How & Why Did We Start on a Paleo Diet?

At Shepherd, MT, we are well positioned to grow our own wild food.

Bruce Kania
5 min readJan 22, 2021


Wild fish fillets for dinner. Full of Omega-3 and healthy protein, caught at our very own Fish Fry Lake in Montana.

About five years ago, a friend — and his wife, who is also an exceptional chef — introduced us to some of the arguments in favor of a paleo diet. The friend is a double PhD who I deeply respect, so I looked into those arguments.

We were having a discussion about diets. I had just made a statement, something like “calories in equal calories out,” when he informed me that I was wrong. As a guy that makes a living inventing stuff, most of which doesn’t work that “first” time, being “wrong” is not necessarily a rare thing. But still, I don’t really like hearing it…at least not so directly! But there it was: I make a common sense statement like “calories in, calories out,” and this guy is telling me in no uncertain terms that it’s wrong.

So as usual, I needed some proof. He hands me a book. I read it. It inspires me to read four more books around the same topic (I’ve listed them below). And then, along the way, to pass these books around and get more feedback from my inner circle of friends. And from all this feedback, another project unfolds! We call it our Paleo lifestyle project. So what does this have to do with FISH?

The Ancestral Diet

Here’s the basic premise. The reason people in “first world” countries get fat is because they consume carbohydrates like grain, potatoes, and other stuff that is outside of our ancestral diet. Think sugar. This phenomenon has taken place over the last 15,000 years or so, and is particularly associated with the last couple hundred years. But, since our version of homo sapiens has been around some 2 million years, even 15,000 years is nowhere near enough time for us to have evolved an ability to handle these new, cheap calories.

Along the way, the ratio of healthy Omega three to unhealthy Omega six fat has gotten reversed, not in our favor. So here’s the bottom line. Eat wild-caught seafood, eat grass-fed critters, eat wild game, and spend some time on your feet doing stuff, and you get trim and healthy again. The corollary message is, while eating this good stuff, don’t eat the other stuff.

Last year, here at Shepherd, we harvested enough fish and wild game for a whole village of folks to eat paleo.

Pondmeisters are well positioned to grow their own wild food. Point to watch, though…if the fish are being fed a non-paleo diet, they aren’t true paleo. In other words, their ratio of healthy fat won’t match nature’s model. The one that helps us by keeping us trim and in cancer-fighting mode.

Success at Home

Last year, here at Shepherd, we harvested enough fish and wild game for a whole village of folks to eat paleo. We didn’t track harvest of heirloom vegetables and fruits, but it would have added actual tonnage to this bounty.

Both Anne and I have truly enjoyed this Paleo project. We’ve both lost eleven percent of our body weight, and we are both stronger than when starting the program. And the curious thing is that I probably eat more volume of food. So it’s not really a diet.

So how does a pondmeister manage for paleo fish?

It’s really pretty easy…do it the way nature’s been doing it before humans started messing with fertilizer. Keep the inorganic fertilizers out of the picture. Consider that inorganic nitrogen has only been around for the last 80 years or so. Before then, organic was the only option. So if you are going to feed your fish, make it organic.

It led me to research the ketogenic diet, and ancestral diet thinking in general. Anne did too. Today we are both happy, healthy and grateful, are on no medications and we weigh about 12% less than pre-exposure!

Waterways behave the same way! Resurrect their ancestral diet, and they become healthy.

I just turned off the slow cooker that’s been perking away down on the kitchen island …the aroma that has been wafting through the house for ten hours now — celeriac and parsnip, red beet and two types of onion, broccoli stem, turmeric, ginger, and bone in whitetail roast — has made for pleasant dreams! We will drink broth for breakfast, one of Anne’s particular favorites. Lunch will be delicious and fatty wild meat and an umami mix of vegetable flavors. The tallow of a plump whitetail is no longer carved away and discarded…instead we relish it. Our pups even more so…especially during pheasant hunting season, when they burn calories at an outrageous rate!

Our lab pups have really gone paleo too. They enjoy a wild meat diet, both raw and cooked, wild fat, and dried fish for dessert, every day.

So instead of medicating for high blood pressure, or dying of an aggressive form of cancer that spreads through the blood in the case of Sam, our senior Labrador matriarch, we are active and energized, and grateful. Like a wise Greek philosopher is attributed to have said…”Let food be your medicine, let medicine be your food.”

Connection to Waterways

Waterways behave the same way. Resurrect their ancestral diet, and they become healthy. That’s the story of Fish Fry Lake. That’s the story of an estuary in Guayaquil, Ecuador. And that’s the story in hundreds of island launch settings across the planet.

A Great Fit

Of course, we’re out here fishing and hunting and have no shortage of delicious protein sources. It can be expensive to dine like this if you live in a city.

Here, as promised, are some resources about a paleo diet:


Recipe books:

  • Paleo Comfort Foods
  • The Paleo Diet Cookbook
  • Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry
  • Paleo Happy Hour
  • Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go
  • Guilt-fee Desserts, and Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Are you on an urban-paleo journey? A suburban one? How do you get the quality of food you need?



Bruce Kania

Inventor. Fisherman. Hunter. Addressing climate change one pond at a time. Growing fish, not algae. Writing from my lake in MT.