In 2007, after I had graduated college, my father and I went on a trip to Alaska. My uncle lives in Bethel and certainly lives an Alaskan lifestyle! During the King Salmon run up the Yukon river in the summer…my uncle is fishing. During the moose hunting season in the fall, he is out hunting. Everything up there is very expensive, so it is customary to take advantage of what the wilderness can provide. This is a way of life that is virtually lost in many other parts of the country, especially in the city. With my background in cooking and nutrition combined with my passion for fitness and the outdoors, I am trying to keep that healthy lifestyle alive and educate people on why all that stuff is important in regard to health. My effort is to not only talk about the importance of nutrition and fitness to health but also show the process of how what you eat comes from its natural form to the dinner table whether from the woods or the sea. Though I have grown up hunting and fishing, it wasn’t really until my trip to Alaska that I really felt the appreciation for hunting…and how your meat gets to the table.
We spent a total of about two weeks camping, in the tent, in the middle of nowhere, during one of the wettest months of September Alaska has ever seen!
Living in a tent when there are 40+ MPH winds and pouring rain in the woods makes one feel very humble to say the least…especially if you wake up in the middle of the night having to go to the bathroom! Those of you who have seen the movie “The Edge” with Anthony Hopkins can understand… We were in grizzly country! When my uncle told us to sleep with our rifles loaded next to us, that tends to make you feel slightly uneasy. Needless to say, I appreciate a warm bed in a house!
We had packed with us freeze-dried meals made by Mountain House, I believe. Though not the best source of nutrition, this trip was not intended to be a survival challenge…it was a hunting trip. We did hunt for ducks and ruffed grouse though, to have some real meals once in a while. Believe it or not, hunting up there is a lot of work! Moose, though they are massive and seemingly clumsy animals are very illusive. They can move through thick woodland like ghosts! When you are hiking through knee-deep mud, swamps, ankle-grabbing bogs and thick woodland you start to appreciate fitness a little more! The second moose that we got is pictured below with my uncle and I. We got this on the last night of our trip. This is a 48in. bull…(size is measured by the distance from the farthest point on each paddle) I will explain later, how this all relates back to my transition to functional fitness…
So, I am sure most of you don’t know what it’s like to break down a 1200-1400 lb. animal into manageable pieces. Let me just tell you that one leg of that animal weighs about 120 lbs. of awkwardness! Shouldering that awkward leg and walking over uneven ground and through knee-deep mud is one of the harder workouts I have ever done. At the time I did not train for functional fitness whether it be Crossfit or olympic weightlifting, therefore, struggled with the task at hand. I can remember my dad and uncle giving my shit about how I spend so much time at the gym, this should be easy! This was the turning point. I realized that what I did at the gym did not translate over to really anything in real life.
I eventually found Crossfit. What drew me to Crossfit was the method of functional training. I currently coach Crossfit, and am a personal trainer as well. I am not the Crossfit coach who thinks Crossfit is the only way. It has led me into olympic weightlifting which I am following programming by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics in CA. I have realized the benefit of this type of training from an athletic standpoint. I am in the best shape of my life. Stronger, faster, more flexible, better endurance… When this type of training is coupled with good nutrition, you are essentially building an optimal you. Now how does hunting a moose have anything to do with good nutrition?
Quality of food plays a huge part in optimal nutrition. You should be putting a lot of thought into what you feed yourself as far as quality. Meat and vegetables bought from Wal-Mart do not have the same nutritional quality as the meat and vegetables bought from a local organic farm. This moose meat is all natural. It does not have added hormones and is as fresh as fresh gets. The quality of this meat in terms of the fat that you ingest from it has a better ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Essentially, you can compare that to the same qualities you are looking for with grass fed meats.