I have come to a couple realizations about living this "extreme diet fringe lifestyle." Even though myself and thousands of other people have adopted the ideas of eating Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Clean Meats, and Seeds; removing wheat and other grains, legumes (beans), Dairy (optional), and processed foods from their diet; and including a healthy amount of functional fitness into their lives -- WE ARE STILL VIEWED AS OUTSIDERS AND CRAZIES. Now, most diet plans are some variation on a theme, and the majority of them call for copious amounts of fresh produce, so no fringe mentality there. However if you wave the Bullshit Flag on the fat-o-phobic Conventional Wisdom Dogma, and opt for lots of protein and ::GASP:: Fat(!!!), you are looked at like you are going to drop dead from a coronary event right in the living room. If you call out the fitness industry for wanting you to stay fat so they can keep shoving supplements, protein shakes and gimmicky exercise equipment in your solar plexus, then you are viewed as crazy. I am sorry if I like to lift heavy, and run on the ground in my bare feet. How did we as a species ever survive for millenia without polyurethane protecting our tender soles? This country, and the majority of the developed world is steeped in Conventional Wisdom perpetuated by the ad industry, fitness industry, pharmaceutical industry, and the talk box with babbling idiots like Oprah and Fox News CNN, and The View.
A little background before I continue on a rant: I have always been into sports and fitness. I played multiple sports as a kid, and focused on the Pole Vault in High school competing in 2 State Tournaments. I foolishly decided not to carry it over to college athletics while attending The Ohio State University, and filled that void with water-skiing and wake boarding. It's cold for a large part of the year in Ohio, so the partying took a larger role than the skiing. I didn't do a lot of working out, to say the least. I gained some weight do to the copious amounts of cheep beer and high carb load of the cafeteria which then carried over to late-night pizza, gyros, fries, etc. After running out of money, and losing focus on my school work, I went into the United States Navy as an Aviation Rescue Swimmer and Aircrewman. Luckily all my college weight was worked off, and I was leaner and meaner. In our community, the emphasis on fitness was top priority due to the nature of the work. We were making sure that we would have the endurance to be able to jump out of a helicopter and fight the ocean to pull someone back from the cold grip of death at a moments notice. So Others May Live. Hooyah! This is the beginning of the adventure.
Well, after being in and around the military for a while surrounded by fitness minded individuals, the logical progression of the day is to spend quite a bit of time in the gym, and reading the magazines and guzzling protein shakes so you can have the beach body to go pick up ladies (the Navy is usually based on the coast, fyi.), and maintain the fitness levels required to do the job. Regular PT was simply not enough to maintain the level required. This is when I started falling into the body builder trap of split days and focussed muscle groups. Combined with ridiculous supplements to give me SICK ABZZZZZZZ and HYOOOGE BICEPS LOLZZZ!!! I noticed my fitness levels dropping. My run times were slower, my scale numbers were climbing, and I just disliked going to the gym to hang out with all the D-bags in little tank-tops staring the mirror covered in back-ne putting their swurv on some little bimbo actively trying NOT to break a sweat because it would mess up her make-up. The days of long runs through the woods and on the beach up and over the dunes were over, and the days of zombie running, push-ups, sit-ups, and the occasional pull-ups were standard. The wing banned Log PT for the new students going through SAR week (one of the most challenging, awesome team building activities for students), and the Navy decided it would crack down on the fat bodies skating through the bi-annual Physical Fitness Assessment.
Skip ahead a few years. I got out of active duty and was a reservist. The physical requirements are still there, but even less activity due to returning to school, working, drill, and flight training along with being a "starving artist" playing music every chance I got for beer. I worked a few jobs, but the weight started accumulating from all the beer and "healthy" sandwiches. After working in a warehouse for a while I jumped over a pallet and rolled my ankle BAD. I should have gone to a doctor, but had no insurance, and had to work. I never rehabbed it properly, and it greatly attributed to the lack of exercise. The only activity outside of the military every few weeks up to this point had been surfing and skate boarding. This injury pretty much removed everything for a few months. I hit an all time weight high of 230# at 5'10". I decided it was time for a change.
ENTER CROSSFIT JAX
I discovered Crossfit through some like minded individuals at my squadron who had mentioned it a few times, but hadn't gotten around to trying it out yet. We found the Crossfit Jax website and found the directions to gym. I had heard stories about how hardcore Crossfit was, and how a buddy of a buddy had used it to get prepared for BUD/S and become a Navy Seal. Sounded like what I needed to whip my lard-ass into shape! It turned out one of the trainers was also an instructor at the Surface SAR Swimmer School. Bonus! It was definitely my cup of kool-aid. I found the gym in the ghetto, which coincidently was right up the skreet from the Half Moon Bay warehouse I was working at. Sweet! I gave them a call, and started the next day with "Cindy": a workout consisting of 5 pull-ups, 10 Push-ups. and 15 Squats for as many rounds as you can finish in 20 minutes. Something that sounds so simple brought so much pain. Something that changed my life PERMANENTLY.
Now this brings me to the point I was inevitable going to get to: The Fringe. Even with the explosion of programs like Crossfit that incorporate High Intensity and varied functional movements, people are scared. The Navy, still, is holding out on the idea that crossfit training is dangerous despite the early adoption of the program by the Special Forces communities, and the change in Marine Corps fitness tests to emulate real world functional situations. Crossfit has a whole series of workouts devoted to "Heroes" who were killed in the line of duty and were Crossfit practitioners. It also has a workout named "The Chief" after all the new chief selectees of 2008. Regular run-of-the-mill Joe and Joan Six-pack look something as "crazy" as Crossfit, and run for the hills. The same thing goes for the Paleo Diet. It is regarded as extreme because it kicks to the curb all the things that detrimental to Human Health like Gluten.
"You mean whole grains are bad!?" this must be extreme.
The Mercantilist policies of the USDA and FDA, combined with the non-stop babble of Television and Print media and skewed by idealist mantras from misguided vegetarian ideals have confused and indoctrinated the American public into believing every marketing buzzword and Bullshit study funded by the very companies that stand to profit by the Bullshit they spew. We have the fattest population on the planet. We are led to believe eating more corn, wheat, soy, and processed franken-foods will fix all our ails, only to find out we are sicker in the long run. Here comes the pharmaceutical industry to the rescue! They have a pill for every made-up condition or syndrome ever imagined. Restless leg syndrome!? Nevermind running off that excess energy -- Here's a pill. Irrritable Bowel Syndrome? Nevermind celiac disease. Here's a pill! Now go eat your whole grains. It's no wonder the public is scared of something so easy a caveman can do it. They are conditioned. WE are conditioned. WE are brainwashed. The thought police aren't a division of Big Brother, they are a division of Monsanto. The ministry of Truth is the USDA -- A subsidiary of CONagra, Archer Daniels Midland, YumFoods, Tyson, and Monsanto. It's no wonder I am looked at like a circus show.
I had a moment of clarity the other day. I started this blog to vent out all the vitriol that accumulates when sitting around idle waiting to save the day. My poor wife can only take so much of my ranting and raving before she loses it, so I am making a direct effort in putting it down here and on message boards, rather than pollute her airspace with noise. She hasn't had more than a sip of the kool-aid yet despite my efforts. I have been on the Mark's Daily Apple forum a lot lately due to not having any like-minded individuals to discuss this with. I have sought out others with similar experiences, as is Human Nature, I believe. In the days of the internet, community is only a click away. I don't have to feel so much like a freak. I responded in a thread about "Primal Haters":
I just this minute came to the realization I frequent this forum more often because I don't have very many people to talk about this lifestyle with. Most people are so brainwashed by fat-o-phobe dogma, or CW pushed by the Gub'ment Dietary Pyramid that the idea of eating like the guy in the Geico Commercials is offensive. I can only rant to my wife for so long before she gets aggravated, and while at work I am surrounded by the Cajun culture of FriedMargarineSaltBread Po'boys and Walmart Specials. This is where I can discuss Primal/ Paleo issues in a grown-up, civilized manner without all the quiet judging and alienation of my peers.
Hooray for the internerd!
I have to look at it from an outside perspective, though. I mean if you had never heard anything about the Primal Blueprint, Paleo, Crossfit, HIIT, or any other of the crazy stuff floating around, and all you have to go by is what you hear second hand through your co-workers and family about whatever the new thing Dr. Oz is spouting out on Oprah, or the 3 second sound bite of The biggest loser, then the crazy tattooed guy doing muscle-ups in the liveoak tree and eating chickens with his bare hands after skipping breakfast AND lunch might seem a little weird.
I guess it's not their fault for giving me the stink eye
When looking at things from an outside perspective, we are on the fringes of society. We are radicals. We are EXACTLY what the Establishment doesn't want. A large group of independent, healthy, freedom-minded individuals. This is a movement as important as any other before it or after. I see the Paleo Diet, The Primal Blueprint or Good Calories Bad Calories and The Omnivore's Dillema as our centuries The Jungle. People are waking up. There is more information available to the average person than ever before, and people are capable of making their own informed decisions about everything without a filter by a so-called Expert. The information age is upon us.
So Vote with your dollars. Buy REAL FOOD. Make Educated Decisions. Be an indivual. Go against the grain: Be Healthy and Independent. The more the people start makeing smart decisions, the more the Establishment will fight back. The raids on farmer's stores, and the tightening legislation disguised as "food safety" are evident of that. The snake is in the corner and striking. Buy from farmer's markets. Seek out heirloom breeds and varieties. Buy Buffalo. Buy Grassfed Beef, Pastured Pork, and Free Roaming Chickens and chicken eggs. Don't fall into the hype of Crap shows like The Biggest Loser, or whatever program Dr. Oz is blowing hot air on. Find out for yourself. Read the success stories of countless people who have saved their lives through nutrition choices. We are on the fringe now, but soon we'll be the mainstream, and some other group will be out there trying to change the world.