Meet your Meat

What’s better than a beautiful, nature filled trip to Alberta? Not much, as you can see from this post and this one. Hiking, rock climbing, hanging out in Calgary’s Prince’s Island and visiting Drumheller, the dinosaur capital of the world were all on the agenda.

Then a very interesting thing happened while driving back to Cowtown.

We passed a bunch of really cute cows.

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Now, I don’t know about you but I am pretty well completely removed from where (and who) my food comes from. If I eat a steak, it is either shrink wrapped in plastic at the supermarket or served to me on a white plate in a restaurant. I hardly ever think about the animal I’m eating or the misery of factory farms, the slaughterhouse or even the environmental consequences of my food. I’ve always eaten as little meat as possible but it’s been years and years since I’ve seen or really thought about cows.

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This family of cows had a bunch of cute and playful calves among them, so I thought I’d get out of the car to snap a few photos. When I first walked toward them they looked startled and ran away but eventually let me get pretty close. Close enough to see two young cows playfully butting heads and another one happily skipping along a pond. Then I looked into one of the adults big brown eyes and she looked back at me curiously. And, all of a sudden, this thought popped into my mind: “They’re not food.” and wouldn’t leave. I looked again at the calves playing with each other. “They have no idea what’s in store for them.” I thought and promptly burst into tears.  Eventually I got a hold of myself, said goodbye to my new friends, the cows, and walked back to the car. Then I burst into tears again.

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Strange things happen when you meet your meat. I haven’t had even a smidgon of beef or dairy since that experience and, you know what? Other than the odd craving that lasts a milli-second, I don’t miss it at all. And when I get that slight craving, I think of the youngsters playing together and skipping beside the pond and, guess what? The craving goes right away.

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Since I’ve been home, I’ve embraced chickpeas with a passion and I’ve been incorporating them into my diet almost every day. They’re full of protein, fiber and yumminess and I’ve been making hummus, bean soup and salads with them.

Here’s a simple salad that gives you a taste of what I’m eating now. With a bit of brown bread on the side and some fruit for dessert, I feel like I’m dining like a queen.

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Tropical Dinner Salad

  • Big bunch of mixed greens
  • Sliced mango
  • Shredded cilantro or Italian parsley
  • Diced red onions
  • Cubed tangerine or orange
  • Chickpeas

Dressing – all ingredients to taste

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard

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Yummy. Healthy. Cruelty Free.

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Hiking the Hoodoos

I visited the province of Alberta for the first time about a year and a half ago. Before that, I have to admit, I had very little knowledge about the place. I knew that Banff was beautiful, that Calgary was the largest city (with an annual out-of-control party called The Stampede) and that it was our oil province. That was the full extent of my knowledge. Since that initial visit I’ve been back about a half a dozen times and each time I get to see a bit more of Alberta’s natural beauty and fall a bit more in love with it.

Banff, Kananaskis, Lake Louise, Jasper, to name a few places, are all  stunning. But this time I visited a spot that was quite different and breathtakingly beautiful in an unusual way.

The Alberta I’d seen so far consisted of pristine glacier lakes, incredible forests and wildlife and rugged mountains, not the unique rock formations of the Hoodoos (aka. earth pyramids) just outside of Drumheller.

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The Hoodoos caught me by surprise and made me feel like I had been instantly transported to some mystical place far, far away. “Is this still Canada?” I thought as I looked at the strange beauty of the rock formations surrounding me.

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The Hoodoos give you a great hiking workout but, even more importantly, they are still and silent and offer you a special place to rest for awhile. So, after exploring, accept their invitation to sit quietly and take in the awe inspiring beauty of nature.

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Hiking the Hoodoos

TruMarine Collagen

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I’m on a quest to age as happily and gracefully as possible. This journey was moving along reasonably well until a few months ago when I had a bad bout of food poisoning. A bug called campylobacter invaded my system and totally messed with my digestive tract. It just didn’t go away on its own so, after a couple of months of trying to cure it with probiotics, I had to take uber strong antibiotics to finally kill it. Although I was happy to have it gone, the antibiotics (along with the bacteria) irritated the lining of my stomach and I ended up with bouts of nausea a few times a day. On top of this, after doing my usual yoga class, my joints felt sore and creaky. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling too happy or like someone who was aging all that gracefully anymore.

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I’ve had a lifetime of quickly and easily bouncing back from things so the fact that I wasn’t bouncing back from my stomach issue combined with feeling a million years old after working out, was bringing me down. Was this how I was going to feel from now on? Unhealthy, sad and tired? Is this why everyone is so afraid of aging? I felt like my body was breaking down and this made me feel vulnerable.
But, as fate would have it, I found my solution at lunch one day. Walking into one of my fave spots, Fresh Café, I saw a company called TruMarine doing a demo of their collagen product. I didn’t know a lot about collagen other than its anti-aging effect on skin but I was about to find out all that it can do. Tami, the owner of the company, filled me in on how our bodies usually have trouble keeping up collagen production starting in our late 40’s. She listed the ways collagen keeps us healthy and beautiful:
· Coats digestive tract

· Keeps joints healthy

· Keeps skin young

· Strengthens hair

· Strengthens nails

Tami also told me that people usually start seeing results in about a month. One exception was a friend of hers who is a hard core athlete. Her friend had severe joint pain and found relief for the pain within a month. Then, two months later she started noticing that her hair and skin looked healthier and more vibrant. The collagen goes to the part of the body that needs it the most first and then moves on to improve other areas. Okay, I was sold. I bought a package and drank a dose down immediately. Now, two weeks later, my nausea is completely gone, after haunting me for three months. And my joint pain is almost non-existant, letting me do my yoga thing about three times a week with no problem. I’m not sure about skin, hair and nails but I took a “before” photo a month ago and will take another at the end of next month, so we can see the results together.

When a product is this good, I have to share.