A VERY Savvy Vegetarian…

I meet a lot of interesting people via cyberspace and lucky for me, on a regular basis. Such has again been the case, having recently found out about a great website, Savvy Vegetarian and the “bundle of energy” who makes it all happen, Judy Kingbury.   

 What was unique about ‘meeting’ Judy? To touch base with someone from the Canadian Prairies (just finding someone from the Prairies, out in cyberspace, is rare!!) who has taken many similiar twists and turns on the road to becoming a vegetarian. I am pleased that we did connect and hope to meet Judy some day, live and in person. In the meantime, I am including her very interesting bio for you to read. The site link to her informative and creative site and blog is another one that is definitely NOT just for vegetarians. Enjoy 🙂  

   The Canadian Prairies

I was born a sugar addict in a small town 200 miles north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I never even heard the word “vegetarian” until I was an adult. “Nutrition” was a foreign word. “Organic” was a chemistry term. “Healthy diet” meant you were lucky enough to eat three meals a day. Cooking was an unpleasant necessity, and sugar was a major food group. Becoming vegetarian wasn’t even a remote possibility. On the Canadian Prairies, food was utilitatian, and only occasionally and unwittingly organic. We ate lots of meat and potatoes, refined, packaged and frozen food, lots of white stuff, which went with all the snow. Oatmeal was the only whole grain we ate – my father being a good Scotsman. I wasn’t very interested in cooking, until I left home and started to cook for myself. I was still far away from becoming vegetarian, but the concept of a Healthy Diet entered my awareness, and cooking became a lifelong adventure. I was thrilled to discover an amazing variety of fresh, raw vegetables. Broccoli – what a revelation! Then I found out about fish and rice, and whole grain bread. Wow!   ——————————————————————————–                   

Vancouver: Becoming Vegetarian

I first encountered vegetarians and organic food in the late sixties, when I moved to Vancouver. Back then, the Fraser Valley south of Vancouver was full of market gardens, with vegetable stands. Now, I think it’s just malls! There were Chinese green grocers, and Lifestream was the first natural food store. It was heaven! For many reasons, becoming vegetarian felt right. It was hard to do and harder to explain to people like my Mom, but I would never have admitted it, even under torture!thing about vegetarian nutrition, I started my new vegetarian lifestyle by jumping into extreme I pretended I knew exactly what I was doing, but soon found out that excessive enthusiasm, along with an arrogant disdain for facts, is a dangerous combination. Without knowing a single macrobiotics. I grew very thin (think gulag survivor!), dehydrated and weak. Feeling faint was a familiar sensation. I just thought I was too yin and needed more brown rice. Some latent instinct for self-preservation told me that I might be malnourished, and I gave up Macrobiotics. Feeling somewhat disillusioned, I started eating a wider variety of vegetarian food, heavy on cheese, beans, and whole grains. I developed terrible gas, constipation and headaches. I was still very thin and a nervous wreck. Classic malnutrition! ‘Nutrition’ entered my vocabulary when I went to work as a housekeeper/companion for a warmhearted, practical, domineering, Dutch woman, (a true role model!) who recognized my nutritionial deficiencies, and took me in hand. She watered me constantly, fed me vitamins, forced me to eat eggs, fish, and meat, and made sure I got plenty of outdoor exercise. Really, she saved me, which I didn’t fully appreciate until much later. Thank you, Molly, wherever you are!


 Starting Over

 I returned to my own life, with my disastrous vegetarian beginning a bad memory. I started over, and gradually, cautiously became vegetarian. I’ve gotten lost many times, and made countless mistakes. If I’d known thirty five years ago what I know now, I’d have saved myself a lot of time and energy, not to mention malnutrition! I found Diet for a Small Planet, Laurel’s Kitchen, and Moosewood Cookbook in the seventies – that helped. And I became a maniac organic gardener, obsessed with compost. I read constantly, and the web has become a great research tool.


 Fairfield, IA

In the early eighties, our TM practice inspired a move to Fairfield IA, where there are about a thousand vegetarians, who’ve been an incredible source of information and shared experience. In Fairfield, we learned the basics of Ayurveda, which supplied some vital missing links: Knowledge of diets for different body types Seasonal variations in diet Food as preventative medicine The six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) as a basis for complete nutrition During the last few years, we’ve added Western herbal tradition to the vegetarian mix, thanks to experts such as Susun Weed, and Rosemary Gladstar. My daughter Sarah is a budding herbalist who mixes up teas, tinctures, body care products – our cupboards are crammed with jars and bags of interesting herbal things, and we have an herb garden as well as an organic vegetable garden. We’ve gone – as completely as possible without strain – organic, and non gmo. My approach to vegetarian cooking is a combination of modern and traditional nutrition, intuition, and practicality. I have a rather casual, relaxed attitude to nutrition – I know it, I use it, but I can’t be bothered with all the technical names of things. To me, great food should be not only good looking and delicious, but simple and easy. I love to experiment and have fun in the kitchen, and I almost never follow a recipe as given – not always a good thing!


   Savvy Vegetarian Is Born

In the mid-nineties, we moved to Minnesota for six years. As a vegetarian in a meat-and-potato town, I stuck out in a crowd, and people started asking me for vegetarian advice. I soon realized that many more people would become vegetarian if it weren’t so overwhelming! And that there was an awful lot of interest in vegetarianism, for such a carnivorous city. If that was true of Mankato, how many more would-be veggies were out there, in need of support. And why not do it online, and call it Savvy Vegetarian? A radical notion for a techno-challenged, non web-savvy grandma! Since my early social blunders, I’ve tried to keep a low profile, to live and let live. This is a lifetime challenge for a strong-willed, bossy woman who is always convinced she’s right even when she’s wrong. I do love giving advice – actually, I just can’t help myself! But I’ve learned to listen more than talk – it’s amazing what you learn that way. And I try to tell people only as much as they need to hear. My role is to help people find their own unique vegetarian path. I’d love to help you become vegetarian, and I’m always glad to hear from you!

Judy Kingsbury 







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