Is the paleo community full of nerds?

by (55320) Updated December 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM Created April 19, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I ask mostly because I am one....and so is nearly everyone in the NYC Paleo meetup. The meetup is full of analysts, statisticians, computer programmers, and web developers. Maybe our love of numbers and science is why we are so obsessed with little details and science papers.

Are you are nerd paleo?

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92 Replies

13928 · April 19, 2010 at 7:19 PM

I had Star Trek references in my wedding vows.

1403 · April 19, 2010 at 5:54 PM

I'm an IT professional, have a smokin hard body, low body fat percentage, eat paleo, and strength train.

If some stranger called me a nerd on the street (highly doubtful) I would not hesitate to show him my technical uppercut followed by a scientific right cross.

548 · April 21, 2010 at 12:21 AM

I'm more of a kook, myself.

I like to make big fires and I like to blow small shit up.

190 · September 16, 2010 at 8:45 PM

At least we're not furries.

469 · April 19, 2010 at 10:15 PM

You bet I am: libertarianism, economics, evolution, technology, and getting into programming.

Nerds are receptive because paleo is based on a simple evolutionary argument. So you have to be comfortable with trusting your life to an abstract theory (albeit an extremely well established one). Especially when all the "experts" are saying the opposite: it takes intellectual fortitude to trust reason over authority.

10170 · April 19, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Is the paleo community full of nerds?


And is this site not a place for the subculture of superpaleonerds? I have to say I love the rating system: the more points a member gets, the more a nerd he/she is. This makes it easy to notice the nerd, since body language is hidden on the internet...


950 · April 20, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I have a Masters Degree in Nerdism.. I mean Computer Science :) Someone called me a nerd in grade 5 so I just went with it.

I sometimes wonder if there is a whole offline Paleo community that get together for picnics and BBQs that we don't know about.

933 · April 19, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Yes. And since I have to have at least 15 characters in my reply, I will say Yes again.

4531 · April 19, 2010 at 5:16 PM

I just own a little bike shop. I'm a retail/small biz guy. I did go to college in Electrical Engineering and Natural Science/Math, but have never been employed in any of that jazz. I really am only gaining the skills just now to read and analyze and use my PaleoSkeptic powers on various studies and reports of studies in the media. I'm certainly not a technical "nerd" (but I am a dork)

I rely on sites such as this, the writing of Eades, Taubes, Harris, Guynet (spelling), Peter @ Hyperlipid, DrBG, Dr T, Davis, etc etc. to help me navigate those rocky shoals of Conventional Wisdom and the Low Fat/Processed food agenda.

The PaleoNerds are my heroes, and I love that all this information is floating around for free and so accessible.

1085 · April 19, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Could it be that certain types of personalities tend to seek out new information, learning new trades and a general curiousity for life? How to improve themselves and/or the environment in which they live? Paleo easily falls into that.

And oh, I'm a programmer, of course. What else did you expect?

614 · September 16, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Being paleo requires someone to be contrarian and polemically define themselves against 'conventional wisdom.' You have to have a slew of reasons to support your positions, you have to have some passion about it, and it has to be part of your identity. There is also an introspective element to it. To me, that is being a nerd.

22684 · May 31, 2010 at 11:30 AM

I've found 2 camps

those of us that seek learning and found it on our own we tend to be the "nerd" because we have brains and seek knowledge on our own

Then there are those who are paleo/etc because they were told to. Less interested in science, they are merely following rules to get results I.e. Crossfit (not all crossfitters fit solely in type2)

personally I'm a nerd jock I love activities, Ultimate Frisbee, Biking, Hiking, Volleyball, Tennis, Belegarth(Paintball with swords) and so I focus even further on pinnacle of metabolic advantage I can get to help me in these sports, yet I found it because I love reading and learning about everything

Any real research about optimal health leads you straight to paleo

any desire to discuss with likeminded intelligent individuals leads you here.

3681 · June 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Here's something funny to think about. Nerds, typically don't get laid much. Paleo eating typically makes you more attractive to mates, better skin, leaner more muscular build, balanced sex hormones, etc. These things might just make you more susceptible to accidentally getting laid as long as you don't open your mouth. :)

Perhaps your innate biology is looking for new ways to successfully reproduce.

Remember biology doesn't always reward intelligence. Remember that movie Idiocracy?

1098 · April 20, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Not a Nerd, but I really like to read the thoughts of nerds and enjoy following a Paleo-style way of eating. I'm a fiction writer and a Christ follower. So much for stereotyping the Paleo community, lol. :-)

2505 · April 19, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Maybe it's just having a good brain that makes you so receptive to Paleo.

Full disclosure: although I'm a chef now, I was in IT/Tech Support/Web Design for a few years leading up to my career change...

3142 · March 19, 2011 at 8:22 PM

I'm a nerd and proud of it.

However, the term that might better fit the paleo adherents is 'openness to experience'. In psychology, there is a scale commonly referred to as 'The Big 5' which measures: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to Experience. The latter being defined as:

"Openness is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. The trait distinguishes imaginative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. People who are open to experience are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more creative and more aware of their feelings. They are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs.

People with low scores on openness tend to have more conventional, traditional interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion or even view these endeavors as uninteresting." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits#Openness_to_experience

It's also been correlated with intelligence, characteristics of geeks, nerds, and eccentrics, unless I'm mistaken.

18619 · January 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM

I look through this question every time it comes up, but never reply. I am NOT a nerd or a geek or any of those things. I am not really an analytical thinker. I hate math. I have a horrible, boring, repetitive office job. I did not finish a college degree. What I like is COMMON SENSE and I feel like that, I do have a lot of. I tried Paleo for 30 days, it worked, I felt great. I am going to continue to do it.

I think there are more of us out there, than are represented at Paleo Hacks. This is just a very cerebral message board. I love it though and I'm glad I found it.

110 · April 21, 2010 at 4:13 AM

I'm the nerd who you would see on the street and have no idea I was one of your kind. I'm also a contrarian and always have been, so going against the conventional wisdom is second nature. I also derive joy from challenging my "granola" parents on food-related topics. They love and hate my new diet simultaneously, but they have to be glad that I'm no longer living off of Taco Bell.

400 · April 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM

DoubleNerd. Asperger´s brain works only in science mode. Job is in a laboratory. Most comments here are great!

18909 · April 19, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Biology/science geek :)

5105 · May 04, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I read OMNI magazine as a little girl.

5002 · January 11, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Oh brother! BA in philosophy. 2 MAs in the social sciences. Working on a PhD in poli sci at the center of the nerd/dork universe: U Chicago. Do stats with R. Downloaded Taubes and Sisson from torrents. Lastly, huge glasses.

1576 · May 07, 2010 at 11:00 AM

a paleo athlete: someone who geeks out about being a jock.

20 · May 06, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I think my hypervigilance towards lifestyle, curiousity and healthy skepticism led me to believe in the ways of the caveman. If that makes me a nerd, so be it. It's also pretty rewarding to be involved in an intelligent community that focusses on scientific research and daily practice rather than opinion, emotion and bs. There's appears to be an intellectual threshold that will bar anyone inherently disinterested enough to question conventional wisdom in matters of health, nutrition and fitness from researching and committing to such a controversial way of life.

20 · April 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

I am a data geek for sure - analyzing data is my day job.

It takes an analytic personality type to crunch through everything we have to - just to have enough ammo in the tank to say, when asked by a family member or someone at the grocery store, "Aren't you afraid of __???" and we can say, "no, I love arterycloggingsaturatedfats, now please pass the bacon."

155 · April 21, 2010 at 3:29 AM

I had no idea how many geeks, nerds and techies were in the paleo community. I'm just the average woman who loves good food and good health. And, in my mid-50s, would look pretty good in a tight paleo shirt!

15334 · April 20, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Analytic philosopher, so not over-turning any stereotypes here...

2088 · April 19, 2010 at 10:26 PM

I've been writin' computer code since 1996, so yeah, definitely.

970 · April 19, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Yup! Guilty. Nerd. IT professional. San Diego Comic Con attendee with a new-found love for liver. :P

4059 · April 19, 2010 at 6:33 PM

I'm not a techie, but I do work for a tech company...

2564 · April 19, 2010 at 6:15 PM

raises hand

Paleo Geek here.

I'm a heavy reader, artist, and tinkerer. I've been a hard core comic book fan and sci-fi freak for 40 years. My comic books / toys / props / statues have their own room.

I also worked for year in IT before I stopped working for 'the man' and went into graphic design.

I've been Paleo for over 2 years and I'm not quite buff yet, but I do look killer in my Punisher t-shirt. ;)

4090 · April 19, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I used to work in IT, so yes :)

I think there's a lot of people on here that like to read up on science so I'd say I'm not the only one!

21258 · June 14, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Professional hacker. Former nationally-ranked strongman. Total social pariah at times. Lover of fringe fashion choices (kilts). Attempts to DIY/Handcraft anything needed, which inadvertently leads to a room of failed junked crafts. Longs for a simpler, less complicated "off the grid" life while simultaneously contemplating how life can be improved with more technology. Obsessed with anthropology and early civilized history.

I'm not a nerd. I'm the nerd.

110 · June 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM

My husband and I met in real analysis (math) class. We are both paleo.

1883 · June 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM

I consider myself a bad-a$$ nerd. Civil Engineer/Harley rider...

65 · February 04, 2012 at 9:02 PM

I'm a scientist, heavily involved in mathematics and engineering. Theoretical work (simulations) and analytical thinking are part of my life. Only lately I found out I am gluten intolerant, then I turned to Paleo due to fatigue after consumption of gluten free high carb stuff. A second life has started - almost new born.

I need to make you aware of Ashkenazi Jews, which have a high prevalence in gluten intolerance. They usually are quite intelligent, but are considered as nerds.

nerdy Jews http://www.jewlicious.com/2009/04/la-times-jewish-ashkenazi-genetic-mutations-created-super-human-race-of-rich-nerds/

Gluten http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/article/affliction_from_within_celiac_disease_in_the_jewish_community

There seems to be something about gluten intolerance, IQ and genetic disorder, however, I cant resolve this one, though an interesting field of research.

After all, the Paleo approach requires a certain IQ in order to dive into nasty endocrine discussion, it requires a critical mind to question traditions and it may need a personal history of a bloated gut.

Informative site, btw.,


3221 · September 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

I am an IT Director at my company. Very much a nerd.

3319 · June 25, 2011 at 12:14 AM

Brainy is SEXY!!!

448 · June 24, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Giant girly nerd, reporting in!

There seems to be a focus in paleo about explaining/understanding the science, possibly as a side effect of being dismissed as a "silly fad to try to act like a caveman".
The science does tend to attract a lot of nerds, because instead of some random guy saying "eat this, it'll make you thin", it's people saying "eat this, it'll make you healthy and look good and here's how and why". I like knowing why things work, and why I'm doing something.

1623 · June 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM


Nutrition, biochemistry, and (epi)genetics are currently my main interests, but I used to be in high level tech support troubleshooting graphics software, commercial RIPS, and the networking and repair of 15 to 30 foot wide printers... Fun, but not a very Paleo job.

I like being a ranger and working on my nutrition degree more. I still get to geek out, just about my own health, longevity and performance. And hike- LOTS of hiking. :)

1392 · June 19, 2011 at 1:14 AM

I'm a life-long musical theatre/drama and Classical music nerd and a hardcore linguistics nerd (currently a ling major at UPenn... super nerdy...). I also make literature references a LOT and enjoy the daily crossword puzzles...
I'm a nerd and loving it, though!

3393 · June 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Old thread buy anyway... I was as a starter on the varsity squad of every sport my highschool had; basketball, football, track & field. Buuut... I was also captain of my Knowledge Bowl team and since HS I've enjoyed reading books on evolution and anthropology for fun (that was before I ever heard about Paleo).

2979 · May 04, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Absolutely! For me a "diet" is impossible to follow unless it makes rational and beautiful sense. I need to know that the steps involved are parts of a meaningful whole. If there is a core set of ideas, then I don't need recipe book after recipe book because I can create my own diet from core principles.

How nerdy can one get?

Btw, I see the problem of not being concerned about core principles in my wife. She likes the result (I've lost almost 30 lbs), but has a 'critique' for most aspects of my eating changes ("all that saturated fat - it HAS to be bad for your heart!"). She isn't interested in the principles but wants to know "how many carbs does a slice of bread have?" That kind of thinking is what Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem - any restrictive based diets - are based on: you count the total of Bad Things and try but ultimately fail to limit them.

2689 · March 07, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Not sure what my label would be, but I like to get to the bottom of things and figure out how they're supposed to work. Not things like physical objects...more like non-tangibles like health or English grammar...

And math and I do NOT get along...is that a requirement for nerdiness? 8)

1293 · March 07, 2011 at 8:50 PM


  • Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds"

883 · March 06, 2011 at 11:34 PM

I am a medical nerd, herbal remedies, human anatomy, human pathology etc... I am an extensive collection of skulls. Its a passion :p so yes, very nerdy over this way!

3861 · January 09, 2011 at 11:33 PM

I'm working on my PhD in applied math, so yes, I'm a nerd and I've never followed the herd!

8185 · January 04, 2011 at 9:43 PM

My suspicion is that it's not necessarily geeks/nerds but rather logical/analytical thinkers as well as those that like digging back to root causes. While those types are represented more by the geekier/nerdier types, it not true across the spectrum of people.

Medium avatar
39204 · January 04, 2011 at 7:59 PM

I would say it's full of skeptics and tinkers.

491 · September 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Old post, but since I just joined, I felt the need to respond to this.

My friend and I who just started the paleo diet about a month ago are IT's and huge video game nerds.

My level of nerd goes much deeper, but I'll just leave it at that. >.>

960 · September 05, 2010 at 11:53 AM

First, YES. Duh.

Second, I'd like to throw out two more ideas about nerds in paleo.

1) I think we're a very internet-based movement (or at least it looks that way from my monitor!), which may account for the high percentage of nerd/computer oriented folk. Perhaps, too, the availability of information on the internet and ease with which we've been able to share it was a big contributor to (the beginnings of the) end of the Anti-Fat Monopoly.

2) The paleo diet and way-of-life requires an understanding of basic human history and science. And it requires an investment of mental energy. And maybe time, too, if we're going hiking and playing sports on the weekends and all of that. And this is why (I think), contrary to, say, weight watchers, the paleo movement generally floats in more highly educated circles.

Anyway. Woo!

40 · May 06, 2010 at 11:31 PM

The only paleo people I know are CrossFitters, they kind of straddle a no mans land between jjockdom and nerdom.

149 · April 29, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Yes it's true! While I'm not currently working in the field I did get a degree in Cisco networking and web development. Unfortunately I just can't seem to get as excited about programming as I am about nutrition.

484 · April 29, 2010 at 12:59 AM

I am a nerd, but an English-lit kind of nerd. And you might not know at first that I am - because I work in PR, wear make-up and spend lots on clothes. I have recently rediscovered that I am actually ok at science - after giving up on chemistry in high-school (too much maths). In any case, I am coping well with reading Good Calories, Bad Calories. And I love that the internet allows you to find people who obsess over this stuff - cos most people I know think I am slightly unbalanced about it. But hey, they all have a lot more bodyfat than me, so who's right? ;-)

285 · April 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM

What does it make me that I carried a 10 lbs. Oxford English-Spanish dictionary in my backpack for 5 years even though I had left the U after year two and the last three were abroad on vacation? I like me some learnin' and tend to be on the obsessed side. So according to the graph, I'm probably a true geek, with nerd tendencies. THE NERDS SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH.

250 · April 21, 2010 at 1:14 AM

I think I'm a nerd wanna-be. (Isn't that pathetic!) I try, but I was schooled in an age when girls weren't expected to really thrive in math or science.

I tend not to understand why half a percent is statistically significant in one place, while several percentage points are not statistically significant in other places. I felt pretty inadequate when reading Good Calories, Bad Calories. (But I read the whole thing.)

I also tend to not quite get the Star Wars or Dr. Who quotes right. (But I do fairly well with Monty Python. :-)

1648 · April 19, 2010 at 11:36 PM

I can quote Hamlet line by line from memory. I guess that makes me a total nerd - of the literary variety. (Yes, Brent Pottenger, if you're reading this, there are some random paleo people on the Internet who get an appreciate your Derrida/bricolage and all those random litcrit embedded allusions you include everywhere;)

7741 · December 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

I've always thought of myself as pretty 'nerdy' although I don't have the education or career to prove it. I'm just of above-average intelligence, really like learning, and have specific interests in science and in living a healthy long life, is all.

6 · December 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Oh yes, big time nerd. Registered Nurse, along with computer programmer doing large-scale servers, and video game architectures (MMO). Mostly C, C++, and assembly language. I also love to reverse engineer, and figure out how things work.

I find Paleo so simple, and beautiful, I also believe in God, and Adam and Eve would have eaten like this. So why cant I?

130 · December 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

I'm a nerd and proud of it!

993 · December 24, 2012 at 5:09 AM

Hmmm...Let's see...I am/was paleo (not so strict now as I was when I was training for my most recent 5k), I love fantasy genre, power metal, heavy metal in general, Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy, Monty Python, Greek mythology, Norse mythology, anime, Harry Potter, Dragonlance, Doctor Who, Nyancat, Star Trek, the Avengers, Cthulhu Mythos...must be a Paleo nerd! But i have loads of nerd friends who are not paleo (but I think should jump on the paleo wagon if they don't want to fall victm to the evil forces of the SAD diet because everybody knows that chronic illnesses related to the SAD diet are assassins that do not live by a creed in which the first tenet is to never harm an innocent)

55 · June 22, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I love old school viedo games, Transformers (not the Michal Bay movies), Ninja Turtles, Comics, and I'm an Electrical Engineering Student...do I qualify?

785 · December 25, 2011 at 6:49 AM

We don't take shit/broscience/crapvertising, that's for sure.

6043 · October 20, 2011 at 1:22 AM

No, I'm really cool

1354 · September 03, 2011 at 8:18 PM

I'm going into a pre-medical program attempting to double major in biology and anthropology. I'm pretty nerdy about the natural sciences, though I probably will never understand this thing you call "programming"....I like to learn about biology so I can improve my fitness, so I believe I am a jock-nerd, though I feel like there must be a word with a better ring to it (I'm a bit of a literature nerd as well).

I think the paleo community tends to be logical thinkers, nerdy people, because we actually use our brains to figure proper nutrition and lifestyle.... unlike a nutritionist I know who thinks orzo is rice.

77338 · June 23, 2011 at 5:33 PM

No! I'm the opposite of a nerd. However, there do seem to be a lot of nerds here. I'm a person who trusts instict and feel. I was before paleo, and am even more instictual because of paleo.

3698 · June 23, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Everyone I know doing Paleo (self included) is either an IT professional, a former IT professional, or married to an IT professional.

Of course, most people I know doing Paleo are part of a single social circle of geeks who "caught" it from eachother, so that isn't exactly an unbiased sampling .

10 · June 22, 2011 at 11:39 PM

not sure just joined !!

713 · June 18, 2011 at 10:51 AM

nope, not a nerd. Artist/occultist, here. But yeah seems like mostly nerds. haha, no offense, I guess I could be a nerd, too.

1011 · April 14, 2011 at 12:06 AM

I keep coming back to this post. Just how much of a nerd am I? And does it matter?

1011 · April 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM

YES *Being a nerd is great!*

1404 · April 06, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Nerd and proud of it. Besides, look at the alternatives: apathy? psychobabble about finding "balanced," "centered" meals? Pass.

902 · April 06, 2011 at 12:10 PM

No. It is not full, there's room for more people.

No. There are still people here who are not yet converted, but we're working on it.

190 · March 06, 2011 at 10:44 PM

It is strange I find myself amungst so many nerds! I am hear to make myself well and am doing a damn good job of it thanks to My Paleo Nerd Friends in Cyberspace!

No I am not a nerd but an 47 yo, self employed, old school biker. Grew up on the streets, had my first child at 16, got my GED and made my own way. The only welfare I ever received was for the 6 months I was sick and needed surgery & recovery and couldn't work.

Reading got me here!

10 · January 11, 2011 at 1:57 AM

I'm a 22 year old girl, not a nerd.

12118 · January 10, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Present and accounted for.

0 · January 10, 2011 at 9:33 PM

maybe not nerds, but definitely filled to the brim with SWPLs.

4039 · January 04, 2011 at 7:55 PM

"Hi my name is Looska and I'm a geek."
"Hi, Looska!"

3428 · December 17, 2010 at 5:38 AM

Yes that is exactly right

2004 · September 19, 2010 at 11:29 AM

After I had put away my girls books at the age of 12, I prefered to read the Perry Rhodan and other SF books of my father ... I started to work at the age of 22 computers and now I have already had my 25th user anniversary. Except for a little Basic, Turbo Pascal or Excel macros, I have no idea about programming, but new software for my PC is always a feast for me.

For 15 years I am now mother and I live in the country, like to cook and am interested in health topics. My SF and fantasy books fill half a room ...

What am I now?

0 · September 18, 2010 at 4:57 AM

Definitely a big nerd/geek here. I work as a software developer, and am a big fan of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, etc.

3747 · September 16, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Yep. I'm an accountant, I love video games, and comic books. CrossFit makes me cool.

145 · May 31, 2010 at 6:11 AM

Definitely a giant nerd here. I think, so far, the internet is the best exposure to the paleo way so people who don't sit in front of a computer a lot or know how to search for information on the internet(it's harder than you might think for non-techies) don't really get enough/any exposure.

588 · May 30, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Paleo seems to attracts people who are looking for salvation in the body.

85 · May 30, 2010 at 5:24 PM

interesting - i'm a web developer with a biology degree: i'm definitely on the nerd/geek continuum!

35 · May 04, 2010 at 9:25 PM

I'm a computer programmer, and consider myself quite a nerd.

644 · April 29, 2010 at 10:46 PM

I was formerly a medic in the military and now I am an artist. I wouldn't call myself a nerd but I definitely am contrary to the norm.

77338 · April 29, 2010 at 4:07 AM

Nope- I'm not a nerd, but I am weird...leaning more along the lines of a girl version of Richard Nikoley I believe, because I can cuss too.

I am just a practical, logical person who possibly should have become a nerd but became a hobby-farming mommy instead.

60 · April 29, 2010 at 4:00 AM

I am a software engineer student, so I would have to add myself to the list. :)

77338 · April 22, 2010 at 1:17 AM

i am dumd, so no.

631 · April 21, 2010 at 1:29 PM

If I am lusting over the upcoming Tron release and I am stoked that Disney wrapped a monorail in Tron Lightcycle imagery what am I? BS in Chemistry, MBA in International Business but I am an Internal Auditor who is a certified IS auditor. Big time sports enthusiast. I think I might classify as a spazz?

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