Worried about the zombie apocalypse? Go primal.

I have been waiting for-ev-er for this post

Let’s face it.  When the zombie apocalypse comes, most of us are going to die. Some of us will die from rotten luck (our partner is patient 0), some of us will die because another human will kill us (because people are asses like that), and most people will die because their bodies aren’t suited to the kind of living necessary in the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Yes, I am talking about some overweight/obese people. But I am also talking about thin people who never exercise. I’m talking about people who have not yet gone primal.

That’s right, I’m calling it. Those who survive the zombie apocalypse will be those who have moved to a paleo/primal lifestyle or are taken care of by someone who did. Why? Because everything you do in primal living is perfectly suited for survival. Duh, that’s what it’s based on! The survival techniques of our ancestors. Let’s break it down. I’m using Mark’s Daily Apple’s metrics for what constitutes a paleo/primal life.

Long distance walking and hiking

Despite what the movies tell you, the chances of getting a car when the world ends is pretty unlikely. Even if you can get a car, fuel is going to be drained in most places. Despite what people may think, the world is going to shut down long before it fully ends.

So get ready to walk. Long, long miles. The cities aren’t safe anymore, so you’re going to have to get out into the country, and if you’re like any other American, you’re going to have to travel a long way to get there.

This is NOT the kind of hiker that gets killed in the woods

Hiking is a part of the primal lifestyle, and an essential one. If you have never walked a long distance (shame on you!) or gone for a hike (shame on you!), you can never appreciate how taxing walking can be. It is incredibly good for your muscles, but if you’re not ready for it by the time the apocalypse comes, you’re going to be dragging your escape party down. You’re not going to make it out of the concrete jungle, much less up that mountain.

Start your apocalypse training now: begin with walks around your neighborhood, then maybe walks to work or to take your children to school. Climb hills. Traverse terrain. When you feel up to it, start doing day hikes. Slowly work your way up till you can go on extended hiking trips. You’ve completed this part of your training.


Personally, I have always found the slow, arms-out zombies to be unrealistic. If these things are made from human beings, you bet they can run and come after you. Even if they can’t, other things (like live people and animals that broke out of the zoo) can. If you can’t haul ass, you’re going to get brain eaten.

So you’re going to be running — a lot. And I don’t mean beach-bunny, hair flipping, make all the out of shape people jealous marathon running. I mean running for your life. And if you’re running for your life, are you bopping around, listening to your iPod? NO! YOU ARE RUNNING FOR YOUR LIFE!

Poor fat bastard.

Our primal ancestors didn’t don Nikes and spend an hour or two cruising around the block. They walked — a LOT — and then when someone or something tried to eat them, they sprinted. This makes human beings in their natural state perfectly suited to survive the zombie apocalypse. After all, it doesn’t matter what body part the predator wants to eat. It just wants to eat you.

Start your training now: Most people can sprint, even if they are overweight. The only people I would recommend NOT sprint are morbidly obese people. Sprinting before you’ve dropped some weight can do some serious damage to your knees. Do some walking first. For the rest of us, get your sprint on! The idea is not to be able to win the 100-yard dash, but to simply get your butt moving as fast as you can for as long as you can. The more you sprint, the longer you’ll be able to go. I would also throw in some zigging and zagging if you’re good at it. Zombies have inner ear problems.

Strength Train

Imagine this: you’re sprinting down an abandoned street from a hundred zombies when suddenly the helicopter your friends found (unlikely) comes to rescue you. They can’t land, but they can get just close enough for you to jump and catch the feet. What do you do? You freaking jump, of course! But then… you can’t lift yourself up. Well, shit.

You think this guy sits on the couch all day?

When the zombies come, you’re going to have to lift things. Yourself, your romantic interest who always finds him/herself in trouble, your pack when you get out of the city. Perhaps you might find yourself pushing zombies away from loved ones. What do all of these things require? Strength, and a good bit of it. Our ancestors had the same needs. Hauling back a deer carcass from the hunt isn’t all that different from carrying a fallen comrade away from a mass of man-eaters back from the dead.

Start your training now: Remember the helicopter example: start doing pull-ups. Lift heavy things, and often. Try out crossfit, if you have the money for it. The bare minimum you should be able to lift is yourself.  When you’re struggling, imagine your mother, your brother, your partner needing your help. Ladies, don’t count yourself out of this one. You bear just as much responsibility for your own safety as you do of others. And no, you will not get all muscley and masculine.

Cut the grains and sugars!

Finally, we come to the crux of the primal lifestyle. Cut the grains and the sugars!! Do you remember the scene from 28 days later when Scarecrow Cillian Murphy and Tia Dalma Naomi Harris are climbing the stairs and Murphy needs to sit and rest. Why was he such a wimp? Because he was crashing. Crashing is the single worst thing that can happen to you in the apocalypse. Why? Because if you’re crashing, you can’t sprint, hike, or lift yourself up. You’re dead in the water, and soon to be ripped apart.

In other words, "it's all fucked"

What causes you to crash? Sugars. What immediately converts into sugars in your body? Grains. Essentially what happens is that when you consume sugars or grains, your insulin spikes and either helps break down the sugar to give you short-term energy or it stores it into fat. Once your insulin spikes and all that sugar is “put away,” your energy levels drop dramatically. Have you ever been so hungry that you started to feel weak, your hands shook, and you didn’t feel like you could do anything? That’s you, crashing. This is not ideal when something is about ready to eat your brains.

Our primal ancestors had no access to grains that they could eat. Why? Because you can’t eat them raw, else they were poisoned. Our bodies are best designed to digest and use fats, and carbs from veggies and fruits. So too will you best be served by these dishes when you are living in the post-zombie world.

Start your training now: Cut out the grains and the sugars. If you’re one of those “small steps” people, start small. But I can tell you from experience that the only way to get the bad out of your food is to, well, get the bad out of your food. Go on a purge of your house and get everything with a grain in it out. Donate it to a food shelter. Give it to someone you don’t like. Just get it out. Replace it with lots of meat, fruits, veggies, and nuts. These are the kinds of things you’re going to be able to get ahold of once you get out into the safer countryside anyway.


When the zombies take over, it is the primal people who will eventually win the earth.  They will be better suited to get out of the cities via sprinting and long hikes. They will be able to help themselves and their loved ones with their lifting muscles of wonder, and they will be able to sustain their lives by not ingesting things that will make them weak.

If the zombie apocalypse is a genuine concern for you (it is for me!), then you might want to consider the primal lifestyle as a way to get ready.

Cause they’re coming.

What are some other ways primal living can help us prepare for intense situations? Did you ever survive something because of primal training?


Posted on July 20, 2011, in Meta-dieting. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I absolutely agree with everything on here. Although I’ve been told that the chances of the zombie apocalypse are infinitesimal, I would rather be prepared. I am most assuredly NOT joking.

    The only Primal diet problem I really have besides my addiction to candy is my reliance on grains. I have horrid acid reflux, and grains do a great job of soaking up that extra acid in my stomach. I cut out as many grain carbs as I can to be healthy, but in all likelihood, my acid reflux would probably kill me in the post-apocalyptic world. Erode my esophagus, or something equally unpleasant.

    Great post!

  2. I don’t know about throwing out the grains. Having something like a big bag of rice is going to be useful if you end up hole up somewhere. Keeps much longer then those fruits or veggies.

  1. Pingback: Ditching the scale « The First Fifteen Pounds

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