Saturday, February 15, 2020

Who Am I Anyways?

I can already hear you talking to yourself saying:

It looks and sounds like this guy has had luck growing his own food, who is he anyways?  Surely he has lots of agriculture experience to be able to pull this off?

My name is James, I'm 32 years old, I'm from Colorado, I live in Longmont, Colorado and I'm a plant-a-holic (or veggienaut?).  I have absolutely zero formal agriculture experience nor did I grow up in an environment where we grew a lot of plants.  Before I owned a house I lived in various apartments for quite a while, I would occasionally get house plants or try and grow plants / vegetables on the porch.  Any plant I touched would promptly die fairly fast, even the so-called "impossible to kill" houseplants would perish time and time again despite my best efforts to keep them alive.

Quite a lot has changed since then:
Man's face next to yellow Dahlia
Kelvin Floodlight Dinner Plate Dahlia

My grandparents did have a farm in Indiana which was always fun to visit growing up but we never really learned much about anything to do with farming when we visited.  Our visits usually entailed riding horses, catching fireflies, being chased by the bull, riding a go-cart around, enjoying the freedom of being able to run around carelessly on a farm, being chased by more cows, and the occasional crashing one of the tractors into the garage door of the house (yup, that actually happened).

My background is a collage of various jobs mostly in aviation where I've held almost every type of aviation job in existence.  I've also worked in a casino, donut shop, amusement park, sports stadiums around Denver, the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater, I even started up my own company, among lots of other things.

In a prior life of mine my two favorite food groups were Sugar and Pizza.  This may or may not have been a large contributing factor in being diagnosed with a very odd medical condition at the ripe young age of 24 years old.  In the words of my doctor it's a condition that's normally seen, but isn't common, in woman over the age of 60 and he had never seen it in male who was as young as myself.  It isn't curable by western medicine standards, only treatable so I embarked on a journey of exploring alternative options to help me knock this painful, often excruciating, condition on its ass.  I discovered: acupuncture, meditation, qigong, etc.  One common thing that kept popping up, and was one of the first things that my doctor mentioned when I was diagnosed, was my diet.  I was told time and time again that my diet really needs to change, sugar and pizza is just not a balanced diet (I probably would have debated this to the death at the time).  I went on an extremely restrictive diet for about three years that was recommended by BOTH my doctor and acupuncturist (unbeknownst to each other).

This is how I was introduced to the wonderful world of vegetables (in my adult life anyways) where I begrudgingly learned lots about all sorts of vegetables including cooking them.  I started off shopping only at Whole Foods where I quickly invested entire paychecks into my health as I went to a largely vegetable based diet.  Over the years I transitioned from shopping at Whole Foods to shopping only at farmers markets, then on to specialty grocery stores that try and source food from local farms, then to visiting the farms directly and buying my food from the source, and finally on to growing my own food myself.

I guess you could call Whole Foods my gateway drug to a healthy lifestyle.  I spent a lot of money there and for all I know the Whole Foods that was built in Longmont a few years after I moved here was the result of Whole Foods executives finding out I lived in Longmont (that's definitely not why it was built but let me stroke my ego a little bit here).  Having easy access to lots of fresh, great tasting, nutritious vegetables in a familiar and friendly grocery store setting was definitely key to me latching on to this lifestyle at the beginning and being able to stick to the extremely restrictive diet that I needed to be on.

Today I have my medical condition under control, I rarely experience the excruciating pain that was once an everyday part of my life and I'm not even on an extremely restrictive diet anymore.  I eat what I eat because I've grown to love it, I feel fantastic, and my body functions much better.  I do still eat pizza and sugar from time to time but it's no longer the main staple of my diet, moderation is key.  Based on my own experiences and transformation I've become a firm believer in the old adage of:  You are what you eat.  I guess that makes me a Veggienaut!


  1. Love the blog, James! Share some of your favorite veggie recipes soon. :)
    -Emily McKinney

    1. Thanks! I'll be sure to get a recipe post in the works (there will likely be many of these). Hopefully all is well on your end wherever you are these days!