Bear Grylls Gave Up Veganism for Butter and Liver

Bear Grylls eat at home a little differently than in the field. The famous adventurer, known for drinking blood and eating snakes – and whatever else he needs to survive – will likely do much of the same in this new installment of the series. Running Wild: the Challengepremieres this week on National Geographic (and premieres August 10 on Disney+), where he guides big names like Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher and Florence Pugh through outdoor challenges.

At home, the food is a bit richer. A longtime proponent of the vegan diet, Grylls has since turned to an animal-based diet — lots of red meat, lots of milk, fruit, and a little honey — close to snakes and blood, but not completely. GQ chatted with Grylls to talk about intermittent fasting, nut oils, and why he hates nuts and vegetables.

GQ: What is breakfast like for you?

Bear Grylls: Breakfast is over. I’ll start eating at 11 or 12. I’ve been doing 16-8 intermittent fasting for a few years [fasting 16 hours, and eating for eight]. It was tough at first – my brain worked, “you need fuel for your workout.” But it was a dopamine hit, and I retrained my brain and now I really like it. It gives your system time to clear. I’m not one of those old-timers, only fasting 16 hours a day.

How did you get over the hump? Do you eat some almonds in the morning?

Super against nuts. And against grains, wheat and vegetables. They have negatively affected my health. I’ve been a big proponent of the vegan lifestyle for many years, and have written a book about it, but my health has been affected by it. When I got COVID a few years ago, I doubled down on what I thought was healthy—fresh juices, veggies—and had kidney pain, almost kidney stones. The more I researched, the more I realized that raw vegetables are really not good for you. So I started combining quality grass-fed steak and liver. My lunch is meat, eggs and milk, lots of butter and fruit. I have liver maybe every day. I started strong again.

Are you making fresh milk?

I’m not too strict. I changed my mind from vegetables are great to realize that we had millions of years of evolution where we were designed to eat meat, milk, and eggs. And fruit – sweet, bright colors – and lots of honey. It makes eating so much more enjoyable. I got the combination of avocado fried eggs, greek yogurt with honey and berries. Before I thought, “Oh, I have to eat a salad.” It was a revolution for me.

How is it different outdoors than at home?

It’s simple and feels natural. If I was going on an adventure, I used to eat nuts and oat bars, but I don’t anymore. I just threw good quality jerk at it. Run Wilds 36 hours, then I’m back to normal.

Do you fast while on an adventure?

Not much. I feel I need energy from the food I find. I’ll have a hearty breakfast before I go: Scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, and fruit. Then I have enough energy for two days if I can’t find anything to eat.

You have a cast iron stomach, and have eaten a lot of food out there. Does that leak when you’re not adventuring?

It can — I’ve done a lot over the years: Drink blood from buffalo arteries, chew liver and live heart. It’s not difficult, but it’s not very pleasant either. If I stay at home, I won’t eat raw meat and liver. Food is a great pleasure, and it can be beautifully cooked. I tend to be rare, but I like it cooked, unless I’m on survival mode. Bear Grylls Gave Up Veganism for Butter and Liver

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