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Day in the Life; What I eat

I share recipes as often as I can. I even post what I pack for lunches during the work week. But what do I eat from the time I wake to the time I hit the hay? It can vary greatly but some things are staples.

Let’s go through a typical day…

BREAKFAST

I’m up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 each day, depends on how many times I hit the snooze button. Habitually I brew a pot of coffee and down a cup before it’s the other morning habit; oatmeal. It doesn’t matter what’s in it, I eat oatmeal every day! EVERY DAY! Depending on what the day has ahead I will up the calories with either hemp seeds, nuts or both! I try my best to make sure there is at least one fruit in it, whether that’s a banana, strawberries, blueberries or even raisins. Again, depending on the day ahead, my oatmeal can vary from 250-600 calories.

SNACKS

Before lunch I snack on at least two pieces of fruit, that’s usually a banana or whatever melon is in season. Right now I’m crushing cantaloupe like it’s going out of style! I may have some seeds too, all depends on whether I’m at work or not. Carrying around a ladder, and the weight of a tool-belt, I can burn calories and feel famished quickly. Maybe I will swap a fruit for some pistachios if I need the extra energy. If I’m home it’s just the two pieces of fruit.

After lunch I try to eat more fruit, or even some raw broccoli or carrots. Maybe I will dip the carrots in some hummus but I try not to add to much to them, they are perfect the way they are. I really enjoy Nature’s Bakery bars and will maybe devour a package of those. There are a couple in each package, the package says 1 bar is a serving but who the heck eats just one? Not this guy. I try not to do this to much but, when the sweet tooth is too strong, I love me some Breyers non-dairy Oreo Ice Cream. They’ve done great things with non-dairy ice cream and although I love it, the Ben And Jerry’s is nowhere as cost efficient.

LUNCH

Lunch is by and large pretty easy. If I’m working it’s usually one of my Mason Jar Creations which have three components: protein, clean carb and greens. That can be tempeh with rice and spinach. Maybe it’s chickpeas with quinoa and collard greens. Or even some jambalaya with chorizo and okra. You get the idea. At home my creativity is somewhat lacking if I’m just bumming around. I will usually eat something that is left over from the night before. That can be taco crumbles sprinkled on some greens, maybe some mashed potatoes (which I will add some butter and nooch) and make a meal out of that. I try to balance the best I can, leftovers are great though as I hate to toss out food. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little sluggish I will make a big salad and load it up with a variety of greens and keep it super simple.

DINNER

Being vegan is easy folks, as you can see so far, we don’t just eat nuts and berries. Yeah it sounds like it, but there is so much good food out there. I make my own seitan so sometimes I will make a homemade mac and cheese with seitan “ham” or “bacon” and asparagus. We eat tacos nearly every tuesday and we usually use Trader Joe’s beefless crumbles; they are hands down one of the best. Being from the northeast we love the flavors of Thanksgiving so we frequently have Gardein Turk’y Cutlets. My kids love breakfast for dinner so we will make pancakes and homefries. Other days we might just decided to take things easy and slap a Beyond Burger on the grill w/ some zucchini and summer squash.

You get the idea, right?

As the saying goes “anything you can eat I can eat vegan!”

Oh Look, It’s so Shiny!

Should we buy just because it’s new and Vegan?

How far will you go to get the new shiny Vegan food or product?

Is it worth making an hour (or more) drive to the nearest Target because you heard they finally got the birthday cake flavor of Just Cookie Dough. I mean, you drove there to pick up the chocolate chip so why not this flavor? You have to try it, right?

That’s how I felt about Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger. It’s supposed to be the closest thing to a meat burger, obviously without the meat. For months I’ve seen friends and other Instagrammers posting pics of it and talking up how amazing it is.

I would check the retailer list once a week to see if my local Whole Foods was finally carrying it. 2-3 days ago they made the list and I immediately packed up and headed toward Hyannis to get a package. I was elated; excited even! I was finally going to try these magical burgers.

I got into the store, grabbed a package and was hit by a wave of disappointment. The burgers were the size of sliders. There was only 2 to a package. They were $7.99! WHAT?! For real? To buy two slider sized burgers for that price they better cook themselves for crying out loud, yet I’m certain they do not.

Needless to say, I walked out of Whole Foods empty handed. I could not justify that cost. To be honest, I could just go get the black bean burgers from Lightlife. Hell, I could buy two packages for less than the Beyond Burgers and have 8 burgers!

8 > 2  is a much better cost ratio at $7.99!

Do they taste good? I don’t know, I’m sure they do though. I love Beyond Meat’s products; the grounds are amazing and the chik’n strips are untouchable. But these new burgers? Keep em! Until the price comes down I will stick to other brands. And to be honest, this has taken the wind out of my sails a bit as far as jumping on the bandwagon for the newest and coolest vegan products.

There’s so much new stuff coming out. Watching my Instagram feed I’ve been taking a virtual tour of the Natural Products Expo West. It looked like people were having tons of fun. But I’m starting to wonder, is it just more hyped up crap? I certainly hope not. If that happens these companies are going to scare away potential new vegans with the cost. The myth that vegan food is expensive has already been perpetuated, this is just going to help keep that alive.

Do you jump at the new shiny vegan product? Were you ever let down by one? For what?

addendum 7/23/2017: So um yeah, I tried em and they are worth that hype. My post is moot at this point… I buy them whenever I can and justify the cost because of the taste and pleasure they bring. I know, hypocrite: bite me!

 

#GivingTuesday 2016

11-29-2016

I’m not a super rich guy, I am cable tech for crying out loud. Silliness aside, I wanted to make an impact on four important organizations. I had a budget of $100 so I gave $25 to each of the following.

Provincetown Center For Coastal Studies

Maple Farm Sanctuary

The ACLU

Planned Parenthood

I chose each of them carefully as they all are important to me in one way or another. Coastal Studies and Maple Farm are both providing assitance to animals in need, both aquatic and land animals. Being from Cape Cod, I was raised with the awareness of how important our water and oceans are. I felt the compulsion to do at least the little bit I can.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood do good for humans, and the fact remains that we all have to help each other. The coming four years are going to be trying at best, so support who you can, when you can and do it with love and compassion for all beings.

Were you able to make an impact today?

Thanksliving 2016

Here we are just a few days from one of the nations largest holidays, Thanksgiving. Without trying to overly politicize this post, at it’s core, Thanksgiving was a way for people to come together and put their sh*t aside and enjoy one another’s company. We can talk about how wrong the menu was from the beginning, and how Native Americans have been crapped on since that day. I’m not here to get into that because you can go on Google and find someone who has already written that article.

Meet my virtual friend Shlomo. He is a resident at Tamerlaine Farms. This year I donated to Taermaine to make sure his Thanksgiving was spent in a safe and loving environment.
Meet my virtual friend Shlomo. He is a resident at Tamerlaine Farms. This year I donated to Tamerlaine to make sure his Thanksgiving was spent in a safe and loving environment. You can sponsor a turkey too by clicking on Shlomo and picking your new friend to donate to!

I’m writing this to point out just how awesome animals are, specifically one, and why you should leave them off of your plate this thanksgiving; Turkeys! You can search all over the web for this info, again others have written this article before, but I’ve nitpicked a bit from each of them. At this bottom of this post, after the video, is links to many of those sites.

So here’s 5 fun facts about Turkeys and prove, like other animals, they are just as sentient as us and deserve to live their lives until their natural deaths. It’s not up to us when they die, it’s up to the universe to decide that stuff.

1. Turkeys are fantastic navigators and are know to remember areas they’ve previously traveled after only being their one time before. Imagine if you had that talent, we wouldn’t need GPS apps right?

2. Turkeys are fast as f*ck and can fly up to nearly 60mph! What?

3. Although they have large bodies, wild turkeys roost in trees at night to stay away from predators.

4. They may all sound the same to us, but using a variety of sounds and intonation they have different voices just like we do.

5. Lastly, like other sentient animals, Turkeys create lasting friendships and even become part of huge groups. Wild one’s, like those seen here on Cape Cod, can be found foraging with 30-40 (or more) other turkeys.

Of course, I could go all PETA and tell you how horrific their lives while they are bred and brought up to be part of Thanksgiving. I could tell you that over 45 million of them are brutally slaughtered to be part of a barbaric tradition, but again, I will leave that to PETA and others who’ve written that before.

I’m trying to keep this post on the positive though and that’s why I am reposting the video below. It’s gone viral on vegan social media groups, etc. I must have listened to it a hundred times so far, it’s truly a gem and the artist behind it, Grey, is extremely talented.

 

Here’s some other sites that have interesting facts about Turkeys.

Mercy For Animals: http://www.chooseveg.com/7-facts-that-prove-turkeys-are-too-sweet
National Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/news/9-fun-facts-about-turkeys
One Kind: http://www.onekind.org/education/animals_a_z/turkey

Semantics: Tom-AY-to / Tom-AH-to

This is an argument as old as when each term was defined; which is better, vegan or plant based? It’s a rant if ever there were one, just warning ya!

The other day I was checking out different articles and stumbled on one at Happy Herbivore appropriately titled “What is a Plant-Based Diet? (The Difference Between “Plant-Based” and “Vegan”).” I love what Lindsay Nixon is doing over there at Happy Herbovire and her story / success are amazing. That said, I found the article to be a catalyst for divisiveness and was based on nothing more than semantics.

I don’t want to waste time to much on this but I felt like it was necessary to write something up real quick. In a world that is so polarized, for a movement that is trying to be extremely inclusive, drawing a line in the sand bothers the sh*t out of me. The article makes it sound like you can’t be one and the other or that one is better than the other.

Some of the comments I read on Facebook post were just as provocative as I thought they would be. One reading, “I refuse to refer to myself as vegan as most people who refer to themselves as vegan are generally crazy.”

There was also this comment, I am not a vegan, I am plant-based. Calling it “vegan” has turned off so many people to the plant based way of eating, and it’s something that they can do for their health.”

I easily could have found myself saying the same things a few years ago, it was one of the reasons that turned me off to veganism: militants. I started off as a “plant-based” person as well thinking somehow I could never call myself a vegan. But, like one comment implied, my aversion to animal products of any kind emerged and my veganism exposed itself. I will go into militant veganism in another post sometime, I have quite a bit to say about it now that I understand the reasoning behind it. We are not here today to talk about that though.

There really is no major difference between someone who is plant-based and someone who is vegan, BUUUUTTT… if we were to cross that line and draw a distinction it wouldn’t be based on whether one is a noun, verb, adjective or whatever. It certainly wouldn’t be a variation that Wikipedia could derive. The most solid difference is one is a lifestyle and one is a diet. Call it what you want though, the fact of the matter is:

Both are great for your health!

Both are great for the environment!

BOTH are great for animals!

Whatever you want to call it, however you want to package it, the one thing they all have in common is compassion. Whether that is compassion for yourself or for animals, it is still compassion. That is the common thread and is the driving force behind both movements. Well at least that’s what I think.

Do you draw a distinction in your life? If so, why?

Tyson & Beyond Meat; A Match Made in Heaven or Hell?

A few days ago the news broke that Beyond Meat and Tyson Foods were in a collaboration of sorts. After dusting aside the inconsistent headlines and internet based subterfuge, it came down to the fact that Tyson food invested 5% in Beyond Meat. That’s not to say that controversy doesn’t remain though.

One of the concerns those in the vegan community have is that Tyson somehow will have a say in what Beyond Meat does. That is not correct. Ethan Browne, the founder of Beyond Meat, has vehemently said that Tyson does not have a say, nor will they have a seat at the table when it comes to making company decisions. “It is just an investment at this point,” Brown said. That’s a little bit of a relief, but questions regarding ethics continue.

ifyoucantbeatemjoinem-lgDoes this mean Beyond Meat is willing to take “blood money” in order to move forward. How is that ethical? Listen, I love Beyond Meat and we use it quite a bit in my household. Whether it’s using the ground for tacos or the chikn strip for stir-frys; we enjoy Beyond Meat. This investment has me scratching my head though and not understanding how they can take the money without some sort of promise of change from Tyson.

Was it greed? Could Beyond Meat be worrying more about the bottom line? I know for shit sure that Tyson is looking at this as a money-making opportunity. They could give a crap about ethics and morality as they’ve been caught time and time again treating animals cruelly. Recently they fired 10 employees that were caught in a Mercy For Animals undercover sting. That’s after being caught many times over the years for animal cruelty in their factory farms, or in farms that they partner with. Simply Google search “tyson animal cruelty” and you will be amazed at all the stuff that’s been reported about these guys.

Is it also possible that Tyson is seeing profits subside and that consumers are asking for less cruelty on their plates and more healthy options? Could there be the slightest bit of compassion arising from the depths of their blackened souls? I’m not holding my breath on that end, that’s for sure.

As far as Beyond Meat and their next move? I guess what we will have to do is wait and see. In his piece, “Why I Am Welcoming Tyson Foods As An Investor In Beyond Meat” Ethan Brown says this, “What can you expect from Beyond Meat going forward? More of the same relentless pursuit of meat. With Tyson’s investment, we are expanding the Manhattan Beach Project, our already formidable research and development program to understand animal meat better than anyone else so we can build it from plants. We will remain committed to non-GMO inputs and will continue to strive for understandable ingredients, always plant-based. Lastly, we won’t let a product that is “good enough” distract from what we know to be possible: building meat from plants.”

What are your thoughts on this? Are you still backing Beyond Meat?

Coming soon to… YouTube?

You read that right, Vegan Cable Guy is coming to YouTube! That’s weird to say in third person since there is only me here. So yes, I have created a YouTube channel and will try my best to drop a new video every other week for now. Once I become more comfortable, and skilled at YouTubing, than I may do more videos with more frequency.

Even though I was the vocalist for a band for nearly 8 years and played a crap ton of shows in that time and had to talk to the audience, I remember that first show and it was daunting. I think I kept my back to the crowd for most of the show. To be honest, I did that probably for the first year. I was freaked out. I’m rather anti-social and severely awkward in crowds. I think that may come to some people as a shock, but it’s legit. Just wait, you’ll see in the first video.

I’m hoping that this will help me come out of my shell a bit more and will force me to put myself out there more. If it weren’t for running and obstacle races, I may never leave the house. Of course I have to work, but that’s different; I don’t have a choice!

Right now I have an intro and outro being worked on for the channel videos. I’ve downloaded recording software and editing software. Besides being awkward in the videos, they won’t be all neat and shiny for a bit either. Before being a cable guy I worked in the graphic design field. Hopefully those skills will come back. If not there is always Fiverr right? Haha!

Anyway, for those of you that have been following over the past year, is there any questions you might have or content you might like to see? I know I have one thing to “show off” in the first video that I am pumped to have received in the mail today. I’m gonna do stuff like that frequently. I hope to record all of my reviews for products and gear as well.

So, we (I) shall see you soon in YouTube-iverse!

Trading Up!

ragnartatI don’t know about you, but when I was younger I did a ton of stupid sh*t and that includes bad tattoos. Over the past few years I’ve been working on getting the easy one’s covered. I still have a half of a sleeve that is garbage to me, and is supposedly fixable. I don’t have the $1000’s it’s going to cost right now.

So, I’ve covered the mistakes with things that mean a lot to me and tell the story of my personal evolution.

Over the past couple of years I’ve run the Ragnar Relay here on Cape Cod. So what better thing to do than to have one of my mistakes get covered by a triumph. The thing is, the mistake was on my knee and in order to
cover it, I would have to have part of my knee cap done.
Yeah… it was, ummm, fun?!

vegantatI had no intention of getting a second piece done today, but the Ragnar logo only took 35 minutes and I had booked an hour. So, I had Josh (from Spilt Milk Tattoo in Hyannis, MA) freehand the word “Vegan” on my ribs. Was it the best spot? I guess today was my day to be a glutton for punishment. Anyway…

It made sense to get this tattoo because with the Ragnar logo a negative part of my past was going away. It was time to add something that was a positive in my life and making the decision to go vegan a few years ago is up there with one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

So yeah, that’s how my day went today. How about you?

Restaurant Ordering; Is It Really Vegan?

This week news broke about an argument between a chef and a rather “militant” vegan. I use the quotes because that’s what Alex Lambert, the chef, said the person was. It’s a convenient excuse to use, but unfortunately even the most meek and timid vegans can be called militant when they open their mouths and utter the word vegan. For some reason it instantly burns peoples asses, maybe it some hidden guilt?

Either way, the news story broke. It seems Alex and another user on Instagram were arguing about meat-eating and veganism. It got pretty ugly and aggressive. Both sides were saying some rather incendiary things. The woman was going on about Alex getting heart disease or whatever. Alex took it to another level though, and rather than just typical argumentative banter he came out and said how he enjoys using animal products in the foods he cooks for vegan. WOW!! That’s a bit bananas right there. Needless to say, after a bunch of hoopla and some online activism, he was let go from his job, which is not a shocker.

Image: Dave Rudge

I hate to admit, having my food tampered with is a huge fear of mine. Every time I eat out I still feel like the pain in the ass of the group when I order. I know, or at least feel like, the waitress is muttering under their breath about me being difficult. I try not to be. For instance, we love to eat out a local restaurant that has an amazing kale salad. Each time I order it I ask them to hold the feta cheese. PITA order #1!

We also love to eat at a Mexican joint in Hyannis and I always have to make sure they don’t add cheese and I get clarification on the sauces they use on top of the bean burrito I order. I’ve had to send it back as one time the waitress had told me the sauce was vegan yet when it was delivered it was evident it had pork in it. It was remade but I know, or at least feel, that she might have been snickering a bit in the back with the cooks. PITA order #2!

We’ve all seen the moving Waiting, hell some of us have done a shift or two at TGIF and have lived it. So we know what goes on in kitchens. To be honest, I hate eating out for these very reasons. It’s like you are at the mercy of the place and their mood, and yours, determines whether you will be eating actual ingredients or ingredients tainted with saliva and other nasty shit.

Is it just me that feels this way? Does this stuff go through your mind when you eat out? What do you do to get past it?

 

Harambe; Remarks, Ruminations and Reason

wildlife2It’s been nearly a week and the situation at the Cincinnati Zoo regarding a young boy falling into a gorilla paddock is STILL leading newscasts around the country. It seems everyone under the sun has an opinion. Until now, I have kept my opinion on the situation close to my heart as I have a range of thoughts and emotion about it.

You see, when I was younger one of the things I wanted to be was a veterinarian or someone who had interaction with animals. I loved animals, minus snakes, but I loved MOST animals. My mom did everything she could to support that and help me learn about them all. I’m going to date myself here but she bought me the subscription based set of animal cards, otherwise known as Wildlife Treasury Cards. Those things were my life and I waited anxiously for each months shipment. I loved animals! My mother also ordered me the whole Encyclopedia Britannica set, but that’s another story.

xenajaneI watched all the wildlife shows I could when I was growing up. Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was one of my favorite things to watch, I was glued in front of the tube every time it came on. In the late 80’s “Gorillas In The Mist” came out and I was exposed to the work of Jane Goodall. I started to research her and what she was doing with primates. I was fascinated for quite some time, when I was younger. Fast forward many years and my daughter, Xena, got to meet Jane (second from left on bottom row is Xena, holding up her monkey stuffed animal that Jane gave her). Not that any of this makes my opinion matter more than anyone else’s, but it paints a picture is all.

While we are speaking about Jane Goodall, here’s her response in a short, but timely, e-mail to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Dear Thane,

I feel so sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of. I tried to see exactly what was happening — it looked as though the gorilla was putting an arm [around] the child like the female who rescued and returned the child from the Chicago exhibit. Anyway, whatever, it is a devastating loss to the zoo, and to the gorillas. How did the others react? Are they allowed to see, and express grief, which seems to be so important?

Feeling for you, Jane

I love the way how she shows as much compassion to Thane as she does Harambe and the other gorillas that are still captive at the Cincinnati Zoo. The whole thing is explosive and regardless of what you, or I, say it will rub someone the wrong way. That said, my opinion is this; there would have been no situation if Harambe wasn’t being help captive in the first place.
I am not perfect, I have been to zoos in the past. I thought, then, that our trips there were valuable learning lessons for my kids. They got to see animals they never would, and most zoos had attendants who would be happy to talk about the animals and make the kids more familiar. Every time we were there I knew where they were at ALL TIMES! These were wild, caged animals. They were not in their natural habitats, they were more than likely frightened. Not being domesticated, I could care less what the experts say; they are still wild animals and only belong in one place; the wild. It was my responsibility to keep my kids safe and to make sure they were with me no matter what.

harambeRegardless if Harambe was trying to comfort the boy after the fall, we was still a wild animal. The mother put the child in danger by not paying attention. She put Harambe in danger by not paying attention. Harambe lost his young life because this woman was NOT paying attention. When you peel away all the onion layers here though it comes down to the core issue, Harambe should never have been in that artificial paddock in the first place. He belonged one place and one please only, in the wild.

I could give two sh*ts if you agree with me or not. I’m not telling anyone to close down zoos, because in all reality, that will never happen. What I am saying is this would never have happened IF our curiosity, and our “we are the top of the food chain” attitude didn’t exist. But, that’s human nature. We need to feel superior. We need to feel powerful and above other things.

The thing is, we don’t have to feel any of that, If you let just a bit of compassion into you heart you will see how wrong this is. There is no justification for captivity. Sanctuaries certainly have their place and are not money making, marketing machines. Sanctuaries are a great place to visit as the animals there are cared for and considered first and foremost. The interest of the sanctuary isn’t the visitor, it’s the animal. We just need to care more, that’s all. I;m not going to dump stats on you, you can find them all over Google right now. I’m not going to tell you how to think either.

None of this would have happened: We wouldn’t have a concussed child. We wouldn’t have a couple of parents being told how to raise their child. We wouldn’t have a dead primate, Harambe. We wouldn’t have a zookeeper that is sad and feeling like they lost a family member. We wouldn’t have more polarized talking heads telling you how to think or playing on your fears like the media is so good at doing. We wouldn’t have any of this if we just let animals be what they are, wild and free.

I believe what I’ve said, if this animal was not in a zoo this situation would never have happened.