I am sure you are wondering who Enrico Cecala is or why you are here. Maybe you read the about section, but you want to know more. However, before you start reading, I just want to thank you for making it this far.
The Fire Inside
I grew up in Utah going to school, playing every sport, barely passing my classes, to graduating high school. I was not the best student because I felt that there was more I could be doing in my life than sitting around training for a job. The summer after high school I was a little unclear on what I wanted to do. I was not accepted into the college I could afford, and I felt like it was a sign of something else to come. However, one day I saw something that spoke to me, it answered my unknown need for team and family. It was a PBS military special where they featured the Navy and did a blip of the Navy SEAL training and mission. When I saw this, it lit something inside of me that felt familiar, and I knew I had to take action. My intention to join the NAVY and eventually the Navy SEAL teams was to defend my country and protect my team. I was not in it to promote an agenda or be someone cool. It was solely to help where I was needed most. I immediately went to the recruiter and signed up for the military with the intention to become a Navy SEAL. I was shipped off a week later.
The Journey Begins
In 2002, I started my journey to become a Navy SEAL. I was not in the best shape of my life by any means. I did no research and had very little to go off when I showed up to BUD/s. All I knew was this is what I wanted to do even though I knew nothing about it. The first couple months were a genuine struggle. Coming into training not as fit as some, I knew I had to put in additional time. I took opportunities to better myself outside of training to become a front-runner. Fully engaging myself in the tasks at hand and making sure I was prepared and ready for anything. I believe my biggest asset during this period was not knowing even a sixteenth of what BUD/s had to offer. However, I knew the most important rule, DON’T QUIT that is it.
I eventually completed my goal of becoming a Frogman, my teammates and I were split up to our respective teams to do bigger and better things. During my time as a Navy SEAL, I completed over 130 combat missions, numerous deployments, and many of my teammates and friends never made it home. However, I would not trade it for the world I learned a lot from this experience. I learned what an actual team is, the definition of a human, what comradery is, and what it means to have someone’s back. These things come out when the shit hits the fan. I can say without a doubt that every Team Guy I had the privilege of working with taught me and inspired me in some way.
6 Year In
Some of you may not be familiar with the lifestyle of a Navy SEAL, but it is indeed demanding. I remember being deployed in some instances doing two operations a night, getting a few hours sleep and then repeating the next night. Oh yeah and training was no different, we always trained to the edge and demanded more of ourselves. Sleep was seen as a luxury and medical was considered to be a one-way ticket out of operating. I felt there had to be a better way to train for the battle when I am off the battlefield. I realized training does not end with physical activity but with constant holistic training. At about 6 years in the military I had just moved to a new duty station and for some reason began to analyze my experiences up to that point. My mental game began to shift from what I thought was normal to making my own normal. I started to shift the way I was eating, whom I listened to, whom I wanted around me and squelched the continuous media flood of misinformation. It was not all at once. I started in phases. One day I picked up a book at the bookstore (the cover caught my eye) and so I decided to flip through and see what it was about. The book was about eating raw. Just like most people who are unfamiliar with this topic, I scoffed at such a thing. However, I thought since I am here I will take a look. As I read, it began to resonate, and I felt a weight come off my shoulders.
Eating Raw and My Journey to Better Health
After reading about Raw or better yet knowledgeably eating for a better life. I went in with an open mind and decided the next day to start cold turkey to see if this would affect me positively or negatively. All I could think of to pick up from the store was spinach, arugula, apples, oranges, strawberries, and kale. Eating this way was difficult because my wife did not take this journey with me, she decided to eat exactly the way she always had. I did not blame her, I went cold turkey, shifting in one day. However, it was no matter I had a goal, and nothing could knock me from it. Within a week I felt better, and my previous mental fog was gone, my strength hadn’t diminished, my capacity for stress went up, and I overall felt better. At that point, I knew this was a legitimate lifestyle choice. I now had a new goal to learn more about what healthy eating is because I thought I knew but apparently not.
Organic and Non-GMO
I honored my food and started to eat locally sourced foods, organic and Non-GMO products. All these eating habit changes made it hard to convert my house into what it is now. We were set in our ways from birth, asked to believe and trust what we heard from people we never met. It was a mental battle we were ready to take on. This process to completely shift our diets was a couple of month process for me and a couple of year process for my wife. However, we took it in stride working together.
The biggest takeaway during this process was that we were paying attention. We started to take what we heard and process it completely instead of taking it at face value. One thing in the back of my mind during this transition was, my ability to do the job. I thought for many years I had to eat a lot of meat, some greens, and drink a lot of caffeine. At this point, I was running training events that would sometimes go from 7 am to 5 am the next day. I was the Chief of training, so I had to be there at 7 am to make sure the assets were lined up, and all the briefs were happening. After one training evolution, I got my confirmation at about 2 am. When everyone was sucking down coffee, or energy drinks, I broke out my water and felt ready for anything. In addition to feeling fine, I was clear headed and ready to make something happen if necessary. You may be thinking that I was sitting in a truck or watching a monitor the whole time. Not the case, I was hiking through the mountains, doing dynamic shooting drills, riding in helicopters, and monitoring the platoon at each critical point. My second confirmation came when the command was doing medical testing to research team guys and testosterone levels. I volunteered to have my blood drawn, and after a couple of weeks, I got my test results back. Everything was optimal or above optimal. The doctors asked me how I was able to do this and asked for my supplement schedule. I told them I take no supplements and rely on my food choices to support me. Now keep in mind I was still doing my job to the standard or above, keeping up with everyone and anyone. The Doctors were intrigued and didn’t understand or completely believe me. At this point I had been eating clean, no meat for over 2.5 years, so I knew eating clean was necessary.
Ever since I began paying attention to my eating habits, I have been eating more vegan than vegetarian. I know this is not the norm or what you think someone in this line of work does. But it works, and I feel great. I will say the only way I will eat meat, is if I kill it myself with respect. As of this writing, I have been eating this way for over seven years now. After the military, I started the hardest journey I never saw coming. The transition from a military lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle is nothing short of arduous. When I got out of the military, there was no support. There was no job waiting for me. No one was telling me what to do, where to look, what to say. I had to pick myself up and move forward. However, through all of this, I have found what I am passionate about, helping people. Taking the noise out of society and filtering into what matters. What is important is a hard piece of the puzzle to realize, but it could be closer than you think. From day one I have searched out difficulty to hone my abilities. Every step of my journey has been crafted to set me at this point. Who I am and what I do may be 180 degrees from what you believe, and that is entirely fine. All I ask is that you take a second to think about what was conveyed in my story. Sometimes it takes a different perspective to break out of a funk. Let this be that perspective.
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