increasing rate. Really looking forward to reading about the evolutionary slant and what you have to say Richard.

        All I can say is that I’m just really thankful to have found Free the Animal and Erwan le Corre. Thanks to the internet!!

  10. Jules on July 26, 2011 at 05:36

    Woohoo, looking forward to your talk at AHS!

  11. Curmujeon on July 26, 2011 at 05:41

    Did my second 24 hour fast–dinner to dinner. Decided to do that to bust off of the weight loss plateau. Did the colonoscopy fast last month and didn’t feel so hungry like others told me I would. The purging wasn’t so bad, like they said since I knew what was coming and accepted it for what it was. These times I fasted, did my workout then fixed and ate dinner. Lost 4 pounds since last week. Toying with the idea of eating when the dogs eat–after I get home from work, every day for a week. Use my lunch break to take a stroll and make the other workers more curious about what I eat. Nobody else really gives a shit what I eat. Usually the other human feeds the dogs when I get home later. They usually wait until I get home and add the tbsp of bacon grease or other fat that the other doesn’t give them. The other would disapprove of the fat since she’s a WW. I’ll have to read up on your fasting posts. Next week’s kinda weird. Cardioversion on Tuesday, so I don’t eat until lunch or maybe dinner. Theme park with the grandkids the next day. I plan for a big breakfast before leaving the house and just do water/coffee until we get home late. I’m sure the others will have to stop for lunch on the expensive theme park junk. Maybe WW will want to take lunch for outside the park and I can take some jerky and vegies.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:09

      I realized last night why I prefer the big fasts and that’s because I eat totally ad libitum all the other days, whenever I want, whenever I’m hungry.

  12. Tim/RHM on July 26, 2011 at 07:55


    It was a pleasure to meet you and talk with you at dinner Saturday night.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:16

      Tim, it was so inspiring to see your progress continue. I’d just watched your presentation from 2010 and had looked at 2009 to see that big jump and Saturday night you were looking better than ever. Getting older, and getting better, that’s the way to do it.

  13. Caveman Home Companion on July 26, 2011 at 10:16

    I don’t fast, but I also only eat one time a day. Your thoughts?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:20

      I’m not a fan of one meal per day. That’s not to say it can’t work for some but I have seen people get into a rut. Basically, I want to avoid chronic anything, doing the same thing all the time. But if it works for you, then go for it.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 26, 2011 at 10:21

      Also, I would consider a one meal per day a daily 23 hour fast, unless you snack during those other 23 hours.

  14. Chris on July 26, 2011 at 12:47

    What I found pretty cool?

    You now know at least several ways to get yourself lean.

  15. Primal Toad on July 31, 2011 at 05:21

    “I’ll let y’all know when the video comes out.”

    Does this mean videos of your 1.25 hour presentation at the 21 convention will be available? If so that simply kicks ass.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2011 at 07:22

      It’ll be online for free at some point, as well as on a DVD with all the other presentations (including Skyler Tanner & Keith Norris) for purchase.

  16. […] a note about how things are going lately in shedding the roughly 15 pound gain I reported about in this recent post. Back down to 180 as of this morning, three pounds off since AHS, and things are moving well. Some […]

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