Feet dangling from the exam room table, hands gripping the soft vinyl cushion on either side, my wife Beth sat and waited as her doctor delivered the news. The doctor’s nostrils flared as he inhaled the breath he’d use to speak.
“I’m afraid you’re not going to like this. You have an auto-immune response to certain foods. Until we figure out just which ones you’re reacting to, you’re going to need to be on an extremely restrictive diet. No dairy, no processed sugars, no grains, and no red meat.”
“No red meat? How am I supposed to get protein?”
“Perhaps I should be more specific. You can eat red meat, it’s just that practically, you probably won’t be able to get it. You may consume red meat so long as it’s unprocessed…like wild game. I realize that’s cost prohibitive for most people to do, so I just tell my patients to avoid red meat in general.”
Still in the fog of grief from the specter of saying farewell to cheese and ice cream and bread; yet finding a little relief in this new specificity, she smiled and said, “I don’t think getting wild game will be an issue.”
Our family has always consumed more venison than store-bought beef, but that day, filling the freezer became less of a benefit and more of a mandate.
On the phone after her appointment, Beth informed me of my mission, “You’re going to need to hunt more if we’re going to be eating game exclusively.”
It’s always a little funny to me when our modern sensibilities catch up to eternal truths. When neurologists discovered the positive affects prayer has on the brain. When secular progressives recognized the benefits of service to others. When astrophysicists discovered the universe began in an instant. All of these things had been known before by people who live closer to real life. True outdoorsmen may be the closest of all to common sense and reality than any of the experts. Now comes the field of nutrition.
I don’t want to launch into the tired discussion of how healthy wild game is. We all know that. We’ve all known that. Really, I just wanted to recognize how cool it is to have my wife encouraging me to be an effective hunter in the field. It feels like the true function of manhood to venture out into the wild and outwit an animal that lives there full time in order to provide for my family. I love killing does and my wife loves it when I do that too. It’s not just about inches of antler or points, it’s about security and health. Instead of my hunting being a point of contention, it’s become a point of unity.
As archery season kicks off and our deep freeze is looking cavernous, both of us are anxious for me to hit the woods to do some shopping. As a result of her disciplined approach to her doctor’s nutritional regimen, Beth is looking and feeling healthier than ever fueled by wild game procured by the Thinking Woodsman. Now if only there were an open season when I could bowhunt wild free range Haagen-Dazs, I’d be the complete provider.