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Hale Kale

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Welcome to the first blog post for Rooted Green Wellness.


Hale = | hāl | adjective (of a person) strong and healthy

Kale = among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet


This is my story, Joel, husband of Jill, father, grandfather and co-founder of Rooted Green Wellness.

Part I

I, like countless others, grew up on the standard American diet. Hamburger gravy on riced potatoes, cream and bread, cream on brownies, cream on everything, butter…on everything, milk…by the gallon, kraft singles, you get the picture. Salads? Of course, chock full of good things: iceberg lettuce, a few carrots with Thousand Island dressing – and of course bacon bits!

Growing up I was overweight, wrestled with asthma, and eczema so bad I had to wear gloves to bed so as to not scratch myself in my sleep. Neither I, nor my parents, ever thought that food had any impact on my health. We ate to sustain ourselves, we ate to celebrate and we ate when we just wanted to eat. Specific to my weight, I was told I could exercise more and maybe cut back a bit on my intake – but the idea that the food I was eating could be impacting me in greater ways beyond filling my stomach was a foreign concept.

I got married and our family of two quickly grew to a family of four. Jill and I continued in a similar diet (although I was exposed to many more vegetables and this wonderful food called “chips and salsa”). We did implement some changes…and were now spending the extra money for “organic” and “grass fed” as the healthy choices.

As I got older, the weight kept creeping up. I would try the various “diets of the day”: no fat, the “mayo diet” (you remember… bacon, eggs and grapefruit for breakfast). The fad diets along with an uptake in exercise would allow me to shed some pounds – but the weight would quickly return as quickly as it left. Eventually I leveled out around 230 (please don’t ask for my drivers license) and no amount of running would lower that weight. (True confession, I remember touting to friends that I run so that I can eat whatever I want whenever I want).

I was viewed as a “healthy guy”. I ran a few marathons (one sub 4 hour), exercised regularly, ate more “white” meat and limited red meat and dairy – oh and did I mention we ate organic? My “green” palate expanded so that my salads included many different vegetables – with a healthy dose of ranch dressing.

Then, enter the biggest surprise of my life. Friday, November 16, 2016 at the age of 46, I had a massive heart attack. The “widow maker” – 100% blockage of the left anterior descending artery– came to visit. No family history of coronary artery disease, a “healthy guy”, a young guy. What? My wife, my kids, my family, my granddaughter, my friends….

This event, as tragic as it sounds, began my life on a new path – a path that my entire family would join me on as well....

Next week I will post Part II of my story – here is a sneak peek….

Before ....

Two years post heart attack ...

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