How To Live Naturally In A Modern Society (Daniel Vitalis Q & A)
Daniel Vitalis was featured in our film, Hungry For Change. So much of what he believes in resonates with us, and still to this day, his philosophy on living naturally continues to inspire and educate thousands around the world.
Daniel is especially interested in how our long adapted ancestral ways have been disrupted by modern domesticated living, and what we can do to restore the natural conditions that once granted us vigorous bodies and wild, sovereign minds.
I sat down with Daniel to discuss his top tips for living naturally in today’s society and explore more about his fascinating podcast, Rewild Yourself launching today!
Q1. Daniel, you’ve mentioned that you first became interested in health at the tender young age of 15, when a friend gave you a book that talked about the healing power of food. Can you briefly tell us what your health journey has been from then until now?
It’s true, I was just 15 when I started learning about self-health care. My early journey began with me following many different health fads. At the time, I was too young to have historical context for the way diets come and go. Over the years I saw the dominant health trend change many times. Today I recognize that the human body is a product of many millions of years of hominid evolution, and that, while there is no “ideal human diet” (we are just too diverse of a species), there are general guidelines we can all follow. Essentially, I believe we are wisest to model our diet and health practices off of indigenous (wild, natural) humans.
Q2. You advocate a return to natural living and eating. In your view, what are three key foods that should form part of a naturally healthy diet?
Rather than three foods, I would say 4 food groups, or better yet “4 Kingdoms of Nutrition”. These are Animal, Plant, Fungal, and Bacterial. When we observe Homo sapiens in “the wild”, in other words, natural people, we see that they eat from all 4 of those categories. I think our most judicious dietary choices center on choosing the best of these 4 that we have access to.
Q3. What are your Top 5 lifestyle recommendations for living a vibrantly healthy life?
How about 7? I believe that our best approach is to balance the following 7
1. Optimal diet.
2. Fresh, clean, healthy water.
3. Clean, fresh air.
4. Abundant natural sunlight.
5. Sufficient, complete, healthy sleep.
6. Consistent, frequent natural movement.
7. Mind balancing meditation.
When we have all 7 in balance, we have a very complete (physical) health practice.
Q4. You talk a lot about the need for humans to live in greater harmony with our natural environment. What are some easy, active steps that just about anybody could begin today to help with this?
Just spending time outdoors is a great place to start. That puts you in direct contact with fresh air (yes, even in a city, outdoor air beats indoor air!), natural light, other organisms, more freedom to move, etc. Over time, as your outdoor practice deepens you can move towards things like camping, foraging, naked sunbathing, etc. But first, just get outside!
Q5. You have some really fascinating views on childbirth. Why do you think childbirth has such a profound impact on our well being later in life?
Beginnings are so important! It’s as if we believe that infants aren’t conscious because they don’t form explicit memories. Now we know they ARE forming memories, they are just implicit memories. Consider the difference between being born in a calm, quiet, gently lit environment with your mother, father, and midwife present to welcome you to the world vs. being born in a fluorescent-lit hospital room, high on the drugs your mother has had injected into her, being yanked out of the woman surgically, or with a vacuum or forceps. What different impressions might your deep limbic brain form about the safety of the world? Don’t even get me started on male genital mutilation...
Q6. Many people live in cities and don’t have the opportunity to connect with nature as they go about their daily lives. What would you suggest to city-dwellers to help them to reconnect with their inner ‘wildness’?
Even cities have their pockets of nature. It’s crucial to find the parks or hidden places that are all around you. Connect with the plants and animals that inhabit your city. Learn to identify the weeds that grow up through your sidewalk cracks, get plenty of outdoor, fresh air. Get up high to see sunsets and sunrises. Realize that you are part of your city’s ecosystem! Oh yea... and get some house plants!
Q7. You take a very broad view of health and don’t just focus on the physical stuff, like food and exercise. You also talk about learning to communicate properly and developing emotional intelligence. Why is this so important too?
The days of believing that health is just a product of physical practices are behind us. Epigenetics teaches us that all of our experiences, including community and communication, affect our gene expression, and therefore our health. To me, the goal has always been personal development. Health is a part of personal development, but just a small part. Rather than seeking health for health’s sake, it makes sense to seek health as part of a larger self-actualization strategy.
Q8. What are some ‘non-negotiable’ things you do each day to stay so healthy and grounded?
I must sleep well and for at least 8 hours. I have to start (most of) my days with meditation. I need to shower or bathe in fresh water. I have to get a movement session in, ideally breaking a sweat. I really like to have a blended drink or smoothie. I make sure to have lots of fresh spring water. Bonuses would be a sauna session, some good loving, and a great night’s sleep. Wait, did I already say that?
Q9. Season 2 of your podcast ‘Rewild Yourself’ is set to launch March 23rd. The focus for this season is ‘Habitat For Humans’. What inspired this theme?
I bought a new home recently, and I am really interested in setting up the healthiest habitat that I can there. So I am inspired to uncover some of the ways we can make our homes less of a cage and more of a healthy human habitat!
Q10. What can viewers look forward to learning about in this new season?
Well, it’s still a bit early to say, but you can bet there will be plenty on the subjects above, like diet, sleep, and fresh air, but also lots of other areas of healthy living that are often overlooked, like exposure to temperature extremes or activities like community building. You can bet I will dig into some of the more taboo areas as well, like sex and natural plant drugs. I love to go places that others shy away from. It’s one of the secrets of getting unconventional results!
If you’re interested in learning more about Daniel and his philosophy on healthy living, check out his ReWild Yourself podcast! It launches today, March 23rd and offers lifestyle solutions for the domesticated human.
Daniel and guests explore a wide variety of topics in quest of better health, fitness, and a more rich and fulfilling life! Focusing a great deal on how we can optimize our personal "habitat" aka where we live and work!
Previous guests include best-selling authors like Neil Strauss & John Gray, PhD and health experts like Dave Asprey & Wim Hof. The 2015 season was one of our favorites, so we can’t wait to tune in!