• Your life and health are your own responsibility.
• Your decisions to act (or not act) based on information or advice anyone provides you—including me—are your own responsibility.


Fall Colors, And A Temporary Pause In The Action

The aspens peaked this past weekend. Unlike last year, when storms blew away the leaves as soon as they turned, we had a succession of freezing nights with little wind.

Aspens along the road

Aspens in full color

Scotts Lake

More Aspens turning color

Aspens in full golden fall colors on the mountainside

Click for larger version


I’m taking some time off.

Don’t worry: I haven’t gone vegan, run out of ideas, or accepted a job with ADM’s Public Relations department! I will continue to research, understand, and synthesize evolutionary concordance and discordance, and I will continue to explain what I’ve learned to you, my readers, as best I can.

I’ll still respond to comments, and I’ll still participate in the forums. I may even publish new articles on subjects I believe worthy of your attention. But for now, I need to use my time for some projects that don’t translate well into in-depth weekly articles about paleonutrition. And, frankly, I’m a bit burned out.

I don’t know exactly when I’ll resume publishing paleo articles: it won’t be six months, but it won’t be next week, either. Meanwhile, if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be the first to know. (The signup is in the right sidebar, or you can check the box when you leave a comment.)

Live in freedom, live in beauty.


On The Path

Postscript: If you haven’t yet read my previous articles, organized by topic in the index, now is a great time to catch up on what you’ve missed. And if you find my articles interesting, informative, or valuable, the odds are very good that you’ll find The Gnoll Credo as meaningful as many others have.

(Not interested in fiction? Read this brief exchange from the forums.)

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Permalink: Fall Colors, And A Temporary Pause In The Action
  • Fernando Faria

    Good luck, come back fast.

    Nice pics

  • Ash

    lol @ going … yeah right! ;)

  • Beautiful pictures, J! This reminds me that I should get off the moors and take more woodland walks before the leaves are all gone.

    With your incredible commitment to writing a new article each week and the quality of them, I think you’re well deserving of a good break. See you around …

  • Ash

    sorry i meant lol @ going vegan!

  • JasonS

    Unacceptable! Get back to work!

    Only kidding. You have already made a fantastic contribution to our community, a community that will miss you, but we will wait patiently. Enjoy.

  • Sean

    I’ll be Bach–famous blogger last words!!! How much is CSPI paying you?

    Seriously, enjoy your hiatus, just don’t pull a Kurt Harris or Dr Dan (remember At Darwin’s Table?) on us, dig?

    Brilliant pics, BTW. Here we are entering that long dark tea time of the soul when the clouds come to stay and don’t leave until March or April or maybe July if they are feeling particularly obstinate, so I’m quite jealous to see all those crisp, bright colors, not to mention all those wide-open spaces.

  • John

    Hey, long time reader, new poster. Sorry JS, but I just can’t get behind you on this. Jobs are great – don’t get me wrong. We need to live, and unfortunately in the modern world, specifically the USA, that means you need money no matter where you are and therefore a job of some kind. It’s the cold, hard reality.

    But… I did a little researching on who ADM could be. Google made it quite obvious to who the biggest possible candidate is -


    Archer Daniels Midland – a fortune-500 cereal grain processing company. Wikipedia tells us, as well as the sources linked to the article, that this conglomerate has a record of lobbying for grain subsidies and various scandals regarding price-fixing and a spotty environmental record. JS, I do imagine you realize who this, but just for anyone and everyone else who may not have it 100% yet:

    ADM is a Big Bad among Big Bads. They are, basically a major cog in the wheel of the food processing industry. They are among the people who are destroying our environment, our food economy, and our federal budget here in the USA. J, I know that people must sometimes do dire things that grind against them for money. For example, there is an individual out there who is regarded as the philosophical leader of a movement of futurists vying for a more horizontal society. This same individual works in marketing for a large corporation, an act that grates against his moral fiber on a daily basis. I liken his situation very much to yours, and in some ways, I fear for you.

    The rules of morality, if this were my own situation, that I would not take a job that goes so much against my own personal views. I cannot speak for you, so I can only believe that in taking this job, you’ve done so only for purely pragmatic, fiscal reasons. No matter what you type or say on this site, though, I will never be able to know for sure myself. In my mind, this is paramount to moral self-mutilation. My only hope is that this ordeal does not consume your soul, as similar have consumed the souls of countless people so far.

    Stay strong.

  • Edje Noh

    NP, I’ll be checking back on this blog regardless. I think it provides one of the best perspective on paleo out there, especially the idea of not to shy away from eating saturated fats and making animal fats (healthy ruminants that got treated well by farmers) a central piece of the eating style.
    Thanks for all the great articles you’ve posted here and Enjoy your break!

  • Juan

    Have a great Hiatus, JS! (Is that something like Festivus?) You’ll be missed but I, for one, will look forward to re-reading — well — everything, as well as to your next contributions, of course! All the best in your endeavours.

    @John, if you look again, you’ll see that JS specifically is NOT taking a job with that evil twin of Monsanto, AMD


  • Howard

    @John — read more carefully; he said he did NOT take a job with ADM’s PR department. Or go vegan, or otherwise defect to the Dark Side.

    @JS — I can understand burnout. I enjoy teaching more than just about anything else I’ve ever done (for money), but when I got nearly 7 months of teaching technical short courses all over the country with only 2 weeks off, I woke up one morning to the realization that I didn’t really want to go to Chicago that Sunday. After which I quit taking assignments for a while, and actually decided to accept a real job.

    I’m getting to the same point with teaching violin lessons now. Much as I love the work, I’m really looking forward to taking 2 weeks off next month. And probably 2 weeks off in December/January.

    Enjoy your time off, and get back to us refreshed, OK?

  • Jen at luck & fu

    Good for you! Enjoy, rest, rejuvenate. We all need a vacation sometimes.

  • chris.george

    Wish I could do the same JS. Enjoy the time off.


    I always forget how gorgeous Tahoe is, I never make it up there enough (this year never so far).

  • Peggy The Primal Par

    Beautiful leaves in Tahoe! We still have yellow leaves here in Denver but they are weighed down with snow at the moment! Whoo hoo! Snowboarding starts next weekend. I’m hoping to make it out to Sierra sometime this year.

    I know how if feels to want to walk away from the blog sometimes. It’s a lot of work and there are so many cool things to do in the world. What is the average life span of a blog anyway?

  • Uncephalized

    My fiancee and I caught some breathtaking aspens changing for the fall this weekend as well, in northern AZ. Getting to be that time!

    Sorry to hear that you are going to be incognito for a while, JS, as I really enjoy your updates. But everyone needs time off! Wish I was getting some any time soon…

  • tess

    photos of the aspens make me miss Utah [sigh] — but Missouri is becoming stunning right now, too! :-) enjoy your vacation, J!

  • Franco

    What I will look forward to every wednesday now?
    Thanks for all the interesting and educating posts, JS!


  • eddie watts

    have a good break, you deserve it following the last series of articles as they’ve been very complex and very well explained and detailed.

  • Andrea Reina

    Cheers, mate. Enjoyed the book and the articles, hope you come back soon but in the mean time none of us will begrudge you a well-earned rest.

  • JasonS

    John was joking, right?

  • Fernando:

    Thank you.  Even when you're taking pictures of beauty, it still takes a lot of missed shots to get to the few good ones.


    I doubt I could go vegan at this point!  I'm too accustomed to the mental and physical health I've reclaimed from eating a functional paleo diet.  Remember: this is what being human is supposed to feel like.


    You have deciduous forests, which means you probably have much better fall color than we do up here.  Aside from aspens and some bushes, there isn't a lot of color up this high except for imports people plant in their yards.


    I'll be back.


    Tahoe is a great place to take pictures: we get lots of snow in the winter, but also lots of sunny days.  And it never really gets all that cold, at least compared to the rest of the Mountain West.  Though you will either have to buy a snowblower or get very strong, as there's a lot of snow to shovel!

    Don't worry, I'm not out of ideas — and part of it is, as I mentioned, that I've got some projects which don't fit neatly into the format of weekly articles.  The first being Halloween…gotta spend some time getting the costume together :)


    Read a bit more closely.  I'm NOT taking a PR position, with ADM or anyone else.  But I appreciate your concern.

    Edje Noh:

    There's plenty to read in the index.  Plus, the site isn't going dark: I'll most likely write occasional articles on other subjects.


    If “Festivus” means “I get to do things on Tuesdays for a while”, then yes!




  • Howard:

    You understand.


    I'm enjoying it already!


    It's not really “time off”: I've got plenty of other tasks that require my time and attention!  They just won't result in weekly articles…for a while.


    I don't know…but there has been a major turnover in the past year or so.  Lots of bloggers have hung it up, and the new Paleosphere is very different from the old.  I have thoughts on that, which I'll probably share after the break.


    Don't worry, I'm staying busy!


    I miss the diversity of Midwest fall color.  Afternoon light through aspens is beautiful, but there's nothing like mixed hardwoods.


    Thank you!


    Much appreciated.


    I'm enjoying the lack of pressure already.


    Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement!


  • Laura

    Enjoy your break! The pictures are lovely – fall in New England this year is a bit of a dud. Take as much break as you need – you’re fortunate to be able to do it when you need it. I’m going to hit the subscribe button so I don’t need to stalk your site. Enjoy the foliage, and everything that comes after it!

  • Diane

    I hope you have a nice break. I’m sure it takes a lot of effort to write all these essays. I would get tired of it after a while, especially when I could be spending my time surrounded by such wonderful nature. What else is there to say anyway?

    I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed. It seems a lot of the blogs have gone dormant, just when I found them. I was hoping to ask for some advice, but since all the blogs have gone dark, I guess that idea’s toast.

  • Laura:

    Thank you!  We're enjoying Indian summer right now: it's chilly (especially at night) but sunny and beautiful during the day…time to get any last hikes, rides, or outdoor projects in before the snow starts and/or water on the trail stays frozen.


    I know you're frustrated, but once again: your metabolism didn't get screwed up in a week or two.  Also, we've given you quite a bit of advice, including several specific experiments and recommendations to try.  Please try those.


  • Diane

    I have tried them. Thank you. On Saturday I nearly passed out hiking in the mountains. I could hardly walk and I could barely lift my trekking poles. I’m an experienced hiker and couldn’t believe a hike I normally do having conversations with others was so hard I had to stop and rest several times and almost threw up a couple times. Fortunately I found some help elsewhere and got some potassium supplements. I’m hoping to feel better soon. I hurt in a lot of places and my arms still feel pretty weak but I don’t feel quite so awful. You guys recommended high impact intervals but every day I was feeling like I was having trouble even walking in the grocery store. I am hoping to find a place where people understand the issues of being an older female who isn’t cheating and isn’t losing and isn’t feeling better day by day. So far, all of my researching shows that our plight is basically poo-pooed with the whole gluttony/sloth/lying thing.

  • Fmgd

    The idea of the intervals and such, at least as I see it, is pushing you close to your limits in a shorter time instead of being in a more intermediate zone for longer, the key word there being “your”.

    Anyway, as J. put it, this might take some time to adapt. So I don’t know, maybe you shouldn’t push it too hard to start. I’m not very familiar with that, but as an example maybe you shouldn’t try to push yourself into ketosis for now. You know, maybe do something milder (of course always eating nutrient dense “real food”) and give it some time to see if you can progressively go longer on a fast without feeling so poorly or anything like that, but don’t try to be too extreme.

    As I told you before I’m not really “qualified” to be giving much advice, but to me it seems reasonable to draw a parallel with exercise. You’d never start an exercise with the heaviest weight available, would you? Also remember you should be seeking something you’d be able to live, and live well on, not some diet to make some changes and then go back to “normal”.

    Oh, and sorry if we seem to assume things, but it’s a bit hard not to in this “media”. Anyway, good luck, I hope you find your answers somewhere.

  • Diane

    I guess I’m just feeling worried lately. I expected the low-carb flu for the first week or two so I wasn’t concerned. Week 3 I was feeling great until the middle of last week. Suddenly I’m feeling worse and worse. It’s worrying me.

    I took photos of every single thing I consumed that had calories in it for an entire week hoping to ask you folks if you thought I am taking in enough protein or too much fat or otherwise screwing this up. But now I’m starting to worry that I’m becoming very ill. Here are the photos if you are interested.

    I continue to eat similar things (this week I have chorizo to go with the eggs, as an example of what I mean by similar.) But I don’t feel well. I am not sure how to describe how I feel. It’s not the low carb flu. I may need to see a doctor but my own doctor is not amenable to this type of eating, having admonished me for decades to avoid red meat and saturated fat. So I have to find a new doctor who can help. In the mean time, maybe you guys can tell me if you see anywhere that I’m going hoplessly wrong.

  • Diane:

    From what I've read of your blog, you're dealing with keto-adaptation.  “I have been feeling weaker and less energetic at the same time I've been feeling calmer and more healthy” … that's a classic symptom.

    You might ask yourself if you really want to be in ketosis long-term.  If you push through this period you'll gain some of your performance back, but it'll take several weeks…and if you're not losing weight on VLC, then it might not be your best approach. 

    To that end, you might consider eating a more Perfect Health Diet level of carbohydrate, i.e. 15-20% of daily calories.  Let us know if that lifts you out of your performance slump, and what other effects it has.

    However, the fact that you're feeling “calmer and more healthy” is good…that means you're making progress!  I believe that weight loss is a consequence of good health, functional metabolism, and healthy diet — not the cause of it.  As has been amply proven, you can't starve yourself into good health.  

    For future diet questions, may I request that you post them in the Talk forum?  Right now they're scattered as comments to random articles, and it's hard for others to understand what's going on because they're always coming in at the middle.


  • Diane

    Thank you JS.

  • Greg


    I’ve been doing a ketogenic diet for about two years now, and have read just about every piece of material available on the matter.

    I think JS hit the nail on the head with his diagnosis: keto-adaptation. I don’t think you necessarily need a PHD style approach if you’re willing to spend more time adapting.

    One issue with your little bout hiking is a well-known phenomena described by studies of fasted exercisers. Introduction of carbohydrate at certain points in the exercise actually caused hypoglycemia (light-headedness, fainting, etc). This comes from a lack of metabolic flexibility – and the kind of met-flex that JS writes about isn’t the same as switching from fat to sugar metabolism when you have a sustained, high need for it.

    If you opt for staying with the keto paradigm,

    1.) Do not introduce large carb boluses (oranges and bananas on your hike).
    2.) Ramp up your activity gradually. Studies seem to show that you will get your endurance back (and more – bonking is, theoretically, impossible on keto), but it must follow adaptation.
    3.) Keep up with electrolytes and hydration. Keto has a natural diuretic effect; try to get ~5g of sodium every day.

  • Diane

    Thank you. I have finally broken through to the other side. I still have my moments of electrolyte-bonking, but I backpacked in the snow, postholing to my knees, no hunger, plenty of strength and energy, had to be reminded to eat during the day.

  • Diane:

    That's great to hear! 

    Most likely you'll find that the longer you eat this way, the more independent of food and hunger you'll become.  I'm still experiencing slow changes after nearly a year.


  • raney

    Is that Colorado?

  • Raney:

    It's near Lake Tahoe.


  • Page not found &laqu

    […] Fall Colors, And A Temporary Pause In The Action […]

  • Mich

    These are very nice pictures. I especially like the one with the tree in the middle of the lake.

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