A 3: The home page picture (us, with our food from the pantry and fridge) was taken for a class assignment. We had just begun to weed out GMO's from our diet and so we didn't know at the time how many there were still in there. Vinegar is made from corn? Acetic acid is likely derived from corn? Citric acid is from citrus, right? (Not usually. It's.. well you know- corn.) What is maltodextrin? (It starts with C). What does Natural Flavors mean? (This answer is shocking. See question 6!) Peanuts are coated in peanut oil, right? (no- usually GMO soy [gotcha] unless they are smaller brands. Small brands are generally more whole just like people on a budget rarely have bad plastic surgery.) So we went back and put a 'censored' no-GMO symbol on everything we figured out later had to go.
Our gecko mascot (Sammy) was a friend we made in Hawaii on vacation when we really kicked our new lifestyle into full gear. He is about to eat (and sort of bathe in) the juicy peel of a lychee fruit, but he also very much likes mangoes and GMO-free papaya. Did you know 50% of Hawaiian papayas are GMO to rid them of ringspot? And we think even the non-GMO papaya has been contaminated so we refer people to the Hawaii SEED site to see the status and who is responsible and how criminal that main culprit's behavior is (hint: it's unbelievable.). It was there that we started barbecuing and buying local market produce and fish. Now we always cook on vacation- well we would. We always cook on weekend trips. We know how to make it fun. First, for a long drive we make sandwiches or, more often, take all the fixin's with us in a cooler that is always in the truck. [Having a tied-down cooler in a car is great, by the way, for going home with groceries, bringing salad dressing to restaurants, or just helping to keep breakable things safe en route.] Drinks are a challenge so we pack those for sure (plus they are expensive on the road.)
When we get to the motel we hop on their Wi-Fi to look up the farmers' markets and natural food stores. (Bring your laptop or pimped-out cell phone everywhere or you'll starve, or worse, cave.) We'll go search out a barbeque in the motel common area and maybe sometime we'll go find a bbq pit in a local park. At the beach we got fresh, sustainable / wild-caught seafood and we asked the working small business owners (thrift shops, boardgame stores, movie rental... ) where to go for this and that, which lead to adventures we would never have thought of. Next time I'm going to ask folks about roadside produce stands, or what wild areas have interesting animals to watch. Lots of people here know that in this neck of the woods, when you visit a small town that swells every nice-weather weekend with people that live an hour or two away, your friendly questions on where to get real food or anything else are not a bother- they are appreciated. You can't say 'where do locals shop?' or 'what is fun to do around here?' and get anything like you will if you ask 'where's the freshest food?' and 'what's the best deal?' (for any kind of shopping.) If you come up with new specific questions to ask, every itinerary-free weekend will shape itself into an adventure. Then go back and report to them how they helped you enjoy being in their town.
The pelicans on the Stores page were at Cannon Beach, Oregon in a somewhat rare event. We have so many pictures and movies of these pelicans. They are my favorite bird. I was beside myself. They are fishing. Foraging. Hunting. When you start buying non-GMO, you really tend to swoop down like a pelican into the store with the eye of a bird. Nab! Your choices are narrower, the food is better, you have definite store loyalties, you buy fresh, whole food and learn to fix dishes simply and quickly. You become a shopping machine. But because these are better stores, shopping is more fun- more relaxing and the people are nicer. Plus did you read all the services you can get at some of these places? No-hassle bottle counts while you shop, dining at the restaurant /paying as you leave with the rest of your groceries, places for the dog to sit outside with a water bowl and a yummy snack- and many other things that make your life easier. We have come to see meals in that family-time /the-body-is-a-temple way, and shopping has become an enjoyable part of the week. We feel more connected to the community we live in. The beautiful pelicans seemed fitting.