Home » Archives for Nate

Author: Nate

Nate is 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. When not climbing ladders or trouble shooting cable networks he is spending time with his family and friends. You can find him here at vegancableguy.com all over social media or running in the woods of Cape Cod training for the next big challenge eating a crown of broccoli!

Oh, Hi There: Reprised

More time wasted and not enough spent here, I swear I’m trying to fix that.

The thing I’m getting hung up on is this: where do I want to take this website?

Do I want to keep posting film, food and product reviews? Maybe infrequently interview a vegan athlete or activist? Do a race write up? Those have become few and far between because of the off season. The focus has been erratic at best and there doesn’t seem to be any fluidity or even any sense of cohesion. I used to write every day for my old blog (Precious Metal), which was 5 year ago at this point.

It definitely feels like a website more than it does a blog, and I think that’s the direction I’m headed.

I’m debating on going back to that blog format, whether that be here or back on Precious Metal. It was more personal and I felt like I could share more on there. These past few months I’ve returned to some of the spiritual roots I had planted back in the early 2000’s. New growth has bloomed and I find myself searching for enlightening concepts, whether those are mental views (meditation, learning) or physical connections through movement and breath (yoga, running).

Going back to the blog format I feel like I will post more. When I was blogging before, and I had a random thought during the day, I would just share it. Nothing was planned, nothing was forced. Vegan Cable Guy feels forced. The moniker doesn’t feel as forced as the website does. I mean, I am the Vegan Cable Guy; it’s what I do. But keeping that going as a brand (wishful thinking) is not something I think I can continue with. Considering I spend money on the domain, hosting and even pay to make sure malware doesn’t infect the site (or infect your system) I just don’t see the benefit.

Sure, I see the benefit in sharing my vegan story but I can do that over at Precious Metal. All those posts I was mentioning earlier, I have friends that run sites and I’m sure I could share that info with them and their readers. I’ve recently started helping with the Strong Hearts Vegan Power website. Going back to the race report thing, it’s easy enough to just share that info there seeing as it’s more relevant.

I did reviews on Precious Metal so why not bring those over? I did interviews on Precious Metal. The thing is, there isn’t a ton of draw here for me to keep VCG going.

I’d love to read your input though.Does this site do anything for you? What benefit have you gotten from it? Anything?

If I did got back to Precious Metal, would you follow me over there? So many ideas to weigh.

In the meantime, I do have a post coming for a documentary I recently saw. So, there’s that! What do you think of all this?

Squeals, Bleats And Cackles: Fiona Oakes

If you follow runners in the vegan community there is no excuse to not know Fiona Oakes. She holds Guinness World Records, course records and multiple first place finishes at some of the world’s toughest ultra-marathons. She was recently the subject of the film, Running For Good, produced by the team that brought you Cowspiracy and What The Health.

She is one of the most humble running icons. Running is her activism and she uses her talents to push the limits of vegan athleticism. When she is not breaking records, racing or training for races, she is taking care of animals at the sanctuary her husband and herself run, Tower Hill Stables. It’s my pleasure yo have had the opportunity to have Fiona answer some questions for us here at VCG and I hope you enjoy her responses as much as I did.

VCG: Without rehashing (too much) what every interview online has already answered, give us a glimpse into what drives you to run? When did you start?

FIONA: Honestly, I am driven by the suffering and pain of others. It’s something I abhor and always have. When did it start, before I can really remember. I guess at age 3 when I went vegetarian I was making the association of death with the suffering of animals. That’s why I decided I didn’t want to eat them any more. My life has just been one long progression and expression of this. Vegan at 6, animal sanctuary then the overt activism through my running and now moving into the next phase which is the public speaking.

VCG: You claim to not be a “talented” runner yet you have a resume that us true novices can only dream of. What has been your biggest achievement to date?

FIONA: The biggest achievement for me with my running is the platform and reach it has given me to speak out for animals and the promotion of veganism in a positive, proactive and peaceful way. I don’t really look at individual results as I am honestly not in it for them. It’s the whole package from the road Marathons, World Records and ultra runs and the longevity, continuity and versatility that pleases me most as it illustrates better than any words the total viability and validity of an ethical vegan lifestyle choice.

VCG: You’ve inspired many not only with your running but your drive to care for animals. You’ve been vegan since a really early age. What was the catalyst for that change?

FIONA: As I said above, I went vegetarian age 3 as a natural reaction to avoid something which disgusted me. I can’t say it was a decision because I was too young to be really making active decisions. A couple of years later, lots of questions to my parents and the avoidance of any product which was taken from my animal friends was the obvious path to take for me.

VCG: One of your dreams as a child was to be a part of a sanctuary. You now run Tower Hill Stables with your husband. When did that dream come to fruition and tell me a bit about an average day at the sanctuary?

FIONA: It all happened in 1996. I had been rescuing animals on a small-scale all my life – cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters etc. and horses which I kept at farms or livery yards. When I met Martin we started to do a little more rescue and managed to adopt 8 horses into our family. Unfortunately, one had a terrible accident at the Farm we were keeping them at and it was due to the negligence of the person in charge (he let people into the field where they were grazing to shoot rabbits!). We nearly lost our beautiful boy, Oscar, a retired racehorse I had spent 3 years rehabilitating. Oscar was rushed to the Vet where he remained for 13 weeks. At that point we knew things had to change and that was the cataclysmic event which made us go into overdrive to make it happen. It’s like we had been standing on the edge of a cliff up to then, not daring to jump, but this event made us. How we managed it I still can hardly believe. My Mum was absolutely pivotal – she sold everything she owned to raise funds – engagement ring, piano, car – it all went and we finally came to a place where we could afford a deposit and mortgage on the Sanctuary site. From there it has grown out of all proportion with the ongoing requests to help more and more animals and my drive to do so. A typical day starts at 03.30 a.m. for me and ends when the work is done. In that day, I do everything for the animals from mucking out, feeding, barn clearing, unloading lorries, tractor driving, supervising Vet and Farrier visits and anything else which comes part and parcel of caring for this huge a family. Running has to be squeezed in between the animal jobs and never comes before them. It’s tough as I usually run 100 miles a week but if you really want to make something happen, you will find a way.

VCG: “Running For Good” is a documentary about you and your efforts to attempt and race the Marathon Des Sables. It was produced by Keegan Kuhn of “Cowspiracy” and “What The Health”. Were you aware of his films and how did you both start talking?

FIONA: I first heard about Keegan when he was looking to raise funds to make Cowspiracy. I thought it was a tremendous project and really positive for the promotion of all I believe. I contacted him and asked if I could help in any way. He wrote back and said after searching me out on the internet he felt it was him who should be helping me! When he found he had a bit of downtime after making WTH he wrote and said – hey, now I would like to fulfil that promise!

VCG: How do you prepare for something like Marathon Des Sables? Living in England the climate isn’t exactly conducive to training, or is it?

FIONA: The only thing you can do to prepare for MdS unless you intend to up sticks and move to the Sahara – is to be as fit as you can, 100% mentally focused and prepared for every and any eventuality and hope you can hang on!

VCG: Does your friend Percy train with you, or is he just a companion during races? tell me about Percy and what he means to you?

FIONA: So Percy is my best friend but some say he is my cheeky little alter ego! He does some training but he likes to focus more of his attention on taste testing sweets, cakes and crisps. He goes to all my races and people just love him – he has the biggest, cutest, cheekiest grin and takes all the attention away from me. Which suits me down to the ground but also, he does do a great job when I am running – especially in the ultra endurance races – as I spend most of my time worrying about him and if he is safe and hasn’t fallen out of my pack, I tend to forget the distance and conditions I am enduring!

VCG: What do you have planned in the future as far as running is concerned? Do you have any more big races coming up on the horizon?

FIONA: Actually, I am going back to MdS in April. Reason being I have actually done the race 3 times. The first time I broke 2 toes the week before the race and still went out there to complete it. I did finish mid field but it was so hard – by the long stage my feet were in such a state you could see the bone sticking out of the broken little toe. Because I helped another competitor during the race who eventually had to pull out, I was offered another chance to go back the following year in 2013 without broken toes. However, in the meantime I had been invited to run at the North Pole and that’s when the World Records started. In 2014 I went back to MdS in the shape of my life and was lying in 6th place overall but one of my tent mates needed me more than I needed a high placing. He had cancer and was on chemotherapy and was trying to encourage and inspire others to know that they don’t have to be beaten by the disease – if he can complete MdS with it they should know they too can do anything. But he was suffering and knew he couldn’t complete the ‘long’ stage alone – around 100km. I offered to mentor him through it if he still wanted to continue on by day 4. He did so I threw my race away to help him. Compassion over competition is what it’s all about after all. 2017 my shoes collapsed so this year I am trying to do the race without broken toes, broken tent mate or broken shoes. Then Berlin Marathon in the Autumn and sub 3 is my goal – in my cow suit!

VCG: How can someone, if they felt so inclined, help out Tower Hill and what you guys are doing for animals? Is there a site they can donate or, if in England, do you take volunteers?

FIONA: Yes we take volunteers and there are loads of ways to help us from the obvious ones like taking out a Standing Order or making a financial donation to getting involved with fundraising, making purchases from the Amazon Wish List, putting your name down for the ‘bread run’ to raising our profile on Social Media. You can find out all about us at www.towerhillstables.org from the Social Media to what we are all about – it’s all on there. Any help we receive goes directly to the animals. We take nothing from the Sanctuary ourselves and continue to put our own funds into it.

VCG: Leave us with a little Fiona wisdom… Say I started running today, as a vegan, what should I do right away to achieve even a minimal amount of success?

FIONA: Success is all relative. Just being able to run is a big win, join Vegan Runners – the Club I am proud to have been part of starting back in 2004. No better way to make a statement at a race than turning up in the Vegan Runner vest. I always say I have no talent as a runner – and, believe me, when you have run in the illustrious company I have, you soon know that to be true. If I do have any talent it is to be able to drive myself very, very hard and to that end, with my running my ability has always been driven by the reason I am out there. Trying to give a voice to the voiceless. The harder and better I run the louder that voice!

*images used by permission of Fiona

Raw Banana & Oat Powerballs

I’ve been trying to kick sugar for a while now. Habitually it was easy to sit down after dinner and crush some vegan ice cream or some other treat. I’m on this little junket to optimal health, though, so I needed to figure out some way to get some sweetness at night but also make it something that is good for me.

I searched around the internet for a decent recipe and most had some sort of non-vegan item in them, the most prevalent being honey. As we all know now, there are so many replacements for that though, it was not an issue to switch things around. Most had chocolate chips and while I do love chocolate chips, I ended up swapping them out for this recipe. You can’t get any easier than this recipe!

Ingredients

2 Ripe Bananas
2 cups quick oats
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 scoop Naked Pea Protein

Peel the bananas and mash them in a bowl. You want them as ripe as possible, the riper they are the sweeter they are; that’s why banana bread is so righteous because those bananas are so ripe they are near death. Add a cup and half of the oats and the other ingredients to your bowl and mix well. Depending on how sticky the mix is, add the other half a cup of oats.

Roll the mixture into one inch balls and let sit for two hours.

You are ready to go. These should last a few days in the fridge. They will get darker as the days go on and those bananas start to pass. I wouldn’t go beyond a week as long as they are in an air tight container.

Oh, Hi There!

So… umm… some time has gone by since my last post.

Here we are at the end of February and one of my major goals for 2019 has been rather lackluster; posting more on this blog. No excuses, I could be doing better for sure and am going to try. Tomorrow I’ve got a new recipe to post for some raw banana w/ oat balls, so that’s a start and this post of course.

Then I have a surprise chat with an incredibly inspiring woman to try and rekindle the “Squeals, Bleats and Cackles” series that I had been doing for a bit. I really want to push that a bit further, so if you think of someone you’d like to see featured please let me know!

One of my bigger goals for 2019 was to come out of my shell and I’ve made some huge progress. I’ve gone out and spent time with friends, which to most people would be a normal every day occurrence. I enjoy people’s company, don’t get me wrong. I just got very comfortable with my previous home life and I chose to stay close with my small family.

I’ve even been on a couple dates! Whoah! They’ve been low key and very non-committal. It’s just been nice to meet new people, share stories and learn about them. I didn’t know it but I really enjoy learning from other people’s experiences. There is so much wisdom in a simple conversation and I’m looking forward to many more conversations. I’m still not into the bar scene so meeting new people has been a challenge. Dating these days is quite different then it was 20 years ago, but I’m able to adapt pretty fast, it’s one of my greatest strengths I think.

One other thing to mention before I sign off, I’ve been on a 90 day transformation of sorts. I’m just under two weeks until the end and can’t wait to write about it. I’ve never felt stronger, nor have I felt more self-confident. It’s trivial I’m sure, but I felt like the dad-bod I was building was not the direction I was looking to go. Being a runner and somewhat active, it also wasn’t conducive to achieving any sort of success. But, more on that later.

I just wanted to check-in and say things are plodding ahead, albeit a bit slower than I had hoped. Talk more soon!

 

So many vegan things on ole Cape Cod!!

It is AMAZING how well things are going right now. I feel like I want to explode with anticipation but I’m really trying to rein it all in; it’s so hard though! I can say that 2019 is shaping up to be a good year so far and we are just over two weeks in!!

I can hint at a few things, just can’t make them super official; call em teasers!

For one, I’ve been working with a company that is promoting the film “Eating Animals” and we will be showing it at the Cape Cinema in Dennis. I am super pumped about this but am a bit nervous. In order to get this all set I have to get “x” amount of butts in seats to break even. I am hoping for more than that though as I want to raise money for Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary as well, so anything past “x” is vegan gravy! The film is a great film, based on the book sharing the same name, it basically talks about the end of factory farming. It’s a great conversation starter and some friends and I are building a nice little vegan platform here on Cape Cod that included a Q&A after the film.

With that…

I changed the name of the group I started. It’s no longer called “Cape Cod Vegan Potlucks” but instead is called “Cape Cod Vegan Events” as I hope to share all of the things that go on here on Cape Cod as far as the burgeoning vegan community goes. There’s all sorts of stuff going on. We’ve got groups like Green Nosh putting on gatherings. There’s Lori and her husband Charlie holding monthly Veg Supper Clubs. Kara and pals have pulled together and created Cape Cod Animal Save.  We’ve got Barb putting on vegan potlucks and we have a growing number of vegan makers such as Kaya aka Cape Cod Gypsea! There is so much going on here on Cape Cod!! It made sense to change the name of that group to help promote everything, we are all one community and it behooves us all to share events and cross-post; so that’s what is going on.

As far as the potlucks that I was putting on, yes I will be putting them on again and soon I hope. I’m really working on a consistent venue though and think I’ve got a decent one, just need to lock down the details. As I get more on this I will share and hope to see you guys back at a potluck again!

There’s something in the works (hopefully) for Spring/ Summer that may resemble a Veg Fest/ Vegan Makers Market. This is the beginning but with some work we can make this a reality. A very driven young vegan, Ariana, is driving this project and it’ll be great to see it happen!

Still more news? Heck yes there’s more! While I am chipping away at the first Vegan Cable Guy podcast, there may be some “radio broadcast” news coming soon. I’ve been asked to be part of a new project that will go out over local Cape Cod radio and I can’t wait to share more. There will be a few of us and we will be chatting about local things going on, sharing stories with listeners, maybe talking recipes and even some activism sprinkled in. It’s going to be amazing; this was the BIG teaser!!

I feel like there’s something missing but WOW I can’t believe the progress this amazing community is seeing and I’m psyched to be a small part of it!!

 

Activism: Writing Letters

One thing that I’m not super out there with is activism. Most of mine is done online. Right here, right now, is where most of it happens. Either with this blog or on my social media pages. As a busy father who works 50+ hours a week, it fits my lifestyle and still allows me to share my beliefs.

Would I like to do more? Absolutely! That’s where today’s post is going.

I was reminded by my friends at Cape Cod Animal Save this morning to write a letter to one of our representatives, State Senator Julian Cyr. He represents the district that Cape Cod is a part of. They shared their letter on Facebook and so I started working on mine and sent it off. I haven’t received a response as of yet and, to be honest, that was only minutes ago at this point. But I wanted to share the fact that although we think we are unable to make more time for activism, sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes to fire off a letter regarding something you feel passionate about.

Below is the letter I whipped up and sent to Senator Cyr.

“Good morning Sir!

I wanted to thank you and your office for all the assistance you’ve given my family in the past. A couple of years ago a family member was having issues with unemployment and your office stepped up for her and we had a resolution within hours. That was amazing and so appreciated as it helped our family.

Now, I come to you about something a bit different.

The past few years we’ve seen a dramatic shift regarding ethics and morality here on Cape Cod. It’s become a sport to kill as many coyotes as possible. There is a contest put on by the Powderhorn in Hyannis that has prizes for the heaviest dead coyote, the most cumulative weight for the dead bodies of coyotes and so on. I have no issue with guns, this is far from a gun issue. Our forefathers believed that every citizen should be allowed to keep and bear arms for the protection of their family and community, I get it. While I do not own a gun, I know many people that do and I will defend their freedom to keep them.

That said, this contest is barbaric and puts us back many centuries as a species. To see the glee in the eyes of the shooters as they display their “kill” is scary at the very least. We are teaching children that killing is ok. Did you know who killed animals when they were a small child? Jeffrey Dahmer! Desensitizing children to killing when they are young teaches them one thing, murder in any form is ok and they don’t have to feel bad about it; they can even smile in pictures with their “trophy.” You know who also kept trophies? Jeffrey Dahmer! You see where I’m going there, right?

I live in an area where my backyard abuts hunting land. I see wild deer in my backyard and I even see the occasional coyote, at least the one’s that have escaped the scope. I also hear shots ringing out that are very close to my home. You’d think I would be the first person advocating to remove coyotes as I’ve lost pet cat’s in the past because of them. But I cannot stop nature, nor can we humans try to do the same. It’s on me to make sure my animals were taken care of and I let them out, that’s on ME, not the instinct of a wild animal.

Please consider legislation that would ban killing contests here on Cape Cod. 

It’s the right thing to do for us, our children, for Cape Cod and for the animals we share this beautiful land with.

ps. I’ve attached some photos of some beautiful creatures that were taken to soon. I’m wondering, many of these killed were females, if they were pregnant with babies isn’t that illegal? Please enlighten me.”

I’m not telling anyone what to do. I’m not forcing you to write a letter or do any sort of activism at all. This is something that I’m finding fits the lifestyle that I lead. It’s just one other little thing I can do to share my beliefs that animals are sentient beings that deserve life as much as the next sentient being.

Activism comes in many forms, choose what works for you.

Speaking of which; what type of activism do you do?

Quick Bites #8: No Whey! Chocolates

It’s been nearly 6 months (or more) since I’ve done the last one of these, wow I’ve been slacking! One of my 2019 resolutions is the hope that I write more here so let’s hope that it keeps up!

Being newly single, I wanted to have a complete and absolutely vegan holiday this Christmas and finding candy was a chore and a half. Nearly everything has some sort of animal byproduct in it whether that’s egg, milk, gelatin or whatever other nastiness these companies can think of to use as fillers.

I have heard people talk about a company called No Whey! that makes vegan chocolate and treats so I figured I’d give them a day in court. As you see over to the right, I ordered two bags of chocolate figurines, some peppermint no no’s a chocolate lollipops.

To be honest, I was a bit put off by the cost (nearly $30 for the lot before shipping) but figured they had to be worth the money. The fact alone that no animals were used to make these treats seemed to tamp down any feelings of overpaying. When I got them, again, I was a bit put off as the packets seemed a bit small and there was as many individually wrapped figurines as you would normally get from the cheapo candy brands. The packets of no no’s were certainly single serve and sprinkling only two packets of them in some stockings was an epic failure.

I will know better next time though, and there will be a next time. I found that every dime I spent on these did hold merit and value. Sure you can buy the usual Xmas santas at the store for the kids but what is in those? No Whey! chocolates (the individual wrapped santas) are made from Vegan Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Unsweetened Chocolate, Rice Syrup Powder, Sunflower Lecithin.

While this may seem like I am unhappy with the product that is not the message I am trying to convey. Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is though and if you want to talk the talk you do what you can to stick to it. I will continue to order from these guys for every holiday coming up, the fact that they are vegan makes them a winner in my book!

I really enjoyed the flavor of the chocolates, the no no’s were really tasty and had an awesome crunch to them. It’s sad that I was just at the beginning of a new nutrition plan and couldn’t enjoy them as much as I wanted to. My kids devoured them within a few days though and that speaks volumes when it comes to enjoyment; they don’t eat things they do not like and these were gone!

If you are looking for some really yummy and ethically made, No Whey! is the way!

Website: http://www.nowheychocolate.com

2019: Disciplined Intention

So here we are; January 1st, 2019!

As you may or may not have read in my near chronological breakdown of 2018, it was a year that had a lot of ups and downs. Thankfully, it is in the past at this point. This very moment is filled with hope and the expectation that 2019 is going to be filled with a variety of prodigious goals and achievements. One in particular is filled with so much planning that I’m hoping the details don’t overwhelm the process but, alas, it (and the rest of the list) will be accomplished. The easiest way for me to explain to you some of those if to create a small list and then pick them apart.

Let’s go from smallest goal (most attainable) to the largest (most important).

1. Drink more water
2. Meditate daily
3. Plan more vegan potlucks
4. Start podcasting 
5. Write on this blog more
6. Be more extroverted and less introverted
7. Run more w/ Strong Hearts Vegan Power
8. Visit friends out of state
9. Run across Cape Cod
10. Spend more time with my kids

Drink more water is pretty self explanatory. I’m really good about doing it when I have races coming up, or when I’m working in the summer. That said, hydration is a year round thing and I really need to do better to drink more. I’m sure these headaches would subside and skin dryness would dissipate. How do you make sure you get enough water every day?

Similar to water, meditating every day doesn’t need much explaining. I have found that when I meditate more, my stress level is lower and my tolerance for bullsh*t is higher. This is going to be hard to keep a regimen but I will make time the best I can.

During 2018 I was able to put on a couple of vegan potlucks and they were pretty successful in bringing a new group of folks together here on Cape Cod and creating a small community. Toward the end of 2018 it sputtered a bit as I had some issues finding a place to host the Autumn event and am having issues presently doing the Winter one. I have a line out to someone, though, and feel like some big news will be coming soon on this. I would prefer to have just one place that I can book 4 solid dates per year at and be done. It’s easier on attendees, it’s easier on me and we all get yo eat yummy vegan food; YAY!!

Start podcasting? What? This one may be a bit trickier. First, I need my own laptop to do this. I only have one from work right now and can’t install new software on it, meaning no recording/ editing software. I have the knowledge to edit, I just need the equipment. Oh and I have to not hate hearing the sound of my voice being played back and maybe gain a bit more confidence in sharing stories about my life or whatever topic I’m waxing poetic about. More to come on this but I could maybe use some advice. My pal Michael Harren has told me he’d help, maybe it’s time to talk more with him.

I would love to write on the blog more, it’s been a goal the past year or two. I feel though that a lot of the topics I would cover are already covered somewhere else. Does the vegan blogosphere really need someone else saying the same stuff? Does my voice really matter that much? I guess i have to figure out what is most important to me and just start there. More to come here as well.

Being more extroverted versus being introverted; this is much easier said then done. Over the past few years I got in this mindset of complacency and comfort. My home felt like the only place I wanted to be. Yes I went out to some social things like running a Ragnar with my friends in Strong Hearts Vegan Power or to a potluck, but because of my social awkwardness, when the event was over I was always relieved to be back on my couch in my home. This all stems from the fact I am not super confident in myself. Yes, I can accomplish anything I put my mind too, I get it. But that social awkwardness thing is always in the back of my head whether you are seeing it when we are face to face or not; it’s there and it’s alarming at times. For instance, right now the thought of even entertaining the idea of asking someone to dinner is frightening. After not having dated in so long how does one even start over? I can’t stay in my concrete floored condo forever though and I have to get out. So that’s what I plan to do. When the time comes, here’s hoping she likes vegan pizza!

Running more with SHVP is going to be difficult as I will now have to arrange care for the boys when I’m away but this is not at all out of the question. For one, I have already signed up to run the Vegan Power 50k Relay with a couple SHVP friends. Since this event is held at Pittsfield State Forest I’m gonna turn it into a camping weekend with the boys and while I’m running my 5 mile loops, they will be at one of the aid stations. I mentioned this to them and they are excited to see how the process works, and to be camping away for the weekend. I guess I’ve already started adapting when it comes to things like this but I will have to be crafty a Ragnar is thrown in there. Masters division? Ya we can crush it!!

My boy Jay and other upstate New York friends are always talking about getting together, so I need to make this happen. I’ve never been to Ithaca so to see the gorges and other cool stuff would be awesome. Again, gotta just make the effort here which I hope to soon. Oh and a stop into Strong Hearts Cafe would be pretty f*cking amazing too!

What is run across Cape Cod you ask? Well it’s been a tab up above for a while now and I think I’m ready to really focus on it. This past month I’ve been on a strength training regimen and a new nutrition plan. After a full 90 day cycle I start running again and in the fall of this year I will run from one of the Cape Cod bridges to the tip of Provincetown. Why? Well because I try to set one very crazy goal each year and this year this seemed like the craziest. Plus, it’s officially a 100k distance (it’s over 62 miles) so it’d be nice to check that distance off the bucket list. More to come on that as I rebuild that site and possibly look for some sponsors who want to help and raise funds for my favorite animal sanctuary,

Lastly and most importantly, spending more valuable time with my kids. I see a lot of camping going on this spring/ summer. I see lots of hands on stuff like board games and getting away from screens. There are tons of trails here on Cape that we haven’t explored yet. This is gonna be an awesome year for the boys and I. I can’t wait to get started.

Throughout 2019 I will provide updates as I check off items from this list, but I think I got some lofty goals. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I’m going for it!!!

2018: A Dream Gone Awry

(ed note: This post is going to be a bit long so settle in if you are interested in a near chronological telling of my 2018.)

Where to start.

2018 started out like any other year.

It just was. There was nothing extraordinary about the beginning of it.

December 31, 2017 became January 1, 2018 and on time went. Maybe that was part of the problem. There was nothing special about the beginning of 2018, and it seemed the continuance of the mundane would roll on unimpeded.

Things did change though and mid way through, we bought a house! It was so exciting. This was something we had always wished we could do. Living on Cape Cod it always seemed so far away but in June of 2018 we finally became home owners. The year changed from there as our responsibilities changed, but our dream of home ownership had come to fruition.

On a personal note, I hit a running stumble in June as I took my first DNF in a long time. I hadn’t taken one since the Winter Death Race in 2015. I had run the Vegan Power 25k before and while the course was treacherous, it was manageable and I trained to finish. I hit the starting line ready to go and ran the first couple laps with friend and teammate Jess Ryle. I think it was lap 2 (or 3) that I hit a root and twisted my right knee. After lap 3 or 4 I decided to pull myself out of the race, there was no way possible I was limping through the last couple laps. I was demoralized and ashamed. I was so prepared for that race and while there was no way I was winning I knew I had it in me to finish. Never the less, I did not.

After the race our boys reminded us of something we had been telling them for a while and that is when we finally bought a house we would adopt a dog. July 2018 we adopted two, Buster and Master. They are two handsome Great Pyrenees rescues from Tennessee. They seemingly completed our family and we couldn’t be happier. Buster was care free from the get go and is such a love Master took a bit to warm up, and is still timid with strangers, but he now shows love and is an amazing companion. Our two cats got along great with the boys; it was perfect.

On the morning of August 7th , one of our cats went missing; Agatha. She was sitting in the front garden and the morning sun was hitting her just perfectly, her black fur was lit up all amber and she was beautiful. I took a photo as I got into my work van not knowing that it was the last time I’d ever see her. She was an amazing cat. Her kindness was amazing considering when she came into our lives it was because her previous owner had abandoned her and she was feral for many years. We loved that cat; I loved that cat.

My running redemption came in September when I ran with Strong Hearts Vegan Power again at Ragnar Adirondacks. We had a great van, we were team All Out War. The inside joke was that the average age in our van was well over 40 so we became team AARP. It was such a great race, we had so much fun and I really pushed myself. My last leg specifically, I felt someone breathing down my neck as I was maybe 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile out from the exchange. At that point we were running in the Whiteface Mountains and it was tough, my legs were shot. I was not getting passed, no f*cking way! Not here, not in front of my team. This race I made more kills than I had at any other Ragnar, I was f*cking strong as I ever was. I threw the hammer down and finished a few hundred feet ahead of that person! F*ck yes!!!

That said, there was a moment during that race that was quite sad and you can read more about it here. Peter Nussbaum (co-founder of Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary) and I had witnessed something at a dairy farm that will live with me for a long time. The cries of a young calf have been etched in my brain.

The runners high of that race was short-lived as something I felt coming for a while reared its head. My wife and I decided it was time to end our relationship. There are no hard feelings, we decided to do it amicably and not keep it from our sons. We told them and it was hard at first but we were still living together so they saw that divorces didn’t always have to be ugly and nasty, they could be civil.

The hits just kept coming after that though.

One night while Leah was at work, I was at home with the boys. Itsy, our other cat, was meowing to come in which is something she NEVER did. She would stay out all night if we let her. During the summer she spent many nights out as she refused to come in. This time she was meowing to come in and was limping. I figured maybe she was sleeping under a bush and her paw had fallen asleep. I helped her up onto my bed and consoled her for a bit. I left her alone for a short bit of time hoping the leg would wake up. It never did and I called Leah to come home so I could take Itsy to the all night emergency vet. Long story short, Itsy was throwing blood clots and we left the office with her in a box. We were told it was the compassionate thing to do as the next clot could be in her brain, heart or somewhere else that might cause her pain. So we took on that pain and lost our other furry friend. We had her since she could fit in the palm of our hand. We loved her so much.

Shortly after all of that stuff, I had moved into a two bedroom condo. It is a serviceable place and fits what I need; for now. One Thursday (December 6th) I had gone in to work for an 8 hour overtime shift. The boys come over on Thursday so I had just picked them up. We walked into the condo and sure enough, my first step onto the carpet made a squish sound. The water heater had blown while I was at work and flooded the whole first floor. It took 24 hours to get someone out to put in a new heater and shortly after someone else to remove all the water and the soaked carpet. At that point there was nothing but a concrete slab and 4 machines running to dry the place out and clean the air from any spores that might be growing.

Here we are, December 28th and I still have a cement floor.

We celebrated our first Christmas in the condo on cold concrete and that is exactly how I’m going into 2019.

That said, I refuse to let it define my year and there will be a second part to this post on January 1st. I have plans and goals and aspirations. 2019 will not be a repeat of 2018. I’ve been given the opportunity to redefine myself and re-center my life. I can’t wait to share what’s going to happen next.

Book Review: What The Health

Yes, this is the book version of the film. If you ever watched it and said to yourself that you should probably pay attention so you can retain as much as you can for future conversations, well you don’t need to do that. This is the printed form of the film serving as a compendium to all the info you saw and wished you had at your disposal. There is quite a bit more here in the book than in the movie and you will find all sorts of useful info as well as some of the filmmakers/ authors favorite recipes. There are more in depth interviews as well as commentary from the filmmakers themselves with added personal stories.

One thing I like to do after reading a book and before reviewing it is to look at other reviews. I get curious if the thoughts I have about a book are the same, or close to the same, as other writers. Not surprising, there are tons of reviews where folks are appreciative that the book was published. Many great stories of people making the conversion to a healthier way of eating.

Then you got the naysayers, and unfortunately there is a plethora of them. What’s amazing though is one in particular and it says, “Most (of) the sources are biased to veganism. The back of the book contains hundreds of references though that you can look up.” So the claim is that the book is biased yet there are sources cited in the back that are valid? I think some people don’t truly understand the word “bias” as they clearly have some of their own. There are even some “doctors” that claim the film is incorrect yet they do not offer their name, credentials or anything concrete to dispel any of the science based facts from the film. 

I don’t know, I mean some of the most well known doctors in the country are interviewed including Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Milton Mills, Dr. Michael Klaper and so many more. As mentioned above, there is nearly 50 pages of notes referring the reader to scientific papers, studies and more. There can be no denying the fact that these guys have done their homework and leave no doubt; animal products is bad for your health. 

For instance, there’s a story about a boy names Justin and his mom, Joyce. Justin is a 7 year old boy who weighs 250lbs. Yes, you read that right! The poor boy struggles to breathe and move, his poor body cannot handle all that weight. His mother talks about his diet and how doctors told her to rein it in but never gave her any real advice. A typical day, from a spied piece of paper points out that just for breakfast the boys eats 4 scrambled egg, 1 slice of cheese, teaspoon of ketchup and 1 3/4 cups of diet sprite. That is a disgusting way to start the day and it doesn’t get any better. Lunch consists if multiple sausages, popped popcorn, diet tea and a snack bar.

If you are familiar with the movie than the fact they point out differences between true carnivores and humans is in here. For instance, how about our canines? I mean, those things are dangerous they must have been given to us to eat meat right? Have you looked at a real carnivores mouth; all of their teeth are for ripping and their canines are true canines, not some dulled down teeth that can barely “tear an envelope.

The stories here are real and they are horrifying. They blow the lid of factory farms spraying literal shit all over people’s properties and houses causing sickness and disease. The story of René Miller is atrocious and should anger anyone who learns of what she and her townspeople have had to deal with in the small town of Warsaw, North Carolina.

You get the idea.

It is a game changer.

If you watched the film you need to read the book. Your friends need the book. Your family needs the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spekin