If asked to pick your favourite Bear Grylls moment, one would surely crumble under the pressure. There’s just too many options vying for the coveted spot; like having to nominate your favourite sibling or child, each holds a particular fond place in our hearts, a place we like to visit every now and again simply to enjoy the pure entertainment of a man with the kind of adventure skills not even a Hollywood action hero could match. If you need a gentle reminder of such feats, there was the time he drank his own blood and urine, another where he ate snakes, and that adventure that saw him sleep inside a dead camel as a means of sheltering from the elements. See what we mean? Too many to choose from.
But while much of the joy of Man v Wild came from the extreme situations Grylls would find himself in, only to survive by eating the most tasteless and disgusting food available, when it comes to the real-life Bear Grylls’ diet, it’s actually far more tame than you might anticipate. He’s long been an advocate of adopting a vegan lifestyle, but Grylls admits that lately he’s switched over to animal-based products, including lots of red meat, dairy, fruit and honey.
In an interview with GQ UK, Grylls expressed that he often eats breakfast late – around 11 or 12, as he fasts for 16 hours and consumes food for only eight with a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule. While it means he typically works out on an empty stomach, Grylls says he’s learned to adapt. “Initially it was hard – my brain was going, “you need fuel for your workouts.” But that’s a dopamine hit, and I retrained my brain and now I really like it. It gives your system time to clear out. I’m not one of those people that fasts for ages, just the daily 16-hour fast.”
As for why he went back to animal products, Grylls says his health tanked on a vegan lifestyle and he’s now “super against nuts. And against grains, wheat and vegetables.” After contracting Covid, Grylls went hard on the raw juice and vegetables, thinking these were the foods he needed to consume to prioritise his health. But instead, he developed kidney stones. “The more research I’ve done, I’ve noticed raw vegetables are really not good for you,” he says. “So I’ve started incorporating quality grass-fed steak and liver. My lunch is meat, eggs and dairy, a lot of butter, and fruit. I have liver probably every other day. I started to get strong again.”
Now, Bear Grylls’ diet consists of eggs fried in butter, greek yoghurt with honey and berries, and fruit that boasts colours of the rainbow. Where he used to eat nuts and oat bars when outdoors on an adventure, he now relies on quality jerky for energy. He consumes a big breakfast before these outdoor explorations though, usually eating a meal of scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, and fruit. “Then I’ve got enough energy for two days if I don’t find anything to eat,” says Grylls.
Grylls is also quick to dispel any myths that might surround his diet, like having a penchant for raw meat and drinking blood. “If I’m at home, I’m not going to be tucking into raw steak and liver. Food is a great pleasure, and it can be cooked so beautifully. I tend to have it rare, but I like it cooked, unless I’m in survivor mode.”
As for his go-to meal after an adventure, Grylls can’t resist a burger. As he tells the publication, “I’ll make a burger from grass-fed mince, with cheese and an egg on top, cooked in tallow, fry some white rice in it. A scoop of bone marrow, and a massive tub of Greek yoghurt, and honey and berries. If I was to have a treat, I’d have some cocktails and a sourdough pizza. Maybe a good British roast, sticky toffee pudding. And freshly squeezed orange juice. I found eating like this, I have fewer cravings.”