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Author: Nate

I’m a blue-collar, no-frills, vegan cable guy trying to show the world
how health is not just relegated to those that can afford it, or for the
typical health nut. My cholesterol was once at dangerous levels, life
defying levels, and I made the change to a plant based diet. I started
running, quit smoking cigarettes and now, in my 40’s, I am in the
best shape of my life. The bonus is, it doesn’t cost what you think it
is, all it takes is commitment to a new lifestyle and giving a care about the world around you.

Accountability Post Revisited

I posted something very similar to this on via my Facebook page and wanted to add it here (with some embellishment) to not only announce it here, but to share the link for this project.

In February of 2019 I turn 45.

I’ve had this thing the past couple years (since turning 40) that I attempt some ridiculous physical goal. In 2015 I attempted (DNF’d after 20 hours) the Winter Death Race put on by Peak Races in Pittsfield, VT. I finished my first 50k (TARC Summer Classic) trail race in 2016.  In 2017 I didn’t do anything super crazy but I did two Ragnar Relay races; one on the road in PA and another in trails in Wawaynda, NY.

In the Spring of 2019 I am going to run from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown, the full length (65ish miles) of Cape Cod!! It’ll be my first 100+k run!

I just received my training plan and start preparing for the Vegan Power 50k TODAY! I can’t wait to get back out there and run.

I’m working out how supported it’s going to be, as well as having some pacers join me on different sections. Since I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago I have had a bunch of people reach out to want to be a part of it.

I’m going to start reaching out to some companies I believe in and see if we can’t agree on some sponsorship opportunities. I’ve already had my first one courtesy Jess Ryle over at Vegan Outdoor Adventures; I am more than appreciative for her support! If you would like to sponsor/ support me get in touch. I will be adding a gofundme soon to cover some expenses and to raise money for causes I believe in; this is a great opportunity to spotlight those so look out for that soon.

If you want to know more, look at the menu above and click where it says “Run Across The Cape” (or just click that link)

 

 

 

Review: The Grandpa Soap Co.

My wife nailed it this xmas with a variety of gifts. She got me an air fryer, a small meat slicer for making deli seitan, some clothes and a bunch of other great stuff. In my stocking though she put some hair products that I have never heard or tried before.

I’ve been trying to find something that will stand up to shampoos like Head And Shoulders or other medicated dandruff shampoo and of course be cruelty free and vegan. This is a bit of TMI but I have a dandruff/ dry scalp issue and nothing, I mean NOTHING, has ever worked except for the H&S.

Until now.

In my stocking was a tube of Witch Hazel shampoo and some Pine Tar conditioner, both products made by The Grandpa Sopa Co. The products are not only cruelty free but the ingredients are vegan as well. I know that sounds redundant, but there are companies that will list one without the other. For instance, these guys have a buttermilk shampoo that is obviously not vegan, but they claim is cruelty free. Semantics aside, these products have been great.

I wanted to wait a couple of weeks to share my opinion on them. To be honest, if I stop using my old shampoo for less than a week the flakes come right back. I have not seen any yet and am amazed. My hair feels super clean and I feel great knowing that I not using products made from or tested on animals.

The Pine Tar conditioner has a scent that’s very “woods like.” Almost smells like I’ve been hanging around a campfire for a few hours and the smoke has attached itself to my hair. I feel like I should have a big ass beard and a backpack and be on a hike. Alas I cannot grow a beard and it’s cold AF to be out there hiking right now. The Witch Hazel smells nice and I can tell it’s doing it job because it tingles a bit, but the smell of the conditioner over powers it in the end.

Anyway, I’m very excited to try out some more products from these guys.

“How Can You Sit Down And Eat Your Mother?”

I’d been thinking of how to start this article for a while as it’s something I’ve already written about but I felt like adding some commentary. I also stumbled on some great talks by teachers that tackle the idea of veganism and Buddhist practice and I really wanted to share them and some quotes.

In Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that all living beings at one point or another were once your mother. This concept has some validity if you believe in rebirth. Since the universe is infinite and sentience is held by all living beings that have a central nervous system, having been born and reborn over and over it only makes sense that at some point anyone could have been your mother. I can explain more if need be, or provide a link to more info, but I think you get the idea.

That begs the question, so why go ahead and eat them?

I came upon a series of 5 videos on YouTube titled “I Don’t Eat My friends” by respected Tibetan Nun, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. She lays out a compelling argument, from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, on why not to eat meat. She also touches on the all beings having been our mother theory, you can view in the video I linked.

There are also videos by another respected Tibetan teacher, Matthieu Ricard. Of course his videos solidify the beliefs and teachings of Tenzin Palmo.

The venerable Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has had quite a bit to say about it. As mentioned in the other piece I wrote, Plum Village (the center he oversees) went vegan in 2007. You can watch a video where he was asked about veganism and why it’s better than vegetarianism. I’ve included a brief quote below.

“We don’t want to eat eggs, and drink cow’s milk, and eat cheese anymore because raising cows and raising chickens creates a lot of suffering.

If you have seen the suffering of the chicken, the suffering of the cows, you would not like to eat chicken, eat eggs, drink milk, or eat cheese anymore. It seems the system has been contaminated.

So to be vegan is not perfect but it helps to reduce the suffering of animals.”

Seung Sahn, founder of the Kwan Um School of Korean Zen, has had a bit to say about eating meat. In the “Compass Of Zen” he goes on to say:

“If we want to understand ourselves and help all beings get out of suffering, we must first understand where this world’s suffering comes from. Everything arises from our minds. Buddhist teaching shows that everything comes from primary cause, condition, and result. This means that some primary cause, when it appears under a certain condition, will always produce a certain result. So what is the reason for so many beings appearing in this world, and what is the result of it? Why is there so much suffering, and why does it seem to increase every day? Perhaps the most important reason for such a dramatic increase in the amount of suffering in this world is the increase in the amount of meat-eating that humans do. Before World War II, human beings did not eat so much meat. In Asia, people have always generally eaten meat only on special occasions, perhaps only twice a year, on one of the major holidays. Nowadays, Asians eat meat sometimes several times a day. The same has been true in the west for generations. This century has seen a very big increase in the amount of meat-eating on the planet.”

I find that interesting. If karma and it’s consequences are to be believed then this makes all the sense in the world. The more suffering that is caused, the more suffering is created.

While the Buddha did not specifically say one way or the other, he did not condone eating meat. His justification was that as long as it was not killed for the consumer, or the monk, than it was ok to eat. I’ve read about the three hand rule which basically means the meat has to pass through three hands to the consumer and it’s believed to not have any karmic consequence. I call bullshit!

To be honest, this sounds like a cop-out. As much as I hate to say it, one of the most well-known Buddhist teachers, the Dalai Lama, eats meat himself all the while telling others to eat vegetarian. Similar to what the Buddha said, the Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “it is all right to have meat of dead animals, not those slaughtered or purposefully killed for meat.” So I guess that means roadkill is ok? Or if you stumble upon a dead squirrel out in the yard? Again, this sounds suspicious and not something a “bodhisattva” should get behind.

What’s interesting on the whole is that the very first precept in Buddhism is not to take life or cause harm. I don’t know about you but that certainly sounds like a vegan thought to me.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Try Vegan in 2018

More than likely if you are here visiting this website than you are already vegan. If not, let me welcome and challenge you to try going vegan.

Each January becomes Veganuary and is your opportunity to see just how easy it is to choose health, wellness and most importantly; compassion towards animals.

For more info go to https://veganuary.com/

If I can help in any way, you can also e-mail me any questions to vegancableguy@gmail.com

 

Reflecting on 2017; Looking Forward to 2018

If there was ever a mixed bag of a year, 2017 was it.

Of course we saw the coronation of the cheeto in Chief, aka Beelzebub himself; Donald Trump. This 2017 recollection isn’t a diatribe on politics though, in spite of the fact 2017 has set us back as a nation so much so that I could write about 2,500 words on the subject. The only thing I will say is we can do better and we need to hit the polls in 2018 as a unified nation of citizens and reverse the damage this cantankerous administration has done.

Personally, 2017 had its ups and downs. Luckily there we more ups than downs. Here’s a brief list of the moments that stick out most to me.

1. My wife and I got to spend a well needed weekend away. A friend from SHVP was getting married so we extended the weekend and took in the sights. While NYC is not for us, we can appreciate what it has to offer. Evan and Jessica’s wedding though, in Brooklyn, was absolutely stunning and we are blessed to have been part of it.

2. My daughter got off the island (Cape Cod) and moved to Burlington, VT. If there’s one thing you wish for as a parent is that your children are happy. Xena seems to be happy with her move and she’s settling in to Burlington and meeting a bunch of friends. I could not be more proud of the person she has become and I look forward to seeing her grow as an adult and seeing where life takes her.

3. My wife and I became foster parents. One of my son’s friends was having a hard time and our son approached us to help out. We went through the grueling (no exaggeration) process of being approved with DCF to be able to house his friend. It’s been a few months, and while it’s trying at times, we really hope to see this guy succeed going forward.

4. My eldest son finally got what he wanted and we allowed him to try out for football. While it’s not our first pick for a sport that he could play, he did awesome at it. Every position he played he excelled at. His coaches understand the game and understand the players. While they push them hard they only do so knowing that the kids have individual skills to succeed. I can’t wait to see what his next season holds for him.

5. My youngest son prefers soccer and this year I volunteered to coach. Following the theme of ups and downs, our spring and fall were quite different from each other. The spring team that I co-coached went to the finals and won first place. Our fall team did not see as much success and were bumped from the first round. Regardless, my son (and both teams) had a bunch of fun and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

6. Running wise I took it easy this year and only did two Ragnar Relay races with Strong Hearts Vegan Power. The team decided to skip Cape Cod this year and did the Pennsylvania location which was quite interesting to say the least. It started in Amish country and that in and of itself was one of the many highlights of the year. The second race was a trail Ragnar, and was my first experience. We had a great team of runners for it and even won the REI camp site which was a completely furnished camping area. That made things a lot easier and we were able to just settle in and get our miles done.

7. For the umpteenth time in my life I tried to gain some weight and muscle mass. After getting in touch with Jordan From Conscious Muscle he put me on a workout routing that has been solid. For the very first time I added nearly 15lbs of bulk muscle. I weigh the most I ever have in my life and that at 43 years of age and as a vegan. But wait, as a vegan?? Yeah dude, I get plenty of protein! The plan is to shred a bit before running training starts, you will see soon the lofty goals I have for that!!

I’m sure I missed a ton of things. I’m positive I have but those were the big one’s that stand out.

Now 2018…

I don’t have many resolutions as I don’t think those truly come to fruition. There’s got to be more than a wish, there has to be a solid plan and action.

I have goals.

2018 will be a stepping stone as far as my running progress goes. 2019 will be my biggest year, see the ne tab up above in the menu titled “Run Across the Cape” for more info.

 

Besides a couple of local half-marathons I have some Ragnar Relays on the docket as well; hopefully another trail series.

 

In 2016 I did the 25k distance at the Vegan Power 25k/50k Ultra, two years later I will be doing the 50k distance. This will be my 2nd 50K and this time I plan to do a bit better.

2018 holds the promise of a new personal revolution as well. I’ve taken many things for granted these past few years and I’ve got to change that. I’ve got to be a better father, husband and friend. I’ve got to see with perfect clarity that my actions are not always about me, but about those that I love and hold dear.

So I raise my hazelnut coffee to you and cheer to the coming year.

Oh and I’m still alive and kicking even though I’m a protein deficient vegan. That’s unbelievable right?

Book Review: The Mindful Vegan

You know how sometimes you need something to appear in your life and it shows? I’m pretty sure I’ve been inadvertently manifesting this book for the past few months. I used to be super into mindfulness and meditation but for whatever reason got away from it. I’ve been feeling it more and more lately; enter “The Mindful Vegan.”

“The Mindful Vegan” is Lani Muelrath’s new book and it’s truly a treasure.  I’m not normally one for “how to guides” or “x-amount of days” solutions type of books. I’ve read many of those that feel like a manual rather than advice. That’s not Lani and it’s certainly not “The Mindful Vegan.” It’s more of a pathway to freedom beyond just being a vegan or a mindfulness practitioner.

Lani goes through each chapter as days and makes recommendations for practice and introspection on each. Some of them are longer than others as the topic may need more attention. Of course there a few recipes in the back of the book as well, but this is not being billed as a cook book.

There are instructions on a variety of meditation techniques such as loving-kindness and walking meditation. I remember my first encounter with walking meditation and I didn’t understand it all. I was at a retreat at IMS and I remember my first night. I was drinking tea and watching zombies walk around the courtyard. By the end of the weekend I was joining them and understood walking meditation. It’s a beneficial practice and I think Lani offers it up in an understandable and approachable way.

Day Nineteen “higher ground and mind fully navigating conversations” spoke clearly and loudly for me. Her advice on how to approach veganism in a world that is averse to it (although it’s becoming less so) is an approach I wish I had witnessed before; it may have helped me embrace veganism earlier. For instance she speaks of being present in a manner I have never read before. It’s not just about being vegan, it’s about being a vegan in a kind and gracious way. Emotions carry a lot of weight when it comes to being vegan. We want to do our best to cause the least harm possible to animals and at times that can cloud the way we engage people. Lani explains how not only should you speak in a kind way but how to pay attention to your body and it’s movements. Just as your words can be harsh, so can your movements. That blew me away and will help me in the future when I speak to others about the benefits of veganism.

On a side note, I really appreciate this book as I feel the practice of mindfulness and veganism are synonymous. Even before going vegan, when I was practicing Buddhism and mindfulness, I felt like a walking contradiction and questioned many within the world of that practice. A lot of them ate meat, consumed dairy and even wore clothing made from animals. I never understood it and I think it was a big part of the reason I walked away from that world. I’m glad to know that it’s not quite the case with most, now, though. It didn’t make sense that a practice of compassion encompassed so much cruelty.

I highly recommend you taking the time to check out this book if you are open and able to try to make changes for the better. I believe with some of the practices outlined here we can all become better vegans teach the world what veganism is. It’s not about being combative; it’s about combating cruelty with kindness and compassion.

Miso Tempeh Chili w/ Rice

I’ve had this crazy craving for something with miso lately so I started checking out recipes. I found one at (http://dishingouthealth.com/miso-tempeh-chili-vegan) that sounded amazing so I wanted to try it.

I took some liberties with the recipe and manipulated it to my taste, you can check the link to see what I did differently. The major thing I did was add more miso, again, I had a huge craving for it and when I was tasting it as it was cooking I felt like it needed more.

Anyway… on to the recipe.

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 package of tempeh (8oz package)
4 tbsp miso paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
2 cans cannelloni beans
1 can pinto beans
1/2 cup quick cook rice (I used Trader Joes Quick Brown Basmati)

Heat up the oil and add the onion and the garlic.

Once they start to brown up a bit add the tempeh and cook for a bit until you get a bit of color on it. If it starts to dry up add a tsp of coconut oil or two.

Add your spices and miso, mix a bit then adds the broth.

Mix well.

After draining and rinsing the beans add them and the rice.

Bring to boil.

Once it’s boiling turn down to a small simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

I loved this and it satisfied exactly what I was looking for!!