Caveman Blogger Fights for Free Speech and Internet Freedom

You may have heard that Steve Cooksey of received a letter back in January from the North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutritionists explaining to him that he and his website were being investigated. What was Steve doing wrong, you ask? Well, Steve was sharing his story with his readers and suggesting that they might benefit from following a similar path. And he was doing it without a license! You can read all about it here.

Apparently, Steve sharing advice about diet – whether he offered it for free or charged for it – was a crime and they could take a him to court over it. After he made some changes to his website Steve was told he was in “substantial compliance” with North Carolina law and they closed the investigation. You can read more about that here.

While the North Carolina Board appears to be finished, Steve isn’t. Steve is launching a major battle for Internet freedom and free speech that could impact the millions of people that share advice online everyday, in places like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. He’s joined the Institute for Justice in filing a lawsuit that challenges the government’s authority to censor ordinary advice and, as a memo I received from the Institute of Justice states, “seeks to answer one of the most important unresolved questions in First Amendment law: When does the government’s power to license occupations trump free speech?”

I helped Steve get started on his journey a few years ago and was proud of not only his progress, but the track he took in helping people, so it was astounding to hear that he could get shut down for offering his opinion about which foods to buy at the grocery store. Check out the Institute of Justice’s YouTube video (above), case launch page, and case backgrounder page. Needless to say, this is an important case, and one I will be following closely.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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79 thoughts on “Caveman Blogger Fights for Free Speech and Internet Freedom”

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  1. I read a lot of mean stuff about Steve and how he’s just capitalizing on the investigation for the publicity. I don’t know Steve personally but I 100% back his fight for free speech and we should all join him in support. All he set out to do was promote good health and help others make positive heath changes. Anyone trying to do this deserves the publicity!

    1. I am familiar enough with Steve to let you know he is NOT trying to capitalize on this like some think.

      1. I’ve talked to Steve a couple times after I learned about what he’s *actually* doing (which is just showing people how successful it’s been for him and offering common sense advice) and the whole NC bureaucracy thing is absurd. I’d rather have a recovering diabetic inform me than some doctor on a board that gets government hand outs making a gazillion dollars a year off of sick people. There are other states that have been trying to abolish the nutrition panel like NC’s who is suing Steve – I just hope they’re gone soon too!

  2. I believe that the biggest issue they had was that he WAS charging money for dietary advice; there was an option for one on one dietary counseling at some point. That said, I think he should be permitted to say whatever he wants on his site (with the legal disclaimers, etc). The majority of it literally is his account of what is working for him and what isn’t; and it has helped me immensely control my blood sugars.

    Along those lines, however, how are unqualified celebrities publishing diet books and making money off of them and not being investigated?

    1. Actually he was not charging money for “dietary advice” all of his dietary guidelines are laid out plainly, always have been, free for the taking. He was charging for coaching, his time, his phone calls, his emails, his support. The dietary guidelines have always been there.

      1. not that it matters anyways – they think even giving free advice without a license is illegal

  3. I watched the video but did not examine all the links. It seems like two issues are being confused here, the issue of giving one’s opinion on the internet and the issue of charging people money for coaching or counseling while not licensed to do so, which does not have to do with “free speech.” I can understand why the state would take issue with the latter.

    1. I’m confused – why do you think that ‘counselors’ need a license (permission from the state) to counsel people? Essentially, doesn’t every parent fall into the category of counselor – every baseball coach, every person you get advice from? Even Mark here is a counselor. Is the problem money changing hands? I bought Marks book – and I don’t care if he has a government license or not. Is that money laundering (since I bought a book to help pay for ‘free’ online counseling?)

      I believe that primal living is part of living life ‘free’ – free from slavery to sugar, free from government recommended pyramids, and free to council others on healthy living. The 2 issues are not being confused… you have simply accepted the lie that licensure by a government agency is necessary before person A can give dietary advice to person B in exchange for money. In fact, look at the people that government does license (and the CW crap they promote) and hopefully you’ll understand how flawed the government licensing system really is.

      Forgive me if I am too passionate about this issue. I do want people to ‘wake up’ and realize that their acceptance of the status quo enslaves us all.

      1. Bravo Bob!
        There are too many mandates being pushed down our throats right now that should be red flags that while we are watching the right hand, we don’t see what the left hand is doing.
        If we’re not careful, it will get real ugly very quickly.

      2. However “flawed” the procedure, the fact remains the website owner was in violation of it. Personally, I don’t follow health advice from any jo-schmo without carefully investigating their “science” but how many people actually do that? I’m not at all upset with a government that seeks to regulate who can offer counseling on life and death situations with regards to serious health issues. I follow a primal eating and life-style, but that doesn’t make me an expert in the subject, able to counsel others on an individual basis, just because this happens to work for me.

        I don’t think the state of NC asked the site owner to do anything outrageous or out of line. He can continue to tell his story on his blog just like every other blogger in the world. He just can’t assess others’ medical or dietary situations and counsel them. After all, he’s only an expert on himself, not on diabetes and nutrition as a whole (I’m assuming).

        1. Do you think the government and conventional licensed and approved health experts have kept us safe from serious health issues and death?

          Personally, I’d rather the government didn’t try to keep me safe. The more I see how unsafe government is, the more I realized I need to turn on my brain and make educated decisions for myself and not assume that the 8-10-10 or the food pyramid is the correct diet.

        2. So disseminate your beliefs, Bob, Ellen, and Wiglaf. Get the information out there. There are numerous ways of doing so within the confines of the law. If, however, you do so in violation of the law, then there will be consequences, whether you agree with the law or not. It’s not any more complicated than that.

        3. Yes, Alice, until it actually IS more complicated than that. A bullying government doesn’t necessarily play by the law. Hence, why laws get declared unconstitutional, for example. Perhaps the consequences of obeying the laws of government have worse long term ramifications for society then if we were to disobey and fight it every step of the way. The idea of government approved and licensed dieticians and their association monopoly is overreach. Can I say that is plain and simple?

        4. Hi Alice,

          I think you are confusing legality with morality. There is not a moral problem with what this blogger did – he didn’t coerce anyone or swindle anyone. His clients didn’t have a problem with him or his product – they got what they paid for. What he did do is step on the states toes and their monopoly on licensure – and for that he has been disciplined.

          The heart of the question is weather or not government can curtail our speech with licensure requirements. I believe it should not have that power. It doesn’t serve the populous as it limits the spread of ideas and the selling of products and services. What it does do (quite successfully) is create a cash-cow for the government, and limits competing products and ideas.

          Where legality and morality are in agreement, legality must be applauded and enforced (bodily harm, theft, coercion). Where they are in discord, legality must be resisted, ignored, and changed.

          I think this site has many non-licensed experts on diabetes / health… and should be able to charge for that advice if they wanted. A government stamp-of-approval doesn’t mean much to me.

        5. This literally isn’t only about blogging, its about talking to your spouse, relatives, and neighbors, if you give ‘advice’ to these people based upon your experience you are breaking the law. In the course of everyday conversation it is not unusual to say what you would do, and if its regarding diet, you’re a criminal. How absurd is that?

          Amendment I

          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          Shall make NO law… NO, NONE, NADDA, ZIP.

          It doesn’t get any simpler then that, unless you happen to be among the growing numbers who find the constitution meaningless.

        6. Anyone should be able to give any advice they want, and anyone should be able to listen to advice from anyone they want to. They should also be able to pay people for giving them advice if they choose to, whether those people are licenced or not.

          The state licences people for certain things, and it may be legitimate for them in some cases to prevent people from doing certain things without a licence. However, telling unlicenced people they do not have the right to give advice for a fee is ridiculous (and it is even worse to say the can’t give health advice for free either.) As long as the person does not try to deceive people by pretending to be licenced when he is not, there is nothing wrong with him giving advice or for charging people to (willingly) purchase his advising services.

          That’s the morality and I doubt anyone would disagree.

          Under the law, though, things can get trickier. The first amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of free speech, among other things. It in no way prevents the states from making such laws. It seems in this case the issue is with state law, not federal law, and thus the first amendment is irrelevant. One would have to consult the relevant state constitution, but I don’t think the state violates the federal constitution in this sense. However, I don’t personally think any state law should violate the right of free speech, but the first amendment does NOT prevent the states from doing that. It is up to the individual states.

          It may very well be legal for the state to prevent Steve from giving advice in this case, depending on how the laws are structured. If it is, though, I think it is outrageous and the system should be fixed.

        7. Ah yes, the good ol’ “I’m smart enough to know better, but everyone else is an idiot so the state should intervene” argument…

  4. Thanks for posting .. I am now following the RSS feed. I kinda like this guy 😀

    1. Well, Alice, when the Jews were getting on the rtains to go to the camps, what were they doing? They were obeying the law, of course. That’s what that will get you, sometimes. So, go rght ahead and follow the nice man into the train, dear.

      1. Wow your comparing this to the Holocaust? Really? That is pretty sick.

      2. Wow – I never thought I’d see Godwin’s Law play out on MDA. If winning an argument is so important to you that you are invoking Nazi references on a health-focused lifestyle forum, I think you need to reconsider how you interact with people.

        1. Agreed. Let’s not turn this into a ‘if you’re not for my particular interpretation of X, then you’re with the/on the side of the/thinking like the/apologizing for the.. Nazis!’ Sensationalizing things is so ingrained these days people don’t even realize they’re doing it. People also don’t realize that the ‘slippery slope’ isn’t an argument, it’s a fallacy.


        2. Name-dropping Godwin’s Law, ironically, is the commission of the exact error you’re accusing those who violate it of committing. The “law” states that anytime someone resorts to using analogies to Nazism, his argument is to be summarily dismissed as invalid. In other words, by taking the bogus idea that NOTHING in post-modern American culture can be compared to Nazism, and giving it the psuedo-scientific respectability of a “law”, you’re attempting to psychologically intimidate your opponent – in lieu of actually refuting his argument – in order to appear to be correct. It may be (read: often is) in bad taste to compare post-modern American political/economic/cultural trends to Weimar and Nazi Germany’s, it doesn’t necessarily mean such comparisons are invalid. You’re accusing your opponent of attempting to win an argument by psychologically intimidating you (ie: making you unwilling to continue to argue, for fear of being seen by observers as advocating the roots of Nazism) – something he’s not actually doing – so why are you then resorting to the same kind of tactic when you try to get him to stop arguing for fear of being seen as speaking recklessly from ignorance (ie: “if you were educated, you would know that Godwin identified that analogies between modern America and Nazi German are invalid intrinsically)? Yes, this guy ACTUALLY IS claiming that your position on the North Carolina case IS IDENTICAL to the Nazi’s position on everything. Why not just explain how, exactly, it isn’t? Tell us how the mentality “the law is the law, so therefore it’s right”, because it was the belief held by virtually all decent, hard-working, apolitical Germans living under the Nazis, didn’t pave the way for the Nazis to commit their atrocities.

  5. Some people want to discover for themselves how to live their lives. Sadly, other people want someone else to tell them how to live their lives.

    Those who support government overreach in situations such as this one — crying about licenses and so forth — fall into the latter category, no matter how much they may protest otherwise. More importantly, these people are always part of the “herd” upon which abusive, corrupt governments are built and maintained.

    I don’t need a state license in order to tell my kids they should eat their vegetables.

    1. You will if your going to charge people to give them dietary and medical advice.

  6. I wonder if the North Carolina Board of Dieticians has gone after Costco for giving nutritional advice with the free samples?

  7. Actually the issue isn’t limited to his having charged for advice. The simple answering of questions is against NC law. The providing a meal plan is against NC law. You can view the boards review of his site and the notes in the following PDV he provides on his site:

    The bigger issue here folks isn’t whether he can still blog about his experience, they are infringing our right to consult one another. If simply discussing what you would do with another isn’t allowed how long until books sold in NC on nutrition will need to be approved? If the above blogger were licensed and gave advice that goes against NCNB policy he would lose his license. It literally taken to its logical conclusion is a first step in making only our government backed diet legal. Don’t be blind to the ramifications here, what seems like a small thing now will be much larger in hind sight if not stopping dead in its tracks.

  8. The lie is like air to the Evil; without the lie, the Evil dies.

    The truth is like air to the Good; without the truth, the Good dies.

    No more secrets, no more lies.

    For those who say, “you’ve got to be practical”, this is a practical matter.

    When you protect freedom as the highest Good, you protect not only the freedom to tell the truth, but also the freedom to lie. In actual practice, the freedom to lie inevitably becomes the requirement to lie (the truth upsets the schemes of the liars, who use their ill-gotten gains to manipulate the situation). This is not theory or prediction; we have long since crossed that line right here in the USA.

    The State of North Carolina is not the issue. Government took action not because he ignored the gov’s legitimate power to regulate, but on behalf of the Medical Business whose massive profits are threatened if most people find out how to achieve and maintain health without drugs or surgery.

    We need a new Constitution, one that states explicitly that it is the right of every human to tell the truth, but that no-one is free to lie.

    1. That post is full of fail.

      So in your new Constitution who gets to be arbiter of truth? There is a reason ALL speech is protected, its the ONLY way to protect freedom of speech. There is nothing wrong with our current Constitution, it hasn’t failed us, we have failed it!

      1. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

        -Lysander Spooner

  9. I feel him. I think I’m going to get in trouble all the time with oncologists and dietitians who tell patients to eat crackers from vending machines as a form of portion control. I just makes me so mad they are telling poor uneducated people to eat a little white flour and preservatives. I tell them to eat real food, they tell them to limit their meat and eggs. Its infuriating. These people trust their doctors and they shouldn’t. The want to lose weight and can’t, they want to be healthy and can’t. They want freedom and they have 2 crackers. So sad.

    1. Heh. I disagree, about them wanting to lose weight, etc. I never met a fat person who know ANYTHING about vitamins, or good food! They are mostly a bunch of willfully ignorant saps, who deserve what they get.

      I meet these people every day, when you start to tell them the cure for whatever stupid, preventable problem they have, their eyes glaze over, and they just don’t want to hear it. I’ve stopped feeling sorry for these pigs.

      1. maybe they just didn’t want to listen to YOU. Your attitude towards “those pigs” will surely come through as condescending and offensive. I don’t particularly want to listen to you either until you learn some compassion and humility.

      2. You have perhaps seen the Success Stories here, Xiaoding? Funny how many of them started out obese (like Steve Cooksey, incidentally) and ended up lean, fat-burning machines. And yet they somehow managed to do that with the same brain they had when they were overweight.

        The whole point of Cooksey’s lawsuit is that the dietary information being force-fed to the public is making them ill, whereas the information he is being forced to withhold could make them healthy.

        1. The information, is literally, in the air around us. No one is prevented from getting it. Are you kidding, someone can’t get information?

      3. Incredibly, the second post in this thread I want to reply to is from the same author. I can’t believe anyone who is truly interested in what Mark has to say about living well is going to overtly attack people for being fat or casually reference the Holocaust to beat down other posters for their opinions.

        Xaoding is a troll – no one who really cares about other people acts this way.

        1. You disagrre with me, so I must be a troll. But, the first person to use the troll word, loses.

    2. That’s especially bad for oncologists, as the carbs in the cracker disproportionately feed cancers and allow them to multiply (warburg effect)

  10. unfortunately the law is on the books, and until it is amended, he is in direct violation. The document he links to clearly states that without a license you cannot give dietary advice. I am not defending the law, just stating that he is in violation.

    What he should do is become a licensed dietitian and then pass on his philosophy. I gave up trying to help people with the primal movement because deep down inside most don’t want help anyway because then they would have no one to blame but themselves. Oh well…

    1. He complied with the law. Now he is suing over an unconstitutional law (as in trying to get it amended). He’s doing everything right.

  11. Oh, but they DID ask for outrageous changes in what amounts to censorship! His only real problem is living in a state that has the audacity to pursue him. Why aren’t they going after Mark for his unlicensed advice? N C wasn’t only targeting his paid counseling, but any and all advice on his blog.

    1. Pursue him for speaking freely? The audacity is in their willingness to pass a law that limits speech.

  12. Keep in mind, NC is the hypocritical state that voted for a serial adulterer in the states conservative GOP primary and then turned around and voted to AMEND the states constitution to ban marriage for any class of people not designated “husband and wife” thereby legally discriminating against and restricting the freedoms of many minority groups. Looks like the state of NC has much to learn about FREEDOM.

    1. Uh, what?

      Lots of dancing there. They defined marriage, as between a man an a woman. Got it? Why are you so afraid to SAY that?

  13. I can’t stand this Government, Doctors tell you they have no idea why you are sick and when you figure it out yourself and try to help others they get pissed off, DO YOUR [email protected]#%$ JOB DOC ! this man has my vote, fight this communism ! such [email protected]#$ !!!! sorry, bit passionate about our “Freedom”, being a prior Army Combat Medic I have seen many an injustice in the government here. I think I will move to europe, lol. “When the People fear the Government you have Tyranny….When the Government fears the People you have true Freedom” ! Rise up and take a stand people, Im behind Mr. Cooksey.

  14. There are two organizations that I greatly admire. They are both Libertarian. One is FIRE, a watchdog organization that monitors free speech primarily on college campus’. The other is the aforementioned Institute for Justice. If you really wish to understand this topic you really need to examine their site. This page lists some of their cases they have taken to court.
    An example:
    Jestina Clayton, a college graduate, wife, mother of two and refugee from Sierra Leone’s civil war has been braiding hair for most of her life. Now she wants to use her considerable skills to help provide for her family while her husband finishes his education. But the state of Utah says she may not be paid to braid unless she first spends thousands of dollars on 2,000 hours of government-mandated cosmetology training—not one hour of which actually teaches her how to braid hair. In the same number of class hours, a person also could qualify to be an armed security guard, mortgage loan originator, real estate sales agent, EMT and lawyer—combined. Such arbitrary and excessive government-imposed licensing on such an ordinary, safe and uncomplicated practice as hairbraiding is not only outrageous, it is unconstitutional.
    How does this happen. It is the result of organized business associations lodging complaints with government agencies with the sole purpose of limiting competition. I think the same element from dietitians, nutritionists, etc is at play in NC. In essence, the professionals pay the politicians (campaign donations etc) to go after their much cheaper competition.

  15. Is there any freedom more basic than health? As a corollary, should not the freedom to seek health information from the source of our choosing be considered a right? And as a further corollary, shouldn’t the providers of such information be protected so long as they do not misrepresent themselves, their training or their licensure (or absence thereof)?

    I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Mark and Gary Taubes and many others who have given me the information that restored me to thriving health and vigor. And I paid for much of that advice when I bought their books. I couldn’t give a hoot whether any of these people are licensed to give me advice or to dance the Irish jig.

    The thousands of people who have benefited from Steve Cooksey’s advice doubtless feel the same way I do. And, sadly, the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who PAY for the advice provided by licensed dieticians who advocate CW and SAD doubtless wonder why they are not feeling better…

  16. I am a registered nurse and have been working in the same hospital for 26 years. As a newbie to PB, I’m still in the “OMG, how can you eat that stuff” stage when I see people eating the same stuff I USED to think was healthy. Just last night I watched a diabetic patient order off our hospital approved diabetic diet and eat Mac and cheese, a cup of some whitish pudding- like something, mashed potatoes and gravy, a small piece of chicken and a cup of strawberry flavored goo. I had to bite my tongue, because when I’m working as a nurse, it lends a great deal of authority to whatever I say. I know that if I start talking openly about the paleo diet, and my bosses find out about it, I could lose my job and/or my license. I
    HATE seeing that kind of thing go on, but I have to start by examining the laws and finding out how I can do this stuff legally. I am 55, so I could retire from my current job and I would love to be able to spend my time helping folks feel healthier, like I feel after only two weeks with this lifestyle. I have a good friend, also a retired RN, and we have been talking about trying a business together; she was the one who introduced me to the paleo diet. It seems like this would be a perfect match. I read on one of the blogs here at MDA that Mark was trying to figure out an accreditation system that might allow me to do something like this (are you listening, Mark?) and be able to make a living at it. In the meantime, I will keep trying to get some more of us poor, fat Michiganders to help drop our statewide obesity and diabetes epidemic without losing my job.
    It may suck, but if we can get enough people aware, then we can change the laws. And those are goals worth striving for.

  17. Dr. Google is a double edge sword. People can get information themselves which can help them understand their health problems, learn about preventive medicine and maybe adjust their lifestyles to a healthier level. But they can access a lot of harmful information. Often people misdiagnose themselves, thinking they have throat cancer when they have bronchitis. And you have no idea how many sites that are pro-ana, pro-fad diets, pro-fat pills, pro-other miracle cures or advertise harmful products like alcohol. Regulation still has to catch up with the new age of the internet. I guess the problem with the internet is that it’s so easy for ANYONE or write ANYTHING.

    1. Yes, compound that problem of overflowing information with the inability of a lot of people to distinguish between garden variety sophistry/snake oil and an actual functional product/service that will help them. People end up trying product after product, diet after diet, until they completely lose hope. It’s much easier to pretend to help people than to actually do so. Of course, we’re supposed to have government agencies for this sort of thing, but they appear to be a mix of the following conditions: asleep at the switch, working with the perpetrators, and/or purposely understaffed to the point of absurdity. There’s a lot of money in fleecing people and I know people who see it as a social good, Darwinism in action. I don’t agree, but I can see why they think that way: they benefit and don’t want to feel bad about it (mental gymnastics are easy, ethics are hard).


  18. Of course they want to shut him down. They want us fat, sad, and unhealthy. That way their biggest industry, unneccesary meds, remains profitable. They will protect this with everything they have. Watch watch the Burzyski cancer documentary if you haven’t seen it yet. Very eye opening.

  19. Steve is a good man. He’s one of the biggest reasons I was able to get back on to the Paleo/Primal wagon after getting on and off for 5 years. His encouragement has helped keep me focused. I have been following this from the beginning and am thrilled he is not only fighting for his situation, but the situation of millions of other people.

  20. Between Mark and Steve, I turned my Type 2 diabetes around. In a little under 3 months I was able to stop taking medication for it. Right now, after 5 months, my blood glucose is mostly in the normal range, except for my AM fasting which is usually a bit higher and in the pre-diabetic range.

    In the first month of going Primal and following Steve’s diabetic-specific advice, my HbA1c dropped from 7.7 to 6.9, and 3 months after that it was down to 6.0. My doctor couldn’t believe that I’ve done that without medication.

    The only people who’re losing out from my progress are the food and pharmaceutical industries!

      1. Oh well, in the time it took to moderate my comments the headline has been replaced on the Drudge Report.

  21. ….And the medical profession makes fun of us for taking our health into our own hands when we become frustrated with their CW advice and seek our own answers. Maybe they are afraid of their overseers, but can’t I go my own way if theirs doesn’t get the results I want?

    This is just senseless.

  22. Not being diabetic, I hadn’t heard of the site. Having checked it out now, I shall be a frequent visitor for the recipes alone.
    Thanks Mark!

  23. The state says that because lay people don’t understand the complex science underlying medical advice, they are unable to protect themselves against fraud (ie: knowingly giving advice that produces results different from the claims being made about outcome). This is their justification for licensure laws. The flaw in this is two-fold. First, people ALREADY KNOW that they may be given not just bad, but known to be bad, advice, and they willingly accept that risk. Second, simply because a given purveyor of advice is licensed by the state, it doesn’t make his advice good (ie: scientifically correct). Politicians and regulators are not scientists. Yes, they consult scientists when they craft their licensure laws, but which scientists do they consult? Why? How do they decide which to listen to and which to ignore? What makes THEIR ability to make cursory judgments of complex scientific matters using only “common sense” valid, while the same types of judgments by every day citizens cannot be trusted (even though such citizens are supposed to be political EQUAL to these politicians and regulators, and even though their judgments affect only themselves and their families, instead of vast swaths of the population through force of law).

    Ironically, by requiring the givers of medical advice be licensed by the state, the state is actually GUARANTEEING that what they are trying to prevent will happen. The reason for this is that while of course it is possible, in an unregulated environment, for people to knowingly give scientifically incorrect advice, because – as stated earlier – consumers willingly accept that risk, such people will NECESSARILY extinguish their market (either by, gruesomely, people putting their advice into practice, or by people discovering that it’s bad and no longer seeking it – and telling others not to). Such people may exist in the short-term, whenever a new field is developed or an old one is expanded, but over the long run they disappear. In a regulated environment, however, if such people are able to convince just a few key (but still just as scientifically ignorant as the average lay citizen) politicians and regulators that their ideas are correct, it will become the status quo for however long the society tolerates it (which usually means until enough people suffer from following it that it becomes impossible to ignore, or enough entrenched politicians and bureaucrats decide it’s time to retire).

  24. He’s providing a service that obviously is helping people. People PAY for junk food that kills them slowly, why shouldn’t he be able to give dietary advice that works? As long as he has a disclaimer it’s all good.

    “It’s just advice, man. You can do whatever the F*** you wanna do!” – Hodgetwins

  25. This is an excellent website, and I intend to explore it to the fullest and gain much information about primal diets, and I am grateful this resource exists. I would like to make some comments about the controversy I am just becoming aware of regarding “free speech”, “blogging”, “giving nutritional advice”, and “paid counseling” for nutritional advice. Without being familiar with all aspects of recent events or cases, I would like to submit a few thoughts as a recent graduate of a Registered Nurse program:

    Food is medicine. There’s no getting around that fact. It is not a stretch to say that every process that goes on in the body is based on a chemical reaction of some sort, many beginning with the breakdown of foods ingested, or even lack thereof. Food reacts with prescription and over-the-counter medicines in ways that the general public may or may not be aware of. Foods can have both positive and negative effects on all sorts of disease processes, not just insulin or insulin-resistance alone. The value of having blood and urine analyses prior to any dramatic change in eating patterns cannot be emphasized enough. There are MANY diseases which are undetected by patients in early stages; a good example is kidney disease. A sudden increase in protein consumption could be bad news for this patient, but simple blood and urine tests could rule out potential harm from dietary changes.

    As a person who has read countless diet books, I now completely understand the need for the inevitable medical disclaimers that precede the dietary advice. Without routine blood/urine analysis, or evaluation of OTC or prescription medications that an individual may be using, I now know that the risks in making drastic dietary changes are higher than I would have guessed without the recent nursing education that I have received.

    Any dietary advice not preceded with “get clearance from your health care provider”, similar to the disclaimers that typically appear with workout/exercise advice, would now be suspect to me, and would indicate the adviser’s lack of knowledge about basic body chemistry. State boards have a duty to protect the public; I have no problems with the fact that doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, counselors, and dieticians / nutritionists, among other health professionals, must be licensed by states, and in fact, I understand the need for this in a more profound way.

    While I completely agree in principal with the health benefits of a primal, paleo, or even reduced-carb diet for a “normal, healthy individual”, there are those who could be negatively affected from say, a mild increase in protein, or leafy green vegetables, or slight change in sodium consumption, believe it or not. So, beware any “nutritional advisers” who do not screen for, or address potential adverse effects, nor advise you to do so, whether they be licensed medical professionals, or not. And – get your yearly checkups and bloodwork done, make sure you are completely aware of any potential reactions between your OTC or prescription medicines (and herbs) with all types of foods, and then make your dietary changes armed with critical information.

  26. Whether the government promotes a healthy diet and supports the licensing process that also enforces an unhealthy diet or not does not matter. The law is the law. You want to inform people of a natural, healthy, diet then you may do as you please within the confines of the law. Post all the advice you want but if you’re not licensed, you shouldn’t be able to charge for it.

    This law is not impeding on people’s right to free speech at all. It’s enforcing the system put in place that gives people an obvious credibility to be giving advice on a subject. I wouldn’t pay someone who didn’t go to medical school but claims they know as much or more than a doctor for a diagnosis. And although that may be a much more complex subject than nutrition, many people are complete idiots about nutrition and can’t tell you the difference between a carbohydrate and a protein.

    You want to change the way people eat for the better AND charge for your advice? Then go get licensed. Fight the USDA or whatever BS is suggesting those ridiculous nutritional guidelines through legal ways.

    All of you who say the government is trying to take more control than they should, and you can’t give advice to your children, family, and neighbors or whatever, shut up. Free speech is free speech, and we have it. Whoever the hell said the it is illegal to tell neighbors and family… seriously? And anyone else who said anything remotely similar to this. Gosh, every day I see a new low in the intelligence of man. I suppose the state of evolution is not a similar function of time for an entire species, evidenced by all the stupidity.

    Now I’m not actually sure whether this man was asked to only stop charging or to take certain information out. But I see many people arguing over whether people should be able to charge for advice. But I highly doubt he was asked to do more than that, because Mark has had no problem with his site.

  27. For the record, Steve was not charging for advice, not that this is the issue, but I’d like to set this straight. He was charging for his TIME to spend answering emails, phone calls, etc. This was a support package, or coaching. ALL of his dietary advice and exercise advice has always been laid out on his site FREE for the taking. A man has every right to charge for his time. If you didn’t want to pay him, you could still have found every single bit of advice on his site.

  28. Wow that scary! Since when do you have to have a license to show someone what you did to lose weight/counter diabetes? That’s just ridiculous!

  29. Hello Mark,

    This post relates directly to me.
    I am in the process of writing an e-book on how I healed from an auto-immune disorders that the medical community labels as “in-curable”.

    In this e-book I outline clearly how the Paleo-lifestyle and the support of “marksdailyapple” played an integral role in my recovery.
    Should I be worried??

  30. This made me very nervous. I lost a lot of weight and feel very healthy after my one year change of eating habits.

    I started telling family, friends, coworkers, and I have an online type hangout where we talk, swap recipes and generally discuss what to do/eat next…

    Now I have international people,and friends of friends, and people I’ve never met on there…

    Im not acredited… although I don’t live in a country where people sue each other for a hot cup of coffee etc etc.

    Still a bit nerve wracking!

  31. If giving out free dietary advice is illegal, then we should all have our grandmothers investigated for telling us that bread and pasta were fattening.

    Are they only investigating people giving out free advice that doesn’t jive with current nutritional curriculum?