(Warning, I kind of ramble but I wanted to put it all out there)

Hello everyone!

I became aware of MDA last March, but I have been aware of the "Paleosphere" for longer than that. I am not yet a practitioner of the Primal Blueprint - not yet finished the book - but I do make a point to read the blog, and what I have read has not only gotten me more interested in diet from a health perspective but has gotten me more interested in the industrial-scale agriculture that we grew up with. It also answered a few questions I had regarding how our pre-agrarian ancestors managed to survive.

Like many people who come here, I had a history of poor diet and health. I don't suffer from any "chronic illnesses", though as a kid I was overweight and for a short while suffered from high blood pressure. Early in 2011 I had started a new job and began to be more active, and began to regulate my diet via portion control and ... fat watching. I lost weight! But unfortunately, I sabotaged myself. I had grown up with a high fat diet (largely bad fat I'd imagine) and I had adapted to it. My sudden "cold turkey" of high fat intake, coupled with occasional slips, gave me gallstones. A quick doctor trip and an operation has left me without a gallbladder. In retrospect, I kind of regret it - no chronic backfires, or anything, but I wish I had tried to pass the stones first.

I also had another obstacle to health growing up - I am a toe-walker. Growing up in poverty, there wasn't much time or money to address my chronically short Achilles tendons. Basically, because they're so short (caused either by a birth defect or maybe because of casts I wore as a kid, I'm not certain), I can't dorsiflex. I don't think it's "toe drop", as I can flex that muscle, it's simply so underdeveloped because of the shortness of the tendon that it can't really help me (plus I'm certain any thing that causes "toe drop" would have long overtaken me - I can trace this back over a decade). I had tried for years to get a doctor to address it, but public health care where I am puts you on the back burner. I finally got to see a doctor about it when I was just finally graduating high school in 2006, but he basically said forget about getting it corrected. I've tried things here and there, but no avail - I've even tried putting a strap around the ball of my foot and pulling it towards me as hard as I could - not much give.

These days I just deal with it. It has some downsides that make athletics more difficult. Running is hard, as is climbing. I walk slow because I have to be more careful not to trip. However, sometime around 2008 I started thinking that it really doesn't matter if that makes me suck at things - unless it completely stops me from doing something, I should probably do it anyways. So I started getting into more active things, bit by bit. These days I spearhead a local martial arts club - basically we're a bunch of nerds that play with Historical European Martial Arts. I hope it creates encouragement and momentum for me to continue trying to improve my general fitness, in spite of having less than 100% functional legs. Kyle Menard has no legs, or arms, and he still does stuff so why not me?

I am also a person who believes in the virtues of the car-free lifestyle, so I bike everywhere. It started as a simple budget issue, but it has over the last year grown to become a way of life. I like to think it keeps me moving at a good pace for a good bit of time, though I've recently moved closer to work so I'm thinking I'm going have to push myself harder to try and maximize the shorter route. The above mentioned short tendons DO have an effect - I noticed that it prevents me from standing up and pedaling "off the saddle". Because I have what amounts to extra-long legs and no ability to flex the ankle, the upstroke raises my knee too high to effectively perform. BUT...I deal. I just stay in the saddle, pedal up hills in whatever gear I can stand. I'm not going to win any Tour de Frances, but that doesn't matter. It matters more that I'm not using it as an excuse to not do something.

My current job has me being a bit of a desk jockey, but I'm trying to implement things like standing more, doing some exercises at home, trying to do a few things to get my heart up while making tea at work, etc. Months back this site and a friend had encouraged me to be more active, but life interrupted the schedule and I never got back on top of it. Just yesterday I decided I was going to start running in place, while waiting for stuff at home, since real running / sprinting is out.

Diet is shifting towards primal. Discovered some local grass-fed meat farmers, and might have a lead on some local raw milk. In the past, I had dabbled in the whole "Health Food Store" fare, but I am naturally a skeptic and never went "full circle". I don't think I get enough complete protein. Sometimes I do, and I notice I do feel different (smarter, more alert, more willing to get up and do things in spite of being a bit of a fatbody still), but said recent move had kind of deprived me of budgeting. Going to sort that out ASAP. I want to avoid the diabetes my parents had. For a short while I was even dabbling in the vegetarian lifestyle, but that was primarily out of curiosity; it was around the time I started reading the blog here, actually. I've recently become more interested in the "inflammation factors" of foods. My girlfriend suffers from asthma (recent diagnosis) and I'm trying to pull her into the lifestyle. I'm pretty sure I can tempt her closer with all the sushi, but both of us have weaknesses to overcome.

I can't predict that I will be very active on the forums, but I will come by to ask questions and read other people's threads and posts. If nothing else, I like to learn about neat things, and I consider this to be a neat thing. I'll probably put up my thoughts and questions as they arise, as sometimes it can be a bit difficult to find things on the site. Expect me to post about tea every now and again, which is a gastronomic passion of mine. I go so far as to buy it from a person I'm acquainted with in HongKong, who runs a blog that has taught me much about the subject.

Let's see where this intro post leads me!

Thanks,

M.