My ROOTS

Hello! I’m SUPER excited to welcome you to thecrimsonsink.com. It all started about 2 years ago while I was juicing some of my garden beets, placed the bowl in the sink, and was left spellbound just staring at this vibrant pattern – kinda like reading tea leaves. That was it…the moment I was flooded with an overwhelming desire to share my appreciation for THE VEG. Voila…thecrimsonsink was born!

A little history – everyone has a story, right? Ok, so this would be mine. I hope you’re comfy. Even when summarized, it’s a little lengthy.

GOOD food runs through my veins. Well, at least I like to think so! Much of my family are rockstar cooks & we even have a few entrepreneurial members out there creating sustainable mouth magic of their own. So proud. Eating fresh garden veggies is something I grew up with. One of my favourite places was our family garden. There’s nothing quite like letting your imagination run wild while being surrounded by trees & greens. I had very traditional parents when it came to food. Dinner consisted of 2 vegetables, 1 starch, & 1 protein…all in appropriate proportions – unless there were mashed potatoes. I would slap on my plate a lil’ extra when no one was looking.

Even though my parents balanced meal plan was ideal to most, I didn’t always want to follow ‘the rules’. In 8th grade, I said goodbye lunchbox and HELLO cafeteria. I binged on processed foods, and maybe fit in an apple or two. At school, I didn’t have anyone around to make comments on the (rubbish) foods I was eating, SO I went for it! It didn’t take long before my body went from tall&lean to tall&…not so lean. I was also TIRED…all-the-time (so much couch crashing). I was active in sports so that did help with maintaining my weight, but I definitely lost what I had had when eating more whole, natural foods. Two years later, that was it. Enough. Back to the basics for me – garden goods. Looking back, my other questionable choices would have been my platinum blonde *crimped hair and platform shoes. Yikes. It was the Millennium, folks. Make better choices.

A decade of influential fashion mags (purely browsing material) and wholesome eats later, I was feeling GREAT. High school was but a blur. This was around the time in my life that I realized grassroots homemade FOOD was of great importance to me. I took it everywhere. To socials, work, the movies, on road trips & hikes – you name it. BUT my most favourite thing about food…it’s something we ALL have in common. Everyone has to eat. Why not share!

Much of how I live my life TODAY has been influenced by past experiences. On Christmas Eve in 2014, I met Gus. My first impression – he abruptly ran into the house, peed on the side of my parents La-Z Boy, and didn’t even look twice at me. It was love at first sight. He was a 7year old homeless beagle my sister-in-law had taken in for the holidays as a host family. To say the least, we had a moment in the kitchen while I was doing the dishes. The next day (you bet – Christmas Day), I whipped over to the shelter and left a note on the door proclaiming my desire to adopt Gus. I had the great pleasure of being Gus’ mom for 3 FULL years.

Cancer is a son of a b*tch. Unfortunately, Gus got the worst of it. Two major surgeries, special meal plan, light chemo, regular vet visits, and a ChemicalFree home later – we had given it our all. Loved him to pieces, always will. Such a gentleman. Gus taught me a lot about love, so much so that I don’t even know how to put it into words. All that we had experienced together, including his illness, made me realize how valuable the good days are. I consider myself fortunate to have the ability to make my own choices about my health. An appreciation that grew even greater once I too, fell ill.

Just 3months after I said my official goodbye to my boy, Gus, I caught the flu. This was the worst case of the flu I had ever had. I spent a total of 5days in bed, unable to move, eat, and sometimes sleep. Simply frozen in pain. On day three, my dad came to my house and literally carried me to emergency. They rushed me in and confirmed that I did, indeed, have influenza. The doctor checked my throat for strep, but there were no visible signs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Long story short, I spent the next 7months fighting a condition called Erythema Nodosum – a result of a streptococcal infection. Apparently my case ended up being quite severe. During those 7months, I had met with nine doctors, including an infectious disease specialist. I was tested for every major illness, x-rayed for irregularities, prescribed heavy doses of antibiotics & Prednisone, and had my blood tested every two weeks. At my worst, my right leg from the lower thigh down had nearly doubled in size. Barely being able to walk, I had never experienced such pain. Seeing as Erythema Nodosum should resolve/improve in a month or two with treatment, my case left a few doctors scratching their heads as it only grew worse – and eventually spread to my left leg.

I booked an appointment with my family practitioner one last time before seeking a fresh opinion in a larger city. The advice I received, which happened to be from a doctor filling in for my own…STOP. Stop taking any oral medications & prescriptions. Starting at ground zero, let’s see what we’re dealing with. Guess what!? About 3weeks later, nearly all of the swelling had subsided. I was left with only some bruising – no tissue or skin damage. Aside from the prescriptions, the only other change that was made was my diet – 100% plant based just 2months prior.

I’m not exactly sure if/how my most recent diet changes affected the results. However, what I do know is that your diet is definitely an important factor in your overall health. I know. Not exactly a lightbulb moment, BUT when I was questioned about it over AND over again, I couldn’t help but think what’s my definition of a healthy diet? There were three questions I was asked by 8/9 doctors that put things into perspective. Do you drink? Rarely. Do you smoke? No. What is your diet like? Hmm. An open ended question. After being asked that question 4x in a matter of weeks, it triggered a change in the way I looked at food.

What did I learn…there’s a lot in life we can’t control. For lack of a better word, sh*t is going to happen. Even when we think that we’re healthy (enough). What we can control – what we eat. To date, that has been the greatest factor in maintaining my overall health. That, I do, truly believe. The biggest issue that I dealt with during my fortunately short-lived illness, INFLAMMATION – the cause&effect of many serious long-term illnesses. While I was ill, I extensively researched (online) and consumed foods that had a reputation for combatting inflammation. I wanted to provide my body with the ‘tools’ it needed to help get things straight again – I say again as my ongoing inflammation issue was caused by a reaction my body was having with itself, not the streptococcal virus (the virus was just a trigger). Those tools are now reflected in the abundance of plant based foods I eat and recipes I share.

To summarize my summary, it’s the variety of ‘life’ experiences that has shaped how I live today – gratitude towards food, grateful for health, chemical + waste free living (ongoing work in progress), and to never take a moment for granted. We all have different experiences, but we seem to meet somewhere in the middle.

Today, myself and both of my pups, Belle & Max, are healthy and happy. I welcomed Max into my family as a rescue from Vancouver (December 2017) – he’s a total nut, but fits in just fine.

I wish for my blog to offer healthy plant based foods, happy thoughts (HUGE ‘Hook’ fan – SO wanted to be a lost boy as a kid…well girl, but hanging with the boys), hopefully inspiration/motivation, and of course – a community.

Thank you ALL for visiting my blog home. Join our CrimsonCrew community & share with us. Much love.

Sammy…Belle+Max