Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 Feb

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

earthEvery 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!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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???

    Janis wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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 species becoming a herbivore.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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???

      Finnegans Wake wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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.

      Les wrote on February 29th, 2012
  2. 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 gone and bought up the limited supply of food.

    Until more people get into this kind of farming and production, there just isn’t enough to go around. So I stopped telling people. Selfish, maybe, but my family has got to come first.

    Lyn wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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.

      Finnegans Wake wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • 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.

        rarebird wrote on February 29th, 2012
  3. 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 can easily feed the world on a primal diet.

    Damien Gray wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
  4. 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.

    d'Artagnan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  5. 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.

    Robbie wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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?

      Jan wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 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.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
  6. 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 do with being Primal. If anything, being Primal is the proactive way to live.

    Mark wrote on February 29th, 2012
  7. 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. :)

    Kevin wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • The most frequently eaten red meat worldwide is goat (not cow). The most frequently consumed milk is goat.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
  8. Love this article! Can’t wait for more! Thank you Mark!

    HeatherS wrote on February 29th, 2012
  9. 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.

    Oly wrote on February 29th, 2012
  10. 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 the current system that expecting them to suddenly change is not likely, even when given the facts. Sugar and grains are addictive and addicts rarely change their behavior until they hit rock bottom. Our medical system props them up by giving them false information and treating the symptoms with higher doses of more expensive drugs. The question of whether or not the population can be sustained at present levels with a primal diet is likely NO. As Mark has pointed out, the real question that should be asked is whether it will ever demand to be.

    Chris Bracey wrote on February 29th, 2012
  11. The question is silly. The root cause of unsustainability is the fact that we have 7 billion people, not that we have an “unsustainable diet”.

    I’m fully in line with Paul Shepard, a primal diet is just the start, to be fully human, we need to be hunters (not luddite hunters, technological hunters, but hunters all the same).

    “White European/Americans cannot become Hopis or Kalahari Bushmen or Magdalenian bison hunters, but elements in those cultures can be recovered or re-created because they fit the heritage and predeliction of the human genome everywhere…”

    From Coming Home To The Pleistocene, Paul Shepard

    ZenBowman wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • I am currently shopping for a compound bow to join the shotguns and rifles I already own. Hunting is definitely the next level for me.

      Chris Bracey wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • Me, too. I’m a 55 yo woman and I intend to hunt deer this fall….. Learning over the summer. And there are a trillion rabbits in my neck of the woods to capture. It’s NOT all about beef.

        Debbie wrote on March 1st, 2012
  12. The unsustainable rise of global population has been enabled by easy energy – first coal, then petro. Farming grains has been around for much longer, and didn’t result in 7 billion of us. But it no doubt propelled us from a marginal niche to significant numbers (like 500 million). Farming on the current vast scale is simply not doable without the almost free energy we have enjoyed for the last three or more generations. It will sort itself out.

    Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
  13. I actually had a discussion with an individual who *strongly* suggested that the oceans are too overfished the way it is, so we need to continue eating farm-raised fish. I was able to find some sources citing the antibiotic, pesticide, and poor feed quality leading to poorer nutrient-dense fish, but I was unable to refute any of his EPA sources regarding overfishing. Is this something we should take into consideration?

    Jay Ogg wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Its not controversial, its a fact to say that we have depleted the stock of large fish and are working our way through the next ones in line. As a species, we are prepared to eat algae if necessary. In Haiti after the earthquake, people ate mud to keep the stomach from being empty. How’s that for eating low on the food chain.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
  14. The first thing this made me think of is the Norway Butter Shortage taht happened around Christmas!

    Tamara wrote on February 29th, 2012
  15. It might be important to also consider that much of Americas farmland is not currently in production and the number of farmers has been greatly reduced in the last 30 years. Even with lower yields it could be possible to feed most people a much improved diet, but it would also require a shift to nutrient dense foods from the high sugar grain based diet that is currently the norm. People simply aren’t willing to make that change as most of the population was raised on this diet and cannot imagine living another way. We should simply be glad that there IS a paleo movement because otherwise in another 20 years we might not have these choices at all. A day may be coming where all non-GMO seeds are more illegal than pot is today and plants and seeds are smuggled and sold in back alleys like narcotics. Oh the irony.

    Chris Bracey wrote on February 29th, 2012
  16. I have been eating this way for years since I read Steffanson’s book Fat of the Land– and recently have moved into a more organic/natural diet. I have to say I eat a lot less (calories) than the average person but Primal eating is so much more nutritious, filling, and healthier that the money saved by not buying junk evens it all out. The world would have to wean itself off so much garbage that it would be impossible for everyone to go primal– but maybe in the next lifetime (eternity in Heaven) we will get back to what God intended for us all along!

    Pastor Dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
  17. Well as long as you don’t mind getting rid of forests, national parks, and any other wild spaces to make room for grasslands to satiate all those grass-fed domesticated animals, everything should be just fine. Who cares about the rest of the species and ecosystems on earth, the most important thing is that I get my hamburger!

    T.H.L. wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • I think you are incorrect that natural habitat needs to be destroyed. Bison roamed the plains prior to the settling of the U.S. western states. They were grass feed, and there is more forested land in North America now than there was at that time. I’m not sure why you would immediately make the leap to destroying the rainforest from a question about sustainability.

      Chris Bracey wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Wild hogs prefer swamps and forests. We could pasture domestic pigs in similar environments.

      Deer also like wooded areas, and make a mean chili. The populations need management, and sometimes they even need to be culled from parkland. I’m not sure about the viability of properly domesticating them, though.

      And then there is a matter of not needing that much beef. I’m sure the McDonald’s already knows how to make critter-burgers just as addictive as their current menu, they just haven’t put the effort into marketing it.

      Kelekona wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  18. I think it can be done. It will take a shift and producers will take notice and have to change. I found a CSA in my area and my $400 a month on groceries now goes to them, two of my co-workers followed me on this path, two of each of thier friends. Next year this CSA may need to grow more or add more and new farmers. Over time major groceries will take notice and change to get us back spending money with them.

    I have been eating this way for almost a year. I plan on eating this way for life.

    Support your local farmers! lakesuperiorcsa.com

    Dawn wrote on February 29th, 2012
  19. A great discussion. It’s all about supply and demand, isn’t it? And a little bit of a vicious cycle? People eat subsidized processed foods because they’re cheap, plentiful, and non-perishable. Organic food (in many areas) is expensive. Even as a fairly poor person myself, I still do my absolute best to support responsible food sources, and see it as helping to create a shift in the supply-demand chain. On a drive x-country last year, I was forced to scavenge in the oddest of places, and you know what? The change is happening. Wal-mart carries local organic produce, grass-fed meat, and ground bison (in some parts of the USA). Many of us probably spend our time boycotting Wal-mart (normally, I do) but think about it- being a responsible Wal-mart consumer could drive major change as well as supporting your local farmers. Frequent use of Yelp on my travels landed me some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten- local, fresh, delicious PRIMAL food. So many opportunities to “vote with my dollar.” Thanks, Mark, for this great post!

    K.Genevieve wrote on February 29th, 2012
  20. The world survived long before the farmer started killing us with wheat and the food companies piled on with chemicals and the fast food makers added the last nail in our coffins…. They will just keep killing us as long as we let them. I see a long long long wait until the world goes primal. Like maybe NEVER. Good…more grass fed meat for me!

    Dusty wrote on February 29th, 2012
  21. Well, as always your message is very thoughtful and logical.

    I’m a stubborn older lady that just would not change ( I have all your books, cookbooks, etc.)everything, just a few things here or there that I liked.

    But I reached the point of really wanting to lose weight, get my body back and eat in a way that really said something to me.

    You have been the inspiration all along, but my last Doctor visit I was
    shocked about my HBP. She gave me a book to read and follow, Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution. So much of what you say, and the science behind what you say and his book is amazing.

    Well, I am on the right path now.
    Reprogram those genes!

    Much Thanks for all you have done and
    will do!

    Donna J. wrote on February 29th, 2012
  22. Hello all,

    I have been switching over to Primal for the past two months. I haven’t been perfect but I have been making steady progress. This has been a huge step for me because I have never really cooked in my life and taking the time has been a whole new but challenging adventure.

    All of this makes sense to me. We truly are what we eat. I find a new awareness setting in. It’s all very cool.

    I am very interested in growing my own veggies but I have no idea where to start. Just like cooking, it can seem a bit overwhelming when you have no experience.

    I was also looking at my backyard thinking that it is a waste of soil just to have grass there but I don’t own the house i live in so I’m not sure where to begin.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    BTW. I live in New Orleans which should give you and idea of my climate and lifestyle.

    Thank you so much Mark for helping me to change my life for the better. I’m only at the beginning of the road but so far it is very exciting to think that just because I’m 43 my strength and top health aren’t behind me.

    Shana

    Shana wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Shana; I highly recommend you find a local permaculture course and take it. It will provide you with a big picture around growing things, which you will find very valuable to place new information you learn. It is also very oriented towards growing food for yourself in the most sustainable way known at this time. Many people involved will likely be kinda vegan/veg rather than primal, but that’s OK, main thing is you will hook into the right scale thinking.

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • Check out the New Orleans Food & Farm Network. They teach people how to do backyard farming.

        Laurie wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • 1.check with your extension agent for recommended varieties for your area.
      2. you have a nice, long growing season.
      3. whether you own your apartment or house, you can grow your own. google container gardening and look. a good source again is your extension agent (not all endorse organic stuff, but it is research based) try square foot gardening.grow a tomato plant in a 5gal bucket (drainage holes made) few bean seeds planted in another pot with support for the vines, lettuce, radishes, carrots, etc.
      Rock on! (or should that be ‘Grok on!’?

      Sassy wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • +1

        Teresa wrote on February 29th, 2012
  23. One more thing to add….
    Just read the death by massive heart attack of The Monkees Davey Jones!

    If that doesn’t shock you all to get in
    shape, well….

    Daydream Believer……Rest in Peace.

    Donna J. wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • He was 66 years old and I’m 67 – boy was that a shocker or what! And he always looked skinny – even more of a shocker—-

      PrimalGrandma wrote on February 29th, 2012
  24. I was asked a similar question when I was vegan years ago. “What would happen if everyone went vegan?? The earth couldn’t support that!” It was just as silly a question, because neither future will ever come to pass.

    Policy makers refuse to discuss the core issue at the heart of any number of things, which is simply overpopulation. Agriculture got us into this mess, and anyone with a brain can see that ever-more frightening agricultural practices (GMOs, monoculture, chemicals, etc) won’t get us out of it.

    And yes, at the end of the day I make the choices that are best for my family. I don’t give up healthcare because others don’t have access to it. I don’t drink filthy water because that’s all some people in the world have access to. I make sustainable, environmentally-minded choices that I am lucky enough to be able to make, and hopefully if enough people do so we can somehow divert disaster.

    I would much rather we reach a point where we have to learn how to feed the world sustainably, than the question we’re asking now, which is essentially “how can we produce the greatest amount of cheap calories by any means necessary”.

    Cassie wrote on February 29th, 2012
  25. Carli wrote on February 29th, 2012
  26. With obesity,diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders,and a plethora of other health issues on the rise excess population may not be the issue.

    It is worrisome to see China buying up land in South America because of the increase in meat consumption by not only the Chinese, but the US (don’t forget that much of that grocery store meat is processed, if not raised, in China). Supporting small local farmers is essential to sustainability and health.

    Alison wrote on February 29th, 2012
  27. Well, I believe I’m 1%, but I doubt that the other 99% will Occupy the farm!

    Peter wrote on February 29th, 2012
  28. I appreciate your logical perspective and common sense thinking in this article as well as the rest of the website. You cut right through all the blah-blah-blah right to the “meat” of the matter! More, please!!

    Lori wrote on February 29th, 2012
  29. I concur! Choose for yourself to eat, to live and be in the world in this way and in turn be a leader, a model, and inspiration for others to do so. People fear change but what if the primal blueprint changed the world and the lives of people in wonderful ways no one thought possible?

    Denise wrote on February 29th, 2012
  30. My boyfriend and I have actually thought about this question…he gets all in depth on it and I wave it off like “whatever” b/c, you are right – it just simply isn’t going to happen. I hate pondering the impossible. And I rarely try to push my Primal ideals on people – why bother? Aren’t they smart enough to figure it out for themselves;”How’s that woprkin’ for ya?”? No? Oh well…

    EmX wrote on February 29th, 2012
  31. Mark great article. Since I’m now follow the Paleo lifestyle I have been doing the shoping. Our family shoping cart looks much different then before, and all the food items you mention are in my cart.My $$ is being spent much diff. on health food items, not on all the crap in the stores. I shop around the outside of the store. Personally I don’t really want everyone to go Paleo, gives us that extra edge to look and feel great, but I have been promoting Paleo and now have my co-worker on it. She saw the drastic change in my face and body and asked me to forward her your Primal Blue Print. I was asked last night at the groc. store how I have lost 27lbs since Jan 10th, I told them to look in my shopping cart and stop eating bread sugar and bad carbs. I educated a few over wt.shoppers last night! Paleo for life for me and my family! I’m not out to change the world, but nice helping those who are willing to listen. Keep up the great work Mark!!

    brent stephens wrote on February 29th, 2012
  32. A while back, in reaction to an anti-paleo blog post on the NPR website, there was some discussion of these issues here:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread40797.html

    Chica wrote on February 29th, 2012
  33. It’s so funny, I was having a very similar discussion this morning – the power of the purse can make a difference!

    Megan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  34. In light of a definite economic collapse, running out of oil, all combined with the destruction of our environment, we can’t all go primal fast enough I’m afraid.

    Who ever mentioned our world population has peeked – you are insane LOL. just look at a population graph – we are exponentially doubling over time. We are like a foreign diesease/plaque that keeps on multiplying robbing our earth(host) of all life and in turn wiping ourselves out, and we think we’re special….

    That was fun.

    As soon as the world all grows local sustainable food supplies and kills our current money system that is based on interest, we may have a chance. But I think a big natural correction is in order for human population to survive as we are 5 billion over any decent sustainable level (pre-1920)

    mark wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • A financial collapse would in no way inspire a more “primal” based diet. It would inspire an extreme use of grains — as it has for millenniums. Meat would again become a rare delicacy.

      At no point in history — apart from modern times (primarily due to large feed lots) — has meat been so easily, and readily available to all sections of society. In the absence of our current system — these institutions would not get better. Sure, the cows might be eating grass…but that would be because the humans are now eating the corn, or all sorts of cereal grains.

      Almost all wildlife within the US would be wiped out due to over hunting. Meat, in all forms, would be rare. Sure, you could raise your own, but it would again be a rare treat unless you have a massive herd of a couple hundred sheep/goats/cattle/etc. But, if you had that — you wouldn’t be eating them, rather you would be selling them for massive profits because those that could afford them would be the new “rich.”

      For all the ills that cereal grains may cause — they keep humans alive when necessary. This “primal” diet is only allowed due to our financial success, and factors such as feed lot farming (and, it does play a role in pricing grass-fed beef).

      “Primal” in the new world would be majority vegetables, and grains. Fruits would again become rare treats, as would most animals. Also, assuming that power was disrupted — many parts of the US/world would lack adequate refrigeration. So — most meats would spoil rather quickly.

      Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
  35. I don’t think the Primal way of eating would scale up very well without the addition of dairy. I’m talking healthy dairy (raw and cultured). We would also need to look at eating the complete animal including all organs and blood.

    Mule wrote on February 29th, 2012
  36. If you check Google trends for “primal diet” and “paleo diet” you can see that interest is exploding. There was a step change at the beginning of 2012, so it looks to be snowballing.

    Ron wrote on February 29th, 2012
  37. While I have no doubt feeding the world can be done, I’ll work on my little corner.

    I’m blessed to be a country girl. I have hens laying eggs, and adding compost material from pen when I have to keep them in (free range when I’m home, penned when I’m working all day because of dumped dogs) I grow veggies, and love doing it.

    For anyone who wants to grow their own veggies, it does not take acres. Just a little room. check with your local Extension Agent or Master Gardener program for recommended varieties for your area, and don’t be afraid to try others. :)

    Sassy wrote on February 29th, 2012
  38. Thanks, I think your articles are changing my life,for the better.anyway I’ve gone primal,its only been a week and already I feel better for it and happier.thankyou for enlightening me.

    steve chelts wrote on February 29th, 2012
  39. When I think of “global primal” I think of it in terms of whether even the poorest countries could eat this way … whether instead of grain and rice aid we could give them aid in the form of primal food, whether tremendously populated places like India could sustain it, etc.

    I think we’d all, rich and poor alike, have to eat many more small animals and get away from the conventional farmed meat animals that we currently have in steady supply. In the past, we would have eaten rabbits, snakes, etc. Every community in the world would have to have to have the infrastructure of a steady supply of meat, and considering that the biggest animals, like cows, require more resources, we’d have to build most of the infrastructures around medium- to small-sized animals.

    Kristin wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • I remember reading about a program where villages were given some donated ducks. The ducks ate grubs that were raised in the duck manure and the children ate the duck eggs (with some reserved to hatch ducklings). The health of the children improved and they were able to care for the ducks themselves. Extra ducks were offered to other villages to start their own programs. It was a small project that ended up offering huge benefits to the participants.

      Nancy wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • That sounds like Heifer International, actually! Silly of me to only remember them now. http://www.heifer.org/

        Kristin wrote on February 29th, 2012
  40. I’m really glad you took the time to write about this. Although I argue about how sustainable a natural food way is people just can’t seem to grasp it.

    Josh wrote on February 29th, 2012

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