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

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!

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. I think a big first step would be elimination grain subsidies. Better yet eliminate all agriculture and healthcare subsidies. What’s the saying “you can pay your farmer today or your doctor tomorrow”? Well if someone else is paying your doctor where is the incentive to pay your farmer?

    Dan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  2. This isn’t a privilege thing.

    The answer to the third world’s problems is education and liberty, not browbeating ourselves for not falling into the same pit they are in.

    People are not born stupid. Offer them education, and they will climb themselves out of the subsistence agriculture/poverty trap.

    Browbeating yourself for improving your own life will not help these folks in the slightest.

    Kristopher wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • All the food aid does is tide the starving over till they feed themselves and multiply till the next famine.They are not living in a sustainable ecosystem.We add to the problem with food aid.
      Most of the billions of population is in the 3rd world that we aid but all we are doing is adding to the long term suffering.
      Should we be cruel to be kind(a brit saying)or kind to be cruel.

      dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • Most of the suffering people in the third world are suffering because of their own governments. Any attempt to put food or capital away for a rainy day is thwarted by kleptocrats who rob them blind.

        Crowded countries with honest governments, like Singapore, have no problem importing food … honest government means they can afford imports.

        Third world starvation is a political problem, and not a Malthusian one.

        Kristopher wrote on March 14th, 2012
  3. Excellent topic. A while ago Freakonomics did a piece that basically said local food can’t work, meat eating can’t work, and the world has to be fed on GMO grain.

    There are so many fallacies inherent in that way of thinking. Here is my response, very much along the same lines as yours!

    http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/articles/the-inefficiency-of-local-food/

    Joy wrote on February 29th, 2012
  4. I would love this but there is little way to convince people rooted in refined culture (such as that of south and east asia) to budge. Just another thing to think about

    Sagar wrote on February 29th, 2012
  5. Great article!

    This may not apply to most of us city – dwellers:

    “Growing your own vegetables. Raising some chickens or perhaps even a goat,”

    But this part is nice:

    “or giving your money to people who do.”

    I think it is doable to primal feed the world, especially with the current state of technology.

    WildGrok wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • You can do almost all of that in the city – and if your city is not big on chickens – talk to the neighbours, maybe they don’t care…. or sometimes better to beg forgiveness….

      Bruce Berry wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • If I initially do not scare them with my mace and ax … I am all for begging for forgiveness :-(

        WildGrok wrote on March 1st, 2012
  6. Have to agree – the question of whether a primal diet is sustainable is the wrong question. The real question is whether 7 billion is sustainable? If you argue we are supporting 7 billion now – I would argue that what we are doing now to sustain the North American SAD diet, food production, etc is not sustainable – we’re killing the planet.

    A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead

    Grok On

    Egalitaire wrote on February 29th, 2012
  7. This is a one hour movie concerning our food supply, its quality and
    likelihood of sustainability. It is somewhat disturbing, but that
    is the current reality. There are solutions, and these are
    advocated. If you are concerned about the food you buy and eat,
    this documentary will be enlightening. It is currently available at
    this link:
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/26/fresh-video-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20120226_SNL_Art_1
    It will not be available after March 3rd, however.

    The real question is are we sustainable not going primal?

    Tom NH wrote on February 29th, 2012
  8. If the thought is to truly bring world sustainability — almost the most assured way would be to invest in hydroponic/aquaponics agriculture.

    As for meat…no, not possible.

    Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • where do all your chemicals come from for hydroponics,where do all the foods come from for aquaponics?all extra costs and vital resources.

      dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • Oh, I thought we were talking about feeding the world.

        Let’s see — if food is the goal, I’d take a 10 acre multistory Hydropnic (or even aquaponic) farm over an 10 acre organic farm. Also, while there may be chemicals involved — it can come extremely close to “organic” minus the soil.

        Aquaponic farms have among the greatest ability for innovation as much of it can be self-contained/sustained (ie. food sources for the fish).

        Meat is never a viable option for the world. It never has been. It is something that may be good for us, but is not something that has ever been truly viable on a mass scale apart from the advent of massive feed lots/coops.

        Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
        • Whoever said that it is our birthright to exist on a mass scale. If we had 7 billion wolves instead of humans, we know Nature can’t cough up the necessary deer and rabbits. So those poor wolves should just turn to chewing algae? Sorry, I don’t know what the solution is to climb down from here – but trying to eat what our body wasn’t made for is not going to do it. Meat was the viable option some primate ancestor chose long ago, you must live with(and could love)that decision.

          Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Sorry, not on board with that – Maintaining these highly modified environments rely on technology that seems to be horribly energy intensive (where we live), not robust and its disease prone. We must re-join with nature – somehow.

      Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
  9. Don’t forget the humble rabbit in all this.All those inedible(to us)veg peelings and outer leaves will provide very healthy meat,plus fertiliser and,if your really fanatical,furs too.
    Very little outlay and very small space needed,the ideal backyard animal.

    dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Though, definitely make sure you eat something else other than rabbit…or face “rabbit starvation.”

      Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • that’s a very pathetic and somewhat hysterical reply,even from you.

        dave wrote on March 1st, 2012
  10. THE POINT IS: That the amount of meat and fish necessary to put 7+ billion people on a primal diet that doesn’t soon start to resemble an almost rawfood diet is just NOT availiable.

    When talking organic & grass-fed this is even more the case.

    Not even because there’s not enough space. Think putting the entire population of China on a primal diet with plenty of grassfed beef, etc.

    Not even because the oceans are overfished.

    But mostly because of the insane amount of methane & other greenhouse gasses that will be excreted on such a massive global scale, that INDEED:

    The primal diet can never fuel the world…not without most/if not all of the human population dying because of it that is..

    So much for increasing the worlds fitness & vitality.

    Yoram wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Just tell me how many millions of buffalo grazed on the plains before they were almost wiped out.?antelope,deer,grouse.They all produced methane too,that INDEED.
      More veggie false propaganda

      dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • So, modern polluting society + the required billions of animals for consumption across the world.

        Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Actually, methane generation by grass fed animals is a fraction of that by grain-fed. The rumen is operating correctly on grass and results in little methane, whereas CAFO is where these things are usually measured, wrongly implicating all grass fed herbivores.

      Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
  11. About HALF the food now produced is wasted. If we converted from an industrialized system of sending vegetables 1500 miles from farm to plate, of not mixing beef from Mexico and Kansas and Canada into a single burger patty, of not shipping boxed and canned foods thousands of miles, to a system of local farms and distribution networks, all fresh, CAFO-free, organic, pastured and grass-fed… how much less waste would we see?

    And another important consideration, given the monthly outbreaks of E. Coli and salmonella poisoning: how much SAFER would de-centralizing our food be? Right now we focus on the infectious diseases spread by industrial processes — the price we pay for cheap food! — and ignore the rather more insidious possibility of intentional introduction of infectious agents to our food supply. If you’re a terrorist who wants to poison as many Americans as possible, which food system would facilitate such a plan? Scary to think about, especially since hygience oversight at Big Ag plants seems to be nil.

    Finnegans Wake wrote on February 29th, 2012
  12. Great post! I love how you took an overwhelming world-wide question/problem and broke it down to our individual choices. I am often overwhelmed in my search for the most nutrient-dense foods for my family and with some patience and persistence, the choices usually become available. Looking forward to Part 2. Thank you!

    Joy wrote on February 29th, 2012
  13. If the world went primival most would starve- we do not have the land to grow animals for 7 billion people. Rice and wheat is why we have all these people, the population would decline to maybe 2 billion if that. Look at north Africa and see what the world would look like in a few years. I spent years in Asia and central America and its rare to see fat people unless they are wealthy. America is one of the few places where the poor can be fat-its called food stamps and welfare! Most places in the 3rd world you work dawn to dark trying to grow food. Two or three acres of grains will feed a family of 4. It would take a 100 acres to live like Grok and the Groketts did.

    WW Rutland wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • why?show me your figures.The 3rd world is overpopulated,north Africa is kept going by food aid as it cannot sustain the population which we help to feed and increase.
      Of course you can feed a family of 4 on 2 or 3 acres living primal.
      You really have a chip on your shoulder about America.Get over it.America is very wasteful in land use but that will change when economics make it worthwhile.

      dave wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • would a world with “only” 2 billion people be too few friends on facebook? seriously, 2 billion people is still ALOT of humans!

        HopelessDreamer wrote on February 29th, 2012
  14. Great article! Thanks.

    In general I find that people (at least in US) don’t really pay the “true cost” of things. Oil/corn/wheat subsidies make it possible to grow lots of corn without rotating crops (just feed petroleum-based fertilizer to the soil) and they also make it cheaper to raise beef on corn instead of grass. So, in the US we eat way more meat than other cultures–it’s become a staple rather than a luxury item.

    Getting rid of subsidies is an important step toward paying the true cost of things. People need to scale back their corn usage for much the same reasons they need to scale back fossil fuel usage… but since they are not paying the true cost of their consumption, their decisions are disconnected from reality.

    We should vote with our dollars to support organic veggies and grass-fed meat, but we should also phone our Congress and say whether we approve of our tax dollars being used to make someone else’s corn and oil cheaper. :)

    Greg C wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • So…meat skyrocketing to $15 for a cheap cut, and $50 for a Ribeye is worth it?

      Grass fed beef is a niche market. It is also tamed by the massive feed lots. It MUST be comparable in price. As only the rich would pay $15 for a grass fed cheap cut when the standard rate is $4.

      Remove those feed lots, and now prices skyrocket. Sure, we’ll have grass fed beef, but with their “true cost.” Keeping in mind that historically meat was usually a luxury item.

      Dissecting_Existence wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • RIDICULOUS argument. Who pays $15 for a “cheap cut” of grass-fed beef or $50 for a ribeye? In fact, if you buy grass-fed in bulk it’s competitive with grain-fed, and even if buying a la carte it’s nowhere NEAR what you’re making it to be.

        Come back to reality. Please.

        Finnegans Wake wrote on February 29th, 2012
  15. I have a small Aquaphonics system set up in my kids class room (yes we home school). 55gal tank filled with tilapia, feeding three grow beds, cost less then a $100 US, to put together. It’s supplies 100 fish a year and all the veggies for the whole family of 4, and is a complete eco system (no Waste).
    This spring we are building a small green house 8×12 and this should give us almost 500 fish a year, and extra veggies for canning and sale.
    Add a couple of chickens and a good worm compost, and someone mentioned Rabbits. You do not need acres of land, just a small yard (even a window) will work, and most homes could produce 80% of their own Primal food. We are doing it so…….

    Tom NH wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • There you go! I have never had a period in my entire life without at the very least a small kitchen garden, even it it meant a few containers some times. That’s how my parents raised us and I have just continued on and raised my kids the same way and now they are gardening with their kids.

      I love the idea of raising fish at home in a clean, controlled environment. We always enjoyed our aquariums. Never thought about doing it on the scale that you are and for a food source – something else on my list of things to explore!

      rarebird wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • For those unfamiliar with aquaponics;
        Plants (duckweed) grows on top of the water, fish eat the duckweed, poop, aleage in the water coverts the ammonia in the poop into nitrates, which the plants eat up for fertilizer, water goes back into the tank as clean water. No chemicals, no waste, just food. Runs on a small water pump, and basic chemistry and physics.

        Tom NH wrote on February 29th, 2012
        • Oh, I love it! Perfect. Thanks for explaining.

          rarebird wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • You should write in more detail how you do this – with pictures!

      LISA H wrote on February 29th, 2012
      • That’s a good idea. How could that be done? Maybe a guest article?

        rarebird wrote on March 1st, 2012
  16. I like to think our organically raised cattle are carbon neutral, carbon in, carbon out, the inputs of diesel and the occasional mineral fertilisation notwithstanding. We manage eight beasts raised to slaughter on as many hectares per year and sustainably grow a lot of edible vegetables as well.

    I think that biological and sustainable farm practices in developing countries are the only hope fo feeding the 7 billion.

    Worse greenhouse (NO2) gasses are produced with nitrogenous fertilisers used in conventional agriculture.

    kem wrote on February 29th, 2012
  17. If everyone lived according to the primal lifestyle, they would:

    -farm their yards (from urban to suburban to the 5+ mansion plots)
    -feed food waste (as appropriate) to livestock (thus reducing
    -and be less resource intensive

    I think if this were done by everyone, we would have less ag land use.

    This link is where I got some info: http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Calories_per_acre_for_various_foods/

    Pete Johnson wrote on February 29th, 2012
  18. Thinking beyond “Going Primal” amongst those that have means to make that choice… I was listening to Dr. Peter Green’s podcast on Celiac: A Hidden Epidemic, and was deeply saddened by the study of societies that had been provided Aid during famine, by the US and others… mostly in the form of wheat, that was not a part of that region’s normal diet, and now those populations are seeing celiac explode amongst their children. Good intentions gone bad. They sent wheat because it’s cheap and easy to transport, relatively easy to keep fresh, and distribute (rice would have been a better choice, surely, but the US is not rife with rice paddies)… So in this case study … instead of immediate starvation, what was provided was a slower death of malnutrition, malabsorption, vitamin deficiency, intestinal cancers, etc. Going Primal in Humanitarian efforts would certainly be a challenge given the expense and perishability.

    Barb wrote on February 29th, 2012
  19. What interests me is the way we frame this question. We ask “is it possible to sustain the world’s population now and in the foreseeable future if we all ate a primal diet?” Do we ask “is it possible to sustain the world’s population on a SAD?” I would argue that most people believe the answer to the second question is yes. And almost everyone who asks the first question asks it as an argument against Primal eating with the implicit assumption that we can sustain the world on an SAD or a vegetarian diet.

    I’m writing my dissertation on sustainable farm and food systems and I can assure you that we will not be able to sustain production of an SAD for 10 billion people. Or a vegetarian diet based on grains that are grown using conventional agriculture for 10 billion people. Our current farming and food systems are destroying our natural resources, along with the health our productive workers. We will not be able to sustain a population of 10 billion people using conventional farming practices no matter what they eat! The Primal diet encourages more sustainable agricultural practices like grass-fed live-stock and pastured eggs (preferably pastured in an organic vegetable patch!) In this way, I believe Primal eating is part of the answer to our environmental crisis, not part of the problem. And yes, it is possible to feed the world a healthy, whole foods diet that focuses on grass-fed meat, veggies and fruit, and minimizes grains, legumes and sugar.

    Heidi wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • I have heard that people have co-opted/manage (mis-manage?) approx 40% of the world biomass. I wish I thought that leaves enough room for the other species, but I don’t think it does. I don’t believe the world biome can support 7 billion x 150 lb. primate. That’s one per 6 acres of entire landmass (incl desert, etc). Eat well, be well.

      Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
  20. Interesting topic. Sadly I don’t think global adoption of a primal lifestyle will ever happen – there are too many economic, political, educational and cultural impacts on what we eat and how we live our lives. But wouldn’t it be great if we could stop just one disease that’s predominantly lifestyle and diet related – diabetes. It’s projected that by 2020, 52% of adults will have diabetes or prediabetes in the USA, at a cost of $500 billion (up from $194 billion in 2010). Damn, that’s a lot of omega-rich eggs and pasture-fed beef.

    I sometimes feel like I’m part of a ‘conspiracy theory’ – I’m privy to a big secret that will keep me healthy and in optimal shape for life – and noone else ‘gets’ it! Even though it’s no secret! Yet every day I see commercials for breakfast cereals, for example – a big bowl of grain, doused in sugar, then drenched in milk. But it’s ‘healthy – with the goodness of whole wheat’! Argh! And we send the nation’s kids off to school on this ‘wholesome’ breakfast. *shaking head* There are a lot of cultural beliefs that get in the way – sadly most American families’ understanding of a balanced meal is alternating between Taco Bell, KFC and McDonalds. Plant a garden? Raise chickens? Plan and *gasp* COOK a nutritious meal? I’m way too busy….. Apparently health isn’t a priority.

    I guess if we’re lucky, on our 100th birthday some reporter will interview us and ask us what our secret is. And maybe I’ll respond “What secret?”

    Drino wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • Nice comment – maybe SAD is just Nature’s way of making our species so dysfunctional that it won’t take much to correct our numbers. We know neolithic agents of disease are not just associated with weight and fitness, but also immune function and correct brain function (schizo/autistic/Alzh axis). How’s your survivability if you have no energy, can’t move well and can’t think straight?

      Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
  21. Contrary to anti-primal popular belief, my husband and I have noticed a drastic reduction in our overall grocery bill. Sure, we spend more than we used to on fresh produce and when available, grain-fed local meats, but there is so much we no longer purchase, such as soda, candy, cereal, flour, bread, breadcrumbs, crackers, pop tarts, pastry, and a long list of other boxed, bagged & canned stuff pretending to be food.

    And I don’t know about others, but all it took was eating real food for a short time – a few weeks – before I realized that fast food isn’t really food at all, and it doesn’t really taste all that good compared to real food.

    And finally, I’m living proof that one person can make a difference. Two others have gone primal after witnessing my 50+ lb loss while enjoying generous primal meals. ;)

    Lorelai wrote on February 29th, 2012
  22. Great article. Looking forward to part II. I appreciate the “individual” aspect you gave. Sometimes I feel part a**hole/mama bear, maybe a little smug and superior, “My offspring with take over your offspring, oh wheat-eaters.” On the flip-side, consumer power is powerful,the more that people put their money towards Primal endeavors, the easier it becomes for us all.
    Then there is the whole issue of trying to get people you love to make the changes, get a bunch of lip service, only to run into them buying the Costco sized box of snack crackers. Damnmit!
    Doing your best,as often as you can, as an individual is the best message. So thanks! I still like being an a**hole sometimes though…

    Erin wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • We needn’t feel too smug – the last 10,000 years is the story of agricultural people assimilating and annihilating the pastoral and HG populations. It ain’t over yet. Wade Davis estimates that of the 6,000 remaining tribal languages, another half could be gone in 20 years (at the current rate).

      Third Chimp wrote on February 29th, 2012
  23. Thanks for addressing this Mark, I have often thought the same thing and wondered what would happen. Keep up the fight!

    Patrick wrote on February 29th, 2012
  24. Brilliant question. My take is that in a primal era we would have been less fussy about the protein. We would have eaten grubs, insects all sorts of animals and the potential source would have been far wider ranging. I actually ate worms in Thailand last month as I was determined to address this exact issue but they were fried in weeks old oil which somewhat ruined the experience. They had hgrasshoppers worms and all sorts. If they had been delicately sauteed in coconut oil I would have been made up. I am partial to game here (but have to date avoided road kill) and it is becoming more and more mainstream with supermarkets stocking venison, wood pidgeon, rabbit (which used to be the main option before chicken became popular). In other words it will be all change and we would hopefully get our woods and wild pastures back and lose the endless momotony of the rapeseed fields.

    Adrian Pearson wrote on February 29th, 2012
  25. I’m been primal/paleo for about 8 weeks now. Friends said I didn’t need to lose any weight but I wasn’t trying to. I probably need to try to eat more and more regularly. I’m 62 and weigh about 3 lbs more than when I was 18, down about 12 lbs.
    I think we all forget that humans started out eating primally. When we killed off 70 million bison from North America we destroyed a viable, sustainable meat source. The biggest drawback to feeding much of the population primally is commercial farming (read money) and that’s not trying to demonize people or companies that grow crops for profit. That too was an evolutionary process. We can take it back with our spending patterns.
    KenK

    Ken Koch wrote on February 29th, 2012
  26. QUESTION: Even if tomorrow all scientists and doctors agreed that paleo was a “cure all,” how many people would adopt it?

    ANSWER: About the same number of people who quit smoking when the scientists and doctors all agreed on tobacco starting in the 1960s.

    Dan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  27. So a speaker came to the first public meeting of the local Transition Town group and explained he is growing 3 crops per year per square foot in his gardens. And went on to explain that prior to WWI the city of Paris France was producing 7 crops per sq.ft. I just found this article to share that can explain how using hoop gardens and green houses for us in the north. http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-tips-zm0z11zsto.aspx?page=3
    Good luck to you and happy eating….

    John wrote on February 29th, 2012
  28. I’m trying to write a paper on this very subject. It’s almost impossible to do when I am only allowed to use ‘scientific peer-reviewed papers and reports’ as evidence and reference material to back up my arguements. So frustrating!

    Kitty wrote on February 29th, 2012
  29. i hate grassfed meat it stinky. more like wild sea animals. a lot animal who are killed are stinky. and disgusting only some are realy consumable for me.

    Nik wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • LOL. ESL?

      Finnegans Wake wrote on March 1st, 2012
  30. Taking on anything from a position of fear is bound to have a poorer outcome than looking for solutions and being proactive. This is why I love you Mark. You are promoting a positive future, a little at a time. Using our buying power and being shining examples to our coworkers, neighbors, friends and families is the way to empower a shift and turn a few heads at the same time. I never realized how much people check out each others’ lunch at work!

    Susan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  31. By the way, could we have more pictures pleeeeeze?

    Susan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  32. Because of the PB, I’ve gained a lot of perspective on how I can change things little by little in my own life. I can’t get the majority of my family to eat primal, but my three coworkers do. I now have 4 chickens, a 20’x50′ garden, and we buy local beef and pork. I’ve read up on Permaculture (Sepp Holzer), Joel Salatin, and learned a ton about how wrong the business of food is in this country. I’m now looking at buying 7 acres with my best friend to do some more chickens, more veggies, a pick-your-own blackberry and blueberry endeavor, and basically piddle around, get a lot of exercise, and leave my cell phone and Macbook behind while I’m doing it. I have a long, long way to go in terms of improvement physically and mentally and aligning myself more with the tenants and thought processes of the PB. But I’ve built a hell of a foundation of knowledge and changed my mindset drastically since the day a few years ago when I wondered “who is this supplements guy on the end of my workout videos? he seems interesting”. The neighbors buy our eggs, my wife cans up a storm, and my kid can tell the difference between homemade chicken nuggets and the ones at a fast food joint. None of it is perfect, but it’s little victories every day peppered by little setbacks every week that are less and less frequent. Somebody once said (the author eludes me) that “there are no global problems, only local problems”, and I think that’s what Mark is getting at, and where I think we, as a community, can start to make little, tangible differences that people can actually see and perhaps, start to value.

    Zach wrote on February 29th, 2012
  33. I agree that it is frustrating seeing all the people close to you who want to be healthier and slimmer, whom you try to preach the low-carb/primal ideas to, that just wont even give it a chance by reading, watching, listening to things you suggest to them.

    Sometimes, it is almost as if they won’t even think about it because they are scared they will actually buy into it, maybe because they have the conventional thinking so imbedded in their minds. I can understand people’s skepticism, but they won’t even listen and look into it themselves with an open mind.

    Nonetheless, I will continue to try to convince people that there is a way to eat and live that truly does give you amazing results, unlike the failed advice from the past 40 years.

    I had wondered if it was possible to have a much larger proportion of the world population eating primally (like a lot of people, I’m sure), but this post helped ease that worry, so thank you Mark! Great Blog.

    Keith

    Keith wrote on February 29th, 2012
  34. If the zoning regulations in most suburbs could be changed to at least encourage vegetable gardens and laying hens, it would go a long way toward sustaining many paleo fans. Instead, we have municipalities taking people to court over raising vegetables. How stupid is that?!?

    Also we should be removing a lot of the regulations which crucify small farmers. It is not the government’s business what I eat, and if one person can raise poultry or goats or cattle and butcher them for friends, they should not face fines and jail time. We all know that mass produced meats are FAR from safe!

    Judy wrote on February 29th, 2012
  35. The original question, “Can we feed the world on a primal diet?” is interesting and occured to me indepedently awhile back. The neolithic diet is what allowed civilization (nota bene: not necessarily the individuals of the civilization, who were now easily replaced) to flower in the first place with a relatively stable, cheap source of food. Wild food is usually much healthier that farmed/husbanded food. Farming depletes the soil, which requires fertilization, and one can not hope to replenish every micro-mineral/nutrient depleted. But wild food is much more expensive. Commercial harvesting of wild food is strickly regulated and, for the most part, limited to specific marine life and seasons. Once you start farming/husbanding the nutritional content starts to suffer. Compare wild salmon to farmed salmon.

    Bruce Bowen wrote on February 29th, 2012
  36. Your solution is utopian under the current economic system, based on private ownership and production for profit.
    In order for this to have the possibility to work, the economy needs to be in the democratic hands of the majority in society, the working class. We could then PLAN production accordingly. Without a coherent national and global plan of production, this would not be possible. If the overwhelming majority in society democratically decide we want to eat the food we are supposed to eat, we could make it possible.
    Why is the food we eat poisoned and so bad for us? Because of the profit motive. If production were for the needs of society, we could transform the way we eat.

    Shaun wrote on February 29th, 2012
  37. I couldn’t help but post after reading Mark’s article and then wanting to share with you something else I read today.
    I think after some of you read this article at: http:/www.naturalnews.com/035105 Bill Gates Monsanto eugenics.html

    Your better off Primal, but be on the look-out who in our past/present and future is about to confront us with.

    Jacque wrote on February 29th, 2012
    • That article sounds like typical Bill Gates, if you have followed the story of MS and Apple. Read Steve Job’s bio for more insight into Bill’s sneaky tactics.

      And, it sounds like Bill comes by it naturally – a chip off the old Gates Sr’s block, evidently.

      Read also the link to Monsanto suicides if you want to see what GMO crops are doing to India’s agriculture. 200,000 farmers in India have committed suicide as a result of Monsanto interference in the last 10 years.

      rarebird wrote on February 29th, 2012
  38. Mark, the best thing about your blog is the scientific research you reference to back up your claims. Unfortunately it is lacking from this entry.

    I accept that the chance of the entire world going primal is next to nil, but we need to acknowledge that being able to source and afford the produce required for a primal diet is only available to the richest people on the planet.

    Everyone growing their own produce would help, but feeding the entire global population of 7 billion people will, unfortunately, require intensive industrial farming of grains. It’s obviously not the healthiest option and contrary to our evolutionary history, but it is better than people starving.

    Those that can afford to eat a primal diet are very, very privileged.

    I’m not the only one of this opinion:

    http://www.wfp.org/stories/feeding-7-billion-people-7-must-reads

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/steve-jones/8847544/Global-population-reaches-7-billion-can-we-really-feed-the-world.html

    Dan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  39. Just watched the ‘Fresh’ documentary on the Mercola.com website.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/26/fresh-video-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20120226_SNL_Art_1

    It is so well done. Really tied together a lot of loose ends for me and gave me a better understanding of how the Primal movement fits into the bigger picture. It IS possible to change the way we produce our food. It’s a very uplifting invigorating film.

    I totally agree with Mark’s way of looking at the personal experience and benefits of eating Primally and the desire to (someday, maybe) change the world. I also sympathize with previous posters who get frustrated with people who refuse to change, who can’t imagine ever giving up bread, for instance. One guy I chatted with at the supermarket the other day told me he would rather cut off his right arm! I think I’ve managed to come to terms with my personal sense of well being in living Primally and not feel like I have to get everyone else on board. But once you get me started on the topic it’s hard to get me to shut up!

    David Bowers wrote on February 29th, 2012
  40. Based on many comments here so far, lots of you are saying you don’t know where to start as far as growing your own veggies, or don’t have room, blah, blah, blah. Well, I say where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    You can grow stuff in hanging baskets, small pots, big pots, elongated planters hanging over the railing, etc. etc. on your apartment sized balcony (and yes, I admit the amount of sunlight is a factor as veggies need sun).

    Grazing cattle, pigs and chickens on your balcony may be a bit more of a challenge—not to mention the trout pond can be difficult as well—–

    But the bottom line is if you really want to try to grow your own stuff it can be done. Sure, it will be limited in quantity and what you can grow seasonally, but every little bit helps and will give you an idea as to what’s involved in farming. The big bonus is that you will be absolutely amazed at how efn GOOD all the stuff tastes!

    Even a simple herb garden will do wonders for your Primal palate. No — you won’t feed the whole world, but you’ll help feed your little world—

    PrimalGrandma wrote on February 29th, 2012

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