Bear Grylls says nothing he's eaten on his survivalist shows has tasted good

·Senior Lifestyle Editor
·5-min read
When he's not eating in the wild, Bear Grylls says he prefers steak and liver to yak eyeballs and goat testicles. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
When he's not eating in the wild, Bear Grylls says he prefers steak and liver to yak eyeballs and goat testicles. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

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Bear Grylls spent most of the 2000s fascinating viewers with the things he did — and ate — to survive on Man vs. Wild. More than 15 years later, Grylls is still showing the world how to stay alive in some of the world's harshest climates by eating everything from moose hearts to raw salmon, fresh from the stream. The twist: He's now bringing celebrities along for the ride.

In Running Wild with Bear Grylls, the 48-year-old survivalist takes well-known guests like former president Barack Obama and actress Kate Winslet on a two-day trip in the wilderness. And there's no craft services table in Grylls' world — instead, he teaches celebrities how to survive by eating maggots and drinking their own urine. The most current season of the show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, started on July 25 on National Geographic, and Grylls says viewers can expect to see more cringe-worthy dining on their screens.

"It's probably one of our toughest seasons we've ever done," Grylls tells Yahoo Life. "There are really great guests from Natalie Portman in the desert to Ashton Kutcher in the jungle."

But what's the most off-putting thing Grylls has eaten during his years on TV?

"There's been a long list of pretty disgusting foods over the years and if I've learned anything, it's survival food is never pretty and is rarely gonna taste good," he says. "Some of the worst? There's been a long list from raw goat's tesicles to camel intestinal fluids to rat brain to yak eyeballs to snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, maggots, grubs and worms — you name it."

But has there been a time when Grylls took a bite of something in the wild and found it actually tasted ... good? "Rarely," he shares. "I mean, anus isn't going to sneak up and surprise you and be a pleasant experience, but sometimes you've gotta do the unimaginable."

Grylls married his wife, Shara, in 2000, and the couple shares three teenage sons. He says his boys may know how to survive in the wilderness, but they do not follow in their dad's footsteps when it comes to eating some of the worst nature has to offer. "They've tried various things over the years, but they're smarter than me — they don't need to eat grubs and worms," he says.

Still, their dad's survivalist persona has resulted in the occasional prank. "I remember a time when the eldest one, he filled up one of my water bottles with his urine and thought that would be a fun trick to swap it in for me," says Grylls. "I didn't know. I was in the middle of a workout and I reached for my water bottle and had a bit of a surprise."

Grylls says he does the bulk of the cooking in his household. "I like good natural food — ancestral sorts of food," he shares, "Sort of what you would have been eating 10,000 years ago."

His go-to choices in the kitchen? "Grass fed, good quality steak, liver, bone marrow and lots of fruit and honey," says Grylls. "And nice cheeses, good quality Greek yogurt and eggs. I don't do a lot of bread or potatoes or pasta."

Grylls spoke with Yahoo Life on behalf of his work promoting Duracell and its new batteries, which contain "Power Boost" ingredients engineered to help batteries last longer — something Grylls says is essential in his line of work.

"As a crew out adventure-filming, good reliable battery technology is everything," says Grylls, who also partnered with Duracell and Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of a critically ill child. The 14-year-old boy's dream was to go on an outdoor adventure with Grylls. This summer, Duracell and Make-A-Wish will continue to make dream outdoor adventures happen for critically ill kids.

"He's an amazing kid called Cameron who has been through so much in his life with some really tough critical life-threatening illness," says Grylls, "and for me it was a great privilege — a true privilege."

Grylls with Cameron, a boy whose Make-A-Wish Foundation dream was to go on an adventure with the 48-year-old survivalist. (Photo: Duracell)
Grylls with Cameron, a boy whose Make-A-Wish Foundation dream was to go on an adventure with the 48-year-old survivalist. (Photo: Duracell)

Never one to shy away from an outdoor adventure himself, Grylls says if he could fly anywhere in the world for dinner tonight, he'd struggle to choose between two options.

"Either with my good friend Paul Saladino (a doctor and author of the Carnivore Code) in the Costa Rican jungles," he says, "whenever I go there, he always pulls out some pretty primal delicacies and we'll get a good slab of really good steak and it's always a treat to eat that and see him."

"Or maybe I would go for a little bit of cheat and I'd go for like a really good sourdough pizza in Italy," he adds. "It's not always the most healthy, but as a one-off, I think I'd go to a pizza place in Italy."

As for the seemingly disgusting eats he survives on in his television shows, Grylls says they have a place as well. "There are rewards in the wild to those that can dig deep," he says. "Those who can do the difficult and sometimes unimaginable, and be resourceful, forage and hunt to find the things that can sustain you for rescue."

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