Kurt G. Harris MD

The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology. The best evidence from multiple disciplines supports eating an animal-based diet high in fat, low in cereal grains and relatively low in carbohydrate.

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Tuesday
Jan122010

Time is Finite

I am just thrilled at the recent blog traffic (50,000 page views just last week) and enthusiasm for ideas found in the comments.

I like to respond to comments and questions, but we do not live our lives at the quantum level (where time can go backwards) and I am starting to run up against some physical limits.

Currently, I am logging about 12-15  hours a week just moderating and responding to comments.

I enjoy this, but time is finite and I need to spend much more time reading primary sources (the ones I already have a giant stack of) and putting up more substantive posts - substantive essays are the raison d'etre of this blog and i would rather have a few substantive posts than a whole bunch of trivial ones.

The blog is at the point where new posts and comments are going to take more than 25 hours a week.

This is gratifying, but the reality is that this project simply has to start paying the freight in my own life.

I don't have a book for sale yet, and frankly, maintaining the blog will probably add another year 'til the completion of the first one - an accessible scientifically based guide to the 12 steps.

I sell no supplements.

I don't peddle my essays as ebooks.

I only have affiliate links if you buy books through amazon from my list - this has earned me about $78 so far.

I abhor the idea of cluttering the site with advertisements, especially the useless junk and scams that pop up with google adsense.

Charging a subscription fee for access will limit growth and exposure of new souls to the blog and paleonutrition in general.

I have considered doing skype-enabled personal consultations but have some medicolegal and logistical issues to research before I start that.

So I have decided to add a "donate" button - which you will now see on the right.

I'll come right out and say it - I encourage contributions as large and as frequent as as you are comfortable with.

Maybe you can put the contribution amount in the context of your annualized cable TV bill, your $150 per month Crossfit membership, or relative to the cost/usefulness ratio of a 15 minute appointment with medical specialists who know nothing about nutrition :)

If the blog has value in your life, you will know what do.

 

 

 

Reader Comments (34)

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."~ Julia Child

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWinalot

Dr. Harris,

I am more than happy to step up to the plate with a donation for your excellent blog. I have been an avid reader since I found the site.

Great blog, great info, great work...

Thank you.

Ben

KGH: Thanks, Ben.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin Goodale

Done! Thank you so much for your continuing efforts!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Light

"I don't have a book for sale yet, and frankly, maintaining the blog will probably add another year 'til the completion of the first one - an accessible scientifically based guide to the 12 steps."

Now that is a book I will buy for myself, friends and family members. Awesome plan Doc.

Tal

KGH: Yes, I was planning a Taubes- style magnum opus on the neolithic agents but there is a need for an actual diet book more acutely. The Taubes style book will take a while.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTal

I kicked in my widow's mite, on the condition you stop giving out bodybuilding advice. My natural bodybuilder friend and training partner (who is very strong and very lean) power-cleaned me yesterday when I told him "A man on the Internet said you eat too much protein!"
;)

KGH: Thank you but no conditions accepted ;) WYSIWYG. No bodybuilding advice given (I wish there were fewer bodybuilder questions), but I stand by my assertion that many bodybuilders eat too much protein. I obviously have no idea what your friend eats.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Just donated $25 via Paypal. Keep up the great work!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjason

Done. If and when you need to go to subscription, that will work, too.

KGH: Thanks, that is nice to know but I will probably always have a public section as well.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Wood

"an accessible scientifically based guide to the 12 steps"

My Christmas shopping will be super easy the year that comes out. Looking forward to your interview with Jimmy Moore Thursday, and Richard's later this month--and then Lierre Kieth's next month. I'm stoked.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Lackey

I appreciate the work you put into the site. Keep up the good work. I just kicked a few well-earned bucks your way. I'm always much less trusting of a site that is "pushing" supplements or what-not.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Yugen

Dr. Harris;

Perhaps the reason your blob enjoys frequent visits is the general trustworthiness of your opinions, which can be inferred from the facts of your qualifications and, possibly equally important, the fact that there is nothing for sale here. Most bloggers are selling something and that raises the distinct likelihood of a lack of scientific objectivity. If you start defending a book, products or even prior opinions, you may lose some of that trustworthiness. I guess I had better make a contribution!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

KGH: Thanks, Phil. We are all selling or promoting something, I suppose, it just depends what.
I try to be explicit about what I "sell" - so far it's just some opinionated nutritional science filtered through one particular brain.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

My check is in the internet mail Kurt. Glad to help, you have been invaluable to me and many others.
My guess is that the voluntary donations will only get you so far in a well deserved effort to monetize your work.
I agree with you that a subscription will limit access but it seems to me to be a tradeoff you might have to consider. You could also do a multitiered subscription that wouldn't cut people off from the basics from free but has some advanced, or more timely, material that we pay for? Just some paleo food for thought.

KGH:

Hi Ken

I've thought of video lectures, newest content and Q/A by subscription and leaving the "old" content free. Essays or essay excerpts would post to the free site after a time - one year?

Probably too soon for subscription, but I'm under no illusion this will ever compensate me like radiology. "Opportunity cost", indeed :)

I hugely appreciate your donation and any feedback you can give about future options is appreciated as well.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen Smithmier

I see that comments are now disabled on "Can protein turn into fat?" I hope that wasn't due to replies containing expletives about my theory. I was half expecting to get "Colpo'ed", but nothing exciting has happened. You haven't responded (to my e-mail). Taubes hasn't responded (to my e-mail). I'm not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed! I guess time is too precious (to make this post on-topic).
Nige

KGH:

Hi Nige.

Comments are supposed to be disabled automatically after 30 days - but for some reason I had to do it manually on some old posts.

Not personal - I find your idea interesting enough to deserve some study, I just haven't had time yet. I didn't notice any expletive. I may get irritated at some posts but the minute I behave like Colpo - stream of profanities leveled at you - run away! I assume that is what you mean by "Colpo'd"

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNige

I don't think time flows backwards even at the quantum level, however perhaps if you were able to quantize (i.e put a character limit on) the comments it would save you some time and make for more considered discussions. Keep up the good work. Like your approach and style.

KGH: Thank you. Some interpretations of modern physics from as long ago as 1949 (Feynman) say at the particle level it can (Ford, Classical and Modern Physics vol. 3 1974)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Marlow

Dr. Harris-I will be glad to donate what I can. Although I don't agree with everything on this site, I find your presentation and honesty refreshing and I am amazed that you respond to as many posts as you do-no wonder you can't keep up. I think a subscription is also a good idea and I would gladly subscribe. Keep up the great work.

KGH: Thanks, sometimes when I read an old post I wrote I don't agree with it all either :)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

Hi Kurt,

FYI, I just attempted x2 to send along a contribution to your blog, and, despite a perfectly robustly funded card, PayPal rejected the payment, even though my bank account shows PayPal has two "holds" awaiting withdrawal.

Any other way to contribute? E.g., could you sign up for Google Checkout as alternative?

tony

KGH:

Thanks for your efforts.

If it's convenient you can send a check to me at:

Kurt G Harris
228 S. 18th avenue
Sturgeon Bay. WI, 54235

I will try to add a direct credit card button later, paypal fees are a killer.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterH. Anthony Semone, PhD

Your work is definitely a cut above and I am happy to donate (especially compared to other small subscriptions, iTunes downloads, regular cups of premium coffee, etc.). I would definitely purchase a book that organizes the approach to recreating the EM2.

The logical framework is greatly appreciated. As are references to studies providing supporting evidence.

Regards,
Ian

KGH: Thanks, Ian!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIan Lucas

Dr. Harris,

The information on your site is wonderful (life-changing, really) and you present it in a manner that allows somebody without a medial science background to understand much of it. Happy to donate; keep up the great work.

KGH: Thanks, Bill.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Dr. Harris- thank you for your honesty. I'm happy to donate.

I quit dairy in an attempt to "lose those last few pounds" and avoid "all the inflammation that dairy causes" and was miserable- no coffee with half and half. Wah. I was bummed on the inside and a bitch on the outside. I was low carb, but not < 50 g and was low fat as well. I was counting calories, skinning the zone as Robb Wolf calls it, and it sucked.

I have had a long battle with the scale, eating disorder/ poor body image, depression, the list goes on and on. You have been a virtual "shrink" for me. Reading about high fat dairy as a replacement for carbs was the equivalent of the clouds parting and hearing a chorus of angels sing..... Not only did I jump back on the half and half, I just upped my fat overall. I didn't plan on cutting carbs, it just turned out that way. I estimate that I am around 20-40g CHO. This a ballpark, as I am no longer weigh and measure, just eating by hunger cues and stopping the same way. I have tried to eat intuitively in the past, but I think I was trying too hard.

I have been setting PRs in my CrossFit workouts like crazy. I am NOT hungry, my mood is greatly improved, but the biggest thing is that I stopped weighing myself- not because I am afraid of gaining weight with the extra fat, but because I am finding that I just don't care. That is HUGE for me. To not care what I weigh?!?! As Vizzini would say, "inconceivable!"

I have ramble on long enough. Thank you again for all your hard work. You have helped me more than you know- I have you linked on my website, which isn't saying much as I have a very small operation, perhaps CrossFit's smallest affiliate? but hope that I can expose more people to your site.

KGH: What a sweet testimonial- thank you!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStrongLilPony

Just donated - thanks for your rock-solid, evidence-based, superstition-free insights. Personally, I'd vote against going to a subscription model. Your mission seems to be to spread these ideas to the world and making this a gated blog would really limit your audience. In any case, thanks for a great blog that respects the intelligence but still stretches the minds of its readers!

KGH: I think we would add premium content and still have a free section - but that's a ways off.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Dr. Harris,

Your to the point views on how to recreate EM2 has helped me tremendously with digesting all the material I have read for creating my diet.

I am thrilled that you acknowledge Kwasniewski as I feel his work needs to be more explored - thinking about the potential for different foods to be used to cure/halt the progression of fatal diseases.

I sincerely hope that you can find ways of keeping your material free, as it is on such a basis it can have the great influence it deserves.

Donated via the Paypal button.

/patrik.

KGH: Thank You!

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpatrik

My .02 cents.

I don't think that a blog subscription model is the best way to optimize revenue for you (and I am not just saying that b/c it is in my interest to get free, high-quality content).

What you are basically attempting is a monetization of your considerable expertise, knowledge and outstanding ability to synthesize data from various sources into meaningful, actionable recommendations to assist in duplicating the evolutionary milieu.

You have many options for this. Some include those that you mentioned:

1) Book/DVD

2) Subscription site with some free content (freemium model)

3) Subscription site with no free content (Art de Vany)

4) Tele-consulting arrangements

5) Other

6) Mix and match the above.

A couple things to consider:

Competition and abundance of excellent content. When Art de Vany began to charge, he did so in a very awkward and uncouth manner, accusing those of us who weren't likely to pay of freeloading. I chose not to subscribe and glad that I didn't, given the quantity and quality of content available on the web.

BTW one thing I love about what Richard says is that he is the anti-guru - Paleo makes you free. If there were no Paleo blogs tomorrow or they all charged, I'd still be in great shape cuz Paleo is not complicated. Sure, I like talking about it and thinking about it, but to actually do Paleo, I don't have to pay to read someone's blog.

What is that you have that 99.999% of Paleo bloggers don't have? A medical degree.

Personally, shooting from the hip here, if you can overcome the many and tricky medico-legal hurdles to do Paleo physician tele-consulting, I think this project would be quite profitable for you.

Robb Wolf does it. I paid him for an hour of his time over the phone, it wasn't cheap at all, but it was well-worth it.

For example, you could charge some amount for an hour and half over the phone, as well as some amount for the right lab tests (outsourced) that would give you a base-line and bead on someone's health. There are so many lab tests out there, which ones to choose? This is a conundrum for the layperson, especially one interested in Paleo.

Use the blog to feed the consulting business as Robb does. This will maximize your exposure, and not limit new people from finding Paleo, and allow you to monetize those of us who are interested in deeper and more specific consultations.

Anyhow, just my two cents. BTW a quick way to give you an inkling is to throw a survey out in front of your visitors and ask them. It won't be Gospel, but it might give you a flavor of your audience's preferences.

BTW have you figured out your audience's demographics and psycho-graphics? Who is reading your stuff? How old are they? Sex? Most importantly, WHY are they reading your site? Entertainment? Real interest in attaining better health? Right now, you don't know the answers to these questions, but they are priceless if you want to monetzie. This would also give you an idea of what sort of product/service to throw out.

You could get a rough idea for all of 5 mins of work by setting up a survey to embed in this blog with one of the many freemium survey tools on the web. I am in the tech business and I use Wufoo all the time.

PS This:

"Maybe you can put the contribution amount in the context of your annualized cable TV bill, your $150 per month Crossfit membership, or relative to the cost/usefulness ratio of a 15 minute appointment with medical specialists who know nothing about nutrition :)

If the blog has value in your life, you will know what do."

is a good start. Putting a reference price out there. But if one reference price is good, 2 or three are better.

PPS your copyright needs to be changed in your footer to include 2010.

KGH: Thanks again - do you do web design? I need to make the forums more sophisticated - probably need a piggyback platform.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

As one of the "silent" viewers of this site that doesn't chime in (or read for that matter) on comments, and I am sure there are many of us, I believe that your time crafting original posts and book-writing are far more valuable than answering individual questions from the comment section. Thanks for all the knowledge that you share and the healthier lives that you have created. The donation button is a great idea and I hope others like myself will support this great site.

KGH: Thanks, Bobby.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Gill

Dr. Harris,

Another way to monetize our appreciation for the PaNu EM2 principles is to strike a deal with select companies who sell foods you recommend. I have previously made it a point to purchase a products through another doctor's site, and would happily do so through yours. For example, I saw where you advocated PastureLand Butter and Pop's Grass Fed Beef. After I return from my Iraq deployment, I fully intend to buy butter and beef through them (and I will let them know you were the reason). I see no reason why you can't arrange a referral deal with suppliers who pass muster.

Regards,
Ian

KGH: That's not a bad idea- but don't want to erode trust in my "brand" by promoting another. NO random banners, though, that's for sure.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIan Lucas

I would gladly pay for consultation and would ideally like a personal consult with accurate blood work and body composition testing along with a nutritional review and what to look for in follow up blood work done locally.

I agree that responding to many comments is not the best use of your time and support your intention to focus on essays/research and writing the book.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShaun

Hi Kurt,

I don't do web design myself (I could, but it would counter-productive), but I outsource a lot of this type of work for my own projects. If you send me an email, I can point you in the right direction to do this stuff and potentially save you a lot of money and time, in terms of getting stuff done, which platforms to use and how to think about this.

patrik@egyebkent.com

Before you do anything and even spend a dime on re-doing the site/forums, I would survey your users and see what they think. Granted, you have to take what they say with with a grain of salt, but right now you are flying blind. Why roll out a product if you have no idea of potential demand and pricing?

Here is an example from a project I am working on. We have an idea for a web application for HOA (homeowner's associations) but before I even start to code it, I am gonna see what sort of data I can get on usage and potential usage/demand.

http://custdev.wufoo.com/forms/hoa-boardmember-survey/

Quick recs:

1) Survey users as to demographics/interests

2) Survey users as to potential product --- make them give you an email address or something as a token of commitment. Don't just allow them to say, yeah, I'd sign up for tele-consulting.

3) Based on data you got, make decisions on what to do with your blogging platform and how to design for it.

4) You could also slap together a simple 1-page landing page to test your Paleo consulting theory. Buy some traffic via Google Adwords and see if you can get people to click on "Yes, I want to pay you for your time to consult me from a Paleo manner blah blah" --- once they do, just say to them "this is in the works and I will get back to you". Based on your traffic and conversion data, you can judge for yourself if this is a good business idea or not.

Email me if you have any specific questions.

Best,
Patrik

KGH: Hello Patrik. You are now in my address book for future consulting needs. Present growth rates have traffic doubling every 90 days or so, so I want to wait a while before making any changes.

I don't change my own oil anymore either.:)

Thanks again

Kurt

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

@Kurt

Sounds good. BTW my opinion (and it is only that: an opinion and mine) is that your commenting on the comments adds SIGNIFICANT value to your blog.

That is just me. But I have noticed that I tend to read blogs where the blog author actively engages the commenter in the comments. To me, this is the essence of blogging, not simply throwing content up there.

For example, you, Robb Wolf, RIchard, Hyperlipid, Keith etc etc --- I have learned a ton, not only from the blog post itself, but from the comments and the "rebounds" of the comments.

Granted, answering comments does not scale well. BUT doing what Richard is doing now is smart. Selecting a few and blogging about them as if one person feels that way and writes an email/comment, then you can bet there are 1,000 otehrs that feel the same.

And BTW if you do offer some sort of tele-consult business, this engagement within the comments is an excellent way to start the de facto sales cycle.

KGH: I agree. I find the comments time-consuming but a great source of new blog posts and I like to answer quick questions from newbies. The trick is not getting sucked into useless sparring by those who just want to argue or who want to post a dissertation instead of starting their own blog.

I have to say though, that some blogs I like have so much useless argument that I don't subscribe to the comments.

I am proud of the comment quality here - especially from thoughtful and intelligent laypersons.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

Personally, I think it would be a good thing to have an affiliate relationship with products you recommend. It doesn't have to be an ongoing thing but just within the post itself. People are only exposed to it when they are reading the post and otherwise they avoid it. I don't see how it weakens your "brand" as it is specific, focused, precise and everyone is clearly aware of what it is you are selling, and are smart enough to know your recommendation is product specific.

I wrote a post for my own blog that enthusiastically recommended three foods that I whole heartedly believe in. Two I linked to via amazon and the other I have an affiliate relationship with a company that markets the food in question. The sales generated from that article paid for the costs associated with the blog for many years to come. It was the equivalent of getting a nice fee for a published article.

Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly. Nothing worse than being on a blog where the author is ambivalent about monetizing it and yet needs to do such to make it worthwhile for him/her to invest a significant amount of time.

For comments, you might consider outsourcing the moderation. It is very inexpensive. You will have to train the person upfront, but once they know what to look for, it should be pretty easy to keep things flowing smoothly. Any questionable items they can send your way. It would free you to read the comments at your leisure.

KGH: Great tips, thanks!

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

I've been disappointed when reading that most Paleo eaters will lie when asked what/how they have lost weight/look good & healthy. They say 'oh, cut back on fat & meat', etc. laughing up their sleeves. That's just not responsible. It reinforces the nonsense. If they were honest perhaps people would think they're 'crazy' - but, so? Even if someone is critical they might think about & research & perhaps change their mind if Paleo folks would be honest. All the way around between fake Paleo foods, or you could say fake Neolithic foods, whatever, and lying about your diet is simply bowing to social pressure. We could show more courage than that. Recently 'art of french cooking' has been flying off the shelves - and I would say 'anything that gets americans eating more butter is good news to me!' - I'd get a laugh, and I'd add - "I'm serious!", then they didn't know what to say!

KGH: Do you really know people who have said that - cut back on fat and meat?

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReneeHenry

Dr. Harris - posted in wrong post. Yes, they have said that, lying, because they wanted to avoid a confrontation or conversation. I gather some Paleo folks are tired of defending Paleo, etc. It's cowardly, though.

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReneeHenry

Just made $40 donation. Keep up the good work !

KGH: thank you!

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMitoMutant

Another idea -- do you enjoy public speaking? I imagine you could come up with a fascinating talk that organizations might well pay to hear you give.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Doc-
I'm sure Dr. Sears would share his molecular bread recipe and you guys could team up and sell the stuff in every piggly wiggly through out the midwest...Maybe?

Well, donation on the way! Im down with you and Robb Wolf on this paleo psuedo-science.

Thanks!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuck O

Dr. Harris:

Besides Skype, you could use this: http://www.elluminate.com/ More info and demo here: http://www.elluminate.com/products/vspaces/index.jsp It's what I use to tutor math and SAT/ACT.

See also http://org.wiziq.com/ and http://www.dimdim.com/

Thanks for your blog. Love it.

Sincerely,

Michael Gold
Phone: 281-770-2276
Website: http://www.mgtutoring.com/
Blog: http://www.mgtutoring.com/blog/
Serving the US with a rational perspective on education.

KGH: Great tips, thank you!

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Gold

If you did put your essays together in a book (just a print on demand thing, say) some of us might enjoy having it. :)

KGH: I guarantee there will be one :)

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim
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