Frozen is how 2007 began. I was part of Frozen Fox Company at The Basic School (TBS). Rain, shine, snow, ice, it really didn't matter, the worse the conditions, the more realistic the training. January thru March were filled with week-long training operations, and thus: full exposure to the Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). Chemical preservatives such as Erythorbic Acid, Hydrated Monoglycerides, and Tricalcium Phosphate can all be found in MREs. However when you are in the middle of a fifteen mile hump not much thought is paid to what comprises the lemon poppy seed pound cake. During this period of time, I tried to concentrate on two things: discreetly snagging the spaghetti and meatball MRE wherever and whenever possible, and most importantly, maintaining my warfighter profile (which was to act like I had a clue, when in reality I was still practicing my about-face in abandon parking lots).
Meanwhile, Kelly, was in school at North Carolina State University, majoring in communications, but truth be told, she was studying to become a connoisseur in all things green. We would touch base every few weeks, and have conversations about her latest discovery in the world of food and health. She'd tell me things such as, "I was reading an article about how most people don't realize that agave nectar can be just as harmful as high fructose corn syrup." Concurrently, I'd be thinking What is agave nectar? Isn't high fructose corn syrup in Fritos? I love Fritos. Surely this corn syrup thing has redeeming qualities."
I finished The Basic School in March and quickly transitioned into Infantry Officer Course (IOC). IOC is simply a great place. I developed, what I consider to be great friendships during this time, as well as, had the privilege to learn from the very best instructors in Marine Cops. I graduated from IOC in June and received orders to First Battalion, Sixth Marines located in Camp Lejeune, NC. I had to report near the end of July, which gave me a month of block leave.
I decided to Spend the entire leave block at home, helping my dad construct a two story deck on the back of our home. It would be during this trip, that I would begin my great departure from the strangle hold of the American Diet. Kelly, home for the summer, ruled the pantry with an iron fist. Gluten free pancakes replaced Aunt Jemima's, and avocados were being placed on everything. My first morning home, I watched as my dad walked into the kitchen and whipped out the wheatgrass juicer. I was still under the pretense that this whole health thing was facade, my dad was simply trying to support his daughter. I quickly learned that was no the case, he had become a committed, passionate leaf eater. When he handed me a shot of the wheatgrass, I refused, but finally gave in after a long lecture on the benefits of wheatgrass. The fact that 1.5 ounces of fresh juiced wheatgrass was nutritionally equivalent to to 2.5 lbs of organic veggies gave me a boost of motivation. I think we had a shot of wheatgrass every morning over that leave block, and with every shot, Kelly would preach whole foods and keys to great health.
Kelly had formulated a plan, a plan that would deliver me into the promise land of healing and vibrant living. Kelly's plan was to slowly introduce a few tame substitutes in key areas within my diet. She began by replacing my Dr Peppers, with Blue Energy (a "natural" energy drink that I ended up becoming addicted to and finally had to stop cold turkey - that's a store for another post), and exchanging my peanut butter for almond butter. Those, as I recall, were my first two baby steps in what would become a brisk jog and then finally a sprint towards great health.