Posts

2016 Grateful 34

You don’t just wake up great one day. That’s not the way it works. What you get out of life is directly related to what you put into it. So if you think you can cut corners, skip workouts and deny your body the fuel it needs, there will be benches for you to ride and records for you to miss. But it you believe that excellence is something earned, tear open a bag. We’ve got work to do.

Ok – they had me until the ‘tear open a bag thing’ because gullible and all as I am, I don’t really believe that tearing open a bag of Oberto Original Beef Jerky is going to radically change my life, or get me off the bench and breaking records. But as advertising blurbs go, it’s not bad.

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And it got me reading all of the back of the bag. The jerky contains beef from one or more of the following sources: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay. Quite an eclectic set of cows.  Oberto is a Seattle-based  family owned company, in business since 1918, so they must be doing something right. They say their jerky has 13 g of protein and is 97% fat-free with no added MSG. It’s also gluten-free and all natural – no artificial ingredients they say, just beef, sugar, water, beef stock, salt, spices and natural flavorings, natural smoke flavor and vinegar. And it’s MINIMALLY PROCESSED!!!

This was what made me open the bag in the first place.

Last weekend, I’d ventured over to Buda to try out a new vegan restaurant. Vegan Love. Not because I’m vegan or anything approaching it, but I was with a friend who is vegetarian and another who is leaning in that direction. And there is something about eating vegetarian or vegan that makes me feel … well … righteous. Vegans, by the way, have a plant-based diet. No eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. 

[As an aside, did you catch the hoohaa about the California Vegan-cafe owners who were discovered eating beef this week, beef from cows they raised on their own farm? Honestly. They’ve even had death threats. So much for my vision of the Vegan community being a peaceful lot. And as for not being allowed to change your mind? mmmmm]

Anyway, we ordered and ate.

Cardboard trays and wooden cutlery? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have regular ceramic  and stainlesssteel that could be washed and reused rather than cutting down trees and then having to trust the recycling process? Perhaps there’s a logic there that I’m missing. No one else seemed to have an issue with it as the place was heaving, and it continued to heave in waves for as long as we were there.

azsiai_vegan_burger_copyWe all had the same thing: the shiitake mushroom quinoa burger, with chips. And the chips were great. The salad was fresh. But the burger tasted processed. As if it had been through hell and back before it landed on my plate. I did a quick search on vegan foods and processing and found the site Wake the Wolves. And yep, seems like that’s one of the inherent risks in eating out if you’re vegan. I read the article and was again (that’s twice in one day) take by the blurb at the end.

Remember that FOOD IS INFORMATION and the food choices you make today will play a direct role in the quality of your skin, your ability to lose/gain weight, your mood, your ability to absorb nutrients, and so much more. Avoiding processed foods and EATING REAL is one of the best (and most immediate) things you can do to improve your health right now.

So I’ve decided. Rather than becoming vegan or vegetarian or whatever, I am going to be a nonprocessedatarian and do my damnedest to keep my intake of processed food to an absolute minimum.

With that decision safely behind me, this week I’m grateful for friends returning from abroad who took the time to fill my shopping list and go the extra mile and bring a variety of jerky. I’m grateful that Oberto was one of them.

Thermal weapons and wine

Up until the mid-sixteenth century, thermal weapons were all the go.  The objective was simple: inflict maximum damage by scalding or burning. Hot water and sand. Perfect. Hot animal fat. Even better. Nowadays, especially in Hungary, the smell of boiling fat is synonmyous with festivals.

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In a country where vegetarian menus often feature dishes with bacon (which hasn’t yet been given full meat status here) and vegetable soups are often made with chicken stock, meat reigns supreme.

At the Budafoki Pezsgő  és Borfesztivál (the Budafok Wine and Champagne Festival) last weekend, the smells were enticing. I was particularly impressed with the sight of a full cow carcass on a spit. Beef is a luxury here in BP and it’s hard to find good stuff for anything less than exhorbitant prices. But this  simply fell from my fork. Beautifully cooked and a taste to die for.

In Budapest terms, Budafok is District XXII and home to most of the wine makers in the Budapest wine region. The biggest attraction at the festival by far is Törley. It opens its doors to the public this time every year, giving tours of the cellars and selling some of its harder-to-find champagnes.The rather clever exhibition hall includes a massive walk-through   bottle of champagne. Out in the courtyard, jazz bands keep the punters amused while the reasonable prices for 1dl of champers gives the guzzlers a chance to sample the fuller menu.

Hitting the main street, stalls stretch far into the distance with 13 wine cellars and dozens of booths offering all sorts in the line of craftware and oddware. It’s the first time I’ve seen Pivní Kosmetika (beer cosmetics) and can’t for the life of me imagine rubbing Carlsberg onto my face. It seems to be a Czech concept and I wonder if it will ever catch on here in Hungary.

This was the festival’s 23rd year and my 3rd. It’s the first time I stayed into the evening and really got to see what it’s all about. It’s a very local gig – and with tourists (foreigners) few and far between, they were quick to adopt the three of us. I laughed so hard that I cried. Between us, with what Hungarian we could muster, we did okay (Wales definitely took home the cup for Best in Hungarian).

Budafok seems to have its own measure of measures with 1dl differing quite dramatically between the various stalls.  As one blogger put it: ‘Here you still find wine makers who give you more than 1dl of wine just because they are proud of their product and not because they need to make the most money out of their stock.’ Others must be extracting vengence on whoever left them in charge. It’s a regular fixture on my calendar now and I’ll definitely be going back again next year.