PGP Health and Weight / Fat Loss Resources

I’ll probably end up using PGP a lot: Pretty Good Paleo. I’m not yet ready to drop the “paleo” description from my posts on health and diet. Why? Because I don’t see that paleo in any way needs to be policed. In no way does it need to be pure, approved, sanitized…or even highly accurate in all cases—gasp!

Good enough means: good enough for whom? I always find it useful to ask the question in various circumstances, to whom, and for what? When you do that, it really cuts to the chase, which is, anything one tries must work for them individually; and moreover, it ought to be a framework or system in which they find some pleasure, comfort or satisfaction in the undertaking. Or: people love things you hate, and vice-versa. Kinda makes the world of variety go round.

Why stand in anyone’s way or poopoo whatever success or satisfaction they may get from an approach that doesn’t meet your individual standards? Sure, there’s good reasons to bash outright bad approaches like SAD, low fat, vegan, food pyramid and so on. But within the general Paleo—or even LC—framework, there are a great many approaches that are PGP, and that’s fine with me. I think it’s good there are more varied approaches, not less.

So with that out of the way, here’s a list of various resources for you to check out, dismiss, try, embrace, succeed or fail with. No guarantees, but the veritable variety suggests that you might find something you really like. This by no means exhaustive or even close. Just a bunch of stuff I pulled from the grab bag this morning, as well as some old faces, to be included as well. There’s tons of stuff out there and this should give you a good idea of just how much of it is there is.

~ Jonathan Bailor has created an angel funded non-profit initiative for the purpose of ancestral nutrition education: Slim is Simple. Twitter hashtag: #SlimisSimple. Here’s the first [excellent] video they are working to get into churches, schools, etc.

~ Dr. Stephan Guyenet has gone a bit entrepreneur and I think that’s wonderful. Over time, he will be better able to evaluate the power of monetary feedback vs. academic, peer review feedback. I’m sure he’ll conclude both have their place, but perhaps one is better suited than the other in certain circumstances.

The Ideal Weight Program is a unique system for fat loss and maintenance that draws from the latest science on diet, physical activity, sleep, and behavior modification, and pairs it with engaging tools that help you define your goals and meet them.  It keeps you consistently focused on the everyday factors that really matter for fat loss, and gives you the skills you need to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes.  Based on your own goals and priorities, you can choose one of two diet strategies for the initial fat loss phase:

  • The Fat Loss and Sustainable Health (FLASH) diet, an intensive high-protein diet for rapid fat loss.
  • The Simple Food Diet, a more flexible diet based on whole, natural foods specifically selected for fat loss.  One important goal of this diet is to teach healthy cooking skills, using recipes and tips provided.

These diets are designed to naturally promote a lower calorie intake and fat loss, without requiring calorie counting.  The Ideal Weight Program also includes important physical activity and sleep components, and explains why these are so critical for fat loss and health.

Dan’s Plan

This is the ideal sort of thing for the more “specific plan” sort of person. You can sign up for free and there are enhanced programs you can purchase. You can also integrate with various devices like those you can cary with you and even a scale.

Stephan has for many years provided a wealth of free information on his blog. His blogging, particularly on the practices and health of non-industrial populations, greatly influenced me. If that’s the case for you and you find the Dan’s Plan approach to your liking, it’s one way of remunerating Stephan a bit for his work.

~ In the same category of apps and tools, Kevin Morton, a 5-year paleo success and CrossFit Trainer has developed an iPhone app you might find to your liking. It incorporates both paleo principles and Zone blocks. It’s called FoodRX and that link has the various screen shots and explanations. Here’s the iTunes link.

Over 6 years ago I began my interest in nutrition. When I was introduced to CrossFit I began learning about the zone and paleo diets, which helped me loose 30 lbs.  I thought of the app in 2008 – then called zone buddy – because I wanted an easy way to keep track my diet and have a quick & easy reference. It was cumbersome to continually search for information and it seemed to be a barrier for a lot of people I helped start on these diets. 

Changing my dietary habits largely impacted my health and influenced my decision to go to medical school following a degree in media communication.  My current interest is childhood obesity.

It costs a whopping $0.99, but Kevin has provided me with an initial five free download codes so pop yourself into comments if you’d like one, while they last (passed out in the oder the comments come in—make sure you provide a valid email address).

~ I’ve mentioned him recently, but Paul Jaminet’s newly updated and republished Perfect Health Diet very well could be the thing PGP evolves into principally (Paleo + white rice, in a nutshell). Like me, Paul is very enthusiastic about gathering information from a variety of sources and synthesizing it, not worrying too much if any particular source is completely trustworthy on all matters. Paul has to be one of the nicest guys in the whole community I’ve encountered, and I believe that’s saying a lot because there are so many great folks.

He doesn’t for a second agree with my more base antics, yet he has been very generous in pointing people my way at times. Thanks Paul. I do have a copy of his latest edition and plan to review it soon. I think it’s that important, and so does J. Stanton, who gave it a very nice review.

~ I still remember when I had lunch with Patrick in San Jose a few years back and amongst a few ideas we talked about and he pitched, PaleoHacks is what got off the ground first. It now has 40,000 paleo enthusiasts as members, and because it’s not part of anyone’s blog or forum connected to a blog, it’s pretty “anarchic.” Some love that, some hate it, but few are indifferent—as it should be.

So this is one resource where anyone can go and ask anything of the community, and get community answers. Answers could be opinion, anecdote, admonition, or a list of references. Others in the community vote up or down on answers, so if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, this could be what’s right for you.

I was, I believe, given the privilege of announcing it first and helping it to get off the ground with initial subscribers (I’m sure most on PH are not aware of that, and might be chagrined if they were—[chuckle]). I’m thrilled it has been a success.

~ For the ultimate geek and biohacker, there’s Dave Asprey, one of those people who if he didn’t exist, he would have to be invented. I’ve had the pleasure of Dave’s company a couple of times and the guy’s enthusiasm, energy, drive and geekiness are never in short supply. He’s The Bulletproof Executive.

~ Way back when, I got an email from one Stefani Ruper who had a blog I’ve forgotten the name of. She was looking for a bit of a boost which I was glad to help with (I don’t always, because I don’t have the time). She eventually suspended blogging and went back to school, then arose yet again with a Paleo blog oriented to women and some of their specific issues: Paleo For Women: Evolutionary Health, Revolutionary Womanhood. Some months back, she did a guest post here at FTA: No One’s Power but Our Own: Paleo Sexist Woes, and an Invitation to Rise Up and Roar which got a record number of Facebook Likes.

So again, this might be just the sort of variation on PGP some of you find to your liking, women in particular.

~ Angelo Coppola has had a very high production value podcast for a while now: Latest in Paleo, on the 5by5 network. It was a privilege to have been both a co-host and a guest on the program a couple of times. I really love his format for a show like that.

He’s now started a blog and I expect we’ll see the same kind of quality from him that listeners of his show have come to expect. Humans Are Not Broken. This is a takeoff from the tagline in his podcast: Humans are not broken by default. I’ve always loved that, because I’ve always felt it comes from the same basic idea as I had when I came up with Free the Animal.


I hope to do this again sometime soon. Please feel free to send an email to pitch me on including you but also, please don’t feel slighted if I don’t get back to you and you don’t see your project show up. I have limited time and I’m very subjective and fickle, so what might grab me one day, doesn’t the next. Them’s the breaks, folks. I’ll do what I can, when I can.

To preclude the obvious irrelevant question in a comment: Nope, zero financial interest in any of this and I didn’t even use an affiliate link for Paul’s book. There. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a financial interest in any or all of it, and I’m open to future considerations. I just like to fuck with assholes who think that’s a big deal on a blog that, face it, is hardly a big commercial success anyway.

Or: I hate people who hate people who make money.

I did get a coupon code from Stephan for Dan’s Plan to check out the premium service. I got the 5 coupon codes from Kevin for the iPhone app which I’m giving away. Paul sent me a copy of his book, which wonderfully arrived on my birthday. …Oh, yea, after buying 2 pounds of Dave’s coffee off him in Austin at The 21 Convention right before his presentation, I won a third pound by being the first to answer a quiz question during the presentation.

So, are we all squeaky clean and clear, here? I know there are thousands upon thousands of Paleos out there who hate to see anyone make a dime…the same ones who never, ever donate a dime—and are absolutely the ones who whine and complain the most…and staking my life on that would be a slam dunk (I hate envious people as much as I hate people who hate people who make money—but I repeat myself). I’ve done my absolute best to get zero benefit from doing this, because all you whiners are just so damn special. Mkay?

…I do this because I want more PGP variety, not less; I want no policing, and I want people to evaluate and decide for themselves amongst the various free and paid resources out there, all imperfect, all pretty good anyway.

Let money and attention drive the process, not lofty pronouncements and smears right out of the gutter. You decide? Eh? You. Decide. The. End.

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. tobias on February 7, 2013 at 12:36

    I’d like to try the FoodRX.

    [email out to you]

  2. AB on February 7, 2013 at 12:55

    Great post, thanks. I’d like a code for the app!

    [email out to you]

  3. EF on February 7, 2013 at 13:03

    I’d like to try the FoodRX please!

    [email out to you]

  4. evan on February 7, 2013 at 13:08

    haven’t read through the post all yet but would love the few foodrx app code! pretty please with a non sweetened cherry on top

    [email out to you]

  5. Annika (@NEKLocalvore) on February 7, 2013 at 13:47

    Hey! Pretty Good Paleo is the name of my humble little blog on Tumblr! More of a food photo-journal than anything else, and a pretty lame one at that, admittedly – but with a cool name, no?

  6. Mike on February 7, 2013 at 14:14

    Annika didn’t ask, so that makes me 5!


    [email out to you]

  7. Bill on February 7, 2013 at 14:42

    Surprised that you didn’t give Dr. Kurt Harris a mention for For me his guidelines are the best. When you put out the best information, that’s it.
    You don’t have to keep continually blogging to be right. Follow Kurt’s guidelines and you have the answers.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 7, 2013 at 15:14


      Kurt, I must admit, is an enigma to me. We haven’t exchanged emails or spoken on the phone in a while. He could tell you all he thinks I’m fucked up about; but for him, he simply has better things to do now than deal with people who dislike him and say it or troll it on his blog, or in my comments should he engage, which has not been for a long while.

      He thinks he ought not have to, and I agree. So he doesn’t participate anymore. His choice. It’s something I can easily understand and acknowledge. Promote though? Well, this is about current stuff—but yea, his archive is a great resource. Similarly, I stopped promoting Art when he took his blog private. Simple. You’re in the game and the mix, or you’re not and Kurt is not currently. He deserves nothing in terms of current promotion—though I agree it’s a shame he’s not. I just don’t consider necessarily it the fault of others, but a choice he made. He has the sort of life he’s satisfied with and doesn’t need any of this.

      • Galina L. on February 7, 2013 at 20:14

        I good example of a smart person with excellent ideas, but not enough sense of humor to suffer not-perfect human beings.

      • SteamboatOperator on February 7, 2013 at 23:21

        He’s a pussy. There were times where he would give a lot of shit to certain individuals or claims, only to delete blog posts or ditch discussions when the heat was thrown back at him. I recall his back and forth with Ron Rosedale, Kurt was completely out of his element – didn’t matter that the facts were on his side, he couldn’t navigate that terrain. Maybe one day he’ll grow a pair and reemerge onto the scene.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 07:22


        While I suppose someone could come to the conclusion, I know the real story. I was one of the first people Kurt contacted when he began blogging. Probably 2008ish, PaNu. He liked FTA, was enthusiastic, etc. You know what happens next. In a few short months he’s one of the most popular, well respected guys out there and at the time, everyone was pretty much operating off the same LC/Paleo playbook, he was a fan of Taubes, and so on. He probably set a record for rising to the top.

        He also had no experience blogging, running comments, and most importantly, dealing in lots of controversy on the Internet. I recall one time in particular I got into it with Lyle McDonald and his folks on Monkey Island, Lyle’s off-menu “mean forum.” Kurt popped into it and was really taken aback at how vicious things can get.

        Then things begin getting less cohesive, he begins doubting Taube’s carb hypothesis and as soon as that happens, he comes under attack not only in his own comments but other places too. At the time, he was still running his own radiology practice in his own imaging center and his wife was running her dental practice. And he was amped up. You can imagine the scene. Coffee, big bucks from interpreting images (radiologists are some of the top money makers in medicine), and on the internet here and there. He was everywhere. My comments, PaleoHacks, Peter’s, Stephan’s, Emily’s and other places and he engaged for a while. He did many, many exchanges tit for tat and appeared to be getting used to the terrain.

        You’d think that selling his practice, imaging center, retiring early would have given him the time to get even more involved. The exact opposite happened and I know well because I had a number of conversations with him on the phone, some while he was enjoying his hot tub.

        Not to make this too long but his newfound leisure caused him to reevaluate how he really wanted to spend his time and he found that this whole argument over the Internet deal just wasn’t enhancing it at all. And he hated the basic ungratefulness about it, where he blogs, helps people, and gets crapped on regularly because he’s an MD, puts himself out there unlike other guys so he’s a nice plum target. So he drew back from blogging, still participated in comments elsewhere, but then the whole Kruse deal was probably what did it for him.

        Eventually, he quite showing up anywhere at all. In an email some months back, I think September or thereabouts, he basically told me he was done. Essentially, he just doesn’t need to go here and there only for the purpose of being mocked or insulted.

        I think he did enough for long enough it demonstrates he’s no “pussy.” He just evaluating how he wants to spend his time, now that it’s all free time and he’s financially set for life. There’s just no upside in it for him. Also, I think that one reason he was keeping in the fray of it was he had plans of a book eventually. But I think that’s off the table as well.

        He’s just not that into us, anymore and I can accept that just fine.

      • Galina L. on February 8, 2013 at 09:07

        I guess a blogger is not under any obligations to entertain public forever. It looks like it works for a person who blogs till it works. Things sometimes run their course.

      • Billin my food on February 8, 2013 at 14:38

        I had already come to the same conclusions as Kurt. The main change he convinced me of was to take in more saturated fat from grass fed animals. I was consuming too much EVOO and not enough animal fat from grass fed sources. I also increased my intake of pastured butter, which is hard to obtain here in England.
        Beyond his guidelines I have 2 or 3 cloves of crushed raw garlic and fresh ginger and a heaped teaspoon of turmeric every day.
        His blog encapsulates 90% + of how to live your life. He doesn’t need to add to what he’s already said.

      • Galina L. on February 8, 2013 at 14:49

        Is Kerrygold butter available for sale in England? It is a grass-fed. Ireland not far away from England. There is also Anchor butter from NZ which is grass-fed.

      • Bill on February 9, 2013 at 02:21

        Kerrygold is my source. I used to buy Anchor, but it’s no longer guaranteed grass fed. The brand name has been bought and the Anchor butter is is no longer from New Zealand.
        President butter from France is available, but not everywhere.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 17:22

        “He doesn’t need to add to what he’s already said.”

        That is a very valid point. Unfortunately, in the blog world, “The Show Must Go On.” Blogs are a different medium and when they are not published to anymore, Google forgets about them. It’s the same for a lot of media.

        That said, you are right that Kurt wrote solid info that’s basically timeless.

      • Dr. Curmudgon Gee on February 9, 2013 at 11:53

        Dr. Harris probably never used Usenet.
        that was even anarchist. i miss it.

        it’s a shame he stopped writing.

  8. George @ the High Fat hep C Diet on February 7, 2013 at 15:03

    I’d agree with Bill, if you want the basic principles rather than the prescriptions, if you can only spend one day reading up on Paleo, then Kurt at Archevore is your guy.

    IMO Dr Guyenet’s blog archives at Whole Health Source are similar, only he kept blogging and Kurt didn’t, and perhaps ended up second guessing a lot of what he’d written. Start reading WHS from 2008 onwards and it makes more sense. Which is perhaps the fate of any blog; only Mark Sisson has the sense to keep his cyclical.

  9. John on February 7, 2013 at 19:02

    Wait, are you saying this blog is not a financial success? I was kind of hoping to hear you were doing real well with it.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 7, 2013 at 20:09

      This has never been a commercial endeavor in the remotest sense. The stuff on the sidebar? Barely covers, if it does, the cost of having a tight stand-alone server with substantial traffic (over 80% Google, not the Paleos—only about 7,000 of them per week, counting as returning visitors) that with hosting and the issues now and then, costs. But good to not be at the mercy of a free service, or even minimal paid service like TypePad which is where this blog began. I can get the head guy and several developers in email or the phone. One of them once left a NY eve party to get my blog back up when traffic spikes from boingboing, fark and gizmodo took it down.

      The book made some real money for about 6 months, but that’s a trickle, now, as 99.9% of books become quickly.

      John, thanks for your hope, but I have to disappoint you. And I’m neither lying or begging anyone. And it’s not to say I haven’t considered or entertained or even blogged about stuff that might make it pay. But each time I’ve ever blogged about it I get a backlash of sorts (call it market research) and so I pull back and ditch the thought.

      Pretty much, I’ve concluded that you have to begin as a commercial endeavor right out of the gate, or you have to buy yourself a job like Jimmy Moore (no interest—I either work for free or big bucks for short-term intense effort, no in-between).

      I do have something cooking. People who sign up for the newsletter will be the first to know, and far longer before it’s ever on the blog. But the blog will never look very commercial.

      • el-bo on February 8, 2013 at 01:40

        >>”boingboing, fark and gizmodo”

        wow, haven’t heard of those guys in a while….apparently they quit the circus and became mormon ministers

        anways, did bailor just demonise potatoes, calling them some kinda clogging whatever ?? taters are ‘kin excellent foods and, along with fruit, put paid to the whole metabolic deranged, carb-fearing nonsense

      • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 07:42

        “did bailor just demonise potatoes”

        I don’t think demonize is the right word. He’s sending the non-starchy vegetable message which I’m perfectly fine with for education at the outset. The problem with advocating potatoes is then you have another layer of specificity to contend with, because the potato is ubiquitous in junky foods (chips, fries, skins, salad swimming in soy-based mayonnaise, etc.).

        The whole idea of that video is SIMPLE. People seem to be missing that point and here we go again harping on anyone who doesn’t have a PURE (TM) message.

  10. Alex on February 7, 2013 at 20:36

    I have to say, impressive graphics aside, that “Slim is Simple” video seems like a real step back to me. Cut back on the starch? Why? It’s not inherently fattening. Period. And those thin ancestors, who (supposedly) didn’t worry about their food intake? They ate a fuck-ton of starch. And they certainly didn’t “double or triple” their protein foods; that simply wasn’t possible. They had limited portions because they had no choice but to eat limited portions, in most cases. When food availability was less of a problem, many were quite aware of portions, and watched their weight by watching their intake. We have diet advice dating back to the Greeks. And most of it is truly simple: Don’t eat so god damn much.

    I really thought – and hoped- that the paleo community had moved past the EAT ALL THE MEAT YOU WANT, CARBS ARE EVIL, CALORIES DON’T MATTER message.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 7, 2013 at 20:52


      So is your 20/20 vision something that happened today or recently, or is it hindsight?

      Everyone starts somewhere and in spite of agreement that it’s likely not the starch or carbs per se, for most people, that’s what most of the crap is made of because it’s cheap. Simple is better at the beginning and that’s what this purports to be.

      I think it’s an excellent video for educational purposes to the masses. Everyone can deal with the starch issue later. That’s what we’re here for.

      • Alex on February 8, 2013 at 04:40

        20/20? I’ve never had that. But I’ve never avoided eating starch either. When I wanted to change my body, I adjusted portions, food quality, and exercised. It worked.

        But this isn’t about me or my eating habits. I’d simply rather see diet gurus be up front with people, rather than hide the mechanism by which their methods ultimately work. I think initial honesty probably leads to better long term adherence.

      • Elenor on February 8, 2013 at 06:41

        Hey Alex. So then, are you insisting that every single human can do just fine the way you did it? Hasn’t worked for me, in the slightest. I’m probably WAY more “metabolically deranged” than Richard ever was (to say nothing of being a different sex and I think also a good-bit older) — and so his ‘eat some potatoes’ didn’t do anything positive for me. (And that’s fine. More power to him and his spuds!)

        Diet gurus ARE being up front by offering a gazillion different versions of ‘what might work for you.’ There is no “One True Way.” (Damn the bad luck!) And, people who’ve been in this world for a while seem to forget that there are folks just arriving across the threshold, lacking any knowledge whatsoever about this stuff … and a set-program of ‘do this, don’t do that’ is where they need to start. Not end up, start!

        It’s why I give all kudos to Jimmie Moore. For getting folks STARTED? He’s a gem! For folks who just want an entre’ and a path to follow without becoming nutritional geeks? He’s great! The folks who wish to climb into the field and and learn all the details and minutiae and gain … well … deeper knowledge? Jimmie is STILL a super place/person for them to have begun! Without him as a starting point, they’d possibly never have found the field at all. I certainly started with him (years ago), and have now far exceeded his ‘home-range.’

        But I disagree with your characterisation of “initial honesty” — which implies detailed or later or ?? dishonesty? (But I also haven’t had time yet to watch this new vid, so perhaps I would have some reservations…) I believe we who hang-out in the low carb and paleo and primal and archeovore and and and…. worlds are different from MOST humans, who just want to know what to eat. If La Vida Low Carb doesn’t work, if Jaminet doesn’t work, if “spuds-and-steaks” doesn’t work, they may (or may not) look further, try something else. If they’re serious (and most fat/unhealthy people eventually become serious), they’ll come back and try a different path up this mountain.

        Sorry this is so long, Richard, it’s a real hot button for me…

      • Alex on February 8, 2013 at 12:19

        There is no “one true way”? Well, expect that there is: A calorie deficit equals weight loss. Every metabolic ward study ever done shows this. You can achieve that by any means you like, including restricting whole classes of food. I simply think that creates unneeded neurosis, and again, hides the true mechanism by which things work. “Eat less, exercise more” is not a failure because it’s false advice; it’s a failure because it’s advice people don’t heed.

        Simple isn’t easy, necessarily.

      • Galina L. on February 8, 2013 at 12:24

        OMG, All that BS again! Almost like comments in CNN “Weight loss is easy, guys, just stop stuffing your fat face with all that garbage and take of your lazy fat ass from that couch”.

      • Alex on February 8, 2013 at 12:35

        Again, simple isn’t easy. Weight loss can be a genuine challenge for people, but let’s not obscure the facts or blame entire macronutrient categories.

        Tell me, in what sense is my comment BS? Where am I factually incorrect?

      • Galina L. on February 8, 2013 at 13:05

        Alex, the matter has been discussed to death for a very long time on different nutrition blogs. Are you completely new for the discussion? I called your logic BS because you presented the picture in so simplified form, that it lost any touch with the reality. I do not feel like summarizing pros and cons for you at the moment(I am busy doing something else, and just checking my e-mals from time to time). Here is something on the subject .

      • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 16:11

        “Well, expect that there is: A calorie deficit equals weight loss. Every metabolic ward study ever done shows this.”

        Alex, I’m not sure whether you are making the point or trying to argue against SIMPLE.

        As everyone knows, I’m now a fan of Colpo (and buddy—in fact he just emailed me yesterday to apologize for not getting back to me on an email or two, not wanting me to think him a snotty asshole. He’s a pretty cool humble guy.)

        I think the SIMPLE video hits it pretty much right and I almost have it in mind to do a single post for people to post critiques and perhaps it can be improved in time. Of course it can be improved.

        On the other hand, the approach as stated—meat & non-starchy veggies, most SIMPLY—is a very decent initial message to get to people. Could save their lives. They may find it’s all they need. When they eventually stall, which some will but not all and especially not the younger ones, and if they care, they can come back in.

        I think we also need to get beyond the notion that an extra 10% of BF (~10-15 lbs for average women, ~15-25 lbs for average men) is a huge big deal if eating good food most of the time.

        I think that we have to account for different priorities. Many people don’t mind a little extra flab. Yea, they might wish they didn’t, but they have not only reached caloric homeostasis with 5-10% more BF than they would prefer, but they have also reached cost/benefit homeostasis. Now, who yet has blogged about cost/benefit homeostasis in the context of paleo/lc dieting?

      • Joshua on February 8, 2013 at 16:48

        So Alex, are you arguing that the macronutrient mix has no effect on metabolism? That, as long as I get the required protein and fat and micronutrients, it doesn’t matter what I eat? say – 100g of protein, 20 grams of “good fats” and 355 grams of sugar?

        If it does matter, then how much?

        I’m not on board the Taubes full-on low-carb bullshit train, but I think specific macros, and/or specific foods have a significant impact on how your body uses and stores fuel.

      • Alex on February 8, 2013 at 17:46

        There’s far too much for me to respond to in all of these comments. Suffice it to say, I’m not advocating for a twinkie diet (although that did work, you know), merely one that includes real foody starch sources from the word GO. I’m hardly new to the fitness/nutrition/etc. blogging world, so I assure you I’ve heard all the arguments, and read a great deal of the evidence. And the evidence (not N=1 anecdotes) says there’s no reason to exclude starch.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 18:37

        “And the evidence (not N=1 anecdotes) says there’s no reason to exclude starch.”

        There’s also no compelling reason to absolutely include it. People do just fine on real food that includes only non-starchy vegetables, and do notice that fruits were included—berries and citrus.

        Also, there is nothing in terms of the rather typical LC mantra to load up on the fats.

        I think it’s excellent as a simple start.

        I just have to laugh at the resistance of so many to take things simple steps at a time for the benefit of the uninitiated. bad teachers. Very bad teachers.

        Teaching people is in many ways an art, and teaching art can involve conscious withholding of true information for a later time when they are ready for it. I guarantee you that many, many people, if potatoes are not downplayed, are going to base their diet on french fries and potato salad.

      • Brendan on February 9, 2013 at 12:34

        No compelling reason to absolutely include starch? That’s a dubious claim.

        Even if you aim for the bare minimum of glucose utilization sans ketosis, your average human body will require about 150 grams of glucose for proper functioning over a 24 hour period.

        If you believe Jaminet’s calculations (and there’s no reason not to), non-starchy vegetables will contribute essentially zero net glucose to the cause, due to the glucose expenditure required to digest and absorb the tiny amount of glucose they contain. So if you exclude starch entirely, suddenly your liver is burdened with the task of manufacturing 150 grams of glucose from protein. Perhaps a little less if significant quantities of ketones are being produced, but the requirement for glucose still exists and still must be met through gluconeogenesis.

        Protein is required for many functions other than gluconeogenesis, and I’d venture to say that few people exceed 150 grams of protein on a daily basis. So even if gluconeogenesis compensates entirely for the glucose shortage, now we have a deficiency of protein to contend with. In order to obtain the amino acids required for basic metabolic functions, the body will scavenge protein from lean tissue–muscle, bone, organs. Stress hormones will soar, in part to facilitate the dissolution of lean tissue, in part to suppress oxidative metabolism in order to conserve precious glucose.

        So yeah, you could do “just fine” that way, if “just fine” means staying alive. Eating carbs seems preferable to me.

        You’re right, the video is sound and effective in many ways, and might be a good intro to these concepts for the uninitiated. But there is a strong undertone of the old “carbs=insulin=fat” meme, and I think that idea might actually hurt people in the long run. The video correctly points out that starvation is counterproductive, but then goes on to make recommendations that are likely to lead to hormonal consequences nearly identical to those of total starvation.

        The video also totally skirts the saturated fat issue, so where the hell are the followers of this plan supposed to get enough calories to avoid starvation, which is repeatedly deprecated in this video? Now we have a diet that basically maximizes meat consumption, maximizes PUFA consumption (because most people will still assume that saturated fat is bad and thus avoid it), and minimizes digestible carb consumption. Hmm. Anyone here think that sounds good?

      • Galina L. on February 9, 2013 at 13:04

        Eating starch for many people means compromising satiety. Ketogenic diets are notorious for killing an appetite (there are individual differences) and have other interesting effects on mood and energy levels. Many people, especially overweight ones, have more unstable blood sugar levels when they eat starch and sweets, it results in trouble loosing weight, increased hunger, unstable mood.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 9, 2013 at 13:15

        “No compelling reason to absolutely include starch? That’s a dubious claim.”

        I don’t think so. No compelling reason to exclude, no compelling reason to include. We’re generalists who can have successful populations at both extremes (Kitavan, Inuit). This is a good thing. It either optimal? Doubt it, but maybe. I think the best strategy is to eat somewhere in the middle (PHD, for example) with occasional forays into the extremes either on a meal, day, or even several day basis.

        I don’t buy your glucose requirement stuff. For one, you have conveniently left out the issue of sugars from fruit clearly advocated in the video.

        Second, I think the median requirement is more like 120g, not 150g, but whatever.

        Third, the absolute glucose requirement drops to 40g in the face of having to use gluconeogenesis to produce it.

        “But (as they say on the infomercials) that’s not all! After a period of prolonged glucose “starvation” the brain’s requirement for glucose drops. It becomes far more efficient and is able to run largely on the ketones produced by metabolizing fat. At that point, the brain’s requirement drops to a mere 40 grams of glucose. If you ate no carbohydrate at all, you could can easily get that 40 grams of glucose from eating 69 grams of protein, or slightly over ten ounces of a protein-containing food like meat, cheese, or eggs. If, like most of us who limit our carbohydrates to control our blood sugars, you eat 45 to 100 grams a day, you will already be eating enough glucose to keep your brain happy.”

        Also, pages 279-282:

        Understanding the brain and its development: a chemical approach By Harun K. M. Yusuf.

        Fourth, we can make glucose from fatty acids.

        And it all makes sense in the face of the human animal as a generalist that has migrated and thrived from equator to arctic, seal level to 16,000 feet.

        So you go right ahead and do patty cakes with the pettifoggers. By all means, don’t let anyone see that video! It’s DANGEROUS. In the meantime, for every person who reads your comment above, 1,000 will see the video from my efforts alone, so thanks for contributing!

      • Richard Nikoley on February 9, 2013 at 13:22

        …Downplay my last para there. I hadn’t closely read your final few in your comments so it doesn’t look to me like you’re slamming it.

      • Brendan on February 9, 2013 at 14:17

        No, not slamming. And actually, we seem to agree on most points.

        I just think that these slick, populist “programs” are a double-edged sword at best. Yes, they are very accessible, may be effective sometimes, and are likely to make a large number of people think more critically about their health. But they also carry some naive assumptions about physiology and metabolism that may prove to be harmful to the very people these programs are intended to help.

        When I first started learning about health and nutrition, I was basically told by everyone I ever asked that glucose/carbs were “not really necessary” and that humans could live without them in perfect health indefinitely, so I ignored some obvious signs of trouble (bad sleep, bad digestion, bad mood, etc.) and stayed on the VLC train far longer than I should have. Adding carbs back in immediately reversed many disturbing trends. And it took about 150 grams per day to achieve this.

        The fact that the human brain can survive on 40 grams of glucose per day in conditions of extreme glucose deprivation is a theoretical observation that doesn’t tell us much about what we should be eating on a daily basis in the real world. I would argue that this state is deeply metabolically taxing, will lead to imbalances that we don’t even know about yet, and should really be avoided by anyone with consistent access to glucose calories. Again, I would tentatively agree that a moderate approach is probably best, exemplified by PHD.

        I agree that the glucose deprivation model reinforces the idea that humans are extremely adaptable and capable of surviving in a vast range of conditions, and indeed I doubt that there is any level of carb intake that is universally optimal for everyone.

        But many people new to the scene will see this video and think “Oh cool! I can just eat loads of chicken and salad, douse everything in canola oil (or sunflower oil which MUST be healthy), eat tons of nuts and seeds, avoid all starches, and maybe eat some berries or a grapefruit now and then, and unclog my metabolic sink!” And that might be highly damaging.

        The point is that it is infinitely more valuable to spend time learning about physiology and health, and observing how different things affect you, than it is to follow a pre-packaged “program” or adhere to any dietary dogma. If this video initiates that journey for some people that would otherwise never embark, then I’m all for it. I just hope that no one confuses it for the one and only answer to all of their problems. But people seem to be prone to doing that. Who knows. I’m willing to believe that it could be a net benefit. Cheers.

      • Galina L. on February 9, 2013 at 16:16

        There is nothing that can replace self-observation. However my observations really in favor of carbohydrate limitations. Labeling a LC diet as a LC dogma will prevent some people who need it from trying. There is nothing wrong with limiting carbohydrates then experimenting with the most reasonable amount for each person.

  11. GeoBeach on February 8, 2013 at 08:55

    How ’bout that Ray Cronise guy at He’s back on line with some new stuff he’s discovered in his home calorimeter.

    He eats paleo, but vegetarian. Maybe a new category PGP,V.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 09:02


      Yes, and I almost, almost put Ray in there. I adore Ray. He recently emailed me to say he had new stuff on the horizon so we exchanged a bit. And when we’ve chatted on the phone, our batteries run down. He’s fabulous.

      The only reason I didn’t—and I will—is that I’m waiting for something a little bit more solid & developed, i.e., the post he just published is only part 1. I’ll wait for the finished deal. Also, I’m not thrilled about the registration requirement for a blog. So those two things are why he didn’t make this cut. Likely, when I do promote him, it will be a stand alone piece.

      Thanks for bringing it up.

  12. Matt on February 8, 2013 at 20:03

    Richard, just curious, do you have any body composition goals left? Where do you sit at currently? 15, 20 percent bodyfat?

    I understand you seem to be content where you’re at. I certainly get that improving body comp reaches a point of diminishing returns. I just think it’d be really interesting to see you finish the work you started with Martin. Now since you have a more flexible approach to dieting, I don’t think a slow cut would be very painful.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 8, 2013 at 20:30

      “I don’t think a slow cut would be very painful.”

      Pretty much.

      It has become a rather cost/benefit deal to me. Dropping 10 pounds with the potato deal made a lot of difference and now I’m in a very slow mode, kinda like way back at the beginning. Same stuff, no going hog wild on the added fat. That fantasy is over or, it’s for a weekend meal with friends.

      Daily is rather simple and plain, one reason I’m not pumping out the food porn posts like I used to.

      My attitude is that I know I can maintain 185-190 for life. 170s might be better but I’m not going to make a big deal about it and I’m pretty much done with “here’s my latest progress.” That’s old. I have enough knowledge to help people get to a place they find comfortable and I have no interest in the holy grail.

      I’m more of a writer and motivator than I am an example of body comp and I’m OK with that. Others are welcome to use that against me, but every single one who takes the time to do it, isn’t helping anyone. Those who are actually helping others are too busy to worry about my perfection and purity.

  13. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on February 8, 2013 at 20:40

    Alex said “And most of it is truly simple: Don’t eat so god damn much.”

    i could also tell you that if your goal is the South Pole, just keep going south.

  14. Richard Nikoley on February 9, 2013 at 07:51

    OK folks, for the 5 who asked for the promo code for FoodRX, the emails have gone out.

  15. […] real food approach to diet is an understatement. I've always been about promoting anything that's "Pretty Good," and not about slamming everything that may have errors, some "bad science," too much […]

  16. […] while back I included Jonathan Bailor's non-profit "Slim is Simple" initiative in a roundup of various things PGP (Pretty Good Paleo). I was happy to do so, immediately saw the very many positives about the video as a teaching tool […]

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