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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 29, 2012

Can We Feed the World on the Primal Blueprint Diet? – Part 1

By Worker Bee 2
372 Comments

Every couple weeks, I get an email that asks about the global sustainability of the Primal Blueprint diet. It’s a common question, one that probably deserves a comprehensive answer – or as close to one as I can muster. See, the problem is that the world is really, really big. And the problems that affect the world have many layers. Each of those problems is made up of dozens of smaller problems, localized issues whose solutions – if they even exist – don’t necessarily apply to the others.

Indeed, the question posed in the title of today’s post isn’t just one question. It is many. Next week, I’ll attempt to answer the question(s) as best I can.

But for now, I just have to ask: is it even a valid question?

Let me start this by saying that my gut reaction to this question is largely a logical response. The question is usually presented in a way that implies that if everyone went Primal at once the economies and biosystems of the world would go into a catastrophic death spiral. That a population solely comprised of Primal enthusiasts could never work. I can’t help but think that this concern is somewhat like being worried about what would happen if everyone on earth became hairdressers (or lawyers, or ballerinas, or…). With 7+ billion barbers on our hands and no scissor manufacturers in sight we’d have more than a few problems on our hands, but I won’t be losing sleep at night over this vastly small potentiality. No, that isn’t defeatism rearing it’s ugly head, and yes, it’s not a perfect analogy, but the question has always struck me as a little strange in the first place.

In any case, I think it is safe to say that the chances of the entire world going Primal anytime soon are, well, slight. Yeah, it’s almost December 21, 2012, but I somehow don’t envision a huge Primal paradigm shift happening overnight (starring a Fivefingered John Cusack)

For that to happen…

US corn, wheat, soy, and other grain subsidies that have been firmly entrenched since the 1920s and 1930s would need to be abolished.

Authorities the world over would need to revise their health recommendations, thus admitting that they were wrong on a whole lot of important stuff.

Fast food would have to stop tasting so good to so many people (I know, I know, I find the stuff pretty awful myself, but millions obviously do not share our opinion).

The list goes on and on…

No, the infrastructure, and policies and systems we need to make this a reality may not be here now, but I do think feeding the world on a diet like this might be possible in an ideal world. The raw land, the means, the animals, even the methods all exist. People can physically grow herbs and leafy greens in their backyards, on their windowsill, or in a community garden. They might have to skip an hour of TV to have enough time for it or maneuver past archaic and ridiculous city ordinances to finagle a community garden out of an abandoned lot, but it’s physically possible. Cows already eat grass for most of their lives before heading to the feedlot, so the land’s there, and methodologies like rotational grazing really do seem to work. We couldn’t be living off of roasts and ribeyes, but a global diet of real food raised/grown the right way is entirely possible.

The challenges we face aren’t insignificant, but that’s not going to stop me from trying and it shouldn’t stop you either.

You know what will send a message and have an effect, however faint and minor (for the time being)? Voting with your dollar by eating Primally. Shopping at farmers’ markets. Growing your own vegetables. Raising some chickens or perhaps even a goat, or giving your money to people who do. Buying meat, berries, and greens, not white flour and soybean oil. These actions will draw attention and have an effect because they concern money. And when you proudly eat four pastured hard boiled eggs at lunch while turning down the last of the donuts (that’s been halved and quartered until oblivion by officemates who don’t want to be the person to finish them off) and someone notices that you’ve “really slimmed down” then puts two and two together, you may have unwittingly created another person who votes with their dollar for the same things you do.

And the more individuals get on board with Primal eating, the closer we’ll get to having a chance at real, lasting, “global” change, because every one of those individuals will influence others with their results and their dollars, and the effect will snowball and pick up momentum.

Grass-fed meat, pastured eggs and bacon, organic produce grown in rich soil? Yeah, it’s not for everyone right now. The thing is, though – nothing will ever change if we let the unfortunate global realities dictate our individual diets and render us too guilt-stricken to do the right thing (for our bodies). Vote with your dollar, I say. If enough people put an extra $2 toward pastured eggs instead of the cheaper blander ones, industry will notice. If we throw in the towel because everything isn’t perfect for everyone in the world right away and right now, nothing will ever change.

And it still might not, despite our best efforts. But at least we’ll eat well and live healthier lives than we otherwise would have. In the end, that’s what really matters.

Be sure to leave a comment, and don’t hold back. I’m hoping we get a good discussion going. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Part II where I’ll be digging deeper on this topic next Wednesday!

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372 Comments on "Can We Feed the World on the Primal Blueprint Diet? – Part 1"

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Stevemid
Stevemid
4 years 6 months ago

I hope the rest of the world doesn’t go primal – who would I get to feel smugly superior to then?
🙂

Interesting article, I look forward to part II.

kris C
kris C
4 years 6 months ago

Oh good, it’s not just me that feels this way! I kind of enjoy I am a bit better and smarter than the rest of the people I see at the store.

Tina
Tina
4 years 6 months ago

I think you might have said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud on that one.

Kung fu Master
Kung fu Master
4 years 6 months ago

I disagree I hope more people eat healthier and primal. When people are in good shape it motivates me to do even better and strive for a higher level of excellence.

Peace!!!

Ellen
Ellen
2 years 8 months ago

Don’t forget the people at the office. Including the ones who are celiac disease and eat everything gluten free. Why not exclude wheat altogether folks?

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago
But, if the world goes Primal then don’t you agree that living this way would become easier? One would not have to worry about how the cow they are about to eat was grown. Any and all restaurants would be Primal and thus ordering off the menu would be tons of fun. Everyone would be happier. More people would smile and laugh. More folks would be spending time outdoors and having FUN. Perhaps we would all be working less and just enjoying our short stay on Earth. Not all 7 billion (or 10 billion at some point?) people will be… Read more »
Nathan
Nathan
4 years 6 months ago

How is it hard to live Primal? I don’t know about you but I find it easier to sit and eat an entire head of lettuce and a half a pound of meat. It saves a ton of time too.

andrea
andrea
4 years 6 months ago

Same here! I only have a meal once a day. Around one hour cooking and eating total! Easy peasy!

Jen
Jen
4 years 6 months ago

It takes a lot more work in the part of the country I live in to find clean meats and sometimes even organic veggies, so I would say it’s harder to eat Primal than like everyone else. Not to mention all the irritating comments I get from my food choices.

Otherwise, yeah it’s pretty easy deciding what to eat.

Brendan
4 years 6 months ago

Agreed, Toad. Society is just not set up to make primal easy. I always have to cook ahead of time and plan out my meals if I’m at school all day. Although I like being different than the conventional wisdom, it would be nice if society were more inviting to this lifestyle!

cjbrooks
cjbrooks
4 years 6 months ago

Schools have kitchens…….

Jen
Jen
4 years 6 months ago

And we wouldn’t have to pay healthcare for all those sick people…that money could be put to better use.

Karl
Karl
4 years 6 months ago

You raise an important issue. Instead of Mark’s introductory question you are actually asking: “Is the non-primal way of living sustainable?” How can we feed the world by growing food that makes most people sick?

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago
Very excellent point. A large reason why our economy is a joke is because of health care. Sure, the all the medical interventions are great as its saving lives but in the long run, in the grand scheme of things is it hurting society more than its helping it? I mean, people aren’t really living anymore. They are just existing. They get sick and just exist for the last 10-20 years or so or for much longer. The state of our world at this moment is not sustainable. We absolutely must make some dramatic changes. We thrived in this world… Read more »
Michele
Michele
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, and Americans are so concerned about the cost of health care. Especially universal health care. Going Primal would take care of so much of the escalating costs we are projecting! Can you imagine???

Primal Blueprint Danmark
4 years 6 months ago

+1

BillP
BillP
4 years 3 months ago

+2

ElyseRenae
4 years 6 months ago

I couldn’t agree more.
Time and energy into health and happiness.
I like the thought.

primalgrandma
primalgrandma
4 years 6 months ago

Everybody interested in primal living should read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I just finished it for about the 50th time and am all amped up about it, again! Differences between Takers (us) and Leavers (primitives) deeply explored with emphasis on food.

Alison Elaine
Alison Elaine
4 years 6 months ago

Completely agree! Ishmael is an amazing book and it changed my whole outlook on the way our society sees its “truths” and the voice of Mother Culture 🙂 If you get a chance, pick it up!

BillP
BillP
4 years 3 months ago

Also, anything by Paul Shepard.

Jeff
Jeff
11 months 9 days ago

+1 to Ishmael! I read it recently….I think it goes hand in hand with the Primal Blueprint as the two most important books I’ve ever read!

Chris
Chris
4 years 6 months ago

Toad, I 100% Agree!

I remember when looking at a menu used to be fun. Now it’s mostly just a waste of time.;)

Cal
4 years 6 months ago

+1 Toad!

I say Toad for President. 🙂

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago

Lol. Maybe primal president…

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
4 years 6 months ago

Totally agree Toad. Eating would be stress-free if you didn’t have to worry about what oil was used to cook the chicken you had on your salad for lunch, or what the pig ate that supplied the solstice ham, etc. Plus everyone would be happier and less grumpy, and the people you saw walking down the street would mostly be lean and attractive instead of mostly looking like boats.

I would definitely rather live in Primaland than SAD country.

Corey
Corey
4 years 6 months ago

That’s too funny. I try not to feel that way. It’s actually kind of sad when I see folks so miserably out of shape and knowing how they could turn their life around.

Todd Watson
4 years 6 months ago

I’m the same way. I see people out of shape and want to preach the Primal/Paleo fire and brimstone sermon I have welling up inside of me. My family and friends hear it and pay it no mind. However, I do have a work friend who just ate some of the Hungarian goulash I made from Mark’s previous post and she said it was yummy. She’s jumping on board. So, it really is a one person at a time thing.

Abby J. (formerly C.)
Abby J. (formerly C.)
4 years 6 months ago
I feel that way too, especially when I have overweight and unhealthy friends who complain to me about their weight. I’ve provided the information to them, even offered to share some cooking, but really the change has to be on them. And they won’t make the change. It’s really frustrating and hard. But in the meantime, it really does come down to what Mark said – vote with your dollar, and if nothing else, you can live knowing that you are optimizing your own health and enjoying your own life to the max! Re: sustainability – I’ve seen pretty good… Read more »
Alyssa
Alyssa
4 years 6 months ago

Congrats!! It’s a huge success to get another person on the primal bandwagon!!

Fair Flavors
4 years 6 months ago

I quit preaching. If people are interested, they will ask me questions and I answer. But I really quit trying to convince the diabetics in my family to stop shoving cakes, candy and pasta in their mouths. It just didn’t work, they only get angry with me. And even though I think their idiots for not even trying a different diet, I still love them very much, so I just let them be.

Pat
Pat
4 years 6 months ago

Exactly my Option, The First thing that came to my mind!

May they Contiinue to eat cake!

Animanarchy
4 years 6 months ago

I think almond flour tastes like cake.

JDub
JDub
4 years 5 months ago

aww man, i want almond flour in my mouth right now!

Henrik
4 years 6 months ago
I posted this on the last page, but reposting here. Sincerely apologize, but I believe this is important! “Great article Mark. I’ve been discussing this a lot with my (non-primal but recently less bread-eating) brother lately, with me arguing basically the same thing you do. Something that really caught my attention a few weeks ago was a lecture by Allan Savory. For quick info on Savory and his methods for reclaiming desert using grazing animals, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Savory http://www.savoryinstitute.com/ http://chelseagreen.com/blogs/jtellerelsberg/2010/02/25/following-up-with-allan-savory-on-using-cattle-to-revsere-desertification-and-global-warming/ And of course, the lecture, which starts out a bit slow, but the potential impact is huge! http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2012/01/allan-savory-keeping-cattle-cause-or-cure-for-climate-crisis/ Savory won… Read more »
Jimmy
Jimmy
4 years 6 months ago
Human population was estimated to be 1 million 10,000 years ago; today its 7 billion. In other words, 99% of homo sapiens that have ever lived, did so eating grains. If we are going to use the relative time argument to talk about evolution, lets count total human days, not linear time. In this regard, the football field analogy doesn’t hold water. I agree that each individual is different and must experiment; some people are completely lactose intolerant, some allergic to gluten, and some break out in hives when they eat peppers, eggs, or mushrooms (that’s right, foods considered paleo… Read more »
rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 6 months ago

Hey Mr. Big Words. Don’t knock it ’till you try it 🙂

Jimmy
Jimmy
4 years 6 months ago

Um…I’ve been paleo for 2 years. I am just frustrated that the movement has been hijacked by dogmatic people.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

I get it. 🙂

Alyssa
Alyssa
4 years 6 months ago
Well said Jimmy, I totally agree. I don’t think there’s any such thing as a ‘bad food,’ provided its REALLY FOOD (naturally grown/raised, whole; don’t go telling me a Twinkie is food!), and is properly prepared (grains soaked, etc…). I like your idea of a bell curve; plants and animals probably work best for most, but you will encounter a few who just can’t tolerate so much meat/fat and do better on grains or legumes. I’ve been paleo for 3 years and am going into public policy/public health in college to try and make it more of a widespread lifestyle,… Read more »
Jimmy
Jimmy
4 years 6 months ago

Alyssa,

Best of luck to you. I’m like you, trying to challenge old paradigms, but on issues of transportation and city planning. When advocating for change, its important to remain humble and not become too wed to your own ideas, lest you become like those you are trying to help and ingrained in your own static paradigms. You sound like you understand this, so I’m sure you will have plenty of success!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago
Btw, I have run across several mentions – including in comments here – that the Paleo community is known for followers and for a lack of “critical thinking”. How does that advance the cause – not to mention conform to ancestral values? If we want to honor our ancestors, it would be good to remember the precursor of modern man, Cro-Magnon, were regarded as intelligent & tool using. Homo Sapiens means (In Latin) “wise”. Modern mankind is descended not from the strongest amongst the Genus Homo – such as the Neanderthal – but the smartest and most technologically inclined. All… Read more »
DH
DH
4 years 6 months ago

Thanks for your words, Jimmy:

“Such unequivocal positions are best left to religious fundamentalists.”

I’m glad to see that there are a few people here that are calmly offering differing and well thought out opinions. I agree with much that you say. Many of the comments on this particular post are way too dogmatic, mean spirited and shallow for my taste. Yes, it reminds me exactly of what you wrote: “religious fundamentalism”. Ugh. I think I will avoid telling my fellow humans of my paleo interests. Don’t want to be identified as a member of the diet police.

Peripatetic
Peripatetic
4 years 6 months ago

Jimmy,

The Paleo argument per Cordain/Wolf/Sisson, etc. is not based on *relative* time. Rather it is based on adaptations over generations (which, again, is not a relative concept). So, it’s not the number of people per se that is important but the number of adaptations. I.e., those 99% you speak of–the billions living post-agricultural revolution–are a large end product from a *relatively* small number who existed over a large number of prior generations. Which is to say, 99+% of adaptions occurred before agriculture. Ergo, you are naturally selected to eat Paleo.

Mr. Peripatetic

Peripatetic
Peripatetic
4 years 6 months ago

In other words, we are not the product of those billions Jimmy speaks of, but instead those billions (including us) are the product of those earlier millions who lived prior to agriculture.

Tyler
Tyler
4 years 6 months ago

Well done mr peripatetic! Well done

Debbie
Debbie
4 years 6 months ago
Joel Salatin is the example of what has to happen: local diversified farms which depend upon pasture feeding of the large livestock, and everything else stems from this. Non-farmers would have their own gardens as much as possible, and you’d buy the rest of your food from your local farmers. This is what the US had until the 1930s. Industrial agrigrain has accomplished a hugely detrimental shift in only a relatively few decades. It’s not that outlandish. It will only happen on a large-scale basis,though, if the infrastructure breaks down and industrial agrigrains are no longer accessible. Become Locavores!
judy M
judy M
4 years 6 months ago

. . . and who else would actually enjoy documentaries of this sort that show how correctly (according to the cosmos) they have chosen to eat?

Below a link to the new film “Fresh” only free before March 3rd!

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/26/fresh-video-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20120226_SNL_Art_1

Sorry not link – just cut and paste

Helen
Helen
4 years 6 months ago

Something that many anti-paleo arguments don’t realize is that, although the world population is growing, it is peaking. As people become wealthier, and children become more expensive to raise into productive adults (education), people chose to have fewer children. The fertility rate in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Spain, and Germany are lower than the replacement rate. Eventually, the world population will decline, and agricultural science and technology (such as drip irigation), will make it more and more feasible to feed the world, better.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 6 months ago

Actually that’s not now population growth works. Even if everyone in the world dropped their fertility rate to 2.1 children per woman (the rate for replacing the population) tomorrow, the population would continue to grow for at least one generation because the children of larger families now would be having 2.1 children. E.g. if in one family a couple in generation 1 has 9 kids, they each have 2 kids, you end up with a three generation population of 29 (2 parents + 9 g1 + 18g2), just within a family.

It’s called population lag effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate#Population-lag_effect

RBart
RBart
4 years 6 months ago

That doesn’t address the issue Helen mentioned which is that population growth is declining in many countries. That is, the fertility rate is less for those countries than the replacement rate… closer to 1 child per family in the countries she sited.

rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 6 months ago

That only makes sense if you aren’t counting existing children as people.

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 6 months ago

maybe the population of more developed countries is peaking…but is that true for poorer, less developed places? expense of raising children isnt the driving force perhaps, in these places: lack of birht control, religious/societal negativity to bc, or maybe some ignorance? not to sound elitist, but for some people, limiting or not having children isnt an idea that some socities “allow”…

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 6 months ago

sorry for the typos..

Oly
Oly
4 years 6 months ago

Children are traditionally an asset for farmers and homesteaders. In our Brave New World, they are an expense to the person on the hamster wheel pulling the 50 hours a week so he can buy a crapton of stuff and afford the ever bigger house to store it in. Thus why birth rates have continued to decline in western nations. The U.S. netted a population gain due to immigration only.
Besides that, the S.A.D has built-in birth control…..fertility assistance biz is a-boomin’.

Alison Golden
4 years 6 months ago

That last sentence? Dead on.

Ashley
4 years 6 months ago

Grain production –> Increased population –> Decreased nutrition –> Increased infertility –> Decreased population

Infertility is one of nature’s ways of controlling population. A very elegant solution, actually.

Taffy
Taffy
4 years 6 months ago

It is true, in developing countries people have lots of reasons to have several kids. Education helps as it does with new farming methods. My son is doing work right now in Africa teaching permaculture techniques that have been very effective in increasing the food production capability for at risk people. For now them meat is an absolute luxury, but there is some hope, based on the hard work of a lot of good people.

Todd
Todd
4 years 6 months ago

Robert Sapolsky’s, “Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers” has an interesting part about birth control and breastfeeding. Typically a mother in a hunter-gatherer style setting breastfeeds pretty continiously instead of just here and there. I forget all the science behind it, but by doing this it is like a natural birth control until the child moves to food around 4-5 years old.

Nature is pretty smart.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 6 months ago

I recommend Lierre Keith’s book, “The Vegetarian Myth” for its description of how the grain/cereal monocultures are destroying our topsoil. Yes, super grains from the Green Revolution stopped horrible famines in their tracks back in the 1960’s, but we can do better for our planet going forward. I look around and see a LOT of waste in grassy lawns… including my own.

joey
joey
4 years 6 months ago

The Vegetarian Myth was life altering for me. I recommend it to everyone.

Taffy
Taffy
4 years 6 months ago

Me too, I credit my son, inspiring member of the next generation….

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago

I can second this recommendation. Excellent book and a must read for everyone really.

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 6 months ago

+3 on Keith’s book.

Melissa
Melissa
4 years 6 months ago

Me too. I wanted to buy it for all my veggie friends, but don’t have the money right now.

andre Chimene
4 years 6 months ago

Lierre Kieth I love. The book I love. Infertiliy is up in industrial countries….wheat is winning.

Oly
Oly
4 years 6 months ago

The other thing people fail to consider are the root causes of those big famines: central planning.

Deannacat
Deannacat
4 years 6 months ago

Amen, Oly. It DOES appear that more people worldwide are finally waking to the fact that central planning not only doesn’t work, it’s disastrous everywhere it’s tried. I still have hope…and a freezer full o’meat. =o)

Tobe
Tobe
4 years 6 months ago

Exactly, “The Vegetarian Myth” states that primal is the only sustainable food. If you can’t pick it or kill it where you live, don’t eat it.

I recommend a search on youtube for “polyface farm” as well. Really interesting about the amounts of free-range animal products they can produce. It feeds more people per acre than corn does, and in full health instead of malnourished.

BT
BT
4 years 6 months ago
I have read Lierre’s book and found it absolutely fascinating..I think she has a lot of very valid points, apart from some that I find difficult to agree with..my gender ( Male) being attacked as a prime cause of the pickle the world is in. However the pieces of wisdom about eating locally, not driving a car, and not breeding seems like good stuff to be getting on with. Growing your own food, building soil, and letting the suburbs descend back to nature also seem like wise ways to reverse the unsustainability of living beyond the earths resources. I especially… Read more »
Dustin
4 years 6 months ago
“If enough people put an extra $2 toward pastured eggs instead of the cheaper blander ones, industry will notice. If we throw in the towel because everything isn’t perfect for everyone in the world right away and right now, nothing will ever change.” I like that statement. It falls in line with the quote attributed to Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I’ve been “quietly” going primal for a few weeks. I’ve been working out according to the Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook going on my third week now. I’ve been doing a PB worthy diet… Read more »
db
db
4 years 6 months ago

I feel lucky. I get a dozen, large pastured eggs with the most beautiful dark golden yolks you can imagine for $1.70!

HD
HD
4 years 6 months ago

You are lucky! I’ve been buying the high omega-3 eggs at the store for SO much money (I’m in Canada where they’re $4.79 a dozen) because the “pastured,” organic eggs I’ve tried at nearby farms are TERRIBLE – anemic-looking, light-yellow yolks, runny whites, and they tasted just awful. So, I keep paying for the yummy eggs until I find a farm that actually has good eggs……. I’m at a loss right now.

W.J. Purifoy
W.J. Purifoy
4 years 6 months ago
Those do not sound like pastured, organic eggs. Not fresh ones anyway. When I lived on the farm and had chickens, their eggs had hard shells, high bright yellow/orange yolks and high firm whites. I find that chickens confined to a penned area have the same poor quality eggs as caged chickens produce. They may be outside, but the only food available to them is what a human provides; no bugs, no wild seed, no fresh raw greens, no sand and gravel, no real exercise. Go visit the farm(s) to see if their birds roam over acres, or if they… Read more »
Debbie
Debbie
4 years 6 months ago

It all depends on what the chicken is fed and what % of it’s food is free-ranged in a decent outdoor environment. A chicken that mostly eats Amway chicken food and free ranges on a grass lawn for a few minutes a day is not going to produce high-quality eggs. GIGO.

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago

I get pastured eggs delivered for about $4 – probably get them cheaper if I went out to the farms, but it’s a convenience when I order other a la carte meat. And frankly, I’m happy to pay even $4 a dozen for that excellent quality! But good for you for getting the great deal.

People might balk at $4 a dozen eggs, but for $25 a month I’m getting a quality food source that’s a foundation of my diet, so I consider it a cheap investment.

Dragonfly
Dragonfly
4 years 6 months ago

Paying $4.50 a dozen for my pastured eggs….but when I have to buy the omega 3 ones at the store my husband can tell the difference immediately.

John
John
4 years 6 months ago

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the going rate seems to be around $8 per dozen for pastured (at shops or farmers markets). There is a CSA that delivers for $6.50, but we haven’t found anything lower. (if anyone can tell me where to get them cheaper, I’d love to hear it).

Erik
Erik
4 years 6 months ago
You can get good healthy chicks that mature in a couple months and lay abundant eggs through mail order services quite inexpensively. Even beautiful heirloom stocks are a minimal initial investment. If you check your local ordinances, you might turn up some surprises… in my town, apparently, up to two chickens on a property are permitted (chicks don’t count). A rotating cast of growing chicks and laying hens can turn out a steady supply of hearty eggs and chicken meat/bones for a fraction of what you’d pay for the final product at the store or market. I haven’t talked to… Read more »
Kyle
Kyle
4 years 6 months ago

Re: Bay area…I just moved here and I have found pastured eggs for $4 in many places. Don’t know where you live but at least the Ferry Plaza farmer’s market has ’em. I got 18 eggs for $5!

Also…I wasn’t aware of anyone discussing the fact that if the world hadn’t gone off Primal in the first place, the population couldn’t have gotten so big. It’s a grain heavy diet that has allowed population to explode, so of course a Primal diet couldn’t sustain the current population. How to get back to that…I don’t know.

DH
DH
4 years 6 months ago

Pastured eggs in my area are $8.00/doz. so I don’t get them very often.

As far as feeling smug or trying to convert others to the primal way of eating, I’m happy to just let people find their own way. I’ve never known anybody who appreciates a smug know-it-all.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 6 months ago

I’ve been paying $4 per dozen for pastured eggs delivered to me, but just today, the farmer jacked up the price to $5 due to rising costs. Honestly, I can never go back to grocery store eggs, even if they are a lot cheaper. So I’m sticking with my farm fresh eggs. At Whole Foods, comparable eggs are $6 a dozen.

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 6 months ago

Our city just turned down a petition to allow chickens to be raised within city limits. Apparently, this comes up every few years and our city council consistently turns it down. Imagine how awesome it would be to have 1 or 2 chickens to provide eggs in your backyard in the city. Of course, they would have to be well protected from the cats, coyotes and raccoons we have roaming at night.

John
John
4 years 6 months ago

Kyle- I’ve seen multiple blogs and articles say that pastured eggs from the Ferry Building farmers market are in the $7-8 per dozen range, and Marin Sun’s price is $7.98 for pre-order to pick up at the farmers market. Are you sure what you got is pastured? Starting 2/1/12, only pastured eggs can be sold at that farmers market, so there shouldn’t be any confusion going forward.

Jen
Jen
4 years 6 months ago

Jealous! I have to travel a ways (100 miles) to get them from family or hope my dad’s coworker has extra (those are still $3.50/dozen)

Torgeir
Torgeir
4 years 6 months ago
The world can easily be fed on a primal diet. If everyone farmed like Joel Salatin we would have a abundance of nutrient dence real food. Joel Salatin – Polyface farm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxTfQpv8xGA Here in Norway the milk and meat gets lower pay when it has a high fat content. Wich is a horrendeus practice. It shows how low the modern dietary paradigm has gotten us. Check out this amazing vid. Livestock farming is the solution to many of our problems. Dont get any misinformed and dogmatic vegan, green-activist fool you to think othervise. They dont know how nature and farming… Read more »
Torgeir
Torgeir
4 years 6 months ago
Maureen
Maureen
4 years 6 months ago

Also check Mercola.com for “Fresh” video showcasing Joel Salatin and others which is free for viewing until March 3, 2012.

RobyRey
RobyRey
4 years 6 months ago

@ Maureen. I just tried to watch Fresh (before seeing this link) but I could only get a couple minutes into it b/c the farm hands were unloading the baby chicks from their travel cratesby tossing them to the ground 🙁 The act just seemed vary callous and dismissive of the chicks value as living beings. Does the documentary get better or does it focus more on ill-treated farm animals?

Dylan
Dylan
4 years 6 months ago

@RobyRey It does get better. I too cringed at that point in the film thinking “oh no, not another disturbing animal abuse doco” (coming from an ex-vegan/now still very compassionate primal)..But it is more about sustainable food sources not the animals in particular. Definitely worth watching 🙂

Janus
4 years 6 months ago
Joel Salatin addresses the very question Mark asks above. I think Salatin’s viewpoint is also worth having — not as gospel, obviously, but as a perspective: “ONE: YOUR SYSTEM CAN’T FEED THE WORLD This is the number one assumption from the greater culture out there: your system can’t feed the world. If our system can’t feed the world, then we’re all just living in a pipe dream. How can we take a moral road advocating a system that can’t feed the world? People tell me that because I advocate a non-toxic agricultural system, I must want people to starve. One… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 6 months ago
Kinda sorta my thought too–if we’re thinking global here, let’s take into account that an American version of Primal/Paleo isn’t going to work in places where they don’t eat beef, or pork, and may not have access to coconuts, avocados, brussels sprouts, yams, etc. It CAN be carried out with modifications, since most of the rest of the world raises its livestock (whatever that may be) on pastureland without the use of medicated feeds, or drugs of any kind. You just have to go country by country, find out what’s available, what native foods offer the most nutritious bang for… Read more »
Lauren
4 years 6 months ago

You are presuming that every economy is cash-based, which is incorrect. Yes, diets and movement will be different in different regions; welcome to ancestral health. Please refer to Weston Price for further details.

Harry Mossman
4 years 6 months ago
Thanks, Mark, for addressing a very important topic. Some people on primal/paleo/etc. seem to feel that since they have found out how to survive, “bring back survival of the fittest!” Honestly, I see no way that the world can sustain 7 billion, or even 1 billion, people. But we shouldn’t stop trying to find solutions. IMHO, it isn’t important for the whole world to go primal, even if that was possible. The important thing is to live as ancestrally as possible. Primal is wonderful for many people. Personally, I do something closer to Archevore, which is more doable for people… Read more »
Kelekona
Kelekona
4 years 6 months ago
For the world to shift to any more primitive diet, it’s going to have to go slowly. We could convert grain-land to other crops. Bringing any cleared forest back to deer habitat might help as well. But how much of the population could be sustained without grain even if other sources were bolstered? Or even if an organic localvore model was used? Would we have to adopt a model where each child has more than its parents committed to its rearing? There might even have to be simple density shifts… People migrating back out of the cities to the farm.… Read more »
Lauren
4 years 6 months ago

These things are related: loss of community for food production = loss of community for child-rearing. Separation of food from life (how did THAT happen!?) = outsourcing food production = separation of rural and urban and intensification of both. This is where primal gets radical, in my opinion.

Paul Alexander
4 years 6 months ago

We can do anything we set or minds and emotions to. Right now we chase the economy and other gibberish. Our well being is second. It will be first and then the perception and dogmas that surround us will fade. We will eat, drink, do what is beneficial, not artificial.

Guy
Guy
4 years 6 months ago

Mark, you are right on the “money”! If we vote with our money, then the foods we prefer will become more available and cost less. Just look at organics – 20 years ago you didn’t see organic produce in main stream markets and stores. Today, even Winn Dixie in the southeast US carries organic products.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

+1

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago

This is so true. If no one bought Cheerios anymore then they simply would not exist.

We are always improving.

Think about car phones… may folks now have them but do they exist anymore? Not that I know of because of cell phones.

Many think Cheerios are a health food (I once did) but if everyone knew that eggs are healthier then no one would buy Cheerios and everyone would buy eggs.

The supply of eggs would certainly decrease and Cheerios would become non existent.

Linda
Linda
4 years 6 months ago

Unless you are allergic to eggs probably due to all the vaccines you were pumped with as a child…

Pip
Pip
4 years 6 months ago

Or flu shots, or the antibiotics and animal enhancers given to animals, or chemical spray or genetically engineered produce, or artificially/chemically altered procedures for processing foods. Peoples’ demand for everything perfect and convenient is the driving force and some of the many reasons for society’s unhealthy state.

Deannacat
Deannacat
4 years 6 months ago

Free market economics would take care of that decrease practically overnight. Where there is demand, the market will provide.

shane
shane
4 years 4 months ago

Thats not true as long as the government has an agenda on pushing their SAD. There are too many pockets being padded for the government to let Big Grain go under.

LizS
LizS
4 years 6 months ago
+1 also! Our local grocery store, called Wegmans, is one of, if not the biggest in upstate NY. One of the things that I think has made the chain so successful is that they focus on what the consumers want. They have a constantly expanding organic/natural section of the store that includes food, spices, diapers, soap, vitamins, frozen goods, even toilet paper. If you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, you’ve still got some good options there. Additionally, during the spring through the fall, they use local farmers for much of their produce. There’s a board in front of… Read more »
Janus
4 years 6 months ago
Wegmans isn’t a local grocery store but a supermarket chain, now expanding over the East Coast, USA. That said, I agree with you that for organic foods, locally sourced produce and meats, and more, Wegmans does an exceptionally good job. They likewise sell tons of the usual SAD cr*p as that’s also what many of their customers want. Still, Wegmans goes a long way to enabling a Paleo or low-carb/no-carb lifestyle. On the one hand, I’d like to see more supermarket chains truly on board; on the other hand, what I’ve seen so far from others suggest they’re not that… Read more »
Kristyan
4 years 6 months ago
I’ve been fully Primal for about 2 months now and seen brilliant changes in myself and my family. I think the awakening and mentality that comes with learning enough to make these changes will change the world one person (or family) at a time. It goes beyond just eating healthy. Mark, you are championing something incredible. I’m the type of person who, once convinced (logically and scientifically), will be a champion for the cause as well. In just a few months I have seen it change many lives for the better- and not just in small amounts! I can’t not… Read more »
tess
tess
4 years 6 months ago

Mark, i like very much how you expressed this; you’re a voice of calm reason in a blogosphere that can become pretty frenzied at times! thanks!

Dustin
Dustin
4 years 6 months ago

Well, since over population of the most crowded countries has only been possible because of grains, it is unlikely that this is possible. Historically, don’t you think tribe/group population size was regulated by food availability? And weren’t they eating purely paleodiets? Yes.

Chris Pine
4 years 6 months ago

This is pretty much my reaction as well.

Not everyone will go primal overnight, and as they do, supply will increase to meet demand.

And probably there will NEVER be a time when everyone eats a particular way. That would be boring anyway. Diversity is one of the things that makes humans exciting.

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago

Even if everyone ate primal, all diets would still be diverse. Not everyone thrives on the same macronutrient ratios as well as micronutrient ratios.

We are all still different. Some eat more fruit then others. Some avoid fruit. We all prefer different meats. Different spice rubs. Different herbs. Etc, etc.

I would love a world without any grains whatsoever.

Steffy
Steffy
4 years 6 months ago
It would be amazing to see the world go Primal! It really is amazing how much the grain farmers deplete the soils of nutrients because they don’t rotate the crops. Not to mention all the herb and pesticides they spray. My husband and I have been primal since the end of September, we couldn’t be happier, and are looking forward to planting our own garden this summer! We went home this weekend for a visit with family, and it’s really amazing how stuck everyone is on the CW crap. My sister had some nerve telling me that “she’s kept 40lbs… Read more »
Matt Z
Matt Z
4 years 6 months ago

Primal diets or not, there are a lot of uncertainties about the sustainability of of our current agricultural systems. Local community and backyard gardens might be the best, most sustainable approaches to agriculture regardless.

gilliebean
4 years 6 months ago

Looking forward to Part 2. I talk often about the need to eschew convenience for health. It’s not convenient to acquire raw milk in NYC. It’s not cheap to get grass-fed beef or compassionate raised pork. But it’s worth it to my body and it’s worth it to the future of the system. Put the effort in!

onewomanband
4 years 6 months ago

The question is whether it can be done while maintaining high standards of quality. In the past 10 years the market for organic foods has grown exponentially thanks to consumer demand. Now, more of our organics are provided by Big Food, which has cut corners and successfully lobbied for loopholes in the standards to stay competitive. You have to be careful what you wish for, because you can end up with Horizon milk.

Donna
Donna
4 years 6 months ago

As an organic farmer, I couldn’t agree more! Go to the Cornucopia Institute’s website to see what Monsanto has gotten pushed through the courts!

Ingvildr
Ingvildr
4 years 6 months ago

Keeping farming sustainable by using permaculture techniques that feed the soil, which in turn feeds the animals and the people I think is the key. It is standing back and looking at the whole picture. I think some of the less traditional sources of meat would be helpful in keeping balance. Things like geese(which eat greens and insects) and goat which eat brush and prefer not to eat grass(it perpetuates disease in goats).

Chris
4 years 6 months ago
I think the world can sustain it. I have been studying rotational intensive grazing a LOT lately and if everyone with a parcel of land practiced it, so much food (including meats) can be grown. We are looking at purchasing about 5 acres outside Albuquerque here in the next couple weeks and by my estimates, can raise up to 12 different species of animals including cows, sheep, goats, pigs, fowl, and poultry. At the same time, we can support all those animals and their offspring as well as a 1-acre veggie/fruit garden. There’s not much we would have to buy.… Read more »
DYlan
4 years 6 months ago

Hey mate, great to see your interest int growing an grazing, just to sound a note of reality, It will take you 3-5 years to get into a good flow with that kind of project. We’ve done the same and it’s a huge amount of work, satisfying, but loads of work! GOod luck with it.

Chris
4 years 6 months ago

Absolutely! In fact, we are looking forward to see how we start as compared to how we end up in 10 years.

We are having a staggered approach though. Starting out with the smallest animals (mostly goats and chickens; we already have chickens where we live now) and adding in animals as the land allows.

Our aim is to provide ourselves primal ingredients (or most of them) and follow the “slow money” way of farming and grazing.

Heather
Heather
4 years 6 months ago
Hi your vision sounds great. It is a lot of work but satisfying to produce your own food. As you expand, research each animals needs well, as they maybe all ruminants (except the pigs and poultry of course), but they are all different and have different needs and cycles. In my experience, the more “classes” of animals on one place the more difficult it is to be across each class of health needs. Also fencing for say steers or a house cow is more expensive than for sheep: and you won’t make many friends if your goats keep escaping! Maybe… Read more »
Edmund
4 years 6 months ago
We are starting into our third year of raising most of our own food, and I too would caution against over doing the number of animal classes at the start – though it sounds like you plan to go slow. A very good goal for the first year would be to plan, plant, and build out a bomber garden. Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon is our bible of the garden (though he has now changed a few things about his fertilizer recommendations since printing and is currently writing a new book). Re: rotational grazing – it is a… Read more »
Torgeir
Torgeir
4 years 6 months ago

Nice, we need more people like you:)

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago
Good for you! I used to homestead when I was younger and had considered taking it up again when I retired. Eventually, I felt too tired to consider working that hard. NOW I am feeling up for it again. When my husband retires we may go in together with my primal buddy and set up a small multi family homestead. Since we are not youngsters, I’d like to see if we could also find a local young family to join us – who would like to eventually take the entire homestead over. I’m not counting on any of our kids… Read more »
Mike
Mike
4 years 6 months ago

I found this post one of the most entertaining in a while. I used to think that it was impossible for the entire human population to eat primal, but when reading this post I second guessed myself. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t, but I will tell you one thing. In our life time we will probably never find out.

Diane
Diane
4 years 6 months ago

I think it will become necessary one day for everyone to attempt to go primal. It has been interesting to observe over the years how infertility and hormonal issues have become so commonplace. When most of the population finds it nearly impossible to conceive, people will have to change or else die out. It’ll work out either way because it’ll be too late to change for some.

rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 6 months ago

This reminds me of something I’ve thought/heard about as a new stay-at-home mom. If you don’t take care of you, you sure as hell can’t take care of anybody else. Doing the right things for your body/family give you the strength and wellness to help someone else. Poisoning yourself isn’t going to help anybody else not starve, but maybe if you don’t have to spend so much money on doctor visits and prescription meds you can afford to help your local food pantry.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 6 months ago

I’m really glad to see you exploring this topic, as almost no other Paleo author or blogger seems to have discussed this in any detail, and it’s something we can’t just ignore. We get to eat this way, as comparatively well-off Westerners, because we have the privilege of choosing a healthier diet. Many people do not, but while we can’t foster a worldwide, overnight food revolution, as you’ve pointed out, those small things every one of us can do — such as buying local, organic, and free-range — add up to a large difference.

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago
I think Mark’s asking the wrong question. As someone noted above, there will never be dietary homogeneity, so perhaps the better question would be whether we can feed the world if we transition away from CAFOs and the industrial farming system back to managed intensive grazing, traditional farms, local distribution networks, CSAs, etc. That might mean that some folks grow wheat or corn or soy, but we’d be talking about non-GMO crops grown for human consumption, not for animal feed or HFCS, etc. Totally agree with the abolition of Fed subsidies, BTW, for cheap junk food. I would be ecstatic… Read more »
bluewaters
bluewaters
4 years 6 months ago

And Joel Salatin’s book ‘Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.’ goes into detailed explanation as to why grazing livestock is actually beneficial to our soil/environment. I haven’t found a better source to counter the meat-eating-isn’t-sustainable stance.

Debbie
Debbie
4 years 6 months ago
Joel Salatin is my hero. I am homesteading on 1.5 small city plot. Cows, even micromini breeds, are out. I have chickens, will have bees, could have rabbits, have nuts, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and every kind of heirloom vegie. I winter store some, can lots, freeze some. I have less access to varied outside areas now than I did at my old house, so am concerned about what my chickens are getting to eat. Lawns are just not good for chickens. I buy raw milk, and pastured pork and chicken. I’m not a big beef eater. I think whole grains… Read more »
Laura Wittke
4 years 6 months ago

This is a great question and I’m so glad you put it out there. I hope you will mention the billions of wild animals, birds and fish that have died from loss of habitat when forests and wetland have been converted to monoculture of soy, wheat and corn. Lierre Keith, the animal rights activist, has an excellent expose called “the Vegetarian Myth” that shows that Paleo is much less destructive to the environment and to us.

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago
Yeah, I’m not advocating monoculture by any stretch, but if some people wanted to raise grains for a different dietary lifestyle, I’d be OK with that. Just prefer it not to be used as livestock feed or cheap filler in foods as a commodity, rather than a direct whole food. There was an interesting piece in the NY Times about how Tibetans, though vegetarian, will eat yak dumplings on special occasions. Apparently, they’re so good that even Buddhists will overcome their aversion to meat. And as one person put it, it’s better to take the life of one yak than… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 6 months ago

clap…clap…clap…Hooray! Thumbs up from me!!

Shane
Shane
4 years 6 months ago

Good article, however as long as poeple are too lazy to cook and they want instant gratification by opening a box and eating … in spite of the health benefits with primal .. well I believe that primal living would not likely become a worldwide phenomenon.

Carol
Carol
4 years 6 months ago
Four years ago, we ripped out our lawn because we were tired of being grass farmers. Since then, we have built raised beds for veggies and herbs, planted fruit trees, given the sunny side of the house over to squash plants, planted grapes, and so much more. Our motto is that we only plant things that someone can eat, whether that’s us, bees, butterflies or birds. Our small yard has become its own little ecosystem and you can’t believe how much food you can grow in a just a little space. Plus, the monoculture of grass is a wasteland for… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

Good for you! Some communities have ordinances against doing that – isn’t that nuts? My suburban home is on a wedge/pie shaped lot so I don’t mind devoting the tiny front yard for the birds, bees, and butterflies – plus a small amount of grass. We use the grass and leaves for mulch/compost and cut the grass with a reel mower. The kitchen garden is in the large backyard – but fenced off so the dogs have their own space and leave the garden alone.

Jason
Jason
4 years 6 months ago

There’s no way we have enough farmland to feed the world on this diet. Just can’t happen until population falls significantly.

Todd
Todd
4 years 6 months ago

@Jason

There is enough farmland if we use it the right way. Look at Joel Salatin and what he is doing with rotation grazing and multi species. He claims that 70% of all corn grown goes to feed cows, the cows should be eating grass, along with chickens, turkeys and egg layers. As an added bonus it is more profitable for the farmers.

Michael
Michael
4 years 6 months ago

Though I live primarily on food I grow or buy from small local farmers that does not change the fact Jason is correct. There is much info on the web that the Polyface model is subsidized by corn Salatin buys from monoculture farms. When you factor that into his model it is not more efficient. This was a shock to me when I found out. Open your eyes everyone and realize the small local farm model does not feed the world. I don’t know the answer but just try to be the healthiest I can be and not preach anything.

Kate
Kate
4 years 6 months ago

Considering that the great plains of North America once supported a population of 60 million buffalo, I’d say it’s not that far of a stretch…

Grant
Grant
4 years 6 months ago
Even if it’s not for the whole world, it can be for your whole world. Buying (or raising) and eating this way helps those who grow and sell this kind of food; makes you and family healthier. Friends get in on it when they see the results. This kind of growth is natural, really the only way. What’s the alternative? Eating wrong, being less healthy, being more of a burden on the system for it? I second the other writer’s endorsement of The Vegetarian Myth. The author is a little loose with language, but the message is clear: Clearing and… Read more »
MadMav
MadMav
4 years 6 months ago

The most important freedom I have is the freedom to choose what I want to do with myself. I choose to be primal. As for the rest of the world…they are on their own.

David
David
4 years 6 months ago
Voting with your $$ is the only way to get anything done these days… bank of america, and netflix as examples. Convincing people to change the way they eat and live is like converting people to another religion. Everyone believes that their way or the main stream is the right way. This not just about changing the food people eat, it’s about changing the way they live. If people started getting healthier it would effect the whole health industry from supplements to how busy doctors would be. If people started walking, riding bikes and getting around differently it would effect… Read more »
ET
ET
4 years 6 months ago

Is it possible?

yes it is……..do people need to be educated/….YEAH they do!!

Watch the Movie “FRESH”……..and we can all do it…..

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/26/fresh-video-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20120226_SNL_Art_1

Believe me it works…..
ET

Debbie
Debbie
4 years 6 months ago
I recently took a job with a facility that has a very bad pharmacy benefit. I am now paying twice as much as I used to pay for my meds. And more than twice as much on meds that have no generic equivalent. What an instantaneous motivator. I am a diabetic using only a quarter of the Lantus insulin I took before, and, having increased my fish oil intake to 4 grams high-quality fo per day, am off almost all of my meds. I follow the Zone diet, which is essentially Paleo, with a few exceptions. HUGE difference. Every aspect… Read more »
einstein
einstein
4 years 6 months ago
I’ve gone primal 2 months ago and frankly I don’t care about the others 🙂 I still can’t believe my luck having stumbled upon Mark’s page and articles. I am 45, lost 11 kgs in those two months and am feeling like I felt when I was perhaps 30 years old. I never thought I ever had a chance to loose weight -gave away all my smaller size jeans too! Dam, they would come handy now. Thanks Mark for all the work and enlightment you and your team are bringing us. Good bless you. You really made a difference, and… Read more »
ET
ET
4 years 6 months ago

Just an added note………it takes a moment or two to load at Dr. Mercolas site…it is busy cause the screening is free for a few days so please be patient……..it is worth it…

ET

Heather
Heather
4 years 6 months ago

We have over 500 Paleo/Primal members on our Support group over at My Fitness Pal! And it grows every week. We are doing everything we can to get the word out. And my success in regaining health and hitting a weight I haven’t seen since before puberty has helped convert some folks over there. It makes me feel good when they thank me for my advice (I try not to be pushy). If only my friends and family would listen…

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

There’s an old saying about a prophet having no honor in his own nation. Strangers are sometimes more likely to respect what we have to say than our friends and family.

primalpal
primalpal
4 years 6 months ago
I’m glad to hear the “voting with your dollars” mentality becoming more popular with people…not only with their food choices, but also with other purchases they make in their lives. Many people have had to cut back in recent years because of the economy, and understand better that some things really are just excess and often times these excesses actually end up making you broke, depressed, and ultimately feeling powerless. If you vote with your dollars for a particular item (at least in a free market), demand goes up for that item, and production will meet the demand because there… Read more »
Christopher
Christopher
4 years 6 months ago
There is one contributing factor that I want to see happen so people have to get back to the land. Our dependence on fossil fuels for our food system is very high. When fossil fuel prices increase so will food costs across the board. (We are already seeing this increase) We currently use a high amount of fossil fuels to produce even our vegetables, and this transition will be a tough one as many people have no knowledge and access to space to grow their own vegetables. This is part of the reason I have put in a community garden… Read more »
Thomas
Thomas
4 years 6 months ago

Well, the question is whether it would be sustainable if the whole world’s population ate primally (meat and veggies). Considering the huge environmental impact meat production has, regardless if it is organically or “industrially” produced, it is highly unlikely that the global climate would cope with such massive production.

Mark dodges the actual question IMHO, is it sustainable eating primal? Does our meat+veggie shopping result in higher meat production leading to negative climate effects and/or other negative impact on the globe?

Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago

There is a lot of misinformation on the green side about the footprint of eating meat. Yes, its big if you feed grain in a CAFO operation, No its not if you graze animals on marginal land that will never grow veggies or field crops. Although I still think that 7 billion is not a sustainable number no matter what.

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago
This. It angers me when people regurgitate the tired rhetoric of the environmental impact of raising meat. I seriously doubt Thomas has ever stepped foot on a farm, or taken the time to talk to farmers about how they raise their livestock. If I have 100 cows grazing 500 acres of grassland (normally too rocky or hilly to use for other agricultural purposes), and I’m not tilling that grassland but rather moving the cows around via managed intensive grazing from one paddock to another, how is that destructive? The land is used productively, and unlike crop agriculture, where repeating tilling… Read more »
Torgeir
Torgeir
4 years 6 months ago

Amen brother!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

Bingo! The environmental impact of beef is related to the feed lot, grain finishing process – not pastured, grass fed beef. Raising the grain/feed and those methane concentrating factory feed lots are what damage the environment.

Pastured livestock make a LOT of sense. And, as Mark points out, we don’t just consume muscle meats but can make use of the entire animal.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
4 years 6 months ago
Maybe a better question would be “Should the whole world go primal” even if it were possible to feed the world in a Primal lifestyle. Diversity, free-thinking, trial and error, questioning, religious beliefs, etc. are just a few traits that have lead to better (and, yes, in some cases worse) lives for our earthly population. If we were all complacent about being stuck in the same rut – Primal or otherwise – new ideas would not have the stress they need to flourish. It’s was the need for something “better” for ourselves that lead to developing the Paleo/Primal lifestyle in… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

Amen! Sing it sista! LOL

DH
DH
4 years 6 months ago

Good thinking.

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 6 months ago

The nay-sayers and their Malthusian argument have been around since primal man. ALL RESOURCES ARE SCARCE! Unshackle REAL capitalism, i.e. have competition in money and let real prices and competition work.

GaryM
GaryM
4 years 6 months ago

Yes. A world with more economic freedom will be a world with more individuals having the opportunity to go Primal; and if more choose to do so, the supply will rise to meet the demand.

CFurg
CFurg
4 years 6 months ago

“Authorities the world over would need to revise their health recommendations, thus admitting that they were wrong on a whole lot of important stuff.”

This would be the biggest deterrent…

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

No kidding!

Mary Jo
Mary Jo
4 years 6 months ago

Let us not forget all the money that won’t be pumped into health care and the big pharmacy as a result of us all being healthier.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
4 years 6 months ago

+1

Kat
Kat
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, too bad so sad for big pharma.

Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago

Yes, we will need to re-employ quite a few marketing execs, packaging, engineers, production workers, truckers, radiologists and helpers – the whole industry, and also other industries. I think the “Empty Shelves Initiative” will be very effective at re-focusing people on the new job opportunities – such as neighbourhood farmer or “security” thug.

Jose M Falconi
4 years 6 months ago

I just clipped this from a Wikipedia article on WWII Victory Gardens:
“The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.” We have ample precedent in this country for pulling together under threats to our wartime security (though not recently). I wonder if we have the national will to pull ourselves out of the Big Food-Big Pharmadeath trap that most of our citizens are stuck in.

Teresa
Teresa
4 years 6 months ago

My local extension is teaching Victory Garden classes here in Idaho. I think there is a growing demand.

Ghost
4 years 6 months ago

I would ADORE that! I wonder if there’s anything like that here in the SF Bay!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

I am SO glad to see someone mention WWII Victory Gardens! You are totally right about the precedent.

When I visited NZ in the ’70’s, many urban front yards there had kitchen gardens instead of grass. The people there often mentioned American Victory Gardens and wondered why we had stopped growing them. Well, my family never has.

Janis
4 years 6 months ago

Hi there
I read so much about environmental degradation and climate change and what our children are going to face in 20 years time…. surely a more protein/meat based diet is NOT good for our planet???? We all know that methane and carbon are killing us?
Is vegetarianism the way to go or NOT?
Diets are SO confusing at the mo as everyone is publishing their own book BUT what about the ENVIRONMENT???

Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago
We are not a herbivore. An omnivore that seems to require at least some animal food sources to stay fit and healthy. This decision was made long ago, same as the choices other animals took to become what they are. We stepped off Natures path and have massively grown our population on fossil energy. We may not have a plan to back down off that limb we’ve gone out on. You can choose to eat in a way that does not match your body, but understand what the odds are that you, by chance, have some good adaptations towards our… Read more »
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago

Surely you are being hysterical without empircal data??? Please see my post above??? It deals with farm models that are not environmentally destructive??? And please, by all means, BREATHE???

Les
Les
4 years 6 months ago

Good to see that you are interested enough to read about primal living. Keep on reading about the way we should live as we developed from our cave roots and you will see how practical and healthy it is. Yes, we have a long way to go in educating others, but that is our quest.

Lyn
4 years 6 months ago
Here’s the problem. I go to the Farmer’s Market, have for years. They even have a little store where you can buy pastured meat, eggs, and milk etc in the winter. So I go once a week for my stuff. I get excited. I tell some friends. They go, they tell some friends. And so forth. Next time I go to the Farmer’s Market or store, guess what? They are OUT of grass fed beef, OUT of free range eggs, OUT of organic kale. I can’t get anything for myself. All the people who I ‘spread the word’ to have… Read more »
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
4 years 6 months ago

I can recommend my friends to dozens of farms in the area that I have personally visited and bought from. I have NEVER experienced shortages from these farms based on excess consumer demand; the only times of shortage are due to the seasonal nature of animal husbandry, e.g., lambs are harvested primarily in spring, turkeys in fall, etc. People who are informed about this will stock up seasonally.

Perhaps the solution would be to shop beyond just one single farmer’s market, and to build connections to several farmers.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 6 months ago

Yes, that’s good advice and the route that I am taking as well. You have to often buy a beef in advance, for example, but then you are assured of meat for the freezer at some point. Once you are into that cycle you just stay with it.

Damien Gray
Damien Gray
4 years 6 months ago
I think it is possible for the entire world to go primal. But also agree it would take a massive change in how we grow and harvest food. Take a simple example. If the buffalo were still roaming the plains at their original numbers, and we harvested 10% of them per year for food (a sustainable number), we would have enough meat for almost everyone in the United States. This totally ignores all other meat sources. Mountain goats thrive on territory that cannot be farmed and is difficult to urbanize. If we work with the natural environment, I think we… Read more »
Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago

I agree completely with the “how” that you outlined. I disagree with your assessment that 7 billion can do this. The land area of the globe, divided by 7 billion is roughly 6 acres per person. Remove tundra, desert, boreal forest, etc and you get about 2 acres per person. (BTW that leaves nothing for other species). How can an average of 2 acres arable land possibly support a 150 lb predator? It can barely do that for a herbivore. The only way we do it now is fossil fuel.

d'Artagnan
d'Artagnan
4 years 6 months ago

How many ribs must a man BBQ before you can call him a man ?

the answer my friend is blowing in the wind , the answer is blowing in the wind.

Isn’t a pre agriculture diet by definition sustainable.

But the question is flawed , people don’t make omelettes for the world or bbq steaks for the world , they feed themselves and their families , when their friends come over they feed them too.

Can individuals make better choices for themselves and the planet? I think so.

Robbie
Robbie
4 years 6 months ago

I think evolution will solve this. Those who continue to eat the SAD and global equivalents will eventually die out from disease, and those that are left will be those who eat healthfully.

Jan
4 years 6 months ago

I wonder if that is evolution or government hidden agenda? They don’t want to pay out too many old-age pensions after all…. or perhaps I am just too cynical in my old age?

Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago

Actually, eventually some may successfully adapt to grains, but I think this would be a much slower process than our rate of consuming finite resources.

Mark
Mark
4 years 6 months ago
Hey there Mark, Just got your book Primal Blueprint and been reading it for a couple days. Even though I started cutting grains from my diet the moment I heard about you via Tom Woods on the Peter Schiff Show. Like you, I don’t find the question to be a significant one. Because at the moment we are in the Green Revolution and we are essentially eating fossil fuels (since nitrogen fetilizers are used on big agra farms). The question should be whether or not the current population of the world is sustainable. In which case, it has nothing to… Read more »
Kevin
4 years 6 months ago

The one thing I never understood is why everyone is so focused on cattle. What about all the other food walking, slithering, & flying around us. You know, the deer, squirrels, rabbit, reptiles, insects, birds etc, etc. I see a LOT of that “food” being untouched everyday. 🙂

Bruce Berry
Bruce Berry
4 years 6 months ago

The most frequently eaten red meat worldwide is goat (not cow). The most frequently consumed milk is goat.

HeatherS
HeatherS
4 years 6 months ago

Love this article! Can’t wait for more! Thank you Mark!

Oly
Oly
4 years 6 months ago

The best thing we can do for the world is to stop promulgating dangerously false nutritional information. The rest of the world can take care of itself.

Chris Bracey
Chris Bracey
4 years 6 months ago
I am a 42 year old diabetic who now better understands my disease and is finally getting it under control through diet rather than the slow steady progression of more drugs and finally insulin injections. I have to say I am glad I have the income and the knowledge to change my diet and change my life. When I tell people about primal living often their response is, “ I’m willing to give up a few years if that means I don’t have to give up bread. I LOVE BREAD” They are making a choice and are so brainwashed by… Read more »
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