This article is written in partnership with Ancestral Supplements. They’re dedicated to putting back in what the modern world has left out, ethically, and we’re proud to work with them. ~ ed.
I was jarred awake when he sprang out of bed like the house was on fire.
“Um…what the heck is going on?” I asked my husband, Jeff, who was already pacing on the carpet near our off-white, translucent curtains. It was a miracle that the 8:00a.m. Sunday sunlight didn’t jolt my eyes open before his panic did.
“If I don’t go biking right now I’m going to lose my mind,” he said.
Okay—can we just wipe the crusty sleep boogers out of our eyes first?
This wasn’t like Jeff. He’s more of an easy-like-Sunday-morning kinda guy. He typically saunters down the stairs, fires up his Sumatra coffee, beckons our Google Home for the morning news, and cracks open the patio door to admire the parade of birds that visits our copper feeder. But as we all know, this past year has been anything but typical.
So, what’s really going on here?
Brian Johnson, owner of Ancestral Supplements, and expert on sustainable methods that empower us to thrive, would say this is an easy answer: we were never meant to live in such a modernized world.
Surrounded by technologically rich environments and blue-screen prisons, our mental and physical stamina have drastically declined—the same stamina that eventually allowed us to become the baddest mammalian predator on the face of the planet.
We as a species are becoming atrophied, and many of us, especially men, are starting to panic.
As Brian tells it: “Men evolved from fighting, hunting, protecting, struggling, persevering, and winning. And when we win, we get rewarded with a boost of dopamine, androgens and more things that cultivate such behavior.”
Meanwhile, the only hunting Jeff has been doing has been for the best-priced toilet paper online. This dopamine deficit began long before the pandemic, and came to a head this past weekend. And Brian’s philosophy about tapping into our genetic and primal design instead of the modern living we’ve become accustomed to—all technology, no movement, processed diets, and hardly any nature—has never been more crucial to our well-being than it is now.
My Yosemite Half-Dome-climbing, terrain bike-riding, Triple-Black-Diamond-snowboarding husband hasn’t relished in the rush of the great outdoors in over a year. Traveling has been on hold, work has been relegated to our spare bedroom, and he’s spent zero time at the gym. It’s been driving him crazy, and as he put it: he’s losing his damn mind.
The frustration brewing in Jeff’s core was coming from the gap between his primal desires and his hamster-wheel daily life. His inner Olympian has been fighting to get out, while being suppressed by a 9 to 5 and a diet with gaping holes in it. What’s missing from his store-bought salads, exactly? Well for starters—some Indigenous cultures, Warriors, and Gladiators got their pregame hormone boost from eating raw animal organs—testicles to be exact, and there’s science to back the modality of ‘like supporting like’ a.k.a. testicles supporting a serious testosterone kick.
“Radioisotope labeling studies in animals have shown conclusively that, when eaten, organs and glands selectively travel to the corresponding organs and glands in high concentrations. This research, done at the University of Scotland in Edinburgh, lends credence to the ancient practice of eating animal organs to help ensure health in one’s corresponding organs…” ~ Dr. Ron Schmid, ND.
In other words—Jeff’s panic-stricken bike ride that day? It didn’t just come from the lack of dopamine and androgens from constantly being stuck at home—the source was also a deficit in essential male nourishment that can be improved by eating grass-fed organs, much like our ancestors did. Like most people, he doesn’t have to love the taste, or to straight-up consume organs (cooked or raw). All he has to do is throw a few capsules of these nourishing organs down the hatch each morning.
But men in the modern world can’t just get their mojo back from supplements alone. They need to commit to the lifestyle that Brian suggests along with them—one that’s rich in challenges and sacrifices—ultimately leading to a deeper sense of purpose.
When was the last time you did something that really scared the shit out of you?
Our “normal” routine-driven lifestyles are killing us—well they will, eventually. Novelty is key to strength and survival, and although getting chased by a bear will kick up the adrenaline that we (especially men) need to feel alive, there are some other recommended sources of adventure that you can start trying—right now.
>> Start simple…cross your arms left over right instead of right over left. Brush your teeth with your right hand instead of your left. It sounds basic, but if you’re going to stretch your evolution muscles, you’ve got to create novelty in just about everything you do.
>> Take a cold shower…right now. Go! Then see how you feel immediately after. The freezing cold causes you to struggle, to fight, to overcome. You’ll feel the mental this isn’t what I’m used to discomfort, and the real, genuine discomfort of being freaking freezing. But you’ll feel alive, and as Brian says: “comfort isn’t good for the organism.”
>> Get a genetic reset…and do a 5-day water fast. I know—it sounds extreme, but giving your mind and body the framework for real struggle is key for survival. You’ll engage parts of your body and mind that have sat pretty for too long, and you’ll feel like a new person once you’ve gotten to the other side of it. Get “The Complete Guide to Fasting” here.
>> Go nose-to-tail…and eat like our ancestors did. An organic, grass-fed and meat-based diet is key for reaching ketosis. That said, you can’t live on just grass-fed meat alone, so Ancestral Supplements fill in those nutrient gaps.
>> Buy a bow, throwing knives, an axe, or even a spear…and start throwing them in your backyard to perfect your skills just like our ancestors did—on the plains chasing the buffalo or other megafauna. And if spears are hard to come by—actions like chopping wood, building a fire, or doing CrossFit to test your physical limits will emulate those sensations you would get from tapping into your primal instincts. If you’re outdoors, you might just run into a bear that you’ll high-tail it from, anyway.
>> Find your tribe…our purpose as people used to be tied to protecting ourselves from danger and the elements—it was quite literally life or death. The watered down lifestyle we enjoy now leaves many of us feeling empty, without a clear sense of purpose. What tangible threat do you have to defend your family from daily? What common goal are you collaborating to achieve? Most likely there isn’t a clear one, and that creates a void that has grown wider over time. Surrounding yourself with the right people (especially now that we can safely gather) is a fundamental element of thriving in today’s world, and one that was ingrained in our ancestors.
Without struggle, we can’t develop strength, and by implementing these practices you can fortify your mind, body, and spirit in a way that no Peloton class can. Take the story of the koala as a cautionary tale.
The koala once had a relatively large brain that occupied the full dimensions of its cranium. But once it discovered the eucalyptus tree, which shielded it from danger while providing a 24/7 meal source, it hardly had to struggle for any reason. Modern day koalas now boast the smallest brain size of any similar creature, and their intelligence is equivalent to that of a…eucalyptus leaf.
If we become complacent in our trees—err, homes—we’ll wind up like our furry friends in the least adorable way. But we’re not going to overturn our latest programming overnight. We need to consistently and consciously challenge ourselves over time to achieve the level of sustainability that Brian has accessed for himself, his children, and for thousands of people.
It begins with your lifestyle choices, and can be supplemented with the right nutrients—the ones we’re lacking even more than the behaviors we’re hard-wired to crave. Taking inspiration from our primal instincts to stimulate our bodies and minds is the missing link between surviving and thriving, and you don’t have to wait until you’re on the brink of a breakdown to begin, so start right now, and start simple.
Write with your other hand. Do it—right now. Feels weird, right? Good. It should. But, guess what? You’re already growing.
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