How I got my Inner Vegan and Omnivore to Get Along

By Rob DiTursi

Since my high school days, I have always been an active person and, as such, I’ve been very conscious about what I feed my body. Disheartened and disgusted with the effects of industrial animal farming, I experimented for two years with veganism; I did feel healthy for some time, but I came to realize that this kind of diet couldn’t meet the demands I was making of my body. I began searching for that perfect combination of diet and exercise that would help me excel in my performance while keeping my body at it’s optimum level of health.  Through the years I had tried just about every diet and training regime and I pretty much had it figured out.

I resolved to only eat meats raised humanely on local farms – and I preferred to get to know the farmer, farm and their animals. Seasonally grown organic fruits and vegetables were also a huge part of the menu. Whole grains, corn and tofu rounded out the mix. Still, things weren’t quite right. My physical training was going nowhere; my body fat, cholesterol and blood pressure, although “acceptable for my age”, were edging toward the high side.  I decided to get serious and quantify my objectives.

With the help and consultation of a local naturopathic physician, and after extensive tests, I discovered that I had intolerance to three of the most fundamental elements of my diet to date: corn, wheat and soy.  This was a huge shock!  In the weeks and months to follow, I had to learn an entirely new diet.  I had to unlearn all the concepts of a healthy diet that I once held as immutable fact.

Ultimately, I turned to the Paleo lifestyle – eating and living like our “caveman” ancestors of 50,000 years ago.  This requires eating unadulterated, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and meats raised as closely to nature’s way as possible. Despite my initial disappointment at the loss of things like pizza and a good sandwich, my health improved immensely.  My body fat, cholesterol and blood pressure levels dropped dramatically.  My workouts were stronger and my performance was improving.  Things were looking good, but my menu options were starting to get a little boring.  I needed to investigate my options and started shopping the Rutland Co-op more and more.

Shopping at the Co-op offered healthy and clean alternatives for everything from homeopathy to hamburger, and provided an education into how I could fine tune my lifestyle, improve my health and increase my athletic performance. I was so enthused that I ultimately started working there.

Since making this turnaround, I have become an avid Obstacle Course Racing and CrossFit enthusiast.  I have also become a CrossFit coach and gym owner; we just opened CrossFit Rising Star at the Howe Center in January. “Forging elite fitness” is our credo. We believe that everyone can achieve this elite athletic level, but it can only be reached with a foundation of proper, clean nutrition.

It is for this reason that I recommend the choices found at the Rutland Area Food Co-Op to all my CrossFit athletes.  Helping people improve themselves and achieve things beyond what they thought possible is really what thrills me the most.  It is because of this, and its close proximity to my gym that you’ll find me at the Co-op, ready to help.

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