Primal: Tell us your “vegetarian story”—how did you first come to a vegetarian way of eating?
I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, because I grew up as a Hare Krsna, and studying the Bhagavad Gita. Although not eating meat seemed natural to me at the time, I’ve simply added to the list of reasons why it's the only way I want to live as I grow older and explore the world. You probably don’t need convincing on all of these reasons. However, I actually grew up eating Primal Strips, this company has been doing their amazing thing for that long.
Primal: Wow! You’re an O.G. Primal Person—tell us more!
As a kid, I would ask my mom to buy me Primal Strips at the grocery store. They were delicious, even to a picky girl like me.
Primal: Why has Primal continued to be a part of your diet?
As I’ve grown up the outdoors drew me towards the intricate nature of existing and thriving in the environment around us. We are not entirely separate from the ecosystems we live in, we grow to reflect what is around us, and the outside world also changes as we interact with it. I began climbing huge live-oak trees in Florida where I grew up, before I was drawn to the beauty and athletic expression of aerial silks. I loved the interactions between music, movement, the audience and the blank palette that simple pieces of hanging fabrics could provide. As I choreographed my performances at the Flying High Circus at FSU, I began to focus on how my body was affected by the food I ate and the exercises I did. I realized that I could mold my body by providing the correct fuel and stimulus through exercise, so that I could accomplish the aerial performances that I dreamt of.
Primal: And you’re now an Alpine climber—tell us more about that.
I met my husband Jeff in Florida, and he became vegetarian too, for me. What a dreamboat! His passion for exploring, traveling and adventures in the outdoors took us both caving, canyoneering and eventually alpine climbing together.
Although the journey is still in progress, (and in fact it never stops), we have explored many of the greatest mountain ranges in the world already. With Jeff’s immense gumption and skill, I became the first woman to summit all of the Torres in the Patagonia Torre Range. We made the first ascent of K6 Central in the Karakoram range of Pakistan, a previously unclimbed 7000m peak, in 2020. We just recently made two attempts to summit the unclimbed K7 Central in the same area, bringing our count of Himalayan expeditions to 3.
Closer to home, we climbed Denali via the classic Cassin Ridge, in a 10-day trip from Seattle. A bit further away, we climbed all six of the Alps’ classic North Face routes in 2020, including the Eiger North Face in winter. Of course we have also climbed many of the classic chossy, forested, sometimes type-2 fun routes and peaks in the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle where we live now.
How Primal contributes to your success as a climber?
As I began to consider myself more of an athlete, I focused on what I could do best for my body. Protein became a fundamental block in fueling myself. As a vegetarian, I needed portable, pocketable snacks, and there was an overabundance of sweet bars to eat. By the end of any climbing trip, I would be craving any salty, wholesome food. When I remembered the Primal Strips I had as a kid, the “BINGO” light went off in my head: a perfect little salty protein snack to go in my pocket, when I’m climbing up a steep alpine face! Now I bring several with me on every trip. Even my more carnivorous friends say it’s better than other jerky!
When Jeff and I make alpine trips, other athletes, recreational and professional, are often sharing camps with us. For example, the last expedition to Pakistan was jokingly called the Second Charakusa Alpine Climbing Festival, because so many people were there. We had movie nights, tent raves, and bouldering sessions together at the remote basecamp. We planned on having an entirely meat-free expedition, and brought a lot of Primal Strips to share with everyone.
I love introducing Primal Jerky to everyone, like my coworkers, friends and climbing partners, whether they appreciate sustainability, the environment, animals or want quality nutrition for athletic performance. I have given this jerky to self-described carnivores who say it’s better than real jerky! It makes the choice quite easy.