“The counterintuitive truth that you have to gobble up fat to lose fat and clear out your arteries is a harder sell, because it requires an understanding of blood sugar, insulin, fat creation and storage, and homeostasis. But any doctor, neighbor, or governmental organization that continues to espouse high-carb, low-fat for health is wrong, and in time this will be common knowledge.”

So…eat bacon?

What’s funny about the whole “paleo diet” thing is that even though its results are obviously successful with many people, at least anecdotally, the average person won’t even try it for a few weeks to see how it affects them. The reasons are sometimes culturual norms — “hands off my pasta!” — but in my experience, it’s usually some deferment to doctor’s orders. “Fat is bad! You need fiber! Your cholesterol will skyrocket! I’ll ignore the fact that you lost weight, eat half as much as you used to, are vibrant and healthful…and wow, you’re pretty ripped. Hey, this feels nice…and you’re more active (and attractive) than before (and stuff) — BUT — you will die if you continue that diet! Trust me, I know! Dr Ozzzzzz!”

Perhaps it is time we forgot about the big organizations, crappy science studies, and anyone else involved in the giant medical industrial complex we have today. Perhaps we can even forget our doctors. As the humans of the world become ever more individual and free, the concept of the n=1 experiment — doing controlled experiments on oneself to conclude hypotheses relevant to that self — becomes ever more important. Plus, politics just mucks things up. The less smog there is to pollute the skies, the easier it will be for the truth to shine.

The “paleo diet” is the next big thing in diet and lifestyle. It’s consistently the most searched diet on the internet, even if mainstream media won’t admit it. If you don’t know what paleo is yet, then you’re out of the loop of how humans have eaten for thousands of years, until the advent of agriculture, which is how governments were formed, as well as every modern disease. It isn’t a “caveman” diet — it’s a human diet. Humans eat animals, most plants, and no grains or industrial seed oils or sugar. It’s usually pretty low-carb and moderate-to-high protein/fat. When they don’t do that, they get fat, sick, and stupid. It’s pretty easy, really. Well, it was.

There are tons of paleo books now, just like any other genre out there. There are the hard science-y books, the “You can do it!” books with the long subtitles about “reclaiming your health” or whatever, and there are the niche books. I’ve seen books on the shelves spouting the same diet and lifestyle information that every other book does, but geared to an athlete, or a teenage girl — always by a certified expert in that field. You can’t write a paleo book unless you’re a certified expert. (Even paleo bloggers have been hunted down by the FDA for giving advice on how to combat diabetes with a low-carb strategy.)

Until now. I found the one. The book that the gods have allowed to sneak through every nook and cranny to infiltrate the masses.

Grant Petersen’s Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog is a flashy, victorious little book. It’s not even shaped like a normal book. This book is a kick in the pants and it fits in your back pocket. It doesn’t even have a normal subtitle: “Get Strong. Get Lean. No Bullshit,” it claims. And it delivers.

“I am not a doctor,” Petersen begins (mostly because he has to). He is actually a bicycle shop owner (and he has published an excellent anti-conventional wisdom book about bike-riding). He continues, “But let me ask you this: How helpful has your doctor been? Not a lot, I’m guessing, or you wouldn’t be holding this book.” Well, perhaps the hipster wearing reading glasses on the book’s cover swinging a kettlebell caught your eye while you were perusing Urban Outfitters. Yes, this is the paleo book for hipsters, by a certified hipster. I am giddy.

But it’s more than just a no-nonsense guide of how to eat and exercise in an up-to-date, “Now hear this!” style. It’s the most concise collection of all-things-paleo in one book I’ve found yet. And no chapter is longer than three pages (not including illustrations). There isn’t any fluff (or any other carbs, for that matter). Turns out this is what hipsters (i.e. most millenials) want. Tim Ferriss, eat your heart out.

Petersen writes with an authoritative, to-the-point style that any expert should be jealous of. His ability to communicate and his dry wit mix well. He blends science with humor without smirking and sometimes it’s hard to catch. I re-read numerous chapters twice just because.

After explaining the ins and outs of insulin spikes due to excessive carbohydrates being the cause of fat storage in the body, he lays down a few chapters on different foods to eat or to avoid. Grains are an easy one, but corn gets the biggest spanking. After explaining that modern corn is not only a scientific experiment, but mostly glucose once it is digested, Petersen explains how to eat corn: “At your next picnic, if you’re given a cob of corn, slather it with butter and slurp it off. Do that a few times, and then drop the yellow menace in the dirt, so you don’t have to be sneaky when you toss it in the trash, where it can’t hurt you.” A later chapter is titled, “How to get a figure like a potato,” and you guess what it’s about.

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The secret to the whole paleo thing — and it’s the part that that no one seems to get into their neanderthal skulls — is that when you eat low-carb, your body has less glucose to burn, so it actually removes body fat from storage. And unlike glucose, fat is a slow burn, providing hours of energy — therefore, there is less desire to eat every few hours, like the typical sugar-burner. But you have to eat fat to burn fat, or you’d starve. (Protein in excess is stored as glucose, as well.) “Cut the carbs, eat more fat, and tame that raging appetite,” says Petersen. “That’s how it works.”

“The most efficient, effective exercise is unpleasant, uncomfortable, and a relief to be done with. For your muscles to get stronger, they need to burn and you need to gasp, and it won’t happen while you’re reading a magazine or following your favorite tunes while on a treadmill.”

In other words, don’t jog.

Now, Petersen isn’t saying never to jog. If you like to jog, do it. Jogging should fall into the same category as bike riding, hiking, and frisbee: play. Do it because you like it, not because it makes you healthier, because it doesn’t make you healthier. It creates chronic stress, which causes the body to dig into its own muscles for glucose, resulting in that lanky, wiry grampy figure most joggers have. Gross.

So what works? “The healthiest and arguably best-looking bodies in the sports world belong to sprinters, gymnasts, rock climbers, and dancers. They may have good genetics, but it is short, intense, straining, gasp-inducing exercise that shapes their bodies. They don’t jog.”

It’s been noted in the paleosphere that humans have never done cardio…ever. Maybe a messenger will run a 5k to pass something on to a tribe down the way, but it wasn’t a daily activity. Simply put, humans performed lots of slow movement like climbing and walking; they lifted heavy things when necessary; and they sprinted once in a while. Many studies have concluded that most of a day is spent resting. Being big, lazy bums. Maybe they fiddled with tools or just had sex, who knows…

Imagine that! I can speak from experience that a few minutes of sprinting will keep me sore for a whole day and that rest is warranted. In fact, I get “beached whale” pretty damned quick after a good sprint. It’s justified, not just deserved.

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“Jogging feels healthy because it’s dreadful, but it’s the kind of dreadful that’s counterproductive….Jogging doesn’t build strength or fitness — it just trains muscles to tolerate more jogging, and in the real world that’s close to useless. You don’t jog to a bus that’s about to take off….You sprint.”

The chapters on exercising explain which exercises to do, complete with tips on designing workouts that work for the individual. Competely customizable and basic. Other than some kettlebells, every exercise in the book requires nothing but a floor (and maybe a pullup bar). Exercise should be short and brutal, not easy by any means. I needed a kick in the pants in the exercise department, and it kicked my pants, hard. I’ve been doing Janda situps and windmills the last few days…

And Petersen explains, if you can do so-many of whichever exercise, perhaps you need to do them slower. If you let momentum carry you on your squats or your situps or whatever, “it cheats your muscles out of a workout.” Instead of adding more reps — because that’s akin to jogging more miles — either add more weight or slow your reps down. Make a squat last thirty seconds per rep instead of five. “The burn is your muscles working without enough oxygen…and that’s what builds muscles.” That one short chapter was worth the book for me.

Oh, I almost forgot. All of the chapters explaining particular exercises contain illustrations of hipsters performing the moves. This is edutainment at its best. Enjoy!


“Meat is easy for your simple guts to digest, and the proof’s in the poop; or not. You don’t have large daily bowel movements on an all-meat diet — testimony to how thoroughly you digest meat.”

Petersen wraps up the book with some (very) short essays on the history of human evolution, other fun body facts, and some thoughts meant to leave you thinking about various topics such as sustainability, what time to eat, and why diabetics should eat this way. Many of these organizations such as American Diabetes Association “give bad advice,” such as “tell[ing] diabetics to eat about 200 grams of carbs per day, 50 to 75 grams of carbs per meal, to get half their calories from carbs. Any diabetic who follows that advice will require regular doses of insulin to lower the blood sugar spikes from the carbs, will find it impossible to lose weight…” The libertarian asks, “Why? To support a certain organization that might be making money off this strategy?” Yes, but the book doesn’t use that nasty L-word.

There’s also a chapter on how to feed your pets: “It’s better to just serve yourself some more steak or bacon than you need and skim some off for the dog. When you want four eggs with cheese, fry up five and give Bowser the spare.” End the war on fat pets!

“NEWS FLASH: It has come to my attention that you can use an electric beater and a medium chilled bowl to make whipped cream fluffier and faster. Apparently this technology has been around for more than half a century and it results in fluffier whipped cream.”

The final chapter is recipes. It isn’t a paleo book without recipes! Petersen’s recipes are hipster-friendly, and are pretty cool. There’s eggplant pizza, homemade chocolate bars, and something called “Fun With Cream.” There are real recipes, too, but nothing too fancy. It shows the simple accessibility of this diet without being boring. If that’s too complicated, just make some eggs and steak — share with dog.

“Food is a political issue, and politicians hoping for a long career in politics aren’t going to endorse an agenda that makes it hard to sell wheat, corn, or potatoes.”

The final few pages of the book are a collection of resources for further reading, for those who want to continue on their own. Here is where Petersen says to read the pros if you don’t want to take his word for it. It is here where I venture off onto my own trail, and you should, as well…

We are entering a decentralized future where every person will be his own pro with his own customized plan, and his plan will be the best plan. I won’t tell anyone that MY diet (which is a low-carb, high-fat diet almost identical to Petersen’s) is best for them. Maybe someone truly does thrive on Soylent Green drinks, or vegetarianism, or an all-pasta diet. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Much like how young people today are not even remotely concerned by politics (Rand who?), they will be unconcerned with nutrition guidelines handed down to them from some “authority.” (Dr…Oz???)

All I can say for now is that it’s a great start down that road when a bicycle shop owner writes a compelling, marketable book that says a lot more in a lot less than any of the “pros” — whether that’s governments or doctors or photo-shopped muscular doods with subtitles like “regain your health” below them — ever will.