A Different Kind of Paleo Success Story: Gaining Independence

Remember what I wrote about the last success story? That what moved me recently is that I get just as many emails about improved hearts and minds as I do improved health or weight loss.

Got this email from reader Richard in reaction to to this post (Paleo Cinnabon!!!) where I kinda dumped on both all the “Paleo” sweet treats and baked goods I see everywhere, plus all the masses of paleo books, paleo cookbooks, etc.

Thought I’d share it with you, with his permission.

Like many people, I read your post re: Paleo Cinnabon and I felt aghast. Not because I felt afronted by your weariness of useless cookbooks, but for the same reasons as you. I almost emailed you the day I read the post but I’ve simmered on it, just to think about it more. I didn’t disagree with you then, I don’t do so now, so many people have now made paleo a lifeless husk of shit products, pushed by nobodies, e.g. Victory Belt (I actually typed Vanity first, like you).

Since I jumped on this boat, I’ve read your blog and a few dozen others. I also used to read a few dozen running blogs. Over time, I’ve slowly unsubscribed to nearly all of the running blogs because not only are they absolutely boring as fuck 99% of the time, most of them serve as a vehicle for product promotion. Jammed in between posts about taking a dump on your run — who fucking cares? — I get to read drivel about socks or headbands or whatever useless crap it is, nearly always followed up with a giveaway. Great, now they’re giving away crap to get more sycophants. Go fuck yourself with a mace. Seriously.

Similarly, I’ve greatly scaled back the paleo/primal blogs I read for the exact same reason: they’re boring as fuck with nothing to contribute. Not a day goes by where some schmo isn’t hawking a new cookbook which contains the same recipes as everyone else, they’re hawking a bundled giveaway of ebooks “worth $689 for only $37!”, or some other self-promotional bullshit. You’re so popular you can give away all those ebooks for only $37, saving me $652? Oh right, because they’re not worth either price to begin with. Incessant pitches for cookbooks, improvement books, parenting books (seriously, how the FUCK is “paleo parenting” any different from regular parenting?), or some terrible low-production podcast no one listens to. Things like FTA are worth reading because you do things, you eviscerate things. In my field of work, you’d be called an applied paleo blogger because you actually do shit and not just regurgitate it like so many others do. If there were, if there truly were more people like you tirelessly conducting N=1 tests and being interested in the results of how things effect life, the paleo sphere would look a lot less like an endless cookbook convention that it is now.

Keep up the good fight.

I shall.

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. Resurgent on November 11, 2013 at 15:03

    PLUS 100..
    Indeed, 4 years ago there were just a handful of the serious people. It is degenerating to some extent, but herd behavior should be expected if this is taken to the masses. It is our herd instinct that has brought us here from primal times – If every one was a contrarian thinker, we would be extinct by now. When the herd chief shouted “bear” everyone ran, the one’s who stayed to have a second look turned into lunch.
    This is the next and most crucial stage of its development, from here on either this movement gets marginalized and dies due to the reasons cited in the post or begins to get accepted widely.
    That said – I am in full agreement with you about the current state of affairs – And I hope that Guys like RN, Sisson, Seth Roberts, Robb W and a few other will keep the Torch lit.

  2. Adam on November 11, 2013 at 15:45


    Been reading your blog for a while. I stumbled on Paleo (a term which I never use in daily discourse as it leaves way to much for interperatatio) for personal health reasons about a year ago and it made the world of difference. I did a lot of self experimentation until I found what worked for me. I keep coming back to your blog because it’s honest. You admit when you are wrong, you acknowledge others people’s good work and you never hold back when it comes to dealing with idiots. I have the utmost respect for people who go about their business in this way. I may not always agree with the subject matter of this blog, but that’s why I keep coming back. It offers perspective and ideas to ponder.

    BTW I agree that UDI’s is pretty damn good once and a while!

  3. rob on November 11, 2013 at 16:40

    Paleo Parenting is when you make your 7 and 9 year olds fight a mean, deranged dog every day before dinner. Kids can use weapons but only weapons that they make themselves, such as sharpened sticks.

    Whichever child comes closest to kicking the dog’s ass gets to eat first, and gets his or her wounds treated with Betadine. The loser gets to fight the dog for scraps.

    This is how you raise healthy, well-adjusted children.

  4. Richard Nikoley on November 11, 2013 at 17:07

    Rob, you’re so mean. :)

  5. Amy on November 11, 2013 at 18:19

    I keep trying to do “perfect” paleo and just can’t get it together for more than a few days. Cheese is a weakness, cream in my coffee…I know, Sisson says it’s OK. I’m an all or nothing sort when I start something but one diversion and I consider myself a failure, so for the thousandth time I’m picking myself up to start over again and tinker with me and my metabolism.

    I’ll be grateful to the Primal style for one thing: making me aware of what gluten has been doing to my body. I think maybe it’s always been something about wheat making me slightly batty, constant heartburn, sluggish, and disinterested, but when you’re swimming in crap and don’t know it’s crap, you just learn to dog paddle through life. I had just reached what I consider the Holy Grail of bread: a perfect, crusty loaf of sourdough country bread, from Chad Robertson’s instructions in Tartine when I started to get really sick with all those phantom symptoms people usually report when gluten intolerance occurs. Apparently pregnancy can unmask those issues, and I was pregnant three times over five years. Doc said no to blood tests so I n=1’d myself with an elimination et voila; I felt better. Not that I didn’t relapse seven or twelve times, but now I know, it’s a no-no area for me and if I hadn’t read about paleo I might never have tried it.

    I also know low-ish carb is better for me for weight loss and general well being. So I’m LC-ish paleo (ish). I eat a bit of white rice now and then. Frites are OK once in a while. I drink my kefir and make kefir cheeses out of it which are quite good. I’d rather an apple than a candy bar anyway, always have.

    I understand people wanting to have their treats and still be on their “diet.” For a person with a severe illness or metabolic disorder, I can understand wherefore one would make a cake or muffin or such out of almond flour and stevia. Personally, any foray into gluteny foods or foods with lots of sugar (even if g-free) just make me crave food and I’ll eat all day so I just avoid them completely. “Paleo” cookies, muffins, cakes et. al. are out of the question here due to nut and egg allergies in my kids – you just can’t make a decent. I’d rather make them a gluten free cake with real sugar icing and all than try to pass off an almond flour muffin as a cupcake and expect them to be happy.

    ^^^that’s NOT how you paleo-parent, btw.^^^ but my kids don’t like shoes much, and even in November in the Northeast I let them run around barefoot. They climb all over the woodpile and collect rocks from the stonerow. No one’s gotten so much as a sniffle from the cold wet ground, nor yet lost a toe or broken a limb. If one did, well, I’ve a slippery elm tree in the backyard. Double-duty: you can make cough syrup from the cambium and use the outer bark to make a cast for a broken bone. How’s that for paleo?

  6. Bobert on November 11, 2013 at 18:56

    “Anger is a Gift”


    If government or Big Business is giving recommendations or telling the populace how to do something, it should always be questioned. This is what Paleo was in the beginning. fathead, sisson, wolf, and even kruse we fantasic at questioning agenda and thinking forward. But there is too much emphasis not being wrong and hacking the paleo diet these days.

  7. Steven on November 11, 2013 at 20:34

    Just think about it…

    Paleo Cupcake.
    Paleo Muffin.
    Paleo Brownies.
    Paleo Baked Goodies..

    The only Paleo “goodies” are whole, unprocessed fruits. Those seasonal things that taste sweet.

    Until a cupcake grows on a tree or is cut off of a cow I ain’t gonna claim it is paleo.

    It is like saying a blow job is not “Sex”.

  8. Richard Nikoley on November 11, 2013 at 21:26

    “It is like saying a blow job is not ‘Sex’.”

    OK, now you’ve gone too far.

  9. Brock in HK on November 12, 2013 at 01:50

    Two words: Kurt Harris. He got it mostly figured out, posted his principles and then got on with his life. We haven’t heard boo from him for going on 2 years or so. My guess is he’s happy, whatever he’s doing now.

  10. doogiehowsermd on November 12, 2013 at 15:13

    Been “paleo” for about six years. This is the ONLY “paleo” blog I still read. I was one of the originals on Art’s blog before he pay-walled him self into oblivion – man what a waste of an opportunity that was!

  11. Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2013 at 16:21


    Thats such a great vote of confidence and approval.

    I have always hoped to only blog what I have passion for any given day, and nothing else, and I’m content to let chips do what they do.

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