What?!? Sound crazy? Well for me eating food I don’t want to eat and doing workouts I don’t want to do, that’s crazy. I tried for decades to commit to formulaic diets and regimented gym workouts. I stuck it out for months and sometimes as long as a year, and every time I would eventually burnout. I wasted thousands of dollars on unused gym memberships and uneaten supplements, protein powders, and bars.
Why did I fail? Or did I? A lifetime spent doing stuff I don’t want to do sounds more like failure to me. I like to see it as I succeeded at escaping some miserable choices that weren’t really mine, I broke out of Shawshank. My reasons for going to the gym were shallow anyway, I wanted a hot body and to be with women who had hot bodies. I never thought to ask why I wanted this, and I just assumed these would make me happy.
My life improved remarkably when I asked the question what fun activity can I do for the rest of my life?
The answer for me was surfing. It was way more challenging than going to a gym, as surfing has a steep learning curve and I sucked at it. And at the same time it was fun, exciting, and the ever changing conditions kept it new and fresh. Nobody had to convince me to sign up, it was the opposite in that they couldn’t keep me away.
A decade and a half later I was going through a divorce and feeling beat up, weak, and alone. I wanted to feel confident, powerful, belonging, and also peaceful, kind and compassionate. I remembered that as a teenager martial arts helped me improve my self esteem and believe in myself, so I had a hunch that joining a class would be good for me. I visited a few studios that reminded me of going to the gym. Some felt like gladiator academies where everyone was younger than 30 and doing really hard boring workouts, other studios were doing movements that seemed unrealistic and that I would never do on the street. I didn’t like either so I kept looking until I found a studio that was fun, practiced realistic street fighting, spiritual peaceful inner growth, and felt like a supportive community.
When I found my martial arts tribe the wide age range of the students resonated strongly with me, from teenagers all the way up to 72 years young, and a lot of people had been there for 15 years or longer. I was reminded of the movie Surfing for Life, I had a feeling the instructor is doing a lot of things right to attract and sustain a lifelong community of dedicated men and women and their children. In the first few months of my divorce I felt abandoned, unsafe, and like I couldn’t trust anyone, and this tight knit welcoming community of warriors was the antidote I needed.
Breaking the fast
Food was still very confusing and a source of anxiety for me for many years. It seemed all the diet and nutrition professionals had a different opinion on what I am supposed to eat, and their opinions changed every few years. I remember feeling guilty regularly when eating anything that taste really good, as if I was doing something wrong or bad. I needed a food guide that I can trust and that has stood the test of time, the answers for me came from a Dentist named Weston Price.
The story goes that Weston Price saw that his clients with cavities all ate a similar diet and they were also in overall poor health. So he traveled around the world checking people with good teeth and good health to find out what they are eating. He wrote a book about what he discovered, in reading it I had a big aha moment.
I’m the only one I know who had enough room in my jaw to keep my wisdom teeth, everyone else I know including my siblings had their wisdom teeth surgically removed. It made sense to me that the whole foods my parents fed me as a kid allowed me to have natural jaw growth. Whereas my younger siblings grew up during the time period where fat and meat were bad but processed foods were good, and their jaws did not have the natural room we need for all of our teeth. Maybe they are called wisdom teeth for a reason?
Sally Fallon picked up the torch and wrote a wonderful book Nourishing Traditions. This book gave me the history I needed to understand why our ancestors ate what they did and how it affected their bodies. I finally had diet recommendations that have stood the test of time. I no longer feel guilty eating meat or fat or whatever else I want, I feel confident that I can eat the way I do now and be healthy. I no longer diet, instead I align my lifestyle with foods that human beings are designed to eat.
In a nutshell I play, eat, and live as close to wild as I can.
Why? Well I grew up working for my family’s meat business and we also hunted wild animals. I saw cows in confined feedlots with their bloated poor health. One strange practice was to put magnets in the cow stomachs to keep metal out of their intestines (instead how about keeping pieces of metal out of their food?). Then seeing the vibrant health of the wild animals it eventually dawned on me that all of nature’s creations are designed to function and eat and move a certain way, including humans. When we fight this truth we suffer from poor health, and when we are in harmony with our true nature we have perfect health, strength, and a joyful life.