A Conversation with Frank Forencich, “Exuberant Animal”

One of my greatest pleasures of the recent Ancestral Health Symposium, that took place just about a month ago, on the UCLA campus, was finally getting to meet fellow presenter Frank Forencich of Exuberant Animal. See, Frank and I have a lot in common about how we think of this whole “primal” or “Paleo” movement. The first clue is in the names we independently chose to represent our respective work.

It was always so obvious to me that we were dealing with a lot more than diet. A lot more than exercise, even a lot more than “the Neolithic.” We’re dealing with our very nature as animals and it runs deep and informs all aspects of not only our individual person, but how we interact with other human animals.

I sat down this morning to have a video chat with Frank, totally unscripted and far more like a conversation of like minds than an interview. I had intended it to be short but as often happens, you end up going far longer. From memory, we covered the following:

  • What is “Exuberant Animal” and how does it differ from the more common thinking surrounding things like the paleo diet and exercise?
  • What does Frank think about the Ancestral Health Symposium?
  • Did he and I start an AHS barefoot movement?
  • Will there be nudists next year?
  • A fairly lengthy conversation ensues about walking and hiking barefoot.
  • What about cutting your feet on sharp objects?
  • Are your feet too sensitive to go barefoot?
  • What about ankle support?
  • Where do you have more verve endings than your genitals?
  • The When and Where of Exuberant Animal Trainer Jams and how you can exuberate at one.
  • What about the whole Cartesian mind-body dichotomy thing?
  • Is Eastern Mysticism a better fit to describe the whole human animal?
  • Distributed computing and intelligence?
  • Where did science start?
  • My rant: how does making collective decisions as a group of 30-50 H-Gs relate to stepping into a voting booth?
  • Is this really all about going back to being primitive?

That, and probably a few things I’ve forgotten. This is my kind of conversation and I’m thrilled that we’re not so primitive I can’t even share it with you, virtually worldwide, on demand. Hell, I don’t think I even dropped a single expletive, so this might even be work safe. It’s in two parts, about 15 minutes each.

And so now, here is Frank’s Presentation at the Ancestral Health Symposium. I highly recommend watching it. Deep Evolution. Here’s his slide deck: Talk Paleo to Me.

Some other Exuberant Animal links:

  • Exuberant Animal Jams
  • East Coast Trainer Jam, Oct 14-16
  • West Coast Trainer Jam, Oct 21-23
  • Big Picture
  • Frank’s Library

You know, this is a lot of video, a lot of information. I’ve been sitting on Frank Forencich for a very long time and now it’s time to free that [exuberant] animal. If you’re a fan here I can’t imagine how you’ll not get even more.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Colin Pistell on September 8, 2011 at 04:40

    Frank is a real visionary when it comes to holistic health. I strongly recommend reading some of his books and learning more about Exuberant Animal. More importantly, he’s a great guy and he walks his talk. He looks 20 years younger than he is and moves better than a lot of the kids I see in my movement/parkour classes here in Chapel Hill. An inspirational man.

  2. Nick on September 7, 2011 at 18:13

    The videos will not play. They are set to private.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 7, 2011 at 18:28

      I’ll have you know that I realized this before I saw your comment. So there.

  3. Evolutionarily on September 8, 2011 at 09:20

    Superb! Really enjoyed this casual water cooler style chat. Highly informative, I hope you do more, thanks.

  4. Chris Highcock on September 7, 2011 at 23:47

    Frank is a great guy, a superb and inspiring writer.

    I interviewed him way back – – but the text seems so old school now that everyone is doing video and podcasts. He made some some points though.

    All his books are definitely recommended, especially Play as if your life depends on it, although that one is hard to get now


    • Chris Highcock on September 7, 2011 at 23:49

      …it is so old that lots of the photos I linked to have disappeared too 🙁

  5. Dee Miles on September 8, 2011 at 09:24

    Thanks for doing this interview with Frank, as I probably wouldn’t have heard about him otherwise.

    I like that your chat was unscripted and flowed organically! When you make it more of a chat, the realness of both of you comes through and I really dig that. “Interviews” are great, but natural discourse just rocks.

    I also checked out his website and found he’s located in my area (Seattle). Richard, do you plan to attend his West Coast Event in October?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2011 at 09:42

      Thanks Dee (and Evolutionarily) for recognizing the value of these videos.

      They take far more time and effort to do than writing a blog. Unfortunately, I am not getting the sense that very many share your enthusiasm. On the other hand, they do seem to bring in natural traffic via YouTube which is a new thing.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2011 at 09:44

      Oh, I forgot. I don’t have plans to attend in October, but I may do so at some point in the future.

      • Evolutionarily on September 8, 2011 at 19:19

        Perhaps you could create a vlog sidebar or something that addresses the video series? I don’t understand how people could not like them, other than perhaps they are simply used to, and comfortable with, your writings.

        We are uniquely wired to interpret visual (and to a lesser degree audio) information. Writing is very new, a picture really does paint a thousands words when viewed from ancestral perspective.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2011 at 20:02

        The blog has traditionally been part cerebral, but with a heavy dose of vitriol and plain old debauchery in written form. I may have advocated slitting throats and eating livers, but I don’t remember.

        Yes, the fuller experience is what has been attracting me to video, lately. Mind AND body.

  6. Mike on September 8, 2011 at 09:31


    you thought the Surgeon General was fat? Meet the Director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

    • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2011 at 14:57

      Holy shit, Mike. Well, if that doesn’t deserve a spot in my post fodder folder, nothing does. Perhaps it’s time for a name manes smack down.

      I’m not satisfied until their kids are embarrassed at school.

  7. Jules on September 20, 2011 at 05:22

    I hadn’t heard of Frank before AHS & his presentation was one of my favorites! He seems like such a cool dude.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow by Email8k