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I AM NOT A VEGETARIAN

Cindy Maddera

My chiropractor recommended that I start taking collagen every day for joint support. She said “it’s great! You can’t even taste it when you mix it with water or almond milk.” After she said this, I started seeing collagen supplements every where and I got curious. Translation: I fell for the hype of collagen supplements. I could not find any vegetarian collagen at the health food store. The marine based collage (from fish) was super expensive. So, I ended up with straight up collagen made from cows. Every morning, Monday through Friday, I dump a scoop and half of bovine collagen in to my almond milk.

And I hate it.

It makes my almond milk taste weird and if it’s not stirred well enough you end up swallowing goopy clumps of collagen. I have been drinking it for a month and I do not feel a difference in my old lady achy joints. I feel guilty for drinking crushed up cow cartilage. I feel guilty for buying crushed up cow cartilage. You are probably wondering why I don’t just stop drinking the collagen and throw it out. Well, bovine collagen is only slight less expensive than marine collagen. Since both of my parents taught me to value a dollar, I cannot just throw out a $40 tub of bovine collagen powder. So I will continue to drink my collagen laced almond milk every morning while grimacing and crying on the inside as I think about the process of grinding up cows. Then I will never buy another container of it again, so help me God.

Sometimes I fall for the next big health craze. I’ve done lemon water first thing in the morning and have mixed apple cider vinegar with honey in water. I didn’t really see or feel any different after a few weeks of either of those routines. I did the Cleansing Diet once. That’s the one where you give up sugar, gluten, animal products, alcohol and caffeine. I did this for a week and it ultimately lead to me becoming mostly vegetarian. It turned me into a label reader and it’s why most of the food on our grocery list is fresh produce. There might be one or two canned items on the list, but mostly everything goes in the fridge. Chris and I did a juice diet once. I lost five pounds which I quickly gained back and had a roller coaster mood. I could hug you and then turn right around and punch you in the throat. The only thing gained from that health craze was the thrill I got from pulverizing stuff in the juicer. I’ve been drinking kombucha with my lunch for months now. I have seen a slight reduction in my belly, but that could also be from the forearm plank challenge I’ve corralled half the guys in my office into doing everyday. Sometimes I end up doing the challenge twice, once on my own and again with the group. That means this week, I’ve done two minute forearm planks twice a day.

I can become so neurotic about my food.

I’m trying to be less neurotic and more obsessive about really good ingredients. I am going to the Asian Market this weekend to buy miso that has been aged no less than three years and smoked bonito. I am trying to find a way to purchase fresh (not frozen or canned) snails. I am in the early stages of trying to convince Michael to buy me an Italian Red Cow so that I can start making my own parmesan cheese. We were talking about turnip greens at work the other day and my boss said “I can get you turnips. My Dad plants them as a cover crop.” I told him to bring me all of the turnips and greens he could shove into a bag. I’ve had visions of steaming bowls of seasoned turnip greens ever since. I put smoked oysters on my half of the pizza I made on Sunday and marveled at the smokey rich flavor the oysters added to the pizza. I want to make hearty rich sauces that requires quality butter and wine.

I am not in search of exotic flavors, but true authentic flavors. This country is a melting pot of cultures, yet I find that so often the flavors of those cultures are diluted in order to not overwhelm someone not used to those flavors. I’ve been to Chinese restaurants that have an ‘American’ menu and a ‘Chinese’ menu. The items between those two menus differ greatly. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant is the one that is crowded and a little dirty. We always end up sharing our table with another couple. The egg rolls remind me of the ones Chris’s mom makes. The best Mexican place is the taquiera that has there menu written out daily on a chalkboard. The taco fillings are determined by what ever the butcher or fishmonger had available that day.

I want to fall for the fad of undiluted.