This is a question that has come up a LOT on the Facebook SIBO group and I thought I’d give my opinions on the matter having been a vegan and having suffered through SIBO. I was on the spectrum from vegan to pescatarian most of my adult life, I think the last red meat or poultry I ate was at 18 years old until I got SIBO at 53. This was a decision made for religious reasons as well as moral reasons to try and help save the planet and it wasn’t one made lightly. Originally I was hard-core vegan living on rice and soy for the most part then switched to adding dairy and eggs to my diet with some occasional fish. For many years we lived this way, eating fish often when traveling, otherwise maybe a few times a month. Sometime a few years before I got SIBO I started having problems with dairy and went back to being vegan.
2016 turned out to be a much better your than even 2015 was for me and really was shaped by our new family member – an Australian Labradoodle puppy we named Lira (river in Aboriginal Australian). Catherine and I had been talking about getting a dog again and I wanted one that could hunt since I got back into hunting as well as be a good family dog. We also wanted a non-shedding dog if possible. This narrowed our options down to basically two breeds – a Pudelpointer or a Labradoodle. We were on waiting lists for Pudelpointers when I found a breeder that had hunting doodles as well as Pudelpointers and after talking to her decided that the doodle would be a better dog for us.
It had been a week since the Western Washington pheasant season closed and a friend came to town with his dog so we decided to head over the pass with a small group, brave the cold and do a hunt at Cooke Canyon with the dogs this week. I was a bit worried about Lira in the cold and snow so got her a neoprene vest to wear and decided to see what would happen. When we got the dogs out of the truck they both basically went crazy running around in the snow chasing each other. Lira had Reagan by the tail much of the time. Snow seemed to be no problem.
I currently own two shotguns – a 20-gauge that I bought last year and a 12-gauge that I bought this year. Both are Benellis. The 20 a Montefeltro and the 12 an Ethos. I’d been alternating guns a bit this season but recently noticed a trend. When I carry the 12 gauge I don’t see any birds. I mean none. I haven’t even fired a shot out of that thing in the field. When I carry the 20-gauge I see birds and have shot all my birds this year with it. Now I’m superstitious and am sticking to the 20 the rest of the season.
In the last month since I got home from my Idaho deer hunt I’ve been spending a lot of time out bird hunting with Lira. So much time, in fact, that I haven’t been fishing for a month now. We’ve been spending time at Cooke Canyon in Ellensburg and several of the Snoqualmie Wildlife Areas on the west side. Lira has gotten better and better at finding birds, holding point and retrieving over this month, it has been really fun just watching her progress. She’s also graduated from needing to be leashed up to being able to be free and, for the most part she listens. She definitely would just as soon go out and play with other dogs as hunt though, it takes some prodding and a few zaps to get her out of play mode into hunt mode first thing in the morning.
A few days ago I shot my first buck and must admit I had very mixed emotions about the experience which for me really began several years ago. When I got diagnosed with SIBO and had to switch from a vegan/vegetarian to Paleo diet I made the decision to fully embrace the Paleo lifestyle and in March of 2015 part of that became taking up hunting again. It all started when I re-read The Paleo Manifesto and the chapter where John Durant decides to go deer hunting to supply his own food. I grew up hunting in Iowa and had indeed supplied my own food before so I knew I could do it. But, I grew up hunting birds, rabbits and squirrels and while Dad had gone deer hunting I had never been along. After my first bird hunt in 30+ years I began looking into big game hunting since the amount of freezer stocked is way higher than with small game. Within a month I had read several books on deer hunting and was contemplating hunting deer.
I learned to spey cast in the 90s, back in the days when spey rods were a relatively new tool in the steelheaders arsenal in the PNW. Lines were long belly mid-spey lines back then and my initial instruction consisted of about 10 minutes of my friend showing me a single and double spey and off I went. I watched videos on spey casting and the one I remember the most had this basic formula of Lift-Loop-Pause-Fire. This is how I learned to cast and after some time was able to put out a lot of line and actually caught some steelhead.
After five months of training I finally was able to get Lira out into the field today for her first controlled but real pheasant hunt. Chris and I loaded her up this morning and did the long drive to Ellensburg where we hunted at Cooke Canyon Hunt Club, a private reserve where we would have an entire area to ourselves. I ordered us up some hens figuring they would be easier for Lira to deal with than roosters on her first real outing, she got her first hen when she was only five months old on a training day.
Last year Jeff and I had a ton of fun on our September trip to the Deschutes and Yakima Rivers so we decided to do it again this year. Once again the trip was hosted by Louis Cahill of Gink & Gasoline and guided by Jeff and Barrett of Fish the Swing.
We departed on Monday morning for the fairly long drive down to the Deschutes, leaving a bit later and deciding not to fish along the way this year. We ran into The Dalles to get a license and arrived at Heritage Landing just in time for the 2 p.m. pick-up. Of course, everyone else was late due to a flight delay so we got to sit around the landing a bit and chat with Jeff and Barrett. Once the gang arrived we jetted about 4 miles upriver to our camp at Wagonblast, one of the better steelhead runs on the lower river.
Since my last post a few weeks ago where I discussed my high blood sugar test results I have managed to get things under control rather quickly. The amazing this was that all it really took was some chromium, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar (ACV). I haven’t been testing daily but have tested 5 times since getting my meter and each time I’ve been normal and, in fact, have dropped down into the 80’s for the first time since before SIBO. I even carb’ed out yesterday and tested this morning at 98 so high normal but still normal and lower than all my tests since SIBO which were pegged at 99. Along with the normal glucose readings I’ve been steadily gaining weight again. When I went to see my doctor last month I was down to 151, yesterday I was at 157 and I’ve been steadily rising these last two weeks. My body fat percentage has also risen from 11.5% up to 13%.