Roy Thompson was a healthy, active young farmer when chronic illness began affecting his life. The product of a cattle and buffalo ranch, Thompson began developing cold like symptoms in 2007 that spiraled into a drawn out, expensive effort to stay alive.
He said learning how to change his diet and detoxify his body brought him back to full health where he is running his farm with his wife and three children.
“All health begins with the soil,” he shared at the recent Montana Soil Symposium in Billings, Mont. “If we heal the soil, we heal the plants, the animals that eat the plants and the people.”
During his health crisis, Thompson was diagnosed with everything from Epstein-Barr virus to possible spinal meningitis to an “unknown” condition that was only alleviated with IV treatments costing $9,000 to $18,000 per treatment.
During this time, Thompson said he made an important realization.
“When I was really pulled down, I noticed food matters,” he said.
While continuing to try conventional treatments, Thompson also began researching diet and how “food can be medicine.”
“I started taking in all the info I could from people like Dr. Josh Axe and began my health transformation by making small changes,” he said.
Some of the diet modifications Thompson and his family made were to limit their intake of high-fructose corn syrup, processed food, and fast food.
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“The root of autoimmune disease is toxicity,” he said. “We are taking in toxic elements in our food, our water, and our medications.”
Thompson said he decided to go on a detox diet that included intake of highly-nutrient foods, grass-fed meat, wild-caught salmon and grass-fed butter. As a result of his changes, he was able to quit the conventional therapies and has been healthy for the last eight years.
But when he went back to conventional farming, he knew something was ailing his farm, as well.
“I’d get online and be looking at combines to buy and I’d get that anxious flutter in my liver,” he said. “The conventional farming model is losing so much money every year. The toxicity we are experiencing as people when the microbiome is off in our guts is the same thing that’s happening underground. The high-synthetic fertilizers are hurting the microbiome in the soil.”
Thompson said he isn’t against conventional farming, but he said the systems need to change.
“For me, I lost all passion and purpose for conventional farming because we couldn’t eat our own food,” he said. “I was ordering my meat, cheese, and vegetables from somewhere else. Using the conventional model, I was stressed out and sick.”
Thompson and his family have chosen to take their operation slowly in a different direction by raising grass-fed beef, growing niche grains like rye, and participating in projects like the bee program administered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, which works with farmers to grow diverse stands of plants to promote pollinator health.
He said the changes to his personal health and to the farm have been overwhelmingly positive.
“This is about hope and freedom,” he said. “It’s about not thinking that you have a disease and that’s the end. There are small changes you can make in your life that can make your health and your operation better. Look at your farming practices and grow some of your own food. It’s the little changes that end up making a big difference.”
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