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In my youth, I had terrible experiences with my shoulders separating and dislocating at various times during sports. I had my first reconstructive surgery at 18 years old on my right shoulder. This was the result of a year’s worth of extreme snowboarding accidents. Three years later, I was back on the operating table — this time for my left shoulder. After the second surgery, my upper body was extremely tight. Over the years, I had developed major issues with larger muscle groups in my upper body trying to overcompensate for the smaller, weaker muscles surrounding both of my shoulder joints. Even after months of physical therapy, I was worried I might have complications with my shoulders for the rest of my life.
I will begin with the admission that in this life, I have been extremely blessed. In the course of my work in the natural foods industry, I have been present at nearly every major yoga + music festival around the country. Wanderlusts, Bhakti Fests, Tadasana, Yoga Journal, you name it, I’ve been there distributing snacks, squeezing in some classes and generally reveling in the vibe.
If you don’t think making blackberry jam from wild blackberries is a “manly” thing to do, just think about the the days of hunter-gatherers. What could be more manly than tromping through the woods like a grizzly bear collecting food from the wild? In this case, however, I was actually walking on a paved road and collecting blackberries from the ditch-line because foraging in our woods right now presents too much of a poison-ivy risk. I also ended up with a Band-Aid® around my finger and spent more time canning in the kitchen than foraging in the great outdoors. Male egos and gender-stereotyping aside, foraging for wild food is good for your body, good for the planet, good for your wallet and, most importantly, good for your taste buds.