The Nation's Health + Nutrition

Learn how to eat from Survivorman


Look no farther than Discovery Channel to learn how humans were meant to eat.

The Survivorman show documents the (self-filmed) 7-day adventures of Les Stroud, who is dropped into various remote corners of the world to survive on little but ingenuity and will to live. Starting without food or water, the Survivorman scrapes and scrambles in the wilderness for essentials to survive in habitats as far ranging as the Ecuadorian rainforest to sub-arctic Labrador.

What does Survivorman have to do with your nutrition habits?

Everything. The lessons we can learn by watching this TV show are plenty.

Survivorman plays out the life we are supposed to be living: slaughtering wild game with simple handmade tools and his bare hands, identifying plants and berries that are safe to eat, trapping fish, scavenging the kill of other predators. He's even resorted to eating bugs and caterpillars, particularly following several days of unsuccessful hunting and scavenging.

What is notable from the Survivorman experience is what is absent: In the steppe, desert, tundra, or jungle, you will not find bread, fruit drinks, or Cheerios. You won't find farm-fattened, corn-fed livestock with meat marbled with fat.

Imagine the result of such an experience for us, drawn out over 6 months. Even an obese, diabetic, gluttonous, XXX dress size 350-lb woman would return a lean 105 lbs, size 0, non-diabetic, fully able to run miles in the wild tracking game.

Survivorman's quiet desperation of living in the wild, preoccupied with worries over where his next meal might be found, is a stark contrast to the bloated, shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling supermarkets, and our modern society's all-you-can-eat several times per day lifestyle.

Am I advocating selling the car and house and chucking modern society for the "safety" of the jungles of Borneo?

No, of course not. I am advocating taking a lesson from the clever experiment conducted by Mr. Stroud, a return-to-the-wild experience that should teach us something about how perverse our modern nutritional lives have become.

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