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We welcome Daniel Vitalis onto the pod today and might I just say stoke level is pretty high! Daniel is a forager, registered Maine Guide, writer, public speaker, interviewer, and lifestyle pioneer who is deeply passionate about helping others reconnect with wildness, both inside and outside of themselves. After learning to hunt, fish, and forage as an adult, Daniel created WildFed; a show, podcast, and lifestyle brand that integrates hunting, fishing, foraging, and ecology with nutrition, cooking, community, and outdoor adventure.
- Daniel Vitalis
Daniel and Mason discuss:
- Daniel's WildFed food philosophy.
- The hunting, gathering, collecting and foraging of wild foods.
- Applying traditional hunter gather philosophy and practice to modern day life.
- The importance of becoming enmeshed into your ecosystem and utilising your local food shed.
- Staying grounded and undogmatic in your approach to living consciously, sustainably and in harmony with the earth.
- The significance of developing a relationship to the earth and to the species that inhabit it, especially in our modern era of artificial intelligence and disconnect.
Who is Daniel Vitalis?
Daniel Vitalis is the host of WildFed. WildFed is a show, podcast, and lifestyle brand that integrates hunting, fishing, foraging, and ecology with nutrition, cooking, community, and outdoor adventure. For ten years Daniel lectured around North America and abroad, offering workshops that helped others lead healthier, more nature-integrated lives. A successful entrepreneur, Daniel founded the nutrition company SurThrival.com in 2008. Most recently, Daniel has hosted the popular podcast ReWild Yourself.
Daniel is a Registered Maine Guide, writer, public speaker, interviewer, and lifestyle pioneer who’s especially interested in helping people reconnect with wildness, both inside and outside of themselves.
After learning to hunt, fish, and forage as an adult, Daniel created WildFed to inspire others to start a wild-food journey of their own.
Headquartered in the Lakes Region of Maine, he lives with his beautiful wife Avani and their Plott Hound Ellie.
Check Out The Transcript Below:
Daniel, thanks so much for coming on the pod, man.
Yeah, man, I'm really happy to be here. Thanks for sharing my voice with your platform here.
I know that there's going to be a bunch of SuperFeasters that are like super stoked to see... Already I've hinted that you are coming on and they're all just like, "Yes." Then I'm really excited about like a bunch of people who maybe... A little bit early on their onset into the health scene. I'm really excited about introducing them to your work, and then this new project. Are you at home in Maine at the moment?
Yeah, I am. Yep right at my house. I don't get out too much anymore. I travel a little bit, but as I get older it's like I really want to be based out of my home. I spend a lot of the time, a lot of the last 10 years on the road, but now I've got so much, I'm so integrated into this place with what I'm doing now that it's like, you got to really talk me out.
WildFed, which we'll jump right into. That seems to be like this pinnacle declaration for your public work as well. That that's what you're doing. You're throwing your roots down, and then through that I've realised that on the stealth you've become a guide to me anyway. You've become like a guide in Maine. That's an interesting mindset already that I think is entwined into what's now culminating in WildFed from being someone who's traveling all over the world, all over America, doing the LA conferences. All that stuff to now being, really living and breathing… That was a long-term like little deviation. What was in that process psychologically and emotionally to really throw down your roots?
Yeah, well, I mean you look back on 10 years and it makes sense. The journey makes sense. But if I tell you about point A and then point B, they don't seem to almost like line up. But my journey has been that I started off speaking in those conferences. I have all these raw food vegan folks because I came out of that scene. They would let me speak at their conferences. I was not a vegan and I was not a raw foodist. I had been in the past, but I wasn't by the time I started my public journey. Those are early days of YouTube before podcasting. That was before social media man, it's so strange to think about that. Because it's so recently really. Now we're really talking like 12 years ago probably. I'd get up on these stages and my message would just be like starting to contradict the whole purpose of the event.
It'd be this thing to push veganism, to push raw foodism. I would have stuff that touched in with that, but I was into this idea of, well, what are like natural humans? What do they do on the landscape? What do they do without superfoods? What do they do without the health food stores and internet suppliers and stuff? What's natural for people? I always wanted to talk about that and explore that idea. I would get up and I'd give my talk. Because I was popular with audiences, I kept being invited back. My message grew further and further away from that idea. I started there, but I kept on the journey following the path. Even though a lot of people are like, "I don't like this direction, Daniel, you're starting to get away from our ideals."
Well, what was interesting, and I really I'm aware. We don't want to go too far into this thing to the history. We're here to talk about WildFed. That's what I want to talk to you about. I was someone in that audience, really loving the fact that you were up there talking about like booze. There was this subconscious awareness in one pocket that we appreciate that we're going through a change, and we liked originally what the health scene was about. We were opposing what was deteriorating us. Then there was that split of people falling in love with that push back against society into whatever.
It happens with anything. It happens with diet. You more than anyone have led the charge in terms of making that distinction around veganism. But of course it happens with the carnivore diet and TCM diets and everything. Everyone's just a fanatic. But I really liked that anarchist energy, and I think everyone secretly did as well. That's why you kept on getting invited back and it was such a-
I was amazed they would have me back year after year, but eventually obviously, we parted ways and I started my podcast ReWild Yourself, which I ran for three years as a fluke. I was really writing an online magazine and I wanted multimedia. I started doing interviews and pretty quick those interviews were just so much more… People liked my writing, a small group like 6,000, 7,000 people reading what I'm writing. 100,000 people are listening to the podcast and it's like, "Okay, this is really what people want. Less of me just writing these long articles. More of me interviewing." Before I knew it, there was this podcast. It was early days of podcasts, I hadn't set out to start one. That podcast ReWild Yourself was exploring like what's natural for human beings if they step outside of our industrial system?
What would we be like if we lived on the landscape, and what do we know about the health outcomes of people who live that naturally? Hunter-gatherer peoples. I just got fascinated by it. I was talking to so many different characters, psychologists and doctors and nutritionists and death experts and birth experts. Just it kept coming clear and clearer to me that being divorced from nature was the root cause of our problem. That led me deeper into foraging, eventually led me to hunting and fishing and this idea of like, how do I apply this stuff? Because I didn't want to end up like the Biohackers, walking around with big orange sunglasses on and a bunch of electrodes tuned to me, and breathing some weird modulated air. Just gets so outrageous that you're like this is the opposite of what I want.
I remember you actually because I followed along what was really interesting is you shared your inner journey in terms of your away from a superfood packet towards maybe more of a subsistence on nature. That's what I've always read in everyone's comments for you. Because people come across your work and they're like, "Oh, cool. He's hunting and gathering. He's from Maine. That's what he does. He's a hunter." In WildFed you say, "I didn't grow up this way. I've had to learn this shit." That's what has been… The people along the way. I read your comments and everyone goes, "I appreciate so much you sharing this inner journey with everyone." I remember a pivotal episode when I think you had like a sleep expert, but like a Biohacking sleep expert on the podcast.
In reflection after that podcast, I could hear you going, “You know what, I don't want to be taping up my curtain. I don't want to be putting tape all over little electrical things all over my house.” You want to leave the window open. That was a pivotal one for me as well because there's all these crossroads as we go along in this journey. It's something I've learned from you, is how to be aware of the upcoming crossroads. That last night when we were watching WildFed, Tahnee, my fiancé, she was saying, and she's been following you before we got together as well at, a long time. She's like, "I really love that, once again you're not presenting yourself as an expert. You're very confident in what you know, you're just very adamant about your ongoing journey once again."
I was just going to say that allows you to be aware of crossroads coming. Then you get to go deeper rather than getting over identified with a stage persona.
That's a huge danger, a pitfall. I talk about it a lot that I see happen where people get so pigeonholed into something they had been into in the past, and then they feel like they can't break free. The longer you go doing that, the harder it is once you… I remember just like I cut my hair at one point. I don't know if you remember back in the day I had long hair. It's just like even that was like, people have you so, they want you to be this one character. I feel bad for like when an actor has an iconic role, it's like you're Jason Bourne in a movie, and then you want to do something radically different. People are like, "No, you're Jason Bourne." It's like, "Oh, come on." We're dynamic people. Another thing though I'll say is that I've had many opportunities along the way to root in and become the expert on the thing that I've been spending time on. I always like to push forward.
The challenge with that is that I'm always the beginner in a scene. I'm always the new guy everywhere I go, because I'm constantly trying to learn new stuff. It can be you have to get comfortable with that, like the discomfort of that. You have to be able to relax into the discomfort of being the new guy everywhere if you're going to constantly learn new stuff, and you surround yourself [inaudible 00:08:59]. Back to it my podcasts led me to realizing that I would be a prisoner to all of these life hacks, and all of these diet hacks and eventually the encumbrance of it. When I started off, I remember before I started speaking, I was like 19 years old, walking around in Hawaii in nothing but a pair of shorts, barefoot on the beach. That's where I felt the most real and alive. Then before you know it, you're encumbered with just all of these things to be healthy.
You're like, wait a second, this is the opposite of where… I noticed that anything taken too far becomes the opposite of what it starts off as. That's usually what ends up happening. You can see this in a lot of people's career trajectory, which is why I don't want to get too stuck in any one thing. What happened with ReWild Yourself is I kept learning more about wild food and I kept resonating to that. Because food was really my first passion. I realised like of all this stuff that I've learned about, the one thing that I really I'm most drawn to doing, where I want to take it next is into the wild food arena. Rather than making the mistake I made in the past, which is like, "Can I be 100% this or can I do this all the way?" That's like that vegan thing or that carnivore thing where it's like, "Well no, I'm going to make a commitment for life to only do this one thing."
It was just like, "Man, can I keep pursuing this idea of wild food in a more moderate..." what I think of as moderate, most people think of as still pretty extreme. Can I hunt fish and forage for calories and can I make it a real thing? Can I bring it into my house? Just to tie it back to your show theme too, that started for me with medicinal herbs. That's how I got first excited about, it was foraging chaga, foraging, reishi. Because as somebody who was into superfoods, the cost of those things is high, and the connection to the thing is less than when you go get it yourself, and that was more exciting.
That was my first inroad, and then eventually it was like, "Wait, can I do this to fill my refrigerator and my freezer with food?" That led me to where I'm at today, which is making this show WildFed and doing the podcast WildFed and just exploring what a modern hunter-gatherer looks like, who lives in a super developed industrial society.
I really appreciate you saying like someone looking in, they're going to be like, "This is full on man. He's foraging for like everything." But I know you can take it way further. The fact that you're taking your ingredients to a gastropub, and allowing him to have his little injection of his other ingredients. Some of it's like a sustainable agricultural crop or even him using his own chicken stock or something.
I'm sure it's like mayonnaise and mustard and ketchup. I don't care anymore. My thing of like food exclusivity, because once you start to get the very best food in the world, it starts to, for me, it started to make me relax about other foods a little bit more. You know what I'm saying? It's like when you have venison to eat, if somebody wants to put it on a piece toast, you're like, okay cool man. Because I know I got this thing so I don't care as much as I used to when I was like always fretting about what I had for food.
So it's created a relaxation in me, which has been really healing. The relaxation comes from several different components of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that I've been promoting. But yeah, you got to see the show man. I'm curious how it landed for you and what you thought about it. Because here's the thing, I've been incubating this project for two years and I've gotten very little feedback because I've been really secretive about it.
We know you're [inaudible 00:12:25]
You're one of like 20 people that's seen in it, man.
I feel so special. I do.
Seriously, you're one of like 20 people that's seen it. I'm really curious how you felt about it.
We loved it. I think especially coming from like Tahnee and myself watching it. This is off the bat. Watching the first episode. Okay, two things off the bat. I love that there's like three or four people involved in the production, and the quality is very high. I noticed that straight away because that's something that again, that is in alignment with the simplicity of this whole lifestyle. I appreciated that, and appreciated the fact that the production was really high as well because let's face it, it matters. Second of all, straight off the bat, I liked that I know you and I know that watching one episode is gonna be very good, and it was put together very well in one episode. It had a story in the beginning and middle and end. It almost has its own catalyst in there for like the emotional ride.
However, I know that there is a plan over the entire series to take you on a journey, and you didn't shy away from that. That's what I would definitely, anyone listening, I would recommend staying in that little journey, in that path. Because off the bat, the first episode is the slowness. That was like where you got to you're like it's something about the how slow, the speed of food. There's something slow about this lifestyle. That was after you were going after, I think it was the fiddleheads and it was just like, "Fuck, we're too early. Fuck, we're too late." Then the turkey hunting. It wasn't just this, "We're going to give them a little insight into how frustrating it can be. We'll quickly go, missed it, the turkey's going away." We were there and you took us on the journey. That was something I think you were maybe consciously doing.
It was like I want to make sure that I don't glorify this lifestyle, or just show peak experiences. I really want everyone to be involved, and then see the underlying principle, which what came out in that first episode anyway was, there's just something about the speed of food. The speedier it is, the more it tastes bland and I think you said like cardboard. That straight away there's principles. You don't deliver rules. That's what I've got out of the three episodes I've seen, there's principles that you keep slippery and non-dogmatic so that it can be integrated into wherever someone is at. That's genuinely where they're at because that's something that doesn't happen. It's like, "Wherever you're at, it's okay, you do this," but, wink, wink, you really do need to get to my point in order to like [crosstalk 00:15:15].
There was a real, it is that softness, and that first principle anyway got me really thinking about how that pace of food even going to farmers markets, I don't feel anything is bad or wrong. It's just made me really think about the fact that it's like a king tide when you're out in the surf. The more and more you get that quick speedy food, the more you get sucked out really quick. It's hard to get back into really feeling the essence in that romance, in the slowness of food and really earning it in one sense. Then just obviously showing the respect in the currency of time that you're giving. That was my initial takeaway, man.
The pace of food thing is really important to me, because I like that there's tension sometimes. Even with plants as you saw, it's not just like, "Oh, they can't run away, so I'll just walk out and get them." You've got this very, as you saw with the fiddleheads, it's very delicate time window, where loading up the canoe and you and your partner going out and paddling out to the spot, it's not something you're going to do every single day. You've got to like, "Okay, when do I think they're going to be ready?" Then you paddle out and you're like, "Oh, no, we're too early, so now I've got to go back." Then you go back and it's like, "Oh man, are we too late?" Because even they can slip away from you because they got this little window where they're edible. Then as you see with hunting, I think hunting has one of the biggest PR problems.
People have such a mistaken idea about it because of what they see. You see people who've hunted their whole life, they got 40 years of experience. In hunter-gatherer societies, it's pretty understood that as a hunter you reach peak efficiency in your 40s. Because you've got all of those decades of experience that have built up. When you start and you're 40, I was 35 or so when I started, it's like maybe a little older than that. You don't know anything. It's like trying to get going. You make mistakes. I want to put all that in there. I mean everybody makes mistakes. I want to put that in there so people could see the pitfalls and the challenges. Another thing that happens is people will think, "Well yeah, it's real easy to hunt when you have a gun, oh it's cheating." Actually it's not really that simple. It's pretty complex.
You got to really understand animals, and in order to understand those animals, you've got to understand those animals' foods. You got to understand their natural life histories, and before you know it, you're becoming so enmeshed into your ecosystem, that this idea of you're an alien on earth who is like can't touch anything because humans just destroy everything they come in contact with. Instead of that you start to like reorient yourself to like, "Oh, I'm part of this ecosystem." It's not just ecological literacy, which a lot of people are lacking, but it's like integration into your landscape. You become this animal on your landscape. Sometimes predatory, sometimes herbivorous. That's one of the things that's neat about being a human is we're like a bear or a pig in that we eat both plants and animals.
Sometimes I'm out there foraging and I'm clearly not a predator on the landscape. Other times I'm out there as a predatory animal. We have these two different, and I want to, if you've noticed the way the show is put together I like to leapfrog scenes back and forth, where sometimes I'm a predator and sometimes I'm the forager. Sometimes I'm a squirrel and sometimes I'm a hawk. Both are legitimate ways we interact with our landscape. But what I really hope that show does, because obviously, where you live, you're seeing a different suite of plants and animals that are familiar to you. But I'm hoping that what it does is inspires people wherever they are to get involved in their food shed. Because wherever you live there's lots to hunt, gather, collect, forage, whatever it is.
I want people to go, "I might not have fiddleheads, but what do I have in the spring?" Then lastly, I just want to say to your point about a seasonal arc. One of the things I've noticed from this lifestyle that really excites me is, the very first thing I'm doing in the beginning of the year, a couple months from now, is I'm tapping my maple trees and I'm making maple syrup so I get all my sugar for the year. Then it goes into the, what you saw, the fiddleheads, leaks and turkeys. Then over the course of the season, I have these activities that I'm doing every year, and every year I get a little better and I learn a little bit more and it begins in the snow and then it ends in the snow. In the middle is that summer, like that beautiful peak summer growth that happens here in the temperate regions of the United States.
I wanted people to see a seasonal arc, because this world we're living in now is becoming so homogenous, especially with the way our tech climate control is, and the way our built environment is. Even though the weather is one way outside, inside's just always the same flat line thing. I wanted people to see these beautiful seasons. Each episode has a show arc to it and its own tensions and wins and losses and all of that. But then there's this arc of the season, and that's one of the most powerful things about this lifestyle for me is that every part of the year, I have something I'm excited about, like really excited about. It's snow on the ground right now. I can't get at the acorns, the hunting is all winding down, but I know ice fishing is coming. I'm so excited about that. When that ends, it's maple syrup time, it's just goes, goes and goes forever.
That's the simplicity you were talking about like a calming effect on your body I think, of anything that's made in the West, it's that calming effect so that we can explore the nuances of our parasympathetic nervous system. Whenever I've had those longer periods in nature, there's a foraging friend that I haven't been out with him for a while. He's just North of Sydney though. He was always telling me he'd go out for weeks at a time, and he just watched his senses coming back online. He'd watch his hearing become acute, and he'd watch his eyes... I didn't even realise my eyesight was getting a little blurry at particular distances when he was out. It always reminded me that consistency of time in nature, that's going to be my ultimate health practice, no matter what.
Then what you're talking about, just being on the terrain. Barefoot at times if appropriate. But even just watching the seasonality outside of a Gregorian calendar, that's something I've always really watched and considered. It's interesting because I had such a mental need, a high pace of learning the expertise of this healthy lifestyle. When you get into what you're talking about, that needs to be a slow journey. Understanding our own seasonal arc. Here, there's a beautiful Instagram here in Byron Bay in this region, koori country. It's a local mob sharing. All right. Now the winds of change, now we're getting the westerlies, now we're in this season. Right now you'll start seeing the pippies. You've got pippies over there, the little mollusc on the beach. You dig your feet in and you can go and like harvest your... It's beautiful. It's one of the easy accesses.
Collecting, which brings me to my next point. The slowness I feel you'd probably coming from knowing the lifestyle that I come from having that raw food like 'raji baji'. For me there was a little bit of like the rules don't apply. I'm always ahead of the curve. Even if I enter into like this foraging landscape, it takes me a while sometimes to really slow down and up and think, "I will listen to this person who has that 30 years experience." Even though they don't share that baseline spring water, not bringing preservatives into their life. That's something I think I learned from you heavily as well.
That ability to actually slow down and then what I think is important into your message you are actually willing to not just become a guide, but really understand this new terrain of foraging in terms of what are the regulations in order they are. We're new to this world. Remember these regulations are in there for a reason. There are quotas on what you can be harvesting. See for me, that would seem limiting coming from where I was coming from in the beginning.
Infinite consciousness, man.
Infinite consciousness, yeah. I'm like the goose man. I can just cross borders. I don't need.. Yeah That kind of [inaudible 00:23:47]. That is something that was really like, it's really helping me go like, "Right this is community." It's already in existence and we can be bridges between those communities to an extent. This is the term that I hear in opposition to the foraging lifestyle. I just wanted that to be the context. Well, not everyone can do this. It's not sustainable. That's an interesting comment and it's like a cliché kind of thing and you go and then the cliché answer is like, "Well everyone doesn't have to do it. I'm doing it." But I feel like we can have more interesting conversations and I feel like you're important to that.
I'd like to explore that a little bit because it comes up so much.
I'd love to hand it over to you, yeah please.
Well I just think that one's really interesting because it's like not everyone on the planet can play golf. That's not sustainable. But nobody's yelling that at people playing golf. Not everybody can do anything. There's like almost nothing that everyone can do sustainably. Why is it that I must defend against that? Also, why is the burden of planetary sustainability on my shoulders all of a sudden? I have to only do the things that everyone can do. Why? There are people more intelligent than me, and I'm not banging on their door like, "Why are you doing math problems I can't do? Not everyone can do that, so stop it." That doesn't make any sense. There's all this talk these days about privilege. It's like, I don't know, this is just what I'm doing. I'm not trying to exert a privilege. I'm not trying to say that everybody on the planet needs to do this.
Now I will say this, everybody on the planet used to do this. Everybody on the planet used to do this. You're only here, if you're on earth today, is because of the hunters and foragers of the past whose genetic lineage you are the current incarnation of. You do come from foragers. Now, I think of it like this, and this is an important aspect of why I created WildFed, because WildFed, I hope is a brand that goes on past me. I'm currently like a focal point in it, but that's not the long-term goal for me. I want to create a project that carries the torch of, I'll say foraging in a general sense. Because anthropologists will refer to foraging peoples as a shorthand for hunter-gatherers. I don't just mean plants here. I mean plants, animals, fungi, algae, everything. Some people need to carry the torch in this generation, especially in this generation more now than ever.
Although every generation for it to last, there needs to be people who carry it forward. We live in the era where the last hunting and gathering peoples are blinking out into extinction, extra patient or being assimilated into the modern lifestyle. They are probably not going to be able to carry that torch, the way that some of us are going to be able to. Secondary to that, is that they live in very remote pockets of the planet like Indonesia and parts of Africa and places in South America. But what about where we all live in the, you were saying the West earlier, in the developed parts of the world, and the industrialized parts of the world. Somebody needs to maintain that relationship. Here in the United States we have, like you there where you are, museums that are there, where there are people whose lives are dedicated to keeping aspects of the past alive.
Why is there nobody keeping our hunting and gathering tradition alive? Is that not more important to keep alive than memories of past wars or who invented light bulbs, or all of these things that we're keeping all that alive in museums. Or there's like museum martial arts, let's say. There's people who are practicing obscure martial arts from the past that have very little relevance to today, but they keep them alive as a museum art. You know what I'm talking about? So many things like that that we do, yet this fundamental thing that binds all humans together, which is how we got to be here, our fundamental relationship to the natural world, we need people keeping that alive, I think more fundamentally than anything. Partially what I'm doing with WildFed is just trying to pick up that torch and carry it forward. I'm most certainly not the only one.
I share this responsibility with a lot of my colleagues who are doing the same thing. Many of which are going to be featured in the video show, and many of which are featured on my podcast. People that I meet who are either doing it in a general, I'm doing it in a very generalist sense. Then there's people who are doing it in a much more specialized sense. My thing is a generalized hunting and gathering approach. But I really get excited when I meet somebody who's really specific on one thing, like they hunt bear, or they hunt only mushrooms or whatever it is because I throw a very wide but shallow net as a generalist. I get excited when somebody throws a very narrow but deep net, because I can learn so much from them. I'm trying to also create a platform that brings those people together.
Because you'll notice, I'm sure you've noticed this in the tonic herbalism thing, you'll get people who are all about foraging medicinal mushrooms. Tonic herbal mushrooms, but they don't hunt. Then the person who hunts would never even think about foraging those mushrooms. Then the person who is a dedicated plant forager might never hunt or fish. Or the fishermen might never... I'm trying to create a platform that will start to be a hub for all of those different people and those voices and those lifestyles to say, “Hey look, we're all sharing this one commonality here, which is wild foods.” It's so much more than nutrition. It's relationship to species. Because every plant, every mushroom, every animal, every algae is a living entity. It's about how we relate to that entity.
To me, there's a really deep thing going on here. Then how we relate to all of those identities together, those entities together is like how we relate to the ecosystem, and how we find relationship to it. It's just sad that we're at this point where we have to forge relationships with ecosystems as if we are from another planet. That really has bothered me over the years, this sense of alienness that we have to our own earth. Now where if you read headlines, you will see a lot more about people going to Mars than you will see about people making relationships with nature. You'll see stories about the Amazon burning, you'll see stories about the pollution of rivers and the extinction of species. Then you'll see stories about going to Mars. It's like, really, we're not going to stop first and fix this, we're just going to leave?
Isn't that like somebody in a relationship who has a bad relationship and so they split, and they get in another relationship, and the same thing happens, and they split. They never stop and face it, and face themselves and learn how to have a good relationship. It's like you just run away, run away, run away. Aren't we doing that right now? We trashed the planet and then we run to Mars and then what? Like trash Mars? Do we have a plan for Mars? What are we going to do with the garbage there? We're going to put in the ground like we did here. Where are we going with this? WildFed on its face is about food, but beneath the surface of that, it's about a lot more. It's about how we are in relationship with wild species and wild places.
Yes, mike drop. I want to say that I definitely have got that sense over the years of creating that web weaving between all these specialised fields, and the sharing of knowledge, someone who's foraging for [inaudible 00:31:21] culinary mushrooms starting to open up into say like that medicinal mushroom world and vice versa. Creating this somewhat like beautiful fascial tensegrity between all these beautiful elements of the subsistence, on which I want to talk to you about. You were just talking about that seems like a very classic pattern of you get into a relationship, you screw it up, you bounce it, you get over to the next relationship and that's a pattern. Possibly developed genetically, who knows where it came from, maybe from parents patterns.
All kinds of things.
Now what I see as you were talking about martial arts say Kendo in a dojo, what's the relevance of that? I see the relevance is that you get to do it in a very contained system that even though it's got this very certain element of making you mentally hone yourself. It's a very contained system where you can get into uncomfortable states in order to refine yourself. It's not this open ended, for lack of a better word, getting uncomfortable. Which is what I see is the difference between like a museum art and actually getting into the wild and foraging, and as you said, becoming a new beginner.
That's uncomfortable in a beautiful, beautiful way. Now getting uncomfortable for me it seems like it's going to be the only access for us to, you know, getting out of our comfort zone to an extent, in order to deal with these patterns that we have as a species that is destroying where we came from. Can you talk about that connection through foraging, through the fishing, through the hunting? How does that actually help us in our inner world basically evolve and deal with this shit that's making us run away from the most important relationships of our lives?
There's a lot there, so lets unpack it. First I'll say you brought up Kendo like with full respect to practitioners of Kendo, you would be mistaken to think that that was a contemporary art that you were going to step into the octagon and fight an MMA specialist. You'd just get your ass handed to you right away. You'd be beat down. We know it because we created a forum to test people, and everybody brought their arts and pretty quick, everything went away except ground game grappling and standup game basically boxing type stuff. That survived and everything else was obliterated very quickly. Stylistic elements remain, but we see that those things are good. Kendo is good against Kendo in a controlled setting, but it doesn't work in the real world. I want to say that partially, with WildFed, one of the things I'm trying to do is show people real meals of food.
This isn't, "Oh, did you know dandelion is edible?" It's like, that's just some mental masturbation. Let's see you make a meal out of this stuff. Because that's where what's the saying? Like the rubber meets the road. It's like I wanted to show people the real thing because we're actually, this isn't just trail nibbling stuff where we're showing real meals coming out of these wild foods. That was important to me. Now to the meat of what you were asking about. I think that if you had lived your whole life in a small town and you knew everybody, everybody knew everybody. Maybe it's a little uncomfortable sometimes because everybody knows all your dirt, but also they all know who you are, and you have these interconnections and familial connections. You grew up with people. Everywhere you go you're just waving hi to everybody because everybody knows everybody.
Then I transplant you to a new place, big city let's say, and you don't know anybody. You would have a low level anxiety taking place because you would be alien to that place, and all of your connections that gave you stability and strength, they're gone. You're now in this fragile position because of the vulnerability of that. Now extrapolate that metaphor out and it's like here you are on planet earth, but you only know other humans. You don't know plants, you don't know fungi, you don't know animals. You don't know how to survive in your environment. You don't know how to source your own food, and you're totally reliant on these systems that provide you with your sustenance. Then you keep learning about, wow, not only are these systems really delicate and prone to failure and wow, that's kinda weird.
But also like, wait, they're also super toxic in the sense that we're poisoning this food and we're poisoning the landscape in which the food comes from and we're poisoning the watersheds. Wait a second, like this wheat was genetically modified with gamma radiation. Wait, what? This isn't just like healthy natural food? You start realizing, "Wow, I'm dependent on systems that are really fragile, super destructive to the earth and on top of it, are not good for me, and I don't even know how to solve that except through tons of money spent on really expensive products that start to encumber me." It starts to get a little bit, I think what happens is we have this low level anxiety. I think you see that anxiety projected out into the world in the form of apocalypse media, which is like a whole genre of media that most of us are kinda drawn a little bit to.
Whether it's Mad Max or it's The Walking Dead or it's like prepper stuff or it's whatever it is, or survival stuff. Shows about people living on the frontier of Alaska. Why are there so many dramatic reality shows where people are sent into nature naked and afraid, or they're sent into nature to survive on an island with each other and then they dramatically compete to see who's the survivor? We have so much of this media being pumped out because it speaks to the part of us that feels vulnerable on our own planet, because we don't actually know. It's not really about, "Can Joe survive the next episode?" It's not really about that. It's about can I survive and we're using him as a surrogate. We know that we can't survive and that freaks us out a little bit. The answer is not a whole bunch of cool Bear Grills survival skills where you have like some big bowie knife and you can pee in a snakeskin instead of a canteen.
It's not about those things. It's about for me, how many species am I familiar with that I know that are food for me? So that when I walk down my street or I drive down the road, I look out the window and go food, food, food, food, food. The difference for me of a maple tree to somebody who doesn't produce maple syrup, it's just night and day. When I look at a maple tree, I know that I can pull a gallon of sugar out of that tree next year. It's like one little step less afraid that I am internally and then it's like, the Oak trees. Like I can pull acorns off of those. That's food for me. Okay it's a little bit more confidence. Squirrels, that's food for me and I love that animal and that animal and I have a relationship. Then you start adding in all this stuff. I know where the clams are, I know where the Periwinkles are. Okay, I know how to catch fish out of that river.
Before you know it, you start having all these interconnections. It's like being back in that small town where you knew everybody. Earth starts to be this safe place for you because you're anti-fragile. You have this network that makes you robust. You're like, "You know what? It wouldn't matter to me if it did go Mad Max. I know where everything is. I don't care if there's a problem in the banking system. I don't care if there's a problem with the computer systems. I don't care if there's a three week shutdown because of a tsunami that takes out the grid." All those things that people talk about, it's like I'd just be good. I don't mean there'd be no hardship, but I'm saying like all those fears start to like go away and you have this sense of relaxation into your home, which is the earth.
I think people lack that so much and they fear that nature is so hostile. It's interesting with Australia to me because it's like this place from which all these shows come that we see here in the West about how dangerous the land, the 10 deadliest snakes. We got this whole croc hunter image of Australia of like this dangerous place. But then I'm sure people over there see shows about us about Alaska and it's like, "Oh my God, Grizzly Bears and Polar Bears," and all this stuff. It's like we just have this obsession with how dangerous nature is. It's like, man, it is, if you don't know how to coexist with it, but we know.
That's interesting. Even just here in Byron, it's like even city slickers, I grew up in the city, always coming to the beach. Most times I'd be coming and visit here, which is now in my home. You're going to see a brown snake go across the path on your way to the beach in one way or another. You're going to find these red back spiders, and you're going to have huntsmen in your house. People go, "Holy shit, that's a huntsman" and even a city slicker, you're like, "Yeah, that's fine. They're okay as long as they're on the wall, his name's Pete, he's a friend." That's something I do appreciate about Australia. There's certain pockets through Maine and Connecticut that you can see especially seeing New Zealand, there's this ensconced connection to the natural world. As we know if you leave even the tiniest gap, nature's going to start creeping in, and then it's going to be easy to repopulate your in a world with those connections. That low level anxiety is insane.
I mean just here, the amount of like distinction we need to make around people going like, "Right, I read that reishi is really good for anxiety, so I take reishi." It's like, well, let's take a couple of steps back. We're completely stepping out of this, "I've got a problem give me a pill," mentality, and we need to create this fabric of a personal culture and a family culture. That can, as you said, it's like, it might be this seemingly like rough, wild world, but when you do step into it, it's this inner cushioning, and this inner easing that you have because you've gained a genuine connection.
When you were just talking about like, I assume is survivor just then, and having our experience of being able to survive through Bear Grills or through Tom surviving the next day. That's virtual reality. We're talking about the goggles coming on and us tapping out. It's on. It's a pivotal point not to get sensationalist about it, but most of us as we will be in most times of our lives, life is on and then we're at pivotal points most of the time. We do have really big choices and opportunities to take with our personal culture right now.
Bigger and bigger choices coming very soon. I'd like to talk about that a second. I want to add one more piece, which is in the raw food culture, which I think a lot of people don't understand how interwoven the raw food culture kinda got what psychedelic drugs too. Because those two things became very interwoven.
Massively. That culture started to get a little... those medicines are so powerful. Abused you can get pretty far out on a limb with them in your thinking. Things will feel extremely real to you that have basis and truth, but maybe aren't actually functional out in the world always. Pieces of truth. Sometimes things are true implicitly but not explicitly. It's true that we're all one internally, implicitly. Explicitly there are people who will kick your door down and hold you at gunpoint, and kill your family sometimes. Hate to say it, but that happens it's happening right now somewhere. Yet we're also all one.
What's happening in the explicit world and what's happening in the implicit world, they're not always the same. It's like that with the medicines you can get far out in your thinking like that the implicit reality you're experiencing that those medicines open you to is the explicit world, so you can get a little bit confused. I was thinking of just now as we were talking about a book series that some of the friends of mine in that culture were reading. I just know the name of the first book was Anastasia. Do you know these books?
Absolutely. There's Anastasia and the other channeling texts.
These books people who aren't aware it's like they come out of Russia I believe, or at least they claim to and their stories about this culture in Russia where maybe in Siberia or something, where these people are living in like pure harmony with animals and with nature. All these really interesting stories. Well people I knew were taking those as anthropological reports. They were believing that those were true stories, and that this was anthropology. I would try to stop and say, “Hey listen, there are actual people scientists called anthropologists who study indigenous peoples on their landscape and this stuff is bullshit that you're reading. It's fairy tales. It's not real.” That's not real. People would be aggressively angry with me. They wanted that to be real. They wanted to know that squirrels were bringing Anastasia her nuts.
They wanted that stuff to be real. On one end, you have people who think nature is this ultra-dangerous place where around every corner something's about to gobble you up and you need to hide in your home. On the other side you have people who are like... I've been studying bear attacks lately because I'm around a lot of bears and I'm just curious like, what happens? Why does it happen? It's interesting that you sometimes have people who are so on the other end that they'll actually provoke an animal attack on themselves because they believe like, "No, me and this bear are friends." It's like, man you can get confused on that side too. It's like the brown snake is not your enemy, but he's also not necessarily your friend. You coexist on the planet. You have different agendas and you try not to meet in a negative way, but you also don't try to unnecessarily hug him either.
Now, some people get away with it, right for a while. Like who is your homeboy out of Australia, Steve Erwin. Got away with it for a while and then he gets a sting ray stinger through his heart. It's like you also learn a respect for nature too when you're part of the food chain. Because you start to understand every time you kill an animal, you take an animal's life and you open that animal up and you see its insides you are met face to face with mortality. You're met very quickly face to face with what your organs look like, and how you're a made of meat too. That there are things that'll be just as happy to consume you whether they're microbiotic or macrobiotic. You're like, both things are true. Nature is a lot safer than a lot of people think, and nature can be also a lot colder than a lot of people think. There's some Buddhist thing going on here. It's like some middle path
Even like with TCM and that's what we talk a lot about these theories, these Taoists theories and it seems very poetic and romantic and clinical as well. It's a Yin transforms Yang. Yin Yang Wuxing, Yin Yang and the five phases of energy, it doesn't go beyond this that we're fucking talking about right now. It's very basic. We can get out of our head with it and experience it, but how far do we go down that rabbit hole of the magical thinking when it comes to far out.
That definitely was a bit of a... I could have kept on going down that world and stayed functional in my personal egoic inner knowing. That I know the reality of what's going on in this world and despite the fact that I know that it's not appropriate for me to talk about it, these people just are not tapped in. One day they'll wake up and realise what I know internally. You can go really far with it. I didn't go so far down with the psychedelics. I definitely had a few dieter's, and will continue to when I can find I can have some grounding in terms of the appropriateness of-
Has its place like any medicine has its place.
Absolutely, and the calling. I feel like we all, some of us dive into it and then step back and mature in our approach and appropriateness.
Or accept the healing of the medicine and don't just go to the medicine all the time. Because sometimes you just hit it and hit it, and it's like, "Hey man, how about you take 20 years and integrate some of that?"
I love that you went two decades with that as well. That's it. Because that's an appropriate amount of time to integrate it. Well and what's giving you the medicine? Is it your chop wood, carry water, meek, mundane, day to day. That's what Buddhism is anyway. You can keep chopping wood, keep carrying water, get a little pop, get enlightened for a second. Let it go. Keep fucking going.
We have this happening on an experiential level too. I want to tie that in there. You were talking before like about how far out you can get with something. Sometimes we need a litmus test, like a reality test to check. Have I gotten too far out? For me what that became was like, well can I actually feed myself? Let me try to explain. I was at Burning Man, the big party right in Nevada. It's pretty far out. This is over a decade ago, maybe about a decade ago. I'm there and everybody's vibe is like, "Oh, this is the new model of humanity. This is how we can live in harmony together." I'm looking around like, "No, you're on a lunar plateau right now. There's no food here." Like you're going to live this way you brought all your food. Here's a test, are we really a tribe? Okay, let's feed ourselves, can you?
Or are you super reliant on these external systems that you say you're destroying, but you're actually still completely like nursing off of it? I find like this is really fake. The same thing happens in the medicine circles to a degree too. "No we can just live like this forever." It's like, "Yeah, you're going to get up tomorrow and you're going to go to the supermarket." You say you're stepping away from the system with this stuff, but you're only doing it up here. But who's chopping the wood and who's carrying the water? That's what it's really about. Your enlightenment, if you're not chopping wood and carrying water, your enlightenment isn't integrated. That I think is what I love about hunting and gathering. It's my chopping wood, carrying water. It's how I make sure that it keeps my feet on the ground.
Because I have one of those brains that wants to take me up into the clouds all the time. That real airy sense of exploring ideas is what I get most excited about. It's that earthy groundedness of, "Okay, I'm going to go out today and get food, and it's going to be challenging, and it's going to take time, and I'm going to have to utilise. I'm going to get into that discomfort you were talking about. I'm going to come face to face with what I don't know." Sometimes it's hard because I don't know what somebody who's done this their whole life would know. I am forced back to the ground.
That is I think really important for some people because it's like they've cut loose all the ballasts and they've rocketed up to 70,000 feet, and from up there, they're not really contributing very much. They think they are by just being, man like, "I'm contributing my vibe." It's like, "Yeah why don't you come down here and carry some of this wood with us?"
My absolute favorite conversation. For people that don't know what we're talking about, I've been there going like reading the Pleiadian channeling texts getting to this. It gets confusing when you go and hang out with some of the local mob, the indigenous mob, and they will point to the Pleiades and say, where do you come from? That's where we're from. We're from the Pleiades. Then you get these modern interpretations of some of the rock art and you see the Biami, creator Biami standing on what is possibly a rocket ship until you go fuck.
There's some like hieroglyphs here and you go, "Right, these hieroglyphs show DNA, did the Pleiadians come down and seed our DNA here?" Then there's like a little depiction and a modern interpretation of a spaceship coming down and falling into those waters between like Gosford and Sydney. This exists, and you start going into this inner world and going, "This storytelling's got something to it. I'm going to make that my exact reality on the outside world, and that completely skyrockets you."
The people who are telling you that will also chase like a giant porcupine down and pull it out of the ground and butcher it and share it in the tribe. It's like they will chop wood and carry water. I'm way more open to hearing that stuff from somebody who can demonstrate that they have integrated it. That's one of the things about indigenous peoples around the world, is that they have creation stories, creation myths, or sometimes what they say are their histories too, that are pretty far out to us, but they can demonstrate the viability of their worldview through their ability to live sustainably on the earth.
But when people who are trying to demonstrate the validity of their worldview but can't do that, it's like, "Well, I'm pretty suspect. Go back, integrate so that you can actually live here in some sustainable way, then I'm more open to your ideas." What like an Aboriginal person from Australia has to say has a lot more merit to me because they've got 60, 70,000 years of proving it. They've proved it probably longer than just about anybody who left Africa. I'm all ears. Show us how. But when somebody comes from Burning Man like that and they're telling me that stuff. I'm like, "Man, you don't even know how to like do your own laundry, your mom's still doing it."
I think we're talking about the difference between someone that's just like, it's that same escapism. I'm going to get these beliefs and I feel superior and I'm going to become a missionary to these-
That's super dangerous man. That's super dangerous when you start thinking like… That was one of the things that I had to face when I started to hunt and fish. Foraging a little less so that world's a little different. But learning to hunt and fish man, I had to go speak to men who had fathers a lot of the times. Because I grew up without a father so I'm part of that culture, which is so common now in the developed world, especially as we see the breakdown of the family structure. Now, with such an emphasis on personal freedom, we'll see more and more of that probably, unfortunately, right. A lot of hunting and fishing least here in North America is passed on patrilineally. You learn it from your dad or your uncles or something. If you have a break in that like I did, you don't learn it at all. That's not to say that women don't hunt and fish, but they tend to not be the ones who pass that knowledge on at least in the past.
I would have to go in front of men who I did not understand and they didn't understand me. It's like I'm showing up with my man bun and my five toed shoes, and I want to do everything alternative to how they do it, because I know my ways are better. They're like, "Yeah, well, we actually get this done." Again, it's that same thing I was talking about before. They would have these political ideas, they would have religious ideas, they would have social ideas that were like, I thought I was superior to. And over time, I realised, that's like a really interesting type of armor that I was wearing. I was using health practices and ideas of consciousness as a shield, so as not to have to interface with some of the pricklier parts of reality that I didn't like. The parts of me that wanted the Anastasia reality. These guys were like, "Well get the fuck out of here acting like that."
Slowly, I had to learn how to humble myself to people I had thought I was superior to. Then realise like, these are the people who can teach me. This has really, really turned me around in a big way. I needed this bad. I was pretty far out there, because getting on stages and talking to thousands of people and having a podcast and all that stuff where you get this little bit of internet celebrity and you think you're sort of a big deal. Then you realise like, well in your small town nobody knows what a podcast is, and they don't care. If you want to hunt with them, this is the conditions and this is the way they're going to let it happen. You're like, have to be meek and humble.
I mean that was hard, and it was so good. My bullshit meter has I don't know has moved several steps back towards center because it was way out there. My bullshit meter was more like, "Well if you don't know about like green juice and you don't know about coffee enemas, and you don't know about six day meditation retreats in silence, then you don't know anything." It's like, dude, here I was way off the mark.
You're not paranoid about parasites all the time.
You're not worried about what they're doing [inaudible 00:56:27]. Now it's cool though, as I feel it's that third eye idea. It's like I've got a left eye and a right eye, and they are connected to different hemispheres and those brain hemisphere see the world in kind of opposite ways. One sees the world pretty analytically, and one sees the world pretty artistically. There's a merging in the center where you take those two worldviews and you bring them together. Well, I was spending all my time with just those right-brained people, and I was avoiding all those left brain people like they were wrong. Now I got a lot of those people in my life and they've brought balance to the other side, so that I feel now like I can walk a middle path. If you lose that, you might think you're on a middle path not realising you're all the way to one side or the other because you've lost the contrast.
Now I've got these people who are some of my very best and closest allies and friends, who are not people I would have necessarily connected with before, but they have opened my world up to things that I didn't know what I was missing in my life. I haven't jettisoned all the other stuff I've just for every far out idea you need some earthy idea to balance it and counter oppose it. That's really important. What we're seeing right now, it's probably a very different political landscape in Australia than it is here in the States right now. But I'm sure from the outside you can see what's happening here, which is like this soft civil war, this cold civil war that's happening here with these oppositional ideas. I get frustrated because we call one left wing and call one right wing. I'm always like, "Man, every plane I see has like both wings."
That's how it flies. You cut one off, like, "No, we're just going to be the left wing plane." It's like we'll crash and vice versa we're just the right wing. It's like you need both. They're supposed to keep each other in balance. What's happening now is they're saying, no, only this or only this. So similarly, this is a holistic, and what's cool about that is just every mystery teaching ever is always this. Whatever place you look where there's a mystery teaching, it talks about these two oppositional forces that bring each other into, and finding that balance point in the center. I think when you have this hunting gathering component, it gives a platform for exploring consciousness in a way that you never get too far off balance.
Dude, and that's why I love your work so much. I mean, when someone would go like, "Hey, so what does Vitalis do?" It's like, "Well, I'm going to tell you all the things." It's at some point it's experiential. What you're talking about is holding that consistent ground of integration and sharing, for lack of a better word, principles in and around these hardcore ideas that can be applied actually to your life. But that's why, if you are going to the supermarket, if you're going to farmer's markets, if you're doing a little bit of foraging, it doesn't really matter if you listen to the podcast. The WildFed podcast I've dug into a little bit, I'm really enjoying it so far. But the show's relevant wherever you're at, and you'll really get that. It's like, yes, it is absolutely about the hunting and foraging and the fishing.
But no matter where you're at, it's not just this bullshit idea of like, "Yeah but it can work for anybody. "It is because underlying are principles that you can… Everything you've just talked about nailed it. For someone like myself that is fanatical and does shoot off into the heavens quite often as well, that's been a nice stable ground. It helps, kind of, me feel comfortable in the direction that I'm at. I always have people coming towards me who have cracked out in one particular identity and they're trying to integrate. It's interesting trying to explain what that is. I really, really appreciate that. I'm sure it gets sung a lot, but being there and sharing authentically to help us continue to integrate and not go into the excesses that can cause pathology when we are having these beautiful intention to become healthy, that's really appreciated.
We are in that time where people, like, pathology around every corner right now. We have to be really careful. There's never been a more confusing time in history. I feel like the fundamental thing that's going to be, I mentioned it earlier, I feel like big choices are coming. Because pretty soon the distinction between reality and augmented reality and virtual reality are going to get so gray, it's going to be so difficult to sort out, not for us, man, we grew up in reality. But the next generation of kids are going to grow up in augmented reality and the next generation of kids are going to grow up in a virtual world.
It's going to start to get very complicated to sort out what's even real. As we enter into this era of deep fakes where it's like, "well, it used to be like, well I could just, there he is. I just heard him say it. It's going to be like, well that might not have been real. Now we won't know what's real. I think that soon we're going to be faced with the question of how human do you want to be anymore? Do you want to remain human? It may be that the people who want to remain human are going to be so, seen as… We have this phenomena here of Amish people, do you have that there?
We are very aware of Amish.
Okay. Amish people are really interesting. We have a lot of them here in the East Coast and you see their culture, and they're like well they're driving a horse and buggy down the highway. I'm going down the highway and it's like a horse and buggy going by. I sometimes imagine that they see us going by in our cars or how we view them, let's say it like that. The way I view an Amish person, which is like, "I mean dude, where do the bearings come from and the wheels of that cart? A factory. Why do you have this arbitrary cutoff where you go, "I don't use that technology but I use this."" That seems backwards to me. I don't fully get it because I'm not in that world. With full respect, but I don't get it. I think there's going to be people who are going to be like, "What do you mean you don't want to like live in a virtual reality or have an augmented body?"
"Or upload your soul into the mainframe. Why wouldn't you do that?" It's going to look like we're Amish, those of us who want to keep our feet planted on the ground. I think right now having a relationship to the earth and to species that inhabit the earth is so important. Because it's like a firm anchor. It's like having an anchor into something, because everything else is going to start to have drift into all these weird directions. Some point you're going to have this experience where somebody comes to you and they tell you, "Well, I've got a new girlfriend. I just need to tell you though, she's not human, but she's really, really amazing."
That kind of stuff. When you first saw an iPhone, it was like, "It's a camera and a phone and it does all this stuff." It's like pretty soon people are going to be like, "Well yeah, you want to meet up tonight? Oh no, not in reality, reality, let's meet up in VR." It's like all that stuff is coming, and it's going to get even more confusing. Right now I think having, again, it's like I'm presenting a show about hunting, fishing and foraging, and it looks like it's about food, and it is, but it's about, I want to be one of the people holding up a candle in the dark because it's going to get a lot darker soon.
Especially here in Australia, there's no culture to draw on. We're at this time where if you aren't out there consciously creating your personal and family culture, and the values and that drive it, you are going to be susceptible to that being cooked and you will be given your values and you will be given your culture. That's what we see and you get swept away, and then before you know it, you're suckling at the teat. I really loved the, I think it was episode five where you get married. You shared that. Congratulations. Just to bring us home, we're talking about some pretty deep and broad and heavy topics, which are like awesome. You need to fucking carry a heavy load every now and then. That's a big part of it. Yet, in all the heaviness, each of your episodes comes back to something that's so simple.
If you're coming out of the extremes of the health world, if you are very sick and you're in like an acute practitioner stage, it's hard to see where you're going long-term in this. It can seem boring almost that somewhat of the pinnacle or the crescendo is this idea of finding food. Whether you go out and earn it, in a way that you feel like, your soul feels aligned to how you're earning your coins. Or you can go and support industries that you really love and believe in that are contributing. Or if you're going out and foraging and hunting and fishing and then coming in with friends. This slow romance of creating not just this like, "Add some spices, and it'll be a good meal." It's like no, there's a really beautiful process going on here again and again and again. Sometimes it's alone and sometimes we come together with friends. Your wedding was so beautifully simple.
We're engaged, we're thinking about getting married I think next year. The idea is the same; cut away all this bullshit. Oh my God, there's more bullshit, more subconscious bullshit we've got [crosstalk 01:05:46]. What is that man? We want to lay down our commitment, you know, authentically in front of people who can witness that and the earth and heavens that will witness that. Then we want to have a bitchin party with beautiful food and amazing booze, and have a great celebration. That's a macro expression, and then there's micro expressions of that in the kitchen. I just want to talk to you about that. That was great that you shared your wedding. It was beautiful and just you could feel that the celebration of life and the love occurring. I mean, like that's where it's at, right?
That is more healing to me than any herbs can be. My marriage has been more healing to me than any sauna or cold plunge. I've done all that stuff and all of it has had, there's benefits to it all, but the alchemy of a man and a woman or two dynamic opposites, whatever your flavor that is, that alchemy that happens and that not running thing that we were talking about before. Even when you try, it's like you just have to keep facing yourself and facing this person, and working through and then healing. I mean just it's so beautiful. I really didn't know what I was missing. Then on the topic of the wedding itself, which was so cool to show that in that episode. It was important to me, basically like because of this lifestyle that I'm living, it was like, "Well I want to provide the food for the wedding."
I don't show every single part of that in the episode because it's like they were just deer meat that I'd harvested, and there was a lot of fish that I had fished for. But the main thing I showed was the lobsters. Because my wife Avani, she comes from Canada and just North of us in Montreal. They come down a lot of Montreal people, a lot of Quebecers come down to Maine. One of the things they do when they come down here is they eat lobsters, because we're known for it here. I was like, I want to have so many lobsters out that people will get, they can't eat them all. I want there to be leftovers. I went and I worked on a lobster boat and I brought all those, and I wanted to know where they came from. I wanted to feel, so that thing we talked about before. I wanted to not just buy a whole bunch of lobsters and have them show up at the wedding and not know the story.
I wanted to pull them out of the water myself and then have.. When people were eating it and going, this is so good that I wanted that sensation of knowing, even if they didn't know, I wanted to know. Then for the ceremony itself, boy there's a lot of pomp, there's a lot of circumstances that people get wrapped up in. Just trimming that away and getting down to the essentials, and making sure that the ceremony itself was rooted in reality, and that our vows were honest from the heart, spoken to each other, not to the people that are around us. But they were truly spoken to each other.
That they weren't rote repetitions of things that people always say, but they were really from the heart what are we committing to. Then having all the people there as witnesses. That for me, was really powerful. That day, sharing that in the first episode was pretty vulnerable I mean, I cried right. It's vulnerable, but sharing that with the world's really powerful for me because it's like that commitment with witnesses. I've realised the power of having people there and you're saying this stuff in front of people. That's a great show, the show is great. It's like we go halibut fishing, we go lobster fishing, we gather seaweed, we eat meals together. All that's in there.
The seaweed's cool. Dude what the hell, not a plant.
I know right, not a plant an algae in the Protista kingdom. Who knew that? I had no idea. In there it's just a regular show, you could watch it. But undertones of it are all this stuff about the inter-dynamics of a husband and wife and how they come together and how they're changed by that. That's just an example of how I want there to be deeper meanings in the show. Because I think that backstories that I had pitched a couple of shows particularly I really worked hard pitching a show called ReWild to all of the big TV networks. I got a lot of interest and a lot of bites at it, but every network said they wanted to dumb the show down. We'd made a sizzle reel, like a seven minute version of the show. Discovery Channel says to me, this is what the executive say to me. They said, “Look, we make really bad TV and we know that, and this is really good and we can't make it like this.”
I was like, "What?" I've heard, basically a version of that everywhere I went. I was like, "Really? Okay, you know how bad this is and you're doing it on purpose. With the greatest hypnotic technology that's ever existed or what could be the greatest educational tool that's ever existed. This audio video media that we have absolute opportunity for learning or for destroying people's minds, and you know you're using it wrong?" That was so hard for me. It was like, "I'm going to make shows that I want to watch. That have the depth of meaning and the characters have depth and they have stories and they are real and they bare themselves vulnerably."
All that was important to me. That episode a lot comes together there, and we eat lobsters, which was just awesome. We cook them over the fire and all those friends that were there, my goodness. It's cool too we get messages from people all the time that were there that say, “Hey, I can't stop thinking about that wedding. Wow, that was the best wedding I ever went to.” We didn't set off to try to create that. We just set off to have the realest wedding we could. That was fitting for the love that we have for each other. I feel like it happened and there was a lot of magic and I'm glad that we got to capture some of that and show some of it in the episode.
It was great. It was something just in terms of like everyone was able to interact with the food. The food wasn't just some side thing, and now everybody sit down and we're going to give you a little portion and use the theory. A little bit of you sit there, you sit here is great. But in terms of actually coming together and what are people going to remember? The conversation, the connection, the love, the food, the booze. That was like the meads. I'm just sitting here going, "How am I not making mead at this point with the Chuck Berry mead [inaudible 01:12:16], I'm like, how am I not doing this at this point?" You know Pascal, I've got Pascal's book.
That's one of the things too, is I really try to drive home to people, particularly in the podcast. I've been an entrepreneur for 12 years and that's given me some of the freedom and the space to explore this interest that I have in gathering food. I know that a lot of people are encumbered with a lot of stuff that keeps them from being able to commit to those kinds of practices. I'm always saying to people just like one thing, just try to find like one thing. Is there a berry that you and your kids can go gather as a family once a year, and you just bring it home and you make jam or you just eat them. Or is there like one thing that you fish for once a year or is there like a mead that you're gonna to make out of some tonic herb that you work with or whatever, just like one thing. Then maybe after a couple of years of that you're like, "Man, I got room for another thing because this is so integrated.
That's how it is. For me, is just like one at a time just trying to add things in. The trap of, you were alluding to it before, there's a trap in if you come at it dogmatically before you know it, you become entrapped in your own dogma. One of the things that will happen is you get a whole bunch of students who are doing what you're doing, and then they start doing it more hardcore than you. Then you start looking like you're not even doing it. That's like that I don't want any of that. For me it's just like, man, just like one thing, just do a little bit, just dabble in it. Reach a toe in take a foraging walk, a local foraging walk or talk to somebody you know who hunts and just ask some questions.
Or hey go out for a day on a fishing charter or something. Just find a way to get an inroad or make that mead, so that you've got this peace. Like you said, you've got a wedding coming up. Man, that's like a good opportunity because that ceremony sets the tone for the rest of your life. It's going to because that's where you're pulling all the forces together. You got all the witnesses. All that energy is focused on you two, and it's your moment to set the, our wedding set the tone for our marriage. It's been bubbling with joy, because that's our anchor point. You've got a big opportunity coming up, and congratulations by the way.
Thank you very much and likewise. That tone of celebration of life is there, and it's leading from the front. I appreciate it so much, especially when someone like myself and I know there's many others really. We're just really grateful for the example of like I'm like somewhat have been in the public light a lot and somewhat still I am coming back. Trying to figure out how to continue to engage without especially falling into that trap if you will in the beginning of going like, "Holy shit, I need to be more hardcore than the people that are following me. But then that's detracting me from this other area of life."
I really am grateful for it. I'm sure you get it all the time, but it's not in the background here in terms of what I'm seeing a big part of your work contributing to. Which I think keeps us progressive completely in nature. Bringing us into land, can you just explain to us all-in-all what this Subsistence is?
Yeah, well we say like join The Subsistence. We named our newsletter The Subsistence. We're just trying to create this culture of modern subsistence. This idea that like I know I'm not a subsistence, I'm not hunting and gathering for subsistence. Just to speak to it too, I go to the farmer's market, I go to the supermarket. I'm not doing all of this, it's not everything that I eat right. This made me think about what is it then that I'm doing? It's not like I need to do this to stay alive. I'm also not doing it for trophies and glory, so why am I doing it? I realised it's like a practice. Just like meditation is a practice. Meditation is not a sport. I cringe when people refer to hunting as a sport. I'm like ewww for me it's not a sport. Yoga is not a sport for most people who are serious about it, or Tai Chi is not a sport. It's a practice. It's a discipline. I like living it and I'm inviting people to that.
We called the newsletter The Subsistence. Over at wild-fed... this is where I'll do the promo, wild-fed.com is the website where you can get access to the newsletter, you can see all the podcasts we have going up of course. Then you can see the trailer for WildFed season one. If you click through to the season one page, we've got all the episodes with their like cold opens, their like 30 second trailers. You can see all eight episodes, little trailers for them. What we're doing, we don't have network support. We're not on Netflix yet at least, we don't have any of that. We're doing it on our own. I've made these shows for two years on my own. We're selling the show for 49 bucks and we're running a program right now its 249 bucks. What that is, is like a nine week deep dive into it.
Each week you get an episode of a show, but you get a director's cut where I'm going to spend like an hour and a half breaking that episode down and explaining all of the stuff that's like doesn't make it into the final show. Particularly too like a lot about how the legal part of this stuff works hunting and foraging. The gear little more about the species or how I got involved in it. All the stuff I can't fit into the 30 minute show. Then we're gonna to have live Q and A's. We're going to have a private member group and all that, so we're doing that. Or you can just pay the 49 bucks and get the show and starting January 6, we'll give you one episode a week for the full eight weeks. We're doing both of those things simultaneously over at wild-fed.com
That's a good offering. In terms of going back, and I've just one of those original questions like everybody can't do this. What are you going to do? It's not sustainable when more and more people, well, if we all work together. When you see that deer that's been hit and you call the ranger or whoever it was, and you go like, “Hey, what are the rules? Can you drop me a tag?” So on and so forth. That's community. We are in a community, so that's one of the best things because it flies in the face for everyone. Like, "Well, how is this sustainable?" This is how it's sustainable.
But also the numbers of hunters are so far down now. I can't speak to Australia. Lowest ever. The problem with that is that in the United States and Canada, anyway, all of our field biology, all of the research done on wildlife, all of the conservation efforts are paid for through hunting money. For instance, on my podcast, we recently had Deb Perkins on to talk about her work as a bear biologist. All that was funded by hunting tags. When hunting numbers go down, and also interestingly in the United States, guns and ammo sales of that are taxed 11%. That 11% is distributed by the federal government to the states, to do this biological field research and to do conservation. When those numbers go down, when people aren't participating in hunting and fishing, there's less money for actually the conservation of these animals. That's one thing to note. Second, we can fit a lot more people into this. Yes, it's not sustainable for seven billion people, nothing is.
Seven billion cars isn't sustainable either. But we can fit a lot more people. There's a lot of room for people to get involved in this. If you're interested in it you are not going to have a negative impact. The number of tags issued for animals is based on how many people are going to hunt based on those animal populations. What'll happen is if suddenly there's too many people, they'll just reduce the number of tags that they issue. This is being done very sustainably, so you don't have to worry about that part just get involved. You'll figure it out. There's a lot of room right now. There's so much room that I'm holding the door wide open going like, "Come on in." Maybe in 10 years we'll talk but right now we're at a low point in hunter participation. Fishing participation's up a bit more, but still down from where it used to be, so come onboard. It's sustainable, very sustainable.
Then in terms of what you were saying, like we're going to see this evolution of how our involvement in procurement of the land is going to leave it more abundant if we keep that as a core principle. With Arthur Haines coming to that leek plantation, I think it would be like on a little Island there that you guys go to, him talking about leaving that as an abundant food source for future communities. That mindset alone will keep us progressively having conversations that will ultimately lead us to having these symbiotic relationships. That gave me a lot of further insight into that whole conversation [inaudible 01:20:54].
That's the goal, man. We're not looking to do this unsustainably. We're looking to do it in ways it's that many generations out idea and leaving something that's fruitful to the future. The truth is that the earth became very fruitful when human beings were living a hunting-gathering lifestyle. It was only when we went to the agricultural lifestyle that we started to deplete our resources. People participating on the landscape, you'd be surprised in the way that our participation is like gardening. We garden the wild, we tend the wild.
The more we do that the more the wild gives us back bounty and it's more and more fruitful and more productive. It's not a zero sum game. That's agriculturalist thinking. This is different, not zero sum. It's the more we participate, the more we make. There's a lot of room and a lot of opportunity. As long as we observe good principles and we come to know, "Okay with this plant, this is how we do it and this is why we do it," and we teach that to people, then this thing can go on forever.
Dude. Absolutely. I think there's a bit of a Renaissance here in Australia of everyone realizing that the entire country was basically a sustainably run farm. That's like when all the Westerners come and they're like, the Westerners head to the local mob like, “Hey, this is my farm.” He goes cool and he points over to this field that just looks like the wild, and he goes that's my farm. It's three football fields worth of yams, wild yams. The whole thing just no fences.
The whole thing. Same with North America. It had been tended to. Europeans came and they thought, "Wow, it's like a Garden of Eden, let's extract everything." Now what we got to get back to is doing sort of like, it's in the Christian Bible in an interesting way where it basically says like, you're here to tend this garden. That's what I'm trying to get us back to. That's what's really exciting to me. Tending to the wild is an important principle of the company.
Man, I love it so much. Hey everyone when you're searching it on the podcast as well on iTunes and Spotify, one word, WildFed and it'll pop up. I love that you said you were creating something that's going to be a legacy and goes beyond you, and that's really evident in that the logo of WildFed is like a national park. I can definitely see the badges being distributed far and wide, going on the backpacks and going on the gear, really, like a weed, getting all over the place. I love it man. I really appreciate it. I really recommend everyone go over and at least watch the series, but I'll be definitely taking advantage of that, the other offerings in the director's cut.
Yeah, the director's cut. I can't wait to get out to Australia man, because I get a lot of like demographically, a lot of the people who follow my work over the years are over there. At least I know I have a lot of touch points. When I look over at some of your food opportunities in Australia and I get drooling, there's so much I want to get involved in over there. I'm really looking forward to getting out. In fact, I think about sometimes doing a whole season of episodes out that way. So I'll be out your way at some point.
Dude tune in because you have to do at least an entire season here. The foraging movement is really booming. There's like a bunch of people will be able to tune you in with a lot of local mob that are really... But it's starting to really sprout up. The urban foraging's really rocking. People are starting to become very aware of the mushroom foraging out of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, driven by a lot of the Eastern Europeans that have came over. All of a sudden that culture-esque, practice that just start with one thing has been that spore that gets into people's lifestyle and creates this wilderness.
Likewise, just North of Sydney there's a great guy doing a lot of conservationist work that is just showing people he's going vegan and he's going in hunting. Showing you can live off this land and the abundance. It's all over the place, man. I can't wait for you to try magpie goose, come and get into the crocodile, emu fat as like all over the body. It's on, it's on here man.
Awesome man I can't wait.
So much love to you for everything you do and giving us this time. Just so happy for you, that this project's really coming to.. Getting expressed to the world it must be a beautiful feeling.
Thank you, man. It is. Let's stay in touch, man. I really enjoyed this conversation.
I'd love to. See you bruz.