The first time Georgia Pellegrini killed a turkey with her hands, she wanted to become a vegan. The investment banker turned chef was required to end the bird’s life as part of her job at a farm-to-table restaurant in the Hudson Valley. But instead of causing her to swear off animal products altogether, killing the turkey woke a dormant instinct in her. Now she’s an accomplished hunter, and she has tips to share with you.
Georgia decided that if she wanted to continue being a meat eater, which she did, she needed to take part in every process of the meal. "I’m a chef, I’m an omnivore, and I’m a human, and I wanted to pay the full karmic price of my meal," she says. "For me, food tastes so much better when I really know what happened before it came to my plate. So I took it one step further and learned how to hunt."
In her new book, Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time, out today, Georgia chronicles her journey though the U.S. and England, learning how to hunt everything from elk to squirrel, and tells stories about the people and recipes she encounters along the way. Here are some of Georgia’s tips for getting yourself in the hunting game.
Acclimate to the outdoors
Bake your own bread, grow herbs in your apartment, and go camping. Forage berries in the woods with a friend who knows what she is looking for. "Taking charge of what you bring to the table is empowering," Georgia says. She grew up in the Hudson Valley on the same land as her great-grandfather, raising chickens and honeybees, fishing for trout, and learning the concept of sustainability. Her great-aunt knew the name of every plant on their property. "Using your hands, being physical in the outdoors, and holding your own without any help whatsoever is a wonderful lifestyle choice," she says. Georgia knows that not everyone is able to hunt, but thinks that if more people do, it will change the quality of food omnivores expect.
Visit a skeet shooting range or gun club, which can be often be found nearby, even in urban areas (Thunder Mountain Trap & Skeet is only 40 miles out of New York City). Get used to holding a gun and the rhythm of shooting. Ask other shooters for tips on how to use it. Sharpen your hand-eye coordination and aim by shooting clay skeets. Georgia spends a lot of time alone at shooting ranges, perfecting her technique at her own pace.
Pick your clothes and gear
Find gear that is comfortable. Georgia doesn’t buy her clothes at hunting stores because she says they are made by and for men, and don’t fit women properly. (Georgia is trying to start her own line of outdoor clothing and gear designed specifically for women.) Instead, she wears her own clothes in the field — usually jeans, tall river boots, and several layers of flannel shirts under a tweed jacket. Don’t be embarrassed to use a rifle that fits your size, which may be small. "You don’t need to fit in," she says. "You just need to find what works for you."
Find a hunting partner
Ask family members who hunt and clean animals if you could come along. "More often than not, you know people who love to hunt," says Georgia, who usually meets her hunting partners through friends. Only take advice from people you trust. You may also need to get used to being the only woman around, as Georgia did. She only saw women at the post-hunt meals. "Even though there were a few unsavory characters, overall the men have been tremendously accepting and thrilled to have me participate," she says. Her scariest experience was when hunting elk in Wyoming with a man who repeatedly put her in illegal and dangerous situations. By the time she realized she needed to leave, she was hundred of miles from the closest town. She called around trying to rent a car and ultimately got in touch with the owners of a car repair shop two hours away, who insisted they drive out and pick her up themselves.
Follow your instincts
Under pressure, do what feels right to you. Even as an experienced hunter, Georgia still finds that hunting partners want to give her advice. "Hunting is a very personal thing," she says. "Listen to instruction that’s wise, but remember that in the moment you have to filter out the ego." Only you can know the right moment to pull the trigger. "Men are out there channeling their caveman instincts, and it’s important to feel centered to your own cavewoman instincts," she says.
By Lana Lokteff | redicecreations.com
Most people are completely unaware of the function of the adrenal glands, located at the top of both kidneys. Therefore, hence the term "adrenal,” which in Latin can be translated as ad- "near" and renes- "kidney". Your adrenal glands produce and release several different hormones that maintain internal fluid levels, maintain sodium and potassium levels, and mediate the stress response. The purpose of the secreted hormones is to evoke a specific response in other cells of the body which are located far away.
The adrenal cortex is the outer layer and is responsible for the production of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, mineralcorticoids, and androgens. The major glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal is cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone because the body releases it in order to help cope with stressful situations. It’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body. These changes can be a quick burst of energy for survival reasons, heightened memory functions, a burst of increased immunity, lower sensitivity to pain and homeostasis.
After one experiences high-stress or a traumatic experience, it is vital to activate the body’s relaxation response so the body can return to a comfortable normal. For instance, the adrenal glands respond to stress by secreting aldosterone which tells the kidneys to retain more sodium and copper which are stimulating and provide a quick energy supply to power the sympathetic nervous system "fight or flight" response . At the same time, aldosterone tells the kidneys to eliminate large amounts of zinc and magnesium which are calming to the nervous system. The body doesn’t need anything calming in the nervous system if we need to be alert and ready for action, just as our "fight or flight" defense mechanism was designed to protect us from danger. However, the body cannot sustain these levels for too long or it becomes toxic to the system. These responses were designed to be temporary.
A report by Food Safety News earlier this week claims that the majority of the honey available in most grocery and department stores in the United States doesn’t legally meet the definition of "honey." It’s been "ultra-filtered," in order to produce a super-clear product that won’t crystallize. In the process, the honey loses any and all pollen, which is required to trace the honey to its origins in case of contamination and may have health benefits. Here’s how to find the good stuff.
This week’s report by Food Safety News sampled honey at grocery stores around the country, and found most of it has been filtered to the point where it has no pollen at all. The World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all state that in order for a product to be called honey, there has to be some pollen content. The industry group that represents honey manufacturers and importers, the National Honey Board, says this is misleading, and says they’re just doing what their customers want. Food Safety Watch disagrees, and says removing all of the pollen from honey removes any way to test for its geographic origins, doesn’t improve shelf-life, negates the possible health benefits of pollen, and is actually being used to cover up the import of unregulated and often contaminated honey from China through another country like India and finally into the US. In fact, in the EU, pollen must be listed as an ingredient on bottles of honey so consumers know what they’re getting. The FDA, on the other hand, hasn’t responded to the allegations, and doesn’t currently inspect honey for pollen content.
The best way to deal with the controversy is to avoid it altogether. Real honey, sometimes marketed as "raw honey," is closer than you think. Natural food stores and farmers markets are far more likely to stock honey where the pollen has not been filtered out. They also tend to carry local honey, harvested by apiaries in your community that could use the support. Local Harvest, who we’ve mentioned can help you find a CSA, also can help you find an apiary or beekeeper in your area that sells their own honey. The closer to home you buy your honey, the better off you’ll be until the honey-laundering matter is settled.
What do you think? Do you already buy local honey, or know good ways to find it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo by Robert Neff.
“you are what you eat” so try to eat organic, GMO food sold to genetically modify you.
It’s National Stress Out Week, which, contrary to what the name implies, means it’s time to try to combat poisonous stress. In honor of the occasion, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite ways to tackle stress of all kinds.
- First, understand what stress actually does to you and identify whether you have acute stress (temporary and immediate) or chronic (constant) stress. For acute stress, deep breathing can help calm your mind. Chronic stress requires more practice in stopping the stress reflex as soon as it starts.
- Meditation has been proven to relieve chronic pain and stress, actually helping people control their brains’ alpha waves better. And it’s not hard to get started with meditation.
- Another reason to exercise regularly: doing so actually prepares our bodies to deal with stress, making us more stress-resistant. Because of its emphasis on breathing and being in the "now," yoga is one of the best practices for alleviating stress.
- Got a crazy person causing your stress (like your boss, perhaps)? Put as many people between you and crazy as possible, and disengage.
- Developing a personal renewal program that includes exercise, spending time with your friends, and/or enjoying hobbies may protect you from a toxic work environment. You’ll need to find time for your personal life to do this.
- If money problems are at the root of your stress, try donating to charity to relieve your anxiety.
- Scheduling your worry time is another unusual, but possibly effective strategy.
Photo by Bernard Goldbach.