Are You Ready To Go Back To The Beginning?

by Todd Dosenberry on · 52 comments

Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley
Creative Commons License photo credit: dj @ oxherder arts

How is your health today? Be honest. Take a few moments to think about your overall health. Do you have endless energy during the day? Do you wake up refreshed without an alarm clock? Could you go one week without coffee? How often do you play? How often do you have a meaningful conversation with your spouse, child, mother, father, sibling or close friend? Are you constantly stressed? Do you live in the moment or do you constantly think about the past and worry about the future? How often do you move throughout the day? How often do you sit?

I could spend all day asking you questions that are related to your health. When people begin to take control of their health they first focus on food. That's fine. When we strengthen our relationship with food our health generally improves in all other areas. Most cultures center around food so this makes sense. Some people will feel much more healthy with a little more play and a little less work in their life. Some people need 5 minutes to themselves to start the day. We are all different and we all need to find the "it" factor.

Either way, it's time to go back to the beginning. Take a few moments to imagine what life would be like in a hunter gatherer society compared to the industrialized society. More specifically, think about food, work and play. What do you see? Do you see a bunch of boxes on shelves or do you see colorful vegetables and fruits? Do you see a large variety of animals grazing on grass and hunting other animals or factory farms with animals being treated poorly? Do you feel the urge to hunt down an antelope or bear so you can provide nourishing food for your family? Do you stumble across a body of water and do your best to catch dinner?

Do you see yourself sitting in an office chair all day or walking through the wilderness? What about play? I can imagine myself playing tag, wrestling, climbing trees and more. I feel myself living in the moment. I don't have any worries about what to write about next on my blog or what someone might think of my opinion on this or that. I can imagine myself searching for food when hungry. I may stumble across a berry patch or successfully hunt a deer.

The modern world is completely different then the hunter gatherer world. Where has our vibrant health gone? We continue to head in the wrong direction at an alarming rate. The last 30 years have been devastating. We were told to eat low fat this and fat free that. What has happened since this recommendation? All sorts of diseases and cancers.

What do you think would happen if we only ate food that we could hunt and gather? What if we think about how we may have lived in the past and combined that with the modern conveniences of today. I will never be ready to give up my MacBook Pro. Its a useful tool that enables me to inspire millions of people around the world. I am not ready to give up my clothes or friends I met online either.

I was ready to give up grains, dairy and legumes. In fact, I did so on April 5 and have never felt better in my entire life. So much so, that I decided to start a blog. It has been a complete blessing since February of this year and I am forever grateful. I have changed hundreds of lives and I will continue to do so until my time on Earth is over. I don't have a magic diet for anyone. I have general recommendations that are based on The Primal Blueprint. I continue to experiment myself and encourage everyone to do the same.

My life is much more simpler today. My idea of fitness is to simply move. Play. Do a quick 10 minute burpee workout if you want. Go sprint for a few minutes. Take a hike. Swim. Do 20 push-ups if you are up for it. Do what YOU want to do but make sure you are having fun. That is what we ultimately want, right? To have fun? To feel as awesome as possible as often as possible?

It's time to go back to the beginning. Are you ready? Let's take our minds back in time and imagine. Let your mind be free and then move back to the now. Live in the moment understanding that "average" used to mean healthy, fun and vibrant. Do you want this? I'll help you get there.

Ask a question in the comment box below. What are your thoughts? Are YOU ready to start over? To go back to the beginning? What do you think about conventional wisdom today? I'd love to here from ya!  All comments (received by October 2nd, 2011) that add to the discussion will be eligible to win a copy of Toadally Primal Smoothies.

by Todd Dosenberry

Todd Dosenberry, aka "Primal Toad", is a primal enthusiast who is on a lifelong mission to inspiring millions of people. You can find him on his blog, Primal Toad, various social media sites or possibly in your hometown as he is in the midst of a world travel expedition through 2020.
Todd Dosenberry
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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Galen Pearl September 24, 2011 at 11:23 am


I haven’t visited for awhile because I’ve been busy becoming a new grandmother! Talk about new beginnings! So I have just spent some time while drinking my morning tea, browsing back over the last several posts. I like what you are doing with your blog. When you first mentioned your new format, I was hesitant because change is sometimes hard for me, and also because I like YOUR writing very much. But I can see now that these different voices have enriched your blog and brought a breadth and depth that would be impossible for any one person, even the best like you! Your blog has always been a source of inspiration, but now it is truly a treasure trove of many riches in one place. Wow. You have really done something unique and special here. Good job of trusting your instincts and your own wisdom. What a gift.

And to all your writers, thank you for the challenging and inspirational posts. I look forward to going to your blogs and getting to know you better.

All the best,
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Lance Ekum September 26, 2011 at 10:12 pm

First off…big, big congrats on your grandmother role (and to the new little one that’s in your life!)!!

What wonderful words to read – thank YOU!

And my hope is exactly that – that these additional voices (like Todd’s) add a new depth and richness – with their own special look at this life we are living.

It’s great, as always, having you here…


Primal Toad September 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for the comment Galen! It is an honor to write for Lance. I’ll do my best to write “brilliant” articles every month!

Change can be difficult but if we choose to live in the moment then almost all of our worries naturally vanish. It’s amazing.
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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe September 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hey Todd, this is good stuff. I happen to be writing a couple of articles for my blog right now on the relationships we have with food and exercise. This post inspires me to hit the publish button a lot sooner than I had planned.

Americans and their views on food are so messed up. A lot of people would rather eat something out of a box than an apple, banana, spinach, escarole, or broccoli rabe. It’s insane! There’s a real lack of education about good nutrition today…I’m glad you get it!
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Primal Toad September 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Are views are beyond messed up. It sucks. I did not watch Jamie Olivers food revolution today but I did last year. The kids at the school he was at did not know what any of the vegetables were. They did not even recognize a potato. However, they all knew what a french fry was!
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Jimmy September 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hi Todd and Lance,

Cheers for this post reminding us where we truly came from. A long time ago in a place far, far away, we were simple people. Over the years we have become so sophisticate that we find it difficult to run our lives. Since we are into purpose and mission in life and all, it makes me wonder for these early purpose, what kind of purpose driven lives did they live? Or did they have this at all? Or could it be that their mission was to lay a foundation for all that is to come in the future?

Anyway, I believe in the importance of our basic needs which are the same as our cavemen ancestors. Good physical health, good relationship, time to explore, time to play, time for family, taking it easy. In the modern society where activities and information are flying a zillion miles an hour, going back to the beginning is crucial to put us in a state of balance for greater effectiveness in living.

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Primal Toad September 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I think they were drivin to survive. Their job was to hunt and gather food. To take care of their family. Hell, many don’t even take care of our family today! It’s all about business these days. All about making a ton of money and becoming stressed for life which leads to poor health.

You hit it right on Jimmy. It’s not about just food either. Food is obviously essential but the little details don’t matter all that much. Play more. Pick up a new hobby. Sit and do nothing – really! Chase your kids around. Play on the playground even if you are 71 years old. Play a board game. Have a meaningful conversation with a family member or friend instead of watching TV.

I don’t wish to live exactly like a caveman may have lived but living closer to that way as opposed to the modern’s way is arguably better.

I enjoy getting the best of both worlds.
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Evan September 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm

For all the diabetes and life style disease we now live longer than any known group of hunter gatherers.

Living in tune with what you enjoy sounds great to me.
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Primal Toad September 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Think about why we live longer. Or, do we actually live longer? Does pain and suffering count as living? Not in my book.

However, please do think. Starvation and dehydration must have been common causes of death. What about accidents? What if one broke a leg in Africa?! Think about the rate of children making it to age 2. That rate increases as the medical world advances. The infant mortality rate was way higher back in the day.

Disease and cancer was not present long ago. It is more present then not present in today’s world.
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Evan September 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I have given this thought.

Thinking about your comment I see contradictions.

There are studies of hunter gatherers present and long past. They died of some things and not others. Most didn’t live long enough to die of cancer or other diseases of old age.

It is unclear whether you think we don’t live longer (we do) or whether hunter gatherers lived healthier – they didn’t always (as you note about starvation, dehydration and accidents). Disease was most certainly present (though not the western lifestyle diseases) as many a skeleton shows.

So I have thought about this issue and your comment.
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Primal Toad September 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

We do live longer. But, are we actually living? Sure, we are alive but we are in pain and suffering.

Would you rather be in incredible health your entire life for 80 years or be in poor health from age 60 and onward and live to be 90?

There are people who practice calorie restriction in order to live a longer life. Who wants to strictly limit their calories their entire life just to MAYBE live 5-10 years longer? Not I.

I want to LIVE and be in AMAZING health my whole life. The lifestyle I live will do that. Western diseases are present because of how we live.

You say that hunter-gathers did not live long enough to get cancers or diseases like we do today. Really?! What about diabetics that haven’t reached age 30. Or the millions who get cancer before they turn 30. Once a hunter-gatherer makes it past a certain young age, say 25 or so, then the chances of them living in their 70s and beyond significantly increases. They don’t get cancers or diseases. They are simply not present.

Have you ever heard of the Weston A Price Foundation?
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Evan September 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Yes I have heard of the Weston A Price foundation
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Justin | Mazzastick September 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hey Todd,
I think that a little more balance would be necessary in our modern lives. The hunter gatherers didn’t live the 9 to 5 grind nor did they have as many options as we do now.

When I am well rested it is easier for me to want to play and have fun.
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Primal Toad September 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Anyone in the world can escape the 9 to 5. No one has to live that way. Anyone can find something they absolutely love doing. Every individual can say they don’t work a day in their life because they get so much enjoyment out of their work.

Most look forward to retirement. They do this for decades.

I look forward to a few things but most of the time I enjoy the moment as it is. I focus on what is happening NOW, not what might happen months from now, let alone years or decades.

As far as I am concerned, we all have it backwards. We should be playing more than we should be working.
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Jacqueline September 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

A great reminder for so many Todd. I live a very health lifestyle, no wheat, no dairy, no sugar – I exercise 4 days a week and have a 4 year old that helps me to play but I still ended up with a condition called Adrenal Fatigue this past spring. As my naturopath (the only person that was able to help me) told me it comes on from years of going beyond what your body can keep up with. I am a AA personality and sitting still just seems like a waste of time when my “to do” list is growing in my head. My organs had started shutting down and I was barely able to do much other than care for my son. It was my reminder that I had to slow down. I had to sit still. It’s not always an easy nor the acceptable thing to do in our crazy world but I was forced to and guess what – the world still moved on. With a little support my life still moved forward. I am about to have my second child ( I am adopting a baby this week!) and I have told my son that babies make you slow down. You have to move at their pace. Which isn’t 70 miles per hour all the time every day. I look forward to slowing down to watch my second son grow and learn. Maybe we all need to be reminded how we start in this world – sleeping, eating and just learning about our surroundings. Looking at the whole word with the “ahhhh” factor.
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Primal Toad September 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Thanks for sharing your story! Congrats on living a more relaxed life. We are in a massively fast paced world. It’s an absolute blessing to live minimally. You enjoy life so much more!
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Tess The Bold Life September 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

Congratulations on your life changes! I think for me balance is good. When I eat crap I feel like crap. I when I eat healthy. I feel healthy. I’m 57 and I ran a 1/2 marathon in July. I won’t and don’t want to give up coffee. I think in the US we’re obsessed with weight and food.
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Primal Toad September 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Congrats – that’s awesome! Balance is always key. My thoughts on coffee are that if one can easily go a week without suffering then great – keep drinking! But if one struggles when its taken away for a week then coffee is harming their health.

Many people rely on coffee to get them through the day – to give them energy… no! Not good! But, coffee has awesome health benefits when used properly. Tea is great too!
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Jacqueline September 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Tess! Good for you on your half! I used to run marathons and I think a half is far more civilized! Agree on the food – you are what you eat. The poor children of North America just don’t get the food guidance and exercise they need. To many people have gotten to lazy. My oldest son is 4 and there isn’t a day that goes by that he isn’t on his bike and being active. Our bodies need it but we have to teach our kids what is right and wrong for our bodies. They need to feel proud even at 4 of their accomplishments physically and to get out from behind the TV sets!
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Primal Toad September 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

You bet we are what we eat! You can take it a step further and say that we are what our food eats. Think pastured animals vs CAFO animals!

Fun activity is HUGE!
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David Stevens September 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Hi Todd,
We can get “off track” with our health. I eat as best as I can, moderation etc,
Try to eat healthy. I have been a regular exerciser all my Life therefore am better ‘equiped’ than many. I don’t jump on to the next fad however try & balance my intake. Thanks for the article. Healthy starts with a healthy mindset, if you’re attitude is not right then it’s likely that your health is not right either.
be good to yourself
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Primal Toad September 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Brilliant David! Attitude is the start. If one believes in something then the chances of that something happening are great. If one does not believe then he or she will never begin to take the necessary steps to find out if that thing can come true or not.

I hope this makes sense. Believe and their is a chance. Don’t believe and their is no chance. Positive attitude makes all the difference!
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Andy@android developers September 26, 2011 at 3:02 am

Hi Todd!
I like your idea of doing something just for the fun of it. That’s actually the way i do. If I want I do push-ups or pulling up. And I always feel better after that! And surely I should mention playing football. Accompanied by good healthy diet, such activities make my life more pleasant))


Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Exactly! Fitness should be fun. If you truly enjoy going to the gym and doing whatever then do it. We are all different. We don’t all like the same things. But if one is not enjoying their fitness activities then they should consider doing something different!
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Andrew Walker September 26, 2011 at 4:43 am

Hi there. Thanks for sharing this. You know, not everyone are ready, or willingly to go back to the beginning. Simply because they’re scared, scared to move out from their safe zone.
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Yes, I do realize this. I’m doing my best to help people throw away these fears!
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sheila September 26, 2011 at 4:54 am

Very thought provoking post. I think we’re all in survival mode these days, but we’ve got it all wrong I’m afraid. I think that is we just looked within ourselves we’d find the answer… but it’s easier for most to sit down and google. Getting back to “somewhat” of a beginning is probably the answer. That will lead us to a more healthier lifestyles physically and mentally. The question might be, “how” do we get there? Will it be forced from nature? Will it be the 2012 scenario where the sun spots blow out the power grid and we’re left to relearn to grow our own food because life as we know it comes to a halt here? Hmmmmm we’ll see. Maybe we should ask ourselves if we are indeed ready to go back to the beginning.
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Lol. There are many ways to get there! One must want to change and then the universe will guide them.
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sheila September 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Ah yes, that’s the key… the “want” to change. Good point.!
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Wendy Irene September 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

It makes me sad when I think about how disconnected we have become from our food. It is incredibly rewarding to grow your own vegetables and herbs. There is a different kind of love that comes from food you have a hand in growing or gathering. I think our bodies are all different and finding a way of eating that feels good to you can work wonders for your overall health and happiness. When I started eating Vegan diet 6 months ago, I noticed for me that my overall well-being was boosted. Have a great day!


Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Our relationship with food is a joke just like you said. Growing your own food as well as hunting for your own food and doing all the work that entails both activities grows that relationship.

Grow spinach or watch football? America chooses football…
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Cathy | Treatment Talk September 27, 2011 at 12:19 am

You are so right to remind us of the benefits of going back to some of the basic foods we were meant to eat. I avoid the processed food section in the market and try and load up on the veggies and healthy items as much as I can. I’ve recently let go of dairy and now need to work on bread, I have a hard time with that one as I do love good bread. Exercise and eating right, you cannot beat that combination. Thanks for an inspiring post.
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thank you for your comment! Freshly baked bread dipped in a unique olive oil is pretty damn good. I won’t avoid it for the rest of my life. But my temptations have significantly declined. The only time I do eat it is when I’m at an Italian restaurant which is VERY rare today. I can even avoid it now when its in front of me.
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Paula @ September 27, 2011 at 1:28 am

Do you have end­less energy dur­ing the day?
Actually, yes, if I enjoy what I’m doing! I was at a journalism conference all day today and my energy never waned, probably because I was so fascinated by all the topics we were discussing.

Do you wake up refreshed with­out an alarm clock?
Heck no!!

Could you go one week with­out cof­fee?
One week? Are you kidding? I can’t go one day!
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Lol. Thanks for answering the questions!

Doing something you love will, without a doubt, help your energy levels. It’s one reason why we are always so drained – we hate our jobs. Why not follow your passion folks?!

Alarm clock: Why not try?! I wake up between 6 and 7 daily no matter what time I go to bed. Once in a blue moon it will be past 7.

Coffee: Well, you may want to consider trying! If one can do this then they are benefiting from coffee. If one can’t go a week without it then its causing them harm. This is my general rule.
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Claudia September 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

Hi Todd…First time visitor here and found this post to be wonderful and inspirational. Thanks to an inspiring talk show on Wisconsin Public Radio over a month ago, I am now living a vegan lifestyle and I am loving it. The guest on that particular show was Colleen Patrick-Goudreau who wrote The 30 Day Vegan Challenge and her intelligent and compelling discussion helped me to revisit my food and health habits and take a long close look at where I was heading with my health. I thought it would be hard to give up dairy (cheese in particular) but it has been surprisingly easy! I feel more energetic and I definitely feel an improvement in my overall mood!. I am past the 30 days and I have every intention of maintaining this lifestyle!. Thanks again for an interesting and thought provoking post!
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for your comment. Glad to here you feel more energized!
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bbrian017 September 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hi Todd, I think one aspect I haven’t been happy with lately is the size of my belly. I don’t know why my body will not equally spread out my corn pops but maybe two bowls a night is starting to catch up lol. So health is one aspect I’ve started paying close attention to. I bought the gym membership and I’m read y to make change.

I’m also a little disappointed with my latest financial decision in life. I’m 31, work full time and I went and bought a brand new SUV 2009 for 30,000. So here I am working for someone else only to pay for this SUV. Actually if it wasn’t for the stupid purchase I would be self-employed right now with blog engage so this has been really frustrating. Now I’m stuck here for two more years until it’s paid off but I got a plan and I’m sticking to it.

So in general I don’t want to start over I simply want to make improvements on my current health and financial decisions.
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Do whatever you feel is best for you! You know your situation better than anyone else. That is why you never listen to doubters. Never ever ever. Not even for a millisecond. It’s a challenge but once you have this “habit” you get in a special zone… I wish you a lot of luck!
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Patricia - Patricias Wisdom September 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I have a hard time with play and playing in my life – I was raised to be intense and serious and to do nothing “silly”. I have added happy dancing every two hours of work, reading or sitting at the computer to attempt to shake up my serious.
I spend many hours a day on FOOD…and with my husband gone for 6 weeks I had the first huge break from cooking for someone with Celiac Disease and Allergies. We have always eaten organic and food dyes are a heavy problem. Feeding people healthy food has been my second 24/7 job.
I am eating mostly raw these days, because the garden is being harvested and I do not have to cook – I am in cooking burn out.
I will say that my parents used coffee to control my sister’s asthma and breathing problems….she had to give it up in her 40s but it was extremely effective and so much less expensive that all the meds.
Good words found here and I look forward to reading more about your mission and adventures.
Lance, Thank you for sharing and I like your new blog format….and that I can still write comments….newsletters are frustrating me right now…
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Primal Toad September 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Happy dancing? What is this? Just fun dancing? Awesome! Keep doing it! I need to dance more myself. I am about to go play on the playground 🙂
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Patricia - Patricias Wisdom September 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Happy Dancing = just getting a tune in my head and dancing to it around the room or down the hall or out of the kitchen….haven’t worked up to doing it in public much 🙂
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Primal Toad September 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Lol. That’s awesome though!


Wendy September 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I love Happy dance too.. I always do dancing whenever I heard bouncy music.. This is so good! I enjoyed reading your article… Keep up the good work! 🙂


Primal Toad September 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Wendy!
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Jen September 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Hi Todd!
Loved this post. I really feel fortunate to live in a state (Montana) that is all about hunting and gathering. So we live in the primal age out here:) BUT, growing up in a family of 4 older brothers and a father who hunted, I have always eaten more organic meat.

My husband and I have been testing our green thumbs over the last few years, and grow many of our own fruits and veggies. I am always horrified when I see the news (like last week) and the food illnesses that are infecting the nation due to bad handling, chemicals, or growing practices. Although we don’t have a certain diet (I LOVE cheese and bread) I try to buy local and from friends or farms as much as possible.
And I love the idea of PLAYING every day! I am a huge runner, but sometimes a better (and more fun) workout is dancing like crazy with my kids!! I think I need to try that HAPPY DANCE too….sounds FUN!

THanks for a great read.
In Harmony,
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Primal Toad November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I may have to live in Montana during the summer then! I’ll be on the lookout for the “perfect primal place” – really! I’ve never hunted before in my life but I would absolute love to learn. And, it would totally kick ass to grow my own veggies and fruits!


Brittany Scott October 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

Going back to the beginning seems good, when it comes to the food we eat and the environment. But the high tech living these days can also give us so much comfort that surely I will miss when these things are gone… For a while, i would love the country side living, but for long? I don’t know.


Primal Toad November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

No need to go live in the country. I live in Chicago right now. It was actually quite odd as I was walking down a street earlier today… birds were chirping up a storm and that is all I could here. It was an unbelievable moment and one that I will never forget. I began to walk very slowly and just smiled. It was unreal and something I would NEVER expect to experience in Chicago – just a few miles from the heart of downtown too!

You don’t have to grow your own food and you don’t have to hunt. Visit the farmers markets more often then you do today. Think about how we lived back in the day. Play more, work less will be HUGE. Sleep as needed and don’t be afraid to take a nap!

It goes on and on… start today!


Celestine October 19, 2011 at 7:14 am

I will not go back to the past.. Because my future is way better than my past! Thanks for this very inspirational blog!


Primal Toad November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Lol. Whatever you want to do!


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