In digging through some old photos the other day, I ran across this picture of me and my wife from 2009. She’s as beautiful as ever but I’m still in disbelief that the person standing next to her in the picture is me. I honestly do not recognize that person. I was 27 years old in that photo but felt much older. Shortly after this picture was taken, I discovered that EVERYTHING I had been taught about the food I was shoveling into my mouth each day was wrong. All of my food knowledge came from what I ate at home growing up and the occasional TV commercial.
Our parents’ generation was marketed one of the biggest group of lies ever perpetrated on a population. Food marketers over the past 50 years have been nothing short of genius. They sold a lie that a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat would keep you lean, healthy, and disease free. They were the generation marketed to with the lie that vegetable oils were healthier than coconut oil, that margarine is better for you than real butter, that low fat milk is better for you than full fat milk, that granola bars, low fat yogurt, and cheerio’s are part of a healthy diet. They were told a diet high in Cholesterol will increase their risk of heart disease. They were sold (and we’re still being sold) the lie that whole grains are a good source of Fiber, B Vitamins, and rich in “complex” carbohydrates.
If you look at how our parents’ generation is dying off today we are seeing things like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia. David Perlmutter, MD, in his book, Grain Brain puts it like this: “If you could ask your Grandparents or great-grandparents what people died from when they were growing up, you’d likely hear the words ‘old age’. Or you might learn the story of someone who got a nasty germ and passed away prematurely from tuberculosis, cholera, or dysentery. What you won’t hear are things like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia.” That’s because our grandparents and great grandparents were still eating whole foods that were sourced from local farms. Processed foods weren’t a staple in their diets. They ate real cheese, real butter, full fat milk, and cooked with lard. Their proteins came from locally raised, pastured chickens, cows, and pigs that had never been doped up with growth stimulants. Their diets were overall higher in fat and protein and lower in carbohydrates. They ate plenty of in season vegetables and produce.
So back to my story…
I didn’t give much attention to what I ate on a daily basis. If I was on-the-go and hungry, I drove through the first fast Chick Fil A restaurant I could find (because a Chicken Sandwich and Fries were a ‘healthy alternative’ to the burger place). If I didn’t feel like cooking, a frozen pizza was a cheap and easy option. When I actually did cook a “wholesome meal”, I made sure I had a good “starch” included in my “well balanced” dinner. After all, Texas Toast, dinner rolls, or a baked potato made a good addition to any well balanced dinner…all topped with margarine or ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ because those were healthier than real butter according to the experts. How was that working out for me? Well, the picture below is how. Physically, I was on a path to obesity.
Primal + CrossFit
Thank God I was introduced to a coach who clearly cares for the well being of his community. Someone who is passionate about fitness and more importantly about food. A guy who some might call ‘extreme’ in their views by not allowing items like nutella, doritos, and breakfast cereal in his house. If you know him and see him at the local grocery store, you might avoid him if you have unacceptable items in your cart. Robert VanNewkirk opened a CrossFit gym (in his garage) in my community 5 years ago and not only introduced me to a more effective way to exercise but took the time to explain food to me. Not just in a “eat this and not that” way…but he inspired me in such a way to research how our bodies have been evolutionarily designed to turn the fuel from food into energy for our cells to use. I learned how and why certain so-called foods were detrimental to my long-term health far beyond just body composition. I learned how our food pyramid was completely wrong. Then I opened up Pandora’s box when stumbled across Mark Sisson’s website, marksdailyapple.com
As I began the most basic research, the concept was simple. As a species, we are genetically and physiologically identical to the humans that lived before the dawn of agriculture. We may not be actual hunter-gatherers anymore, but our bodies behave the same from a biological perspective. I needed no other explanation than that. If that statement is true, it is evidence enough that in a modern society, we should do everything in our power to mimic an ancestral, primal diet.
As I made wholesale changes to the way I eat, everything changed for me. Immediately, I lost body fat. Adding in a few days per week of constantly varied functional fitness performed at high intensity, I gained leaned muscle mass. My energy levels changed and I sleep better at night. I feel better, I look better, and I perform better in my daily routine. In total I lost 40 lbs and 5 inches off my waist line.
How does that translate to a Beef Jerky Company?
Jerky, for me, began as a hobby because in the journey to change my diet, my biggest struggle was having healthy protein that’s portable. I needed something that would sustain me in between meals and jerky seemed to be the natural option. There’s nothing more Primal than jerky BUT the commercially produced jerky available in most convenience and grocery stores by in large comes from factory farmed meat that’s loaded with artificial growth hormones. It’s also among the most over-processed, preservative filled, unhealthy products available so I began by making my own at home. I only included spices in agreement with my new way of eating and pasture raised, grass-fed beef.
Within a few short months, I was making jerky for myself and many of my gym comrades. 6 table-top dehydrators later, my wife came home from a girls night out complaining of smelling like a “smokehouse” and graciously informed me that my at-home jerky making project had become more than a hobby. It was at that time, I realized that we may be “on to something” special. I realized that many folks were in my same shoes and were looking for an on-the-go snack that allowed them to stay on the right track with their new way of eating. I had discovered a way to make jerky, the perfect portable protein, healthy again.
I could’ve continued on making clean jerky at home for myself (it would’ve been a lot cheaper & easier that’s for sure) but why? Going Primal changed my life and I decided not to keep that to myself. Jerky was simply my platform to spread the message. Why not take a product to retail stores that makes it easier for folks just like me to stick to their eating plan? The byproduct is raising awareness amongst the masses because as they pass by our items on store shelves, they have to take notice that a movement is taking place.
When I observe what goes on in modern day grocery stores every day and hear the conventional wisdom of our current so-called dietary experts, I realize we have an enormous mountain to climb to reverse the damage that’s been done. With your help and continued support of our brand and others who are innovating in the area of Primal foods, I’m convinced we can lead the charge and continue to add pressure to conventional wisdom that continues to spew garbage onto the masses. That’s why I decided to leave my corporate job and start a Beef Jerky business. Going Primal worked for me. I’m convinced it saved my life. I wonder how many pegs we can replace with Primal products on the shelf below….