logo

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

- Henry David Thoreau

image

How-To

May 01, 2019

The Untold Benefits of CBD Oil for Outdoor Athletes

Doctors, performance athletes and weekend warriors experiment with CBD for enhanced, yet natural recovery.

WRITTEN BY

Davey Braun

This month, US pharmacy chain CVS announced that it will sell cannabidiol products, commonly known as “CBD,” in over 800 stores across the country. Walgreens jumped on the bandwagon by announcing it will sell CBD products at over 1,500 stores. Major consumer goods manufacturers like Unilever and Coca-Cola are creating a mainstream market for CBD products including infused beverages, moisturizers, candies and even deodorant.

CBD’s trending ubiquity bears many unanswered questions. Is it safe? Is it legal? Are its purported health benefits accurate or just hype? With this explosion in accessibility, it’s important to understand just what CBD is and how it interacts with the human body.

A selection of some of the CBD products that are now becoming widely available

The Outdoor Journal interviewed naturopathic doctor Aimée Shunney and neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon to discuss why they choose to prescribe CBD in their practices and whether over-the-counter CBD can help athletes perform better, recover faster and enjoy the outdoors in a more natural way.

Bold claims revolve around CBD’s therapeutic properties – from fighting inflammation and improving sleep to curing diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Dr. Aimée Shunney, a naturopathic doctor in Santa Cruz, California, recognizes the confusion around these sweeping claims and the overwhelming influx of CBD options.

“Now there are over 850 hemp-derived CBD companies in the US, when I started prescribing it only four or five years ago, there were a handful, so I think a lot of people get confused and overwhelmed with choosing between tinctures and sprays and capsules. Folks can’t read the labels. They don’t know where to start.”

The legal landscape involving CBD is evolving rapidly. In December 2018, the US Farm Bill was signed into law, legalizing industrial hemp, which is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating compound of cannabis. Accordingly, it is now legal to purchase and consume hemp-derived-CBD oil, capsules and balms in all 50 states (while food items require FDA approval).

RESISTANCE TO STRESS

While exploring CBD’s medicinal potential over the past five years, Dr. Shunney has recognized CBD’s most universal therapeutic benefit: an overall resistance to stress.

“I’m not getting as stressed out with the daily rollercoaster of my life.” – Dr. Shunney

“Of course I did what every good doctor does when they discover something new and I tried it on my spouse and myself. I started to notice what I now call more ‘stress resilience.’ I’m not getting as stressed out and emotional with what goes on for me in the daily rollercoaster of my life as I used to. And my patients would say to me that, with CBD, ‘I can handle stress and be grounded and take smart, practical steps about what to do next as opposed to freaking out and wrecking my day and being completely unproductive.’”

CBD, once consumed, inhaled or applied as a lotion, interacts with our body’s synapses, the connections between nerve cells. There it can increase our naturally occurring “joy” or “bliss” neurotransmitter called anandamide. This transmitter, and the receptor in the brain it links to, can have significant anti-anxiety effects.

In addition to serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, as humans, we have natural cannabinoid receptors in our brains. The first type, CB1 receptors “are very densely distributed in the brain and in particular in the limbic system, composed of the Amygdala, the Hippocampus, and the Hypothalamus, which is in charge of our entire emotional life, our emotions, our drives, our instincts. So what does a healthy limbic system do? Well, it doesn’t freak out at every stress that comes along.”


MEET DR. SHUNNEY

Dr. Aimée Shunney, Naturopathic Physician at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Aimée Shunney, a naturopathic physician, has been in private practice for nearly 20 years, currently at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, CA. She blends conventional medical diagnosis and treatment with the use of natural therapeutics like dietary and lifestyle counseling, nutritional supplements, and herbal medicine. She has been an educator and medical advisor to various companies in the natural products industry since 2011. Learn more @drshunney on Facebook


HEALING THE BODY AND MIND

Besides bolstering our body’s baseline protection against stress, CBD can benefit athletic performance and recovery by alleviating pain at its source as well as mitigating our perception of pain within the brain.

It may sound supernatural, but, in a two-pronged effect, CBD can reduce inflammation in a targeted area like the neck, lower back, or hamstrings, while simultaneously reducing a person’s perception of that pain inside of their brain.

Dr. Joseph Maroon, team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers, prescribes CBD to his athlete patients.

“CBD works at the source of the pain and the emotional center of the brain.” Dr. Maroon

“There are two components of pain. There’s the objective burning sensation of damaging receptors in the skin, and then there’s the limbic or emotional perception of your reaction to the pain. CBD works in both levels. It works at the level of reducing anxiety through the limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain, and it also works by producing analgesia, or pain relief, through the pain receptors.”

Dr. Maroon recommends a variety of CBD applications to both professional athletes as well as outdoor enthusiasts.

“CBD can be used in different ways. One way is as a topical application, or balm, which can be applied topically to sore ankles and other sore joints. Then there are the most common ways of using it, with drops or capsules, that will not interfere with athletic performance like marijuana would (because it contains THC). It can be taken before or after workouts, or any time inflammatory effects are experienced, without fear of significant complications or side effects.”

Every day, an estimated 30 million people take Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories or “NSAID” drugs like Ibuprofen and Aspirin to treat aches and pains, despite the known dangers such as an increased risk of a heart attack.

According to Dr. Maroon, CBD offers a safer, more natural way to fight inflammation.

“When patients have problems with inflammation, particularly neck pain, back pain, or joint pain, I personally would prefer CBD to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. They kill about 16,000 people a year from gastric ulcers and hospitalize over a hundred thousand because of gastrointestinal side effects.”

Dr. Maroon is not just a neurosurgeon, he’s also an avid triathlete, having competed in over 70 triathlons and eight Ironmans, with multiple finishes in the top 10 of his age group.

“I don’t hesitate to take CBD myself, instead of aspirin or Ibuprofen. I’ll use CBD oil both topically and orally on a ‘PRN’ or ‘as-needed’ basis.” I have no problems ingesting it before, during or after a race.”


MEET DR. MAROON

Joseph C. Maroon, MD, board-certified neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Joseph C. Maroon, MD, FACS, is a board-certified neurosurgeon with more than 20 years of clinical experience at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has been the team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1982. Dr. Maroon is an expert and consultant in the areas of sports nutrition, concussion management, and brain and spinal problems. He is an internationally competing Ironman triathlete. Dr. Maroon was inducted into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame as well as the National Fitness Hall of Fame in Chicago for his athletic accomplishments and contributions to sports medicine. Learn more @drjosephmaroon on Facebook.


MOOD ALTERING VS. MIND ALTERING

Look up any article on CBD and it will undoubtedly say that CBD is not psychoactive. While it is true that CBD does not possess the same mind-altering properties of THC, which gives marijuana users that “high” feeling, it is a misconception to say that CBD is not psychoactive, because it does modulate mood by reducing both anxiety and depression.

American Hemp Field: Photo by Brendan Cleak.

According to Dr. Shunney, “We can’t say CBD isn’t psychoactive, because it is, it can impact mood and decrease anxiety. As an integrative doctor, when I see people for depression and anxiety, I would say an overlap is inflammation.“

CBD may not alter our minds, but it can alter our mood, thereby reducing our experience of pain, our need for analgesic, pain-relieving medication, and our perception of stressors in our environment.

Without the mental fogginess or paranoia associated with marijuana, CBD is a great selection for athletes who need to maintain their coordination and quick reaction time. Without the intoxicating effects of marijuana, CBD does not impair our hand-eye coordination or our psycho-motor properties, which means we can perform at our best.

THE BODY’S NATURAL CBD SYSTEM

“The endocannabinoid system has so much to do with how we perceive the world around us.” – Dr. Shunney

One reason why Dr. Shunney and Dr. Maroon are in the minority of physicians who prescribe CBD to their patients is because many doctors are not even aware of the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, or “ECS.”

“Doctors aren’t being educated about the endocannabinoid system. And how to support it, let alone how to use hemp and CBD,” says Dr. Shunney.

“The ECS is made up of Endocannabinoids. These are cannabis-like compounds that we make ourselves. We also have enzymes that produce and degrade those endocannabinoids. And then we have two different types of cannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2, which are located in every organ system of the body, which helps us start to understand why, when we impact the endocannabinoid system, we see effects in every system of the body.”

These natural receptors are located throughout the body, but CB1 receptors are most densely distributed in the brain, while CB2 receptors are most densely distributed in the periphery immune tissue where they modulate the immune system. By ingesting “Phyto-cannabidiol”, or CBD derived from plants, we can improve the functioning of this “endogenous” natural system.

“One of the most important and easy to grasp mechanisms of action for how CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, and maybe the most important one, is that CBD impacts how much of our own endocannabinoids we are making. It modulates the amount of our own endocannabinoids that we have on hand, and it helps to create better endocannabinoid tone, or balance between the way the receptors are stimulated. CBD will also affect receptors outside of CB1 and CB2. It has a pronounced effect on serotonin receptors, GABA receptors and dopamine receptors. This is part of why we see such profound effects on mood and anxiety and stress response.”

THE RISKY DECISION TO PRESCRIBE CBD

Prior to the 2018 US Farm Bill removal of hemp-derived CBD’s controlled substance status, doctors prescribing CBD, like Dr. Shunney, were operating in a legal gray area.

“We’d been keeping people from this beneficial plant medicine for so long. It just felt like it was time.”

“I wasn’t blind to the fact that, being associated with cannabis, hemp was not well separated in the legal structure from marijuana on a federal level in the states at the time, but my personal experiences with CBD were exciting enough to me that, in 2015, I started talking to my patients about hemp-CBD and in Santa Cruz, California, I don’t think I encountered a single person who wasn’t open to the idea of trying it.“

Dr. Shunney was confident in the safety of CBD and felt optimistic that legal clarity was coming just around the corner. “ I’m not a cowgirl by nature in how I practice. I’m very careful and very practical, but this felt like a really important thing to do. We’d been keeping people from this plant medicine that is so beneficial for so long. It just felt like it was time.”

Because of its efficacy and reliability, CBD outperforms other natural remedies that Dr. Shunney has prescribed in the past. “One of the great things about CBD is that it’s very fast acting. So if you’re using it for something like pain or anxiety or sleep, you’re going to know relatively quickly if it’s helpful to you. You don’t have to take it everyday for two to four weeks like many of the natural remedies that I recommend.”

After making the decision to prescribe CBD, the next step was to physically carry brands in her office that Dr. Shunney knew were “high quality, well-tested products,” as opposed to sending her patients to go to the health food store and “picking whatever’s on sale or has the prettiest package.”

When selecting a CBD product, it’s important to read the labels and look for third-party testing, which allows companies to demonstrate the excellence of their quality from seed to shelf. Both Dr. Shunney and Dr. Maroon recommend PlusCBD for this reason. PlusCBD, a non-GMO product, has undergone the rigorous testing to prove its potency and content, as well as the absence of toxicity, heavy metals, dioxins, solvent residue and pesticide residue, which could be present in other brands.

Extra Strength Balm – Plus Almond Butter

According to Dr. Shunney, as well as Dr. Maroon, a medical prescription is not necessary to see if CBD works for you. “I think CBD is safe enough that people can start on their own with small doses.”

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND RECOVERY

If you are an ultra-marathon runner, a cyclist, or an avid hiker, CBD can help you recover quickly and perform at your best.

According to Dr. Shunney, for someone who is cramping up halfway through their mileage goal for the day, “I will often recommend a systemic dose of 10 to 25 milligrams, depending on the person, once or twice a day, morning and night. For a particularly sore area like a sore knee, you can actually apply CBD balm to the area multiple times throughout the day to provide some additional local anti-inflammatory and analgesic support.”

Regardless of current injuries, if you’re heading into the outdoors, CBD is a useful item to keep in your first-aid kit. “It’s a great thing to have with you when you’re outdoors because it’s fantastic for all manner of skin irritation and inflammation. If you brush up against something that’s starting to bother you and you’re not in a place where you can get it fully diagnosed and looked at, CBD balm can be fantastic for anything with an itch, anything that’s red and aggravated, a wound healing, et cetera.”

WHAT ABOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS?

“The general concept is to start low and go slow.” – Dr. Maroon

When watching TV in the United States, audiences are often bombarded with pharmaceutical commercials rattling off a laundry list of side effects associated with each drug. However, CBD is not associated with adverse side effects, or the dangers of overdose, beyond a potential upset stomach or drowsiness.

In Dr. Shunney’s experience with prescribing CBD, “one of the worst side effects is that people will say it doesn’t help them if people had very high expectations of these products. They’re often waiting to feel something. I think part of that is the association with cannabis. And I tell them they’re not going to get high, but they’re waiting to feel altered. So that could be a disappointment for some people. What I find with most people is that it might make them too sleepy. So if you take it and it makes you feel sleepy, that’s an indication that you’ve taken too much.”

POOR LABELING IN THE WILD WEST

We’re still in the early days of hemp-derived CBD regulation where poor labeling and even deceptive marketing are a reality. A 2017 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found nearly 70% of CBD extracts sold online are mislabeled. The study found that about 43% of the products surveyed contained less CBD than listed on the label, while a quarter contained more than advertised. One in five of the products contained some amount of THC.

Dr. Shunney cautions consumers to do their research before buying online, or in a store near you. “It’s still very much the wild, wild west and different states have different label requirements. You want to look at a label that’s going to show you what the serving size is, and the milligram dose of CBD in each drop or capsule.”

Although hemp derived CBD is permitted according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), all other cannabinoids are still prohibited in-competition. If you’re sport involves testing under the WADA umbrella and you want to take CBD for recovery, there is a chance that your brand contains one of the banned cannabinoids even though it is not listed on the label.

OVERBROAD HEALTH CLAIMS

In addition to aiding recovery and fighting inflammation, some marketers are attaching bold health claims to their CBD products – claims that are unsubstantiated scientifically. Dr. Shunney warns consumers to be on guard for brands that claim their products cure diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzhiemers and cancer.

“When companies are making bold, broad health claims, those should be red flags for consumers. That’s not how we want to be communicating as an industry if we want to make sure that these products remain accessible to everybody.”

The manufacturers attaching “miracle drug” claims to their products are walking on shaky legal ground. The FDA requires hemp-derived CBD that is marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, or with any other disease claim, to be approved by the FDA for its intended use before it may be introduced to the market. It’s only a matter of time before brands with unproven claims face regulatory action.

“When companies are making bold, broad health claims, those should be red flags for consumers.” – Dr. Shunney

Furthermore, even though CBD derived from hemp is no longer listed as a controlled substance, CBD-infused food items, beverages and dietary supplements will also require FDA approval because CBD is already an active ingredient in the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, a treatment for childhood epilepsy, and it is otherwise illegal to introduce drug ingredients into food items. Any food and beverage manufacturers jumping ahead of the approval process by stocking the shelves of health stores are risking product seizures and large fines.

A COMPETITIVE ATHLETE’S TAKE ON CBD

Competitive cyclist, Joshua Bonnici, notices faster recovery and better performance with the inclusion of CBD as part of his training regimen.

“I heard about CBD through other cyclists but was slow to pull the trigger, worried that it was a ‘banned substance’ as defined by USAC and UCI. Once I found out it wasn’t banned, I decided to give it a shot. For me, the right dose is two PlusCBD Oil softgels after hard training, and three drops of PlusCBD Oil drops under the tongue before bed.”

Competitive cyclist, Joshua Bonnici is training for two ultra-marathon races, the 137 mile Belgian Waffle Ride on mixed terrain, and the Leadville 100 MTB race.

Joshua is currently training for two ultra-marathon races, the Belgian Waffle Ride, which is 137 miles on mixed terrain, and the Leadville 100 MTB race, a 100 mile off-road race dubbed the highest and most difficult in the nation.

“PlusCBD Oil has replaced Ibuprofen in my recovery. My legs don’t feel as fatigued after hard training days as before. I have definitely noticed an improvement in sleep, which makes weekly 5:00 am wake-up calls to train easier. Since it’s allowing me to recover quicker, and sleep better, I can train with more intensity and more volume than before. That, in turn, enhances my performance.”

IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS

With the recent federal legalization of hemp-derived CBD oils, an explosion of CBD products has entered the mainstream market. Athletes and outdoor enthusiasts may now legally enjoy over-the-counter access to CBD products that can help them sleep, train, recover and perform in a more natural way than pharmaceutical alternatives like common NSAID drugs. CBD is safe to try without a prescription if you follow the general rule to “start low and go slow.”

As CBD-infused foods, beverages, dietary supplements and cosmetics flood the market, it’s important for consumers to use caution and diligence when selecting a product that is labelled properly. Athletes in competition should be aware that some CBD products may be a mixture of CBD and other cannabinoids, even THC. Congress and the FDA will be playing catchup to regulate the plethora of brands who have rushed the market prior to receiving FDA approval.

Given the widespread interest in CBD’s potential health benefits, we may only be scratching the surface of discovering the optimal way to maintain the human body’s natural endocannabinoid system for overall stress resilience.

Learn more about Dr. Aimée Shunney

Learn more about Dr. Joseph Maroon

Feature Image by Brendan Cleak.

Continue Reading

image

Athletes & Explorers

Jun 19, 2019

REWILD with Tony Riddle: Part 2 – Children and Education

Tony Riddle explains how our educational system must be reinvented to better preserve childrens' innate abilities and uniqueness.

image

WRITTEN BY

Davey Braun

In our latest series called REWILD with Tony Riddle, The Outdoor Journal has been speaking with Tony about his paradigm-shifting approach to living a natural lifestyle that’s more in line with our DNA than Western society’s delerious social norms. In Part 1, we introduced how Tony is leading a rewilding movement through his coaching practices as well as his commitment to run 874 miles barefoot across the entire UK to raise awareness for sustainability.

In this installment, Tony discusses society’s disconnect from our ancestral hunter-gather lifestyle, the need to completely reinvent the education system, and how to preserve children’s innate abilities.

REWILD

TOJ: When I see the word “rewilding,” I picture the opening scene of the movie Last of the Mohicans where Daniel Day-Lewis is sprinting and leaping through the woods on an elk hunt. Is that how humans are supposed to be, an athletic animal in tune with nature?

Tony Riddle: In modern society, we’re basically living in these linear boxes, breathing in the same air, getting the same microbiome experience, sleeping in the same room over and over, and nothing alters. Whereas the tribal cultures that we came from are moving through a landscape that’s forever changing. They’re always uploading new sensory pathways, new sensory experiences, constantly in a state of wiring and rewiring the brain. For me, the path of rewilding is getting back to that – being present in nature and honoring a cellular system, a sensory system and a microbiome system in their natural setting.

When you start to really assess it, some people have this vision of hunter-gatherers as savages, but these are sophisticated beings, and as they move through the landscape, they become the landscape.

By “Rewilding” we can get back to a lifestyle that’s more in line with our innate human biology.

Tribespeople operate in these states of meditation which, when you have kids you appreciate it. I’ve studied childhood behavior in the formative years, those first years up until the age of seven. The brain is working at a certain hertz that you and I can only achieve through meditation. This is the state of Flow. It hasn’t been cultured or schooled out of them.

When I think of “rewilding” now I have a term I’m calling “rechilding.” We’ve got to try and get back to that level of frequency that tribes have managed to stretch into adulthood. I’ve tried to break down the behaviors of these tribes. I discovered Peter Gray’s work, who asked the question to 10 leading anthropologists, “What does childhood look like in nature?” From infancy through the age of 16, children play. That’s all they do, without any adult intervention, and they learn everything they need to learn about their adult environment in those first playful years. So if that’s the case, then they go into adulthood still playing and they don’t have to work to find flow states through that field of senses and the frequency that they’ve been operating in.

PLAY

TOJ: In familiarizing myself with your work, I noticed that some elements are about reverse engineering the range of motion, movement chains and posture of our own selves as children, while others focus on reconnecting with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, how do you reconcile those concepts?

“For children, it’s about preserving their wildness and their innate abilities.”

Tony Riddle: For children, it’s about preserving their wildness and their innate abilities, the stuff that you and I would have had but we went through an educational process where it’s not appropriate to move or say anything out of turn, where children are expected to just sit still in a classroom for hours on end and not share anything. But then you realize that when you go out into the world that you have to share everything, We need to show them the appropriate behaviors and not dumb them down by limiting their experience.

Tony spending time climbing trees with his children to preserve their innate ability to climb and balance.

In those early years, we have things like physical education, but before physical education, we have play. We were all playing around, trying to understand the physicality of our body. We’re born with all the gear, we just have no idea how to use it, because our adult species doesn’t know how to demonstrate the appropriate behavior. When we go through the playful state to try to understand this system as children, we might impersonate all the animals, but now as adults, we have to go to animal flow class to relearn it.

When children go to physical education class, they’re given specialist clothing, which includes sneakers and the specialist clothes that their adult species wear. The adults model to children how tough exercise is and how brutal it is. Adults come back profusely sweating, which is absurd because imagine the hostile environments that this species has had to traverse! My DNA goes back 270,000 years to a tribe in East Africa. So imagine how hostile these environments would have been!

“Imagine the hostile environments that this species has had to traverse!”

We observe these parkour kids, they’re showing us what’s innately in us. I love hanging out with them because it’s just expanded my mind and my movement. The physicality of the human being is unbelievable, but it’s been cultured into a sedentary position at this stage because the adult population is showing a compromised, sedentary lifestyle. By the time a child reaches the age of seven, all of the observations are made – the templates for the rest of their lives. So if the adult species is compromised, then within those first six years, that’s all the child will recognize as their potential range of behavior. I call it their “Tribe of Influence.” The tribe of influence is made up of your family, your friends and your close community around you. If you’re observing all their behaviors, that just becomes your social core. It doesn’t mean it’s biologically normal, it’s just the social norm. And social norms of today are so far afield, we are doing the most horrendous things. I read a stat yesterday, since 1970, 60% of the wild animal populations are gone. We’ve managed to do that in 50 years. That’s less than one human life span. Our social norms are compromising the planet.

Read next on TOJ: Tony Riddle: Introducing REWILD

REMEMBER YOUR PAST

There’s a great term I’m plugging the moment which Peter Kahn called “environmental generational amnesia.” Every generation that’s born, it can either expand on the knowledge passed down from before, or be dumbed down further, and it only remembers where it left off. So for those 60 percent of the species that are gone, to the new generation that comes in, that’s their new norm.

“It doesn’t mean it’s biologically normal, it’s just the social norm.”

The natural human pathways from our previous generations have been forgotten in a way, but movement is just a component of it for me. It goes beyond movement. There’s a whole physical, social and spiritual animal that needs rewilding. There’s also sleep and play and nutrition and human contact, even sunlight. We’re just disconnected.

Tony regularly plunges his body into icy water to maintain proper cardiovascular health.

We have a D3 issue with our culture now. We’re surrounded by artificial light in artificial environments, but when we do go out in the actual environment, we cover up by wearing sunglasses, so we’re not actually absorbing any of the nutrients from the sun that we should be. Especially in the UK, people are starved of sunlight, but as soon as the sun is out, they’re wearing sunglasses. If you look at helio-therapy, the highest absorption of D3 is around the eyes. There was a study recognizing that sun exposure helped kids with TB recover, but it also found that when they put sunglasses on, they didn’t get the results.

REINVENT EDUCATION

TOJ: If you were the superintendent of a school, what changes would you make if you are in charge?

“The educational system has to be scrunched up, thrown in a bin and restarted again.”

Tony Riddle: It’s almost like the educational system has to be scrunched up, thrown in a bin and restarted again. It’s flawed and it’s not working. In countries that are trying to do something about it, in particular, Finland in Scandinavia, it’s completely different. People are starting to wake up to the fact that it’s not biologically normal to be indoors all day, it’s not biologically normal to sit down all day, it’s not biologically normal to eat processed foods. But, that’s the environment where we’re growing these young bodies and minds.

The future is unraveling at such a rapid rate with tech. My understanding is, the current iteration of the educational system will have to die because of the way that the tech world is transforming things. So what can we possibly take from the educational model of today for five years time or 10 years time, where are we actually going to be in terms of the evolution of tech?

Like father like daughter, training their hanging L-sits on the olympic rings.

There’s almost like a natural pendulum. It’s swinging way back over this way. Now we’ll start to explore more biologically normal ways. With my barefoot run, I’m trying to raise awareness of these issues like sustainability in the environment and I can reach a wide audience through technology.

“It comes down to small changes.”

It comes down to small changes. You can drive yourself nuts thinking, “I’ve got to do this and do this…”, but actually, there’s value in just assessing things that are in your hands, looking at what is a biological norm versus a biological extreme. If you can’t justify something, you have to let it go. Then, what you can start to do is whittle away at things that aren’t appropriate behaviors and that will improve in the next generation that is observing those behaviors.

You and I are walking around with the observations from those first six years of our lives, and then if you really unravel it, we’re walking around with the norms of our ancestors as well.

We need a different educational model. We need a schooling system based on educating kids about their fundamental needs, including movement and play, one that gets them involved in growing natural foods and learning about their own independent role within the interdependent social tribe.

We’re all unique, but we go to school and we’re taught to conform. You have to sit and do the same exams, but in a real tribal situation, there’s an interdependence of the tribe, When you have kids, you suddenly realize how important it is. I’ve got three kids and another one on the way. They’re all different. Nature didn’t design them to be the same. They’re designed to be uniquely different so they fulfill their role in our tribe. Why not nurture the fact that they are different in order to grow their individual talents at a very young age. How do I nurture their unique abilities and create the appropriate environment for them to learn and become uniquely awesome?

Tony’s coaching is individually tailored based upon the belief that we all have a unique role to play in our community.

Stay tuned for our REWILD series featuring an in-depth discussion of Tony Riddle’s socially extreme, yet biologically normal practices.

Part 1, Tony Riddle: Introducing REWILD
Part 2, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Children and Education
Part 3, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Transforming Your Body
Part 4, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Barefoot Running Across Great Britain

To connect with Tony, visit tonyriddle.com

Facebook: @naturallifestylist
Instagram: @thenaturallifestylist
Twitter: @feedthehuman
Youtube: Tony Riddle

Feature Image: Tony’s daughter working on her grip strength in Tony’s studio.

Introducing The Outdoor Voyage

The Outdoor Voyage booking platform and online marketplace only lists good operators, who care for sustainability, the environment and immersive, authentic experiences. All listed prices are agreed directly with the operator, and we promise that 86% of any money spent ends up supporting the local community that you’re visiting. Click the image below to find out more.

Recent Articles



Tony Riddle: Introducing REWILD

Tony Riddle seeks out ancient, yet socially extreme practices to reconnect us to our ancestral selves and unlock our natural human biology.

Human Lives Are Not More Important Than Animal Lives

Captain Paul Watson, environmental activist and founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society explains interdependence of species and why a biocentric approach is what the world needs.

Adventuring On A Plant-Based Diet With Ben Stookesbury

In the era of fad diets, we caught up with expedition whitewater kayaker, Ben Stookesbury, to hear his experience balancing diet and expeditions.