Why Rewilding is The Key to Health with Daniel Vitalis

Content By: Ari Whitten & Daniel Vitalis

In this episode, I am speaking with Daniel Vitalis – the host of WildFed on Outdoor Channel. In 2008 he founded the nutritional company, Surthrival, and most recently, he hosted the popular podcast, ReWild Yourself. We are going to talk about rewilding and why it is an essential key to health.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Daniel and I discuss:

  • The link between food availability and reproduction
  • The problem with modern-day food availability
  • Have we disconnected from nature?
  • The confusing messages around diets

Listen or download on iTunes

Listen outside iTunes


Ari: Hey, this is Ari. Welcome back to the show. In this episode, I am speaking with Daniel Vitalis, who is a man that I’ve wanted to speak to for a very long time, who is someone that I’ve been following for many, many years, well over 10 years. I’ve always loved his style of thinking, the way that he thinks about, and speaks about, and teaches human health. I think he has a very original take on things, and I think he’s always got novel insights. He’s just an original thinker. The way his brain operates and his ability to communicate things is very special. He’s an amazing, brilliant guy. I was really looking forward to this conversation. This is someone I’ve wanted to speak to for many years.

A bit about him. He is the host of WildFed on Outdoor Channel. This is a TV show on Outdoor Channel, and for 10 years, he lectured around North America and abroad, offering workshops that helped others lead healthier and nature-integrated lives. He’s a successful entrepreneur. He founded the nutritional company, Surthrival, in 2008, and most recently, he hosted the popular podcast, ReWild Yourself. He’s a registered main guide, writer, public speaker, interviewer, and lifestyle pioneer who’s especially interested in helping people reconnect with wildness, both inside and outside of themselves.

After learning to hunt, fish, and forage as an adult, he created WildFed to inspire others to start a wild food journey of their own. Headquartered in the Lakes region of Maine, he lives with his beautiful wife, Avani, and their Plott Hound, Ellie. You can connect with him at wild-fed.com. It’s wild-fed.com, and on Instagram @DanielVitalis, and on Facebook. With no further ado, enjoy this conversation with Daniel Vitalis. It was one of my personal favorites, and I enjoyed talking to him very much, and every time I listened to him, I always get unique insights. With no further ado, enjoy the brilliant Daniel Vitalis.

Welcome, everybody, to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am super excited for today’s guest. It is not often that I can say that I’m a true fan of somebody’s work that I get to interview on this podcast, but this is somebody that I’ve been following for over a decade. I want to say closer to 15 years, but I don’t know exactly. I can recall a time, a decade ago, where my wife and I were listening to podcasts from this guy while driving across the country, and really enjoying his podcasts, and dreaming one day of maybe I would have a conversation with him on my podcast. Here we are, a decade plus later, and I’ve really enjoyed his work.

What’s amazing is that I have followed this person, his name is Daniel Vitalis, for such a long time, that during this time, he’s made a transition from a vegan superfood guru to a modern-day hunter-gatherer. Along the way, there’s been an enormous amount of insights, and he’s one of the most intelligent, eloquent, and articulate communicators and teachers of human health and the human experience and the human place in nature that I’ve ever experienced. Again, someone that I’m a true fan of, Daniel Vitalis, welcome to the show.

Daniel Vitalis: Hey, wow, thank you. That’s incredible to hear all that. I hope I live up to it today. I appreciate you sharing my voice with your audience.

Daniel’s story

Ari: First of all, let me have you tell your story to people who are not familiar with you, and the fact that you’ve transitioned from– I remember watching videos buying a course from you where it was you and David Wolf, teaching how to make this raw vegan, superfood elixirs and stuff like that. Over those years, as I’ve said, now you’re doing TV shows where you’re basically a hunter-gatherer and you’re showing you’re hunting and foraging and creating foods from this whole process of being a modern-day hunter-gatherer. How would you tell that story to people who have never experienced your work?

Daniel Vitalis: It sounds a little like a big radical change when you lay it out that way, but experientially for me, it’s been a pretty steady continuity, because my interest has been in nutrition for a really long time. I’m really interested in human health in general, but I’ve had a special interest in food. When I say nutrition, I think I bring a somewhat different perspective than we typically hear from the nutrition folks. I look at it a little bit differently, which we’ll get into, but all that really stems back to my childhood, which was just not a really supportive one. I really had to figure out how to take care of myself as a young person.

Food became a central interest of mine just out of necessity. When I was a teenager, I really threw myself into it deeply. This was the era of cassette tapes, I guess, because I think back to that time in my life, listening to a lot of Tony Robbins-type self-help, I think it was called at the time, and I loved listening to the way these people communicated knowledge. I ended up following that path, as I think somebody like Tony Robbins back in the day, the fact that he was able to get himself out onto the national stage is pretty amazing. Today things are a lot easier. Thinking back, like you said, to my podcast, 10 years ago, it was an early days of podcasting. I didn’t realize what it was going to become. I thought it was kind of a gimmicky thing, but I started doing it, not really understanding that I would chart my own personal journey.

Basically, I started, like you mentioned, in the raw food vegan world. I was just a fixture in that community. I was at a lot of the events. I just started off as a consumer of that information on my own personal journey. Before I knew it, I was working at the events and the retreats, and pretty soon I was speaking at those events, and then eventually headlining my own events, and I got to travel all around North America, which was pretty awesome, Canada and the US, public speaking, I got to do some international stuff doing that as well.

Actually, the truth of it is by the time I was public speaking, I was not a vegan anymore. I was in that community still, but I had been massively influenced by the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration which really detailed hunter-gatherer diets around the world, and the way that the departure from that diet impacted dentition in particular. Also Weston Price, the author was a dentist, so he went around the world to look at people’s teeth, and he was asking himself why we had cavities, which, when you think about it, are a bone disease. Our teeth are bones, and so cavities are something like osteoporosis of the teeth.

It’s interesting to this day, we don’t spend a lot of time asking ourselves why this happens. We spend a lot of time treating it. He was wondering, “Hey, why is this happening?” He starts going around the world and realizes there had been this global departure from traditional diets, and in particular, he was looking at indigenous diets. That was the first time it clicked for me. It’s embarrassing to talk about a little bit because I had this very naive view of human beings in a kind of garden of Eden just living off of fruits, nothing has to die, and they don’t have to grow anything because it’s all available there in nature. That was my idea of what the natural world was like.

I didn’t really understand the field of anthropology, how developed it was, and what was really understood in the literature. This is pre early days of the internet, not pre-internet, but it was pre-social media, pre-cell phones, this stuff wasn’t really happening yet. This is before the iPhone. Information was not as widely available. I just didn’t really understand. That book opened my eyes, and I got really interested in looking at, what do people actually eat pre-agriculturally for the last, at that time we would’ve said 200,000 years, now we’ll say 300,000 years. We know we’ve been around a lot longer. New discoveries happen all the time and push our dates back. I was thinking, wait a second, we’ve been here 300,000 years, and agriculture’s 10,000, 12,000, 13,000 years old, what was our diet? It turns out universally, we are omnivores, and we’ve always been omnivores.

I do like to poke at both sides. It’s like our politics in the United States now. It’s very divided. Sort of like that, we have a left wing and a right-wing. We say the left wing is the vegans and the right-wing is the carnivore diet people, and both have created caricatures of our natural diet, separated them. In the same way that I think a lot of us are coming around realizing that we hold views that some could be called conservatives, some could be called liberal or progressive ideas, and most of us don’t actually align perfectly with a party. We have a mix of ideas. Similarly, our diet is a mix of–

Ari: Hopefully. Hopefully we don’t align perfectly with any– We don’t let a political party do all of our thinking for us, and similarly with dietary ideologies.

Daniel Vitalis: You’re hinting there with that astute comment. It’s happening in the diet world where people do fully align themselves as vegans, or fully align themselves as carnivores.

That’s a very predictable path, and I’ll talk about it because I was on it. What happens is, you start off feeling amazing because you’ve made a big dietary change, and that usually leads to some pretty cool results initially. You’re very excited because you’re part of a new community, and both the carnivore diet and the vegan side, they both share– they’re actually [unintelligible 00:10:25], they have the same idea. The idea is something like this, again, I say this from having been in one of these cults. The belief is something like, all of humanity has forgotten this core principle, and when we align with this core principle, it was utopia. There was no disease, no sickness, no degeneration, no senescence. We didn’t have to– Sorry. Senescence.

Ari: Senescence?

Daniel Vitalis: Senescence. Sinensis is all the plants that come from China. It’s the Latin binomial for them.

Ari: My brain went to [unintelligible 00:11:06]

Daniel Vitalis: Sinensis would be a plant that comes from Asia. Anyway, so the idea that we didn’t have to age the way we do, and degenerate the way we do. Both sides believe that, that they’ve found the hidden secret. That’s very exciting, and that will carry you a while too. You have a lot of momentum with that. Then, eventually, health issues start creeping in because it’s a very extreme diet, and, of course, your body’s not really set up for this diet. Then, there starts to be breakdown. What happens is, now you bump into your own identity politic, because you’ve identified yourself to the point you’ve lost who you are and your identity is in the diet. That’s the real danger zone because people will stick that out a long time depending on how hard-headed they are. I was real hard-headed, so I did this for a decade, and took me a long time to realize.

Once I did and transitioned back to omnivory, I got really interested in the idea of wild food because I kept thinking when we go into the supermarket and we look around at what we should eat, and of course, we hear all the time, “Well, stick to the outsides of the supermarket because that’s where the most intact whole foods are.” That’s, of course, true, but what we never hear about it is that those foods are all domesticated foods that have been drawn out out of the wild natural world. We have, in the last– we’ll get wild and crazy and say 14,000 years, somewhere 10,000 to 14,000 years ago, people started to, and this happened independently around the world at several domestication centers, we figured out how to turn the aurochs into a cow. Then we figured out how to turn the wild prickly lettuce into the modern-day lettuce. This initially probably started with wheat and barley, rice. It actually starts with the grains, typically. We learn how to domesticate these plants.

Now, when we’re in the supermarket and we see all these foods and we go, “What is the best diet?” Which in other words it’s a way of saying, what’s the best arrangement of these supermarket foods for me? We don’t realize, wait, none of these foods existed 10,000 years ago, not a single one. Is there an ideal arrangement of these foods if they’re all novel? When we look back, we see that all around the world, the healthiest people ever, the indigenous peoples of the world were living off of wild foods, and there weren’t these foods in our supermarkets. Trying to reconstruct a really natural diet for ourselves is actually not really possible with the suite of foods we have available. I got really fascinated by that idea, started to forage more seriously, working with herbs, and working with the wild edibles that I could find, and that eventually led me to learn to hunt as well.

I guess, I just took it a little bit further than the average person wants to go in seeking out what’s a more natural diet? Today I’m really blessed to have a television show. We’re going into our fourth season of production. It’s called WildFed. In that show, we typically go out get some plant, or fungi, or algae or something like that. Then, we’ll go get some animal. Whether we hunt it or fish or trap it, and then we’ll bring that together for a meal. I guess, that’s my continued exploration of this idea, but also my way of sharing that with folks as well, the fruits of my journey.

Hunter-gatherer diets

Ari: Man, I want to talk to you for four hours because there’s so many questions that I think would be wonderful to get into with you, but you mentioned Weston A. Price’s book as an early source of inspiration for you, I’m curious if you’ve explored modern-day hunter-gatherer diets at all, and maybe Stefan Lindeberg’s work, who is a modern-day researcher who’s gone over traveled all over the world and looked at modern-day hunter-gatherers in Africa, and South America, and The South Pacific, and scientifically cataloged the nutrient breakdown in the specific foods that people are eating. Have you spent time in different [crosstalk]

Daniel Vitalis: I’m not familiar with that body of work, no.

Ari: Oh, you’d love it.

Daniel Vitalis: [unintelligible 00:15:07] interested in that, yes.

Ari: You’d love it. I’ll link you to it.

Daniel Vitalis: Please do, yes.

Ari: I’m spacing on the name. He wrote a textbook. He’s a former researcher who specialized in that, in cataloged modern-day hunter-gatherer diets. Stefan Lindeberg. Lindberg?

Daniel Vitalis: I’m sure I’ve come across some of his work maybe not realizing reading studies, but if it’s collected somewhere, I would love to see the book, yes.

Ari: It’s a great textbook. Have you spent time looking at modern-day hunter-gatherer diets, or spending time with modern-day hunter-gatherers? Have you gleened any insights from looking at how they eat or how they live?

Daniel Vitalis: Looking at that, for me, has been academic, not anthropological. I haven’t gone– Yes, I’ve been to the Amazon, and I have spent time, but very surface-level. I don’t want to give the impression that I have been doing anthropological work anywhere. Most of what I have been interested in is actually practical application here. The question for me has been, what does it look like for a person who lives in a house, who drives a car, who pays taxes to approach the wild world as a supermarket? That has been my primary interest. I have noticed in the academia, you tend to have a separation between the observer and the application. You’ll very often have fantastic observers, but they very rarely go, “What would it look like for me to immerse myself in it?” They give us this great body of work, but typically don’t do the experiments.

It’s the same in archeology, there’s the idea of primitive skills that sometimes is called Applied Archeology. Folks will be like, “Well–” Archeologists will come up with theories of how a stone was napped, and the primitive skills practitioner will go, “Well, I’m going to try it and see if we can actually replicate that stone point.” That leads to greater revelations very often than the academia is able to generate simply because there’s, for whatever reason, a disconnect. I think because most of the time the researchers are so inculcated in the lifestyle, and there’s a strong taboo against anything that doesn’t support our civilization and its doctrine. It’s very hard for people to ima– What happens is, we look at this as primitive. We look at it as backwards. We look at it as a relic. We look at it as something beneath us. We look at ourselves as hierarchically the top of the pyramid, those who have left behind and shed all of that nature stuff to move into the built environment. We see ourselves as the most technologically advanced, and so it’s very difficult for people to embrace that.

We have terms for it, so and so has gone native. We’ll say derogatory ways of talking about it. I wrote a lot about this several years ago. I called it the intrinsic taboo, which is the taboo against wildness. Unfortunately, most of the people who do the research are Masters, PhDs, they’re deeply inculcated in our way of life. They simply go to these people kind of like you might observe an ant farm. Nobody ever thinks, “I’m going to go live in the ant farm.” I do see that has been one of the things that’s really held people back. Very few of the researchers are interested in, I guess, what you might call biohacking, the actual themselves.

Ari: With that in mind, you are one of very few humans who have grown up in a western context who are now engaged in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. There’s got to be very few humans on planet Earth who are doing what you’re doing right now.

Daniel Vitalis: Relatively, yes. I would say we all have it– those of us who are intereested in it do it different ways. There’s a lot of people who hunt, but I do know that most of those folks don’t really have the botany skills to forage. There’s a lot of folks that forage and very few of them seem to have the hunting skills. Of course, there’s lots of those folks, and a lot of them are deeper and better at it than I am.

Ari: Compared to the average hunter, what you’re doing is philosophically and intellectually much, much more sophisticated. There’s a lot of layers beneath the surface of what you’re doing in that, engaged in that activity of hunting that have many, many years of being well thought out. It’s not just, “Hey, it would be fun to go hang out and [crosstalk]

Daniel Vitalis: Yee-haw.

Ari: Yes. Not to be mean with stereotypes there, but what I want to ask you is this, if we look in evolutionary context, if we look at other animal species, even, what most other animal species are engaged in is essentially activities of daily survival, acquiring food and water. There isn’t much going on beyond acquiring the things that are needed to stay alive and survive and reproduce. Food being very central to that. If we look at ancient humans and hunter-gatherers, that’s very central. If you go on YouTube and you watch videos of hunter-gatherer tribes, for example, the Hadza tribe in Tanzania and Africa, and sometimes Westerners go there and spend time there and they’ll ask them questions like what–

Daniel Vitalis: How many genders are there? [laughter]

Ari: That’s certainly a useful question to ask, I agree.

Daniel Vitalis: I’ve seen the videos of that.

Industrialization and processed foods

Ari: Let’s not answer that, so we don’t anger people, but more like, what is the meaning of life, or what brings you happiness. They’ll say things like a successful hunt, bringing home meat to my family. There’s a whole discussion to be had around how simple their version of happiness is and the meaning of life relative to modern humans, where it’s seemingly endlessly complex. My point is, their activities of daily life were very much, like other animal species, it was about acquiring food and staying alive. Then there was a transition in human history towards, we had the agricultural revolution, we had the industrial revolution, and all of this stuff freed humans from having to be engaged every day in just surviving and acquiring food, and all of a sudden humans got to go into other activities. It freed up our time for doing other things, including leisure activities, and now humans are, modern humans, modern humans in the Western world, are basically totally disconnected from the ancient human hunter-gatherer way of life that is about acquiring food and surviving.

You have, in that context, now made a transition back to spending most of your time in the hunter-gatherer way of life. I’m just wondering if you have any insights around that whole trend and the fact that most humans are so disconnected from that way of life that is what humans did for most of human evolution, and what basically all other animal species do.

Daniel Vitalis: I’d like to answer that question, and it’s very difficult for me to jump ahead because there’s some things I– It’s hard for me about some of what you just said, just because I want to note that hunter-gatherers do work a lot less than the average modern American does. Maybe not the average modern American in 2023 because I think that’s changed in the last three years or so, how much people are working, but typically, if we think someone like yourself who starts a business, you’re starting that business. You’re working 60, 70 hours a week in the beginning, 40-hour work week is standard, let’s say. That’s more work time than the hunter-gatherer is putting in. Hunter-gatherers did generate a lot of leisure. This varies depending on where they live and how much food abundance.

It’s unfortunate that we always have to reference Tanzania and the Hadza because they’re just one of the last remaining groups. As you know, you can go book a tourist trip to spend time with them, which means they’re smoking ganja, they’re smoking tobacco, they’re heavily influenced by Western culture today. There are very few remaining really true hunter-gatherer people living their traditional lifeway today. We have to keep looking at the same groups. Keep in mind the rich storytelling cultures. You look at North America, the amount of secret societies that existed amongst Native Americans here to carry these wisdom traditions forward, it wasn’t just surviving. Human beings, at least for the last 50,000 years, had developed significant art and culture because there was quite a bit of leisure time.

As time started to be freed up– It’s important to understand that with the origins of agriculture, you very quickly get a slave cast. This is something that doesn’t really exist in the hunting-gathering world. You really quickly end up with an elite ruling cast and the people who are doing the labor, because as you’re hinting at, surplus food gets generated, that gets overseen by one group, enforced by another group, and the work is done by yet a third group at the base of that kind of pyramid. That becomes 10,000 years of really horrific human history. Very, very awful human history because of the vast gap between the elites and the people who are doing the work.

I just think that needs to get said, but essentially if we get to the heart of what you’re saying is, yes, we’ve got a lot more leisure time because we’re not really spending time on the food stuff. In fact, I like to point out to people because when we hear the term processed food, you’ve probably heard me talk about this before, but processed food, just immediate negative for people, but when you’re a forager or you’re a hunter, and you come home with anything from mushrooms, to fiddleheads, to a deer, you’ve got a significant amount of processing you have to do. You might think something simple as like a cranberry, let’s just say that. I go out to cranberry bogs in the fall, my wife and I harvest cranberries. You get those home and you’d think, “Oh, well, what processing do they really need?” Well, every one we bring home has a little stem on it. Before I cook those into cranberry sauce, I’ve got to go through each one and pull that little stem off. If I come home with a couple of bushels of blueberries, it’s a lot of leaves and sticks and twigs are mixed in there.

Now, if you went to the frozen food department of your supermarket and bought a bag of blueberries and got it home and there was leaves and twigs in there, you’d be pretty annoyed by that. You’d be paying for that by weight. That has to get processed out, winnowed away. Similarly, you don’t go buy a leg of a cow still got hair on it from the butcher shop, that gets processed for you.

There was a period of time where processed foods, which really are a product of industrialization, industrialization led to processed foods which freed people up from most of the labor. The labor is actually not as much in the harvesting usually as it is in the processing. It’s like, “Hey, man, it’s not a big deal to go out and pick a bunch of apples. It is a bigger deal to get all those apples home, peel every single apple, cut away the core, process that into applesauce, can it so that you have preserved applesauce. That’s a bigger thing. Probably no way easier to imagine this than with wheat. Just imagine what it takes to get from a grain of wheat to flour. This is a lot of processing.

A lot of the things we’ve carried forward into our built environment probably come from that. Music, I think most certainly came from processing. Picture 40 of us sitting around campfires, not one, but multiple fires, and the women are grinding on a metate, the corn, and they fall into rhythm, and somebody else is cracking nuts over here, ba. Pretty soon, the place falls into rhythm and music emerges from that. The babies in the wombs are hearing these sounds of the processing, and they come out, and they quickly pick up the rhythms. This is probably the origin of most of our communication, actually.

Processing’s been the main work that we have done for a really long time, and now we’re not doing that because we have processed foods, which means we have very idle hands. Gives us a lot of time to do a lot of other things. That’s one insight I would point out, is that when you see somebody who’s bored, it’s because they’re not processing food anymore. That’s central to what we’ve always done.

Another thing I’d point out is that exercise was built into all of this. Very kindly, you keep calling me a hunter-gatherer, but really my life is not defined by that. I would say that that’s a hobby of mine, but really, I live in a house, I have dogs, I have a wife, I have work. I have companies. I make a TV show. I’m in hotels a lot. I am spending more time not hunting and gathering than I’m hunting and gathering. I have to replicate all of that exercise that would have been built into my life way. Here we are now degenerating away from a lack of cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory exercise, whether it’s the steady state stuff that you just get from moving camp constantly, walking constantly, to maybe that more zone 2 stuff like I’m running down an animal because we were persistence hunters, to maybe that zone 5 stuff where it’s like, I’ve got to bust a move here and get on top of this kudo or whatever it is that we’re running down, the swimming, the diving. There’s just all this activity that now we have to replicate, and we call it recreation.

Here’s another insight. Recreation is obviously just simply the word recreation, and it means to recreate something that we used to do. When we find ourselves recreating, what we’re doing is just trying– We are a hamster on a wheel trying to recreate. The hamster lives in the tank, now in the cage, so he doesn’t get all that exercise he needs. You put the wheel in there so he can get that exercise, and he’s recreating. That’s what we’re doing, and then turns out we need a lot of it, a tremendous amount. You probably can’t overstate how much we need. It’s just crazy. As the evidence emerges more and more, it’s like, oh, you basically can’t overdo exercise. You’ve got to make sure you do recovery, but you can’t overdo it. You need a lot. You just imagine–

Ari: A lot of low to moderate effort stuff, and some design for almost constant low to moderate effort movement.

Daniel Vitalis: Kind of, yes. A lot of that zone 2 type work is really, really important, but then you also need that high-effort stuff occasionally, a few times a week. Then you need mobility, because we sit in chairs now instead of sitting on the ground the way we did. All this stuff, building fires, collecting fire, all this stuff, climbing for honey, infinite amount of work that’s now being done by paid laborers and increasingly machines. That means then we have to go out and recreate. That’s another thing to consider.

One other insight, I think for me, because I’m kind of coming toward the end of a 10-year cycle of doing this, and I’m really reflecting back what have I learned, and I think the biggest insight, the takeaway for me has been this overlooked aspect of nutrition, that when I was growing up, nutrition was macronutrients. That was the big focus. I watched sort of the revolution around micronutrients, and then I watched the revolution around phytonutrients. I think we’re probably just on the cusp of Nutrigenomics really becoming a bigger field. Just in my lifetime, and let me give another vicissitude that I think is important to note, because everybody can connect to this, maybe unless they’re like a Gen Z or, and then they’ll see their own version of this as time goes on, but I grew up, when I first got interested in nutrition, fat-free everything. That was the way. Fat was the enemy. Fat that you eat was fat on your body. That was the idea. Don’t eat fat.

At this time, 16 years old, I’m eating pasta with no oil, and just carb bloating all day, because that’s what you do. That’s healthy eating. Then I watched no fat go to no carbs. I’ve watched it go high protein, I’ve watched low protein. This stuff gets really confusing because just note that if you, and I’ll let you jump in here in a second, but I just want to point out, if you listened to everybody, you’ve got the people who say you shouldn’t eat fat. You’ve got the people who say you shouldn’t eat too much protein. You’ve got the people who say you shouldn’t eat too much carbs, and you’ve got the people who say you shouldn’t drink alcohol. Well, news flash, there’s only four places we get calories from. We get them from carbs, fat, protein, and alcohol. You have to get something. If you’re doing that amount of exercise, we’re talking about, what do you think, maybe close to 3,000 calories a day if you’re just moderately training. Where’s that energy going to come from? It’s got to come from one of those macronutrients. I really believe, similar to what I was saying about, I think that the vegans are way too far on one side, and I think the carnivore people and paleo people are too far on the other side.

Similarly, you make amylase in your mouth to break down carbohydrates as soon as you start chewing them for a reason. You have lipase to digest lipids, fats for a reason.

Protein needs

You need protein. I think we’ll probably come to the realization that we’re currently overstating the protein need. What would you say the current fitness trend is probably one gram of protein per pound of body weight right now? The average person will find– and then for bodybuilder.

Ari: 0.6 to 1, depending on who you talk to.

Daniel Vitalis: 0.6 is easy. 1, I like to shoot for a gram a day because that’s the current recommendation, but not always easy to hit that. You find yourself really having a push to get all of that sometimes, depending on how much meat you like to eat. It’s interesting we’re in a high-protein phase, but you definitely need protein. Ethanol is obviously somebody’s personal decision. It’s like, I used to drink it. I don’t drink it now, but it’s seven calories a gram. There’s a reason people can live off of booze, because they can burn that as a dirty, dirty fuel. I think we probably, though, could eat a nice balance like we used to, a fat, protein, and carbohydrate. This idea that you should eliminate any one of the macronutrients just doesn’t make sense. It’s like eliminating a color out of the rainbow. I don’t really get that.

Are plants trying to kill you?

Ari: As you said, we’ve had dietary camps that have demonized all of those things, carbs, fats, and proteins. The one that I wanted to add to your list, which is a new one, relatively, is you mentioned earlier the phytochemical, phytonutrient revolution that it started to come into our awareness as a species that, hey, there’s all these specific compounds in many different plants that have these beneficial health effects. Well, now what we’re seeing is this carnivore diet camp that’s emerging, saying things like plants are trying to kill you, and animals can run away from you. That’s their defense mechanism, but plants don’t have the ability to run away, and so they evolve these chemicals that are designed to be poisons and dissuade predators from eating them, and therefore plants have chemicals. Chemicals are bad. They’re poisons, and therefore plants are trying to kill you, and you should avoid plants because they’re unhealthy. Which is obviously just contradicted by a mountain of evidence.

Daniel Vitalis: An observable reality. This is what scares me the most about people today, is their willingness to do the emperor wears no clothes thing where you override your own common sense to go with this not even consensus reality? It’s so obvious, because here’s one of the insights you get when you hunt and gather, and things get very confused because people watch a lot. We consume a lot of survival television, and what we’re seeing is not realistic. Some people are hearing this and they’re thinking, “What if I found myself in Siberia with no clothes and no tools and I had to survive?” It’s like, well, people don’t like to live in Siberia. They like to live on river flood plains, and they like to live on the coast.

When you look at where hunter-gatherers were, they were everywhere, but there’s some hardscrabble places, and there’s some good places. If you can, you live in places that aren’t northern coniferous forests where there’s almost no food. There’s very little to eat in those places. When you watch a show like Alone, which I think is a really great show, actually, it’s probably the only one I’d watch, it’s really cool to watch that, but that’s not a place where people were eking out survival, really.

The other thing is, people typically are in groups of 30 to 50 when they hunt and gather. That’s like the typical foraging group size, about 30 people working together. You would’ve been born into a culture that already had shoes for you, and already had a backpack for you, and already had a bowl for you, and already all that. There was already a fire going. You didn’t have to figure it out suddenly, you’re suddenly naked in the woods. It doesn’t work like that. You’re suddenly in a community that’s been going for thousands of years, who knows how to do everything, who knows where everything is, who knows the seasons, who’s already charted the equinoxes and solstice, who understands the stars, who understands North, South, East, West. It’s a mistake to think of these people as unsophisticated. They’re different but not unsophisticated. Their level of knowledge is startling at times.

That’s a really important piece as well, but very obvious to those people who are looking for calories all the time, as you mentioned before, that whatever you can render edible, you eat. The only reason you have a food you don’t eat is because you revere it maybe. You’d say, “We don’t eat beaver because we understand that beavers are landscape-level architects, and their role in our environment is too important, so we don’t eat those.” But not because meat’s bad. That’s just not a thing. This has never been a thing. You wouldn’t be like, “Oh, this is too carby. I’m not going to eat this.” [laughs] It’s like, no, no, no, carby is good.

Ari: Yes, exactly.

Daniel Vitalis: Carbs is good. Starch is good. Lipids are good. The problem that we have today is we have too much access, constant access, and without the processing that slows you down. I can just reach into a bag of cashews and eat seven dozen at once because I don’t have to crack through them and process them, which slows me down and I reach satiation long before, or that I know that cache has to last my people through the season. It would be a huge social taboo for me to have enough ego to think it’s okay for me to just eat handfuls of those. It’s like that doesn’t work like that. We also know, I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your life. I know I have times of more exercise and times of less. What I notice is when I exercise less, I crave to eat more, and I crave to eat worse. When I exercise a lot, I have completely diminished sense of craving, and I want to eat better.

You’re talking about people who are on the move, on the go. It wasn’t about sitting around eating all the time, and we have turned eating into a hobby and an entertainment source, which that’s a really new thing too. Back in the day, calories were a good thing. The problem is we just have too many calories, too easily accessible without enough work. One of the things I try to remind people of is we hear a lot about how overpopulated the world is, and that there’s shortages of food everywhere. I try to point out, “Well, what are the people who are hungry? What are their bodies made from?” It’s like, “Well, they’re made from food.”

Can there really be a shortage of food if in those places they’re continuing to reproduce and actually do so at a faster rate than in the west? Because it seems like they must have a surplus of food. You couldn’t get a pop that’s called carrying capacity. You couldn’t get a population of animals to overpopulate if they were underfed. They have to have sufficient calories, or they can’t do that because their babies are ultimately made out of the food nutrients, particularly protein. I’m not saying there aren’t people who are going hungry or places where food isn’t distributed well, that’s obviously real, but we have a massive oversupply of food in the world.

That’s why our population is at 8 billion. It’ll keep growing as long as we keep producing surpluses of food. If we just said, “Okay, we’re only going to produce this amount of food forever now,” it’s very obvious what would happen is our population would stabilize at this level. The only way it can increase is increased food production. That’s so startlingly obvious that it’s hard to understand why it’s never part of the conversation. I’ve digressed here. I want to get back to that final insight that came to me through all of this. That’s realizing that there’s more to food than just these nutrients we were talking about, whether they’re macro, or micro, or phyto, or even RNA based, or whatever we’re talking about.

There’s a relational aspect to food that’s probably the most severed part. What I mean is the average person would not recognize their food in its whole form. It’s alive, still an organism form. This is how I’ll usually break this down to people is I’ll say, “What is food?” People say a bunch of things and I’ll be like, “No, let’s go deeper. What is food?” I keep pushing on that. Where we eventually end up is food is the body parts of creatures. I define creatures broadly, forms of life. If you’re eating sauerkraut, you’re eating cabbage, that’s a plant called Brassica oleracea, that’s a living creature.

You’re eating gazillions of lactobacilli, who are creatures who are on their fermenting it. If you eat lettuce, you’re eating a plant from the Lactuka genus. If you’re eating venison, you’re eating a deer. If you’re eating poultry, you’re probably eating chicken, or guinea fowl, or turkey, or something like that. These are creatures. When we eat them now, or their body parts, or they’re changed sufficiently through processing that we don’t immediately recognize the creature anymore. In fact, you learn really quickly when you start butchering animals if you haven’t been around it your whole life and I wasn’t.

We lost connection with where food comes from

When I first started, this still happens to me today, I’ll be approaching something that looks like a beautiful but dead animal. There’s blood. What happens is, and there’s trauma of course, because the animals died by my hands. The part of the brain that’s afraid of our own mortality is engaged immediately. Then the discomfort of being around blood, and guts and feces, and urine, and all of these things that you encounter in this butchering process makes you squeamish. You keep peeling away, and eventually all of a sudden there’s this moment where it starts to look like meat.

You get the hide off, you get the guts out, and really quickly you’re like, “I recognize that as food.” That’s a really cool moment because it goes from being really a turnoff to being suddenly you’re like, “Man, put that on the grill.” That’s a neat thing, and I’ve got to watch that with a lot of people that I’ve shared these practices with. Very cool thing, but most of the food we see is already in that state. People don’t know the animals. Think about how many people who’ve, and I sometimes forget because I live pretty rurally, so it’s very common people have chickens, or turkeys, or whatever.

For people who’ve lived in the urban landscape, the built environment their whole life, they may never have seen, really been around chickens, but they’ve eaten them their whole life. This is particularly true to fish. You think about who’s eaten haddock, but then who’s actually ever seen a haddock? That’s weird. You imagine when has this happened in history that human beings have eaten things that they didn’t actually know the animal or the plant?

Ari: We have a generation of kids growing up in urban environments in the modern western world, especially the United States who will eat cold cuts in cold-cut sandwiches every day in their school lunchbox, and have literally no idea that that substance came from an animal.

Daniel Vitalis: Right. It’s important to note, and I’m glad you just said that because if it was possible to produce synthetic food, we would be doing that. We have not cracked that code. We may at some point figure out how to make those carbon chains necessary to fuel a human body. Currently, we don’t know how we can make synthetic fertilizers. When you look at truly like draconian level food processing, you still have to, for instance, 3D-printed food, let’s say. You still have to start with creatures. That creature might be wheat, that creature might be barley, or corn, or it might be a pig, or it might be a fish.

You start with a creature or multiple creatures, and they get refined into these industrialized foods. At the base of that is a living thing. I sometimes will say this, imagine if you grew up in a small town and everywhere you go, you go to the hardware store, you go to the supermarket, you go to the post office, you know everybody, and everybody knows you. You’re in relation with everybody. Day-to-day you have this sense of who you are and where you fit in to that community because people know you and you know them. You don’t just know them, but you know, “Oh, that’s so-and-so’s cousin, that’s so-and-so’s mom.”

Oh yes, I remember when Jimmy fell off the tractor here back in the– You have all these stories that fill in all the gaps. There are isn’t these big mysteries of what things are, or who’s who. Now, imagine you move from there to, let’s say you move to New York City, suddenly it’s a lot more threatening of a place because it’s like you don’t know anyone, and nobody knows you. They don’t know your stories. There’s all these faces, and they’re all unfamiliar, and you don’t know where anything is. You don’t know where the resources are, and suddenly you’re lost a little bit. Now, imagine a hunter or a gatherer.

They didn’t just grow up in this environment, but they were born to people who’d lived in this environment on this particular piece of land, this landscape for thousands of years. They know every plant, every fungi, every algae. They know every lichen, they know all of the animals. They don’t just know them, they know their whole life cycle, when they breed, what they’re younger like, what their tracks look like, they know the relationships between different animals and different plants. The ecological knowledge is so deep that we can’t comprehend it today, but deep, deep ecological knowledge. They feel integrated into the environment.

They’re part of relationally connected to all of these creatures. They are predators. We are predators. We predate upon some of these animals and plants. If we weren’t watching, some of them would predate upon us too, and they predate on each other. It’s just like welcome to earth, that’s just the nature of it. That’s okay. You have stories that you tell that help you to understand why all that is that way, and everything feels copacetic. Now, take the average person today and put them into the natural environment. Suddenly, they don’t know anything. Every plant’s just green to them. It’s just, we call it the wall of green.

Animals, if they even see one, feel threatening. They probably won’t see one because they make too much noise, they don’t know how to walk, they don’t know how to move through the environment. At night they hear them, and they’re afraid because they don’t know what species they are. This is one of the interesting things is, even here where I live in Maine rural, people know the environment a little bit better. You put them out in a tent at night and they hear all these sounds, and they start imagining cryptozoology because they don’t know there’s only probably 20 mammals that live here. It can only be, it’s one of those, you know what I mean? People start imagining all of this stuff, and conjuring all of this horror movie stuff because they don’t know what’s there. They’re alien to their own landscape. That, to me, the food on your plate, if it’s alien to you, then you’re out of relational harmony with the natural world, which does a couple of things.

One, it makes those survival shows really interesting because somewhere at the back of the mind is the fear that I don’t know how to live in my environment therefore, what happens when someone like me is out there? Oh my God, what are the things I need to know? People like that stuff because they’re afraid fundamentally of their own world. It also makes them want to develop the world more, more development, more built environment. That’s what I know, and I need to be safe here. We need to develop this place to push back that aggressive wall of nature that’s always trying to creep in.

We want to tame everything. It means our food could just be cardboard. It could just be flavored cardboard for all we know. It doesn’t really matter. It changes when you start to develop. Now, this is true whether you garden, or you farm, or you hunt, or however you do this. When you start to, or you go to the farmer’s market, and you just meet the people that grow the food, and you start connecting in with these different species. It’s like, “What does this thing look like when it’s in the ground, or what’s it look like when it’s moving across the landscape?” That’s a really powerful realization. What’s a haddock look like?

You don’t have to necessarily go out and do it. This is been something I’ve pursued because my own passion for it. I think it is important that people start to develop some relationship with their food because otherwise, we act like an alien species that’s landed here. We don’t have any investment in the place. What you end up with, I’ll finish with this, is you end up with a whole lot of people talking about how we need to save the planet, we need to save the environment. It’s such BS because they don’t even know what the environment is, they don’t know what’s in that environment, they never go in the environment.

They wouldn’t know if they spent money on that environment. They wouldn’t even know if anything happened because they wouldn’t actually see any of that change. They’re very susceptible to being tricked by developers who want to come in and alter the landscape, and maybe pay a carbon offset credit somewhere else for some other wetland that they’ll also never go to. I think if we want to so-called save the planet, we probably need to develop relationship with that planet because it’s like otherwise, it’s a mostly lip service.

Are humans our own worst enemy?

Ari: With that in mind, there’s another layer to that story, which is from the time we’re young, we’re inculcated with this cultural notion that there’s animals and there’s humans. Humans are above the animals. We’re separate from the animals. We’re not one of many thousands and thousands of different animal species that exist and have a relationship with nature. We are this separate entity that are humans that’s watching above it and interacting with it.

As you said, it’s just that way of thinking about the human species in relationship to nature disrupts our ability to truly understand it, and be in harmony with it, in relationship with it such that we could even have the capacity to save it, or interact with it in a healthy way to even have the proper paradigm to understand how it should be cared for.

Daniel Vitalis: Agreed. That worldview that you’re talking about was very uncommon. Most of the people around the world did not have that view. Most of the people of the planet had a much more integrated view of humans in nature. Really that worldview was restricted to the domestication center that started in the Mesopotamia area, and moved through Egypt, to Greece, to Rome, to England. We follow that historical pattern. It’s changing now, of course. There’s a completely new narrative, but for most of us growing up, we didn’t learn as much about South American history as we did about Greece and Rome because we traced our lineage that way.

That worldview that you just described won out. It won the way somebody cheating, let’s say in the Olympics, can win. They don’t get caught. They’re willing to do things the other athletes aren’t willing to do. They will win. We were willing to do stuff that no one else was willing to do. We were willing to destroy our own home to get the materials to destroy the next tribe. We were willing to not just cut the trees we needed, but denude entire forests. Not just find the stone outcropping that we could make our tools from, we were willing to dig giant holes in the earth to get the materials we needed to eventually build all of this technology.

It’s hard for me to disconnect that willingness from this desire to go to Mars. Why do we want to go to Mars? Because we want to use everything up here, and then get to the next one. We’re like a person with deep emotional wounds and trauma who destroys their relationship, and then bails, and gets in another relationship. We’re like, “Wow, relationship with our Mother Earth isn’t real good, let’s go check out Mars though. Before we figure out how to live here sustainably, let’s go to the next one.” You don’t have to be a clinical psychologist to see what we’re doing here.

Our willingness to destroy, our willingness to pollute our own water, to get ahead, this is stuff that most of the native peoples around the world were not willing to do. They fell under the hands of those who were willing to go to those extreme lengths. That leaves us with this appearance of like, “Well, we must have been the superior culture. Our ways must be the best ways.” It’s like, “Well, is it?” It’s like you could get 100 on that test if you cheat, but is that really getting 100 on the test? That’s what we’ve done is we’ve cheated our way here.

Now, we’re turning around and looking at the wake of destruction, realizing like, “Oh, oh maybe we overshot the mark a little bit and things aren’t good out in our environment.” Suddenly there’s this panic. I love how the narrative now is that it’s your fault, you consumer. Then it’s funny because we were extremely resistant to consumerism. In fact, I don’t know how much of the story you know but Edward Bernays, the nephew of Freud came and worked with our government and corporations to figure out how to get us to become consumers, and now they’re blaming us.

They colluded to get us to buy all this stuff, and all this stuff led to all this pollution, and now it’s going to all fall on our shoulders. We are the bad ones who used all this carbon when, in fact, none of us really wanted to. We wanted stuff that lasted, we wanted– It’s a pretty interesting story that has led us here. One thing I’ll say that I love about, this is philosophical, not practical because I don’t see how we could ever get to where we all go back to a hunter or gatherer lifestyle. That’s not a realistic thing. What’s really beautiful about that world, that lifeway is that it’s anti-hierarchical.

Just so the people listening know this, I know you know it. In hunter or gatherer societies pretty much universally around the world, you just have this idea of individual sovereignty. While you probably will go along with what your tribe’s doing, you’re not expected or required to, you could walk out at any time. It’s not like here, there was no policing and there was no king. This idea that there was a chief, or this idea of somebody’s in charge of the whole village or something, that’s stuff that Europeans foisted upon these people because they couldn’t understand the way they had this decentralization of power to the individual.

Many of us now love to imagine a kind of egalitarian world that still has our, all the– When we imagine that here, what we’re really imagining is something probably more like Brave New World by Huxley. It feels decentralized because you’re high. It feels decentralized because you have all the stuff around you, you feel really free in your slavery. Hunter or gatherer people had something very different. They had true freedom and sovereignty in a way that most of us will never really be able to understand.

Once agriculture was developed, hierarchy immediately comes out of that. This is well established in the anthropological literature, and that’s the saddest thing is elites will always drive every civilization into the ground. I think it’s important we ask ourselves what happened to Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the South American and Meso American civilizations, the Asian civilizations. There was all of these amazing city states, they rise up, they have power for a time, and then they crumble. It’s always the behavior of the elites that cause that, and the greed of people who aren’t doing the processing anymore, and they have all those idle hands. We’re watching, we’re actually getting to live through that moment right now. It’s actually a very exciting and unique moment in history, where we get to be witness to something like that.

Are we disconnected from nature?

Ari: On the note of what you were just saying, what came to my mind is how we are measuring success. Many modern humans point to our sophistication, look at all these cities we’ve built, and these architectural marvels, and 200 storey tall buildings, and guns, and technology, and cars and planes, and all these things. Look how amazing we are. We’ve, as you’ve said, externalized this harm into so many other areas. As you pointed out, I think your words, we look back and we look at this wake of destruction behind us, and it depends on how you measure your success.

We are so disconnected from our relationship to the natural world. We’re sitting here, building these cities, creating all these technological marvels and doing all these amazing things with technology. We’ve never been more disconnected from a harmonious relationship with nature than right now. It’s amazing to see that separation. With that in mind, and this is something you’ve alluded to a few times throughout this conversation.

There’s some research that has looked at hormetic stress, things like exercise, things like periods of famine or food shortage, heat and cold, other types of discomfort, and has actually suggested that the evolution of human intelligence, literal brain capacity, has largely come about through those pressures of those hormetic stressors. We’ve evolved these greater intellectual capacities as a way to essentially problem solve to deal with discomforts, and pressures, and unpredictability’s of our environment, and we’ve successfully solved all of them. We’ve made a lifestyle where we no longer have to exercise to get our food, or to process our food.

We’ve been able to build shelters that protect us from the cold and the heat. We’ve built air conditioning, and we’ve built heaters, and created climate controlled indoor environments. We’ve created farming, so we have food abundance, and refrigerators, and we’ve just one layer after another how we have as humans removed ourselves from all of the hormetic stressors that have existed for all of human evolution up until very recently, up until this fraction of a second in recent human history.

What’s ironic about it is now we’ve externalized the harms in all these other areas, where now we have epidemics of obesity, and diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and neurological disease, and cancer that are largely due to the deficiencies of those hormetic stressors from our lives. Now, we have to go about this weird process of using our high intelligence to understand this predicament that we’re in, and go, “Oh I need to consciously spend time going to the gym to recreate.”

As you’ve said, this aspect of ancestral lifestyle, “Oh, cold is good, maybe I should start doing cold plunging. Oh, heat is good, maybe I should start going in the sauna. Oh, sunlight is good, maybe I’ll get some light therapy technology.” We’re recreating these different aspects to try to undo the diseases that have emerged from the disconnection from nature and our ancestral way of life. I guess again, you’ve alluded to that a couple of times in this conversation aspects of it, but I’m just wondering with that context if you have any thoughts on that.

Daniel Vitalis: That was awesome. Everything you just said lights me up. It’s how I started here because I was in the alternative health world, but the idea of biohacking started to emerge. That was really interesting because that was more computer and tech oriented people. They were like, “Can I hack myself like a machine? Am I a computer, or can I hack myself?” What they end up arriving at was rewilding under a different name. They started to go like you just said, for instance, anybody who’s ever camped knows, no matter where you go, this is true in the desert, this is true in the jungle, this is true everywhere I’ve ever been.

The days are warmer, and the nights are colder, and there’s a sine-wave rhythm that moves like this on a 24 and 365 days cycle. What do we have in our house? A flat line of temperature. Everywhere you walk outside is a sine-wave of rippling earth. What’s it like inside our built environment? Flatline. We’ve created everything as flatline now, and flatline is a pretty synonymous with being dead. Really if I could sum up everything you just said, it’s like domestication is a degenerative process. If you domesticate a chicken, or a wolf into a dog, and you pull it out of nature, you create something different.

You do create something more tame and kind, but that thing starts to suffer from disease, from being removed from the natural world because all of those hormetic stresses are gone. We’ve done that to ourselves. It’s really funny to me that the people who tried to approach the human body as tech are now the ones pushing sauna, cold plunge, early morning light therapy, and dozens of other things that are all designed to recreate. A lot of them don’t even know that’s what they’re doing. That’s also the hilarious irony.

Ari: Most of them don’t.

Daniel Vitalis: They think they’re discovering new stuff and it’s like, “Oh man, you’re just talking about.” These practices are just the lifeway of people who live outside. The idea of insides is a relatively new idea. Anyway, the domestication is degenerative. You know this if you breed. I’ve known folks who are really into chicken breeding, and what they eventually have to do is get guinea fowl. Our chickens come from junglefowl, sorry, not guinea fowl, Junglefowl from Indonesia. We’ve domesticated them into chickens. You end up with enough of those white chickens running around, getting more and more domesticated as you breed them. Eventually you got to bring in richer stock.

You bring in the way civilizations we’re doing that to themselves, and then they go conquer some indigenous group, and breed with them, and then they would get a fresh infusion of good wild genetics. Now we’re out of that, and we’re dealing with all of these diseases of degeneration. Most of us are realizing the only way to beat these things are recreate feast and famine, recreate hot and cold, literally put yourself through all. What we’re going to end up with is hilarious. We’re going to end up with this lifestyle that is truly the hamster on the wheel. The challenge is, and this has been the hardest thing about hunting and gathering. It’s land access, and it’s pollution, and it’s loss around it too.

It’s not easy to do. This is not a sustainable thing everybody can do. I’ve been really lucky to do this experiment. It might not be possible in 20 years, I don’t know. Most of the world you couldn’t do this anymore. I’m very blessed to get to do this in the United States, but it’s not easy. As we go more and more into what looks to me like some kind of Huxleyan, Brave New World meets 1984 depending on where you live in the world, but some dystopia, techno dystopia. There’ll be those of us who are trying to recreate these hormetic stresses, just so we can be healthy. It’s sad because I do all this too.

I keep us spreadsheet art of my, I’m sure you have some method too, because it’s like I need to get enough saunas in. I did one today. I need to get my cold plunges in. I hate it but I need to, I got to get in my hours of steady stay cardio. I’ve got get in my strength training sessions. I need to watch the nutri– All this stuff is so complex to try to track and manage. There was a time where you didn’t have to do any of that, you just played the game of being alive. I think if I was going to sum all this up, it’s like I’m a pretty spiritual person, and I don’t subscribe to any religious dogma or anything, but I love the idea of a creator.

I love it for a couple of reasons. I love it, even if it’s just a technology because I think if it is a technology in some ways because believing that there isn’t a higher power, puts that power on us, and we’re bad with that. We suck at that. Humility is really important, and humbleness is really important, and we need a way to cultivate that. It’s why the 12-step programs work for addicts so well because it begins with the idea of a higher power, and saying, “I’m actually powerless against my own self. I don’t even have the power to regulate myself.”

Having a higher power is really important. I think prayers are really important. I like the idea that we were created and given this world to just live in, and it’s a really fun game. You get to just live it, but then we decided we wanted to take control of the game. We wanted to figure out how the code was written, and then we wanted to make our own game. That’s what we’re doing right now with the genome. You look at what we’re doing with the genome, you look at what we’re doing with artificial intelligence, it’s like we wanted to find God’s tools and the code that he used to build this world, and hijack it. That story is told in so many cultures, but particularly in the Bible, there’s the story of the Tower of Babel is like this, and the story of the fall of Lucifer is like this. It’s the idea that we’re not satisfied to just be in this incredible experience and opportunity, we instead want to control it.

We seize the reins, but every time we make something new, we create two, or three, or four cascading negative effects. Then we have to go deal with all those problems, but we create three or four cascading negative effects from those. That becomes this exponential problem, and that’s what we’re in right now, where everywhere you look it’s crisis. It’s crisis in food, it’s crisis in tech, it’s crisis in government, it’s the brink of nuclear war, it’s this presidential election we’re about to have where you’re like, “Really? Seriously? Really, these were the choices?”

You look around, and it’s like nothing’s making sense anymore because that’s what happens when we stop submitting ourselves to a higher power, and thinking we are the highest power. Then we create this, we have incredible technology, it’s awesome what we’ve been able to do, except the fruits are always bad. It says in the scriptures like, “You will know a thing by its fruit.” If a tree is good, it’ll produce good fruit, but if it’s producing bad fruit, probably a bad tree. It’s like similarly, if the fruits of all of this tech that we’ve developed was goodness, we saw things were getting better, then it would be like, “Man, full steam ahead. We’re on the right track.” It’s [crosstalk]

How food availability affects the world population

Ari: As markers of that, we can look to human health, rates of childhood disease, and how many adults have various diseases, as well as rates of happiness or rates of depression, depending on how you look at it.

Daniel Vitalis: Then rates of reproduction would be a good way to look at it too. I only say that because, before, when you were talking about how hunter and gatherers live, I wanted to point out, I’ve seen videos like you were talking about where they’re like the most important thing is meat or the most important thing is food, but there’s also a huge emphasis on children and on the children. I know my mom came from nine kids, and I have zero kids, and most of my friends have zero to one kid, and I know a couple families with two, three kids, but when you think about how if you don’t have at least two children, you’re not even replacing yourselves as a couple.

You need to have three before you even add one to the population. The fact that in the place where we have the most wealth and the most opportunity, we are actually suiciding ourselves. It says a lot about what’s really going on here. We got all the lights and all the flash because, again it says, “Lucifer disguises himself as an angel of light.” We sure have a lot of that light, and glitz, and glam, but actually, fundamentally, we’re rotting at the core. The word punk it refers to when the inside of a tree is rotted. It looks like a healthy tree, but it has no core. We’ve lost our core, and we’ve become punky inside.

Everything around us is degenerating. I think we need to get back in touch with real integrity again. Part of that’s connecting to the ecosystem, part of that’s restoring our health, and a big part of that is figuring out what this higher power thing is about. We’re so close to being like, “Oh, the higher power’s ChatGPT-4.” It’s like, “No, no, no, no, that’s a demon in a machine.” We need to point ourselves back to something lasting and something greater than ourselves.

Ari: Daniel, I have to say, you are phenomenal. You’re just an amazing teacher and someone that I’ve looked to for a very long time as a great inspiration. I’ve admired your work, I’ve appreciated your work. It’s inspired me, it’s been a big influence on my own thinking. It’s an honor to have this conversation with you after so many years of following your work. Thank you so much for coming on the show and making this happen. Where do you want to send people, or tell people where they can follow you and learn more from you?

Daniel Vitalis: My show’s on Outdoor Channel, Monday nights at 7:30. That’s called WildFed, wild-fed.com is the website. You can find us @wild.fed on Instagram, and you can find me @danielvitalis on Instagram as well. That’s probably the best way to get in touch with me.

Ari: Beautiful. To everybody listening, I highly recommend following him. He’s one of very few people that I personally follow, and I recommend you do the same. Daniel, thank you so much. I hope we can have another conversation sometime in the future.

Daniel Vitalis: Thank you. Anytime. It’s awesome.

Ari: That’s great.

Show Notes

00:00 – Intro
00:55 – Guest Intro – Daniel Vitalis
04:40 – Daniel’s story
15:20 – Hunter-gatherer diets
22:00 – Industrialization and processed foods
33:10 – Protein needs
36:44 – Are plants trying to kill you?
42:00 – Do we really have a shortage of food?
43:50 – We lost connection with where food comes from
53:58 – Are humans our own worst enemy?
1:01:20 – Are we disconnected from nature?
1:13:00 – How food availability affects the world population


Recommended Podcasts

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Scroll to Top