that chick(en) tho.

chickens apple

Just a few days ago, I was surprised with an email from WordPress saying I had a spike in amount of visits that day. Oh! I was then reminded I had a blog to maintain that apparently people were still reading!

My last post was nine months ago, and of course that’s way too long. At the suggestion of my hubby, who is way more versed in social media than I am, I agreed I would try and post daily, no matter how insignificant or wayward my thoughts would be that day. So here we are!

We are just returning from the Big Apple in Colborne, Ontario, located off Highway 401. We had passed the gigantic smiling red apple monument on numerous occasions throughout our travels to beaches or campgrounds, but never actually stopped to go in. Today, a very warm and sunny Sunday in May, quite a change from the chilly and rainy almost daily weather, we had gotten out of bed and wondered what to do. I suggested going to the Big Apple and then seeing where we would end up after.

It turned out to be a very interesting and quaint shop. Inside were several food offerings including apple pies, sandwiches, soup, hot meals, ice cream, fudge, and lots of other chocolates, honey and maple treats, as well as cute souvenirs and knickknacks. Had I been Dianne of just a few weeks ago, I’d have probably walked out with bags of fudge, maple candies and pies, but I recently cut processed sugar out of my diet (another blog post, perhaps).

So now we arrive at the real subject of this post: chicken. In the front of the Red Apple store is a mini-putt course and small petting zoo, where you can put a $0.25 or $1.00 coin in a machine to get a capsule of animal feed for the ducks, goats, and chickens. While John and Dani fed animals, I followed Stella as she wandered past the animals’ cages. There was one coop housing several chickens and hens. In their cage were bowls of feed and fresh water. The chickens themselves were sunning, grazing, snoozing, perched in their little house laying eggs. I thought, what a peaceful little abode they had.

Backtracking to six months ago, as some of my friends and family are aware, I had given up eating meat, so beef, pork, poultry, etc., the exception being seafood (which I doubt I will ever give up).  The reason for this was because back in December, I had an “incident.” Yes, another of my infamous food-related incidents. Basically, my in-laws were over one night to watch the kids while I did some editing work due that evening.  I had been slow-cooking chicken quarters since that morning, and some six hours later, I figured they were done cooking, turned off the power, and dunked in a fork for a taste. I ate some of the skin and a few pieces of meat, which had completely fallen off the bone. They didn’t taste particularly unpleasant, but did give off a slight flavour of liver and were way too mushy, so I plunked the fork into the sink and went back to work. I had given Dani a small piece to try, but she didn’t like it either.
About an hour later while sitting at the computer, I started to feel hot and sweaty and my stomach began to tighten. It was around 9:00 p.m. and time to put Dani to bed, so I sent the in-laws home for the evening and did just that. Soon afterwards, I felt queasy and my stomach swelled to four months pregnant size. I called John and asked him to come home from work immediately. My own work would have to wait. Shortly after he arrived, I ran to the bathroom, stuck my head into the toilet bowl, and vomited violently. I vomited so long and so hard my jaws locked and my neck and shoulders tensed and cramped. Exhausted, I just fell to the side and started weeping. I needed help getting up and laid down on the couch.

I had never had the vomity kind of food poisoning, but there’s a first time for everything. I managed to finish off the last of my work and lie back down again. For the next three days, I was stuck on the couch, unable to eat anything but crackers with a few sips of water and Advil. Lots of Advil. I lost four pounds. Eventually, the headaches and nausea subsided and my appetite returned (as did the four pounds — boo).  I could and would never forget what a painful and traumatizing experience it was. I thought back to what the cause could be and it didn’t take long to figure out it was the chicken. I suspect I had it defrosting in the fridge just a few hours too long. Because we’re a busy household and I was bedridden for those few days, I eventually remembered to clean out the slow cooker with the chicken still in it. Just having to open it, see that mess of bones and chicken bits and the smell — ugh — I knew I just couldn’t eat animal flesh any longer.

I had given up meat the year before, which lasted about four months. Now it has been half a year since I’ve stopped. Back to the present day, as we observed the peaceful chickens in their coop, I thought of snippets of a documentary John had showed me about chickens who are raised solely for human consumption in unspeakable living conditions. I was immediately saddened. In just researching an online article by PETA, I could barely finish reading and felt like crying a little, thinking about how happy Dani was to just feed these innocent little animals. I’m not advocating for vegetarianism or veganism or even pescatarianism by any means, but I just thought I’d share the article I read, in case it would appease your curiosity or tug at your heartstrings as it did mine. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Chickens raised for their flesh—called “broiler” chickens by the meat industry—are typically confined to massive, windowless sheds that hold tens of thousands of birds each. While chickens can function well in small groups, where each bird is able to find his or her spot in the pecking order, it’s virtually impossible for them to establish a social structure in such large numbers. Because of this, the frustrated birds often peck at one another relentlessly, causing injury and even death.  Such intensive confinement also breeds filth and disease. A Washington Post writer who visited a chicken shed said that “dust, feathers and ammonia choke the air in the chicken house and fans turn it into airborne sandpaper, rubbing skin raw.”

I didn’t want to get into more detail than that, so follow the link below if you’d like to read the rest of the article:

https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/chicken-industry/

I never stopped eating meat as a result of inhumane treatment to animals, but now that I’ve already stopped, there’s just more fuel to the fire to stay away for good (let’s hope).

clean

clean

So for the past three days and over the weekend I’ve gone meat (including chicken and seafood) and dairy-free.  I went through three parties/functions with friends and family offering the most delicious looking fried chicken and squid, brownies, birthday cake, sushi, etc. but I did not crack!  I ate what was available for me to eat: plain fried rice, potato wedges, deviled eggs, carrot sticks, plain rye bread, veggie sushi, and fruit.  My regular coffee turned to coffee with sugar, and I didn’t deprive myself of soft drinks, though I had maybe only two glasses the entire weekend.

I have the holidays to blame for this sudden wanting to cleanse.  Y’all are familiar with holiday eating already, and to add to that, the weekend after Christmas we celebrated my mom’s birthday at Denny’s for brunch, Demetre crepes and iced coffees for dessert, and Pizza Hut for brunch the day after.  I was starting to feel all rotten inside.  So here we are with this cleanse.

Last night (end of day three) I was feeling very nauseous.  I had made myself a veggie stew with rice that I had eaten most of the day, with egg salad on pumpernickel toast for lunch. By night time, I had such a headache and thought I was going to need to vomit.  I ended up grabbing what was closest to me: a bag of cheddar and caramel popcorn, and stuffed a handful or two into my mouth.  Downing two Tylenols with a bottle of water, I went to sleep, waking up the next day feeling similar but not as terrible.

In my research, detoxification side effects are common, and exactly what I experienced:  headache, nausea, hunger, fatigue.  I ate some noodle soup for breakfast and started to feel better.  I had my blood taken recently and was told I have low blood pressure and was possibly low on sodium, so the salty soup seemed to have helped.  I’m feeling much better today, day four.  I was only planning to go three days, but in my research read that once the terrible symptoms pass and the body starts to cleanse itself, it will feel amazing and more energetic.  I did have some salmon cream cheese on toast and two plain cupcakes, so I fell off the dairy a bit, but I think I’m going to continue restricting the meat and “heavy” amounts of dairy for the next few days.  I want to experience that clean and amazing feeling.

As for progress, I don’t think you can see much of it in the picture above.  I had a seven-pound weight gain over the holidays, and I managed to lose two over the weekend.  I still have a pregnant-looking gut, which I know I can lose with exercise (feeling so tired and sick, I wasn’t able to go at all this week yet), and I did experience some changes within.  The husband can attest to my extremely nauseating and pungent flatulent powers.  Lucky man.

I’ll keep you posted on how I do the rest of the week.  I am HUNGRY though, so fingers crossed I make it to tomorrow!