• 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.


Interview with Richard Nikoley at “Free the Animal”

This one’s been in the works for a few weeks. Richard Nikoley, of Free The Animal, occasionally does video interviews…

…and I was proud to be his latest guest, both on FTA and in person. Not only was the interview itself enjoyable, he and his wife Beatrice were gracious hosts—and we had a wonderful time talking about all sorts of topics that couldn’t be squeezed into the interview due to time constraints. (The video runs just over 27 minutes.)

Update! You can also download the interview as an audio-only podcast.

Feel free to jump over to the FTA thread and leave a comment there: it’ll give Richard some page views in exchange for all the work he did to put this together, and it’ll give his readers more incentive to come check out gnolls.org.



Permalink: Interview with Richard Nikoley at “Free the Animal”
  • Jan's Sushi Bar

    I already read you both. 🙂 But it’s nice to see and hear you, so to speak.

  • Dave Sill

    “Why the technical/scientific approach?” (paraphrased)

    Maybe because without science you don’t have understanding?

    Sure, there’s a place for nonscientific/nontechnical blogging like Richard’s, but without a foundation based on science it can end up being just a form of entertainment. That’s fine, too, as long as everyone is aware that that’s what it is. But I think people have a tendency to assume that bloggers are subject matter experts. To his credit, Richard makes it pretty clear that he’s not an expert.

  • Yeah, it was really good to see you over on FTA. I wondered if you were just being a little shy and not telling us about it here Wink

    Your radio interviews were fun to put a voice to “J” and so it's finally good to see you up close and personal. Back in the late '80s/early '90s in my goth days, I had very similar, but black, hair … often stuck up, usually tumbleweeded. Shaved sides, wide mohican.

    I guess appearance is going to attract a lot of interest, in fact Niko makes that point … kind of in reverse, but it was really fun to sit back and just listen to what was being said.

  • Daniel Taylor

    That was fun to watch. 🙂

    I ate a 16 oz t-bone while watching this….and it was awesome.

  • Sofie

    This makes me think your name is Jay, like Homer Jay Simpson 🙂 Nice interview.

  • pam

    i enjoyed it. you look good (albeit different than i imagined.)

  • jennifer

    J.-I enjoyed the interview SO much. For some reason, I’ve always pictured you with a rather majestic beard. 🙂

    I have read your blog sporadically over the past couple years but read the Gnoll Credo every couple months. It is brilliant! My son wouldn’t listen to any of my primal talk but was got caught up in the story and it has finally opened discussion.

    Thanks so much for what you do! (and the mohawk is majestic enough in the absence of the beard.) 🙂

  • Jan:

    I had a great time: I hope it shows.

    Dave Sill:

    Exactly.  I enjoy understanding why things are the way they are, and sharing that understanding if I can.


    I'm not shy.  The reason I never pictured myself in any identifiable way, or featured my photo on the home page, is that gnolls.org isn't about me or what I look like.  I prefer to keep the discussion on the level of ideas and experiences, not on details of my personal appearance or habits.

    I actually considered whether I wanted to reveal myself on a video interview, or anywhere else — but as I'm presenting at AHS 2012, I can't avoid it indefinitely.  And this seemed like a good opportunity for people to get to know me in a less formal and distant setting.


    The T-bone, or the interview?


    Glad you enjoyed it!


    I've had readers imagine me as all sorts of things — including female.  This is fine: as I said, gnolls.org isn't about me or what I look like.


    I'm not nearly old enough to pull off the “guru with beard” look, nor burly enough to pull off the “lumberjack” look.  So “gnoll” it is.

    It means a lot to me that you find Gryka's story so inspiring…and that it's made a connection with your son.  Feel free to ask questions or otherwise discuss it in the Talk forum.


  • Jeffrey of Troy

    At about the 18:00 mark you transmogrify into a large pine tree for while..

  • Sean

    Great interview, as I already mentioned over at FTA you are articulate as hell in person as well as in print. Looking forward to hear what you have to say at AHS and wishing I could attend in person.

  • Daniel Taylor

    JS: both! 😉

  • tess

    i enjoyed watching/listening, too! you were both very … um … tactful in areas where i thought some disagreement could occur. 😉 it’s nice to put a face to the personality that comes through in your writing. i look forward to your AHS presentation on video!

  • Jeffrey:

    That can happen.


    Thank you!  I believe the AHS will be quicker about putting up the videos this year, and I'll most certainly let everyone know when mine is available.

    DT, Asclepius:

    I'm glad you found it worthwhile to watch.


    I'm not inclined to stir up controversy for its own sake — and Richard respected that.


  • Carl

    Just ordered Credo!

  • Tom

    Hi, JS,

    I know that you’re selling t-shirts to help raise money for your AHS airfare. While I don’t need a shirt, I would like to chip in.

    Any chance you could put a donate button on your blog?


  • Carl:

    Thank you!  I hope you find it as meaningful as the rest of my readers.


    I prefer to give something of value in exchange for your help.  If you want to assist my efforts and you don't want to buy T-shirts, the best thing you can do is to buy signed copies of TGC direct from my publisher and distribute them to anyone you believe would enjoy them, or otherwise benefit thereby.  (If you run out of interested friends and acquaintances, local libraries are always a good bet.)

    Note that the shirts and books aren't a fundraiser per se: it's just where my gnoll-related income is currently going, and where it will continue to go until AHS 2012-related bills are paid off.  (Writing fiction — no matter how life-changing — and selling T-shirts is not a direct path to riches!)


  • Pauline

    I thought the interview was brilliant, you portray the energy of the wolf pack hunter. I have always loved stories about wolves and their packs, is there something in our primal history that bonds us to them? Saw some African animals at a safari (in the UK recently) and a chill went through me as some of the predators have a decidely cold, calculating stare like they are sizing you up for dinner.

  • Juan

    For those of us who weren’t at AHS11, it is great to finally see and hear you “in person” JS. Steaks and whiskey in the California Sierras sounds rather idyllic, too, so the whole package was fun to watch.
    At any rate, thanks for continuing to do what you do.

  • Chuckie B.

    Hey j.,
    I was very interested to hear you say that, although a major component, eating low carb is just one of several pieces of the puzzle for losing weight. As I’m finding myself with age having a harder time of it this time around could you possibly point me in the direction of some of the other components? Sorry if I missed them elsewhere.

  • Fmgd

    @Chuckie B.

    You should probably take a look under “Eating Paleo” on the index (http://www.gnolls.org/index/), there’s a lot of information there. If you want the quick summary you have the “paleo 101”. If you want to delve deeper I’d say the “why are we hungy” series there is a must. “The Science Behind The “Low Carb Flu”” might also be of interest.


    Nice interview, I’m looking forward to your presentation when it’s uploaded. Also, for some reason your looks didn’t surprise me.

  • jennifer


    i have to laugh at myself because when i discovered your site a couple years ago, i could only handle it in tiny bites. i just wasn’t ready for….well…to think.

    i’ve been stuck in bed the last couple days and read every single article. i have to say that my brain has a big fat crush on your brain!

    what you’ve done and continue to do is SO important!

    thank you.

  • (I lost this one a couple times due to browser crashes: my apologies for the delay.)


    Thank you!  Humans and wolves have a long history together: I seem to recall we domesticated each other sometime around 50 KYa according to some estimates.  And yes, some of the big cats have that “thousand yard stare”…I’ve felt it at wildlife parks, too.  Not so much the lions, who are mostly just lazy…it’s the panthers who really have that “If this fence were just a few feet shorter, you’d be lunch” look to them.


    I’m glad you found it interesting and informative!  I thought for a while about remaining mysterious, but since the AHS12 talks will all be on video anyway, I figured it was time to reveal myself in a less formal setting.

    Chuckie B:

    LC seems to work very well for people starting their weight loss, even where other diets have failed…but if you plateau out above your goal weight, it might be time to look at things like reintroducing a Perfect Health Diet level of carbs (15-20% of calories) from safe starches, starting a weight training or other exercise program, addressing satiation issues by not drinking your calories (lots of LCers seem to consume heavy cream), etc.  Since each person is an individual and no two LC diets are the same, I can’t possibly be more specific without knowing more.

    Also, what Fmgd said.


    Thanks!  You hit much of what I was going to say.


    My brain is my best feature!  Unfortunately he’s easily distracted, but on the whole we get along well.  If you like him, he’s easily seduced by flattery, coffee, good cooking, dry humor, and anyone who knows enough about a subject of passionate interest to explain it well.


  • Tim

    I’ve found it’s relatively easy to get a rise out of the lions. Just stalk them. Start moving slowly and carefully, watching them, acting like you’re trying to be quiet. I’ve done this at several animal parks/zoos and have had 100% of the predators’ attention every time. I don’t know if they imagine I’m going to take a kill from them, or if I’m actually a threat, but it’s fun. It feels like communication. Of course, I have no allusions about my own prowess. I know that without the bars there, I’d be lunch, those lions are HUGE. But hey, this is why it’s good to be able to pull one’s own weight into a tree, or at minimum be able to run faster than the slowest other onlooker. 😉


  • Uncephalized

    Tim: I am quite sure, having coevolved with humans on the savannahs for quite some time now, that lions are well aware (instinctively speaking) of the danger posed by an armed, aware adult human to both their lunch and their safety. A trained human can kill a lion with nothing but a sharp stick, and the lions know that.

    Throw in the fact that where there is one hunter, there are often more, and we are not to be ignored.

  • “Brains and teamwork …”


    However, “lions are not easily intimidated” … they still back off when a determined human walks forward with purpose.

  • Susan

    Jeesh, at the risk of sounding obsequious, I was struck in the video by your glowing skin. Your complexion is actually flawless and RADIANT! I haven’t noticed a change in mine in my 6 months of paleo eating,so I’m wondering if you would attribute that to your diet or if it was that nice B.P. (before paleo)!
    Also, you came across as very erudite and articulate (as I expected).

  • Tim:

    That's fascinating!  The lions I saw didn't seem to mind me quietly observing — and I was close enough that I could have touched them through the fence — but perhaps I was too casual about my observations.

    The hyenas, on the other hand, were extremely attentive to everyone who passed by, most particularly the children.  I'm sure the hunting instinct told them “That's the slow one, right there.”


    It's not that the human would necessarily kill the lion.  The problem is that there are no lion hospitals, and even a minor injury can mean your death if it stops you from hunting for more than a few days.


    See my reply to Uncephalized above.


    Thank you!  I've never had skin problems, but I'm in the best health I've ever been, and one's health is usually reflected in one's complexion.  I think that eating plenty of saturated fat (especially coconut oil) and getting a moderate amount of sun (no burning or excessive tanning) helps quite a bit, as does maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet.

    I'm not sure that eating paleo reverses the visible signs of aging so much as it slows them down…so the longer you eat paleo, the better you'll look!


  • Organ Meat

    All that meat and no soap? The dude must stink to high heaven!

  • John Bull

    Richard Nikoley? Isn’t he that old Yank in Thailand who ran his mouth to some young Aussies and then soiled himself in fear?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Subscribe me to the sporadic yet informative gnolls.org newsletter! (Your email will not be sold or distributed.)