Sunday, 22 April 2012

Backyard Supermarket

Naughty Mariette marigolds - who named these??
Okay.  So what I’m about to blog about will not be everyone’s favourite topic.  Diet.  Trying to diet and dying to try it.  Dieting is such a multi-million dollar industry that fails people time and again, that obesity rates continue to increase annually.  There are so many diet fads that abound.  Protein diets.  Carbo diets.  Complicated-count-the-calories diets.  What a hoax.  And of course there’s the big myth of artificial sweeteners being a dieter’s sugar substitute.  Boy, don’t let’s get started on the evils of this one, just Google aspartame and health, and read for yourself.  The more we are informed, the better we are able to make informed decisions.  Sure, there is a lot of conflicting info out there, eggs are bad for you, eggs are good for you, margarine is good for you, butter is bad for you, then the reverse.

We are all able to read something and feel deep down at a gut level, whether we are being fed a lie or not (‘scuse the pun).  My motto is; if it is something Grandma would recognize, it probably is good for you.  Good wholesome food, as Nature intended.  C’mon, we all know that we are being conned when we buy a box of man-made "food", that it could never be as good as the Real McCoy!  In fact, anything in a box, with a nice picture on it, probably isn’t that good for you!  Nothing like strolling into your backyard supermarket and picking your own!  You will never need to go on a diet again if this is predominantly how you eat - from your own backyard supermarket.
Gorgeous green babies waiting to be planted out

It is mid-Autumn and this is what we are still picking!!
 More specifically, we grow about 80% of our food.  20% is purchased in bulk.  Organic flours, pulses, nuts, grains, nut butters and dairy.  We don’t grow or consume anything with a mother!  That is, we don’t consume meat, fish or poultry.  Aaah, yes, another @#$! Vegetarian!  Don’t you just love to rip off vegetarians, or wait, better still, vegans?  Pass the carrot cutlet please.  Or how about a rump of cauliflower?  You feel unwell?  What you need is a good juicy steak to put you right.  Yep, I’ve heard it all in the 25 or more years of vegetarianism.  More so, my poor children have grown up (vegetarian from utero) having to defend their right to NOT eat meat!  What’s with that?  They have been the butt of veggie jokes, meat taunts and health advice all their lives.  The most recent was my daughter’s boss who told her to eat more meat as she was too skinny and no boy would ever look at her skinny ass.  Top hats off to her, she responded with “Not all men are shallow and look for outward beauty alone.”

How did I become vegetarian?  It isn’t this great story that begins; “one day I was driving behind a cattle truck from Bloemfontein to Pretoria……” or “I became very, very ill and needed to evaluate my diet and lifestyle,” or even “I love animals……”.  Nah.  It is much more exciting than that!  One dark, rainy night in Cape Town, my two girlfriends and I were hitching a lift from one dead nightclub, back to another nightclub closer to our student digs.  A yellow panel van with a sticker on the back, “Don’t laugh.  Your daughter might be inside.”  screeched to a halt and a young guy with spikey hair offered us a lift.  As was our safety procedure at the time, I had drawn the short straw for the night and had to sit behind the driver with a high heel shoe ready to defend us if we needed defending.  High heels were the weapon of young female students at the time and we would take it in turns to wear them.  The high-heeled warrior would position themselves behind the driver, ready to bonk them on the head if they tried to abduct us!  This young guy seemed trustworthy, and was headed to band practice minutes from our student digs.  It had started to drizzle and on arrival at our destination nightclub, we saw a long queue waiting to enter.  I have curly hair which is prone to frizzing up with additional precipitation, so I chose to extend my trip with the trustworthy guy while my friends disembarked.
"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." - Voltaire
Arriving at my student digs, still clutching my high-heeled shoe, we conversed for nearly 2 hours (after half an hour, he decided he was so late for band practice, he may as well skip it – no mobiles in those days).  The guy was a vegetarian. I'd only ever heard of a homosapien.
 “What, like you mean you ONLY eat vegetables?”
 “Yeah, and nuts, grains, pulses and fruit. Dairy too.” 
Pulses??  Like the doctor takes when you go for a visit?” I asked as my pulse quickened.  Would the kiss taste different?
Well it was just all too new and exciting to miss the opportunity to discover how pulses tasted, so I stuck around (or at least allowed him to) and the rest is history!  We married and I slowly learnt to cook vegetarian food.  He kept buying me these cook books which would annoy the hell out of me because I knew he was hinting that my food was lacking in imagination.  Hell, when I first met him, I didn't even know how to cook rice!   
Outdoor larder
25 years later and I have not only embraced vegetarianism, but I could never consider any other lifestyle.  Because it becomes a lifestyle, not a diet.  I became a vegetarian by proxy, but remain one by choice.  There is endless research supporting both vegetarianism and veganism as a healthy lifestyle choice, not one of lack, as some would like to think.  “But you NEED protein in meat to survive!”  A lie.  Sold to us by the industry that supports the killing fields of animal consumption.  For 17 years, we supplemented our diet with bottles of vitamins and minerals because we were “deficient” in so many nutrients only available to a meat-eater.  We so bought into that ideology that we spent up to $60 a week on potions, pills and powders!!  That is, until we met Don Tolman, my "health and wisdom guru", and he explained if you take any nutrient in nature, isolate it, concentrate it and pop it into a pill, then the body is confused by it.  It becomes a toxin to the body.  A light bulb went on.  Made perfect sense to me.  And if nothing else, the dear man has saved us $60 a week in the so-called “Health Industry” myth.
Our entertaining feathered friends

Saved from the pot, our girls provide endless amusement and
till our soil while fertilizing it at the same time.

And coming to the sustainable bit.  Yep, veganism and vegetarianism does make sense on this gravy train of carbon emission doom and gloom.  Inform yourself.  What is the single most important thing you can do for climate control??  That’s right.  Become vegetarian!  What??  Mainstream thinking is that we should simply change our light bulbs?? (Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth - should have been entitled A Convenient Truth).  Sorry for this, but this lightbulb turnaround will not even make a pinprick of difference if you continue to buy into the meat industry that is single-handedly the biggest contributor of carbon emissions and natural resource guzzling (food crops, energy and water).  
But wait, if you reduce or eliminate meat from your diet, there’s more!!  How about saving you heaps of dollars in health care?  No more clogged arteries.  Less obesity or weight problems and yo-yo dieting.  Less chance of a heart attack. 
And wait, there’s even more!  If you reduce meat intake, not only does the planet benefit and your health improves, there’s also the ethical issue.  You personally, are not responsible for the perpetuation of the slaughter of millions and millions of animals worldwide.  How would that feel? 
Check out this YouTube video of Carnism to kick-start your journey of discovery into the gastronomic delights of vegetarianism or veganism.  (thanks Liz!)  Dare yourself to watch till the end!
Monarch caterpillar goes walkabout

Stunning chrysalis and morphing caterpillar

Beautiful new butterfly having undergone a complete metamorphosis
"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields." - Leo Tolstoy

"When plunder becomes a way of life for men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it." - Frederic Bastiat.

"I have from an early age abhorred the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men." - Leonardo Da Vinci.

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