Daniel Vitalis: Rewilding, Domesticated Homsapians, & How Civilization Became a Feed Lot

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Watch or listen to this week’s episode with Daniel Vitalis…



Daniel Vitalis has some pretty wild ideas about how we as human beings can maintain optimal health and wellness… and that’s a good thing. As a health, nutrition, and personal development strategist, Daniel digs into the science of the subspecies homosapien domesticus fragilus (yeah, that’s us) and shows us how to build a diet that meets our needs as a newly domesticated species striving to return to nature.

Daniel is the founder of SurThrival.com and Findaspring.com, as well as a renowned health motivator and strategist and a rewilding pioneer. Daniel’s in-depth online magazine, ReWild Yourself, is free to subscribers and is full of real information about how to reach optimal wellness.

So, go check that out and also take a look at the incredible documentary, “Hungry for Change.You’ll get to hear Daniel and other experts in the health and wellness field shedding light on the dark world of the commercial diet and weight-loss industry.

On this week’s show:

  • Daniel explains how the plant genetics you eat actually change your geno… and why that’s the best news ever.
  • He digs deep into human history to reveal why the last true homosapiens are nearly extinct!
  • You’ll get some simple ways to move from a “feedlot existence” to the slightly-wilder life your mind and body crave.
  • Daniel shares how you can shut off cancer genes and stop degenerative disease in just 52 weeks of eating fresh herbs.
  • He answers the question: Why in the world would anyone want to eat pine pollen or elk antlers???
  • You’ll find out why tribal people never work out, but look like Olympic athletes.

Wow, we talked about so much and yet the minutes seemed to fly right by. Check out the show, and I guarantee you’ll never look at a dandelion the same again. Enjoy!


There is an unfortunate taboo about “wildness” in our civilized culture.

By removing ourselves from the gut instincts that are a part of being wild, we have bankrupt ourselves from our greatest power.

When humans built cities, we needed agriculture to support them. Growing our own food has caused a natural disaster because nature cannot repair itself from the cycle of reaping and sowing that we inflict upon it.

When humans began cultivating their own food, the brain and skeleton shrunk and chronic illness and diseases were contracted over time.

Civilization is a high intensity feed lot. On a farm, it’s about immediate return, so you don’t care if they animal has a long healthy life. They’re going to die soon. The animals are there because they are a product.

Our current “civilized humanity” grows 7 billion people for their labor & taxation to provide infrastructure for the civilization. It’s a vicious cycle. Just as factory farmed animals are sick and disempowered, so are modern human beings.

We are a domestic subspecies of homosapiens. We are homosapien domesticus fragilus. We are domesticated and weak.

The average hunter-gatherer has the muscle mass of an Olympic athlete without working out.

Hunter-gatherer people are happier, with little to no suicide, and their teeth don’t cavitate. They consume a more nutrient-rich diet with fewer calories. They expend more calories but work less. They have no degenerative diseases.

This is the last generation of wild humans. While there are still 100 un-contacted tribal civilizations on three different continents, we are rapidly killing them off.

The last wild cow died in 1627.

Most of our “happy places” are associated with nature.

Only 5% of our human existence has lived in civilizations, starting just 10,000 years ago. For some native African and Native American descendants, domestication has only been for 400 years.

Every attempt at civilization has failed: Samaria, Egypt, Greece, Rome.

We have gone from living in tribes of 150 people, down to nuclear families, and now we live in the age of the narcissistic individual.

We are separated from each other, and from the depth of diversity found in nature. We are disconnected from the natural community.

We used to think we were shackled by genetics, but we are finding that genetics can be altered by lifestyle.

Abel: Everything you do is training your geno. What are you training for?

If this is a factory farm, let’s at least make it more like a zoo. The plant genetics we consume radically effect our gene expression.

Try a different fresh herb once a week for a year, and you expose yourself to 52 new plant species, flicking on switches to make you more robust and shutting off cancer genes and degenerative disease.

Nutrition must encompass earth, water, air, and light (fire). Think of nutrition as a fish tank, and you can see how having this balance of vital nutrients effects your wellbeing.

What’s a quick way of explaining how to trend in the right direction? Get off the factory farm and into the zoo.

Abel: How?

  • Move from a crappy diet toward a hunter-gatherer diet.
  • What tomato are you eating? Try exploring the farmer’s market and eating varieties that are heirloom.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables that are slightly bitter, as they are likely closer to the genetics of the wild species.
  • Eat more: asparagus, kelp (sea veggies), berries, grass-fed meats, wild rice
  • A true variety of vegetables, choosing bright colors and bitter greens. (Real wild lettuce is medicinal. It’s an opiate substitute!)

We bred plants to be sweeter and more palatable. When we did that, we took out their medicinal value and their defense mechanisms. (In come the herbicides and pesticides to “save the day.”)

Eat oak leaf and red leaf lettuce, dandelion, ginger, garlic—strong flavors like this are crucial to eating for optimal wellness.

People who have “Old World Wealth” eat such foods as wild game, hand foraged foods, wild fishes, and heirloom vegetables.

Daniel’s morning drink: It varies, but this time it was herbal tea with 4 – 5 wild plant species, add superfood ingredients like dandelion root and burdock, stack the fat.

Elixircraft is like holistic designer drugs. We want things simple with set rules, but the reality is that we’re all different with different strengths and challenges.

You can forage even in urban areas.

The brain is designed to make mental maps of food sources. Once you’ve sourced food somewhere, your instinct will be to protect that spot.

Once you’ve know a wild plant species, your brain won’t forget it and you’ll always be scanning your surroundings, detecting the plant. This gives you a sense of being surrounded by a community of plant species there to help with your survival. Gives you a sense of, “I belong here.”

Daniel is currently working on Wild Yourself, which is not the average internet fluff, but real research and in depth articles.

Why take Pine Pollen or Elk Antler supplements?

We live in a world that rains estrogen (like plastics).

  • Pine pollen contains bio-identical testosterone. It’s an anabolic, androgenic wild food.
  • Elk antlers from the genetically wild elk are living tissues full of collagen and stem cells containing 6 types of collagen, 24 growth factors and blood building compounds. These drops help repair wearing joints and rebuild torn tissue.


Discover how to drop fat with chocolate, bacon, and cheesecake. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Click below to to claim your FREE gift ($17 value)!


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  1. Awesome podcast! I have been a fan of Daniels and yours for a while and I really enjoyed the discussion. Keep it up brother!

  2. I enjoyed the podcast. I really enjoy Daniel and what he stands for. I’ve watched his videos on mobility and getting ankle flexibility back. I’d love to try his supplements but they seemed to be priced out of reach for long term use.

  3. Hi Abel
    I have a lot of respect for you and your work. Lately, I am starting to get worried about the fact that you are inviting many snake oil hucksters and “overnight experts” to your show without properly vetting them

    Daniel Vitalis is a made up name. This guy is a front for another well known plagiarist huckster named David Wolfe. Just ask your internet team (if you have one) to do some digging on this please. If you need more information on the scams David Wolfe has perpetrated over the years, just email me and I will be happy to oblige. These so called websites owned and operated by this “Daniel Vitalis” are obviously sock puppets of David Wolfe, the snake oil salesman.

    You see Abel, we know you are real. We know that your name is real. We know you are a real person. It is alright for you to use your middle name James on the web but if we do some digging , we can find out that you are a real person (middle name James and surname starting with a “B”) . You have never tried to hide anything from us . We can find out where you have worked as a consultant, where you went to school, who your relatives are, where you have lived etc etc.

    Now try to find Daniel Vitalis.

    Another great thing I like about you , Abel, is the fact that you are a man of your word. You have not let any of these huckster websites peddling crap to plaster your name and picture all over their websites to sell their products. You stand to make a lot of money if you decided to do that, but because you believe in the purity of your message, you have not let this kind of money sully your cause.

    • Responding to Thomas, I have to attest that Daniel is a real person, different than David Wolfe. I know it because Daniel and I were in the kitchen together cheffing for a David Wolfe retreat. At the time (circa 2006-7?), I was still a mostly fruitarian, incongruous dessert chef, and Daniel was making herbal elixirs on the stove, making them irresistible with cacao butter, gently teasing me for my fat phobia. He was right. I don’t know how you could confuse David with Daniel; David makes a point of saying he’s a vegetarian even when sanctioning other diet styles; Daniel became openly omnivorous probably less than a year after the retreat we were cheffing at. Daniel is probably 5″ 5′, David is 5″ 10′ ish. Their voices are also quite different… but I can just tell you I’ve been in the same place as both of them for a week, so to me suggesting they’re the same person is nonsensical.
      I find the whole wildness debate really thought provoking, and I think it’s a conversation worth keeping around.
      The issue of how products/superfoods mesh with rewilding is a huge question and one I imagine Daniel will have to keep addressing as long as he’s in the game.

      • Hi Ela
        I don’t think Thomas implied that David and Daniel are the same person. The point he was making was that Daniel is a mouthpiece for David, the huckster extraordinaire. David has used a dozen such people and on paper he has nothing to do with these people, but David is the one pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

  4. Hi Abel,
    I am really curious what your response to Thomas is. I too have been listening to all your blogs and have used you to help me wade through all the bullshit. In the show you said you have taken these products and that you know they work. Is that true?

  5. Yes I am wondering the same. I have such high regard for Abel and his work and it pains me to see that recently there is a surge of these questionable people and expensive “therapies” being discussed here. Deer Antler Velvet? really? Can we go to this Vitalis person’s website and check it? Platinum version, Gold Version, regular version…..more you pay better it is? what next? Tiger bones and bear claws? $250 for Colustrum on Vitalis’s website? Are we kidding?

    IGF, at best, is still a very unproven treatment. Read this National Geographic Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/01/130130-deer-velvet-antler-spray-science-health-football-sports. Even if it works, it is not something regular people need on a daily basis. $200 for a small dropper bottle of questionable substance? Come on.

    We all know that the internet if full of “experts” these days. Thomas mentioned in his above comment David Wolfe – this guy sells himself as a “superfood expert”. Most of these people have no training and no experience and no real knowledge. The read some stuff online and suddenly they become experts. They have no other talent than being intenet cheats.

    Abel is different. he is obviously a very talented person. He is an all rounded guy. He is a good speaker, he is obviously a very talented musician and he has an honest view on things and above all, Abel is a guy who is never shy about admitting if he was mistaken about something. Abel is always searching for knowledge.

    These wannabes who come to Abel’s podcast to promote themselves really do all of us a great deal of disservice

  6. I think his basic message about how we humans have become “domesticated” has a lot of truth in it. However, we cannot say we want to be like our prehistoric ancestors and then use the internet, iphones and modern medicine, technology, jet travel etc etc. If we are going to go completely back to our roots, are we willing to go back to hunting, gathering and not using anything modern? Anyhow it is an interesting discourse and I really enjoyed listening to the podcast.
    I must agree with the previous poster, however,that the talk of questionable (not to mention highly expensive) items like deer antler velvet kind of turned me off……

    • I agree with Renate. Isn’t it ironic that “rewilding” message is being delivered via internet? Maybe it should be be sent via smoke signals? OK, I’m being a facetious. I do think there are merits to the basic precept that there is value in getting back to nature, but I think it is all a matter of personal choice how far you decide to take that.

      For example, I don’t think heirloom vegetable necessarily always mean that they are better. Often they are, but not always. What we consider vegetables today, all used to be wild. Wild plants have toxins to defend themselves, and they can be harmful in high quantities. Over centuries, we’ve bred them to be less bitter and more palatable. In some cases, like the ultra-sweet apples of today, we probably took it a bit too far. But, I think some leafy greens have been render less toxic as well.

      So…to each his own. Each person has to decide for him/herself what is best for them.

      • Hyok, you nailed it: “each person has to decide for him/herself what is best for them.”

        I am thrilled you’re all are so passionate about the content of the podcast –it’s incredible to see people caring as much about all of this as I do. I love that I have helped you avoiding unsavory products and messages, and that’s my plan for the future as well. The Fat-Burning Man Show is not a space for me to tell you what I do, it’s a place to start a conversation.

        With more than 120 shows, I’ve had a lot of learning experiences – the sheer amount of people I interview guarantees that there will be uncomfortable moments, disagreements, and moments when I pull punches for the sake of moving on in the conversation.

        The Fat-Burning Man Show costs me about $1000-2000 a month, sometimes more, but I do it essentially for free because I believe in the message. Many people come on my show for free in exchange for the opportunity to talk about their products, often books, supplements, equipments, in-person events, etc. I haven’t tried all of their products or read all of their books – but I try most of it. Some things work, some don’t, others are overpriced, and I try to steer people in the right direction to see what’s best for them.

        Getting a steady stream of great guests on the show is a challenge. We have a huge variety the show; think about the past couple months: we had Gary Collins calling out the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Joel Fuhrman (a former vegan) railing on Paleo and other lifestyles, Amy Clover inspiring us to beat depression and prevent suicide through exercise, Dr. Bill Pawluk discussing electromagnetic healing, and many other ideas and messages. Just because someone says something on the show doesn’t mean that I condone it or agree – although you can usually tell how I feel by the face that I make – it’s up to you to decide which messages, products, and people resonate with you.

        The Pawluk and Vitalis episodes have been considered more non-traditional and happened to come out in consecutive weeks, so I understand the concern, but there are also MANY listeners who want to hear more about these fringe ideas and concepts. Just because I’ve tried or use something doesn’t mean I endorse it, but I do want to expose listeners to all kinds of healthful ideas, and have them judge for themselves what they think. In the end, it’s YOUR body that is being affected and only YOU can make decisions for it!

        Thank you for all of your concern, and PLEASE send me your suggestions for future topics and guests. I recently posed the question to Facebook and Twitter fans about what they wanted to hear more about and got some great feedback. As always, I love hearing from you. Thank you for listening. 🙂

        • Thanks for the reply, Abel. I can imagine how difficult it must be to come up with interesting guests every week, and keeping listeners engaged. If you didn’t reach a little beyond the usual guest list, it would get old pretty quick. As much as I like Robb Wolf, I don’t want him on every other week. 😀

          As for making decisions for yourself, here is an example. Mr. Vitalis made the claim that people were not seeing health benefits from Golden Delicious apples vs. Granny Smith, because the tart Granny Smith apples were closer to the original wild apples. I cast doubt on this claim. If you look at the nutritional profiles, they look almost identical. The Granny Smith gives the impression that it is lower in sugar, because of the higher acidity, but as you can see, it is not.
          Anyway, keep up the good work, Abel. Will be tuning in every week.

        • Abel I think the danger of everyone doing the podcast circuit is that there is never anyone to call each other out. Everyone is trading interviews and while they can be very informative a lot of the people are also selling products. Many of the ideas are new so there’s just no way for us to research and form our own opinions. Sadly there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of that. If you have first hand experience with the products I’d love to hear more about it. Maybe once a month you could do a solo podcast where you discuss your thoughts on a topic and give your suggestions or call out a trend you disagree with. Your blog posts are another good option.

  7. Hi Abel,
    I am a fairly new listener and have been loving your show so far. Recently, I too have been worried about some of the questionable people/claims I have been hearing lately. Full disclosure: I am a medical student so my views might tend towards a particular direction and I could be a little more sensitive regarding comments that go against traditional medical advice. Even so, I have only really been bothered by the comments made about the BRCA genes on this show. Although I fully believe that genes do not define nor fully determine a person’s life, you and Daniel made some off hand comments regarding the BRCA gene and Angelina Jolie that were at best misleading. Do I think that if people lived healthier lifestyles that the the prevalence of cancer and chronic diseases would decrease? Absolutely. I think it would decrease an enormous amount. Do you know who would still get cancer though? The people with VERY strong cancer promoting genes like the BRCA genes.
    You guys sort of made it sound like Angelina was silly for getting the double mastectomy since there is no guarantee that she will get breast cancer. As if, if she had just tried to live a more “wild” lifestyle she would have probably avoided getting cancer. The truth is, she has a large family history of breast/ovarian cancer, and those women with the BRCA genes have about an 80% chance of developing either breast and/or ovarian cancer. Period. No mater how healthy they live their lives. Getting the double mastectomy reduced her chances by 90%.

    So I guess my point is, be a little more careful when talking about medical issues. Someone who healed themselves from a mysterious illness is not a medical expert even though their experience is important to learn from. And I know you understand the responsibility that comes with putting out your show. People listen to you and I think they should because you do a good job of putting out interesting, informational content. But please just be more cautious when it comes to medical comments/advice from your speakers. Even flippant comments can do harm.

  8. Daniel Vitalis sells $275 pouches of “3rd party verified bovine colustrum” on his website. All listeners are welcome to do their own research on IGF-1aka Tumor Growth Factor. The same website sells “platinum Deer Antler Velvet” vials for $300 a pop. If you want to be cheap, you can go for the cheaper “gold” or the “regular” versions, that is if you want to put a price on your own health.

    Of course they monitor and make sure that the baby cows get their fair share of Colustrum before they harvest it (if the substance in that $275 pouch really is Colustrum). And why should you trust it? because David himself checks it to make sure. Isn’t that good enough for you?

    And of course it is not about the money. It is a heartfelt effort to make sure that the absolute best quality items reach the customers, and for that, no expense is spared, and hence the items are so expensive. But do you really want to put a price on your health and well being?

    And don’t forget the deer placenta. that is good for you too.

  9. “I had xyz chronic disease and my doctor made it worse….. until I found this weird trick to make myself healthier….” I would like to share this weird trick with you and offer you medical advice if you buy the bottles of expensive herbs from my website (oh, they are not organic, They are even better than organic….now how do you know that? I choose these herb growers myself..”

    …”I was in the Andes, studying the indigenous tribes and one day as I came back to camp, bone tired and feeling weak, I had a brainwave as to how the ancient tribals kept so healthy………they mixed giant globs of pork fat in their soup and churned it and drank the golden, healthy fat laced liquid……..and….these ancient people never got fat. Now I share this secretive formula with you if you buy my pouchfuls of lard and instant soup that will give you the same energy as the ancients…”
    ….And no, you do not have to run around all day, foraging for food and keeping your family safe from predators like these ancient people did (whcih, by the way is ACTUALLY what made them healthy and lean in spite of their guzzling fat laced soups). You can work in your cubicle all day, not exercise at all, and just a glass of this fat globule laced soup will keep you lean and mean…… trust me. The lard I sell is not organic because it is expensive to get organic rating…..but it is better than organic. It is “passive organic”, that is, it is produced by a handful of farmers (hand picked by me) to produce the best fat globules known to mankind… And no, any store bought lard will not cut the mustard, it has to be my product because my pigs are from the high mountains of the andes where (and where alone) grow those pikakakaka berries that the pigs eat which end up concentrating in their fat that gives my lard the magical qualities.

    I think people know where I am getting at. If I had a penny for each of the “curers of their own disease thru a weird trick they discovered which they will sell for cheap” or “screw conventional wisdom, eat what I tell you to eat (which you will buy at my website), and you will be healthy as a horse” kinds of schemes available on the internet. Just a penny for every one of these and I would be a very very rich person

  10. I have to tell you that so far I’ve only listened to half of this show…because I had to get to work and I am so excited about this podcast. I love that Daniel talks about how civilization is taking us away from our wild selves. Today was absolutely the perfect day for me to hear this since I’m struggling with my work and basically the purpose in all this “civilized” world that just seems absolutely senseless. The struggle with the job now is that there doesn’t really seem to be the message that it’s OK to turn off the phone when you leave the job. My co-workers are outworking me because they are struggling to get ahead and they don’t realize they are actually sacrificing their health for a job that will be here regardless of whether they’re here or not. I feel I sacrificed my health for the job for quite a long time and now that I’m on the LONG road to recovery I’m not willing to give up the strides I’ve made.

    I’ve never been one to spend much time outside because it seems I’ve been “unwell” for such a long time but this is definately the most interesting podcast I’ve heard in quite a while… I can’t wait to finish listening to it! Who knows, maybe I’ll go outside! 🙂 Thanks

    I have been a Registered Nurse for almost 16 years and all my health issues have taught me that you shouldn’t soley rely on your physician for medical advice. I promise that while I had my medical scare noone was more interested in my health and getting better than I was. After being bounced around to all sorts of specialists (dermatologist, vascular surgeon, allergy/immunologist, Pain Management providers, NeuroOphthalmologist and orthopedic surgeons) who didn’t have any answers for me and being subjected to more tests that I care to list, I’ve walked away more and more frustrated with “conventional medicine”. I’m glad that there are other options for me hear what’s working for others and to do the research and figure out what might work for me. At this point, before I go to the doctor, I do LOTS of research so I can save myself the frustration of having yet another physician say “I don’t know what’s wrong or what caused it…but here, take this pill! So, as I said earlier, THANKS for your work getting these podcasts together!

  11. Quote: “Each week it seems like we are mimicking each others podcast guests list..”

    Response: Yes, sadly, this is true.

    Quote: “This is a good thing as we can hit topics with different mindsets and ideals.”

    Response: No, this is not a good thing. Hearing the same screwy messages over-and-over doesn’t make it true.

  12. I too noticed that his deer antler product came up. I’m not sure if James just brought it up for interests sake, or if Daniel asked if he could bring it up at the end in exchange for doing the show. That being said, anybody who complains about that clearly didn’t listen to the other 48 min where Daniel brought up many things that do not cost anything. The complaints from above are clearly from people who just dislike Daniel. How can saying that there is medicine in wild plants, that can even be obtained for free be in the same category as David Wolfe’s 100+ superfood empire? Lets not forget Daniel’s recommendation to drink free spring water which would save people a couple hundred dollars a year, how dare he. When Daniel realized that being vegan was doing more harm than good, he did not hesitate to let his new beliefs be known even though most of his following was vegan (or at least vegetarian). Surely we can appreciate that he wanted to practice what he preached, and not just ride the lies down the money train. So it seems that Daniel, like James, is not afraid to admit when their beliefs have led them astray. The podcast was about getting more in-touch with wild earth, air, light, & water, and how we interact with them in daily life, it was not about expensive superfoods. The world runs on people selling stuff, I don’t think this is reason alone to dislike someone. FYI, anyone living near pine has access to pine pollen, you don’t have to spend money for it… and unless you have ‘old world’ wealth, I doubt anyone dealing with any kind of budget is even remotely considering buying this antler stuff.

    • Michael
      This is how the hucksters get you these days. The modern hucksters are well aware of the fact that people have become savvy. That is why they talk about free things, some good things that they have learned by reading wikipedia and a few interenet pages, and they cleverly insert whatever they are peddling in between
      The internet is full of these “clever” hucksters there days. There is a motivational podcast I listen to regularly. The guy is a great speaker (look up “make mountains move podcast”). His podcasts are really effective and he has some very useful stuff. Then, in between, he peddles “copy from amazon and paste on ebay make money get rich quick” type schemes in between. That is how they get you. They gain your trust by creating the impression that they are out there to do good, that their hearts are pure……and then they quietly slip in the stuff they are really trying to peddle
      Welcome to the new world of internet hucksters
      My advice is listen to them. They gather a lot of information from the internet (they are not experts by any means, but they do research and plagiarize a lot). use them as your grunts for research. Then , when you listen to their stuff, do your own research on what they are talking about so that you can get only the good things out of these shows. And do not buy any of the crap they are trying to sell (or trying to help their affiliate buddies sell)

  13. Hey Abel (and anyone else),

    I’m interested in learning more about herbs and the more “wild” plants, especially those that might be good to throw into a morning smoothie. Does anyone have any suggestions for good resources on that topic? I’m a morning person, so it’d be great to know more about this so I can jumpstart my days.
    Also, does anyone have experience with the Pine Pollen or Elk Antler supplements? As an injury prone athletic person it sounds like something I could benefit a lot from. Any tips on that front? (Also on how to avoid paying up the wazzoo if those supplements are something I should pursue).

    Thanks Abel! Love the show!

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