Confessions of the worst vegetarian ever.

Sho. What. A. Week. This week was, horrid. I was on so much medication, and the boys were on school holidays, and work doesn’t stop. How I functioned through all of it is a modern miracle mystery. Or something. The past month or so I’ve been getting really sick. And I honestly hardly ever get sick. I run, I gym, I eat (mostly) super healthy – I love fruits and salad and bran and grains and crunchy leafy green things. You’d have a hard time getting me to eat any junk – to be honest. If I feel like something yuck (YUM) then I’ll make some sweet potato chips with loads of mayo or something. I’m super proud and careful about what I eat most days. So let’s take an unbalanced, unhealthy diet off the table right here.

About 2 months ago, I cut meat out of my diet but still ate fish. I felt better than ever – really. Skin cleared up a lot, I felt lighter, healthier, lost weight and just all-round great. Then I (quite accidentally, really) stopped eating fish or seafood for another month. I just hadn’t gone out of my way to put tuna in anything and we hadn’t been for sushi. Our local grocer’s fish is hella expensive, so I was like “I’ll get when I do the big shop” and that just never happened. Maybe I’m supposed to be telling you what a good person I am cause I didn’t eat meat but honestly it just happened. And at the same time all this other stuff happened.

I got a bad tummy bug. I got flu. I got mild tonsillitis. I got an ear infection. My eardrum burst. All of this in like a 6 week period I think. I usually get sick once a year or so, like most of us. After the third night of being up ’til 3am with a hot water bottle on your ear, you kinda lay awake and start trying to figure out WTAF is wrong with you. I started getting sick when I cut out the healthy fats and proteins found in fish. I think. I’m pretty sure.

Then I thought “nah…” because Noah has been vegetarian for 3 years and that kid NEVER gets sick. In his whole entire life I remember him being sick once, when he was about 2. He is a healthy, brainy, happy and super active child. So… wtf. I spoke to my brother cause he was vegan I think for 5 years and now vegetarian for 4 years and he used to get sick too. He had to go for injections and all sorts of things but he got really sick. Then I spoke to my friend Kate who was vegan, then vegetarian since 2009 and she didn’t go through this. So what gives.

So after laying in the doctor’s room for several hours (hellooooo sick bed) after another injection (this time for a reaction against penicillin or the cortisone or something) and after throwing up for 6 hours straight, I had a tuna sandwich. And it felt good. And I felt stronger. Sorry I know I’m supposed to be all YOU DON’T NEED MEAT and SAVE THE OCEANS, but I felt a bit of strength come back. Two nights after that, I cooked some boerie rolls. I was all ‘blue steel’ frying those onions and sausage like a malnourished starving animal. I wasn’t craving meat-meat, but I was trying to find a solution. The spinach for my pop-eye, if you must. I got in bed with my boerie (haha) and settled in to some series. It wasn’t until there were 3 bites left that it happened: the taste. It tasted like meat. Like flesh. Dead, rotting, bloody flesh. And come now guys, I had eaten meat since I was like 6 months old – THIRTY YEARS I kicked back the burgers, mince, chops, lamb – loved it. But I swear to God, it was the most disgusting, foul taste.. like I was eating something dead. And I frantically tried to tell Graeme and my mom and they were like “yeah but technically that is what you ate” and I was just like… “No but you don’t understand, when you stopped eating it, it tastes SO DIFFERENT.” It does. When you grow up with meat, it’s just a thing – a thing your mom dishes up with mashed potatoes and green beans and rice and you eat it and you love it, because you know it and it’s awesome.

Having not eaten red meat for two months – it really adjusts your palette. Like.. re-sets everything. I wasn’t disgusted on an emotional or ethical level, I was mid-way through my favourite show and not even thinking about it. I just needed that gross taste out of my mouth as soon as possible. I got in my car and drove to the garage and bought like a handful of ghost pops and juice and chocolates (sooo much better, right?) and anything I thought would get the taste away. The taste, it’s like… iron, metal. Like when you cut your finger as a kid and you lick at it (we all have) (yes even you) and you taste blood and you’re like “gross how do vampires do this….” That is what meat tastes like after you stop eating it. And meat is meat whether it’s dog or human or cow or baby sheep – it all tastes the effing same to me now. My point is – you’d probably go through the same thing.

Anyway, I’m like the worst vegetarian / pescetarian ever. The other weekend I accidentally ate chicken samoosas at Noah’s sports day. Graeme had a packet of them and I was like “yeah gimme some” and like two days later I was like “oh wait…” and felt like I had to do the vegetarian equivalent of Hail Marys but I didn’t know what that was. And it’s hectic, man. Vegans and vegetarians can be soooo hectic. A friend of mine is vegetarian and she was like “yeah I eat fish sometimes but don’t tell people” and my brother felt some flack when he went from vegan to vegetarian for health reasons. And then the vegans are like “Oh, the bad and unhealthy vegetarians are putting the good ones to shame” but it’s not like that. Some people really get sick, you guys. I opened the convo on twitter, and dozens of people said they had to go back on to animal proteins or dairy or something. Another friend of mine got sick on a vegan diet, then switched to vegetarianism. People don’t want the animals to suffer, and people are trying but it’s hard in the beginning. Maybe it’s easier for some (and I applaud you) but changing your diet and life-long habits in any way is hard. I felt so much better when Kate told me that it literally takes years to fully adjust. And now I don’t feel so bad about my failings and accidents and sickness and wanting to self-harm over eating 3/4 of a boerie roll.

I don’t know why I got sick, or why some do and some don’t. It might be a detoxing process – maybe Noah’s system was young and strong enough to adapt. Maybe some people have better immune systems, and there’s research on different blood types needing different nutrients. I’m not going back to red meat, because it tasted like something that had maggots in it (for real) but I will still eat fish now and then. I think I need to. And maybe I’ll wean myself off of that eventually. Maybe I’m not as hard core as I thought I was, and getting ‘that’ sick really humbled me. Something about sitting on your bed at 1am with a toilet plunger to your face that makes you really consider your life and actions.

So I am saying this:

I don’t want to eat dead animals. I don’t think it’s cool to eat blood or have any part in the suffering of another earthling. I also know (and you should too) that colon cancer is most common amongst people with a diet rich in red and processed meat. Not nice to think about, but do yourself a favour and google “colon cancer” in case you have any doubts. I am shit scared (see what I did there) of that type of cancer. Right now, it’s the third most common type of cancer – globally. Anyway… I am saying: take care of yourselves and listen to your body and keep it strong. Do your research. Tonight a friend asked what plant based proteins I am eating and I was like “what is that” because even though I’ve been eating all those foods she mentioned like beans and lentils – I didn’t know that they’re proteins. Cause I’m the worst. So if you’re looking for a list of meat alternatives that nourish all the right boxes, find one here.

Anyway, I know I said I wouldn’t be talking about this anymore, but I’m still sitting here with a stack of meds next to me wondering how the heck this all happened. I’m putting it down to detox, and I’m eating some fish again. And getting back to the gym tomorrow and hoping that this is the last of it. So if you’re going through this transition and it’s not all hunky-dory world peace vibes, then that’s okay. Tiny little steps need to be taken at your own pace. Saving the world is HARD work you guys. Kidding. I think I’ve saved like, half a cow. Maybe a drumstick. And in light of all this negative, ranty sulky vibes… Here’s a picture my brother took while we were at the beach yesterday. Dudes chilling with dolphins. We live in a beautiful world, people. Let’s all be kind to each other.

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A few family pictures – 2015, Betty’s Bay by Paul Clark

We went to my mom’s house in Betty’s Bay for Easter Weekend. It was super fun (and busy) and some days a bit rainy, but it was great. The dogs love, love love going to my mom’s. The houses there aren’t allowed fences – how awesome? Something about the fynbos and preservation, so you can build a house but you aint putting up a wall and gate. So your dogs have to be pretty loyal to stick around, as ours do! They really love exploring around the garden, fynbos and bushes and keeping busy.

My brother Paul is visiting for a bit, and took some pictures of Jack and Daisy. On the morning we left, I asked him to take a quick family picture or two before we got going. It was super unprepared, I hadn’t planned any outfits or props or plans or anything fancy. I sat on that rock for like 20 minutes trying to call Graeme away from the tv to quickly sit for a picture. Looking at these, I’ve decided that THIS is the way to go: all natural! I didn’t even edit these images – just a quick crop here and there. I feel a bit self conscious now cause I was wearing short-short shorts, and I was gonna try take some bumps and bruises out but you know – this is us. All rested from a weekend away, about to get in the car and head home. A moment, a memory. We’re gonna frame three of the pictures from the below, and I’m really excited to see how they come out in print. Thank you SO much for the quick snaps Paulie – ek waardeur dit baie! Who needs a lawyer in the family when you have a photographer, right? If anyone in and around Cape Town / Overberg wants some profesh “frame it” family pictures done in the next few weeks, you should mail my brother – pawlclark@gmail.com and this is his website. It’s my blog and I’ll punt if I want to!

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What happens when you push a panic button in South Africa?

Now, I’m home alone from time to time. Not often, but sometimes just the boys and I are at home. We have a pretty good security set-up, but we had ADT installed when we moved in. I don’t know why – as we’d previously had a bad incident in Observatory. In that case, 3 guys had gained access to our property while I was home alone. They ran off when they saw me, and as they ran I pressed the panic button three times, but nobody showed up or called. I phoned my husband and he got on the highway from town, and made it home to me before ADT had even arrived. In fact, I had to call them about 25 minutes later to ask why nobody had showed. Interestingly, the SAPS had showed up before they had. This is a business that had been taking about R425 of my money every month for three years, at a total of about R15 300. And nobody showed up, at all.

When we moved to the suburbs, we had a meeting with ADT and expressed our concerns. They promised a maximum 4 minute response time, as they have so many patrol cars and bicycles in this area. We also stipulated in our contract that in case of emergency, they have full access to the property and need to jump the front wall if necessary so that they could view the front and the back property – especially if we’re away, but in any case if there is an emergency: They have access. We signed our contracts and felt secure in the fact that this area is better managed, as promised.

This morning I was discussing security with Graeme, and I told him that I was going to test the panic button. We have them all over the house, and we’ve trained the kids to use them too. In case there’s a medical emergency, a fire or if something happens to mommy that they don’t know how to help with. At around 11am, I closed our front door, set my stopwatch, and pushed the panic. Sirens went nuts, and I waited.

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The siren blared and eventually switched itself off after about a minute and a half. Nothing. When my stopwatch was at 2 minutes 42 seconds, my phone rang. By now I had checked a few emails and put some cartoons on for the boys. Or, been attacked by some sort of crowbar gang or something. I didn’t answer the call, because after all, I was in ‘distress’ and unable to take the call. This was an emergency.

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These are screenshots from my phone. It appeared that nothing was really happening, and nobody was arriving. I made a cup of tea and checked more emails. Interestingly, the siren didn’t activate again. I would have thought that if a panic was pressed, then the siren would continue to alert neighbors and passers by. An alarm going off for a minute, then switching off would tell neighbors that it was activated accidentally. A siren that continually goes on and off might signal an erm, alarm of sorts. For me, this would show that someone is in distress. I took my tea and stood at the front door. We have these old school patterned windows next to our door where I can see our front garden and gate. Note that my car is in the driveway, showing that someone is home.

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At 8 minutes, 8 seconds our gate bell rang. I stood next to the intercom but didn’t pick it up. After all, I was in serious distress and unable to answer. I had pushed a panic button, which should trigger every SOS signal in the books over at security headquarters. Nothing. I watched the ADT guy get back in his car. And then more nothing. Nobody called again, nobody jumped over the wall. I got concerned that he in fact WOULD jump over the wall because those guys are armed man. I also wondered if he was in his car calling the police for backup, in which case I had some serious explaining to do. But he was just sitting in his car. He didn’t ring the bell again, nobody phoned me again. It was like nothing was going on at all. From the time that I had pushed the panic, over 15 minutes had passed. I thought that even more concern would be raised as I hadn’t answered the phone, and I wasn’t answering the gate, and a car was parked outside. I have seen the ADT guys respond to alarms in our area, and they generally park, stand outside for a bit, then drive off, noting in their log books that they’d attended to the call-out. I am pretty sure that the guy would eventually just have driven off.

The carpenters that are doing our floors arrived that moment. The ADT guy quickly jumped out. I opened the gate for the carpenters, and the ADT guy followed. “Is everything okay ma’am?” he asked. He was a really nice, soft spoken man. I said I was fine, and he said “Okay!” and left. Didn’t even ask for my password. About 20 minutes later, a lady from ADT called to ask if response had arrived, about 35 to 40 minutes after I’d pressed the panic. I said I was fine. And that was the end of that. So there you have it, ladies and gents. This is what happens when you press a panic button in your home when you’re alone with your children. This post is not to defame ADT in particular, but to highlight security systems in general. I’m sure that ADT does a lot of good in their line of work, but I don’t feel very safe being in their ‘care’ right now. I thought you should know, and I urge you to test your systems too.

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The doorbell rang at 8:08 and I opened the gate at 15:31. If I hadn’t opened the gate, I’m sure he would have driven off eventually. He didn’t even shout out. Nothing.

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a little bit of us

We had such a great weekend. Really, these good weekends seem to come out of nowhere these days. Maybe it’s because winter is approaching and we’re making one last push to enjoy the outdoors before the rains and cold and lazy days consume us. We found a sweet little beach in Milnerton called Lagoon Beach. We’re all about the lagoons these days in search of warmer water! Not much swimming going on in Cape Town beaches unless you have skin of steel. The boys love swimming and splashing around at the beach, so lagoons are our little haven. Wait, I need to start at the beginning.

On Friday afternoon, we watched this great new movie called “Home” and found a bit more info about it. You have to have to take your kids. Mine loved it, and I cried all the cries at the end. Such a fun story!

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HOME is the latest offering from Dreamworks Animation (The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon) and  features an array of well-known voices including the likes of Rihanna, Jim Parsons, funnyman Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Matt Jones.

After an overly-optimistic, yet inept alien race called the Boov led by Captain Smek (Steve Martin) invades Earth to make it their new home and to hide from their mortal enemies, a resourceful human girl named Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci (voiced by Rihanna) avoids capture and embarks on the road trip of a lifetime with a banished Boov named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), who accidentally notifies the enemies of their whereabouts.

Through their unlikely friendship, and a series of comic adventures with Tip and her pet cat named Pig, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And, while he changes her planet and she changes his world, together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

View the trailer for HOME here:  http://sterkinekor.com/?cinemaID=11#/trailer/6856/Home%20/

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I really love my movie dates with the boys. I especially wanted to take them over Easter weekend, but we’ll be away. Over Easter weekend and school holidays, Ster Kinekor has loads of fun planned for kids. Home, Cinderella and Fast & Furious 7 are all releasing now. So, whether you’re into fairy tales and dreams coming true, or animated aliens looking for home, or you’ve fastened your seatbelt for the ride of your life, there is loads to do. For HOME, The cinema foyers at certain Ster-Kinekor cinemas will be transformed into a carnival of colour and activity over the Easter weekend, with face painters, jugglers, bubble machines, tasty treats, prizes and so much more. Take the kids to Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Gateway in Durban, Cape Gate in Cape Town, Brooklyn and The Grove in Pretoria, and Cresta and The Zone in Johannesburg, to join in all the excitement from 03 – 06 April.

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For Disney’s Cinderellasome of the cinemas will be transformed into a fairyland over the Easter weekend, so definitely dress your girls in their favourite princess outfit. Follow the fairy lights to the big screens at Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Gateway in Durban, Cape Gate, Tygervalley and Cavendish in Cape Town, Brooklyn in Pretoria and The Zone, Sandton and Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg – and, on Thursday, 02 April, the palace’s footmen will welcome you to the land of Cinderella. I’ll admit, I’m dying to see this movie, and I AM dragging the boys along.

If you fancy yourself as a would-be Fast & Furious driver, you can test your skills in the racing simulators at select cinemas from 03 – 06 April. The racing simulators will be in pole position at Ster-Kinekor Gateway in Durban, Tygervalley in Cape Town, Sterland in Pretoria, and at Cradlestone Mall and The Zone in Johannesburg. Phew! That was a lot of info, but well worth it. The kids are gonna LOVE me for telling you about all this. The boys always have a great time at the movies with mom, I love having this one on one time with them. They feel so special when mommy takes them on a “reeeal date!”

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Noah had his first ever Sports Day on Saturday. Graeme and I volunteered at the Tea Garden and Braai Station and got busy with helping sell some treats and raise money for the school. We managed to watch all Noah’s races and we were so proud. He is a master crawler, and super cautious in egg-and-spoon situations. He kicked butt in the sack race, and Benjamin loved cheering him on. It was such a fun morning in the sun and I really missed that school spirit from my schooling days. We watched all the house captains lead the teams around the field with a marching band playing and everyone was all competitive and excited and super passionate about their races. It was incredible. I’m so grateful to be part of this wonderful school and all the bright and feisty children.

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We headed to the beach with the dogs. We really can’t leave our pups for more than a few hours on weekends – they must have been going mad with jealousy and boredom. We hurried home and packed a bag and cooler box and headed to Lagoon Beach for the afternoon. There are always so many dogs there for ours to play with and so much space for them to run, play and swim. Oh, the kids had a good time too :0 hehe. You know what I mean!

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We had a braai when we got home and a few sun downers while the boys played and watered the garden. Graeme made Noah and I some delicious veggie burgers, a big chicken roast / braai and some salads. I know – it really was the most perfect day, just us. On Sunday we were so lost on what to do. We wanted to go for a hike along the mountains, but so many parks and trails were closed due to fire damage. We thought about a fishing trip and a little Sunday road trip, but in the end all we wanted to do was go back to the beach! We got some bodyboards and snorkel sets for the boys and headed back for another sunny day, because really – winter IS coming. I can feel it in my bones every morning and getting out of bed at 6am is becoming a real and painful struggle at the rabbit haus.

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Graeme was itching to make something (anything) and I had a few things to do around the garden, like re-pot ALL our house plants that were getting too big for their pots. I’ve been walking around for like a month wondering why all our plants suddenly look miserable and near-dead. WHOOPS! Anyway, they’re pretty happy now. I also got a bunch of new house plants because I love love love greenery in every room. I also put a bunch of flowers that I planted back in to pots because Daisy is a sneaky little naughty and has a huge appetite for flowers, it seems. Funny cause her name is Daisy. Maybe she’s angry about her name choice and this is how she’s taking it out on us. Graeme and the boys made us a standing veggie crate and we planted a bunch of delicious herbs and lettuce. We’re gonna try make one every weekend. The research I did said that it’s better to have veggie gardens in raised crates or boxes as it protects them from more pests and things. So you don’t have to spray all those gross poisons and things on your food. So far – so good! It really was a fun weekend and I’m struggling to get through this week already. We’re going away for a few days and I can’t wait because we’re in for MORE summer vibes and beach and family. Also, the Easter Bunny is coming soon!

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a very merry un-easter, to you!

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We had our friend Renee and her little Bobby over for an Easter picnic this weekend. I love anything to do with bunnies (have you not noticed) so I really love making it special for the boys. I have so many fun memories of Easter from my childhood, and I hope that the boys will have fun memories too! We’ve created our own traditions throughout the years, which are: The egg hunt, baking (usually hearty bran muffins), picnic, crafts and games. We usually make Bunny Bunting and Bunny Paper Plates. This year, the boys helped me create a family Easter Treat Table that centered the celebrations quite nicely. I got all my goodies from In Good Company. They have stores in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and if you don’t live there then don’t fuss – they have an online store. View their Easter goodies here.  I LOVE this shop and it’s where I get all my decor things from for every occasion – Christmas, parties, birthdays, kids stuff, gifts – if you need anything pretty, you’ll find it here. So I got ALL my table decor things from their shop and set up a really fun party table that the boys really loved! Food-wise, I got all our picnic goodies and the bunny biscuits from our new favourite deli: Brooker and Waller. Find them on Cavendish Street in Claremont (hint: RIGHT next to In Good Company!) Here are some fun pictures from Saturday.

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how many vegetarians does it take to cook a steak

One of our boys has been vegetarian for 3 years now. My brother has been vegan and/or vegetarian for 8 or 9 years already. Over the years I’ve done some research, created recipes and had many long chats with both these guys. I have vegetarian and vegan friends that I’ve had the most interesting conversations with, and Graeme and I have watched so many documentaries on the subject – from Earthlings to Food Inc and so on. Nowadays, it seems like more and more people are making the switch. Recently, my friend Keri has joined the clan. As more of my family and friends are ‘crossing over’, I’ve started clicking on more links that I would otherwise ignore. Did you know: Noah had a vegan baby shower? My friend Kate is vegan and threw the loveliest shower and even baked vegan cupcakes for the guests, and for me. Kate has always been extremely earth conscious. And what I’m about to tell you could go either which way, but…

Kate is sort of a genius. No really, on paper: she is a genius. My brother is one of the most intelligent guys I know and my son is, well… he’s got the paperwork too. Looking at other vegetarian friends and conversations we’ve had… I have noticed that some of the most intelligent, successful and creative, strong people I know don’t eat animals. And it’s something that other people have noticed too. Worldwide, it seems apparent that veganism and vegetarianism is more prominent in higher LSMs and amongst people with an above average IQ. A bold statement, I realize… but you can’t argue.

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If you’re in to celebrities then you’d be interested to know that Alanis Morisette, Alicia Silverstone (not clueless after all, right?) Ashley Judd, Diane Keaton, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen Page (can you tell I found an alphabetical list?), Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Michelle Pheiffer, Paul McCartney, Russel Brand, Brad Pitt, Stella McCartney, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Betty White, and more are all non meat eaters. Even Abraham Lincoln was rumored to be a vegetarian and famously said in one of his speeches: “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being” Albert Einstein also became vegan toward the end of his life, stating: “So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.” Some of my favourite authors and musicians are also vegan or vegetarian such as JD Salinger and Jack Johnson. Even one of my favorite artists, Leonardo da Vinci, was a vegetarian. Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: We are burial places! – from da Vinci’s ‘Notes’. And yes, even some famous sports stars are vegan too, like Serena and Venus Williams who are both 100% raw vegans.

Now talk to me about how we need to eat meat and animal products to survive. Tell me how it makes us smarter, more creative, stronger, better at sports or more successful. I realize that I am coming on a bit strong right here, because man… it is the silliest statement when people say that vegetarians and vegans are ‘weak’ or malnourished in some way. Jissie. I get cross when people say this, because sometimes (not often) I get kak for ‘letting’ Noah not eat meat. Noah who literally never gets sick and thrives in every way, plays sports and is extremely bright. And people look at me like I am literally abusing my child for not blending and juicing meat and sneaking it in to his meals somehow.

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So I started small. I’ve never been a big meat eater, so to be honest – the switch was pretty swift. I stopped eating red meat, pork and poultry. I still eat fish now and then, which apparently makes me a “Pescetarian.” So fancy. It’s been 3 weeks and I am feeling better. Red meat specifically, is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. I’m also feeling a bit more confident about my health, as there are so many studies linking processed and red meat to cancer (specifically, colon cancer.) I’m sure that there are many other facets of my diet that needs improvement and tweaking (like that neat tin of condensed milk I ate the other day) but for now, I want to do this. I want to feel good about what I eat, I want my digestive system to operate at its best and I want to eat more fruits and vegetables. That is just what I want for myself. Just because I don’t eat meat anymore, doesn’t mean that I am automatically healthier. I am figuring it all out as I go, with loads of help from my brother, and from Keri. You should read her posts.

Do I frown at Ben or Graeme when they’re tucking in to their roast chicken? No. I do not judge, condemn or lecture anyone on what they eat. What other people eat is mostly none of my business (apart from the kids cause that really is my business) but I am not here to change your life or make the world a better place. I just want to make my world better, so maybe I am a selfish pescetarian / vegetarian.

I will say: An educational factor for me, was understanding the meat factory process. Watching footage, reading articles and chatting to friends who have done lots of research. Listening. Learning. These videos aren’t shared as ‘scare tactics’, they’re shared to show people how it works. I guess there’s just no way to sugarcoat a slaughter. I find that hardcore meat lovers are the loudest and also least educated on the matter. I get very anxious talking about things I don’t know about; in fear that I sound like an idiot, but there are so many people who will lambast you for simply not wanting to eat the same food as them. You don’t see heated arguments at dinner tables over chocolate cake VS carrot cake but man alive I have seen people literally un-friend over these type of arguments. I have seen people be verbally attacked over wanting a veggie burger over a bloodied burger.

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I don’t know how long I’ll still eat fish for. I’m putting my body through changes so I am listening to it. I am training it. I am adapting. (Sometimes I pretend that I am stranded on an island and can only eat off the earth and ocean to survive. Like if I can’t decide what to eat for lunch, I am like “What would I do if I was on an island right now” and sometimes my thoughts go a bit Lord of the Flies but that’s a blog post for another day) I am listening to my body. The other day I made a hot dog for Ben and I thought MAN ALIVE I WANT A HOT DOG. Lots of butter, mystery meat vienna (used to love those) – all of it. I was convinced I wanted a hot dog. Instead, I made a hotdog roll with lots of butter, caramalized onions and tomato sauce and I was like HECK YEAH and I think I had three. I wasn’t craving the erm, sausage. So many meaty foods are associated with their side dishes, sauces and condiments. Sometimes it’s not the beef we’re after at all. Well, I find that to be true for me. When we have a braai, Noah and I heat up some veggie patties and lather our burgers with all our favourite things. I still like the meat ‘flavour’ like barbeque sauce and that zesty braai taste, but I’m doing it with protein-rich plant-based alternatives. I’m getting all crazy in the kitchen, like making veggie patties out of beans, chickpeas and peppers. It is so delicious I cannot even explain. Like, tonight I’m making roasted, stuffed butternut with mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes like a frikkin’ veggie kitchen ninja.

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The most troubling right now is that there are people who do not want me or my son to be vegetarians. We had these horrid people in our neighborhood and when I mentioned that Noah is a vegetarian, the dude straight-up threatened to give him ribs behind my back to ‘cure’ him. At the time, I was a meat-eater but I still didn’t think it was alright. I mean, I wasn’t the one telling my son not to eat meat, he was the one complaining every time he found a piece of it in his stew – no matter how hard I tried to pick it all out for him. He wanted to be respected. He decided from a young age that he didn’t want to eat dead animals or have blood in his tummy and that ‘phase’ is still here, 3 years later. While Graeme and Ben do their own thing and 100% respect (ignore) us, you still get the randoms at dinner parties and in restaurants that want to challenge you on not wanting to be like them. It’s weird. It’s boring. I think I full-on skipped the phase of wanting to debate with people about my lunch. I always say the same thing, which is more or less this:

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So I wanted to tell you why I, ME, PERSONALLY do not want to eat meat. This is my main thing and it’s not about blood or decomposing flesh or the environment or saving the world (sorry). For me, it’s about…

1. The negative energy, hormones and adrenalin that gets transferred to the terrified animals. And like, I’ve heard people say ‘No it’s okay, they don’t feel anything” and I I try remember that not everyone is educated and I just nod my head and eat my ‘happy’ food.

2. The parallels between meat factories and wars (and dictatorships) (and racism) (human rights) (speciesism) (holocaust) (feminism)

3. There are people who make a living off of killing. And we are signing their paychecks every month. It freaks me out you guys.

4. The cowardice. If you had to personally take a baby from it’s mother, kill, shoot, gas, kill, boil alive or beat an animal for your lunch, would you do it? Would it be worth the chicken mayo sarmie or would you settle on peanut butter toast?

5. The heartlessness and ease of the staff that are doing these deeds. If you’ve ever watched a doccie or footage of these ‘workers’ who spend like 8 hours a day slitting throats, hitting, kicking, boiling, gassing animals without a moment’s hesitation or remorse, you would also be like hot dang that’s a serial killer and someone’s gotta call the cops.

(My friend Keri read this draft and added: In “Eating Animals” there is a whole chapter dedicated to the staff at slaughter houses and it is horrific. Basically, whats happening in slaughter houses now is that no one (read working class and middle class Americans) wants to work in slaughterhouses – obviously. Murder is a kak job. So big American slaughterhouses are employing illegal immigrants to do the  dirty work and these guys HAVE to work there to support their families, as its the only work they can get. They get depressed, come home unhappy and shout at/abuse their wives and kids. I mean, it can’t be great to spend your days killing 400 pigs a day as they actually try and run away from you screaming? Jonathan interviews a couple of ex-workers and they explain that they have to swear at, and mistreat the animals in order to dehumanize them and enable the killing to happen.)

6. The greed. In older times (have not done enough research to pin-point century) a family would have meat on certain occasions and sporadically. Meat was a treasure, a sign of wealth and it was sacred. Now it’s in bulk, and probably on special. Consumerism and capitalism has never resonated well with me, and I’m trying where I can to bring some good vibes to the table (see what I did there?)

7. The idea that some people or creatures matter more than others is the root of all wars and evil in the world. Animals do not ‘give’ their lives to us – we take it. Forcefully and brutally. Commercial factory farms do not say a little prayer or partake in any holy or traditional rituals before killing an animal for you.

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So these are just a few reasons why I think people should be thinking about these things, clicking on the links we don’t want to click on and educating ourselves. I am not saying you are a bad person if you eat meat. I am saying that I do not need to eat meat every day to survive or thrive or live your best life. I just want everyone to listen to each other, not judge and to be respectful. Sure, nobody has got angry or verbal with me (as yet) and I don’t get like that with meat eaters either. I am not trying to convert, judge you or change your life. I am asking you to open your mind and learn a little bit more about your world, every day.

If you want to learn something (even if it doesn’t change the way you live your life and cook your supper) then watch just maybe 10 minutes of Earthlings. The whole documentary’s available on YouTube. There are many others, but I’ve watched this one a couple of times. Watch ten minutes, watch the whole thing but (as Kez says) don’t give me kak if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Rather watch it, THEN give me kak. Now that’s a party.

This will be my last post or mention on the matter. Again, I am not obsessed with this discovery, although it’s something that I’m pretty interested in right now.  A few friends and followers have asked why I’m making the switch, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned and felt thus far. I have no intention of ever being pushy, and I’m not ‘put off’ or repulsed by meat – I see it and work with it every day. It’s just another thing that people eat, but something that I choose not to. I’ll still go to steakhouses with my friends and family, eat sushi and roast my butternut in the same oven that’s seen a dead chicken. I do enjoy being more aware, and having an open mind. So that’s just where I’m at right now.

PS How many vegetarians does it take to cook a steak? None. Graeme cooks his own. PSS I mentioned that I’m a pescetarian. I know how over fished our oceans are, I’m busy doing lots of research. I’m moving at a hungry snail’s pace over here, and I’m still learning every day.

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Remember the good days

Last Saturday was one of those feel-good family days. We spent the morning buying new flowers and getting busy in the garden. After that, we headed to The Table Bay hotel for a delicious 3 course High Tea with dessert buffet. Feeling rather full and sugared up, we fetched the dogs and went for a long, long walk and swim in Newlands Forest – our favourite hangout these days. We let the kids and the dogs burn up the last of the day’s energy in nature, which always makes me really happy. I love watching the boys be little jungle book boys in the forest. They’re so sweet! Here are some pictures we took that I wanted to keep and share to remember this really awesome day! I have so many things to write down. I’m pretty behind on most things these days, and I’m sorta holding out in hope that life will settle down at some point. Hoping that I’ll wake up one day not feeling slightly anxious or stressed in some way. You know what I mean? This is our adult life. Anyway – Saturday was pretty special! More of this.

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Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve – kwa-zulu Natal

Over December we did a day drive from Empangeni to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. We needed to put in petrol a bit late, so ended up going past Mtubatuba and Hlabisa. By the time we got there, we had already seen 2 elephants, zebra and rhino along the side of the road. Like “omg close your window” side of the road. I took my camera out this day because I love Hluhluwe. My parents used to own a game reserve / bush lodge there called Landula. I spent many weekends there with my dad, taking out snares, going on hikes, game drives, exploring and hunting poachers. My dad taught me tracking, and all about the bush since I was a little girl. My mom ran everything and the place was always fully booked. This was a long time ago. I still love going back to Hluhluwe and it was the best day for game viewing: Overcast! Stormy. Moody. We saw everything – and even a leopard! No lions. Ever. I have never in my life seen a lion at Hluhluwe  (previously Umfolozi) Park! If you want to see lions, go to the Lion Park in Joburg.

It was such a fun day.

We had a car picnic going, we were keeping score on who had spotted the most animals and we saw more Rhino than anything else. I am not kidding. There were more rhino than warthog, zebra, buck and dung beetles. The rhinos are doing fine you guys! (okay not really but you can imagine all the tongue in cheek jokes after we’d seen our 17th rhino and like, 3rd zebra for the day) In all seriousness, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. It consists of 960 km² (96,000 ha) Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world (maybe they took the lions away cause they were making the rhinos anxious) (I have many theories) (parksboard loves me)

I took some pictures that are more ‘me’. I take a lot of happy snappy family shots on my phone, but sometimes I like to play around and get in to it. Remember I said this is THE year to start playing camera-camera again. These are more the type of pictures I like, personally. The aim is to keep playing around and to eventually create something so lonely, naked, real and breathtaking that I’d want to frame it in the house somewhere. That’s the current quest! It’s pretty fun. Anyway – here’s a moody Hluhluwe Park in pictures.

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Tsogo Sun’s Cullinan Hotel – Cape Town Accommodation and hotels

We checked in to the Southern Sun The Cullinan for Valentine’s Day last week. The Cullinan is a super family friendly hotel in Cape Town CBD, close to the V&A Waterfront, Long Street and beaches. The hotel was 394 rooms with direct-dial phones, free WiFi, tea and coffee stations, an electronic safe, en suite facilities and super comfortable beds. They have a porter service, 24 hour room service and beautiful, luxurious decor. There’s a heated outdoor pool with deck and tanning beds, a gym, a stunning and spacious bar, terrace and The Peach Tree Restaurant. There are gorgeous touches in all the entertainment areas with giant bouquets of flowers, a pianist and champagne on arrival at dinner.

Note: they also have shuttles to and from the Waterfront if you feel like getting out a bit! There are so many kids activities at the V&A Waterfront such as the Two Oceans Aquarium, City Sightseeing Tours, helicopter rides, sunset yacht experiences, live entertainment, markets, exhibitions, shopping, cinemas and superb family friendly restaurants!

Don’t forget about Tsogo Sun’s SunBreaks deal: If you book 21 days in advance of your arrival, you’ll SAVE 15% on your accommodation. Whether you choose a Luxury, Southern Sun hotel or Garden Court, there’s a SunBreaks rate guaranteed to suit your pocket. Remember, breakfast is included and two kids under 18 sharing a room with two adults stay and eat breakfast free!

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Thank you to Tsogo Sun, Sheena and Garry for the incredible experience and for spoiling our boys. They were so excited to be back! View rates and more information on The Cullinan and other Tsogo Sun resorts and hotels here.

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All of my love

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It’s been a whirlwind past two weeks and my heart is SO FULL in every chamber. Popping, bursting, exploding – it’s been doing everything. Mostly, I am just so proud of my kids. I can’t commit a mother’s love to words, but that is just how I feel lately. I mean, we love our children (as mothers we sort of have to – in order for the human race to survive) but lately… I am just so IN love with them. I literally feel like I am falling in love. They’re past the sweet baby and cute toddler phases and they’re just charming little mini tiny men right now. And oh man, I tell them. They can’t even walk past me lately without a big embrace, a hair tussle, kiss, arm squeeze or starry eyed look from me. I tell them every day how special they are, how proud I am, how funny and sweet and kind they are. How much I motherflippin’ love them.

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They know.

Noah’s current school doesn’t teach reading or writing yet, but little Nu’s been teaching himself since he could grip a pencil (impatient) (like mother) His educational psychologist suggested I don’t wait on the schools, and start teaching him to read myself. It’s tricky – I don’t know how to teach, but he’s cottoned on pretty fast. At night, with bedtime stories, I sometimes skip a sentence here and there… you know (whatever… you do it too) just to make all 4 stories I’ve promised go by a bit faster. Last night Noah caught on to this, and I was totally busted. Then he told on me to BEN and you guys, we laughed. They found it SO funny that they’d caught me out on something and we lay there just laughing and chatting and reading in the glow of their nightlight for ages.

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Noah’s been accepted at his ‘dream’ school, and starts next week. We’ve been trying to get him in for two years and moved to the suburbs just to up his chances. He got offered the spot in his interview and the principal was very sweet with him. We are SO EXCITED about this school and for all the opportunities that will be available to him. He’s chosen so many extra murals, and the school is super close (walking distance even) so we are really excited in every way. Bunny will be going to another play school and will join his brother at his ‘big’ school again next year. It’s the first time that the boys will be in different schools, but they don’t seem phased a bit! I’m feeling so excited about this year, and so excited for our kids. I literally can’t wait for them to get home from school so we can finish building this car we’re working on. Noah and Bunny Banana: If you read this in 20 years time, you might remember mommy shouting or getting cross or skipping bed time stories, but my goodness I hope you remember how crazy I am about you two. I love you SO much (bigger than the moon)

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