HONEY ROCK DAWN

Why I’m Not Vegetarian (or Vegan)

It’s certainly not for lack of caring about animals. But before I get into details ~
I have noticed, over the years, that conversations about food and diet often veer into a similar realm as those about politics or religion. I don’t want that to happen here or in the comment section. I’m often asked how I can care so deeply for the cows and calves we raise and still eat meat ~ in answering that here, I am simply sharing my choices and what works for me; I’m not trying to “convert” anybody. I think every body has different needs and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to diet.

Onward! I was really naive about food until I turned 26. I didn’t particularly care about food ~ it was not a priority in my life and I just ate whatever. I thought food was food, that all food was pretty much fine, because why would they have commercials on TV for Big Macs if they were bad for you? Naive.

Then I became devastatingly ill, to the point where I had to sit on the bathroom floor to brush my teeth because I didn’t have the energy to stand at the sink, and was battling an unyielding depression. It took me six months to discover the root was gluten intolerance and when I cut gluten out of my diet, all the horrible symptoms and effects disappeared. That period of illness was the worst six months of my life and it was the best thing that happened to me. Because everything changed. I realized that what I put into my body affected how I feel and how I function. I started paying attention to my body and I started paying attention to food.

I went vegan for a bit, but soon realized my body functions best with animal protein. It’s just the way it is with me. Some people thrive on a vegan diet and I didn’t. And so I began incorporating raw organic milk and cheese and grass-finished pasture-raised beef back into my diet, all of which I could buy in stores as I was living in San Francisco at the time.

These choices regarding animal products, however, were not rooted in altruism; they were totally self-centered. Since I had discovered that food = health and health = power, I wanted the animal protein I was eating to be as pure and natural as possible ~ when you eat meat, eggs, or dairy, you consume what the animal consumed, and factory-raised products are filled with antibiotics, hormones, and unhealthy fats because of the conditions in which the animals are raised.

Yet in my research surrounding this, I began learning about the absolute horrors of commercial farming and that is when I became passionate about the animals. I vowed that if I was going to eat an animal, I would make sure that animal never spent time in a feedlot or factory farm; that the animal’s life was as happy and peaceful as possible before that life was surrendered for mine.

I don’t ignore the fact that an animal dies so that I may eat meat. I don’t take it lightly. But to reconcile that fact, I have to know the animal had the happiest, most stress-free life possible and the quickest, most stress-free death possible. I eat elk that Mike hunts, because he hunts with a rifle and is so skilled that the animals he takes are dead before they fall. I also eat the beef that we raise, because I know the animal’s life was good, that it was loved and free, and I am with it till the end. There’s no feedlot, no slaughterhouse, just a trip down the dirt road to a small USDA-certified processor run by a woman who is smart and kind.

Because I am so adamantly against the industries of terror and abuse that are conventional farming, I haven’t eaten chicken in ten years, and I only eat eggs from Mike’s chickens (when they stop laying I go without) and dairy from Daisy (when she dries off for two months before each calf I go without). I feel really lucky to be so “close to the source” via my life in Wyoming. But it’s an ongoing process ~ just the other day I realized my favorite gluten-free bread which I buy upon occasion is made with eggs, and these are very likely factory-farmed eggs. So I switched to a different brand of bread that is vegan and gluten free.

Going back to the original question, how can I invest so much care in a orphan calf, or keep a hypothermic calf in my house, when I know it’s going to die anyway? Because I love each calf. Because I have so much respect for these animals and am so grateful for them. I will live in service to them because I know they will die in service to me. And in the meantime, I want their lives to be filled with respect and freedom and peace.

This is kind of a stream of consciousness blog post and I’m sure there are points I glossed over or points I may have missed, so please leave any questions you may have in the comment section and I will answer them. I can anticipate one question: How can I feel so strongly against feedlots and yet help raise calves that are sent off to that torture?  I don’t. We don’t. But that is another long story which I will save for another day.

BO Balm

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Such a hippie. I know. But, if you hate spending cash for deodorant that is filled with synthetics, aluminum (or is “all natural” and does not work), and comes in disproportionate amounts of plastic packaging, read on!

I’ve been making and using this for a year and it’s incredible.  It works better than regular deodorant, in my experience, even during extreme activity and stress, like an ambulance call.  And it’s so easy to make.

I use a slight variation of Angry Chicken’s recipe.  I have followed her recipe precisely and it’s fantastic but somewhat soft and needs to be applied with the fingertips.  No biggie, but using a stick is faster and easier.  My ratio alterations are noted below, and I use jojoba oil instead of Vitamin E oil because it’s what I have around.

Shea butter in a stainless measuring cup, in which I make the entire concoction:

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I hold it near the edge of my woodstove to melt the butters ~ you can use a burner on the stove as well, but I would hold it over the heat rather than setting it on the burner ~ you want to warm it, not cook it.

Adding cocoa butter:

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For a firmer BO balm that works as a stick, I use 3 parts baking soda + cornstarch to 5 parts shea + cocoa butters rather than 5 to 5 as in the original recipe.  I do keep the same ratios of shea butter to cocoa butter and baking soda to cornstarch as the original recipe.  The cornstarch is important; the final mixture will be a bit grainy if you leave it out.

Baking soda + cornstarch:

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Stirring the baking soda + cornstarch into the melted butters:

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This is also where I add jojoba oil ~ I used about 1/2 teaspoon; I started with 2 ounces of shea butter and measured all other ingredients against that starting point ~ and essential oil for scent.

I have always used organic sweet orange essential oil and find it so lovely, especially combined with the slight chocolately scent of the cocoa butter.  The smell is nice alone but doesn’t dominate or “get in the way” on days I wear fragrance.

My mix goes into a deodorant stick thing I saved ~ this was an all natural brand that didn’t do its job whatsoever.  I just rolled the original deodorant all the way up and threw it away, saving the container which I can reuse to infinity.

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The melted mixture poured all the way to the brim! It cools and hardens in a matter of hours. It can be hard to roll up at first, but a quick run under hot water or a second near the woodstove softens the edges ever so slightly and it rolls up easily from there.

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Simple! Cheap! And you smell nice all the time!
I get the ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Original recipe: Angry Chicken’s homemade deodorant.

UPDATE: if reusing commercial deodorant tubes, do check for holes in the base before pouring your liquid mix in! If you’re looking for an appropriate tube to use, try HERE. I’ve not purchased from this site but it looks like the tube I used and there doesn’t appear to be a minimum order.

Gourmet Peasant Food

I made this the other night and fell in love with it all over again.
It is so easy and tastes so fancy.

Originally invented and posted on The Daily Coyote one Christmas long ago, it’s essentially macaroni and cheese (yes, mac & cheese for Xmas dinner, but keep reading, trust).  Measurement guidelines are given at the bottom of the post.

Bring water in a pot to a boil and pour in pasta.  I generally use elbows or little shells.  For gluten-free pasta, I recommend Tinkyada ~ it’s all I use and gluten-eaters love it, too.  Also toss in some dried porcini mushrooms.  Boil until the pasta is al dente.

Drain pasta and mushrooms.  Slice the mushrooms if they’re in big pieces and keep it all in the strainer for the time being.  In the now-empty pot, melt a bit of butter, then toss in grated, sliced, or hacked-up bits of parmesan (real parmesan – that stuff in a can is not allowed!), then dump the noodles and mushrooms on top.   Return to med/low heat and stir until the cheese is completely melted.

And now the pièce de résistance.  Drizzle a few tiny drops (as in JUST A FEW TINY DROPS) of black truffle oil over the mixture.  And a dash of sea salt.  Stir once more, then taste.  Then collapse on the floor in ecstasy.

Truffle oil is expensive and only a minuscule amount is required for enormous flavor.  There’s no reason not to go in on a bottle with a few friends and split the cost, then divide the oil up in jam jars or something.  Store this oil in a dark, cool place.

And for those who need a bit of guidance re/the recipe measurements, I’d say it’s 1 part pasta, 1/6 part dried porcini, and 1/4 part parmesan.  And one or two teeny tiny droplets of truffle oil per serving.   So good!

Eating Here

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Campfire Quinoa

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Great minds, and all that! OK, this is how I’m going to post for a while. If you need or prefer plain text, head over to Paper Route Designs – my sister will be transcribing the text on her site. Just click the “Honey Rock Dawn” tab on her navigation bar. (And give her a day or two after each post to have the text ready. And visit her Etsy Shop – her paper cuts are incredible!)

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