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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.

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.


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!!

Quick Bites #6: Hammer Nutrition Vegan Bar

I was super lucky to win a contest a couple weeks back on Hammer Nutrition’s Instagram page. Shortly after, two cases of Hammer Nutrition’s Vegan Protein Bar arrived and I broke one open right away. I’ve used some of their products in the past and really enjoyed them so I was looking forward to trying these bars out; they didn’t disappoint.

It’s purely ironic that this this contest happened and things worked out in my favor; I’d been searching for a way to add to my protein macros. Being constantly on the move I can’t always prepare something on the go so these bars are doing great things for my recovery right now. Between work, coaching one of my sons soccer teams, my workout routine and just the rest of life it’s not been easy to help my body recover; I’m always active.

What’s awesome about these bars is they taste incredible. They taste so good I actually feel a bit guilty sometimes. The chocolate on the outside is indulgent and the peanut butter inside is moist and not chalky. I’ve tried bars in the past that were either way to dry or they were super tough and barely chew-able.

The macro profile is pretty decent on these with 24g of carbs, 12g of fats and a solid 14g of protein. The protein is derived from peas and the sacha inchi seed. I had no idea what that was and had to look it up. It’s from a seed that grows in the rainforest and is loaded with plant based goodness. I was in the dark on this stuff for sure and am going to look more into it, with it’s nutty flavor profile it might be fun to bake with.

I’m extremely happy with these bars and can;t be more grateful to Hammer for hooking me up with them via the contest. These would be great for hikes, after a long run or for keeping in the workvan for a quick bite during the day; I know I’ve done that latter! haha!


Compassion: The New(ish) Vegan Activism

Just a few short years ago vegans were considered to be loud and obnoxious a**holes shouting at you while you shopped or dined. Now, vegans are still out there but the approach is more kind and compassionate.

image from anonymous for the voiceless websiteTake for instance the group Anonymous For The Voiceless. Quickly they’ve become a force to be reckoned with yet their approach is simple and effective. Using a method called the “Cube Of Truth”, activists in major cities (as of now over 250 cities worldwide) around the globe stand in a cube shape with signs and laptops/ iPads that are playing slaughterhouse footage. Most of them are dressed in black and they wear Guy Fawkes masks, synonymously known as the mask of hacker group Anonymous.

While it may seem intimidating to some, the “uniform” look is to make people approach the videos a bit more and not feel like they are being judged by someone. The mask gives the illusion of non-judgement since you cannot see the expression of the person wearing the mask. For some, who are still uncomfortable confronting the truth, it’s an easier way to cope. Whatever works; as long as it’s getting them to think rationally.

I think, for the most part, we’ve finally understand that veganism will never move forward if we don’t change the approach. This doesn’t mean that other activism isn’t effective. Protests against fur farms, puppy mills, horse tracks and circuses are surely worthy; they will always have a place in the movement. I think more people are coming on board because of compassionate protesting though.

image from toronto pig save siteTake for instance the vigil. While not new, the “bearing witness” vigil is getting more and more traction and more importantly, media attention. You’ve got groups like Toronto Pig Save that wait at slaughterhouses for trucks of pigs are brought in. While the trucks are transitioning the activists approach the trucks and try to show the animals inside some semblance of kindness before they are taken away. Whether it’s a loving rub on the snout or a mouthful of water, these processes are effective. What’s just as effective is the imagery created during and spread on social media after.

This may seem silly, but giving the animals that last glimpse can bring them a bit of ease. It doesn’t change the outcome, but it is worth that fleeting moment to show that animal the love they’ve never known.

There are many others ways that vegan activism is growing. Because of the kind and compassionate approach, veganism is seeing some of the strongest growth in years. Sure, there are other factors, but you have to take these things into account.

Have you ever participated in a cube of truth? How about a vigil? What was your experience like?


Mason Jar Creation: Freekeh Coconut Curry

I was getting really bored of my lunches so I decided to try something new. While perusing the aisles at the grocery store I saw a bag of a grain called Freekeh. I’ve seen it a bunch of times but, being unfamiliar with it, I always passed. It just so happened to be on sale, and being the cheap miser that I am, I bought it. I saw another package next to it, some coconut curry sauce. I didn’t buy it (penny pincher) and decided I had everything I needed at home to make it.

Again, having never prepared freekeh, I wasn’t sure if it was even the right for a curry. I assumed since rice was a grain and freekeh was a grain than it should be good, right? It was, and here’s how I prepared it with a list of what you need first. Do not be daunted by making your own curry sauce, this was my first time too and it came out fantastic. Just cook, you can do it.

Curry Sauce Ingredients
1 can coconut milk (13.5oz)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper

Other Ingredients
1 package Freekeh 8oz (I used some from this brand http://www.freekeh-foods.com/)
1 package Lightlife Tempeh
1 package frozen petit peas

The freekeh is gonna take a bit to cook, so start that first and prepare per the instructions on the package. Depending on how you prepare you tempeh, you can either pan fry now and set aside, or cube it and cook it in the sauce after. I refer to get a little color on the outside so I cubed it and pan-fried in some coconut oil first and then put it in a bowl.

I was scared my first time doing the curry sauce too, but don’t be. It is super easy.

Add your butter to a pan and melt. Add your minced garlic and let it cook a bit, you want it to brown up. Once you’ve gotten it to where you like it add the coconut milk. Once it’s completely in liquid form you can start adding your spices and the liquid aminos. You do not have to use the crushed red pepper, I wanted a little heat so I did. Once your spices are in, whisk until they are mixed and let it come to a bit of a boil, you don’t want it cranking though. Once it gets to that point add the peas and tempeh. The peas will bring the temp back down so once it’s near boiling again bring it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes, that way the tempeh can absorb some of the flavor, and you will be done.

Now portion sizes, let’s get into that real quick. I work four 10-hour shifts, so when I make my mason jars I only make four. This recipe, broken down into four, is dense. The calories are at 525 and because of the coconut milk, the saturated fat is higher than most like it. I am in the beginning phase of trying to add some weight, so this work for me. You can probably add a 5th jar and bring that amount down quite a bit, that’s up to you though. Regardless, this meal is packed with fiber from the freekeh so that is a huge bonus. The sodium and sugar are way down. The carbs are just right. The protein is 23g per serving!

Wait, what? I thought vegans had issues with protein….

When I jarred everything up I put the freekeh on bottom of the jar and the curry on top.

That’s it folks, how easy was that?

Vegan Shaming

Instagram and other forms of social media are becoming havens for bullies.

I don’t mean just the obvious ones; this post is not intended to diminish any of those.

The bullies I’m talking about not only put people down and make them feel like all the good they’ve done is meaningless and then they try to pilfer accomplishments from them like thieves. I’m talking about vegan gate-keepers.

For instance, I was reading a post on Instagram someone had made about them dropping by a Taco Bell and grabbing a bite to eat. They were travelling and were unfamiliar with the area so they got some food where they could. This person has posted a photo of a couple burritos which they had veganized. Taco Bell has been known to be quite open to making foods vegan for customers, just ask the Vegan Bros who swear by the stuff. Taco Bell has gone to great lengths to post info on their site to help vegans eat at their places, check out https://www.tacobell.com/feed/how-to-eat-vegan to learn more.

Anyway, within minutes a follower of theirs commented about how shitty the food was and because Taco Bell sells meat and dairy products that somehow the foods the poster was eating were somehow not vegan. They continued to lambaste them for it and made them feel small. a few other followers of course stood up to the bully but it just kept going and going until finally they were blocked from the page.

The fact of the matter is — this type of shaming does absolutely nothing to move veganism forward. These types of attacks do two things:

  • First, it makes the victim of the attack feel like garbage. Maybe they second guess what they are doing. “Why am I doing this? It’d be so much easier to just go back to the old way.” The attack does nothing to move that person forward, it sets them back.
  • Second, it makes the bully look like a no ifs and buts about it, a complete a$$hole. Comments like that make the person look like an arrogant douche-bag. It’s people like this that keep so many people away from this lifestyle. I said it before, but they act like the consummate gate-keeper of veganism. They choose to define it in their own terms, and if you don’t fit inside that pretty little bullshit box than you are not a vegan. F*ck that!

My point, don’t let those people get under your skin; you do you.

It took me so long to get to this point. I used to worry if I’d ever be vegan enough. One day I decided to wake up and not give a rats ass anymore. I stopped hiding behind the “plant-based” term and I became a vegan. If I can help you get there too, get in touch.