Friday, January 25, 2013

Origin Story

I thought it would be a good idea to give a little background on the guy who is behind this blog, how I found this wonderful lifestyle, and what have my results been. I am not a trained in any medical field or nutrition training. Just a good student of the ones who have created this protocol, reading lots of books, blog articles and listening to podcasts. I am very interested in teaching others about Paleo, and want to see other healthy and to thrive. To be free of the system that does not allow us to thrive with the governments food pyramid and health care that focuses on treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals and surgery, versus prevention and natural therapies for healing.

I am a born and raised Comox Valley boy. As a youth we spent many hours outside playing, building forts and riding bikes. It was a good time in my neighborhood as there was plenty of empty, forested land around to explore. My dad always had a boat and we would be out fishing and cruising in the summer, targeting coho salmon and day tripping to Tree Island. I would swim and snorkel for hours in the beautiful waters of this Provincial Park. I was lucky enough to also have a few uncles that would include me in their outdoor adventures, hunting, fishing, and mushroom picking. I loved it all.

I was always a chubby kid. Not obese by any means, but just enough that I was teased in elementary school by some rude kids. It was tough at times. I would get so frustrated. Funny thing is that one of the kids who teased me is now way overweight. I take solace in this, and it makes me grin. Our eating habits were not great. Bread was a staple, constantly eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dad worked in camp all week, so mom cooked and most things were very easy, low preparation meals. My sister and I liked eating it and didn't take much planning, so that is what we did. Basically all our food came from the grocery store, we didn't have a garden, aside from my dad having a green house to grow tomatoes. We ate some salmon in the summer, but my dad didn't hunt big game, so that was the extent of our wild edibles.

In junior high the basketball coach begged me to play for him. I was the tallest kid in my grade and I agreed. My first time playing a team sport and I was not in shape. I did martial arts for a couple years previous, but that did not do much for my cardio, not like basketball. This opened my eyes to sport and I became a nut. Soon I was playing rugby and baseball. I never excelled at any sport, it did grow my skills and fitness. I learned that running was something that could be fun and I was pretty good at for my size. In high school I was asked to join the cross country team after posting a good time in our phys ed class run. I declined for lack of confidence, but it did start a love of trail running that has come and gone for the past 20 years.

Upon graduation I worked in a restaurant and learned how to cook and butcher, and eat like garbage. I constantly ate deep fried grub that was fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil. It was tasty at the time, but I look back and see why I gained weight. I also found alcohol as most young people do in there late teens. We partied a lot and had loads of laughs. As time went on I got involved working construction and spent a spring working away and I lost a lot of my chub and felt great for the first time in years. Soon after I was on my way to getting married, buying a house and having a child. I thought it was the life I wanted, but things don't always turn out the way you expect. We were partying with regularity and I was puffy. I would exercise, mostly by running or pulling my daughter in a trailer by bicycle, and would not lose any weight. Our diet was mostly grain based, as that was what was on the pyramid, we thought we were doing the right thing.

A separation and some hard times had me searching for more. I began reading books on nutrition and learning about farming practices. I learned about feed lots and petro chemical fertilizers used in conventional farming. My shift began as I was questioning the things that I was led to believe was not right. It was around this time that mountain biking became a large part of my life, and it was my number one choice for exercise. Then I met a vegetarian and began a relationship that lasted over two years. Again being led to believe, from my readings, that vegetarian diets were the best for the earth and for our bodies, I started eating vegetarian almost exclusively. Again with poor results in my health. I had been suffering from knee pain for years that was diagnosed as a variety of things, but the treatments did nothing to fix me. It was frustrating. I also began to get symptoms of I.B.S. and didn't lose a stitch of weight. I got the bug to trail run again as well as road cycling. I exercised lots. When I went to Victoria for school I would go to Elk Lake and run the loop and ride my bike, exploring the area. All the while suffering from knee pain and not feeling better.

I read "The Vegetarian Myth" and it blew my mind. Everything that I thought was right was wrong and I learned how food can create auto-immune disorders and how whole grains can cause diabetes and weight gain. Still dating a vegetarian I couldn't implement these new findings easily, but I was working towards it. My friend began experimenting with Paleo, sharing his results with me, and I was inspired. He lost weight rapidly and I was hooked. The relationship ended and I plunged into the lifestyle. Grains and beans were gone. I limited my starchy tubers and dairy. My exercise consisted of bike commuting and mountain biking once or twice a week, and the weight just started to fall off. It was an incredible change. People were shocked as was I. I felt fantastic. My confidence boomed. My strength increased and my shape transformed.  I was alive!

Along with this transformation physically, this was the same time that "Edible Valley" started to take off. My interest in local food was growing in leaps and bounds. I wanted to support my local economy and eat good food, so they went hand in hand with the podcast. It allowed me to talk to new people and find sources for my fridge. In doing so I was able to find good things that I could put away in preserves. Canning became a summer long endeavor, and experimenting with all sorts of new things in the kitchen. Smoking fish, fermenting pickles and sauerkraut, making Kombucha, and butchery. I shot a couple deer and learned to make sausages, as well as a butcher a side of pork.

This plunge into a new lifestyle has opened my eyes to so many things. I feel inspired and am spreading the message at every opportunity. That is why this blog has been started. I want to help other to find the ways and get healthy. I have been sober for almost two years now and that has become the single biggest accomplishment thus far in my life. I am down 50 pounds, my knee pain has completely disappeared, the I.B.S. symptoms are gone.  My blood sugar has regulated and I can go hours and hours with out eating. I have discovered that I love cooking and it has become a huge part of my life. My social circle has increased greatly and my appreciation for community. I hope that this blog will bring together local people who are practicing Paleo so we can create a group to learn and support each other. We truly live in a Paleo Paradise.

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