Kickass Womanhood at The Big Fat Paleo Symposium


Since Richard Nikoley has "declared war" on me and linked to this post, let's keep it all here shall we?  I'm going to keep this short and simple:
  1. It is simply mind boggling that someone who threatened me from the get go and called me all manner of names throughout, finds anything inappropriate in my -- gasp!! -- calling him a misogynist.  Which is really the worst thing I've said about him.  It is rather amusing to see how it seems to have affected him over the past months, however.
  2. This is not a threat, it is a promise that I will make good on in my defense.  In his post, Nikoley made some things clear:
Accordingly, and as it is a "war," I go "nuclear and chemical-biological" early. I will make zero pretense at "objectivity." This is for the purpose of smear and annihilation in words and images, with no mercy. I have no intention of fact checking, caring a lick about context, posting a scintilla of extenuating or exculpatory evidence. I will be seeking as much dirt, as much that is unflattering, as much inside information that's likely to be taken in the wrong way as possible. And I won't let up until I'm satisfied, and I don't even have a standard for that. I'll know it when I see it.
And let me be equally clear.  This is actionable stuff here and I will take action against Nikoley and/or anyone who decides just for the fun of it to participate in his war.  I've already begun the process of contacting the internet distributors of his content, and will be contacting his publisher tomorrow.  For anyone else so inclined:
Contact Hyperink
For general communication, please email
You can also call us at 650-395-7596
Or he could take it down, and apologize fully like a man -- alpha, beta, or freaking omega, matters not to me.  

UPDATE: I have several additional thoughts related to the topics in my original post as well as the aftermath of both AHS12 and posts such as mine. I had thought about posting another post, but here are three reasons why I chose instead to update this one.  {my apologies for formatting, Blogger is not cooperating :( }

1.  Yes, this will pop this to the tops of feed readers, but it won't add to the post count of those devoted to gender politics in "The Community".

2.    This post rapidly rocketed to #4 on my all time hits list, and while writing this has reached the #2 spot.  This is The Carb-Sane Asylum, not Carbsanity for Women or somesuch. Yet I have been impacted directly by much of what has been discussed in this post, and therefore consider this to be important content for this, my, blog.  That and ...

3.  The recent dispatch from LLVLClue-land held promising news.  The era of TWICHOO may indeed be in its declining days.  While I don't expect that to happen overnight, and expect the legacy of this to linger on for many years to come, having the sidebar be reflective of this trend by knocking Gary Taubes' email post off of its current top spot would be great.  Amongst LLVLC readers, in just one year, Gary Taubes went from topping the list of most trusted health resources with 60% to third with 21%.  I'd like to see my sidebar reflect this by knocking his email post from the top.

If you haven't read the original post, you can scroll down to the horizontal line break, or use your browser search to skip to "Original Content".  This is new material but I cannot promise there won't be some repetition.   I think the gender tensions in the community have their origins in the fact that the movement is dominated by male authorities and leaders.  Eaton, Cordain, DeVany, Sisson, Wolf ... when you think paleo diet, one or more of the latter four were likely your introduction to the modern day paleo diet.  And when you're casting your net wider in the general community, the big websites/blogs/podcasts are/were also male:  Sisson, Wolf, Nikoley, Harris, Moore, Eades, Croxton, heck, even Naughton, and let's include the more science-based blogs:  Guyenet, Masterjohn, and PeterD/Hyperlipid.    Forgive me if I missed any obvious names....

The diet/lifestyle was envisioned by men, romanticized and gimmickified to appeal to men, and even tweaked to accommodate the SAD entrapments most commonly problematic for men (beer or alcohol in general).  About the only thing about the paleo culture that seems more female than male would be the super-curious obsession with dark chocolate as a paleo-approved food.   

In all the various posts and discussions about the demographics at AHS12, nobody seems to have mentioned that by-and-large, the community gender demo/role makeup is not all that unlike stereotypical America circa the 60's & 70's -- men as executives/breadwinners/policy-setters/scientists and women as wife/mother-or-partner/assistant.  It's actually kind of strange to me, because in my lifetime -- spent in many a traditionally male dominated arena -- I've seen such distinctions blurred to the point of reversal in some areas (anyone look at college student demos lately?), and stereotypes dramatically altered if not obliterated.  Yet here we go again?   ...  I'll make no further comment here, nor comment on pros or cons of this.  And yes, this is a generalization to which there are exceptions so don't start listing them please.   But this IS what it so obviously is and ignoring it doesn't change it.

So anyway, there really do seem to be two undercurrents intermingling here:  the young beautiful people vs. the old and ordinary, and the gender divide.  And when push comes to shove it appears the phallus trumps as it historically has, and maybe that's just about the most ancestrally congruent feature of the community after all?!  Most were aware of these undercurrents all along, but I think it's fair to say they began bubbling up after AHS11.  So many of the reports mentioned the looks of the speakers and crowd.  There was a thread on Paleo Hacks that expressed reservations of those who didn't fit the bill.  And then there was PaleoFX in March of 2012 where the bubbles broke the surface ....

On Nom Nom Paleo's blog, the following comment ignited a sheetstorm.  
“One question, and I know this will likely come out wrong and I may even regret going there, but I have to put it out there: I can’t help but notice that, while the men all are lean and mean, most of the female Paleo figureheads aren’t, well, quite so lean.What do you think? Am I way off the mark? If not, why do you think this is?”
In response, Laura at Ancestralize Me blog penned:  Paleo Women are Phat, which referenced Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe weighing in with Jimmy Moore as guest on their Balanced Bites podcast.   Here's my outside-lookin-in view:  I was not there, I saw pictures from a wide variety of sources.  In my opinion, while the crowd was dominated by visions of health and fitness, there were representatives from both genders that might fall outside some arbitrary ideal of "looking the part" -- and going back to AHS11, this would have especially included many older male presenters:  Eades, Cordain, Feinman & Nikoley.  To me, the different impression of male vs. female attendees at such and speakers at such conferences simply mirrors the disparity of expectations in our general society.

There was a recent incident of Tim Tebow taking off his jersey in the rain and running that brought about this YouTube comparison.  I'm willing to bet that those looking for imperfections will still be more harsh on Bo than Tebow, and you know what?  It's probably more of the women than the men that this comes from.
Bottom line:  Different standards for attractiveness are nothing new, nor are they particular to the paleo community.  For better or worse, that just is.  Having an attractive face also seems to be far more of a requirement for overall attractiveness for women vs. men, and no degree of altering ones body through diet and fitness can change this. If the women of paleo feel somehow under greater pressure to meet some objective standards of beauty and fitness than they feel in the world at large, perhaps there's a lesson there?  Dunno.  But let me tell you ... if I looked like Liz or Laura or Diane and I felt I didn't "measure up" to some paleo standard, I'd be outta that scene.   Who wants to affiliate with a group that makes you feel even more objectified or held to an even higher standard than the greater already pressuring society??  C'mon!!
But I guess it isn't just women and obese men who notice the focus on appearance.  Ned Kock made the following observation in his AHS12 Wrap-up:  "I could not help but notice a tendency among some participants (perhaps many, judging from online threads) to pay a lot of attention to how other people looked in a very judgmental way. That person is too fat, his/her face is too red, she/he looks too old etc. So was this supposed to be the Ancestral Health Pageant 2012?"   I saw quite a bit of this after AHS11, but not so much after AHS12.  If you go to the link you'll see my exchange with Ned about this. I will not apologize for being very critical of many of the leaders in the LC Community, but I want to make it clear this is largely irrelevant to the paleo community that I see, Jimmy Moore excepted if you think he's paleo baayybeee.  Any of you paleo types who feel some sort of judgmental animosity coming from me are mistaken -- this is Moore's modus distractus operandi as he dragged some of this into the paleo community, just as he dragged the Taubes drama into it before this.  This man's book has "sensationally skinny" in a book subtitle when he was never so, but that could be debated if he still weighed 230.  That the formerly 410 lb Jimmy did not achieve perfection at 215 lbs is not the issue, but he likes to make it one to distract from his disordered eating, out of control weight gains, faddish weight loss schemes, utter hypocrisy, and the fact that for a very long time he has resembled a classic "before fill-in-the-diet" picture.  
I have never disparaged anyone in that community for their weights out of context.  This is the strawman.   The reactions of those discussed in my LC Morphing to HAES series were the inappropriate behavior.  Trash me -- someone who has lost around 100 lbs but remains overweight and researching whether continuing an LC diet absent further weight loss is healthy for the long term -- rather than cleaning up their own acts.  I simply exposed the elephant in the room and they didn't like this threat to their scamming livelihood. If you became famous for losing weight, you better darned weigh less than before you started this all, and if you're singing the glories of the diet vs. traditional "failed" methods, you better darned well keep it off in a sane manner.  And lastly, if you're touting health, you better darned well look healthy and not be blogging about all the metabolic derangements, off the chart lipids, using HCG and new diagnoses for which you take prescription drugs and hormone creams while decrying Big Pharma.  
I will not apologize for making people aware of the health issues these "healthy" low carbers have, how they don't look like their outdated avatars, and  how -- despite claims made in LC diet book after Atkins-inspired diet book -- few if any of them are slim.
I don't see this in the paleo community (and I don't count Lustig and Eades in that group) -- trying to think of examples and only perhaps Cordain comes to mind ... oh, and Nikoley.  There may be a few others, and since they haven't denounced him officially, I guess paleo "owns" Kimmer Kruse and his Polar Bear Surf Board.   Granted, there is a lack of follow-up with success stories touted on sites like MDA, and "fails" like weight gain, developing ED and deteriorating health are largely swept away or under the rug.  But by and large the folks promoting their versions of paleo have achieved some form of success or another whether it be weight loss, fitness or remedying a health issue.  I do think it helps that many of these people were not overweight to begin with -- the most objective overt "measure -- and many come from athletic backgrounds and thus "look" healthier in general.  But they look the part, as well they should. There are examples of partial success.  Here I speak of Stacy from PaleoParents.  After PaleoFX, her husband Matt wrote The Fattest People in Paleo.  Seeing Stacy out of context, by her own admission, she sticks out like a sore thumb and I'm willing to bet a good many of my detractors think I'm remiss in not pointing her out.  You are right.  I have been remiss.  But not because she deserves any sort of Laura Dolson-style call-out, but because in the end I really don't "move" much in paleo internet circles.  Matt and Stacy talk kid-friendly paleo foods, and since I'm not big into the paleo recipe scene nor do I have kids, there's just no impetus to "go there".  But go there today I will.  More recently Stacy wrote what is hands-down one of the bravest, open and honest posts I've read anywhere, ever:  What Losing 135 lbs. Looks Like.  Go read that people.  It is AMAZING.  Stacy is amazing.   If I have any criticism of her, it is more a general comment:  Junk food is junk food, and making it from paleo ingredients and slapping a paleo label on it doesn't change that.  But that's not unique to the Paleo Parents by any stretch.
But Stacy's recent interview on Stefani Ruper's fledgling podcast is one of the reasons why I'm so disgusted (sorry that's not a gentle word) with Stefani for having Jimmy Moore on her podcast.  The ladies of Balanced Bites did the same thing before her.  It diminishes greatly the real concerns of women, to kvetch and get choked up discussing body image with a Jimmy Moore.  This man can't even admit he has an eating disorder.  I mean Diane and Liz fretting over not looking the part and being self conscious, and the 300 lb Jimmy chimes in how he doesn't look the part.  Ummm ... context people!  Jimmy's situation is nothing like what the BB women were talking about.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  And Stefani was bemoaning not having gained enough weight prior to attending AHS12.  But ya know, it's all about those unnamed antagonists out there that these women should be blaming.  And we got another dose of it in the LLE/PFW podcast.   That attractive, young, fit looking women are self conscious has nothing to do with this man's situation.  But he's masterfully co-opting this "crisis", just as he capitalized off of the safe starch *antagonism* martyr-fest.   You really would be hard pressed to find two more different people/situations than Moore and Ruper.  Stefani, like myself way back when, lost too much weight, and her fertility to go with, in pursuit of some elusive image of female perfection.  She's right.  Women were never meant to be super-low-bodyfat-percentage, and if that is the unspoken ideal furthered by paleo it needs to be countered and not by stupid podcasts with Jimmy Moore.   I tweeted at the time, that if Ruper were really interested in a women's issue in Mooreville, it would be his wife Christine.  Perhaps what effect going on two decades of marriage to an obese man has had on her own weight/image issues.  After all, we learn that she weighed a mere 90 lbs when they first met, and though Jimmy repeatedly claims Christine has never had a weight problem (dismisses?), she once weighed 157.  I don't know about you, but in my opinion that IS a weight issue, a pretty serious one actually.
But ultimately, promotional alliances with Moore pale in comparison to the more egregious alliances with Nikoley.  It's one thing to not take a side and sit quietly by in blissful ignorance (which I can only guess is the case with Sanfilippo).  It's quite another to know full well what's going on and choose to engage Nikoley.  There is no other purpose but to drive website traffic, because this man brings nothing else to the table.   He is really the only man that comes to mind who is directly responsible for the gender discord in the community.   I guess Nikoley assured Sanfilippo sufficiently of her hotness that she's now confident in herself and blissfully ignorant of what's really going on at FTA.  I suppose I can forgive her that if she's really unaware, but not so for Ruper.  
I know Ruper is known for her Nikoleyesque foul mouth, but surely she's not so stupid as to buy into the whole "it's just a word", "it's not a bad word in Thailand", or whatever other excuses were meted out for this abusive behavior.  Everyone, including Nikoley himself, knows exactly how he used that word.  It was in the context of threats, and everyone knew who he was talking about.  Dick, Jack, Jimmy, Tom, Andreas and all the rest of the freaking wimps (oddly enough mostly BMOC types) don't get a pass on their attacks and finger pointing just because they lack the balls to take ownership of their words.  Say what you want of me, when I make an accusation you know who I'm talking about and I don't play stupid games of "well I didn't say it was so-and-so".   That is cowardice personified.
The 3 C's hailing from the greater Chicago, NY and Boston areas were Melissa McEwen, myself and Emily Deans, and Nikoley lied from the start denying Jack had named us as I've got communications stating otherwise.  What happened next was very different for each of us.  We are all women, but an apology to one (Dick has now apologized unconditionally to Emily, though he was too much the coward to do it in person) doesn't have any bearing on any of the others.  Initially it was I who had entire posts devoted to further sexist abuse and threats.  It is undeniable and has not been unequivocally apologized for.  Given the nature of all that transpired, Nikoley owes more than an apology.  (Some of this is summarized in my letter to Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger that I gave permission to be posted here).  I too am a sucker for redemption that is earned.
You don't reward behavior like this by doing guest posts on the guy's blog.  You just don't.  And yet in the aftermath, Stefani who seems bothered by a woman (me) getting angry over being threatened with annihilation, is planning to do another one.   I do wonder what you would think of Nikoley were Stacy to have been the subject of his rants.  Because if there's anything to your empty platitudes then the target of the rants matters not.  We are ALL beautiful in our womanly self-hood and lover of all things lives ... right?  Or not.  Because there is NO middle ground.  If Stacy dare speak out of her paleo place, Nikoley would go off on her, and if he met her outside the community you know what he would think and say and how he would treat her if, for instance, she happened to block his way to the john or take up too much space on the barstool or in the airplane seat next to him.  Stop lying to yourself if you think any differently.  And speaking of those platitudes, I heard it all from Susie Orbach in the 80's.  Hooey.  Just stop looking to men for affirmation ... ahem.  It's a great first start, and you know what?  It doesn't require you to become a reflexive man-hater!  Amazing that.
In the wake of his trash piece, he tries to hang his hat on one or more folks who disagree with me.  Hiding behind those who "get it" that he was just being sarcastic, or pointing to women who find his misogyny acceptable doesn't cut it.  Oh ... and rape jokes and examples of men taking bullets to protect their women doesn't save him.  I said YOU Dick are a misogynist, not all men.  Your behavior proves me right repeatedly, and no number of examples of female relationships changes that.  But congratulations Stefani, you erected a nice protective umbrella for this guy to hide under.  I can only hope his wife knows not of his internet behavior because if she does, that is truly troubling.  And now we're treated to pick-up-artist views on gender roles and racial politics and whatnot.  All because this man thinks he gets to make his own rules and there are apparently enough women stupid enough to fall for it.  If women are offended by my use of the word stupid, then stop acting that way.
Oh ... but the strong, intelligent women who speak up against it?  We're the problem ....  No laf ... No laughing matter.   As I stated in my original post, I'm uncomfortable ranging into gender issue territory.  I do not identify as a feminist, although I have in the past.  I just think label-advocacy is misguided.  Ironically, I agree with Nikoley that AHS was not to blame for whatever the demographics or undercurrents were.  The organizers did have control over the faces they put forward though, and thus the image/reputation/credibility of their organization.  But if there's any gender or demographics gap in the community, the only way this should be addressed from the top down is in crafting a more coherent and inclusive message.  I don't see that happening, but go ahead and surprise me.  Tokenism won't cut it.
I had high hopes for PFW, I thought it was going to focus on applying a paleo-based diet to dealing with and healing specific women's issues.  To discuss how women tend to react differently to the more common versions of the paleo diet and perhaps how the diet can be tweaked to benefit us better.  Stefani was on a good path looking into the gender specific differential effects of the practice of fasting.  This is not what is front and center on her website these days.  So IF you're going to go into the feminism thing, then you really have to walk the walk and Stefani clearly is walking in the opposite direction.  Sorry, no gentle way to say the truth.
I am not clutching at pearls and swooning at the use of a bad word, nor have I ever played the victim card.  I'm not even calling on women to act in some sort of solidarity of the ancestral sisterhood moment.   There are just some things that are such no-brainers they should be near universally responded to in similar fashion regardless of one's demographic affiliations.  This extended situation, from Kruse through AHS12, is one such no-brainer.     

Original Content - First published Sunday 8/19/12 Mostly written on Friday ...
Just when you think you can't get much more disgusted with an animal like Nikoley, he goes and out does himself.  I can think of no other reason but to vent his hatred of most women, the world, humanity in general, or whatever moves him,  in the name of defending the honor of the organizers of the recent BFPS, otherwise known as the Ancestral Health Symposium.  I won't link to his post or the post of the woman he mercilessly attacked (if you're really interested you can go look for yourselves though this is one of those rare times I shall encourage you not to).  I guess he was too wrapped up thinking of what he was going to say during this weekend's Ideal Man conference in Austin  (no comment ...) to consider the possible consequences of his behavior.
You see, this somewhat insider blogged her criticism of the organizers and atmosphere at AHS and feelings of not fitting in.  Whether or not anyone agrees, isn't this what Nikoley is all about?  Nope.  You see there is only value to the opinions of hot,  desirable to men (by his standard)  thin women who support unflinchingly the great work of Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger and the larger community.  This person acknowledged what others have at both of the AHS symposiums and other paleo events.  The demographics are skewed.  Whether that's a bad thing or not, and/or what if anything should be done,  is for each to decide for themselves.  But no, RN rants:
Shame on Brent and Aaron for not bussing in uneducated, unhealthy, post-menopausal, fat people who could not pay...and who were also black, hispanic, asian, but comprised mostly of lots and lots of sexually undesirable women—all screened to make sure they they're lefty democrats: racist while protesting to be not, sexist while protesting to be not, and bigoted—but the life of the party sort of bigot.
WOW!  Personally I don't think one can pin the demographics of AHS attendees on the organizers of an event intended to serve a community that is ... erm ... demographically challenged.  What they did have control over, however, was who they included in the conference and to whom they awarded coveted speaking slots.  From my personal perspective, they are also jerks for not even acknowledging the concerns of a paying attendee (well before I had any doubt I'd be attending) with regard to the being the subject of vulgar, abusive, sexist, misogynistic rants and threats in not just one, but several blog posts.  It hardly makes them look good to totally ignore -- as in no response -- such concerns when:
Failure to act in good faith and civility may result in revoked membership. We don’t always have to agree (scientific discourse and debate is encouraged), but we must be respectful of other members and of the Society as a whole.
Last I checked, my ticket purchased in February made me a member of the Society.   Personally I have a bit more issue with the unprofessional cliqueish fashion with which this organization is run which is why in my head I call it the Incestral _ealth S__mposium.   Over on Chris Kresser's site, Aaron made the following comment in response to someone who complained how LC researchers had been shut out (huh?? and LOL!!)
I was a member of the program committee. Due to space constraints, we were only able to accept about 60 of the 120 or so proposals to present at AHS12. This necessitated many hard decisions in who to accept and who to cut. We tried to keep a broad mix of topics. But we unfortunately had to decline many deserving proposals.
Given as the final schedule wasn't finalized and had considerable holes until a week or so out, I find this credulity challenged.  Many of the talks did not have titles on preliminary versions of the speakers list, and when they did, several of those changed.  So there's just no way they selected speakers based on the content and mix of topics ... and there's definitely no way they based it on credentials.    Which, by the way is what conferences such as this usually do -- they put out public and publicized calls for abstracts and select from them.  In my last post, Emily Deans expressed concerns about trying to make AHS a purely academic conference and I never got a chance to respond.  I don't think AHS needs to do that, it's not the mission, but it would be a matter of structure to separate out the academics from the debate and from the drama and from, frankly, the salespeople.  And certainly separate out the true academics from those looking to capitalize off of unsuspecting, sometimes desperate attendees who paid good money to try to learn something to improve their lives rather than subject themselves to pronouncements from sponsor-whores and manipulative self-promoters.  It's mixing them together as if some of these people have any qualifications or have done any research -- primary or otherwise -- to substantiate the scientific claims they make that's the problem.
Ahh, but fear not!  Nora Gedgaudas is the epitome of diversity in the community.  She's a friend of Richard's, and a lesbian, and he makes a point of letting us know that and of  his many other homosexual friends.  She's also at least reaching menopausal age if not menopausal, she's just not overweight and I guess she sufficiently rises to Nikoley's idea of hot.  What all that info has to do with anything is beyond me, but it was information  Nikoley thought was of *value* to share in his rant.  Nora Gedgaudas has no business presenting on anything other than her neurofeedback.  None.  Her book is an utter disaster of misrepresented, misunderstood and outright made up out of thin air crapola -- much of which was gleaned from the diet books written by others.  If anyone has her original 2009 book, just go to page 151 and I'll donate $25 to the charity of choice of the first person who emails me with all of what's wrong on that one single page.  Her book is so easily demolished ON THE SCIENCE it is not even funny.  It's a disgrace it got picked up by a mainstream publication and she is seen as some sort of "expert" or "authority" on human evolution, physiology or anything related.

Speaking of Nora, she inspired change in a young up and coming paleo feminist.  This part of this post pains me greatly to write, because I was a fan of this woman and believe she means well.  I also think she has gone off on the wrong rail.  I'm speaking of Stefani Ruper, Paleo Pepper and now Paleo for Women.  I used to get a few hits from the PP site when I checked random stats, which is how I found her blog.  Since she didn't link to me, I figured it must have been her checking out my posts.  Back in January of this year, Stefani wrote Hungry or angry as hell.  In it she described a decade of going hungry to maintain an unnaturally low bodyfat/size.  In the comments you'll see an exchange between she and I where she says:  "I LOVE your blog, ps. Have been a big time reader for a long time."   She reminded me of my younger self a lot, though wrote as if she were an early 30-something.  Turns out she's 23.  A bit younger, but here's me at 17 going on 18 on HS graduation day.  I weighed somewhere in the 105-110 lb range here.  It is difficult to see in the blur (can't find the original just now that the scanner is working, cell phone pic), plus I've got a thick denim dress on, but my hip bones jutted out at this weight, and you could make out every rib on my chest.  The only thing that saved me from looking like a sac of bones was my inherent muscularity accentuated by sports participation.   I was in no shortage of attention from men here and presume the whispers about me would have been positive were that girl to have attended AHS.
And yet if Stefani has a cause in paleo, it is female fertility.  On her PFW site she writes:
Paleo women are fertile.  Paleo women are natural.  Paleo women are attractive, youthful, and healthy.  Paleo women are feminine, and they are strong.  They have many years of healthy libido, energy, and life ahead of them, and it’s so exciting it makes my head spin
Yeah, I was all that ... except the fertile thing.  I had not menstruated in at least 5 months at that time.  And nowadays, I suppose I'm also not a paleo woman, because though I'm several of the descriptives above, I'm again now infertile -- apparently for around as long as Ms. Ruper herself  (In 2009 I stopped menstruating. This month, March 2012, marks the 29th month in a row that I haven’t had a period.), though my infertility is now do to menopause.  I guess I'm disqualified at this point?  
Stefani wrote two posts about AHS.  In the first, she admonishes Rosedale for being sexist.  Rosedale is a lot of things to me, but sexist isn't one that comes to mind from his writings.  She writes:
He said that evolution primed us for reproductive fitness, but that’s not a good aim if we want to be healthy. If we want to be healthy, we should use longevity as our health-determining paradigm.
What I heard was: forget women!
Last time I checked, fertility is not just a female issue, you need fertile men too.  Granted you need more fertile women to be able to sustain a pregnancy than men for survival of the species, but I don't see Rosedale's position as "forget women" ... I see it as individual-centered.  Stefani sounds rather upset with L.Ron here, but I guess in a way, he's being an advocate for post-menopausal women like myself.  However misguidedly, he believes his keto diet is most beneficial to my health and wellbeing.  Oh that's right.  I'm not a fertile paleo woman ... forget me?
She weighed in on diversity in general with her follow-up call to action.  I find it odd that having yet to promote any sort of kickass womanhood, she's already thinking on ways to bring paleo to people of color and lower socioeconomic classes.  If I may be so bold as to suggest ... perhaps making paleo welcoming to ALL women, short, tall, young, old, attractive, butt-ugly, skinny and fat should be the primary focus of a website entitled Paleo for Women.  Just sayin ...  She sure turned her back on many women by writing a guest post on Nikoley's blog -- well aware of his c*nt rants.  Don't give me the rationalizations.  But she actually bragged on that post in this one!  Really, really!  By now she should be well aware of what went down.  Silence.   If you cannot even address those of us older women who feel left out and marginalized because we aren't the exact image the middle-aged sexist men want us to be, what is the point of having a blog called Paleo for Women.  
I contend that the problem with paleo is not lack of outreach, it's lack of coherent ideas.  Sarah wrote in comments:
You need to articulate why diversity serves the interests not only of the paleo community, but of the people you want to get involved. Whose interests does it serve? Too many times I have seen movements try to embrace diversity, but they do it out of their own passion for the issue and not passion for the people and with impartial understanding of their needs, concerns, etc
Look, there's nothing wrong with a lack of diversity -- it is far preferable to tokenism and elitist evangelism of a lifestyle to others because "it will be better for you".  If paleo could somehow turn the USS Pseudoscience around and craft a unified vision of what the diet is, why it's at least worth trying, etc. then people will come.   I think that ship has definitely sailed too far.
So I suppose the movers and shakers can recruit a Latino to go paleo or someone can start a Purple Paleo movement to bring in women like myself.  But paleo is the new vegan, sad to say.  Only at least the vegans agree on the diet they promote, while "paleo" seems to mean whatever the heck someone wants it to mean, and if that's incongruous with evolutionary history, just make some shit up.
[ profanity alert ]  I say fuck the pandering, fuck the pious attitude, fuck the preaching and fuck the patronizing.  It is insulting as all hell and it hasn't worked in other areas. [  /profanity ]
Get your scientific ducks in a row and turn the community and the "movement" into one based on facts and ideas -- not fantasies and sales slogans.  When I go into the voting booth, I vote for the candidate who shares my ideas, not what they are going to promise me or whether they've held a fundraiser at my local chapter of the Society of Menopausal Women.  The diversity will come, if it was meant to be, when sound big ideas are presented with integrity, and if it doesn't, perhaps it shouldn't be.    That's no reason to disrespect those who don't fit the majority part.  And yes, I can hear it now how I've criticized many.  There IS a difference ... if you are a public figure advocating for something, that matters and you better dang well look the part.  If your story is such that you look less than ideal, that's fine ... I'll never reclaim that girl above, it's impossible!  And people can't change general body shape, the size of their nose, the spacing of their eyes and all that jazz.    But to quote Ron White "You can't fix stupid!"    Some humans are more generally attractive than others.  I think that's probably paleo, though I may have to check with my guru to make sure ....
The traditional healthy diet of the Pima was heavy on legumes and grain.  Yet to regain their health, the pompous purveyors of paleo will lecture them how gluten is Satan's excrement and legumes are bad, they are addicted to supermarkets and should be eating grassfed beef and organ meats as part of a high fat diet that is anathema to their healthy traditional diet.  They'll go to MDA and ask if amaranth is paleo and I imagine the answer will be not much different than he gave about the evilz buckwheat:  
At first glance, buckwheat certainly looks promising. Unlike grains, it’s not a grass, but rather a flowering pseudocereal. The triangular seed from the buckwheat plant, called a groat, is harvested and can be milled into flour or used whole in cereals. Seed? Seeds work, right? Not necessarily. While I love most seeds for their high fat content and protein, they do have to be low in carbs to pass the test. Buckwheat groats are decidedly starchier than, say, flax (another story altogether) or pumpkin seeds, so we must use caution. Buckwheat’s glycemic index is 54, which is still fairly high despite being lower than actual grains.
Historically speaking, buckwheat certainly isn’t paleo. You can put lipstick on a pseudocereal, but it’s still a high-carb, high-glycemic-loading grain wannabe. It also requires significant amounts of processing (grinding, roasting, rinsing, sprouting) to become edible to humans, and the earliest known domesticated cultivation of buckwheat was in Southeast Asia, probably around 6000 BC, well after the advent of agriculture. A wild form obviously existed before, but – as with grains and legumes – not in large enough quantities for it to become a regular food source for early man.
Evil starch!  Oh and the less glucose you consume in a lifetime ....   What is early man?  Mark said in a more recent interview that paleo was anything more than 200 years ago.  There is significant evidence of non-cultivated legume consumption in traditional cultures as major staples of their diet from around the globe.   The bottom line is that paleo has problems beyond it's elitist bent.  You can probably do reasonably well in urban squalor so long as the purity police don't come down on you for consuming pasteurized dairy and regular eggs and chicken.  They'll tsk tsk you for the yucca fried in veggie oil, but you can ignore them well enough I suppose.  The bigger hurdle is to present a case that some "me caveman" diet is better and more appropriate for them than the traditional foods of their ancestors.   Especially when it almost certainly wasn't the traditional diet of your own!  At least the diet better darned well be working for you ....
I thought "ancestral" was a more encompassing term.  I guess not.  I'm sorry, but to turn the tide on the lifestyle problems of the past 30 or so years, telling people they need to try to eat like nobody can even agree on how paleolithic humanoids ate isn't going to sell.  This is why the carb wars are so divisive to the movement.  Not the people on either side, but the controversy itself, especially since it is almost never argued on the available evidences of historical consumption.
I'll level with you, I'm not big on feminism per se, though I came of age during the raging debate over the ERA.  I'm into humanism.  I want people to judge me --  for better or worse -- as a person.  Not as a woman, or as a person of German and Scandanavian ancestry, or as a college educated person, a geek, a former athlete, a fill-in-religion/atheist, or fill-in-political-affiliation, ....  That's how I try to judge others, ever cognizant that personal biases do sneak in from time to time.  But if you're going to advocate for women, then advocate for all of them and take action when others tear them down.  Meanwhile I hope this woman upon whom Nikoley unleashed his wrath at least gets a t-shirt.  And since my bio pics are currently down, here is another montage from a scattering of ages.  I'm wondering which of these women would be considered fertile, attractive, hot, strong and/or kickass enough to be embraced by AHS/paleo folks -- and which would be ridiculed as unattractive to men and thus unworthy of having an opinion.
Womanhood, self-hood, whatever the heck you're talking about is so much more than appearances.  And kicking ass as a paleo woman in recent days should without question be to rally around this woman Nikoley thrashed -- whether or not you agree with her.  Because all she did was express her opinions on a blog, in far less inflammatory manner than her abuser I might add.  And speaking of those pictures above, the brain in each of those heads is the same brain, but it contains more knowledge in some than in others and a scatterplot of knowledge vs. hotness factor would show no correlation.  Oh yeah, and I left out the 300+ pound "before" pic from 2007.
I hope if Stefani reads this she'll reflect on it and her mission.  It seems to me she's gone the way of putting some sort of career cart before the horse here.  She describes herself in one bio as a nutritionist and eating disorder counselor, yet has no formal training in either.  Her cause is fertility but she apparently hasn't been able to re-establish her own (please, I wish her well, but there are so many women who have despaired over at PaleoHacks alone about paleo not magically restoring menstruation, it is important to keep paleo expectations real).   So she's going to make her name with a flashy website, slogans, tee-shirts, and guest posts on popular blogs run by middle aged men who can take her under their wing and guide them into contributing to the community. Only the book deal is missing, or do we just not know about it yet?  Sigh. 
I blog about science here (and the gossipy stuff is mostly about advocates that either butcher science and/or have no clue about it in their advocacy).  I'm one of the few women in this wider community to do so, and yet a purported fan, at least for some stretch, doesn't even put me on her blog roll?  I get a lot of female support mostly from outside those who identify with the paleo community.  But oddly enough, my support and encouragement from within the paleo community comes almost entirely from men - young and old white educated men -- that nasty demographic I suppose, that I prefer to just call men, or rather just people.  I don't hold the actions of an animal against them.  These are obviously not absolutes, and I don't even like to think about things in such gender divided terms.  But I'll take that over a stupid tee-shirt any day.  
A gender neutral, kick ass on one and one peeps!  ~ Keanu Reeves as Shane Falco in The Replacements


CarbSane said…
Sorry your post went to spam Bret. Sheesh ... I can't opt out of the spam filter, but since I took off the word recognition I've been getting spates of repetitive spam posts that the filter lets right on through! You'd think it could at least detect those? LOL.

Thanks about the collage. None of the pics in it were from the 80's though ;) Maybe I'll have to look for a few of those to add at some point. I dunno if that means I look that much older now or young back then though :D Not sure I want to know :p

The whole Dick-and-Paleo-women dynamic reminds me so, sooo, so much of college it would be quite entertaining were it not so disheartening. Guys at my college were at a disadvantage to begin with as the ratio on campus was 5:1 and even adding the women's college into the social scene men still outnumbered women substantially. So you'd think they'd do everything in their power to get women to their functions. But one frat with lots of anti-Tebowish (as in not quite so buff or attractive) football players was fond of wearing No Fat Chicks tee-shirts at parties. The thin women generally thought it was cute and funny and only cared that they were considered acceptably sized for these guys. And for some reason some very attractive women of all shapes and sizes seemed to care whether or not they met the admission standards. Ahh memories ;)

Nikoley adds a layer of cryptic banter and whatnot to obscure the obvious. His "type" is just too easy to spot though.

BTW, have you seen his interview with J Stanton? The seated body language is hilarious!!
bentleyj74 said…
I've heard before that it was one of those genetic mutations that was involved in being less susceptible to plague [have an aunt that was diagnosed some time ago with very acute celiac] but I never knew whether there was anything to it beyond folklore or not.
Galina L. said…
Thank you, Susan,
I will read all your links for sure. It is interesting how adaptation to one factor of survival may affect something else. I remember watching a show on TLC about AIDS, they found a man who had an immunity to it, and they discovered he was carrying a blood cells mutation his ancestors developed during the plague time which prevented them from getting a plague and was useful as well for the AIDS prevention centuries later.
Lesley Scott said…
Stephan G. wrote about this as well & links to sources:

Beyond Ötzi: European Evolutionary History and its Relevance to Diet. Part III - Recent Genetic Adaptations are Often Crude:
CarbSane said…
Mission Accomplished!
an3drew said…
What in the hell is that guy's problem?!?

I have to think it's the pictures that (accurately) depict his physical state that have been posted on Melissa's site.

Whatever it is, he's sunk even deeper and I thought he had hit bottom already.

Prediction: He takes this latest stunt down and blames it on excessive drink.
Unknown said…
He also posted this

Richard Nikoley // Sep 3, 2012 at 16:50
Thank you, sir. Finally a stand up, real brain in my comments who understands shit that was fucking obvious to my Grandfathers.
How much we have lost, eh, and they defended worthy women too (it’s a very old ethic).

These women aren’t worthy of anything now but an onslaught of smear, very bad smear. Still collecting, but I’ll be ready soon enough.

It is a bit ignominious to go to war against women, I admit. But they insist they want to be treated equal and my resistance to do so became a weapon against me. You understand that I know. But you’re the first one, the first one in comments not lacking one degree or the other of insight into this.

Richard Nikoley // Sep 3, 2012 at 16:56
I don’t care about bromides when I’m not in a laughing mood, Joe.
Follow along at the links, or don’t. Whatever.

I declared war and I meant it. War is all in. I am all in.

I will endeavor to step up the value and available help in the meantime at FTA. In that I am relieved.
Unknown said…



This is cross-posted from Free the Animal.

First, the Good News: After much deliberation, thought, and chats with others about it, I have decided to Declare a Blog War of Words and Images against Melissa McEwen of and, and Evelyn Kocur of

Wahh wahh. A man old enough to be my grandfather has declared WAR on me. Reminds me of 5th grade.

When did I ever say that this wasn’t about his hatred for individual women? Since he has nothing to contribute regarding the science behind evolutionary nutrition, he HAS to resort to touting how many hits his blog has. He has to take his opponents down with other means. And for him, that often means vicious gendered insults. That IS misogyny when you take down women that way.

Also he only apologized to Emily Deans, which means he did not really believe his actions were wrong, he just wanted to make a point.

Dude has nothing original to contribute to paleo/evolutionary nutrition. He’s just a preacher re-hashing those that came before him. That’s exactly what his book is, a cheap aggregation of better older books by people who are knowledgeable on the subject. He’s brilliant at SEO and running a circus that attracts people. Preacher school taught him well even if he dropped out.
Unknown said…
Sounds like he's drunk to me OR it could be drugs - I'm just saying - my opinion only - no facts just my opinion
Lerner said…
Hey, Evelyn, in some of those photos you remind me of my little sister. You look like a sweet kid.
Birdie said…
Dear Evelyn,

Thank you for posting the contact info for HyperInk. I am writing to them this evening. I am saddened by Richard Nikoley's misogynistic words and actions. As someone who is studying and learning about ancestral lifestyles and how they may pertain to our own modern existence, and as someone who is a woman, I am embarrassed by his outbursts. There are many people who are standing with you and Melissa in this unfair and unfortunate fight. Don't lose hope or give up.
v/vmary said…
i support you and melissa against FTA. it all may be for show what he's doing, or it may be that he feels his source of income is threatened. this is a good litmus test for people. this war has nothing to do with whether a person agrees with CICO or low carb or paleo or whatever. this is about standing up against someone who uses threats and insults vs people who argue from ideas. either people won't stand up cuz they don't take it seriously or they are really nervous that maybe FTA will turn his attention to them. i think it is more the former.
Victor Venema said…
My sentiment exactly. I like a civilized discussion based on arguments.

On my blog, I have set all links to Free The Animal, Animal Parts and PaleoDrama to "no follow". This is used by Google to determine the popularity of a home page. If you set it to "no follow" a link will not be interpreted as supporting the linked page. This way, these pages will be less likely to be the first paleo page a newby sees.

I would suggest that everyone does the same if the war breaks out. Just add rel="nofollow" to the a href command: <a href="" rel="nofollow">.
Galina L. said…
I continue to be interested much more in the food and health issues like LC diet verses "balanced" diet, then to get into the web-investigation about does Richard hate woman or not.
markgillespie said…
Just read Nikoley's thread where he has "declared war" on you and it's possibly the most pathetic thing I've ever read on the Internet. I think he needs to step back for a second and ask himself 'You're a grown man. What are you DOING?!'
MM said…
I think at this point I'm almost hoping he's drunk, because otherwise he seems to be taking a running jump for the deep end.

Evelyn, I wish you all the best in dealing with... geez I don't even know what to call it. Insanity? But it's worse than that. Malicious Insanity? Is that an oxymoron? I give up. :)
Victor Venema said…
Animal parts
Failed Experiment: Back to Real Life

It’s 3:30 am. Can’t sleep and I know why, too.

I don’t feel good about myself. ...
markgillespie said…
OK, looks like he did take a look at himself! What an embarrassment of a man. Who follows this weirdo?
Victor Venema said…
Just half of the people that used to read him a year ago.

Good that this spook ended.
Galina L. said…
Richard already found out he didn't need all that and decided to resume his normal life. My experience tells me wars are more easily started than finished, it doesn't work like a switch, and an opponent could be more fired-up. I wonder is he gets more outburst during last year or it was not on the internet before, or I read his blog less before. As a person with a LC bias I suspect "safe starches" are not beneficial for the state of Richard's fuse.
My preference is to neither read nor link to FTA. Glad to see (via your Alexa comment) that others are apparently doing likewise!
LeonRover said…
Richard's fuse ??


Guess he have become a DeFusedNik . . . . .

locoenlacabeza said…
s___ches may be the problem, just not tar. he makes no secret.
ProudDaddy said…
I'm with you, Beth. I figure if material is unsuitable for my 10-year-old, it's unsuitable for me! Further, my mother always told me that profanity is the last resort of the ignorant.
Sanjeev said…
I love that page.

I made a submission there a couple of days ago.

Today I noted a warning about offensive submissions.

I hope I didn't submit the wrong page - I was looking at a couple of very offensive pages at the same time and I may have copied & pasted incorrectly ... I've also been hacking on my Xorg window manager at the same time and had some weirdness there too.
Galina L. said…
I've just finished checking the Melissa's web-site that I never saw before about the Paleo-drama, the one that Richard mentioned in his war-declaring post as a main reason for him to consider her an enemy. The only thing I can say after reading her blog, she must be the worst enemy to have. During the Paleolithic period body size and body strength mattered a lot, nowadays the most dangerous weapon is called "language skills" . Her skill of being vicious without giving the slightest room for a critic in incivility is outstanding, plus she knows how not to be boring and easy to be dismissed. Her only problem could be called social - she dismisses too many people at the same time, probably mostly for good reasons, but it looks like it is easier for her to quit Paleo-movement that for Paleo-movement to rise to her standards. Or we about to see another fraction to form? The Flawless Paleo may be?
LeonRover said…
"The Flawless Paleo may be?"

Nah, I think that just as Super Mario subsumed Mario, there is scope for a variety of Super Paleos which include Paleo.

I asked Stephan WholeHealth this question earlier:

"Would you call yourself a Tubero-Paleo eater?

I myself am Lacto-Tubero-Paleo and on occasion Legumino-Lacto-Tubero-Paleo."

CarbSane said…
Vicious? That's a pretty strong word, and I don't get that from Melissa. Nikoley, yes, Melissa, no. Collecting all of Nikoley's attacks on women in one place -- one of the things that PD did/does -- is not vicious, and Nikoley playing wronged victim when Melissa and I defended ourselves and called out his behavior is/was pathetic. The post he should have stepped back from and reconsidered was that screed trashing the AHS volunteer for merely expressing her opinions on her (obscure) blog. Can't be having any of that going on, I suppose. Now THAT was a vicious use of "language skills".
CarbSane said…
Thank you all for your support. I'm happy to see Nikoley thought the better of his course of action. I may or may not have one final blog post on the episode. We'll see. But again THANK YOU, and for the many who did so via private email as well.
LeonRover said…
Post Scriptum

Oh, and in Kitava it's a Tubero-PescaTaro-Paleo diet.
bentleyj74 said…
Last I heard the Kitavans were pretty happy that the corn crops were plentiful at the time of year that the interview took place. :)
LeonRover said…
Actually, Bentley, I was initially thinking of calling the 19th Cent Irish peasant diet a Lacto-Tuberoso-Paleo diet and promoting it to the tune

"Non più andrai, farfallone tuberoso", here sung by Hermann Prey:


Tongue firmly in facial cheek.

bentleyj74 said…
How about the "*expletive* English *expletive*" diet?

I want royalties if you do :)
Galina L. said…
Probably "vicious" was the wrong choice of the word by me, may be "aggressive" or "relentless" would be more accurate. Melissa can hit hard without looking bad. What is the word for it? Whatever the word, it should be use in the place of "vicious" . Richard doesn't have such skill because so far I can see his attacks backfired great deal.I wanted to say she is an extremely well-armed fighter in the arena where only words are used, and her verbal shield has no gaps. In a primitive word a short fuse may give an advantage because people would be more careful around such person in order to avoid a black eye. Also, a short but heated verbal exchange between two people in a physical world while they let their steam go away could be perceived differently mainly because it is short and happened in a heat of argument , or somebody didn't feel his/her best. There are people who could overreact easily, then cool down in a second, and their immediate circle just cut them some slack because they know them. However, it will stay in a virtual word forever frozen in time, all spontaneity will be taken away. Instead of steam-releasing it will produce enemies and will be add to your negative resume. It will be turn in a stick everybody will be able to use forever to pock into your. Not a desirable result.
Galina L. said…
I believe in a gratitude. I had a fun in Richard blog communicating with people there, especially from international community. You was also a good host to me , trying to understand me and my motives in a non-negative way. It was very unpleasant to find myself in the middle of a conflict. I see no excuses for Richard using an ugly words on people, however, I don't hold a personal grudge against him,. All that backfired on Richard great deal (please,don't think I am crying "O, poor Richard", rather I see it as his weakness), it doesn't look like he is a thick-skinned person, he decided to stop that war, but I strongly suspect the whole story is not over yet. It is possible more people like Dr.Dean, probably SG and others will openly join Melissa and it will be another division in a small Paleo-circle . Will see, I am not a Nostradamus after all.
bentleyj74 said…
Lol Nostradamus :)

Well I'm putting my own mea culpas out there because I don't know if any of y'all have lurked around but Don Matesz currently looks amazing. He always looked good, but he looks REALLY good atm. I made fun of his woo even though I know with his background it sort of comes with the territory but day-um. Maybe the next AHS conflict should be RN face to face with question who the beta is on that one and oh the irony.
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