Lacrosse star Johnny Powless using indigenous food to up his game

Six Nations man Johnny Powless, now a professional lacrosse player for the Vancouver Stealth has been considered a lacrosse phenomenon in sports news across all of North America.

One of the top athletes in all of Canada, and recent nominee for the prestigious Lou Marsh Award, Powless is also one of the participants in the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge. We sat down with Powless to talk about why he decided to take part in this journey.

You’ve just started up with the Vancouver Stealth this month. How is the experience so far?

It’s pretty good! Because I’m flying there is a time change to adjust to. But we’re two and three now. We had a big win last weekend and we have a break now this weekend so I can relax!

It’s awesome that you are following the Healthy Roots Challenge. What got you interested?

I’d been wanting to make the change of having better food and making a better choice but didn’t have anything to motivate me. Then this came along so I thought of doing it.

Has it been difficult following the plan with all your travelling?

Travelling is really hard because I have no option, I have to eat at restaurants. I go hard during the week and when I’m travelling on the weekends I have to just do my best.

And with your personal development, spiritual and emotional balance?

I usually try to meditate a little bit. Close your eyes, think positive thoughts and move forward. Stuff like that.

That’s good! It seems like you’ve found balance and keep going even through challenges.

Yeah, my goal was to get more in shape and to be a better lacrosse player. The first few weeks were tough because I made the change at the same time as I started playing lacrosse. So it was changing my body while I was still playing the game. But now I feel like I’m in a lot better shape I’m not getting as tired as I was before. I am a little leaner now too.

Oh yeah because you are playing hard on the weekends and running around on the field burning calories.

Yeah. I went from 210 to 194 in the first three weeks! A little over ten pounds. And because of that when I was out on the field I was getting pushed around a little bit more. It was a big change for me. I had to find a way to put on a little bit more weight but now I’ve managed to get my weight back to where I feel more comfortable.

What has been the most challenging for you so far?

To stop drinking pop. And coffee. But I’m okay with it now. I also have some family members that are trying to eat better too so its working out really good. My girlfriend has been doing this with me, my little brother has been trying it and one of my uncles is doing it as well.

So it’s already inspiring others around you? Awesome! How do you feel about being a role model?

I haven’t really thought about it that much. Hopefully it encourages the younger guys try to live a more healthier lifestyle and make some healthier choices. My brother is about 17 and he has burgers and fries and pop because he can right now. But I’m hoping he starts to change. You notice really quickly that when you get older you can’t burn off that kind of food like you used to.

For more information on the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge click here. To join in the challenge group on Facebook click here.

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