Healthy Roots participant spotlight: Kylee Vyse

OHSWEKEN – Kylee Vyse is finding no shortage of great foods to eat while she is on the Healthy Roots challenge. Shepherd’s pie, smoked turkey soup, mini duck egg omelettes — she’s loving it all.

“My favourite dish so far has been the shepherd’s pie,” said Vyse. “I make it with venison, squash, corn and potatoes. It’s so good.”

Vyse attended a cooking workshop last Thursday hosted by Six Nations Health Services where she learned different ways she could incorporate the challenge ingredients into exciting dishes for her and her husband. Staying organized throughout the challenge has not been difficult for Vyse, she rather enjoys it.

“I’ve always been good at planning meals and preparing food ahead of time, so trying to make these new foods work for me and my husband isn’t a big struggle,” she said. “I’m honestly not finding many challenges within the actual challenge, it’s going really good.”

Even though Vyse, 26, feels like she is doing great, she definitely misses some of her old diet staples — like pizza.

“I wish pizza was on the list,” she said. “I definitely miss pizza and candy.”

The challenge requires participants to follow the Haudenosaunee diet that existed before European contact, but also tasks them with doing some sort of activity every day. The activity can be anything from a brisk walk to a full body cardio workout — as long as participants get up and do something it counts.

Vyse has really embraced the message of the Healthy Roots challenge. She understands that it is not simply one of the latest weight loss diets, but a lifestyle change that aims to reconcile people through use of traditional foods. She wants to feel more connected with how her ancestors used to live.

“I’m doing good with the food aspect of the challenge, and I’ve also been pretty creative when it comes to the activity side of it,” said Vyse. “I’ve gone on walks, went ice fishing and went hunting.”

The main reason she decided to participate in the challenge is her desire for overall peace of mind and staying committed to an active lifestyle, but having recently married it doesn’t hurt to look towards the future as you consider your health.

“I’m newly married and at some point my husband and I are going to want to have children,” she said. “I don’t want to have young kids that I can’t have fun or keep up with.”

Culturally, Vyse said that Haudenosaunee mothers are life-givers and have a large role in nurturing their children. As she considers motherhood in the future, Vyse wants to make sure that she is ready to fill that role.

“I want to learn things now that will help me later,” she said.

Vyse’s husband, Holdon, is a huge supporter of hers. They are doing a lot of the activities together and she is grateful to have someone on her side.

“It makes it so much easier when someone has your back,” she said.

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