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I Am Not A Vegan…

Plant Food

*First I will say, the title is misleading…  But I’m sure it made you wonder.
*Second, there are many reasons people eat the way they do. Instead of explaining why I eat what I do, I thought I’d take some other people’s perceptions of my dietary decisions and explain it backwards.

So here it is…  All the reasons I am not vegan.

I am not a vegan because I am on a diet.
South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, HCG Diet, Apple Cider Vinegar Diet (seriously)…  They come and they go.  I don’t do diets.

Actually.  We ALL do diets – some are good, some are not.  Some have a catchy name and some do not.
Some have a book written by a doctor, some do not.  Some are balanced, some are not.

We all have one though… I guess.  But I am not ON a diet.

I am not a vegan because of the unethical treatment of animals in our food supply.
While I’ve heard and read a lot about horrible conditions the American livestock industry maintains for their stock; I simply cannot bring myself to become outraged and indignant at the inhumane treatment of an animal that was brought into the world for a single reason: To be killed, eaten and digested.

These are not pets that are being abused, they are food being grown –
Not to mention (or maybe I will) it seems to be a great hypocrisy that an individual can care so deeply for maltreated species; yet do very little (which most humans – including vegans) to help the billions of maltreated human beings they pass everyday.

*I sincerely apologize if this offends any vegan that does hold to the PETA (or similar) stance.
Please understand I am an uneducated clown.  And this happens to be my opinion and my blog –
Please click here to read my disclaimer for more information.

I am not a vegan because it is cool.
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, Ellen DeGeneres, K.D. Lang, Bryan Adams, Avril Lavigne, Alec Baldwin, Ozzy Osbourne, Woody Harrelson, Ben Stiller, Carrie Underwood, Mike Tyson, Jaci Velasquez, Meredith Vieria, Venus, Serena, and Vanessa Williams, Brad Pitt, Prince, and “Weird Al” Yankovic  – have NEVER been my role models.

Okay…  Maybe “Weird Al” has had some influence on my life, and I definitely look a whole lot like Brad Pitt – but I promise I am NOT vegan because of them.

Sometimes I think vegan-ism may be popular in Hollywood only because it gives famous people a viable excuse to look gaunt in their tabloid pictures – aside from the dope they’ve been snorting. (I should have deleted that. There is no evidence that any of the people listed are addicts. More readers offended – please click the disclaimer link above.)

I am not a vegan because it is popular.
I realize that is probably real mayonaisse and therefore NOT vegan...NONE of my close friends or family – excluding my wife & kids – are vegan.  I have a few that eat vegan dishes regularly, but most just make fun.  Which is totally cool, because I have a great sense of humor.

However, I have noticed that invitations to dinner have dramatically decreased in the past six months.
Come on people!  I still eat, and I still eat out at most of the restaurants you do!

I am not a vegan because I am intellectually superior to you.
No explanation needed – if you’ve read this far you’ve figured it out already.

I am not a vegan because I am spiritually superior to you.
While a you can make a strong case for biblical vegan-ism using Daniel’s stand when taken to Babylon, the Garden of Eden and descriptions of Heaven; it does not take a Bible scholar to learn that eating meat, and drinking milk is far from sin.  I can bring out scripture after scripture to prove both diets are acceptable in God’s sight.

Thankfully, though, these spats have been going on for mellinium and Paul addressed it almost two thousand years ago when he wrote Romans 14:1-4

“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.”
(I reluctantly quoted The Message after reading it in several versions)
———————————————————————————————————–
To quote my incredible Pastor who said it more succinctly:
“Diet doesn’t dictate fellowship.”
———————————————————————————————————-

I am not a vegan but – I am a vegan.
I am not going to go on a long rant and cite statistics and articles to argue my case for eating a plant-based diet…  I could.  The benefits are real.  Maybe one day I will expound and rant and cite articles, journals and statistics in a post titled “I Am Vegan,” (be warned) BUT I don’t want this site to turn into some health nut homepage (I’ll start a different blog if I decide to do that).

Two recent posts about eating habits is more than enough.
Suffice it to say I eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Musings, My Life

 

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A Baker’s Dozen

A Baker’s Dozen.
Some may not know that a few years back this clown was a baker.  Actually – a donut fryer.
As a donut fryer, I had no qualms about quality assurance.  If you gave me a box of donuts I knew exactly what to do with them.  Really any sweets.  I could put them down! (Down the hatch – that is.)  A breakfast for me could easily be a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, or Ding Dongs, or (on a light day) a Pop Tart – chased down by as many ounces of Pepsi as I had readily available.  For many years eating like this made no difference as my metabolism kept me at a reasonable weight.  But, as happens, things changed – fast forward a bit…

On October 14, 2011 this clown realized that he was no longer the skinny kid in his wedding pictures.

Technically around 224 pounds he was a dreaded word that he doesn’t like…  Obese.

I suppose that made him another dreaded word that he doesn’t like…  Normal.

This clown doesn’t do normal.
Normal is not something I aspire to.
Normal is broke, sick, depressed, heavily medicated – and overweight.

Video Games & Cell Phone Apps.
We own a Wii, and we already had the Wii Fit.  So this clown thought he could shed some pounds by simply waking up 30 minutes early each day and doing some virtual hula-hooping.  Among other things.  And as silly as it sounds – it worked.  I lost some weight pretty quickly.  But must admit – I was a little like this guy:

Well… maybe not quite that extreme.  I knew the real way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than what you burn each day.  And you could either burn more calories or eat fewer calories – or, I suppose for maximum effect, do both.  So with my morning Wii Virtual Torture session I downloaded the myfitnesspal.com app for my phone and began logging my caloric intake.

I highly recommend it for anyone that doesn’t eat the way we all know we should…
When you set your current and target weight, it tells you how many calories you should eat that day – which in turn makes you think twice before stopping by McDonald’s for a quick 1,300 calorie “Value” meal.

It took me about a month to stop eating Pop Tarts and Pepsi for breakfast.  I realized that the 555 calories only kept me “full” until 10 am – at which time I needed a candy bar and another Pepsi (another 400 calories) to get me to lunch.  When I switched my breakfast to an apple, 2 bananas and glass of orange juice – totaling 375 calories – I could make it to 11:30 before taking a slightly early lunch.  Shortly thereafter lunch changed too.
A handful of mixed nuts, apple, orange and bottle of water (400 calories) became my favorite lunch.  On the days I needed an afternoon snack, instead of an almost 300 calorie Snicker’s Bar I would stop by the produce department for a 200 calorie granola bar.

I had no fad diet I was following.  No one at all coaching me along the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating or weight loss.  I simply made one decision at a time.  In so doing, I learned that when I ate these things I had more energy, stayed fuller, and did it without the crazy caloric intake a normal American consumes.

For those wondering – Dinner would be as a family and I’d eat whatever my incredibly talented wife conjured up.
Usually something between 800 and 1,000 calories.

As a result, I lost 30 pounds in six months.

Totally NOT Normal.

Yet, I was still overweight.  Overweight is normal.  This clown doesn’t do normal.

A friend during this same period was making some changes of his own – some that most would call extreme changes.  He became one of “those” … vegans.
Go ahead, click on the picture and read it.  It is seriously roll on the floor funny if you have ever met one of these passionate folks.

As he was learning new things about how closely linked many of the “normal” ailments (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer) that plague us are to our diets he felt compelled to share.  Many of our friends never gave a serious look into what he was saying because they felt the delivery was too extreme.  However, I was surprised that much of what he was saying lined up with what I had found to be true just by counting calories.

I was 2/3 vegan and didn’t even have a clue!

One night at dinner I loaded my plate up with the side dishes my wife made, took a small portion of the meat and made a half-hearted comment in jest to my wife that “I’m already 2/3 there – it’s no big deal to me to drop it completely.”  To which she replied something very close to, “I could never be vegan.”

Never say never – less than a month later that changed.  We saw a documentary titled “Forks Over Knives” – it was enough to change her mind.

Now I know that is completely and totally not normal.  Crazy and weird even.  What do I eat?  How do I get enough protein?  How can I not be starving all the time?  The fact is everything tastes better, I get more than enough of all my vitamins, nutrients, protein, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…  As far as what we eat – it’s a lot like this:

Within 2 months after becoming 3-thirds vegan, I had dropped to my personal goal weight of 165 pounds.

Beyond The “V” Word.
I no longer count calories using my cell phone.  It’s pretty easy for me to mentally track caloric intake after a few months of using my phone and also a bit insignificant since a plant-based whole foods diet makes it nearly impossible to consume too many calories.  BUT I did need something else to prevent from becoming a scrawny strung-out-hippie looking vegan – so I joined the gym.

A gym is not a place I have ever been drawn to.  For years I would much rather lift virtual weights on the Wii and do virtual exercises than come close to the real McCoy.  Yet here I am – 3 to 6 times each week, enjoying (yes – it is fun!) an hour lifting weights doing crunches and push-ups and pull-ups and bar dips and the like…

Definitely NOT normal, I know.
The security cameras at the gym actually captured this photo of me as I was leaving the other day:

Even crazier…  I decided for cardio I couldn’t stand a treadmill with all that work going nowhere.  So I began running.  At first, a mile was an eternity.  After six months though, a mile is a warm up.  Here’s what I have logged at dailymile.com since I started in May:

A Baker’s Dozen.
On November 14, 2012 – exactly 13 months (a baker’s dozen) later – this clown weighs in at 166 pounds.
Well within the healthy range.
Healthy, vegan, incredibly happy, and…

Today I begin the next step in my journey –
Training for a marathon that I’ll run in 2013.

Now, if I ever become like this guy:
You can fry me up, dip me in ketchup & enjoy:

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2012 in My Life

 

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