Confused and indecisive is the most appropriate way to describe this spring. We’ve had a warm spell, a storm spell and now it’s back to a cold spell. More spells than an episode of Charmed. The warm spell did weave some magic though. It got me motivated to get the house in order for the coming summer. Last year I was a few months behind. We’d just moved house and I was still forming the garden beds, and the poly tunnel was still a pipe dream.

This year is different. I’ve been looking forward to the growing season. I’m prepared! This house is on high alert, cocked pistol, VEGCON 1. The poly tunnel is fully operational, it’s power should not be underestimated. It’s potential as a food production facility is practically imminent. Seeds, poised at the ready, germination sequence has commenced!

In 4 months time our bellies will be full with fresh zucchini, tomato, eggplant, watermelon, basil, squash, coriander, corn and many other summer crops we thrive on. The very thought of not having to eat kale or chard is enough to have me jumping for joy! Anything but kale please!;-)This winter has been slow like every other, and we rely heavily on hunted meat from the freezer, dried beans, cured meats, excess frozen summer crops and yes kale, kale, kale with some chard. The two edible plants dumb enough to grow in our winter climate.

IMG_4604

Soon we shall once again pick straight from the patch and into the kitchen. It’s a bloody beautiful time of the year for food. Everything feels positive, alive and natural. Sun warmed cherry tomatoes, flavour bursting peas and zucchini so fresh you can peel it straight into a salad.

All this is possible because I decided that I wanted it and I decided to ‘do it’. I never had a singular energy saver low watt, light bulb moment. It’s just something that’s been growing over the years (no pun intended). I wanted it, (a veg garden) so I did it. I also didn’t want to be a slave to a desk job, so I figured out a way to escape the rat race. I figured that if I got rid of all my debt, focused on living light and actively made my food, then I wouldn’t need so much money to survive. And it seems to be working. Sure sometimes it’s scary, like when rent is due, or when bills need to be paid. But we manage to get by because we just ‘do it’. We do odd jobs to make a living and thankfully our food bill is minimal, thus we survive. I figure that life is too short not to ‘do it’.

IMG_4598

I’ve wanted this lifestyle most of my adult life, I once sat at my office job, day in, day out, dreaming of this lifestyle. It feels so good to be here. Someone on the internet recently told me to “get a job!”. I have one, but thanks for the suggestion. My job is surviving. My job is no longer being a slave to a consumerist lifestyle. My health is the better for it and my impact on the environment is reduced, but overall life is just way better! As far as I’m concerned it’s a win win.

I know it’s not the norm, and that some people think I’m a slacker because I don’t have a regular job, but what’s a real job anyway? I question the great Australian Dream, is really all that rad? I don’t dream of owning a brand new car or massive new house full of brand new stuff. I like that my house is full of op shop purchase’s, my veg garden constructed with timber I found rummaging at the Daylesford tip, my cars old and simply engineered so I can repair them. Call me a bludger, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And I’ve never taken a hand out.

My new job will be running the Nursery Project. Oh and by the way, I won’t own it. We won’t own it. We don’t want to. We’ll still be living right here, renting away at the old farm house. The organisation will own what ever happens, the land, the stock, the facilities. A not for profit organisation has to have board members, it has to report to the tax department, it has to operate within a self governing charter. And as much as I’d like it to be a bit more free and hippy like, it just can’t. It’s 2014 and everything fucked. So we have to follow the rules. But rest assured, we won’t be gaining any financial assets from this ‘venture’. We just driving the project. The reality is that we are two idealists, wanting to share what we love in our lives, which is basically, the good life. That in itself is pure gold. A big thank you for everyone that has helped thus far. You will be amazed when we tell you our news. But lips must be sealed until then. Except when chorizo is around. Then lips open wide for chorizo happy time.

IMG_4591

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post

Look, we can’t kid ourselves any longer. We’ve known this basic formula for years. If you eat bad food you will inevitably be unhealthy (even if you’re skinny on the outside, Dad I’m looking in your direction ;-)).

I started this blog years ago to document the process of real food discovery and the search for a better lifestyle. In the beginning it was about an individuals efforts to live off the land (even if it was simply my urban backyard). It was about dreaming of pretty log cabins, cosy plaid woollen hunting jackets and old pickup trucks. Well let’s face it, that’s never going away. But I digress.

Here I am, 38 years old, and finally I have realised something very significant. I’m not at the end of my ‘food’ adventure but I have had some very big light bulb moments along the way.

Even though, yes I’m still carrying some ‘legacy’ weight, I am happy to say that from my changes in life have had a positive outcome. How I treat my body with the food I consume and my lifestyle choices has in fact made dramatic improvements to my health and wellbeing. And as much as I hate to use that phrase ‘health and wellbeing’ the actual physical manifestation of that term is very imperative to me now.

So whats all the fuss? Why be healthy at all? Well the obvious benefit is that I may now live longer than somewhere just in my mid-forties (which was where I was heading). This is not really an air punch moment, but it is a personal celebration of showing what is possible for the individual.

I know there are people out there that are sick because of the food they consume and the lifestyle choices they make. I’m not judging anyone here, let me make that perfectly clear! I’m simply suggesting that I’ve shown at least to myself that life can be way more rad when you’re healthy. I know at times, personally speaking it’s been like pushing shit up a hill. So many times in my early days I’d mix bits of bad food in my diet. I’d be hungover and opt for take away. Or I’d buy a cheap nasty supermarket option. We are but humans. Flawed, beautifully flawed.

I’m also not suggesting that I’m perfect. I’m not some Venice Beach example of the perfect male form. But hows this for improvement. I can now jog 3km. The Rohan of 6 years ago could not. I probably couldn’t have walked it, I was that sick. I can now spend a day of physical labour digging soil, fencing, cutting fire wood and I don’t stop until the sun drops low. I love that I took that second, third and fourth chance to look after myself. And I will continue to share that story.

That’s why I’m so damn keen to get the Nursery off and running. I’ve been gifted with this experience. I know there are people out there that would love a taste of it. And even though I speak at different events around the globe, there is nothing more powerful and real than showing someone first hand. Showing them what is possible by sharing, skills, experiences and ideas based around this amazing lifestyle that is ‘the good life’.

Here is a video from a song I was very lucky to have been asked to sing at the phenomenal DO Lectures in Wales earlier this year. Thank you to David and Clare Hieatt, and Naomi for believing in me and getting my almost skinny ass to Wales to share my story.

NB: Language warning, oh and I do get a bit heated at the end.

Rohan Anderson – Shit food equals shit health. And how I used food to improve my life from The Do Lectures on Vimeo.

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post
  • October 16, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    caroline ramage - AWESOME work Rohan!
    You are an inspiration
    Great to see people living
    and seeking truthReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2014 - 12:18 am

    Mrblanc - Good talk ro. Its easy to think your healthy when your blessed with height and some good genetics . However , it takes a but of age and Self awareness to really asses if your insides are healthy. Keep running. And don’t eat shit food. It’s really not that hard.ReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2014 - 4:48 am

    Wally Guthrie - Impressed! the talk was great, a great story you have and a good blend of care for people/place and your disappointment in what actions people will resort to so that they can continue down a shit path. I am also suitably impressed that you once had a VH Val, another thing we find in common.

    WallyReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2014 - 7:37 am

    Lincoln Kern - G’day Rohan
    I don’t reckon your comment about heading to early death in your 40′s before you changed your life is true. The irony is that the shitty food and lifestyle that too many people indulge in is more a quality of life issue. We have amazing medical care in our country so that we can treat ourselves like shit but still live a long time, although the last few decades of our life could be difficult or miserable because of the legacy of lifestyle diseases. The last decades of many people’s lives will be lived with very limited ability to enjoy life because of poor health.ReplyCancel

    • October 17, 2014 - 8:58 am

      rohan - I totally disagree with you. And so does the science. I was sick because of the lifestyle choice that I made. I was obese because I ate more energy than my body was burning. I had hyper-tension because of the salt I consumed, the alcohol I drank and the cigarettes I smoked. So my poor care of my lifestyle choices directly effected my health. My GP monitored this and communicated to me what was needed to be done if I was to avoid being a statistic. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. The point is that I’m much healthier now. And in my life what I’ve changed is the food, the booze and the smokes.ReplyCancel

    • October 20, 2014 - 4:33 am

      Mary Beth - Hi Lincoln,

      I’m from the U.S. and don’t know statistics of Australian mortality causes, but in the U.S., heart disease and cancer are in the top 3 causes of deaths of men in their 40′s (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_06.pdf).

      From Rohan’s past habits, it certainly was pointing him in the direction of an early death.

      Not everyone has thousands of dollars to pour into short-term “solutions”, like expensive prescribed medicine, annually. I agree that many people take this route and do live into their 60′s, 70′s and sometimes longer, It’s a shame that millions of people don’t have the willpower, like Rohan, to change their lifestyle habits to start feeling better immediately AND to be able to live happily and actively into old age.

      Just my two cents…

      Mary Beth

      P.S. Rohan – thanks for sharing this video! it’s great to hear your actual voice and i really enjoyed hearing more of your story and your past. you’re a true inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    Ashley - Loved it. I’ll probably rewatch it this weekend, make my boyfriend watch it too. I’ve been reading a long time, but it was lovely to hear your whole story, to hear about the eels & such, to better understand how you can hunt, how you had difficulties, etc. Wonderfully put, Rohan. Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2014 - 4:32 am

    ariel - Love the graph of shitness. The gap between knowing what u r doing is wrong and doing something about it feels like an eternity. U r a gutsy guy. The relief u must feel to b on the other side of the divide must b immense. Any little step in the right direction feels like a triumph. Keep it up u r a super inspiring hipster lolReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2014 - 2:17 am

    Emma - I know I am unhealthy because of my lifestyle. I get up and sit in a car for one hour to commute to my job that pays well but stresses me. This is doing serious damage to my body and i know it. I try and eat healthy, and compared to most people I am kicking goals in this area. I grow some of my own veg and I have my own chooks. But i want to do more. I want to live more and more simply. And I am going to take a big step towards this in the new year. And reading your blog over the last few years has helped me get closer and closer to making this leap and knowing that I will be happier and healthier for it.ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    Phil A - Really an outstanding video. Your continued encouragement to consider what we eat and how we live is thought provoking and has lead to real action in my and my families lives.ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2014 - 4:57 am

    Jasmin - Hi Rohan,
    Is there any chance of the video being captioned/subtitled? I’m deaf and can’t read your lips too easily there :-) Would love to know what you’re saying. I’ve only just happened upon your blog (through the DO lectures) and the subject is one that I’m struggling with right now (getting on to a healthier lifestyle).ReplyCancel

The Story

A few warm spring days snuck up on us like a snake in the grass, in fact the odd snake and shingle back lizards have been seen basking on the hot roads. Had spring finally arrived? All of a sudden it appeared as though the chilly winter blues were finally moving on. It got me thinking about sorting out one last hunt for the year. Tramping through the dry bush on foot in summer is not my idea of fun. Not only is it hot and sticky, but the hunters mind is focused on the prize of deer, not the venomous brown snake lurking at their feet. Summer for this hunter is reserved for nurturing vegetables, berries and fruit tree’s, and of course the odd wad up a river with the fly rod. I leave the deer alone to grow fat on summers goodness, then I’ll return when they go mad in autumn.

A few calls were made and the last hunt arranged. A quick overnight trip with the opportunity to hunt one dusk, one dawn.

Jack and I talked most of the drive up. The country was flat, with the rare slight undulating hill an exciting feature on the landscape. We passed mostly barren looking land, marginal farming at it’s worse. The low rainfall of the past winter showed plenty of stunted and failed crops. Many dusty roads and blistering highway we drove until we came to the farm we’d been invited to.

IMG_4364

By the time we arrived, the sun still sat too high to hunt, so we said our hellos to the boss and set off down the bush to explore. The block seemed to go on forever, we crossed flat pasture, tilled soil and thick scrubby bush. It was perfect habitat for Fallow deer. We spent the warm afternoon walking and driving the various tracks and trails. We found deer tracks, worn down by repeated journeys of exiting the scrub to feed on nearby green pasture, which they do with the safety of darkness. We found scats, skulls and prints. This was definitely deer country.

IMG_4366

We set up a position, hidden in long grass we waited. Mosquitoes buzzed and bit any exposed flesh. Sugar ants snuck up from the grass for a quick nibble, and the warm sun blessed us with warm rays. It fell like a lifetime for the sun to dip low. It was at low sun that we hoped for something to appear from the bottleneck of deer tracks in the bush, out to feed on the pasture. Patiently we lay. Nothing but kangaroo! The sun dipped far too low to hunt, we packed it in and hunted hare in the evening, of which we also failed to see.

IMG_4372

Late that evening, almost at midnight, we set a fire and cooked a meal. In between bursts of conversation we rested silently in our chairs, contemplating the days hunt. We agreed we’d done everything right to make the hunt work. We lacked one vital element, Luck. We just weren’t at the right place at the right time. It’s one thing about hunting that can challenge your resolve. The thought of coming home without meat for the freezer. Even worse is the jibes from your partner. “Gee that seemed like a long way to go not to get a deer”. So supportive.

IMG_4376

Thankfully we have enough food to get us through. This hunt was more about getting food for Jack’s freezer, not mine! I guess he’ll just have to take more care with his veg garden this summer! We also hunted the dawn, but got stuck without luck once again. The drive home had my head full of thoughts about the reality of being a hunter. It’s a reminder from nature that we don’t get to choose when we get meat. That’s the way it works in the real world. But in the ‘man’ipulated world things are very different.

IMG_4378

The background

(warning- this article contains some honest colourful language)

I started hunting for meat years ago. I don’t know exactly when, in any case that’s irrelevant. What is important is why I started hunting. I knew I was eating poorly. I was eating meat that hadn’t been raised real well. I knew that most of the farmed animals I happily consumed, had lived a shitty existence. I knew that corners where cut so that we the consumer, could purchase the meat at a low price. So I made a personal decision that I’d rather eat meat that’s come from a wild free animal than eat meat from one that’s been treated poorly by human hands. But let’s put that issue aside for the moment.

 

I want to address the big driver behind Whole Larder Love. The philosophy behind how and why I live the way I do is based around the fundamental idea/reality that no major food corporation or government will have my nutritional diet and health in their best interests. They also don’t have your health in their best interest either. They do however take making money very seriously. Last night on the ABC iView was a phenomenal example of this very depressing reality. The industry body, the one which has the best interest of the food companies in mind, is the puppeteer of bad health. They believe that it’s ok that fast food and processed shit can be sold to us. They believe it’s up to the individual to self regulate what they eat. HELLO! IT’S NOT BLOODY WORKING!!!! We are getting fatter, sicker and dying younger. And it happened to me.

 

I myself only exist online because of this very dilemma. I got sick, I got ‘all of the above’ sick and I then started to change my life, hence the catalyst behind the blog. I didn’t self regulate, I just ate what I wanted. I’d eat a take away home delivered pizza late at night after a few bottles of wine and a packet of cigarettes. Not a pretty picture. With my hangover the following day, I’d head to another fast food outlet to eat me take away McHangover cure. An even uglier reality.

 

It’s estimated that 70% of Australian adults will be overweight or obese in ten years. We need to do something. The government isn’t being proactive. The big companies don’t give a shit about anything else but money. We have to take the initiative and do something.

 

This blog has been evolving for years. It now has mega clarity in it’s aim. To communicate the story of an Aussie bloke that changed the way he lived from Macca’s to mountains of kale. From Burger King to Rabbit Stew. From KFC to home grown vegetables. From supermarket junk to dirty but sweet home grown carrots. I am proud of the changes I have made. Why? Because I’m a living, breathing example that lifestyle change and nutrition can improve an individuals health. I’m proof that a person can make positive changes in regards to food and lifestyle. Ok my story may be a bit extreme and I’m not suggesting everyone do what I’ve done, the whole grow your own thing, but at least may I suggest we eat real food. That is achievable for everyone.

 

Oh and one last thing. That hunting mate of mine Jack. He often tells me his sulphite stories. So you know what sulphites are right? You know they’re added to most processed foods and drinks right? You know that they cause asthma, allergic reactions, and disrupt our gut bacterias right? Australia is the most under-regulated country in regards to sulphites being added in foods. The sulphite story goes largely untold. But the good news is that once it’s cut out of your diet your body repairs itself. Jacks personal story is encouraging but even better is the tale of one of his relatives, who had been relying on ventolin for years. After changing the diet to whole foods, and no sulphites the puffer sat in the draw for a year. Now I’m not suggesting it’s a cure for asthma, but what an amazing tale of overcoming something by simply eating what our bodies have evolved to eat.

Now isn’t that an amazing way to approach living well. Eating what our bodies have evolved to eat. No way! What an outlandish idea.

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post
  • October 14, 2014 - 9:59 am

    MaameJ - Good on you for making such a commitment to eating well and ethically. Sorry you didn’t get any deer, better luck next time. Love the last photo by the fire.ReplyCancel

  • October 14, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Tim Hennessy - Great post Rohan. I have taken a huge amount of inspiration from what you do.

    I try to make sure at least one meal a week contains meat that I have harvested and hunted.

    Veg is next.

    As you suggested, I ain’t going to fold into the life you live, but I thank you for the inspiration.

    Cheers. TimReplyCancel

  • October 14, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    Dave Daniels - Hey Rohan,

    Love ya posts man I think theirs alot of us out here just need to spread the word and you do a great job right behind ya mate, brought my missus ya book she’s a mad cook and now we’ve just brought our first cow ever its exciting and like the same in all your stories its real living, so keep it Real
    Klifford J Fyshwick

    PS love the Jonathan Keevil album you got me into that one, cheersReplyCancel

  • October 14, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Toni - Thanks for this Rowan. It’s so very important.

    Around 10 years ago I too got sick. A combo of chronic stress and lifestyle that led to an auto-immune melt-down. Finally coming out of the other side of it all 5 years later I started getting my life in order, eating real food, spending my free time outdoors, being active, and rejecting the passive consumer model we’re all fed. I was fit, happy and healthy with more energy than I’ve ever had in my life

    A year ago I came to Peru to work on a conservation project, doing something important for the world. The job is good, but it means living in Lima, and the personal health costs of life in a developing world mega-city are just too high. Everything I eat is probably contaminated; even the lovely-looking veg from the organic market, because the rivers are contaminated. There’s NO regulation at all, and food is frequently full of preservatives and additives and artificial flavourings.

    Peru is in the middle of a cancer epidemic. It’s not exactly a mystery as to why.

    Lima is on the coast in the desert. Nothing is grown locally, so I can’t buy direct from farmers or choose free-range meat. The only local product is the seafood, and given the water quality off the coast here, you don’t want to be eating that either. The air is polluted, the water’s full of heavy metals. I hunt for better quality food but it’s still not the same as my Hobart veggie patch & farmer’s market, and the freshly shot wallaby my neighbour used to bring me.

    After 12 months in Lima my health has taken a kicking. My digestion is permanently grumpy, my asthma and allergies have come back. I’ve gained weight and my mental health is seriously suffering. I’m lucky though: in 2 months I return to Aus where I can start putting my health back together again.

    I’m lucky. The 10 million citizens of Lima have no other choice.ReplyCancel

    • October 15, 2014 - 12:04 am

      rohan - Come home please and tell everyone your story!ReplyCancel

  • October 14, 2014 - 8:44 pm

    Jessie - We’re working to the same goal, slowly. Our chicken is home raised and home killed, our lamb is from sheep we had mowing the grass and eating up imported hay (non-organic but we did our best) and the veggie gardens this year will hopefully provide more than the last. I truly believe in real food, ethical food and local food and would be living the full off grid life if I could tomorrow but reality is, it takes time to get there. It’s a journey so worth taking though. :) Good luck next time with those deer. I saw one just outside of Blackwood once.ReplyCancel

  • October 14, 2014 - 11:54 pm

    amy - I love your writing. It really strikes a chord with me as I struggle to live in a city ( Toronto, Canada) when what I really want is to live in the country and breath fresh air and have a food stove. Anyway, I will be following and sharing. Thanks for sharing.
    I’d like to know what camera you use… your photos are incredible! ( not that knowing that will make me be able to take just as good photos, i’m only curious)
    cheers from canada
    amyReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2014 - 10:08 am

    Dale Morgan - Fantastic Rohan. and no you are not extreme or over the top, you are a realist. Its the rest of the consumers that are trapped in their own ignorance, they are extreme really. Living an extremely unhealthy and terminal existance.
    Yay for the truth!ReplyCancel

  • October 21, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    jordan - so what do you think of wines and the sulphites they contain? are they needed? harmful?ReplyCancel