Podcast #2 – Angelo Coppola Talks Podcasting, Paleo, and Low Meat & Fat Plant Paleo


The brief 7-minute introduction to my new podcast can be listened to right here. Of course, much of that is superseded. The podcast will be as short or as long as it needs to be instead of 30-minutes, and instead of trying to have two guests for short interviews, it will be one guest. So, basically, conventional. I’ll likely toss in other elements along the way.

Today I interview Angelo Coppola, a seasoned blogger and podcaster for over six years, with a very high production value.

We discuss podcasting itself, plus, his personal journey from fat kid to super lean as an adult with four children and a fifth on the way.

You might be surprised about what he discovered about everyone having a piece of a puzzle, but not the whole picture. He had to put that together himself, and he’s going to tell you how.

Being 6′ and 250 lbs, he went a good part of the way with a conventional high-animal paleo Diet and kept the weight off. However, it wasn’t until he adopted a more plant-based paleo approach with relatively far less animal foods did he shed the final 30 pounds to become super-lean at 160 lbs.

The podcast isn’t yet available on iTunes but should be soon. In the meantime, I’ve got Soundcloud and YouTube.

Show Notes

  • Angelo’s Website: Humans Are Not Broken
  • What does ‘Humans Are Not Broken’ Mean?
  • The Plant Paleo Diet
  • Articles related to The Plant Paleo Diet
  • Angelo’s Podcast: Latest in Paleo
  • Episode 17 – The Diet of No-Diet (Richard Nikoley guest)
  • Latest in Paleo 74: House of Experiments (Richard Nikoley guest)
  • Latest in Paleo 97: Perfect Resistance (Richard Nikoley and Tim Steele guests)
  • Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: The University of Newcastle Research with Diet Plan
  • In Defense of Low Fat: A Call For Some Evolution of Thought (by Denise Minger at Raw Food SOS)

Thanks for listening in. You can support the show by checking into Elixa Probiotic, or by clicking here and shopping Amazon for whatever you want at any time. You can also help by promoting it on your social networks, clicking Like, a thumbs up, or whatever it may be wherever you access it.

My next scheduled guest will be Tim Steele of VegetablePharm and we’re going to be talking about potatoes.

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. Ian Duncan Smith on March 17, 2016 at 14:26

    So, were we to characterise this, then the nature of black-belt paleo is to make a major course-correction towards high-carb vegan territory.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2016 at 15:32

      Well everyone can do what they wish. This expands options within an omnivorous paradigm. So, it’s certainly not vegan. Even Angelo mentioned he uses lots of bone broths, and broth and stock can be rendered with only trace fat (the way I’ve always done it, incidentally). It might be closer to lacto-ovo vegetarian, which can be very healthy. But it’s very, very far from vegan and is explicitly not vegan.

      • Angelo on March 17, 2016 at 16:39

        Thanks for having me on the new show, Richard. I enjoyed being on the other side of the mic for a change.

        Ian, I think the hunter-gatherer example shows us there are many ways to eat a healthy diet. What they tend to have in common is that they are whole-food based with minimal processing. Then tend to be high in fiber-containing foods, too, especially when they are readily available.

        I hesitate to say Plant Paleo goes toward high-carb vegan territory, because veganism is black and white—you either are or you aren’t meat-free—and it says nothing about food quality, processed food, etc. Also, I don’t think any vegans would say my diet is vegan-ish…the fish, organ meat, eggs, broths, and stocks just aren’t compatible. But I think I get what you’re saying: it’s moving towards plant-food dominated territory.

        Small amounts of animal-based foods go a long way—like they do for all other apes—and leave plenty of room for fiber- and nutrient-rich plant foods.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2016 at 17:56

        You’re welcome, Angelo.

        And also, Blue Zones, if you cut to the chase, are omnivorous but pretty high plant, low animal (the 7th day’s being selective), and they include important elements of small community and socialism.

        No, voting as 1/300 million probably doesn’t increase your lifespan.

      • Jer on March 20, 2016 at 11:23

        Richard, I was wondering your take on using plain beef bones as opposed to grass fed. If skimming all the fat off, they should be just as good, right?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 21, 2016 at 09:24

        Another of those things at the margins I limit my concern over. In my view, the justification for grassfed, pastured, etc. is about humane husbandry, not about health outcomes primarily.

  2. Resurgent on March 17, 2016 at 20:59

    Very Good first show, Richard..!
    Consider getting a better microphone for yourself..

    • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2016 at 22:51

      Hell, that’s a new Yeti.

      Are you talking about intro and outro, or the conversation?

      I purposely turnned down volume on the canned stuff.

      • Resurgent on March 18, 2016 at 09:28

        OK – The variation in the audio volume confused me.
        Having said that, the quality of Angelo’s audio is indeed remarkable – worth emulating.

  3. sassysquatch on March 18, 2016 at 02:07

    Not much of a podcast fan, but I couldn’t stop listening to this one. EXCELLENT STUFF.
    What I liked best is that you let Angelo do most of the talking. Nothing more annoying
    than listening to the interviewer for 50% of the time!!

    Angelo is an intelligent, well spoken man. Topics were outstanding and to the point.

    No dogma at all. KEEP Em coming!!

  4. sassysquatch on March 18, 2016 at 02:42

    Would love to see a podcast with Clarence Bass. A man that is willing to admit
    when he’s ‘more wrong’ about something…..but for the last 40 years has stuck to a diet that is
    very similar to where FTA is heading with the potatoes and starch base.

    78 years old and is truly RIPPED. Looks better than most 30 somethings.

    • solver on March 18, 2016 at 20:59

      +1 on Clarence Bass. I believe CB will give you a one-on-one if you’ve got the $$. I have thought about it myself but I don’t think I could keep up with him – his workouts are totally insane apparently.

  5. Radford McAwesome on March 18, 2016 at 08:06

    A couple of my favorite nutrition bloggers. Good stuff.
    Been playing around with potatoes and ‘plant paleo” since I did a two week potato hack ala Tatertot Tim/Ray Cronise before Thanksgiving. Lost 11 lbs in 13 days and an additional 4 to 5 doing
    p-hack/plant paleo/newcastle/etc. off and on. A couple of days of Richard’s potato soup with some veg on the side can make up for any weekend indiscretion and if one were to really buckle down it would be easy to move the ball forward (p-hack and soup all week?) Quite a bit different from the calories don’t matter/steak and butter, carbaphobe rut I was in for the longest time.

    Also, like the new look.

  6. solver on March 18, 2016 at 20:53

    Fuck. My dyslexia fucked me up again. I thought I was going to be listening to an interview with Anthony Colpo not Angelo Coppola. Doh! Good nonetheless but I’d still love to hear from Anthony Colpo – get that cunt on an interview will you? Colpo, that is. Thanks.

    Btw, there was a noticeable lack of the um and ah’s at the start of this interview from you Richard. They crept back in as things progressed but definitely an improvement. Keep it up.

  7. solver on March 18, 2016 at 20:54

    Oh. I see the interview stops if you post a comment. That’s fucked.

  8. GTR on March 19, 2016 at 01:56

    I’m against slogan-based thinking. One of the conditions for the slogan “humans are not broken” to be true is to falsify many aging theories; included but not limited to programmed aging, but also some aging-as-a-destruction ones.

    Programmed aging is a tough one: if we have a built-in destruction program in our genes, that wishes to make us progressively worse to make room for newer generations – then we ARE broken, broken by (evolutionary) design. And have to go artificial to prevent this programmed aging. Some introductionary info about one variant of programmed aging theory:

    If programmed aging is true – and it likely is as one of the factors of aging – then antiaging needs to include some additional, external signallig factors; that cheat the timebomb in our bodies that we are young. For example the vampire option is to transfer young blood serum to old people :-)

    Aging-as-a-damage theories also provide some evidence that humans are broken. For example we have no mechanism to repair some normally occuring damage. It’s not only about lost legs, but things like no effective way of clearing of some glycated proteins – despite glycation being a side effect of normal food processing. And basically need technology – like drugs – to destroy such crosslinked/glucated protein (AGE).


    “The present consensus is that the real problem – leading to age-related loss of skin elasticity and stiffening of blood vessels, among other issues – is produced by a single type of hardy cross-link formed by one type of AGE called glucosepane. Studies suggest that glucosepane makes up the overwhelming majority of cross-links in old humans, and our natural biochemistry is not equipped with tools that can effectively remove these chains. This is one compound, and to greatly reduce its contribution to aging all that is needed is one moderately effective drug candidate that can break it down.”

    Notice that most aging theories are not incompatible with each other, but look like separate factors of aging process. And they are not fully, but partially proven: no final verdict looks possible, but there’s some compelling evidence.

    So basically to honestly use the “humans are not broken” slogan Angelo needs to prove some aging theories false. Otherwise it should be “humans are not yet broken while young”. Where is his evidence?

    • Angelo on March 19, 2016 at 11:31

      >I’m against slogan-based thinking.

      Actually, I am, too. Said another way, being more a fan of inductive logic than deductive logic, I don’t consider axiomatic thinking the best intellectual tool, in general. Starting with evidence is better than starting with guesses.

      >One of the conditions for the slogan “humans
      >are not broken” to be true is to falsify many aging
      >theories; included but not limited to programmed
      >aging, but also some aging-as-a-destruction ones.

      “Death is very likely the best single invention of life. It is life’s change agent.” —Steve Jobs

      It all depends on how you look at death and aging. I agree with Jobs’ sentiment here, and while I would like to live a long, healthy life…I’m speaking in relative terms. Passing through all the various stages of life, if nothing else, provides me with a fascinating way to experience myself, and for the Universe to experiencing itself.

      If aging is entirely defeated, I can’t wrap my head around the resulting boredom.

      Interestingly, I just discovered Mitteldorf’s blog a few days ago. Check out this article on fasting: http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2014/06/12/the-three-day-fast-day-four/. In it, he discusses how fasting may actually turn off programmed aging, because during times of starvation preserving the population overrides the importance of thinning the herd.

      In any case, remember, “Humans Are Not Broken” is not intended to be a Universal truth or religion. It is merely a reminder of things like:

      – the innate power we possess via our own biological systems which have evolved over millions of years;
      – that marketing messages insisting one’s life is dull, incomplete, too difficult, or hardly worth living without the products or services they peddle are baloney;
      – that excess comfort can be bad for you, like excess padding on a shoe can be bad for a foot, knee, back, etc.;
      – that achieving baseline health through good lifestyle inputs prior to applying more invasive/drastic interventions is often the wisest choice;
      – etc.

      I’m as interested in aging research as the next guy; especially interested in Dr. Valter Longo’s research at the moment. And I also believe my diet promotes longevity, as it is consistent with research on IGF-1, mTOR, etc. However, I don’t mind the gray hair, lines on my face, or other reminders of where I’ve been and where I’m ultimately going. I see the most beauty in the temporary, the fleeting—like the Tibetan mandala. I’m a big fan of the current natural paradigm.

      Someday, humans may live to a thousand years, populate other planets or live on space craft, and I’m sure that can be a wonderful existence, too. As soon as we reach immortality, I think we’ll long for surprise and less control—something death provides us with now. So, for now, I’ll just enjoy walks in the temperate rainforest, while it and I are both here together. How lucky for us.

  9. Gemma on March 20, 2016 at 02:13


    you seem to be under influence of existentional fear. Take a lesson from Angelo and get over it :-)

    Btw, some new antiaging stuff (TL,DR = forget rapamycin).

    Discovery of plant extracts that greatly delay yeast chronological aging and have different effects on longevity-defining cellular processes (2016)

    Richard, really cool new look!

    • GTR on March 22, 2016 at 00:56

      It’s not about feelings but about directions. Take thinking as an analogy. We know, that the default direction nature is taking us in this regard – the intuitive thinking with all it’s cognitve biases and overheuristicization rather than precision – is inappropriate for tasks that we need to use thinking for, like creating or maintaining technology, or civilization.
      So instead of going the way nature intended we make a heavy effort learning synthetic, non-intuitive, eg. math based, models of the world, and after learning them we replace our intutive heuristics with them in our thinking process. Only then our thinking process is right.

      The analogy regarding health is that by default sets us up on a wrong path – that ends up with trap of aging. So we should be making a heavy investment of time and effort to move from this path, to the right path. The necessary steps may include using steps and substances and procedures that are not natural but synthetic, may be expansive, and difficult.

      That goes against currently popular go-back-to-nature trends.

  10. Ramon on March 22, 2016 at 18:10

    Interesting. I’m falling off the LCHF bandwagon at the moment. Ate potatoes for breakfast and lunch and felt great. Deep in thought.

  11. Skyler Tanner on April 6, 2016 at 05:57

    I continue to me amazed that eating real food, no matter the plant to animal ratio, is somehow revolutionary or threatening. But then again, the exercise science paradigm is largely situational-based, which leaves a lot of room for nuanced interpretation.

  12. Skyler Tanner on April 6, 2016 at 06:02

    Although the continued reference to the Blue Zones dietary habits as perhaps the reason for their longevity misses the fact that the researcher who coined the term attributes it, statistically, to physical activity. The diet isn’t hurting, but once you get the quality up, the return on investment for more and more plant (or “less and less meat”) falls rapidly.

    • Angelo on April 6, 2016 at 11:32

      Skyler, the ROI probably does drop, but it may not be an insignificant drop, in terms of longevity. There seems to be broad agreement among longevity researchers that more plants (and mushrooms) provide better protection against disease (phytochemicals, antioxidants, even toxins, etc.). Increased meat in the diet also increases insulin levels, mTOR activity (more inflammation, less autophagy, etc.), and IGF-1 levels (correlation with cancer).

      These probably have a more pronounced effect after middle-age, so the ROI of ‘more plants, less meat’ for the young is probably nill to almost nothing, as long as quality is equal. I believe even Attia is now talking about lowering protein intake as a result of his longevity research and his quest to keep insulin levels in check. But certainly, Longo, Mattson, and other prominent longevity researchers are in agreement about the “mostly plants” angle.

      That being said, I really do hate to talk about food in reductionist terms, because it’s so easy to lose sight of the actual food. Looking at it from other angles…Traditionally, my ancestors ate mostly plants. Nearly all primates and all great apes eat mostly plants. Personally, as a formerly obese man, I’ve never been able to achieve this level of leanness nor have I felt better eating any other way, and my activity levels haven’t changed much over the last 5 years.

      If eating mostly animal-based foods made me feel this way, I’d still be doing Paleo 2010. That ‘mostly plants’ is also compatible with credible recommendations from experts in longevity, oncology, cardiorespiratory health, obesity, autoimmune disease, bowel diseases, and even environmental science is, in a way, a bonus, but also, I would say, at least indicative of being on the right track.

      I do realize there are researchers with opposing opinions and studies with opposing data, but the overall trend in the research certainly seems to be leaning in a mostly-plants direction. This is a far cry from an all-plants direction, of course.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 6, 2016 at 08:59

      Yes, Skyler. The workout or training goals are a huge factor. I doubt Norris could sport that build on Angelo’s diet. Correct? But your ectomorphic frame and your goals could probably support something very similar.

      On the BZ, my point in brining them up, usually, is pure falsification. All of them eat plenty of starch in various forms and are obvious healthy and long lived. If someone wants to poo-poo the contribution of starch to the positive, fine, but it’s far harder to assign it a negative, in my view.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 6, 2016 at 13:45

      Perfect, Angelo.

      Keeping it omnivorous promises to undercut everyone and of course, that’s what I’m all about. ;)

    • Skyler Tanner on April 11, 2016 at 06:05

      Great follow up and very civil!


      That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that, while the pop version popularized by Buettner emphasizes dietary components (wine, cheese, mostly plant food), the actual researcher who found the original Blue Zone (Sardinia) attributes the biggest chunk of the longevity they enjoy to pastoralism, grade of the terrain, and distance one has to walk to town. Physical activity, not exercise, though the latter is important for other reasons (targetted outcomes, physiological headroom, etc).

      The diet certainly isn’t getting in the way, but after a certain point, you’re getting way less than you’re putting in.

      Which brings me to your points, Angelo. Note, we’re all in general agreeance about the big picture, but differ in the details.

      “Skyler, the ROI probably does drop, but it may not be an insignificant drop, in terms of longevity.”

      Well, we have a natural experiment for this: the Seventh Day Adventists. In the AHS-2 study, we see that Vegan Adventists do enjoy a reduced mortality risk compared to Omnivorous Adventists in later middle age (late 50’s). But when you actually calculate the number needed to treat based on the primary outcome (e.g. death), you’d need 350 Adventists to turn vegan for 7 years to potentially prevent 1 death. That’s a terrible ROI; for comparison, you’d need 50 smokers to stop smoking for nearly the same time frame (5 years) to prevent 1 death.

      Of course, the Adventist lifestyle is years ahead of the Standard American Lifestyle. (SAL?) Observe the Sabbath, social support, low smoking, high quality diet, low stress due to believing God took the wheel ages ago, etc.

      But that’s a relatively homogenous group, which is my problem with the Blue Zones in general as a reference point: low gene flow leads to a potential founder effect. When you look at heterogenous population studies (Framingham, Alameda County), you find much less sexy, esoteric, or reductionist suggestions from the conclusions. For example, Men and Women in the Alameda county study who followed at least 5 of the suggested 7 lifestyle habits were found to have a significant increase in those who didn’t (11 years for men, 7 for women). The habits?
      – Seven to eight hours of sleep at night
      – Maintain a healthy bodyweight
      – Regular Exercise
      – Don’t Smoke
      – Limit drinking to 1-2 drinks per day

      That’s really unsexy stuff, and there’s many ways to get that, but that sort of behavior is “baked in” to cultures of longevity.

      “I do realize there are researchers with opposing opinions and studies with opposing data, but the overall trend in the research certainly seems to be leaning in a mostly-plants direction. ”

      Longo’s recent review paper used NHANES-III dietary survey data to arrive at the conclusion of “Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality” which means it’s really not controlled. We don’t need to go around and around about the limitations of such data for actually figuring out what people were eating and trying to link it to health outcomes. He then cites animal data which, while interesting from a mechanistic perspective, just doesn’t pan out to humans when it comes to longevity research (example: resveratrol research).

      BUT, and I think this is interesting, the “low protein” angle stops being beneficial after 65 years (which was the second half of the title of the paper above). Take for example IGF-1, which you noted above: too much is bad, but so is too little (cancer risk is shown to be higher in those with low IGF-1 vs. normal IGF-1). In Framingham, those with the highest IGF-1 levels (age 72-90+) had the lowest mortality at follow up. The suggestion here is that there’s a “time of life” to stay at a lower to moderate protein level (basically below 65 years) but then you need to increase your protein after that to maintain the lean mass and capacity that is the strongest predictor of longevity in the later years of life.

      Of course, given the above, I’m not suggesting HIGH protein or HIGH animal as a baseline; the vast majority of my fat comes from plant sources and I’m not eating tons of protein. To your point, a “mostly plants” direction often gets skewed to “vegetarian is best” (America: the land of extremes). Diet is very important but the lifestyle mix is more important IMO, and getting bogged down on reductionist things like controlling for IGF-1 (or whatever) seems to be a fools errand.

    • Angelo on April 13, 2016 at 13:47


      If I were to respond to your comment point-by-point, it might look like I disagree with what you’re saying, and the reality is that I don’t. So, I won’t. :) The big picture it really is about lifestyle, and diet is one piece.

      A new interview with Mark Mattson was just published on the STEM podcast. Good stuff: http://www.ihmc.us/stemtalk/episode007/

      The same podcast did an interview with Attia, if interested: http://www.ihmc.us/stemtalk/episode001/ — he really hammered home the message about accident avoidance and other important health/longevity factors.

      Your final paragraph summarizes my own position very well. I do leave the reductionist minutiae to the researchers (IGF-1, mTOR, telomeres, etc.)—I pay attention to it, but don’t lose sleep over it. I would add to what you have said that when we step back and look at the big-picture trends in the research (heart, cancer, metabolic, autoimmune, longevity, microbiome, environmental, etc.) it is all currently pointing to ‘mostly plants’…and that counts for something.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.