Natural Immunity, Gut Biome, and its Importance in COVID-19 #3 — The Collaboration

Natural Immunity, Gut Biome, and its Importance in COVID-19 #2 — The Whole You

This is the third in a series consisting of an introduction, 19 Chapters, and 2 apendices. Over 165,000 words in total, about 400 pages in book length. The whole thing is already completed in draft with almost half of it through first-pass editing. I’m issuing it chapter-by-chapter for Members of this blog. Join here. The publishing schedule is not formal, but an average of a chapter every couple of weeks is a reasonable expectation.

This chapter was tossed in early editing with intent to publish all this as a book. Now that I'm releasing in informally—and having read it—I concluded it would be better to include it for a blog. I think it makes a nice inclusion, especially for the reminiscences of all the readers who were in the gut-health trenches with us throughout. I've limited a last-pass editing to just a bit of style stuff.

  • A Collaboration
  • Tim
  • Richard
  • The Book

A Collaboration

Roughly a year before Tim Steele and I began this writing project, he showed up in the comments of my blog at touting something that became known as “The Potato Hack.” You may recall from media reports sometime back that a gentleman by the name of Chris Voigt had eaten 20 potatoes a day exclusively for 60 days, lost about 20 pounds and all of his health markers improved. And Tim “Tatertot” Steele was here to tell my readers and I that he’s tried it, and it works.

One thing led to another, the posts drew substantial interest, and we were soon speculating over why it worked so well. During that process, our interest increasingly focussed on the gut biome and what’s required to keep it in optimal health. A friendship and a collaboration was born.

We have a few things in common. First is that we both grew up in non-urban settings and were familiar with things like gardening, raising animals for food, hunting, and fishing trips. We both learned a lot of passed down wisdom from our parents and grandparents—even a great grandmother in my case, who was around until I was 29—who'd grown up similarly as can-do, self-sufficient people without a lot of formal education. ...Nor did they typically have the sorts of jobs where one sits at a desk all day, shuffles papers, and makes phone calls.

On my father’s side, the family was all first generation immigrants from post WWII Germany; on my mother’s, home grown Idaho and Texas Americans for some generations. Tim came from a line of second generation German and Czech immigrants; farmers and coal-miners mostly. 

We both ended up pursuing careers in the military. Tim enlisted in the Air Force at 17, and over a career that spanned 21 years, attained the highest rank in the enlisted corps—Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). And typical for a global military, Tim was stationed all over the world and saw a lot more of it than that, on various temporary assignments.

I was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. During my 8 years of service that began in 1984, I spent only about a year of it in the U.S. Five years were spent living and working in Japan—while not at sea about half the year on average—and two in France as an exchange officer with the French Navy. Like Tim, I saw far more of the world than that—typically in hundreds of port visits throughout the Western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, Yellow Sea, Indian Ocean, North Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, and even the Black Sea.

I was still “lean & mean” upon separation from the Navy in 1992, but my path to ill-health would converge with Tim’s in the early years of the new millenium. Things would come to a head in 2007; for Tim, in 2009. We wouldn’t know one-another until 2012, but we both suffered from the same sorts of problems guys in their 40s do—indeed, that people in their 40s and earlier do, now. Obesity, high blood pressure, alarming blood glucose regulation, allergies, chronic inflammation, GERD, sleep apnea, and the list could go on.

We both ended up independently doing the same thing about it. Given the increasing availability of information on the Internet—along with tools to locate the good stuff—neither of us consult with doctors. Rather, we scoured for information under our own well-developed sense of authority and competence. The next step was an obvious one. We tested things that appeared to be plausible. We experimented on ourselves. We made of ourselves human guinea pigs, lab rats, and test subjects. Our ultimate success was our own “fault.”

Tim lost 90 pounds. I logged 60. Both of us got off bottles of prescription medications, turned our clocks back, and exchanged shame for pride in our personal appearance.

Most books have an “about the author(s)” section on the back flap of the dust cover. That’s OK for professional book authors, but we’re not. Our own personal experiences—from how bad it can get, to how good it can get—with attention to our own ability to read, understand, test, and implement is essential to understanding why we’re the two guys to write this book. You see, our quest never ended. Even though both of us achieved enormous health improvements, we were both equally left with nagging issues that would not resolve themselves, even after months and months of “getting more serious,” and all the other things people will do within an incomplete paradigm, thinking the problem is with them.

Those nagging issues involve not being able to drop that last 10-20 pounds—short of outright starvation—having unusually high fasting blood glucose readings, large glucose spikes and hypoglycemic, “coma” inducing blood sugar dips, disturbed sleep, and a few other things. In short, the sheen had worn off a bit; and independently, we both came to realize that perhaps there was simply a piece of the overall picture that was still missing.

This is the story of how we came to figure that out, and how it led to our collaboration—first on my Free the Animal blog with many posts and thousands of comments from fellow experimenters—and eventually, this book. Ironically, what we found is that it’s not a story about us at all, per se. But we’ll cover who or, more actually what this story is about in the forthcoming chapters.

Here are our individual stories.


This is a preview. The complete post is for Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, and Lifetime Members. Login or Join at the level you choose. Member posts sometimes go out in complete form to non-members on the email list, so subscribe. Browse the free downloads. New ones are added regularly.


When you're ready for membership, in addition to full access to the substantial archive going back 5 million words and all current posts and videos, here are just a few of the other ways I will benefit you.

  • richardnikoley_Self-experiements_the_gym_with_diet_and_fasting._935e5827-5a40-4e4a-a17c-51979b694afa

    “Delve into how it all began, beginning with Art De Vany in 2007, and continued through many iterations and self-experiments with workout styles (even working personally with Martin Berkhan — Leangains), diet hacks, and all forms of fasting known to mankind…right up to how I eventually became a “gym junkie” at the ripe age of 62 as an American Expat in Pattaya, Thailand…achieving the best gains and fat blasting of my life.”

  • richardnikoley_a_lean_tanned_and_fit_man_and_woman_who_are_self_7b86e3e3-2129-472f-9def-aa9a1a04e24d copy

    "Unlock the power of the No-Pill Advantages, deprogram everything holding you back, and achieve financial success, guilt-free celebration, and long-term happiness. Break free from the Matrix; conquer mysticism, quell dishonesty and self-lying, and hold the power of prosperity and passionate love. Outmaneuver and outcompete the programmed at will."

  • richardnikoley_if_artificial_intelligence_created_heaven_and_th_d6300390-d7a8-4cde-a480-f7b534d9593e

    "ChatGPT-4 designed for your unique needs. Whether related to this blog or unrelated content, have a convo in 2-way voice or text. Upload PDF docs for future reference. Convenience, efficiency, and futuristic AI tech all rolled into one."

  • 0_1 (2)

    "Outlier knowledge in my diverse downloads. From No-Pill to health-naturally, lots for everyone. I do dot-connected syntheses in health, tech, philosophy, politics, culture, and more. Broaden your integration and understanding of the world."

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

Artificial Intelligence Is Coming For Your Job

— Being Already More Creative Than 99% of Humans, AI Can Replace You. What Are…


Physical Culture: Gym, Diet, and Fasting

“Delve into how it all began, beginning with Art De Vany in 2007, and continued through many iterations and self-experiments with workout styles (even working personally with Martin Berkhan — Leangains), diet hacks, and all forms of fasting known to mankind…right up to how I eventually became a “gym junkie” at the ripe age of 62 as an American Expat in Pattaya, Thailand…achieving the best gains and fat blasting of my life.”


I Raised My Testosterone By 40% In A Year With No Drugs Or Special Supplements

— And I Wasn’t Even Trying Boost your testosterone naturally. Follow along as I tell…


On the Intellectual Downfall of Nassim Nicholas Taleb

— We’re Not Fooled by Taleb Anymore Introduction He sure was the bee’s knees and…


The No-Pill Advantages Course Brochure (114 Lessons, 5 Per Week)

— How to Harness the Power of the No-Pill Advantages for a Life of Freedom…


Will Russia Become The Moral Leader and Conscience of the World?

— White Knight? “Explore a deep-dive analysis of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on the…